(Nicknames: Newf, Newfie, The Gentle Giant, Blackbear)
The Newfoundland is a giant dog with a very robust and sturdy build, and a handsome face. These dogs have an alert and intelligent expression. His coat is coarse, dense, and flat, and has an oily feel, as it is water resistant. He also has distinctive webbed feet. The coloring of the Newfoundland is commonly black or white with black patches. Some may be brown or gray, but this is far less common. The weight of the Newfoundland is around 100-130 pounds for females, and around 125-150 pounds for males. The height of these dogs is around 26-28 inches for females, and 28-33 inches for males.
A sweet natured, calm, and loyal dog, the Newfoundland is an excellent choice for a family pet, suiting both inexperienced and experienced dog owners. These giant dogs are docile and mild manners, carrying themselves with dignity and offering plenty of love, devotion, and affection. This is a very intelligent and responsive breed, and training should not prove too difficult. The Newfoundland is a dog that is eager to please his owner, although males may be a little more stubborn than females. Too large to fare well as an apartment dog, this breed enjoys space in which to play and exercise, and should be provided with a large, secured, and safe area. He loves water, and will be happy to go for a swim at any time. Regular walks are recommended in order to help this gentle giant keep fit.
The Newfoundland is a very friendly and sociable breed, but some lines can be dominant or overly timid, and therefore early socialization is required. The Newfoundland thrives on affection and attention from his owners, and is not the dog for you if you do not have the time to commit to a pet. These dogs do drool a lot, and this is something to consider when thinking about taking on this breed. The Newfoundland gets along very well with children, and will also get along with other pets, although some can be aggressive with same sex dogs. This sweet natured and patient dog will also welcome strangers. However, he can still make an effective watchdog simply because of his bark and his size.
Although the coat of the Newfoundland only needs to be brushed a couple of times a week for the most part, he will need to be brushed on a daily basis at times when he is shedding more heavily. This is a dog that sheds all year round, but in the spring and autumn he sheds profusely. Because of his heavy shedding he is not the best choice of allergy sufferers.
The Newfoundland breed was developed in Newfoundland, a province in Canada. They were likely developed from the Labrador dogs, also a Canadian breed, crossing with the large breeds brought by the British and French, such as the Great Pyrenees and Tibetan Mastiffs. This is logical as the breed is similar in appearance to the Great Pyrenees but more like the Labrador in both swimming ability and coloration.
Originally used as a fishing dog used to haul nets and lines into shore. In addition they were also used to retrieve things from the water that feel off the boats. Over time they developed into excellent water rescue dogs and are still used for this today. The webbed feet and the heavy coat and skeletal structure of the breed made it large enough and strong enough to tolerate the icy Atlantic waters off the coast of Newfoundland.
On land the dog was used to haul carts, protect the farmyard as well as provide companionship and as a pack dog on long treks. Since they are so devoted to their owners they rarely strayed away or left their owners side, making them ideal working dogs. As setters moved in and out of Newfoundland they took their dogs with them, and the breed is now relatively popular throughout Canada, the United States and most of Europe.
Currently the Newfoundland is used mostly as a companion breed although they are currently active in search and rescue operations as well as obedience, draft and water trial events.
The Newfoundland does best with slow paced, repetitive training that focuses on positive achievement. While not a rapid learner they will make steady progress and once they have mastered a command they will rarely if ever forget it. The Newfoundland is very sensitive to the owner or handlers tone of voice and should never be yelled at or punished during training. A simple "no" or removing attention for a few minutes is all that is needed to correct the breed.
Since they are a very large dog, even as a puppy, it is important to provide them with the right type of area for training. They should be working on a floor that is carpeted or outside, never on highly slippery or polished surfaces. Remember that while puppies are growing they may be somewhat uncoordinated and clumsy and will need some additional time to get their bodies organized before they can sit, stand or lie down on command. Avoid rushing the puppy in commands or pushing or pulling on their legs or hips for any reason.
When training the Newfoundland it is always easier to start very young before the puppy gets to full size. It is also critical to keep in mind that these dogs need to be kept out of the intense heat so try to restrict training periods to short periods of time in the cool of the day. They seem to learn best with three or more short training periods per day rather than one long training time.
Always end training times with some positive interactions. This breed tends to bond very strongly with the whole family but typically learns best when taught the commands until they are mastered by one person rather than everyone in the family. Once trained this dog can easily be controlled by younger children once they have been taught how to work with the dog. Occasionally males can be somewhat aggressive to other males so early neutering is recommended for safety and temperament reasons.
As with most other giant breeds, the life expectancy of the Newfoundland is far shorter than that of smaller dogs, and these dogs live to around ten years of age. There are a number of problems associated with this breed, and this includes bloat, SAS, entropion, thyroid problems, ectropion, OCD, HD, heart problems, allergies, skin conditions, and heatstroke in humid or hot conditions. The parents of the Newfoundland puppy should have OFA certificates.