Newfoundland Dog Breed

By: Chewy EditorialPublished:


Newfoundland Dog Breed

About the Newfoundland Dog Breed

Newfoundlands originated from the island of their namesake in the 19th century. They were used primarily for pulling nets and boat lines and were bred to further enhance their abilities. Because of their excellent swimming abilities, they were eventually used to help in the rescues of drowning fisherman. The Newfoundland has become a popular family dog as it has always had a winning personality.

Newfoundland Physical Characteristics

The Newfoundland is a massive, or giant breed. They have a massive head with lips that are droopy. The ears are drop and the tail is bushy and carried low.


Newfoundlands aremost commonly seen in black, brown, black and white, and gray.


The Newfoundland’s outer coat is coarse, thick, and water resistant, while the undercoat is dense and softer to the touch.

Newfoundland Personality and Temperament

Activity Level



As they are affectionate, Newfoundlands make great family dogs, especially for families with children. If the family likes to swim or lives near water then the Newfoundland will be in heaven. They make good watchdogs and are loyal toward their families.

Things to Consider

Because of their heavy coat of hair, Newfoundlands need to be groomed on a regular basis and most are big droolers.

Newfoundland Care

Ideal Living Conditions

Newfoundlands do well in the country or city, as long as they are exercised daily and can swim on a regular basis.

Special Requirements

Newfoundlands need to be exercised daily and groomed regularly.

Newfoundland Health

The following conditions are commonly seen in Newfoundlands:

Newfoundland History and Background

As the name suggests, the Newfoundlander hails from the coast of Newfoundland, where it was a popular working dog — both on land and water. There are no records to support the breed’s true beginnings, though it is generally assumed that the Newfoundland can be traced to the Tibetan Mastiff. Amongst its chores, the Newfie would carry heavy loads for its masters as draft and pack animals, tow lines from ship to land in choppy seas as ship dogs, and rescue errant swimmers.

The Newfie was so accomplished in its ability to save the drowning that at one time they were required at lifeguard stations along the British coast. Indeed, to this day, they are remarked upon for being watchful of swimmers, for not allowing their people to go too deep, and for pulling people back to shore when they have gone too far.

As techniques go, the Newfoundlander has an intuitive sense of how to save the drowning. It allows itself to be held onto if the person is conscious, or if unconscious, it grips the person by the upper arm, so that the body rolls onto its back, head out of water, and tows it back to shore. The Newfie’s web feet and swimming technique make it an exceptional swimmer. Rather than swimming in the usual “doggie paddle” it does the breast stroke.

So common was the breed as a ship companion that historians note its role in saving the life of Napoleon Bonaparte when he fell into the dark sea on his return to France from Elba. Often, the only way ships could get to land when the sea was too choppy to cross was to send a Newfie to swim with a small boat or line.

Their work on land was just as impressive. Their powerful muscles could pull great loads for long distances, and they could work independently, with teams, and with or without human guidance. Noted tasks include hauling lumber, delivering mail, and transporting foods. The Newfoundlander could accomplish tasks that were difficult for both man and beast. History notes that a Newfoundlander named Scannon accompanied Americans Lewis and Clark during their expedition to the Pacific Northwest.

The Newfoundlander was given its name in 1775, when enthusiast George Cartwright applied the name. The “Landseer” Newfoundland, or the white and black variety, was given its name in homage to artist Sir Edwin Landseer, who often featured the black and white Newfoundlander in his paintings.

The most famous Newfoundlander worldwide is perhaps Nana, the nurse dog for the Darling family in the story of Peter Pan.

By: Chewy Editorial


By: Chewy EditorialPublished:

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