Newfoundland Dog Breed Facts & Information

They're big. They're fluffy. And they just want to cuddle. Newfoundlands are the biggest, friendliest dogs you may ever meet, and if you're looking for a great family dog, then these gentle giants may be the pup for you.

adult newfoundland dog
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If you've ever seen the Disney animated version of Peter Pan, then you might recognize one particular Newfoundland. Nana, the giant dog full of personality that watched over the Darling children in Peter Pan, is a Newfoundland, and she shows all the characteristic brains, sweetness, and caring nature that Newfoundlands are known for. These massive but gentle dogs are commonly referred to as "nanny dogs" thanks to their patient, watchful nature. So if a massive Newfoundland sounds like the hound for you, keep reading. We've collected all the information you need to know about this massive breed.

The basics

Newfoundland dog at home is laid out on the sofa.
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Standing between 26-28 inches tall and weighing 100-150 pounds, it'd be hard to miss a Newfoundland passing you by. These noble, massive dogs have broad shoulders, stout bodies, and large heads. Their big eyes and droopy jowls give these giant pups a sweet, almost soulful look, that betrays their kind and gentle nature.

Even though they are massive, Newfoundlands are actually one of the gentlest dog breeds. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club's breed standard for these dogs, their sweet disposition is one of the most notable features of the breed. Also, despite their size, they're relatively calm and low-energy, requiring only a moderate daily walk. Their temperament and their easy nature make Newfoundlands excellent family dogs, and they are especially good around children.

However, Newfoundlands have heavy fur, so they do better in cold and cool climates, and they don't do well in warm weather. Also, Newfoundlands are avid swimmers, and they love to jump in the water and paddle around.

The history

Side View Portrait Of Newfoundland Dog In Sea Against Sky
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Newfoundlands were named after the area that they come from. The breed was developed off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada in the 17th century. Settlers wanted to breed a dog that would be useful in the coastal climate and economy, so they developed a large, strong breed with a heavy coat and a love of the water. These dogs could help with fishing by pulling nets, and they could even be relied on to help rescue men in emergency situations. Newfoundlands are strong enough to pull a grown man out of the water, and their rescuing powers even became a legend throughout history. They were officially registered as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1886.

Newfoundland taking rescue float to victim.
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Newfoundlands even made companions to some famous names of history. Lewis and Clark actually brought a Newfoundland along with them named Seaman on the trek as a guard dog, hunter, and companion. Lord Byron famously kept a Newfoundland called Boatswain, and he wrote a glorious poem to his memory called, "Epitaph to a dog." And Robert Kennedy and his family had a Newfoundland named Brumus.

The personality

Boy (6-7) hugging black Newfoundland outdoors
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As we mentioned before, Newfoundlands are all about their personality. They are devoted, friendly, affectionate, and great with children. Newfoundlands love humans, so they need plenty of attention and affection. Newfoundlands are smart and eager to learn, so training them by using food as a reward leads to happy and obedient dogs. Newfoundlands love to live inside the house with their families, but they also enjoy outdoor activities like swimming, herding, and even cart pulling.

The appearance

Newfoundlands sitting in sand, California, USA
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Newfoundlands are huge dogs with heavy coats that you'll want to pet. Newfoundlands can be black, brown, gray, white and black, white and brown, and white and gray. Their coats are made up of a dense undercoat and a coarser, medium-length overcoat, so they need regular grooming. You can also expect more than average shedding and some drooling, along with all that affection and good-nature.

Being such huge dogs, it's not always easy to tell what the ideal weight looks like on a Newfoundland, and they can occasionally grow to be slightly overweight. Make sure you're feeding them a balanced diet and giving them plenty of exercise to manage their weight.

Newfoundland essential facts

My Two Newfoundland Dogs
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  • Personality: Gentle, Affectionate, Loyal
  • Energy Level: Moderate, needs moderate daily walks
  • Barking Level: Low
  • Shedding:_ _ Above average
  • Grooming:_ _ Above average, requires brushing at least weekly
  • Good with Children: Yes, extremely
  • Trainability:_ _ High
  • Height: 26-28"
  • Weight: 100-150 pounds
  • Life Expectancy:_ _ 8-10 years