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Newfoundland Breed Information | Doggie Matchmaker

Updated on February 4, 2013
The Newfoundland is a gentle giant, sweet and mild in nature.
The Newfoundland is a gentle giant, sweet and mild in nature. | Source

There is just something about the sweet, massive Newfoundland that begs for a cuddle. With his fluffy, thick fur and baby-like eyes, this breed is often called the teddy bear of the dog world. Originating in Newfoundland (hence the name), this dog was built as the fisherman’s friend with a great affinity for water. Pulling in heavy nets and retrieving items that fell overboard were his everyday tasks, but his bravery in water rescue is what has earned him the most heartfelt praise. There are plentiful reports of this admirable breed saving men, women, and children from untimely watery deaths.

Standing approximately 26 to 28 inches, the Newfoundland (a.k.a. the Newf or Newfie) is a sturdy breed weighing between 100 and 150 lbs. Meant as a workhorse, he is strong and big-boned with a lung capacity ample for vigorous swims. His coat is dense and water-resistant, protecting him from rigid waters and making him uncomfortable in hot climates. While a solid black coat is commonly seen, brown, grey, and white and black variations also occur. Prospective owners should be aware that with this gorgeous, thick coat comes constant heavy shedding, and Newfoundlands know how to slobber.

In temperament, the Newfoundland’s sweet disposition may come as a surprise to those who would judge him by his size alone. Also unexpected is his calm, mild nature, making him peaceable and patient with other animals and children when properly socialized. The devoted Newfoundland needs companionship and is content to lay about in a room with his family. Wanting nothing more than love and affection, the Newfie will sit on the feet of his owner, trying his best to be a 150 lb. lapdog.

The Newfoundland is both strong and willing, making him a faithful working dog.
The Newfoundland is both strong and willing, making him a faithful working dog. | Source
This sensitive breed responds best to calm, patient training.
This sensitive breed responds best to calm, patient training. | Source

Focus in Training

With his enormous size and strength, proper training of the Newfoundland is of great importance. What is acceptable (and even cute) in a Chihuahua, may be downright intolerable in a Newf (think bounding up to visitors, jumping onto the couch, or pulling on the leash). Here is what you will want to focus on in training:

Obedience – Despite his hard-to-break, sturdy exterior, the Newfoundland is a sensitive breed and responds best to calm, but firm training. Harshness will lead to a fearful and distrustful Newfie. With this in mind, obedience training should be a priority for new owners. Teaching your Newfie to drop, heel, and stay will both give you more control over your dog and provide him with the bonding time he needs.

Willful Attitude – While mild and willing, the Newfoundland should not be mistaken for pushover. Young males in particular may wish to test their owner in a battle of will. Prove that you are the boss by enforcing what you say consistently.

Destructive Behavior – The Newfoundland needs a great deal of companionship, and may develop separation anxiety if left alone too often. This can lead to destructive behaviors and with a dog this size a little chewing goes a long way. Nip this in the bud by giving your Newfie the company he needs and making it clear that unwanted behaviors are not allowed.

Socialization – A shy or suspicious 150 lb. dog can be both difficult and dangerous. While loving creatures, Newfs are naturally cautious and should be well socialized young to ensure a well-balanced companion that is pleasant with others.

Prospective owners should be prepared for shedding and drooling.
Prospective owners should be prepared for shedding and drooling. | Source

Health Concerns

As with most giant breeds, the Newfoundland has a fairly short life expectancy of 8-10 years. The two greatest concerns in a Newfoundland’s health are subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS), a genetic heart defect that can cause sudden death early in a Newf’s life, and hip dysplasia. To help prevent hip dysplasia, do not over exercise your pup as this can stress his growing bones and joints. Managing the weight of your Newfie will also help to keep him healthy and strong.

The Newfoundland bears a rich, indulgent style.
The Newfoundland bears a rich, indulgent style. | Source

The Newfoundland in Fashion

A dog is a long-term commitment and should never be picked based on trend, popularity, or appearance alone. With that in mind, let’s take a look at this gorgeous breed in fashion.

