Owning a Newfoundland

owning a newfoundlandIf you’re thinking about buying “a puppy” just because you think it might be good for the kids to learn responsibility or that photo just looked so damn cute or you want “something” to keep an eye on the house or you want to impress your friends, then don’t buy a dog – all breeds of dog need to be in a loving, caring home where their people treat them as part of the family, look after them well, are prepared to spend the money on vet bills and provide everything they could possibly need for the term of their lives. Dog ownership is a misleading term – you must be prepared to be owned by your dog.

If you still want to research Newfoundlands, call or email all the owners and breeders you can find, tell them your story and ask them to tell you some about this glorious breed, read all the material you can get your hands on and make an informed decision about inviting a Newf to join your family.

Any reputable breeder will have done all relevant health checks on breeding stock at the very least. Ask all breeders what they screen for and copies of any certificates/reports pertaining to your prospective puppy. Most breeders will also require you to answer a lot of questions and give them guarantees of your intentions toward a puppy.

Some common ailments in Newfs are –

  • Hip & Elbow Dysplasia – All breeding stock should have been X-rayed prior to breeding – each animal (Sire & Dam) will have a score sheet from the AVA (Australian Veterinary Assoication) which the breeder should be happy to show you.  
  • Cystinuria – This disease is detected using a DNA test. Provided the status of both parents is known, selective breeding can be undertaken.

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.


The Benefits of Owning a Giant Newfoundland

Giant NewfoundlandAs one of the most distinctive breeds in the world, Giant Newfoundland dogs catch the eye of anyone who happens to come across one of these enormous canines. While their extreme size might make them the wrong type of pet for some people, Newfoundland owners love their massive dogs for their unique attributes that no other breed possesses. Beloved by dog breeders and owners across the world, there’s simply nothing quite like a Newfie if you’re looking for an extra-large pet that’s hungering for your love and affection.


What Makes a Giant Newfoundland a Great Pet?

Newfoundland dogs get their name from the area of Canada where they were first bred. Originally the companions of fishermen in the Newfoundland area, these working dogs were prized for their immense strength and loyalty. Newfies have a calm and alert disposition and are ready to help whenever there’s trouble. These enormous dogs were originally beloved by Newfoundland fishermen for their incredible ability to save drowning men and drag objects out of the water.

Newfoundland dogs still have a strong sense of loyalty to their owners and will do their best to protect you. This protective instinct, combined with their gigantic size, makes these dogs the perfect companions for small children. These dogs are so good with kids that the creator of Peter Pan, James Matthew Barrie, chose a Newfoundland to play the role of nanny and protector of the children in his iconic series of plays and books.

Big, sweet, and loyal to a fault, Newfoundland dogs are the perfect breed to welcome into your home. That is, if your home is big enough to accommodate their extensive girth and your pockets are deep enough to satiate their endless appetite.


Types of Giant Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is a type of Mastiff, an ancient breed of dog that was once used by the Romans as conscripts in their conquering armies. Newfoundlands are separated into two distinct breeds; Lesser Newfoundlands, which are somewhat smaller and constitute the original genetic stock of the so-called “retriever” breeds, and Greater Newfoundlands, which are considerably larger than their Lesser cousins and which are also known as Giant Newfoundlands.

When it comes to Greater Newfoundlands, the main type of variation you’ll see from dog to dog is the color of the coat. The original Newfoundlands bred in Canada were either black or a black-and-white mixed pigmentation called Landseer. Since the time of their origin as fishing dogs in the frigid Canadian north, Newfoundlands have also crossbred to the extent that brown varieties are also available. However, to a true Newfie fanatic, a brown Newfoundland isn’t a true Newfoundland and some breeders only raise black and Landseer varieties.


Unique Attributes of the Giant Newfoundland

Beyond their epic size and impressive strength, Greater Newfoundland dogs also have a few other notable abilities and unique quirks. These types of dogs are equipped with two distinct layers of fur; a thick and water-resistant outer coat and a soft and rich inner coat. This double coat attribute helped keep Newfies from freezing as they spent a large amount of their time working in the cold waters of the Newfoundland area.

