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Adopt a Newfoundland

Newfoundland Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen


livestock dog, sheepdog, mastiff

Area of origin:


Original function:

all-purpose water dog and fishing aid, draft

Average size of male:

Ht: 28, Wt: 130-150

Average size of female:

Ht: 26, Wt: 100-120

Other names:


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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Newfoundland Dog Temperament

The most important single characteristic of the Newfoundland is sweetness of temperament. The Newfoundland is calm, patient, easygoing, gentle and amiable, a friend to all. If her family is threatened, however, the Newfoundland can act protectively.

Newfoundland Dog Care

This easygoing dog needs daily exercise to stay fit, either in the form of a moderate walk or short romp. She loves to swim and pull, especially in Fcold weather. Some breeders contend that Landseers tend to be more active and need more exercise than solids. She does not do well in hot weather and should not be kept outside. She is best when allowed access to both house and yard, but needs lots of room inside to stretch out. Her coat needs combing twice weekly, more frequently when shedding. Newfs do drool and also tend to be messy drinkers.

Newfoundland Dog Health

Major concerns: SAS, pulmonic stenosis, elbow dysplasia, CHD, gastric torsion
Minor concerns: OCD, entropion, ectropion, vWD, cataract
Occasionally seen: epilepsy
Suggested tests: hip, elbow, cardiac, blood, (eye)
Life span: 8-10 years
Note: Newfoundlands do not tolerate heat well; some are sensitive to anesthesia.

Interested in the history of the Newfoundland dog breed?

As her name suggests, the Newfoundland was developed on the coast of Newfoundland. Here the agreement about her origin ceases. Although she ultimately traces back to the Tibetan mastiff, no actual record exists of Tibetan mastiffs being brought to Newfoundland. Some authorities believe that she descends from the Tibetan mastiff by way of the Great Pyrenees. In 1662, the first permanent colony at Roougnoust was settled, complete with Great Pyrenees dogs. These dogs were crossed with black English retrievers belonging to English settlers. Some Husky blood may also have been introduced. Whatever the ingredients, the result was a massive water-loving, cold-resistant dog found in either a solid black or black and white coloration. The latter "Landseer" Newfoundland was only identified in 1779. The Newfoundland name predates her only by a few years, named after an individual dog called Newfoundland. The Newfoundland distinguished herself as an all-purpose water dog, hauling heavy fishing nets through the cold water and saving many people from watery graves. Her work didn't stop on dry land; here she served as a draft dog and pack animal. European visitors were so impressed that they returned to Europe with many specimens, and it is here that the breed first entered the show ring. The export of dogs from Newfoundland, along with laws forbidding ownership of more than one dog, drove the breed's numbers down in her place of origin. The breed's stronghold switched to England, and American fanciers resorted to replenishing their stock with English dogs. After World War II, the tables turned, and American Newfoundlands were responsible for reviving the decimated English stock. Recovery in both countries is now complete, and the Newfoundland is one of the more popular of the giant breeds of dogs. Although the solid black color is most identified with the breed, the black and white Newfoundlands (dubbed Landseers after the well-known artist who first portrayed them) are also popular.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

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