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newfoundland dog portrait
Dive into the delightful world of the Newfoundland dog – the furry water enthusiasts that will steal your heart with a single wag! From their webbed paws to their unrivaled swimming skills, these gentle giants are the real-life mer-dogs.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

Newfoundland dogs are a match made in heaven for families with a big heart – and an even bigger backyard! These gentle giants thrive in homes where they’re showered with love, have ample space to romp around, and can enjoy water play. If you adore bear-like hugs and drool-filled smiles, Newfies are your perfect furry companions!


OTHER NAMESNewfie, Newfs
BREED GROUPWorking Group
HEIGHT26-28 inches
WEIGHT100-150 lbs
LIFESPAN9-10 years
newfoundland dog in the park
Photo: enduro/Getty Images


The Newfoundland is a dog breed that exudes majesty in every inch of its bear-like form. These gentle giants stand tall and proud, with males reaching up to 28 inches in height and females slightly smaller at 26 inches. But it’s their weight that truly underlines their ‘giant’ status – males can weigh a hefty 130-150 pounds, while females tip the scales at 100-120 pounds.

Newfies possess a broad, heavy head that is perfectly balanced by a strong neck and back. Their crown has a somewhat arched structure, giving them an air of regality. The thick double coat, dense and water-resistant, adds to their imposing appearance. This protective layer can be black, grey, brown, or striking black and white, ensuring that these dogs turn heads wherever they go.

The Newfoundland’s eyes are as expressive as they are beautiful. Set deep, these dark brown gems reflect the intelligence and kindness that define this breed. Their ears, meanwhile, are medium-sized and lie close to the head, adding to their overall friendly demeanor.

Their tail, thick at the base and tapering towards the end, usually hangs down reaching the hocks. When our Newfie friends are excited or on the move, their tail acts like a rudder, swaying to and fro, displaying their joy and enthusiasm.

The expression of a Newfoundland is perhaps one of their most endearing traits. It’s soft and kind, almost human-like in its understanding. One look into their eyes, and you’ll feel like they’re peering into your soul, understanding all your joys and sorrows.

Among their defining physical features is their large, webbed feet, designed for their original jobs as working dogs pulling nets for fishermen and hauling wood. Today, these feet make them excellent swimmers and agile movers, despite their size.

In essence, the Newfoundland dog is a perfect blend of strength and sweetness. Their physical attributes, coupled with their gentle disposition, make them a truly unique breed. They may look like a cuddly teddy bear, but remember, they’re also built to work hard and love harder!

newfoundland dog standing in a park
Photo: enduro/Getty Images


Newfoundlands are much more than their impressive size and teddy bear-like appearance. Their temperament is a captivating mix of love, loyalty, and gentleness that will make you fall head over heels in love with them.

Newfies are renowned for their sweet disposition. They’re like big, loveable teddy bears that shower you with affection and loyalty. They are incredibly friendly and get along with almost everyone – family members, strangers, children, and even other pets. They don’t have a mean bone in their body, making them one of the most trustworthy dog breeds.

Their temperament is often described as calm, docile, and easygoing. But don’t mistake their serenity for laziness; these dogs are always up for some fun. They are playful and love engaging in activities that stimulate their minds and satisfy their inherent need for interaction. Whether it’s a game of fetch or a leisurely walk in the park, a Newfoundland will join in with enthusiasm.

One of the most endearing traits of this breed is their intelligence. Newfies are smart cookies. They understand and pick up cues quickly, which makes them very responsive to their human families. This intelligence also makes them very adaptable. They can adjust to different environments and situations with ease, making them excellent companions for families of all shapes and sizes.

Newfoundlands are also known for their patience. They are tolerant and forgiving, making them excellent companions for children. They seem to understand that kids can be a bit rough at times, and they handle such interactions with grace and patience. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a Newfoundland patiently allowing a toddler to clamber over him!

Another fascinating aspect of their personality is their protective nature. While they are not aggressive, they are watchful and vigilant, always keeping an eye out for their loved ones. This trait was invaluable when they were working as rescue dogs, and it continues to shine through even now.

Despite their size, Newfoundlands are incredibly gentle. They seem to be aware of their strength and take care to never use it inappropriately. This, coupled with their inherent kindness, makes them a joy to have around.

