Newfoundland dogs are a sweet, patient and devoted dog breed.
These large dogs are part of the American Kennel Club’s working group.
While these canine companion may be large in size, they’re usually sweet-tempered dogs that can make excellent pets.
Dubbed the “nanny dog”, Newfoundlands are patient, protective and watchful of the family home and family members.
The AKC explain online that Newfoundlands are the 40th most popular dog breed in the United States of America.
In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into the world of Newfoundlands.
We’ll speak to some Newfoundland owners who will provide an insight into Newfoundland size, Newfoundland temperament, Newfoundland exercise requirements, Newfoundland grooming and much more.
You’ll hear from some of the best Newfoundland Instagram accounts, including Samantha and Kekoa (@kingkekoa_thenewfie), Greg and Ursula (@ursulathenewf), Kelly and Henry (@newfoundland_henry) and Abigail and Chewie (@chewie.the.newfie).
So with the introduction complete, let’s take a closer look at the Newfoundland breed.
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How Big Can Newfoundlands Get?
Newfoundlands are large dogs that can range from 26 to 28 inches in height and 100 and 150 pounds in weight.
Samantha and Kekoa (@kingkekoa_thenewfie) explained that a good indicator with regards to the evetual size of your Newfoundland puppy is taking a look at their parents.
Newfoundland’s are considered a giant breed and while there are variations the breed standard is between 99 to 120lbs for a female and 130 – 150lbs for a male. Some will be larger or smaller depending on genetics. The size of the parents is usually a good guideline as to how big your pup will grow!
Abigail discussed the size and weight of her Newfoundland Chewie (@chewie.the.newfie) in comparison to a Newfoundland friend.
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.
Aside from being one of the biggest dog breeds, Newfoundlands have some other standout features. Newfoundlands can come in a variety of colors.
The American Kennel Club have the following to say about Newfoundland coat colors in their breed standard:
Color is secondary to type, structure, and soundness. Recognized Newfoundland colors are black, brown, gray, and white and black.
Newfoundlads with a black-and-white coat are dubbed Landseer Newfoundlands, with this particular color pattern named after artist Sir Edwin Landseer.
Their coats are usually coarse and flat. Described by Henry’s owner Kelly as “large, fluffy and slobbery”, let’s hear from some more Newfoundland owners.
Greg and Ursula (@ursulathenewf) went into greater detail about the appearance of the Newfoundland breed.
They have a thick, long, shaggy double coat that appears straight or a little wavy. The double coat protects them from temperature extremes. They have a very thick appearance but are very muscular dogs. They have a short snout on a large head that is supported by a muscular neck. The chest is broad as well the shoulders. Large webbed paws are perfect for swimming long distances. The tail is thick and long and acts as a rudder when they swim.
Samantha likened the breed to a giant teddy bear!
Think giant teddy bear! They should be well balanced with deep bodies and massive heads with a soft and gentle expression and thick coats. They are powerful water dogs which means they have a double coat to protect them from the icy cold waters and weather of Newfoundland – which is of course where they originate from.
Newfoundlands have a reputation for being kind-hearted dogs that can make excellent canine companions. The Newfoundland breed standard outlines that their sweet temperament is the “most important single characteristic of the breed”. So we can say with some degree of certainty that most Newfoundland dogs will be affectionate, caring, devoted and loving dogs. Sometimes described as “gentle giants”, Newfoundland dogs are patient with family members, especially children.
Asked to provide an insight into the Newfoundland temperament, Kelly gave us an idea based upon her experience with Henry (@newfoundland_henry): “Gentle giants that are very affectionate and loving.”
Samantha and Kekoa (@kingkekoa_thenewfie) highlighted a stubborn streak within the breed.
This is one of the halllmarks of the breed. They have a sweet and gentle disposition. 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!
Greg explained that Ursula (@ursulathenewf) and other Newfoundlands move in a delicate manner despite their size.
Newfoundland’s have the nickname “gentle giant,” due to their incredibly delicate actions despite their size. They are generally content with laying and are very affectionate.
Are Newfoundlands Good Family Dogs?
It’s no secret that Newfoundland dogs can make excellent family pets. Dubbed the “nanny dog”, you’ve probably seen these working dogs act as guardians of children in books and films. Greg highlights one famous example of a Newfoundland dog in a family setting.
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.
Responsible dog owners should never leave a canine alone with young children irrespective of whatever confidence or trust you may have in your family dog. It’s important to educate kids on how to handle a dog regardless of their size. Small dogs will need to be handled with care, while large dogs will require respect.
Samantha had some sage advice for anyone thinking of adding a Newfoundland to a family home.
They do make excellent family dogs. However as with all dogs, children need to be taught to respect them and maintain certain boundaries. Newfies are big and powerful and although they mean no harm they can easily knock you over with one powerful move of their body.
