Harper Jefcoat
Harper Jefcoat

Newfoundland Dog - History, Characteristics, and Unique Facts

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10 min read

Newfoundland Dog

On This Page

  • Newfoundland Dog’s History and Origin
  • Newfoundland Dog Personality and Temperament
  • Newfoundland Physical Traits
  • Newfoundland Dog Care
  • Newfoundland Dog and Other Breeds
  • Interesting Facts About Newfoundland Dog

A Newfoundland dog is a heavy-boned, large, and powerful dog breed. Its strength is unquestionable as it can easily save a drowning man in a rough sea. The appearance of this dog breed is misleading as they look like giants but are very huggable.

This giant breed is famous for its size, good looks, intelligence, strength, and loyalty. Newfoundland dogs are capable of working on the land as well as in water. Their excellent swimming skills make them fantastic rescue dogs.

If you are intrigued to learn some interesting information about Newfoundland dogs, continue reading this blog. You will know why this dog stands out among all the other dog breeds.

Newfoundland Dog’s History and Origin

The Newfound dog is a breed that came from a province Newfoundland in Canada. Originally, these dogs worked with the fisherman of the area and were professional water rescues.

The history and origin of this dog breed are sketchy as different breeders and experts hold different opinions and are uncertain about several elements. Generally, there are three concepts of this breed’s development.

The first theory supports the idea that Newfoundland dogs came into existence after crossing the Tibetan Mastiff and the American Black Wolf that is now extinct. However, it is still controversial as people believe that there are no traces found of Tibetan Mastiffs being brought in the Newfoundland.

The second school of thought presents the idea that the Newfoundland dogs were developed as a result of crossing between different European breeds around the 15th and 16th centuries. Among these breeds, the most significant are Mastiffs, Pyrenean Sheep Dogs, and Portuguese Water Dogs.

Lastly, according to one theory, the Newfoundland dogs are the interbred of the dogs left by Vikings when they visited the world in 1000 A.D and the wolves of Eastern Canada.

The most recent or the concept that prevails today in the world about Newfoundland dogs is that some Irish and British explorers visited Newfoundland in the 1880s, where they identified two types of working dogs.

Among these two types, one was a large, heavily built dog with a long coat. It was known as Great Newfoundland or Newfoundland. The other was a medium-sized active water dog that had a smooth coat and was known as Lesser Newfoundland or St. John’s water dog.

Both of these breeds worked on land and in water to pull fishnets, but the Great Newfoundlands also hauled the carts. It was St.John’s water dog that became the basis for breeding modern retrievers.

In 1860, the first Newfoundland dog was developed in England, but in 1914 and again in 1939, the number of the breed depleted because of the wartime restrictions. Since the 1950s, a steady increase in the number and popularity of Newfoundland dogs has been observed.

Newfoundland Dog Personality and Temperament

Unlike their physical appearance, Newfoundland’s personality and temperament are sweet. Newfoundland is a large dog that is known for its friendliness and giant teddy bear-like looks. Surprisingly, this intelligent dog breed loves being around children and aim to please them.

This happy family dog is calm, patient, and easy-going. They should be exposed to other people and animals at an early age to make them socially comfortable and gentle. Socialization will make your Newfoundland puppy grow into a well-rounded and behaved dog.

Moreover, their docile nature and strength make them ideal working dogs. Due to this, Newfoundland dog is also called “the gentle giant” that barks deep and is very easy to train if started young.

Although they are incredibly loving and sweet in nature, Newfoundland dogs can get protective if they observe that their families are threatened. They are great dogs in every living situation. Whether you want them in your house or be with you on land pulling carts and fishnets in waters, Newfoundland dogs can be the best fit in all conditions.

Newfoundland Physical Traits

One quality that makes Newfoundland dog stand out from other dog breeds is that it is a sweet-dispositioned dog. You can not call this dog dull either an ill-tempered animal. Its muscular body structure makes it a beautiful and powerful dog.

Newfoundland’s strong physical traits intrigue people to learn more about this breed.

General Appearance

The Newfoundland is deep-bodied, heavily boned, and a muscular dog. A well-grown and healthy Newfoundland dog has dignity and a proud head carriage.

The average height of this dog is 28 inches, and it weighs around 130 to 150 pounds. These dogs are slightly longer than they are tall when measured. However, their balance, structure, and gait are remarkable.

The head of the Newfoundland dog is massive and strongly developed with beautiful facial features. Dark brown eyes add depth to the face, and the expressions reflect its intelligence and benevolence.

