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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Newfoundland


Origin: Canada

AKC Group: Working

Height: 26 - 28 inches (66-71 cm) (Male)

Weight: 100 - 150 pounds (45-68 kg) (Male)

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Male height: 
26 - 28 inches (66-71 cm)
Male weight: 
100 - 150 pounds (45-68 kg)
Long, water-repellent outercoat that is flat and straight or wavy, with a thick undercoat.
Black, brown, gray or white and black.

Stories about the origin of the Newfoundland ("Newf") abound are as salty as any seafaring legends around. Some say that his ancestor descendant is a nomadic Indian dog, others a Viking "bear dog;" some maintain that the Labrador Retriever is a close relative; others claim that it is the ancient Tibetan Mastiff whose blood flows through the Newf. Records from the 1600s show that European fishing vessels were frequent visitors to the Maritimes. Because they frequently arrived with dogs, these European breeds most likely crossed with native dogs, like the Portuguese Water Dog and Great Pyrenees, to contribute to today's Newfoundland. Eventually, two distinct types developed: the so-called Lesser St. John's Dog (which developed into the Labrador Retriever) and the Greater St. John's Dog (which became the Newfoundland). The Newfoundland was invaluable to fisherman, and his duties included hauling in nets, carrying boat lines to shore, rescuing anyone who fell overboard and doing whatever else was requested of him. His webbed feet and water-repellant coat enabled him to work in any kind of conditions. The jobs of today's Newfoundland are not nearly as demanding, but his talents are ever-present, as an excellent working dog and a much-loved member of the family.

The Newfoundland has long been considered the gentlest of giants -- a large, furry pillow upon which generations of young and old have rested their heads. More than that, he is a noble, honest and hard-working dog whose purpose is service. Newfs have a natural guarding instinct coupled with a mild disposition. They can be very sensitive but never cowardly. They have a joy for life that carries through to their senior years.
At home: 
For such a large dog, Newfs can do well in apartments because they are not highly active. Suburbs and farms are also appropriate for the breed because they love to play outside -- and a home with a pool or pond in the back is heaven for a Newf. They prefer cooler climates and are heat sensitive. They love water and tend to be a little sloppy around the water bowl. They are also heavy droolers.
A growing Newfoundland should not be overly exerted because his bones and muscles could be strained. Once he's an adult, though, he should be exercised regularly. He particularly loves the water, and swimming is very good for him. He also loves to play with anyone who's up for a game.
The Newfoundland is a good eater who should be fed a high-quality food twice a day. He does not need as much food as an adult as you might think, consuming a similar quantity as a retriever.
The Newfoundland is responsive and trusting. Reward-based training sessions work wonders on him -- he does not tolerate harsh methods. Because he bonds so strongly with his family, he should be socialized from puppyhood so that he doesn't become overreliant on any one person or family. He will also enjoy the attention he will receive from getting out in the world.
Newfs love children and have a natural protective instinct for them. They are usually friendly with strangers unless their guarding instincts are aroused. They tend to get along well with other dogs, even those much smaller in size, as well as with other family pets.
The average life span of the Newfoundland is around 10 years. Health problems of the breed include bloat; cystinuria; elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia; eye disorders; hypothyroidism; subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS); von Willebrand disease.
Fun fact: 

In the United States, the black-and-white-coated Newfoundland is known as the Landseer. In Europe, the Newfoundland and the Landseer are recognized as separate breeds.

Grooming blurb: 
The Newf's thick, water-repellent coat needs to be brushed often with a mat rake, slicker brush and a comb. Ten minutes a day, or 20 minutes during shedding season, will keep him looking good and mat-free. His drop ears can trap moisture and dirt, so they should be inspected often to keep them free of infection.
This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.