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A typical black Newfoundland
Nicknames Newf, Newfie, The Gentle Giant, Blackbear.
Country of origin Canada / England
Weight Male 75–80 kg (157–176 lb)
Female 60–70 kg (132–154 lb)
Height Male 75 cm (30 in)
Female 68 cm (27 in)
Coat Thick and straight
Color Black, brown or black-and-white patches ("Landseer")
Litter size 4–12 pups
Life span 8–13 years
A Newfoundland dog lying next to its combed-out seasonal undercoat.

The Newfoundland is a large dog that can be black, brown, gray, or black and white (Landseer). They were originally bred and used as a working dog for fishermen in Newfoundland, Canada. They are famously known for their giant size and tremendous strength, sweet dispositions, and loyalty. Newfoundland dogs excel at water rescue, due to their great muscles and their webbed feet and acute swimming abilities. Newfoundland dogs require daily (possibly every 2 days) brushing with a hard brush. Newfoundland puppies are laid-back and considered easy to housebreak.The breed is thought to be the strongest of any dog breed—even beating some characteristics of the Great Dane, Mastiff, or Irish Wolfhound.[1]




Newfoundlands ('Newfs' or 'Newfies') have webbed feet and a water-resistant coat.[2] Males weigh 60–70 kg (130-150 lb), and females 45–55 kg (100-120 lb), placing them in the "Giant" weight range. Some Newfoundland dogs have been known to weigh over 90 kg (200 lb). The largest Newfoundland on record weighed 120 kg (260 lbs) and measured over 6 feet from nose to tail, ranking it among the biggest Mastiffs and St. Bernards. They may grow up to 22-28 inches tall at the shoulder.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) standard colors of the Newfoundland dogs are black, brown, gray, and landseer (black or brown head and white and black body); The Kennel Club (KC) permits only black, brown, and landseer; the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) permanents are only black and landseer. The Landseer is named after the artist Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, who featured them in many of his paintings. AKC, CKC, and KC all treat Landseer as part of the breed. Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) consider the Landseer to be a separate breed; others consider it only a Newfoundland color variation.

The Newfoundland's extremely large bones give him mass, while his mammoth musculature gives him the power he needs to take on rough ocean waves and powerful tides. He has an enormous lung capacity for swimming extremely long distances, and a thick, oily and waterproof double coat which protects him from the chill of icy waters. His droopy lips and jowls make the dog drool, but the purpose of his design gives passageways that allow him to breathe even when his mouth is full and swamped by waves.

In the water, his massive webbed paws gives the Newfoundland another advantage, giving him maximum propulsion with every stroke. The stroke is not an ordinary dog paddle. Unlike other dogs, the Newfoundland moves his limbs in a down-and-out motion, which can be seen as a modified breaststroke. This gives him more power with every stroke.


The Newfoundland dog is legendarily known for its benevolence and strength. It is known to be one of the kindest and gentlest of all dogs.[3][4] It is for this reason that this breed is known as "the gentle giant". International kennel clubs generally describe the breed as having a sweet temper.[2][5][6] It has a deep bark, is easy to train, makes a fine guardian or watchdog, and is extremely good with children.[7]

The Newfoundland dog is also extremely good with other animals. Its caring and gentle nature comes out in play and interaction with humans and animals alike. As with any breed, the Newfoundland can have dominance issues, but this is unusual for the breed. "Sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of the Newfoundland; this is the most important single characteristic of the breed." - Newfoundland Club Of America.[8]

"Its soft expression reflects its benevolent and dignified temperament." - Animal Planet about the great Newfoundland Dog.[9]


Newfoundland Dog Stamp

There are several health problems associated with Newfoundlands. Newfoundlands are prone to hip dysplasia (a malformed ball and socket in the hip joint). They also get Elbow dysplasia, and cystinuria (a hereditary defect that forms calculi stones in the bladder). Another genetic problem is subvalvular aortic stenosis. This is a common heart defect in Newfoundlands involving defective heart valves. SAS can cause sudden death at an early age.


Newfoundland dogs are well-known for their jolly, light-hearted nature.

The Newfoundland shares many unmistakable characteristics with the St. Bernard and English mastiff, including a short, stout legs, massive heads with very broad snouts, a thick bull neck, and a very sturdy bone structure. These features are likely the result of a shared ancestry from the Alpine mastiff. The breed originated in Newfoundland and is descended from a breed indigenous to the island that later became known as the St. John's Dog. The speculation they may be partly descended from the big black bear dogs introduced by the Vikings in 1001 A.D.[6] is based more in romance than in fact. It is more likely that their size results from the introduction of the Saint Bernard, which was brought to the island by many generations of Portuguese fishermen and later crossed with the St. John's dog to create the modern Newfoundland breed . By the time colonization was permitted in 1610, the distinct physical characteristics and mental attributes had been established in the breed. In the early 1880s fishermen and explorers from Ireland and England traveled to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, where they described two main types of working dog. One was heavily built, large with a longish coat, and the other medium-sized in build - an active, smooth-coated water dog. The heavier breed was known as the Greater Newfoundland, or Newfoundland. The smaller breed was known as the Lesser Newfoundland, or St. John's Dog - the founding breed of the modern Labrador Retriever. Both breeds were used as working dogs to pull fish nets, with the Greater Newfoundland also being used to haul carts, and other equipment.

