Other names: Newfie
The Newfoundland Dog is truly unique, both in terms of its impressive size and lovely temperament. This dog is very affectionate, protective without ever getting aggressive, sociable with everyone, loyal, trustworthy and docile. ‘Newfies’ have so many qualities that make them the ideal pet, for both children and adults. They are very intelligent, which makes their training and integration into our lives very easy. Excellent sea rescue dogs, they are always willing to put their lives in danger to save others.
Key facts about the Newfoundland
Origins and history
Some say that the Newfoundland descended from the big bear dogs introduced to America by the Vikings. Another theory is that the Tibetan Mastiff (father of all the molossoids) arrived in America from the Bering Strait, the Aleutian Islands, and Alaska, with the ancestors of the American Indians: The Newfoundland Dog therefore came from the ‘big black dog’ from the Algonquins and Sioux. This dog was used for hunting, fishing, pulling sleds, guarding, as well as keeping children company, as Professor Otis Mason recounts in his "American Indian Handbook". It is likely that these two theories are valid: the blood of Viking dogs could have been crossed with that of Indian dogs to create the Newfoundland’s ancestors.
Physical characteristics of the Newfoundland
Female : Between 25 and 27 in
Male : Between 27 and 29 in
Female : Between 110 and 132 lb
Male : Between 132 and 154 lb
There are three different standards for this breed: those of the FCI, the US and Canada. Between these, it’s mainly the coat colour that changes. Therefore, depending on the variety, the coat can be black, brown, or Landseer (white and black).
Type of coat
The coat is medium-length.
The fur is flat, dense, thick and slightly oily, which makes it completely waterproof.
The eyes are dark brown for individuals with black and white coats. For those with brown coats, the official standards accept lighter eyes.
This dog is very impressive, particularly in terms of its physical strength and high level of activity. It has a strong build, but doesn’t look intimidating. It has a large head with a subtle stop. The muzzle is small, square and covered in short, fine hair. The skull axes run parallel, while the eyes are small, brown and deep-set. The ears are small, set quite far back and flop down to frame the face. The body is robust, while the limbs are strong and muscular. The medium-length tail falls just below the hocks: it is often left down when the dog is relaxing, but more raised when it’s moving.
Good to know
The Newfoundland Dog is a great swimmer and loves being in water above all else. A very good rescue dog at sea, it has earned the nickname of the St. Bernard of the seas.
Their courage, love for others and physical abilities allow Newfies to excel in this area. Indeed, Newfoundlands have webbed feet and waterproof coats that give them unprecedented protection against cold and moisture.
This big dog is often mistaken for the Landseer, which is definitely its closest cousin. However, it’s necessary to distinguish between them as they are two separate breeds in their own right. The Landseer is taller, slimmer and has a white mark on his head.
This big dog is definitely one of the friendliest and gentlest of its species. Newfoundlands are very close to their social group, and will greet anyone they come into contact with in their lives with the same affection. There aren’t many dogs that are as attentive towards humans as Newfoundlands.
Newfoundland Dogs love to play. They are very joyful and get on perfectly with children. They are an excellent companion for the whole family, and their ‘joie de vivre’ and good nature just oozes out of them.
Gentleness is one of this breed’s defining characteristics. This fortunate trait means that the Newfoundland Dog will be perfectly happy in a variety of different contexts of life.
This dog really does have it all; affectionate, playful, calm, gentle with children, and intelligent. Newfies can adapt to a number of different lifestyles, learn easily, and quickly understand what is expected of them.
Their intelligence and courage makes them an excellent rescue dog - they will very readily risk their own life to save others.
The Newfie’s ancestors were used principally as hunting dogs. While some underlying predatory instincts may persist in this dog, rescuing someone ranks much higher in its priorities than hunting prey.
Therefore, their hunting instinct is far from uncontrollable, especially if their environment doesn’t encourage this.
Fearful / wary of strangers
This big Canadian dog is never aggressive; it welcomes anyone that enters into his family circle with open arms. Stemming from its instinct to protect, a Newfie might occasionally seem wary, but will quickly and accurately analyse the potential danger level of the situation.
Their openness to strangers is confirmed by their enthusiasm for sea rescue; regardless of if they knows the person, they will show just the same willingness to save them. Indeed, they will even sometimes come to the rescue of people that are simply enjoying a swim!
The Newfoundland Dog is very much a pet that depends on humans. They will follow Man around wherever he goes, mainly to protect him, should the need arise.
Behaviour of the Newfoundland
The Newfie will not be at ease unless its in the presence of, or at least close to, its loved ones. Time alone is definitely not something Newfies cherish, they much prefer to be surrounded by people.
Easy to train / obedience
These dogs are a pleasure to train, since they very easily understand commands and have the sole objective to please their master.
With quite a strong character, it is nevertheless important to start training this dog from when it is a puppy, so that it’s not too much to handle once it reaches its adult size.
Make sure you train this dog in a way that is respectful of the principles of positive reinforcement - an overly strict, or even violent, approach will only serve to scare this sensitive pet.
Patience, coherence and diligence are the keys to making this lovely dog your ideal life companion.
Despite its impressive size, this dog is very discrete and very rarely barks.