The oversized, lush coat of the Newfoundland gives him the feeling of luxury, and women have swooned over rich furs that mimic his style throughout fashion history. His roots in the picturesque Canadian island of Newfoundland and Labrador bring a nautical flair to those at his side.

Fans of this indulgent breed throughout time have included Robert F. Kennedy, Emily Dickinson, Lord Byron, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Now consider this compatibility questionnaire:

Do you want...
Are you ok with...
Fur you can sink your face into?
Serious shedding?
A big baby face with sweet eyes?
Slobber and drooling?
An enormous teddy bear?
A 150 lb. snuggler that will lean his weight against your legs and sit on your feet?
A massive dog that will impress passers by?
Providing for a big eater?
A strong, sturdy companion with a sensitive side?
Putting out the effort and patience needed to train this mild but occasionally willful giant?
A friend that enjoys your company?
A friend that may develop separation anxiety and destructive behaviors if left alone often?
A bulky, big-boned build?
The possibility of hip dysplasia?
A sweetheart that will remain faithful for life?
A relatively short life expectancy of 8-10 years?
Before committing to a Newfoundland, these questions must be carefully considered.

Perfect Newfoundland Names

If you have come to the conclusion that the Newfoundland is your perfect match – congratulations! It is a beautiful, sweet-natured breed. I offer you these suggestions as inspiration in your search for the perfect name:

Such a grand dog calls for a grand name. Why not consider Genevieve, Margaret, or Victoria for a girl, Atlas, George, or Bacchus for a boy?

If you would prefer to swim with his nautical roots, perhaps Marina, Portia, or Helmslie will do for a girl; Bulwark, Hull, or Beacon for a boy.

If it is his bear-like qualities you love, consider Pola (short for polar bear), Winnie or Teddie for a girl, Paddington, Rupert, or Ben (Gentle Ben) for a boy.

Puppy fluff.
Puppy fluff. | Source

Gifts for the Newfoundland lover:


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    • Faith A Mullen profile imageAUTHOR

      Faith A Mullen 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, alexadry! I would love to see a Newfie in water action!

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      5 years ago from USA

      One of my instructors I worked with had a Newfie who was trained for water rescue, she was an amazing dog!

    • Faith A Mullen profile imageAUTHOR

      Faith A Mullen 

      5 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed the hub, collegedad! I can sympathize with your struggle to decide! There are so many great dog breeds, it is hard for one person to settle on a breed, let alone a family where everyone has different preferences. It sounds like you are on a good path, looking at the pros and cons of each option. I wish you the best of luck!

    • collegedad profile image


      5 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      My wife and I have been discussing our next furry friend. She would like to add a Golden Retriever to the family. I would like something a bit bigger like a Newfoundland or a Leonberger. Slobber doesn't bother me, but we're in Black Bear country and I'm concerned that a Newfoundland would meet an untimely demise do to misidentification. The opposite side of the coin would be the Great Pyrenees which would blend into our wintery landscape. This is such a hard decision to make!

      Thanks for all the great info. Who knows, we may be Newfy owners in the near future.

    • Faith A Mullen profile imageAUTHOR

      Faith A Mullen 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for stopping in to read and comment, H-Chris! That is too funny about you and drool. You would have a hard time with a Newfie with that phobia. I love Great Pyrenees. They are beautiful dogs!

    • Faith A Mullen profile imageAUTHOR

      Faith A Mullen 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, AliciaC! Glad you enjoyed the hub :)

    • H-Chris profile image


      5 years ago from Nebraska

      I considered getting a Newfoundland, I've had a giant dog before [Great Pyrenees] and knew I could handle the care, training and feeding. But I have an almost phobic fear of slobber, I cringe away from baby drool, dog drool, french kissing... it's just so...EWWW.

      I know I'm missing out on a great dog though.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I enjoyed this great description of the Newfoundland dog breed! I would love to get to know one of these dogs. They sound like lovely animals.

    • Faith A Mullen profile imageAUTHOR

      Faith A Mullen 

      5 years ago

      I'm jealous! Would love to have one someday.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Love this breed, have 2 of them :)


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