The Black Newfoundland : Big at Heart

black newfoundlandThe black Newfoundland is a breed of dog from the working group. This group protects, pulls, and guards, and this large Newfoundland certainly fits into this category. They are natural swimmers, who excel at water task. They do everything from pulling nets and small boats, to ocean rescues. This breed is also affectionately nicknamed Newfs or Newfies.


History of the Black Newfoundland

Originally, from the fishing shores of Canada, the Newfoundland ancestry line has clouded with time. One theory is the Tibetan Mastiff crossbred with American black wolves. Although unable to verify, this could hold some validity as the Tibetan Mastiff holds many of the same characteristics. Both breeds have strong, muscular legs, bodies, and heads.

This Newfie could have come from a across of St. Bernard and the Great Pyrenees, both having the same physical attributes of the Newfoundland. The Portuguese water dog may be part of the mix; they are proficient, hardy swimmers with similar webbed toes.

There is a famous black Newfoundland, who was a circus act, known as the Thousand Guinea Dog Napoleon and Napoleon the Wonder Dog. He would parade a jockey-dressed monkey around on his back.


Physical Traits

A large powerful animal, Newfoundland’s grow to be over two feet tall when measured from ground to shoulder. Males can weigh upwards of 150 pounds, while the smaller female weigh 100 to 120 pounds, and on average, this breed lives 8 to 10 years. A few have lived to be 15 years old.

Both male and female have broad shoulders and a muscular build. Webbed feet and a thick, oily waterproof coat make them fearless of the water. A soft expression rounds out the face.



The double coat and size makes grooming the black Newfoundland challenging. The outer fur is long and coarse; while the undercoat is soft, it is very dense. A thorough brushing every other day will keep it tame, but dogs that work outside will need daily care to manage the dirt and stickers the tough coat attracts.

Newfs shed a lot during warmer seasons. If they are swimming regularly, owners can put off bathing for several months. If not, a bath every month or two is adequate. Because of the sheer size and heavy coat, most people go to professional groomers.

The signature droopy jowls are cute, but they do drool. The drool increases when they are exercising, eating, and drinking. You will need to dry off the face and head several times a day, depending on your dog’s level of activity.



Known as a gentle giant, Newfies are naturally kind, caring, and sweet. They are affectionate with children if raised around them and enjoy the companionship of human beings. However, due to the size early socialization with people and animals is necessary.



Newfoundlands are intelligence dogs. When trained early on, they learn basic commands, like sit and stay, easily. With ongoing training, they develop some decision-making skills and are able to complete tasks without becoming distracted.



Although Newfoundland’s soft, droopy appearance may make them look laidback and lumbering, they need daily exercise. Exercise is important not only to burn off destructive energy, but large breeds need to take extra care of their joints. Excessive weight on joints is a concern for bigger dogs; it can be debilitating.

Use caution when working Newfs in warm temperatures. Heat and humid can cause the thickly coated animal to overheat. Symptoms of overheating are excessive drooling or panting, which can be difficult to stop in dogs that normally drool.



An adult will need to eat two to three cups of food in the morning and two or three more cups at night. Larger Newfis, over 150 pounds, will need at least six cups a day or more, depending on age and activity level.


Health Concerns

The most common problem noted is hip and elbow dysplasia, which is when the ball and socket are malformed. This gradually leads to a deterioration of the joint and loss of mobility.

Other health issues are defective heart values. This defect causes sudden death, similar to a severe heart attack in a human. This is a genetic condition, along with cystinuria, which causes bladder stones.

The black Newfoundland is a hard working, intelligent, and gentle beast. They are great family pets, but do need room to roam and exercise. Their coats require regular brushing, and a drool towel will come in handy.