Newfoundland: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

Among the characteristics of the Newfoundland dog, its extraordinary calm, temperate and serene character stands out. This dog expresses kindness, loyalty, and sweetness. With a large, compact and strong body, it is very popular for its genuine gentleness and willingness to help and assist. At Petlifey, we explain everything about the Newfoundland breed.

Character of the Newfoundland breed

The Newfoundland is a generous, peaceful and intelligent dog. Extraordinarily patient, loving, devoted, and loyal to its family members.

Their attitude towards strangers, visitors, and other dogs is also usually very cordial. It likes to feel integrated into a group, so it has a very tolerant demeanour.

It never shows signs of enmity, unless someone shows intentions to attack or wants to exercise excessive possession over the other members of the group, because in that case it is capable of defending its own with great bravery.

For example, with children it is a true charm, since, patient, playful and affectionate, it soon becomes an inseparable companion of the little ones and a perfect accomplice of their most varied adventures.

In reality, for many people this breed represents the paradigm of balance in a dog, as it rarely barks or gets nervous.

But despite having this friendly temperament with everyone, the Newfoundland can also become a good guardian and defender of their family and their home.

Its tactic is not to physically assault or bite an approaching stranger with malicious intent, but rather to immobilize them with its strength until the right person takes over.

This tremendous strength and its large size make it preferable to live in a large house and with adequate land so that the animal can move freely.

But despite everything, the Newfoundland’s personality means that it can adapt well to living anywhere, even in a small apartment in the center of the city.

But it must be taken into account, for example, that it spreads a good amount of water after drinking and that it produces a lot of drool, more abundant even than in other breeds, which can cause deep headaches to those who have it living indoors.

It can sleep in the open air without problems, especially in temperate countries, but that does not mean that it can be left isolated all day, since it sorely needs the company of its family to be happy.

  • Energy: medium level. It is a calm dog with slow and deliberate movements.
  • Temperament: cheerful, creative, serene, gentle and very dignified, it shows great kindness and sweetness. It is docile, calm and faithful.
  • Adaptability: high. It adapts to living anywhere but it is a bit “dirty” because it releases a lot of drool and its shedding is very abundant.
  • Sociability: high. It is very affectionate with its family, whose contact is vital to them, but also with other dogs and strangers.
  • Health: normal. Despite its size, it is not very prone to serious conditions.
  • Longevity: medium. Live 10 to 12 years.
  • Utility: versatile. Auxiliary of fishermen, today it is easier to find them doing rescue work or as a companion animal.
  • Use: fishing assistant, sledding, rescue and company.

Characteristics of the Newfoundland

Among all the physical characteristics of the Newfoundland dog, it stands out that it is very large in size and has a very robust, solid and heavy body.

This dog has a rather rectangular body constitution, especially in the case of females, which are less massive than males.

The length of the body, measured from the chest to the buttock, is greater than the height at the withers. Let’s see in more detail what the Newfoundland looks like and the breed standard :