Many tales have been told of the courage displayed by Newfoundlands in adventuring and lifesaving exploits. Over the last two centuries, this has inspired a number of artists, who have portrayed the dogs in paint, stone, bronze and porcelain. One famous Newfoundland was a dog named Seaman, who accompanied American explorers Lewis and Clark on their expedition.

The breed prospered in the United Kingdom, until 1914 and again in 1939, when its numbers were almost fatally depleted by wartime restrictions. Since the 1950s there has been a steady increase in numbers and popularity, despite the fact that the Newfoundland's great size, appetite, and fondness for mud and water makes it unsuitable as a pet for most households.[10]


An 8-weeks Newfoundland puppy

During the Discovery Channel's second day of coverage of the AKC Eukanuba National Championship on December 3, 2006, anchor Bob Goen reported that Newfoundlands exhibit a very strong propensity to rescue people from water. Goen stated that one Newfoundland alone once aided the rescue of 63 shipwrecked sailors. Today, kennel clubs across the United States host Newfoundland Rescue Demonstrations, as well as offering classes in the field.

In 1832, Ann Harvey of Isle aux Morts, her father, and a Newfoundland Dog named Hairyman saved over 180 Irish immigrants from the wreck of the brig Dispatch.

In the early 1900s, a dog that is thought to have been a Newfoundland saved 92 people who were on a sinking ship in Newfoundland during a blizzard. The dog retrieved a rope thrown out into the turbulent waters by those on deck, and brought the rope to shore to people waiting on the beach. A breeches buoy was attached to the rope, and all those aboard the ship were able to get across to the shore.

An unnamed Newfoundland is also credited for saving Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815. During his famous escape from exile on the island of Elba, rough seas knocked Napoleon overboard. A fisherman's dog jumped into the sea, and kept Napoleon afloat until he could reach safety.

Further evidence of Newfoundlands' ability to rescue or support life saving activities was cited in a recent article by the BBC.[11]


Certain Newfoundlands are known to drool in excess, especially in warmer climates or on hot days.

"The man they had got now was a jolly, light-hearted, thick-headed sort of a chap, with about as much sensitiveness in him as there might be in a Newfoundland puppy. You might look daggers at him for an hour and he would not notice it, and it would not trouble him if he did." Jerome K. Jerome Three Men in a Boat

"Newfoundland dogs are good to save children from drowning, but you must have a pond of water handy and a child, or else there will be no profit in boarding a Newfoundland." Josh Billings

"A man is not a good man to me because he will feed me if I should be starving, or warm me if I should be freezing, or pull me out of a ditch if I should ever fall into one. I can find you a Newfoundland dog that will do as much." Henry David Thoreau Walden

"Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man, without his Vices. This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the Memory of Boatswain, a Dog." George Gordon, Lord Byron, Epitaph to a Dog.

"That boat, Rover by name, which, though now in strange seas, had often pressed the beach of Captain Delano's home, and, brought to its threshold for repairs, had familiarly lain there, as a Newfoundland dog; the sight of that household boat evoked a thousand trustful associations..." Herman Melville Benito Cereno