Their sociability cannot be overstated. Newfoundlands are not the type of dogs that can be left alone for long periods. They crave companionship and thrive in a family environment. They love being part of the pack and participating in all family activities.

newfoundland dog's face up close
Photo: enduro/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

Newfoundland dogs are like big, fluffy clouds of love, and they need an environment that can accommodate their size and match their spirit. So, what’s the ideal setting for these gentle giants? Let’s take a scenic trip through the Newfoundland’s perfect world.

Physical Environment

First stop – space. Newfies are large dogs, and they need room to move around comfortably. A home with a spacious backyard would be a dream come true for them. They love to romp and play, and outdoor space gives them the freedom to do so. Apartment living can work too, provided they get their daily dose of exercise and playtime in a nearby park.

Climate Adaptability

Next, we arrive at the climate station. Originating from Canada’s east coast, Newfoundlands have a dense double coat that’s designed to withstand cold temperatures, making them perfectly suited for cooler climates. Their coat keeps them warm in winter, and they absolutely love frolicking in the snow!

However, in hot weather, they’re prone to overheating. During summer months or in warmer regions, it’s crucial to provide them with a cool, shaded area and plenty of fresh water. Air conditioning is their best friend in the scorching heat.

Social Environment

Now, let’s talk companions. Newfies are social butterflies. They adore human company and thrive in a family environment. They make excellent pets for families with children due to their patient and gentle nature. As for other pets, they get along famously with them too. They’re not aggressive or dominant, making them great companions for other dogs and even cats.

Lastly, the pet parent. Newfoundlands need owners who understand their needs and can provide them with ample love, care, and attention. They’re not a breed that can be left alone for long periods. They crave interaction and love being part of all family activities.

newfoundland dog playing in on green grass
Photo: Goddard_Photography/Getty Images Signature


Newfoundlands are high-maintenance when it comes to grooming, but their adorable faces and loving nature make it all worthwhile. So, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of keeping your Newfoundland neat and tidy.

Coat Care

First things first, let’s talk about their magnificent double coat. It’s thick, dense, and designed to protect them from chilly weather and icy waters. This wonderful coat requires regular brushing to keep it healthy and shiny.

A thorough brushing session at least once or twice a week is recommended. During shedding seasons (usually spring and fall), you might need to up your game and brush daily. A slicker brush or rake is perfect for removing loose hair and preventing tangles. Remember, a well-brushed Newfoundland is a happy Newfoundland!

Next up, bath time! Newfoundlands don’t require frequent baths – once every two months should suffice unless they’ve decided to roll in something smelly! Use a dog-friendly shampoo to keep their skin and coat healthy. Bathing too often can strip away the natural oils in their fur, so moderation is key.

Ear Care

Don’t forget those adorable ears! Newfies have droopy ears that can be prone to infections if not cleaned regularly. Check their ears weekly for any signs of redness or bad odor. Using a vet-recommended cleaner, gently wipe the inside of their ears. Never insert anything into the ear canal; simply clean what you can see.

Dental Care

Now, let’s move on to dental care. Like all dogs, Newfoundlands can develop gum disease if their teeth aren’t cared for properly. Brushing their teeth several times a week is ideal. Use a dog-specific toothpaste and brush to keep those pearly whites gleaming. Regular dental check-ups are also essential to ensure good oral health.

Nail Trimming

Those big, webbed feet need attention too. Trim their nails once or twice a month, or as needed. If you can hear their nails clicking on the floor, it’s time for a trim. Be careful not to cut too far down, as you could nick the blood vessels in their nails. If you’re unsure, a vet or groomer can do this for you.

Eye Care

Last, but certainly not least, those expressive eyes need to be kept clean. Wipe around their eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any dirt or discharge.

newfoundland dog sitting in a flower field
Photo: tayfoon/Getty Images


Get ready to embark on an exercise adventure with the Newfoundland dog, a breed that combines size, strength, and a surprising love for activity. Despite their laid-back demeanor, Newfies need regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. So, let’s lace up our sneakers and explore the exercise world of these gentle giants.

Exercise Amount & Types

Newfoundlands need about 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day. This might seem like a lot for such large dogs, but remember, they were originally bred as working dogs, pulling nets for fishermen and hauling wood. They’re no strangers to physical activity!