Coat and Color

The coat of the Newfoundland helps it to survive in extreme climates. No matter if you want them to live with you in hot and cold weather, these dogs will easily adapt and adjust. They have a flat water resistance double coat that allows them to work with you on land and in water.

The outer coat on the body of a Newfoundland dog is relatively larger and fuller. It can be straight as well as wavy depending on the genes of the dog. On the other hand, the undercoat is soft and can get dense or less dense according to the weather.

The coat of this dog breed comes in a variety of colors including brown, solid black, gray, and Landseer. This dog can also have a white body coat with black markings.

Newfoundland Dog Care

Caring for your dog should be the first thing in your mind when you wake up. Newfoundland are sweet dogs that require the care and attention of their families to be active and happy.

Moreover, the way you treat these dogs has to do a lot with their over health and mood. Generally, they live for about 8 to 10 years.

You can show your love to these creatures by taking care of their diet, health, and grooming requirements. No matter if it is your pet or just a colleague, Newfoundland dogs should be handled well.

Diet and Nutrition

A diet is everything that is required to keep the body and mind of your dog healthy. Being a large breed, Newfoundland dogs need a nutritious diet that will meet all its requirements. For this purpose, get high-quality dog food either manufactured commercially or prepared at home according to a veterinarian’s approval.

The amount and quantity of the meals in the diet depends on the size and age of the Newfoundland dog. Moreover, some dogs are prone to gain weight, so the owner should be careful about their calorie consumption and use organic dog food.

Rewarding your dog with a treat in a training session is excellent, but over-treating can be dangerous. It causes obesity, so it should be fed in a limited amount.

Professionals suggest getting your vet’s suggestion on what to feed your dog. It is advised that you get a proper diet schedule from a vet created after examining your dog’s weight, nutrition requirement, and health problems.


Ensuring your Newfoundland’s health is essential. Although it is a very healthy breed, it can still have certain health conditions that can be fatal if not treated at the right time.

There are some medical health conditions that Newfoundlands are prone to get in their genes or develop over time. Check for these diseases when getting a Newfoundland dog to make sure there are no concerns.

Following are the common diseases observed in this dog breed:

  • Addison’s Disease - It is a severe condition in which the body’s adrenal glands produce insufficient adrenal hormones. If your dog feels lethargic, disturbed eating patterns and vomits, get immediate medical help as it can be the symptoms of this disease.
  • Cherry Eye - It is a medical condition in which a red mass-like substance is formed in the inner corner of the dog’s eye.
  • Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis - It is a serious heart problem that can cause fainting and even death. This condition can be treated if it is rightly diagnosed.
  • Epilepsy - This disease is often inherited but can be treated. It causes seizures and can be extremely damaging for the dog’s brain and body.
  • Hip/Elbow Dysplasia - Hip and elbow dysplasia are conditions that occur due to deformity in the growth of your dog’s bones. If you observe lameness in the walking style of your dog, take it to the vet instantly.

Other diseases that your Newfoundland dog has a tendency for include hypothyroidism, cystinuria, cancer, gastric torsion, and the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament. When getting a Newfoundland dog, consult a reputable breeder that will guarantee your dog’s health.

Newfoundland dogs require daily exercise and regular activity to be healthy. They are long-distance runners with webbed feet and have great swimming abilities.

Newfoundland puppies should not be allowed to run or play on hard surfaces as it can be dangerous for the development of their bones. It can result in hip or elbow dysplasia, so avoid playing with your puppy on a paved floor.

Swimming is the best exercise for your Newfoundland dog. At an early age, make them swim with you to make their body muscles strong without damaging the bones and joints.

The Newfoundland dog breed rapidly grows, so take care of the diet patterns and the required exercises with the growing body.


Newfoundland dogs have a double coat of fur on their bodies. Their thick fur requires to be brushed properly at least two to three times a week. Many owners brush their dogs themselves, while others hire professional groomers to look after the grooming needs.

It can be daunting, but Newfoundland dogs need to be brushed regularly in order to look neat and tidy. In addition to this, the fluffy coat easily gets dirty and should be cleaned to ensure its hygiene.

To ensure oral hygiene and prevent the dog’s mouth from infection, proper tooth brushing should be done. It will help you eliminate tartar and bacterias that get collected in different places of the mouth. Moreover, it will also prevent bad breath and gum diseases.

Moreover, nail trimming, bathing, and ear cleaning should be on your checklist as well when pampering your Newfoundland dog. The eyes and ears are the sources where bacteria are collected that cause infection and provides a very dirty image of your pet.

When grooming your dog, check for rashes, sores, and other signs of infections. The proper examination of your dog’s body will help you identify any health problem early, minimizing the risk of all serious diseases.