Famous Newfoundlands

Statue of York and Seaman on Quality Hill in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Adam - Seaward's Blackbeard - 1984 Best in Show winner at the Westminster Dog Show
  • Boatswain - pet of English poet Lord Byron and the subject of his poem Epitaph to a Dog
  • Bilbo - lifeguard at sennon cove beach in Cornwall
  • Brumus - Robert F. Kennedy's dog
  • Brutus- first dog to complete the Appalachian Mountain Club's "Winter 48", climbing all 48 peaks in one calendar winter
  • Canton and Sailor - A female and male pup aboard a foundering British ship in Maryland that were bred with retrievers to form the Chesapeake Bay Retriever [12]
  • Carlo - Emily Dickinson's dog
  • Faithful - First dog of President Ulysses S. Grant[13]
  • Frank - Unofficial mascot of the Orphan Brigade during the American Civil War[14]
  • Gander Canadian war hero dog who saved the lives of many soldiers in the second world war in Hong Kong Island.[15]
  • Hector - First dog of President Rutherford B. Hayes[13]
  • Josh - Darbydale's All Rise Pouchcove - 2004 Best in Show winner at the Westminster Dog Show
  • Lara - First dog of President James Buchanan[13]
  • Mother Teresa - The major canine character in the movie Must Love Dogs
  • Murphy- The main canine character in the children's illustrated story book, The Newf and The Dane, 2003
  • Nana- Pet of the Darling family in the play Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
  • Pilot - pet of Edward Fairfax Rochester in Jane Eyre - first described in chapter 12
  • Pluto - pet of the Croatian operatic soprano Ilma de Murska, which used to dine at table with her and was trained to eat a cooked fowl from a place setting without dripping gravy on the tablecloth.[16] Pluto lived in the 1860s.
  • Porthos - pet of J. M. Barrie
  • Robbe - dog of Richard Wagner who accompanied him on his flight from his creditors from Riga on a fishing boat, which inspired the opera The Flying Dutchman.[17]
  • Russ - last dog of Richard Wagner, buried at the feet of his master in the composer's tomb in the park of Villa Wahnfried in Bayreuth, under his own plaque: "Here rests and watches Wagner's Russ."
  • Sable Chief - mascot of Royal Newfoundland Regiment
  • Sgt. Gander the Mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada who was killed in action at the Battle of Hong Kong when he carried a grenade away from wounded soldiers. For this he was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal retroactively in 2000
  • Seaman - pet of Meriwether Lewis
  • Jack - national champion and gold medalist, resident of Cary, North Carolina. In an attempt to gain media attention, local residents insisted that he was even the most beautiful dog in the world.
  • Sirius - dog of Maggie in the book Star in the Storm
  • Skipper- Billy Topsail's dog in Norman Duncan's The Adventures of Billy Topsail.
  • Thunder- from the book Thunder from the Sea
  • Thunder- The Nadeau's Family Dog
  • Jim (Effrijim)- from the book You Slay Me (Aisling Grey Series)
  • Swansea Jack- Often mistaken for a flat-coated retriever as the Newfoundland breed has gotten much larger


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Newfoundland Breed Standard The Kennel Club, 'Exceptionally gentle, docile nature' .. 'webbed' ... 'oily nature, water-resistant'
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Newfoundland Breed Standard American Kennel Club, 'a sweet-dispositioned dog that acts neither dull nor ill-tempered' ... 'Sweetness of temperament'
  6. ^ a b CKC Breed Standards Canadian Kennel Club, 'The Newfoundlands? their expression is soft and reflects the character of the breed—benevolent, intelligent, dignified but capable of fun. He is known for his sterling gentleness and serenity'
  7. ^ "They are very kind dogs, but even though they are that kind and gentle, they can protect their family if needed." NDCC
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Beach rescue dog alerts swimmer, August 23, 2007, BBC.
  12. ^ - Retrieved November 15, 2007
  13. ^ a b c - - first dogs - Retrieved November 15, 2007
  14. ^ Civil War Company Mascots
  15. ^
  16. ^

External links

Simple English

The Newfoundland is a large breed of dog that originated in Newfoundland. They were first used by fisherman and sailors to carry goods and would jump overboard to save people from drowning. Newfoundlands are great swimmers because of their waterproof fur, their webbed feet and their strong muscles.[1][2]

The Newfoundland is a very large dog breed, standing 26–28 inches (66–71 cm) and weighing 100–150 pounds (45–68 kg).[1] The largest Newfoundland found was 72 inches (180 cm) long and weighed 160 pounds (73 kg).[3] Their fur is usually long and a black, brown or gray color.[1] Their facial hair is very short. The head is very large and the face is smooth with few wrinkles.[4] The ears are long, wide and reaches below the jaw.[2] The neck is strong and muscular.[4] The Newfoundland's chest is large and wide with a large lung capacity.[1][4] Because Newfoundlands are excellent swimmers, their thighs are very strong and muscular and their feet are tight. Their tail is very strong and is important for them to swim well.[4]

Newfoundlands can suffer from a lot of health problems. They are the 5th most likely breed to have hip dysplasia.[5] Newfoundlands can have problems with cystinuria in a similar way to humans.[6] Newfoundlands can inherit Subvalvular aortic stenosis, a trait which hurts the heart.[7]

Newfoundlands are known to be very gentle and loyal dogs.[3][4] Because of their protective nature for children,[3] Newfoundlands have been used a watchdogs.[1] Because of it's thick fur, owners need to brush a Newfoundlands fur once a week.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Newfoundland". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Newfoundland". Britannica Online for Kids. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Dogs 101: Newfoundland". Animal Planet. 2008-10-28. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Newfoundland". Canadian Kennel Club. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  5. Jones, Gary (2004). Veterinary Advice on Hip Dysplasia in Dogs. Veterinary Advice on Hip Dysplasia in Dogs (illustrated ed.). Interpet. pp. 4. ISBN 1860542271. 
  6. Ostrander, Elaine (2007). Elaine Ostrander, Urs Giger , Kerstin Lindblad-Toh. ed. The Dog and Its Genome. Cold Spring Harbor Monograph. 44. CSHL Press. pp. 355. ISBN 0879697814. 
  7. [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "The genetics and pathology of discrete subaortic stenosis in the Newfoundland dog"]. American Heart Journal (Mosby) 92 (3). 1976. ISSN 0002-8703. PMID 986114. 
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