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Newfoundland Dog Breed… Everything That You Need to Know at a Glance!

Say hello to this gentle giant! To put it bluntly, the Newfoundland Dog is a magnificent beast. He is a large, heavy dog who exudes a sense of strength and greatness that few other dog breeds can match!  Then throw in the fact that these guys are also courageous and brilliant, and before you know it, you’ll start convincing yourself that you should adopt one of these guys even if you live in a 300 sq. foot studio apartment!

And why…

Shouldn’t you want to adopt one of these guys, because the truth is, they make for wonderfully household pets that can protect you and your family on land or at sea!  These guys have a reputation for being real-life “savers.”  The Newfie, or Newf, as this big dog is fondly referred to, has been portrayed as a lifesaver in numerous books, paintings, and movies. He is a marvelous swimmer used by many search and rescue groups.


Not only is he naturally gifted, but he also has webbed feet, which makes him one of the best water rescue dogs. He is blessed with great courage and fortitude and doesn’t think twice about jumping into icy water to save people if he has to.  You may even have heard that one of the most famous Newfs of all time, one called Rigel, on board the doomed ship Titanic and swam in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean for hours, searching for his owner.


Rigel wasn’t able to save his owner, but he did manage to draw the attention of a steamship passing by to some of the survivors of the Titanic who were in a lifeboat. If not for his loud bark, the survivors may have gone unnoticed and died of cold and thirst.

But is this dog breed the one for you?

That’s the million-dollar question and one that we hope to help you be able to answer for yourself here in this article.  You see, the last thing we want to see happen is one of these magnificent creatures ending up in the wrong home.

So, without further ado, let’s discuss the Newfoundland dog breed a bit more so that you might be better prepared to know if adopting one will be “right” for you and your family.

Newfoundland Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Canada

Original Purpose:  General assistance water dog

 Height: 26 to 28 inches at the shoulder

 Weight: 100 to 150 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Working group

 Life Span: 8 to 10 years

Origin of the Newfoundland Dog Breed

The Newfoundland Breed comes from the Island Of Newfoundland in Canada. These gentle giants breed to take on all sorts of roles that a fisherman might need.  Functions include water retrieval, hauling heavy fishing nets, and even lifesaving instincts!  But their work didn’t just stop at the water’s edge because these guys also proved helpful on dry land.  This is why many European visitors immediately recognized the usefulness of this breed and would often export Newfoundland puppies back home with them so that they could take advantage of their skills and companionship back home.

This combined…

With the fact that early on in this dog breeds development, Newfoundland had specific laws in place that “forbade” the ownership of more than one Newfoundland at a time.  As a result, due to this law and the emerging popularity of this dog in Europe, Newfoundland’s number diminished significantly in Canada, making England the new “hub” of the Newfoundland breed.


Like many dog breeds throughout Europe during the 1920s and 1940, many Newfoundland numbers were significantly affected by World War I and World War II, leading to the breed relying on the few American breeders around to keep the species alive.  Fortunately, because of their efforts, we still have Newfoundland today, and that is why we can still have an opportunity to own one now.

But where did this big dog “originally” really come from?

It’s hard to tell. Some experts say this breed has descended from the Great Pyrenees Dog, but that’s still debatable.  Some say that this big dog was brought to Canada by wandering Basque fishermen from Northern Spain, while others say that he descends from ancient dog breeds such as the French boarhound or some of the Nordic species.

And while…

One is free to debate which theory is correct; what isn’t up for debate is that the Newfie has always been a handy working dog who never complains or whines about being given too much work.  And even though these guys have been depicted in many works of art and literature as a fearless dog that loves children – Nana, the canine nursemaid in the famous children’s classic Peter Pan, is a Newf they have never been able to be more than a moderately popular dog in America – not too popular.

Which is probably why…

It took the American Kennel Club (AKC) so long to finally decide to “officially” recognize the breed in 2000 despite the existence of a well-established Newfoundland Club of America since 1930!

Physical Characteristics

The Newfoundland is a large, stately, massive dog. Even the Newf Puppies are giant. The adult dog rises to 28 inches (male) / 26 inches (female). Males are heavier at around 150 pounds, and females weigh about 120 pounds.  The Newfie is a big, strong dog with a broad head, square-shaped muzzle, triangle-shaped ears, and dark brown eyes. He has a kind, noble expression on his face and has an air of wisdom about him. He has a very muscular physique and can exert tremendous strength when he wants to.


He has a water-resistant, thick, fluffy double coat that doesn’t get too wet when he goes swimming. His outer skin is long, soft, wide, black, Landseer (a black and white pattern unique to this breed), brown, or gray.  Which is excellent, but does grooming the Newfoundland Breed take much time? He has a fluffy coat, often covered with a lot of dirt. You’ll need to brush his coat daily so it remains clean and the coat hair doesn’t get tangled up or matted.

Temperament and Personality

The Newfie is a perfect family dog, a gentle giant with a docile temperament. He has so much love for children. He is lovely around kids, very protective of them, and considers them part of his flock.  The Newf can also be a good playmate for your child. He enjoys being a part of the silly games that kids play. You can count on him to protect your kids from potential kidnappers or other types of dangerous criminals when they are at the playground. He is like an affectionate but watchful big brother to them.

They are also a…

A very loyal dog. He forms an extraordinary bond with his human family. Those who have him at home consider him more of a family member than just a pet dog. He is intelligent, sensitive, and wise.  This is why you should understand that these guys are family dogs, companion dogs, not the sort of dogs you live all alone in the yard. He is a sensitive dog; the worst thing you can do to him is to ignore him.

Potential Health Problems

The Newfoundland Dog is significant, and like all large breeds, it has many serious health problems. That’s why his life expectancy is only 8 to 10 years. He is susceptible to the following health concerns…

Since the Newfie is such a large dog, the cost of the medical treatment can be very high,  anything from $2,000 to $8,000 or more.  This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Kathy February 18, 2020, 5:24 am

    I’ve read nothing but how gentle the newfield is. I have a seven month old puppy and I love this big guy to death. He has stolen my heart. But he is very aggressive toward my other dogs. What am I doing wrong? Please let me know what I’m missing here. I dont want to train him wrong

    • indulgeyourpet February 18, 2020, 9:18 am


      As you know, every dog despite his or her “breed tendency” will have his or her own personality. This is why our suggestion would be to first reach out to a professional trainer (many big block pet stores will offer free training sessions on weekends) and see what he or she says, and then from there try and acclimate your pup with other dogs as frequently as possible (and as safely as possible). Sometimes puppies just get over excited when around other dogs particularly if they don’t get to do so frequently enough.

      But remember, if your dog does tend to get aggressive around other animals, ensuring their safety as well as your own dogs safety is a must. For this reason, we would recommend that you utilize a muzzle when visiting other dogs. Do so will not only save you from constantly worrying that your dog may injure another one, it could also save you significant vet bills as well.

      Good luck!


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