Newfoundland Breed Characteristics & Traits

A bear among dogs, the Newfoundland is a very magnificent dog, with all the advantages and disadvantages of large, powerful breeds. Very friendly, calm in nature, even a bit phlegmatic and sometimes a bit stubborn. Anyone who likes large yet cuddly cozy dogs could become a potential Newfoundland owner.

History & Origin

As the name suggests, the homeland of Newfoundland is located on the Canadian island of Newfoundland. It’s even the national symbol of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Which dogs were originally involved in the creation of the breed is a mystery. They were probably various European dog breeds from Old World fishermen who mixed with the dogs of the native Indian tribes, the big black bear dogs. The first person to record a Newfoundland dog in the early 19th century was an English captain by the name of Cartwright and in 1860 Newfoundland was first shown at a dog show in Birmingham. The British were enthusiastic and shortly afterward the first English breed club was founded.

Numbers, Data, Facts

  • Country of origin: Canada / England
  • Life expectancy: 8-10 years
  • Weight males: 60-70 kg
  • Weight bitch: 45-55 kg
  • Males: 69-74 cm
  • Females: 63-69 cm


The early Newfoundlands were primarily guarded dogs and draft dogs. They pulled the natives’ and settlers’ sleighs and guarded their camps. The animals coped well with the extreme temperatures and harsh living conditions prevailing in Newfoundland and even braved the dangers of the sea as working, transport, and rescue dogs. They also helped the fishermen to haul the heavy nets ashore, moving loads many times their body weight. Today, most Newfoundlands are family dogs. They are also trained as companion dogs and therapy dogs.

Classification, breed standard & breed standard

  • FCI Standard No. 50
  • Group 2: Pinschers and Schnauzers – Molossoids – Swiss Mountain Dogs
  • Section 2: Molossoids
  • 2.2 Mountain Dogs
  • Without work test

The Character & Essence of the Newfoundland Dog

Newfoundland is generally known to be a very friendly, calm, and completely peaceful dog. On the one hand, his upbringing is quite easy, precisely because he is so intelligent and peaceful. On the other hand, it can also be quite difficult to get such a dog to do something that he doesn’t want. He can also be quite stubborn and persistent. And because his size and weight make him difficult to “direct,” good training is essential if you want to get along with him well in any situation. Newfoundlands are very easy to integrate into families and have a strong protective instinct. However, because they are in no way aggressive, this does not have a negative effect on their relationship with their humans. Anyone who decides to get a Newfoundland must know that the dog needs a lot of space and exercise. He should come into a house with a piece of land and be allowed to roam freely in the yard and garden. He is not suitable for the kennel, nor for the cramped city apartment. Once used to it, however, the Newfoundland is quite happy to stay overnight in a cozy dog ​​house in the backyard, where it can feel as safe as a bear’s den.

Dealing with family & children

The stimulation threshold of Newfoundland is very high. The patient giant can hardly be disturbed. This makes him a dog that is very well suited to households with children. He will protect them and be benevolent to all childish game participants without ever freaking out.

In dealing with strangers

The Newfoundland is also never aggressive towards strangers, sometimes rather too friendly. Although he can be a good watchdog and report “intruders”, they have nothing to fear from him. However, there are specimens that have the trick of burying strangers as well as acquaintances who come into their territory. This type of greeting should of course be strictly prohibited from the start, so as not to create any dangerous situations, especially for older people.

When dealing with other dogs

The Newfoundland behaves exemplary with other dogs. He doesn’t pull and doesn’t bark at them, but only sniffs them with interest if they seem nice to him. Flashy, angry, and extremely reactive dogs are simply ignored by the gentle giant. Newfoundlands also bark very little, although many tend to drool easily.

When dealing with other pets

The relationship of Newfoundland to other pets such as cats or birds is also very good. They may run a few meters after the house cat just for fun, but only to play friendly with it.

Urge to move

The Newfoundlands are really not sporty dogs that like to run, they are too big, too heavy, and too sluggish for that. They are also not suitable for faster dog sports and only to a very limited extent for racing on a bicycle. Many of them don’t even like brisk walks. But they do like to roam leisurely through the woods and fields with their master or mistress. They also love water more than anything, no wonder considering their origin. If you love your Newfoundland dog, you should therefore give it the opportunity for a refreshing bath and a swim as often as possible.

The hunting instinct

This breed of dog has no hunting instinct at all. You can leash and retrieve a Newfoundland dog very well in suitable places. He also doesn’t tend to leave home for a “little walk” once a door is open. He is keen to stay close to the human kin on his territory.

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