Do Newfoundland Dogs Bark A Lot?
Every dog is different so it’s impossible to predict all the traits that a Newfoundland will have. This breed are usually calm and relaxed dogs but there are some members of the breed that could be a little yappy.
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!
Do Newfoundland Need A Lot Of Exercise? Are Newfoundlands High Energy?
Newfoundlands, as a general rule of thumb, don’t require an enormous amount of exercise in spite of their size. Wag Walking suggest up to 60 minutes of exercise a day or 15 miles a week.
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.
Can Newfoundland Dogs Hike?
Greg suggested that Newfoundlands can thrive on shorter hikes of around 2-3 miles at a time based upon his experience with Ursula (@ursulathenewf).
Newfoundland’s can be very active dogs. There’s no reason they couldn’t accompany owners on shorter hikes (2-3 miles). Just make sure there’s plenty of water and the temperature is not too high.
Are Newfoundland Dogs Easy To Train?
We’ve touched upon a potential stubborn streak within the Newfoundland breed.
Kelly (@newfoundland_henry) offered advice to potential Newfoundland owners: “Yes if you start training them young, as they can get stubborn as they get older.”
These large pups were ranked 46th smartest dog in the world in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence Of Dogs. That book was written in 1994 so let’s hear from our current Newfoundland owners to learn about their experience.
Samantha believes Newfoundlands are smart and easy to train, but underlined the importance of laying down some ground-rules at a young age with your Newfoundland pup.
They are super intelligent so they are easy to train. Although – they are also stubborn and will take training at their own pace. Meaning when they have had enough they will let you know! But training is hugely important from a very young age as the cute adorable puppy will grow into 150lb dog and you need to be able to control him/her! They generally enjoy the one on one training time and working to please their owner.
How Do You Train A Newfoundland?
Abigail provided us with some insight based upon her experience training Chewie (@chewie.the.newfie).
Basic commands and learning to listen are essential when the Newfie is a puppy. You want to have a well-trained, behaved puppy, but you really want to have a well-trained, behaved 150lbs dog! Things that a puppy can get away with are often seen as cute, but when a 150lb dog does it, it can turn into “not cute” extremely fast. Newfoundlands are highly intelligent and learn quickly, but consistency and repetition are especially important in training.
After basic training has been accomplished, the Newf can go onto a lot of different training modalities! Draft work, water training (some coast guards use Newfoundlands to jump out of helicopters to assist in water rescue!), show work, dock diving, scent work, agility, and therapy work are just a few areas that a lot of Newfies thrive!! @mollythenewfie ‘s momma does some incredible draft, show, and water work with her dogs! @thelogansquarebears had a sweet Newfoundland, Cass, who did incredible therapy work (unfortunately, Cass passed but is still well-loved in the Newfoundland community). There are so many amazing Newfs out there, these are just a few accounts that come to mind when thinking about the different ways you can train a Newfoundland!
This is a quote from the AKC about one of the Newfoundland’s working jobs:
Canadian fisherman long relied on Newfoundlands as peerless shipboard working dogs who specialized in dramatic water rescues. Newfoundlands are born swimmers, complete with partially webbed feet, and strong enough to save a grown man from drowning.
Even if your Newfoundland stays at home and does not go into the more advanced training, a well-trained house Newfoundland is an exceptionally good idea! Knowing that you and your Newfoundland are connected and that he/she listens to you, builds a solid relationship of trust, which is a great thing when talking about dogs of this size.
Can Newfoundland Dogs Be Left Alone?
Separation anxiety is a chronic canine condition that can affect dogs irrespective of breed or mix. It usually occurs when dogs are left at home alone. The symptoms of separation anxiety can start to occur when you get ready to leave the home or you’re leaving the home. Some of the signals include incessant barking or whining, destructive digging or chewing and in some extreme cases, defecating or urinating inside the home.
Some Newfoundlands will be fine when left alone, but others could display some of the separation anxiety symptoms. In Kelly’s experience with Henry (@newfoundland_henry), he’ll happily nap when left alone.
However, Samantha believes Newfoundlands are happiest around people rather than being left alone.
Not ideal! Newfoundland’s are happiest with their people! Any dog left alone can become bored and lonely and a Newfie is no exception. They are people dogs and incredibly loyal. They are happiest at your feet or on your lap.
Do Newfoundlands Like Cuddling?
With Newfoundlands making excellent companion pets, you’re probably wondering whether they like to cuddle. In Greg’s experience, they like to cuddle but Newfoundlands can quickly overheat.
Can Newfoundlands Be Aggressive?