  • General appearance: the Newfoundland is a dog of a very large size, with a strong, solid, compact body endowed with powerful muscles and robust bones. Its movements are slow but very well coordinated.
  • Size: very large.
  • Height at the withers: between 67 and 71 cm for males and between 60 and 66 cm for females.
  • Weight: between 64 and 68 kg for males and between 50 and 54 kg for females.
  • Origin: Canada.
  • Other names: Newfoundland / Terre-neuve / Neufundlánder.
  • Body: large and vigorous seen in profile, the upper body line is firm and straight from the withers to the rump, and the bone structure is very solid and massive.
  • Head: large and solid, although a little less compact in females.
  • Skull: broad, slightly arched at the top, and has a well-developed occipital bone.
  • Muzzle: square, deep and moderately short, without wrinkles and covered by short, fine hair. The corners of the lips are apparent, but not too pronounced and the lips are soft.
  • Nose: wide and well pigmented, with highly developed nostrils. In black dogs and in black and white dogs, the nose is black, but in brown ones it is pigmented in the same color.
  • Eyes: a little sunken and relatively small, they are well separated and are dark brown (in black and black and white dogs) or a lighter shade (in brown dogs).
  • Ears: they are rather small, compared to the general size of the dog, triangular and with rounded edges. They are located backwards on both sides of the head and lie close to the cheeks. Extended forward, they reach the inner corner of the eye on the same side of the head.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): it is well visible, but without being abrupt.
  • Jaws: the bite is uniform, scissor-shaped.
  • Neck: strong, muscular and well set on the shoulders. In addition, it is long enough to allow a distinguished bearing of the head and, although it has a double chin, it is not excessive.
  • Chest: broad, deep and spacious, the ribs are very well sprung and the lower line of the body almost uniform, not raised.
  • Back: broad, with a strong and very muscular back, and the croup, which is also broad, slopes at an angle of about 30º.
  • Forelimbs: they are straight and parallel, even when the dog walks or executes a slow trot. The shoulders are very muscular and oblique. With respect to the forearms and arms, under straight limbs, the pasterns appear slightly inclined. Its elbows are very close to the chest.
  • Hind limbs: they are strong, as they provide great momentum when the dog is dragging heavy loads, swimming or covering a lot of ground. And its structure is very robust , with a strong, wide and long pelvis. They sometimes have dewclaws, but these are usually removed in countries that allow amputation. Their legs are strong and quite long, they have wide and muscular thighs. The knees are well angled, but not so much as to give the impression that the dog is crouching. The hocks are relatively short and quite low, set apart and parallel to each other. They do not deviate either inward or outward.
  • Feet: large, rounded and compact, they have a very thick and consistent membrane that gives them a certain appearance of a fin, like the feet of ducks, and allows the dog to swim with momentum.
  • Tail: strong and thick at the base, it is long, reaching up to the hock or even a little lower. When the dog is at rest, it carries it down, sometimes forming a slight curve at the tip, but when the dog is in motion or on alert it takes it straight up, in some cases with a slight curve. It never wears it curled on the back or tucked between the hind limbs. It is well covered with long and very dense hair.
  • Hair: it is double-layered and very resistant to water. The moderately long outer coat has straight or slightly wavy hair, but no curls, and the undercoat is soft and dense, especially in winter, but is always abundant on the rump and chest. The hair on the head, muzzle and ears is short and fine, while the front and rear limbs are fringed. The tail is also completely covered with long, dense hair.
  • Color: there are three possible coats: black , sometimes with a slight tan or some white markings; the black and white , with a black head and a white list up to the muzzle, and the chestnut , which goes from brown to bronze.
  • Movement: the front limbs have a good reach and it is the hind limbs that give a strong impulse, denoting ease and strength. The back shows a slight natural sway that decreases as speed increases, but the upper back line remains straight.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 50 GROUP 2 – Pinscher and Schnauzer, Molossian, and Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs – Section 2 Molossian.

Newfoundland Puppies

If you are considering the adoption or purchase of a Newfoundland puppy, you should know certain aspects.

Since they are small they need a firm training and, above all, full of patience, since the breed has a somewhat slow maturation, of about two years.

It is important to socialize them from the beginning. That they get used to being in other places, hearing other noises and having contact with other dogs and animals. In this way, a balanced and sociable adult specimen will be achieved.

In the same way, it is necessary for them to be active and exercise, but always without forcing it as this could harm their proper development and growth.

Education and training of the Newfoundland breed

Oddly enough, the training and education of the Newfoundland is neither an easy job nor is it available to anyone. You have to have a very high dose of patience and great perseverance to achieve satisfactory results.

It is due, above all, to the mental immaturity that this animal shows until it reaches two years of age. Thus, the essential virtues that your guide or trainer should have are firmness, consistency, calm and confidence.

If you can work with these premises and following a coherent and pre-established plan, the results can be magnificent and even astonishing.

This dog likes to be part of the family and to feel that it plays a certain role within it, so it is very important to include it in all activities undertaken in the family nucleus.

It can participate in many of them and even in some dog sports, although the speed of other breeds cannot be demanded of them, and it becomes an especially good companion for active people who like to go out to the field or the beach accompanied by your pet.

