Newfoundlands: Kind-Hearted Working Dogs

 Thursday Apr 13,2023
By  Lancaster Puppies

Newfoundlands, also called Newfies and Newfts, have worked alongside fishermen and served as water rescue dogs for centuries. They are tenacious and brave while still being good-natured, patient, and mild-mannered. This breed’s large size is only rivaled by its great capacity to love.

Breed History

Newfoundland Breed Spotlight: Intelligent, Good with kids, Very affectionate, Devoted & loyal, Outgoing & social

The Newfoundland breed is named after the place it originated, a Canadian island called Newfoundland. While we know this breed came from Newfoundland, there are different theories about why they came into existence. One of the most popular theories is that Newfoundlands are a result of Europeans breeding Great PyreneesPortuguese Water Dogs, and Mastiff breeds around the 1400s to 1500s.

Newfoundland dogs were very popular among the fishermen of the island as they love the water, have great stamina, and are tough. The Newfoundland is known to be one of the hardest-working breeds in its class with incredible strength and endurance. This breed saw its popularity rise in the 1800s, leading to recognition by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1879. Today, the Newfoundland breed is believed to have played a part in the creation of our modern-day retrievers.

Newfoundland Characteristics

Appearance & Coat

Newfoundlands are very large dogs, generally weighing between 110 to 155 pounds and standing around 25 to 28 inches tall. These are huge, muscular dogs with a lot of hair, floppy ears, and tails that hang either downward, straight out, or upright with a slight curve. They have coats that repel water and webbed paws that help them swim.

Unfortunately, Newfoundlands are not hypoallergenic. These dogs have double coats that shed heavily and are coarse, thick, and slightly oily. Newfoundlands generally have completely black coats, although they can also be brown, white and black, or gray. White and black Newfoundlands are called “Landseers” after Sir Edward Landseer, an artist known for frequently incorporating black and white Newfoundlands in his art.


Despite its large size, the Newfoundland is a very gentle and loyal dog that's a wonderful family pet. This breed’s sweet and kind-hearted nature makes it want to be friends with every human and animal it meets. Newfoundlands do very well with children and will be a happy and willing playmate. That being said, these dogs are devoted to those they love and will be protective of their families when needed.


Black Newfoundland puppy with white markings on its chest and chin sitting on large pebbles and looking forward.

Newfoundlands generally live around 9 to 11 years. Similar to other extra-large breeds, the Newfoundland is susceptible to many health issues such as elbow and hip dysplasia, arthritis, obesity, and bloat. These dogs can also have heart defects, kidney problems, and bone cancer.

You can reduce the risk of joint problems and arthritis in Newfoundlands by giving them exercise every day and not overfeeding them. You should only buy a Newfoundland from a responsible breeder that screens litters, dams, and studs for health problems before they breed or sell them.

Caring for a Newfoundland

The Newfoundland’s Ideal Home

The Newfoundland is a companion breed that greatly prefers spending time with its family over being alone. Newfoundlands are ideal for households where family dogs are included in activities and someone is home frequently. Additionally, this breed will do well in a household with other dogs as it doesn’t need to be the leader of the pack. Because these dogs are social and enjoy being in the company of others, having other dogs in the same home can help prevent loneliness in this breed.

Newfoundlands need plenty of space to freely roam, rest, and run around so apartment housing isn’t a good fit. A home with a fenced-in yard or a pool is perfect for providing your Newfoundland with enough room to comfortably play and exercise. Just remember to always supervise your dog any time it is around water.

Training Best Practices

Newfoundlands are smart dogs that enjoy being given a job to do. These characteristics can make training easier. When taking home a Newfoundland puppy, you need to begin socialization and training right away. Because these dogs are so large as adults and will be larger than other puppies their age, Newfoundlands need consistent training to ensure they, as well as those around them, are kept safe.

Like other dogs, positive reinforcement such as praise, treats, and toys are much more effective when training your Newfie than scolding or punishing them. You want to build a trusting bond between you and your dog, not make them afraid of you. If you are unable to train your dog yourself, there are plenty of classes and experienced trainers that can help. By sticking to a regular routine and consistent training, your Newfoundland will be listening to commands in no time!

Exercise Needs

Newfoundland Trivia: Did your know? The Newfoundland earned the nickname "Lifeguard Dog" after decades of successful water rescues.

These working dogs need regular physical and mental exercise to keep them from becoming bored. If a Newfoundland isn’t given enough exercise or is left alone and becomes lonely, it can resort to destructive behaviors and uncontrolled barking. However, when they receive consistent attention and affection, you’ll find Newfoundlands to be well-mannered and calm.

These dogs have medium energy levels, needing around 30 minutes to 1 hour of mild or moderate exercise each day. You can exercise your Newfoundland with short walks, swimming, playing in the yard, or a trip to the dog park. However, be mindful of the heat and humidity when taking your Newfoundland outdoors. Because this is a large breed with a double coat and tons of hair, your Newfoundland can easily overheat on hot days. Taking your Newfie to a professional groomer for a summer haircut can help keep them more cool and comfortable during the summertime.

Grooming & Hygiene

To keep your Newfoundland’s coat easy to manage, daily or weekly brushing is necessary. These dogs also need to be bathed at least once every 6 weeks, although some Newfoundland owners prefer giving baths on a more frequent basis. To easily remove your Newfie's loose hair you can bathe them, take them swimming, or let them run around outside where they can brush up against trees, bushes, and other outdoor vegetation.

Does the Newfoundland sound like the perfect dog for your lifestyle and home? Browse Newfoundland puppies for sale near you. Not sure if the Newfoundland is your ideal pet? Discover more breeds with our breed spotlight blog series or guides for choosing a puppy.