Newfoundland dogs have a reputation for being a patient and caring breed, so an aggressive streak is an uncommon characteristic amongst these big dogs. However, it’s not to say some Newfoundlands won’t be aggressive in certain situations or if the appropriate socialization or training hasn’t occurred. Greg offered his perspective on this topic:
Any dog can be aggressive under certain circumstances. Newfies mild temperament kind of makes it seem to not really happen but they will stand their ground protecting themselves or their family.
Are Newfoundlands Protective?
If you read the AKC’s blurb about the Newfoundland breed, you’ll get the sense that these dogs can excel as so-called “guardians” of the family and the home. Can this translate into protectiveness? Here’s what Samantha had to say:
They are loyal! I would not say they make the best guard dogs as they are not bred for this. But they will bark at danger – so any intruder better be prepared for a giant dog on arrival! But it is not their nature to be fierce. However they are more than happy to rescue a drowning person from an ocean, river or lake!
Are Newfoundland Dogs Healthy?
Newfoundland dogs are generally pretty healthy but they can be prone to some health conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia. Other health concerns include cardiac disease and cystinuria (stones form in the urinary system). The AKC recommend checking your dog’s ears regularly to make sure there’s no infection.
Ursula’s owner Greg (@ursulathenewf) highlighted a couple of other considerations.
Newfoundland dogs are a giant breed so they have the associated health problems. Hips and joints are always a concern but can be negated with healthy decisions. (Weight, activity, supplements etc.) Like most dogs they can develop certain cancers and heart problems.
How Long Do Newfoundlands Live?
Abigail (@chewie.the.newfie) said:
A Newfie’s general lifespan is around 8-10 years, but we have seen people lose their Newfies much earlier (unfortunately) and we have seen other Newfies who live into their teens (we love seeing senior Newfs!). If they could live healthy and happy, I think all Newfie owners would want their Newfs to live for decades. Newfies just have a way of entering your heart in a way we just do not know how to describe.
Are Newfoundlands Hypoallergenic?
Newfoundlands aren’t hypoallergenic given that they’ve got a coat that will shed at least twice a year, usually at the changing of the seasons. However, there are some examples of Newfoundland cross breeds that can have hypoallergenic qualities, such as the Newfypoo.
Do Newfoundland Dogs Shed A Lot?
Newfoundlands have a coat that will usually blow out twice a year so you’ll have to be braced for shedding season. According to the AKC, neutered and spayed Newfoundlands are more likely to shed all year-round and will require regular brushing.
Samantha spoke from her experience with Kekoa (@kingkekoa_thenewfie).
They blow their coat generally twice a year meaning they loose their summer or winter coats. Then they shed the remaining time! Be prepared for constant, if not daily grooming to maintain the coat. A Newfie that is not groomed regularly can suffer from skin issues and potential health issues. They have a double coat which can matt easily so grooming is an absolute must to keep it healthy and shiny and to remove the dead hair.
Newfoundland Grooming: How Often Should I Bathe My Newfoundland?
Newfoundland dogs will require regular grooming to maintain the appearance and health of their coat. It’s a good idea to brush your Newfoundland at least a couple of times a week. This can help to remove dead hair and debris caught in their coat. When it comes to brushing or grooming your Newfoundland, you’ll need to dedicate to multiple brushing sessions a week. Greg explained that Newfoundlands will require a bath if they get very dirty or muddy.
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.
How Do You Take Care Of A Newfoundland?
Abigail explains that Newfoundlands require a lot of love and attention.
A lot of love, time, and attention. Newfs really do love to be with their people. It is not ideal to have them crated all day and they thrive when they have a purpose. You need to maintain the right balance of keeping them healthy, fed, trained, groomed, and loved.
Can You Stop A Newfoundland From Drooling?
When you think of a Newfoundland, you may picture a big dog that drools. Greg highlighted this trademark characteristic although Ursula (@ursulathenewf) doesn’t drool as much as some other members of the breed.
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.
How Much Does A Newfoundland Dog Eat?
Newfoundland dogs are a large breed that have surprisingly small appetites. Newfoundlands will benefit from a fresh, high-quality dog food diet. Greg hasn’t experienced any fussiness with Ursula.
Despite their giant size Newfoundland’s are not giant eaters. They should only eat an amount of food based on weight and veterinarians recommendations. They seem to not be very picky eaters. I haven’t found a vegetable Ursula won’t eat haha.
Newfoundlands can cost anywhere from $600 and $2,000 depending on the breeder. You should do careful research when you’re looking to find a breeder. It’s a good idea to speak to multiple breeders. You should ask to see your prospective pup’s parents, proof of health checks and vet checks as well as ask lots of questions.
