Newfoundland Dog Breed

Newfoundland At-a-Glance

Newfoundlands originally came from Canada, where they were used as water rescue dogs and by fishermen to pull carts and nets. With their thick, waterproof coats, webbed paws, and great strength, they are ideally suited for swimming and rescue work. They are also one of the truly gentle giants and have earned the nickname “Nanny Dog” for their love and gentle, protective manner with children.

Weight (pounds)
Male: 130-150
Female: 100-120
Height (inches)
Male: 28-30
Female: 26-28
Lifespan (years)

Dog Breed Group

Characteristics Ratings

We rate 19 characteristics for each breed, divided into three categories:
Highest Rated – Characteristics for which this breed is rated 4 or 5 stars (on a 5 star scale).
Neutral Rated – Characteristics that rated 3 stars.
Lowest Rated – Characteristics that rated only 1 or 2 stars.

Highest Rated

  • Good Family Dog
  • Kid Friendly
  • Good With Other Dogs
  • Friendly to Strangers
  • Likes to Play
  • Protective Nature
  • Handles Change Easily
  • Easy to Train
  • Low Amount of Barking
  • Tolerates Cold Climate
  • High Intelligence

Neutral Rated

  • Low Shedding
  • High Energy Level
  • Good for Novice Owners

Lowest Rated

  • Low Drooling
  • Suitable for Small Yards/Apartments
  • Tolerates Being Left Alone
  • Tolerates Hot Climate
  • Good General Health

General Overview

As you may have guessed, Newfoundlands are the ideal family dog. They love their family members, especially children, and are very protective over them. And in fact, they are the only breed listed by the AKC as having “gentle” as a primary trait.

While they are friendly towards strangers, their protective nature towards their family makes them great watchdogs. They are not aggressive as a rule and are quiet dogs, but will bark and use their impressive size to discourage any potential threats.

With their gentle and non-aggressive nature, Newfoundlands are generally good with other dogs. With their immense size, however, they can accidentally knock over smaller dogs during play.

From a maintenance standpoint, you’ll have some work with Newfoundlands. Their thick, double coat needs regular grooming and will shed quite a bit.

Their loose jowls mean that you’ll frequently be wiping up drool, especially after eating and drinking.

Being highly affectionate and social family dogs, Newfoundlands do suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for long periods. As with many breeds, they can become depressed and anxious when left alone.

Newfoundlands are also a poor choice for apartments and small yards. Their large size requires a lot of space to move around and lay in. Plus, you don’t want to be tripping over a 150-pound dog if you live in a small apartment or house!

While Newfoundlands are an easy-going and affectionate breed, they may not be a good choice for first-time dog owners. Their very large size, along with heavy drooling and shedding, can be a challenge to manage. Please consider these factors carefully when considering a Newfoundland as your next pet.

Also keep in mind that, with their thick coats, Newfoundlands do very well in colder climates but do not tolerate hot climates very well.

When it comes to exercise needs, Newfoundlands make it easy, as they are not high-energy dogs. With their gentle and calm nature, they are happy with fairly moderate exercise such as daily walks and swimming. Swimming especially is their favorite activity.

In addition to all their other positive traits, Newfoundlands rank high on the intelligence scale. They are known as quick learners as well as good problem solvers. They are also very intuitive and can tell when their owners are happy or sad.

With their intelligence and eagerness to please their owners, they are easy to train, although they can be a bit stubborn at times. With consistent training and positive reinforcement, you’ll have an obedient, affectionate, and loyal friend.

As to health, Newfoundlands are only average. Like all giant breeds, they are prone to certain health issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as heart problems.

Even so, their life expectancy, at 9 to 10 years, is about average for a giant breed (consider the poor Irish Wolfhound, with a lifespan of only 6 to 8 years!).

This makes it important to buy from a reputable breeder and have regular check-ups for conditions common to the giant breeds.

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