These dogs are also born swimmers that absolutely love to be in the water. A novice Newfoundland owner may be amazed at the startling clip with which these massive dogs make their way through the water. While this aquatic aptitude can be partially chalked up to the Newfie’s powerful musculature, these canines are also equipped with web toes that allow them to zip through the waves as if they were wearing flippers. To this day, Newfoundland dogs are used as aquatic rescue dogs due to their gentle demeanor, love of humans, and unquestioned mastery of the art of aquatic acrobatics.


Newfoundland Health and Disposition

Newfoundland dogs have long been called the “gentle giant” of dog breeds due to their serene calm and gentle attitude. While Newfies do have a powerful and deep bark, this booming sound is relatively hard to trigger and you won’t hear your Greater Newfoundland barking at everyone that walks down the sidewalk.

These sweet and gentle dogs are unfortunately quite short-lived. The average life expectancy for a Newfoundland is only 8 to 10 years and they are also prone to issues like hip dysplasia. However, due to their special attributes and loving dispositions, welcoming a Greater Newfoundland dog into your home is a decision you’ll never regret.


White Newfoundland: The Gentle Giant

NewfoundlandThe white Newfoundland is a variety of the Newfoundland breed of dog. Originating from the Canadian province of Newfoundland, the breed belongs to the working group of dogs. The Newfoundland was originally bred as a working dog, helping fisherman in the province tug nets from the water and also assisting lumberjacks in towing logs from the freshly cut forests. The Newfoundland breed traditionally is coated in black or a black and white combination called Landseer, but the white Newfoundland is indeed all white in the coat.

The first feature that stands out in the breed is its sheer size. Often intimidating, full-grown Newfoundland’s can weigh anywhere between 120 and 175 pounds. This makes them one of the largest breed of dogs. But, despite their large size, the dogs have a very calm demeanor and are known for being wonderful family pets. They are well-known to be friendly around their family, children other dogs and towards strangers as well. From a young age, it is important to socialize the Newfoundland breed around people, sounds and other animals. The breed is known as the “Gentle Giants” of the dog world.

Like other dogs of similar large stature, the life expectancy rate of a Newfoundland is only eight to ten years. Their large size dispositions the breed to hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, Addison’s Disease, cancer and epilepsy.

As far as activity is concerned, the white Newfoundland is a very active breed. This makes living in small quarters like an apartment hard on the dog. Newfoundland dogs do best in open spaces and love the space to roam and exercise. Exercising the Newfoundland on a regular basis is a must. They also have webbed-feet, making them excellent swimmers as they love the water, especially in warm weather. The dog, due to its Canadian origins, is able to handle cold weather well with their thick coat and large stature. They have a harder time acclimating to hot, humid temperatures, making them an ideal pet in northern climates.

Inside of the home, there are a few items that potential owners of a Newfoundland need to be aware of. First, the dogs have a very thick coat and that thick coat definitely sheds. Newfoundland owners need to be aware that hair will be found throughout the house and on clothing. The second warning about the breed is that they are excessive droolers. As they walk around the house, their mouths are often wide open with their tongues lopping out with drool dripping off. Owners of a Newfoundland can expect to be wiping drool off of their clothes when the big, sweet baby nuzzles up to them closely. The final behavioral warning of a Newfoundland is their anxiety. They strive to please their people and desire to be around them at all times, so when left alone, separation anxiety can set in, causing the dog to chew on random items the house and causing damage.

Regarding the Newfoundland’s thick coat, the dogs need regular grooming. When done by the owner, special brushes will be required to brush the fur of matting and regular baths should also be a part of the grooming routine. Many Newfoundland owners take the route of seeing a professional dog groomer on a regular basis and paying an expert to properly groom their dog.

The white Newfoundland is a very trainable dog, though some individual dogs can be on the stubborn side. But, the breed is known for its smarts so it is best to start training the dog from a very young age. As they are known to be people pleasers, tons of praise works the best when training the dog. Also when training, it is important to keep in mind with this particular breed that punishment will cause the dog to not trust the owner, to positive reinforcement of behavior works the best.

The gentle giant of the dog world can make a great, loving family pet. Families that are considering the option of a dog should look at all of the features of the breed before deciding to bring one home. But, if a family can meet all the needs of a white Newfoundland dog, they are sure to make the family happy with their love for many years.