They can range, on average, anywhere from $1,200-$3,500. A quality breeder breeds for the betterment of the breed/breed standard, and they can often have waiting lists. But finding a quality breeder is important so you can reduce the risk of health issues in your dog and get a puppy who is at a lower risk for behavioral issues (it is never an absolute guarantee that your puppy won’t have any health issues, but quality breeders want to breed healthy, happy pups that continue to make the Newf breed strong and wonderful!)
But remember this—just because a Newfie costs a lot of money as a puppy does not mean it is coming from a quality breeder. There are a lot of things you should be looking for in a quality breeder and a lot of red flags to also look out for, as well! Jen, from the website and IG called My Brown Newfies, has a lot of info on her website about how to find a reputable breeder. The NCA (Newfoundland Club of America) does, as well!
How Much Does It Cost To Own A Newfoundland?
Of course, you’ll have to think about the month-to-month cost of owning a Newfoundland once you’ve brought your Newfie addition home.
Abigail had a word of warning for prospective Newfoundland owners.
As far as cost goes, if the initial price of a Newfie scares you, then we would kindly suggest looking into a different breed. With big dogs, come big prices after you purchase them: vet bills, food bills, boarding/home dog sitter, grooming, health insurance, treats, toys, training, etc. All of it will be much higher for a large breed dog so potential owners should do their research and really make sure their budget allows for these kinds of expenses.
Would You Recommend A Newfoundland To A First-Time Dog Owner?
Yes and no! First and foremost for any first time Newfie owner do your homework! Make sure you go to a responsible breeder who has invested in the preservation of the breed and breeds strictly to the breed standards. Do not rush into buying a Newfie from just any breeder because you are desperate for a puppy. Most respected breeders will have a long waiting list so be prepared to wait! Newfies are an amazing breed. Beautiful and majestic, intelligent and kind but they are also an investment in time and need a lot of care and attention. The Newfoundland’s you see in shows or in books are the result of a lot of work – and they don’t look like this all the time! They drool, shed and get dirty! They love the water! Water is a magnet whether it be a lake, ocean, puddle or water bowl. So if you don’t want a 150 lb wet, drooling dog in your house – a Newfie is not for you! They are also house dogs and should live inside with their families and not left outside. As with all giant breeds, be prepared for expensive vet visits so pet insurance is also a must have!
Newfs can be an intimidating first time dog. Their grooming can be on the expensive side, but is absolutely necessary. Their giant size can also be a negative because if not properly trained their strength can overwhelm their humans. If a person can make it past those hurdles Newfies are amazing dogs. Very loyal and affectionate.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Newfoundlands?
Samantha/Kekoa: They are loyal, gentle and intelligent. They will make you laugh and make you cry. Your heart will literally explode with love for them and you will most likely never have another breed after a Newfie.
Greg/Ursula: Loyal; Affectionate; Gentle; Drool; Great apartment dogs; Shedding; Easily trained; Great with kids Enjoy mild exercise; Enjoy the outdoors.
Kelly/Henry: Good with people of all ages; Loving nature; Gentle; Don’t need long walks.
Abigail/Chewie: They are the most loving, kind, gentle breed of dog we have ever met. They will change your heart and your life forever. They are incredible family members, and their loyalty is unmatched. Getting kisses from a 150lb bear look-alike can melt your heart in ways you never imagined.
Samantha/Kekoa: However, they are giant dogs! As mentioned before – be prepared for a lifetime commitment of grooming, shedding and drool. Vet bills can be expensive due to their size – and they can be prone to certain health issues which is why a responsible breeder is a must. Remember the cute adorable fluffy puppy will grow up – and quickly – into a giant dog which will require constant training and exercise, washing, grooming and of course love!
Greg/Ursula: Grooming needs; 8-10 year life expectancy; Gentle; Drool.
Kelly/Henry: Regular grooming; Bigger appetites; Expensive vet bills and pet insurance; Slobber a lot.
Abigail/Chewie: Some would say the slobber. We do not mind it one bit, but just know there will be slobber and hair all over your house. Your walls, windows, clothes, and in your food. Also, your house will never be 100% clean. Ever. Again. You also will probably not be able to eat a sandwich in peace (or without a large drool spot near your foot, to say the least). But we think all of those things are well worth it!
Newfoundlands To Follow On Instagram
There are some great examples of the Newfoundland breed on Instagram. Here are three accounts that we recommend.
• Kekoa (@kingkekoa_thenewfie)
• Ursula (@ursulathenewf)
• Henry (@newfoundland_henry)
We’ve reached the end of our feature of the Newfoundland breed.
They’re a large dog breed that can make excellent family pets, especially in a home with children.
Newfoundlands are smart dogs but these working dogs can have a stubborn streak.
While they don’t need a lot of exercise, they’re able to go for short hikes or medium-length walks.
Newfoundlands will require regular grooming to help with the shedding process.