Newfoundland Dog and Other Breeds

Newfoundland dogs are often compared with other dog breeds on their looks, personality, and strength. This distinctive dog breed may have a few similar features but is unique and different from others.

Newfoundland Dog vs. Saint Bernard

Although Newfoundland dogs, also known as Newfie and Saint Bernard, have fluffy bodies, they can be easily distinguished. Bernards usually have a tri-colored coat, while Newfies are in solid colors such as black, brown, gray, and black and white.

Moreover, Newfies and Bernards also behave differently when their families are threatened. They both are protective, but Saint Bernards stay with their family and supervise, whereas Newfies get vocal and prevent the danger to reach to their families.

They both are a large dog breed that belongs to rescue groups and has a sweet and friendly personality. They can be amazing family and working dogs.

Newfoundland Dog vs. Bernese Mountain Dog

The major difference between a Newfie and a Bernese Mountain Dog is in its size. Bernese are large dogs, while Newfies are considered a giant dog breed.

Bernes are sturdy and strongly built dogs, while Newfoundlands are massive and more powerful. Moreover, the coat on the bodies of these two dog breeds also differ. Mountain dogs have a thick, medium-length coat, while Newfies have a water-resistance double and long coat.

Both of the breeds can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, but Newfoundlands are prone to inherited heart defects as well.

Interesting Facts About Newfoundland Dog

Apart from some obvious and commonly known physical and personality traits, there is a lot to know about Newfoundland dogs. If you are getting this dog to be your pet, the following interesting facts will help you understand the Newfoundland dog breed better.

  • Newfoundland Dog as an ESA - Newfoundland dogs can be great emotional support animals as well. Their protective and affectionate nature makes them amazing family dogs that can provide mental peace to people in need.

If you are suffering from any mental health condition, getting a Newfoundland dog can be really helpful. All you need to do is to get an ESA letter from an expert that will state your need for this dog.

  • Title and Achievements - Newfoundland dog has won the Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club twice. Many breeders are looking for a chance to make their way in this amazing show, while Newfoundland has been a champion in 1984 and 2004.

In a nutshell, Newfoundland dogs are giant teddy bears that are naturally sweet and amazing working dogs. Their attractive personality, beautiful appearance, and affection for kids make them an exceptionally special dog breed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Newfoundland dog dangerous?

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Newfoundland dogs are not dangerous. Rather they are a very sweet and friendly breed that easily goes around with other people and animals. They can be extremely calm in public if trained at an early age.

Do Newfoundland dogs bark a lot?

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Newfoundland dogs don't bark a lot, but like any other dog, they bark to communicate with humans. When playing and being cheerful, they get a little vocal. In addition to this, Newfoundland dogs also bark when their families are threatened.

Do Newfoundland dogs shed?

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Newfoundland has a water-resistance double coat that is long in size. Due to this, the shedding is excessive. Apart from seasonal shedding, these dog breeds shed in a routine as well.

Can Newfoundland dogs be left alone?

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Newfoundland dogs are prone to separation anxiety as well, because of which they should not be left alone or unattended for a longer period of time.

Do Newfoundlands like cuddling?

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Newfoundland dogs are extremely snuggly and cuddly. Due to this, they make amazing emotional support animals. Their sweet and calm temperament makes them huggable by everyone.

Do Newfoundland dogs stink?

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If not bathed or groomed regularly, Newfoundland dogs can get smelly. Due to their long coat, they easily get dirty and sweaty, which can cause odor from the body. Regular grooming of this breed should be done to keep it clean and healthy.

Are Newfoundland good guard dogs?

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Newfoundland is working dogs and is not watchdogs or guard dogs. However, when their families or loved ones are threatened, they can be protective.

Do Newfoundlands need a lot of space?

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Due to their massive size, Newfoundlands require more space to be themselves. However, this dog breed can do well in little spaces as well, but for their exercise and playing, a reasonable space should be provided.

Are Newfoundland dogs high maintenance?

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Newfoundland dogs require proper grooming because of their long double coat. This dog requires regular brushing to get rid of dead hair and knots that are formed in the undercoat.

Harper Jefcoat


Harper Jefcoat

Harper Jefcoat is a dedicated pet enthusiast and esteemed author at RealESALetter.com. With a profound passion for animals, Harper combines extensive knowledge and personal experience to provide insightful and informative content. Specializing in canine behavior and wellness, he strives to empower pet owners with the tools and understanding they need to nurture and care for their furry friends effectively. Harper’s writings reflect his commitment to enhancing the lives of pets and their owners, making him a trusted voice in the pet community.

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