Breed Type: Molosser / Water Dog
Country of Origin: Newfoundland (Now Canada)
Size:  Giant
Also known as : Newf, Newfie, The Gentle Giant
Males Height: 75 cm(average), Weight: 75-100kg
Females Height 68cm, Wight 50-70kg
Exercise Requirements: Low
Care Requirements: Medium
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Best Suited as: Family Pet

The Newfoundland is a massive water dog of Molosser heritage that was developed in Newfoundland by fishermen to help them performing draught and fish retrieval duties.

They are well-known for their massive bodies and their kind temperaments.

The Newfoundland has a large losses style head, is large boned and heavily muscled. They are one of the largest and heaviest breeds of dog that specimens as heavy as 120 kg having been recorded.

The coat as would be expected for a water breed dogs is a dual coat with a moderately long straightish topcoat covering a dense, well insulating soft undercoat. Their coat is quite oily offering them additional protection of waterproofing as well is thickness to keep out the effects of icy waters. In Australia three colours are seen namely black, brown is also white dog with black markings known as a Landseer.

In the water they are efficient the curiously unique swimmers. Whilst they have paw webbing typical of dogs bred to perform water duties their swimming style involves an outward rotation of their limbs much like a breast stroking style rather than the vertical dog paddle performed by most dogs. This style is incredibly powerful and allows on the cover distances quickly.

Males are noticeably larger and more masculine in appearance than females the females are hardly petite.

Whilst the exact history of the dogs is not known is believed the dogs were created by crossing local water dogs native to the Newfoundland area with different mastiff breeds that were imported into the island by fishermen from Portugal at the beginning of the 1700s.

Early in the development of the breed in the late 19th century there were two versions of the dog, a larger and smaller version respectively referred to as the greater and lesser Newfoundlands.  The modern Newfoundland is based on the larger variety with the lesson Newfoundland going on to be an ancestor the smaller retriever breeds.

The Newfoundland was bred to haul heavy nets from fishing boats up the coal beaches as well is to help drag boats on the shore.  They worked as draught animals pulling carts and curiously their demeanour and temperament is not unlike that of the large draught horses in that they are calm and slow to anger.

Whilst they are no longer seen in their original role as fishermen’s healthy dogs their calm temperaments and their love of the water has seen them developed as large family pets and water rescue dogs.

The Newfoundland dog is equal parts calmest docility and power. Their moniker the “gentle giant” was not given without good reason. They are exceptionally good with children as they are almost unbreakable and unflappable though their large size certainly means they will knock small children over.

Their fame as protective and gentle family dogs is personified in the movie Peter Pan by the children’s Guardian dogs “Nana” he barked and barked to try and warn the parents that their children were disappearing at the bedroom window.
They are generally good with other pets are due to their large size need careful training and socialisation so they understand what is expected of them.

Care and Grooming
Newfoundland’s have a dense dual coat and on puppies is especially woolly requiring daily brushing. A bristle brush will be useless in trying to penetrate its the coat and a pin brush is needed. The coats are naturally oily as part of their waterproofing so don’t use this as a reason to Bath them. Bath them only when their fur or skin is clearly dirty or otherwise you will strip their fur of its natural oils causing their skins overproduce it.  Needless to say, bathing a large long-haired dual coated dog is no small task so consider a dog grooming service.

Adult Newfoundlands require less brushing, once or twice a week should be fine.

In spring they will shed much of their sick undercoat and will leave hair everywhere to during this time it is highly recommended that you brush them daily if you wish to avoid excess fur everywhere.

Exercsie Requirements
their large size means they are certainly not likely to enjoy the vigourous exercise regime demanded by breeds such as border Collies.  Indeed many a Newfoundland would be more than happy to laze around the yard.

A daily walk however is needed to ensure they stay reasonably fit and healthy without excessive weight gain.  If there is a pond, late or beach along all walking route, expect your Newfoundland to take full advantage of it.  They were bred to swim and love to do it.

There are cold weather dogs so vigourous activity during the heat of the Australian summer day should never be done. If you live in a very hot climate consider giving them shaved during the hotter times if they are a pet rather than a show dog.

Bred to work dark generally healthy breed. In Australia the Newfoundland breeding community is very diligent in only including the highest quality are specimens in their breeding programs the result being the majority puppies are very healthy, strong with good skeletal structures and temperaments.  Nevertheless it’s very important that this breed to view the parents, get details of their health and get elbow and hip scores.

As with all the massive fast-growing breeds, fast-growing puppy bones and joints are very susceptible to damage the they should not be heavily exercised until they are at least two years of age.

As a fast-growing breed is also very important to ensure they have a well balanced diet to ensure they receive all the proteins the muscle, calcium for strong bones, environment and minerals for their general health. Your Newfoundland breeder will likely be a wealth of information regarding diet that will ensure the best development and continued health of your Newfoundland, certainly speak to them about what they feed their breeding dogs.

Considering their size, they are fairly long lived with lifespans averaging 10 to 12 years.

Suitability as Pet
Newfoundland are a lovely dogs and make wonderful pets. That said they are massive, they not particularly active in their long coat brings with it some challenges.  If you are looking for a giant gentle companion dog certainly they are wonderful in this role.  If you are looking for an active dog to go for runs with you – choose another breed.

As in all cases ownership of a massive dog brings with it massive responsibility.  They must be well-trained socialised for the safety and well-being of everyone.  The Newfoundland is one of the calmest and gentlest of all dogs let alone the molosser breeds but to ignore its power because of this would be a mistake.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.