A daily walk is a must for these furry friends. They love exploring the neighborhood and meeting new friends along the way. But don’t just stick to land; Newfoundlands are excellent swimmers thanks to their webbed feet. If you have access to a safe body of water, swimming can be a fantastic and fun way to keep your Newfie active.

Free play is another great exercise option. Newfoundlands love to romp around in a secure yard, chasing balls or playing with dog-friendly toys. They’re also fans of interactive games like fetch and tug-of-war. Remember, though, Newfies are not high-energy dogs. It’s essential to let them set the pace and take breaks when needed.

Dog Sports

If you want to take things up a notch, consider getting involved in dog sports. Newfoundlands excel at water trials, a competitive sport that involves various water-based tasks. They’re also good at draft work, which includes pulling carts or wagons. These activities provide both physical and mental stimulation, keeping your Newfie engaged and happy.

Exercise Precautions

However, be mindful not to over-exercise them, especially in hot weather. Newfoundlands can overheat easily, so it’s important to provide plenty of water and shade during exercise sessions.

newfoundland dog swimming in the river
Photo: ross1248/Getty Images Signature


Newfoundlands are smart cookies, and they pick up new commands fairly quickly. However, they’re not just big in size; they have big feelings too. They respond best to positive reinforcement training methods. This means rewarding good behavior with praise, petting, or treats, rather than punishing them for mistakes. Remember, a happy Newfie is a well-trained Newfie!

Start with basic obedience training. Commands like sit, stay, come, and down are essential for all dogs, and Newfies are no exception. Once they’ve mastered these, you can move on to more advanced commands or tricks. Keep training sessions short and sweet to keep your Newfie’s interest piqued.

Newfoundlands are naturally sociable, but socialization training is still important. Expose them to a variety of people, places, sounds, and experiences when they’re young to ensure they grow into well-rounded adults. This will help prevent any fear or aggression issues later on.

Leash training is another must for Newfoundlands. Given their size, it’s essential that they learn to walk nicely on a leash without pulling. Start this training as soon as possible to establish good habits early.

Newfies are also excellent candidates for advanced training in areas like water rescue, therapy work, and even agility. Their intelligence, combined with their strong desire to please, makes them well-suited for such tasks.

Remember, consistency is key when training a Newfoundland. Always use the same commands and rewards to avoid confusion. Make training a fun and positive experience, and your Newfie will be eager to learn.

newfoundland dog standing in a field
Photo: sliper84/Getty Images

Diet & Nutrition 

Newfoundlands are big dogs with big appetites, but they also have a propensity to gain weight if their diet isn’t managed properly. Their food should be high-quality and well-balanced, providing all the necessary nutrients.

What to Feed & How Much

Whether you choose dry kibble, wet food, or a raw diet, make sure it meets the guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This ensures your furry friend is getting food that meets their nutritional requirements.

The amount of food your Newfie needs will depend on their age, weight, and activity level. Puppies usually require more calories for their growth and development, while adult dogs need fewer calories. As a general rule, an adult Newfoundland may eat 4-6 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.


Treats are a great training aid and a way to show your Newfie some love, but remember, they should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Overdoing treats can lead to obesity, which can cause a host of health issues.


Don’t forget about hydration. Newfoundlands need access to fresh water at all times, especially during exercise or hot weather. Their large size means they can dehydrate quickly, so keep that water bowl filled!

Additional Feeding Tips

Finally, it’s always a good idea to consult with your vet when deciding on your Newfoundland’s diet. They can provide personalized advice based on your dog’s specific needs.

Feeding a Newfoundland is not just about filling their bowl; it’s about providing them with the nutrition they need to live their best life. With a balanced diet, your Newfie will be ready to conquer the world…right after their post-meal nap, of course!

newfoundland dog playing with a ball
Photo: Goddard_Photography/Getty Images Signature


Newfoundlands have a life expectancy of around 9-10 years, but with proper care, they can lead happy and healthy lives. So, let’s delve into some common health concerns and how to keep your Newfie in tip-top shape.

Hip Dysplasia: This is a common issue in many large breeds, including Newfoundlands. It’s a condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit together properly, leading to pain and mobility issues.

