The Newfoundland is a large working dog.
While their ancestor may have been used as shipboard working dogs, the modern Newfoundland dog is more typically found in the family home.
Their patient personalities make them excellent contenders to cohabit with younger members of the family, while their large size translates to a formidable guard dog.
Newfoundlands were ranked the 45th most popular dog breed in the United States in 2021 by the American Kennel Club.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at Newfoundland pros and cons to give prospective owners a greater insight into this iconic breed.
We’ll hear from a selection of Newfoundland owners who will provide their insight into these giant dogs.
So with the introduction over, let’s delve into all things Newfoundlands!
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Newfoundlands are easily one of the most recognizable dog breeds in the world thanks to their size – and their drool! These gentle giants can range from 26 to 28 inches in height and weigh from 130 to 150 pounds. While some may find their size intimidating, Newfoundlands have loving and patient personalities, so there’s nothing to fear.
The American Kennel Club give the following description of the Newfoundland:
The massive Newfoundland is a strikingly large, powerful working dog of heavy bone and dignified bearing. The sweet-tempered Newfie is a famously good companion and has earned a reputation as a patient and watchful ‘nanny dog’for kids.
Abigail calls her Newfoundland Chewie (@chewie.the.newfie) a “pocket Newf”.
Newfies can range from 100-200lbs but the average is about 140-150lbs. Females tend to be a little smaller than the males. Our friend (@georgie_thegreynewfie ) is only around 100lbs and her family calls her a pocket newf. We think that is such a great description for a 100lb dog! We have met Georgie in real life and even though she is on the smaller side for newfs, she is perfectly proportionate for her bone structure. Our newfs are both in the range of 140-144lbs, but we have also met newfies in the 160-180lbs range, as well. So, in our opinion, there is no exact “perfect” weight for a newf, but rather it is better for a newf to hold a healthy weight for their bone/body structure.
Don’t be fooled by the drool, Newfoundlands are smart dogs that are relatively easy to train. As with any breed or mix, dog owners will need to dedicate regular minutes to training their dog to establish the basics from puppyhood. Stanley Coren’s Intelligence Of Dogs book ranked Newfoundlands as the 34th smartest dog breed in the world. But the owners we spoke to highlighted this breed’s high IQ.
Teddy’s owner (@teddythenewfie_swe_) explained that they use training as an opportunity to exercise their Newfoundland.
We love to hike on weekends and take few walks a day other days, but they don’t need few hours training and running. They love to play but also to take it easy and help you make food and other things you do. They are very easy to train but also stubborn. They do want to see the owner happy so it all works out great.
Dubbed the “nanny dog”, Newfoundlands can make excellent contenders for a family pet. While they may have a marine background, Newfoundlands were also capable guardians of the family thanks to their patient personalities and intimidating size.
Greg, who has a Newfoundland called Ursula (@ursulathenewf), highlighted one famous literary example of a member of the breed excelling around younger companions.
In J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan,” Nana was a Newfoundland. He picked a Newfoundland because of their keen ability to handle children. They make wonderful family dogs due to their mild temperament.
Teddy (@teddythenewfie_swe_) is a devoted family pet.
Newfoundland dog is a devoted dog with great personality. They are great family dogs and love children. They love everyone and are loved by everyone. They are sensitive and feel what you feel and are great entertainers.
Don’t Bark A Lot
While every dog is different so there are no guarantees you will end up with a quiet pup, Newfoundlands are generally considered a relatively quiet dog. They may bark if someone enters the garden or the home but compared to some noisier breeds, the Newfoundlands don’t have a reputation for being yappy dogs.
Samantha and Kekoa (@kingkekoa_thenewfie) highlighted that a Newfoundland will bark in some certain circumstances.
Some do / some don’t! They are not known as a breed which bark a lot except in warning or danger or when they are hungry! But again, each dog is different. They have a wonderful deep bark when they do!
Lala revealed that Teddy (@teddythenewfie_swe_) does like to talk.
They bark sometimes when they get excited, but not so often. But Teddy loves to “talk” and understands everything I say.
Picking up from our previous point, Newfoundlands are relatively calm dogs that don’t have boisterous energy that you may associate with breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Labradors. These noble giants like to be treated with a calm respect. While they’ve got low exercise requirements, they still need some mental and physical stimulation.
Samantha and Kekoa (@kingkekoa_thenewfie) suggested that it’s not so much a question of exercise requirements but whether they’ve got an enthusiasm to work.
Not necessarily although some lines have more drive in them – meaning they have more enthusiasm to work! Majority like to take things at a slower pace but again they are not lazy dogs! They need exercise and they need to be worked to maintain a good healthy weight, body and mind. If left alone without exercise they can become bored, lonely and possibly destructive.
They may be calm and easy going but Newfoundlands do have a stubborn streak. This is a trait that all the Newfoundland owners referenced so it seems a common trait amongst these gentle giants.
Samantha and Kekoa (@kingkekoa_thenewfie) highlighted this stubborness.
They are devoted and loving and incredibly sweet. They can also be incredibly stubborn. Don’t be surprised if your Newfie sits down in the middle of a walk because he’s had enough!
While Teddy’s owner described their stubbornness as a potential drawback, she personally finds it more charming than being a real problem.
Newfoundlands could be a good dog for first-time owners in terms of their personalities but some may find their sheer size difficult to handle, especially if you don’t have any previous experience living with dogs. The American Kennel Club state the following warning on the breed page on their website:
These noble giants are among the world’s biggest dogs, and acquiring a pet that could outweigh you comes with obvious challenges.
While Lala described their heavy weight as a con, she revealed that her Newfoundland Teddy helped her overcome her fear of dogs.
I was extremely scared of dogs all my life but I also had a feeling that I wanted a big furry bear in my life. A few years ago, I had a hard time and I felt that I really wanted a dog. I told that to my husband. He was just laughing because he thought it was a joke. When he realized I wasn’t joking we started looking my for dream bear. We found a great breeder who really worked hard to help me overcome my fear. It took few months and we have many funny stories. With time, Teddy became my everything. I can’t even describe how much I love Teddy and all my fear for dogs is gone. That is more than I could ever dream of. Now we do everything together. I can’t imagine having vacation without Teddy and Leo. I feel complete and happy with them.
Newfoundlands are one of the dog breeds best known for their drool. This may not be to everyone’s tastes as the drool can get on your clothes, your furniture and the floor. Most Newfoundlands will drool a lot but in some rare instances, you may find a “dry mouth Newf” like Ursula (@ursulathenewf).
Unfortunately drooling is almost always synonymous with Newfies. I have come across “dry mouth” newfs. Ursula is actually a dry mouth. She only drools when motivated with food.
Newfoundlands do shed and their long, wavy coats require a lot of maintenance. They’ll need to be brushed a couple of times a week to get rid of dead hair and debris. They do have a waterproof coat, though.
Greg brushes Ursula (@ursulathenewf) at least three times a week.
With all of that hair grooming is a must. If left untidy the hair can mat. My general rule of thumb is full groom at least once a month. If swimming or muddy, bathe as needed. Brushing is also very important. I brush Ursula at least 3-4 times per week.
If you’re thinking about getting a Newfoundland, you should be prepared for a lot of attention when you’re out walking your gentle giants. If you don’t want to answer lots of questions or cater to request to say hello to your big dog, Newfoundlands may not be the breed for you!