But where it gives its best is, of course, in those activities in which water is an essential part, because in this environment this dog feels like a fish in water, never better.

Due to its calm personality, there is the possibility that it will become lazy, so it must be forced to exercise daily, including swimming as a regular routine in its work plan whenever possible.

As well as a long daily walk, even better if it is provided by more than one of the family members, because during this walk the hierarchy strata are reinforced and the animal learns to walk at the height of its guide, or a step by behind, and not to go pulling uncontrollably, since its strength is so great that it would be absolutely impossible to control it.

Feeding of the Newfoundland breed

An adult Newfoundland is a frugal animal that does not need much more daily food than, for example, a Labrador Retriever.

Even so, to safeguard their health it is essential to prevent them from getting fat, as the breed is already very heavy.

Similarly, the Newfoundland needs a diet rich in protein and healthy fats to maintain its strong structure and the properties of its coat.

Fortunately, both in specialized pet stores and on the Internet, you can find dog food of this type without any problem.

Newfoundland health and diseases

Many giant breeds are prone to a large number of diseases directly related to their imposing physique.

The Newfoundland, on the other hand, is quite healthy and can live for more than 10 years in perfect health.

In summary, it is a majestic and imposing dog but at the same time stoic and calm with which it is very pleasant and comfortable to live, since its temperament is calm, friendly, affectionate and docile.

Its movements seem to run in slow motion and its character is sweet and sociable, so life with them is pleasant and calm.

Specific care of the Newfoundland breed

The Newfoundland has a rich and very abundant coat that needs to receive certain periodic care if it is desired to keep it in perfect condition so that the virtues of this beautiful breed are extolled.

Newfoundland breed arrangement


Fundamental and basic routine of grooming the Newfoundland, brushing should be done at least twice a week if you want to avoid the formation of knots and if you want to remove dead hair, something that is especially appreciated in the case of dogs that live in the interior of the house, since its coat is so dense and abundant that the changes can become a real nightmare if the proper maintenance is not done.

First a rake or a king coat type tool should be used to work the undercoat well, trying to reach the roots, and then you can continue combing the covering layer with a long metal brush, trying to open and air the hair to the maximum, so that with the help of the hands any possible knot is undone.

The areas where the hair is shorter, such as the face and legs, are worked with a metallic card brushing against the grain.

It is important never to brush when the dog has completely dry hair, but it is advisable to apply a little water spray or a specific moisturizing product that facilitates this work.


When the animal is very dirty, it must be given a good bath. It should be taken into account that, due to its size and weight, this task is not easy at all, so it may be necessary to involve two people in some of the specific jobs.

You must use a specific shampoo for dogs that does not alter the natural pH of their skin and hair. If the animal goes outside a lot or goes swimming frequently, it is advisable that this shampoo contains an antiparasitic formulation that helps keep the Newfoundland free of unwanted hosts.

Likewise, you can apply a suitable conditioner for the type of hair of this breed, with which a spectacular finish is achieved. It is very important to make sure that no soap residue remains after rinsing the dog. Otherwise, some peeling or other skin problems could appear later.

The time of the bath is ideal to check the state of the nails and cut them if necessary, taking care not to reach the fleshy part. Finally, to dry the dog at first you can use paper and towels. Then use a powerful air ejector or a good dryer, since the dog is very large and its coat is very long and dense, so it retains a lot of water.


The arrangement of the Newfoundland is not very complex, as this dog does not need major aesthetic touch-ups beyond a superficial work to highlight its body volumes. First, with scissors, trim the excess fringes from the ventral area, the tail and the legs, trying to give the dog a solid appearance of uniformity.

Then the part of the neck is levelled, lowering a little if the coat is very profuse, and the excess hair of the ears is trimmed.

Sometimes, to reduce the impression of heaviness and to highlight the shape of the neck and its insertion on the shoulders, it is necessary to trim the hair in this area (back of the neck and shoulders) with the help of the king coat or by using thinning scissors.

Finally, with scissors to sculpt first and a few flat ones later, all the excess hair is trimmed and the feet and hands are given the typical rounded shape of the breed.

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