Elbow Dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia, this affects the elbow joint and can cause lameness in the front legs.

Heart Conditions: Newfies are prone to certain heart conditions, like Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis (SAS) and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).

Cystinuria: This is a genetic kidney disorder that causes stones to form in the bladder, kidneys, or ureter.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV): Also known as bloat, this is a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists, trapping gas and food inside.

These health issues might seem daunting, but don’t worry – with regular vet checks, a healthy diet, and plenty of love, your Newfoundland can lead a fulfilling life. Regular veterinary visits are crucial for early detection and management of potential health problems. Vaccinations should also be kept up-to-date to protect your Newfie from various diseases.

newfoundland dog walking in the snow
Photo: LaurieSH/Getty Images


The Newfoundland’s history is a tale that spans continents, centuries, and even popular culture! With their distinctive appearance and endearing personality, these dogs have made quite an impression on the world. So, let’s embark on a journey through time to trace the origins of these gentle giants.

The story begins on the island of Newfoundland, off the east coast of Canada. The early settlers from England and Ireland brought with them various working dogs, which interbred with the local dogs.

These dogs were then selectively bred for their strength and swimming abilities, giving rise to the Newfoundland we know today. They were invaluable to the fishermen, hauling nets, pulling loads, and even performing daring water rescues!

By the early 1800s, the breed had made its way to England, where it quickly gained popularity among the nobility. Even Queen Victoria owned a Newfoundland! The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1886, making it one of the earliest breeds to be registered.

Newfoundlands have also left their paw prints on popular culture. In J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan”, the Darling family’s beloved nursemaid is a Newfoundland named Nana, a testament to the breed’s protective and nurturing nature. And who can forget the brave Newfoundland named Seaman, who accompanied explorers Lewis and Clark on their expedition across the United States?

From the historical accounts of their heroism to their appearances in literature and film, Newfoundlands have proven time and again that they’re more than just pets – they’re heroes, adventurers, and most importantly, loyal friends.

Parent Club

The official parent club for the Newfoundland dog breed in the United States is the Newfoundland Club of America (NCA). Founded in the 1930s, the NCA is dedicated to the betterment of the Newfoundland Dog and the breed’s welfare. The club provides a platform for owners to gather for training, events, and more. You can learn more about their work and how to get involved on their official website.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed. 

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the Newfoundland’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

newfoundland puppy standing on a sidewalk
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Thinking about welcoming a Newfoundland into your home? That’s an exciting decision! Before you do, there are a few things to prepare. A large, comfy bed, sturdy toys, and a good quality leash are just the start.

If you’re considering buying a puppy, remember to choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes health and temperament over appearance. But have you thought about rescuing? Many wonderful Newfoundlands are waiting for their forever homes in rescue centers.

Not only do you give a dog a second chance at life, but you also make room for another dog in need. Both the American Kennel Club and the Newfoundland Club of America can guide you towards Newfoundland-specific rescues.

Remember, whether you buy or rescue, the love and joy a Newfoundland brings are priceless!


Is the Newfoundland a good family dog?

Absolutely! Newfoundlands are known for their gentle and protective nature, making them excellent family dogs. They’re great with kids and generally get along well with other pets.

Are Newfoundland dogs calm?

Yes, Newfoundlands have a calm and patient demeanor. They’re often referred to as “gentle giants”. Despite their size, they’re usually very gentle and easygoing.

What is the Newfoundland breed famous for?

Newfoundlands are famous for their incredible swimming abilities and natural instinct to rescue people in water. This has led to numerous accounts of Newfoundlands saving people from drowning.

Will a Newfoundland protect you?

While Newfoundlands are not typically aggressive, their loyalty and protective nature can kick in if they sense their family is in danger. They’re more likely to position themselves between their family and the perceived threat rather than attack.

How much exercise does a Newfoundland need?

Despite their size, Newfoundlands don’t require a huge amount of exercise. A good 30-60 minutes of exercise each day should be sufficient.

Are Newfoundland dogs easy to train?

Newfoundlands are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train. However, their training should always be conducted in a gentle and positive manner.

Do Newfoundland dogs shed a lot?

Yes, Newfoundlands are heavy shedders. Regular brushing can help manage their shedding and keep their coat healthy.

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