Newfoundlands are large dogs covered in a heavy coat that protects them from the icy waters in their native land. Their flat, double coats are water resistant. The outer coat is moderately long, coarse, and straight or wavy, and the undercoat is dense and soft. Coat colors include brown, black, gray, and white and black. Their eyes are dark brown and their ears are fairly small and triangular. Newfoundlands range in size from 26 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 100 to 150 pounds.
They are calm, easygoing, and patient, but they will act protectively if they feel their family is being threatened.
These dogs are friendly and have a sweet disposition that makes them great pets for families with children. They are calm, easygoing, and patient, but they will act protectively if they feel their family is being threatened. Newfoundlands are equally at home on land and in the water.
Newfoundlands have a well-deserved reputation for saving lives. They've been known to rescue loved ones from drowning, fires, and other threats. This instinct to save lives is not taught in any training school; it is natural in the breed.
Newfoundlands are easygoing dogs that are fun and loving and make excellent family companions. They get along with all children, no matter how rambunctious they are, and they are very polite around and tolerant of strangers. They are happy cuddling on the couch, accompanying family members on hikes, or performing duties as a working dog.
These dogs are a perfect match for people who live in cooler climates and enjoy outdoorsy activities. Because of their love for the water, they are happiest when they have regular access to a lake or pool for swimming. They need daily exercise and enjoy a good romp in an enclosed yard, but they are intolerant of heat and should only be exercised in the mornings and evenings, when temperatures are lower. Additionally, these dogs should sleep inside with their family members.
Devoted and loyal, Newfoundlands need plenty of attention of affection. Without it, they will become lonely and depressed. These dogs should not be left alone for long periods or ignored.
Newfoundlands are at increased risk for a number of health conditions that are less common in other breeds. Some of these are related to the breed's large size, and most are manageable with early treatment. These dogs are at risk for heart disease, including subaortic stenosis and dilated cardiomyopathy, and they are also prone to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and other orthopedic problems. Additionally, OCD, gastric torsion, and epilepsy are known to affect this breed.
Certain eye diseases, such as entropion, ectropion, and cataracts, are fairly common in Newfoundlands, and the breed is at risk for von Willebrand's disease, a blood clotting disorder, and cystinuria, a genetic kidney defect that causes bladder stone formation. Also, some Newfoundlands are sensitive to anesthesia, and this must be considered before surgical or dental procedures.
Newfoundlands typically live up to 10 years, provided they receive plenty of exercise, routine veterinary care, and proper nutrition.
Newfoundlands are highly intelligent and easily trained. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, including praise, play, and food rewards, but care must be taken not to overdo it on the treats. Because of their large size, these dogs are at increased risk for orthopedic problems, and this risk is greatest in overweight and obese dogs.
Like most other breeds, these dogs tend to act out if neglected or bored. Chewing and other destructive behaviors can be prevented with training and adequate attention and stimulation. Fortunately, Newfoundlands are generally well behaved and are not known for misbehaving except under extreme circumstances. All individual dogs are different, though.
Socializing these dogs helps ensure they remain tolerant of unfamiliar people and animals, but the breed is generally friendly and outgoing. Still, participation in a puppy kindergarten class and regular walks to neighborhood businesses is beneficial.
Regular brushing of the Newfoundland's coat with a wire slicker brush and steel comb is important to maintain the breed's plush coat and reduce shedding. Brushing must be done at least every few days to prevent mats and tangles. During spring and fall shedding seasons, brushing daily is necessary to keep loose hair under control. Even with daily brushing, these dogs shed heavily and it may not always be possible to keep clothing and furniture completely free of hair.
Newfoundlands tend to drool and they are very messy eaters. Having a small towel on hand to wipe slobber and drool is helpful, and bathing may be necessary to wash away dried food and other debris from the coat. A gentle canine shampoo will effectively clean the coat without drying the skin or causing irritation.
The breed's teeth should be brushed daily with a canine toothpaste, and the nails should be trimmed every couple of weeks. The toenails should not be allowed to grow so long as to click on the floor when these dogs walk around. About once every week, the ears should be checked for wax accumulation and signs of infection. Drying of the ears is important after swimming to prevent bacterial and fungal growth.
Newfoundlands originated in Newfoundland, in the eastern part of Canada. Some people claim the breed descended from the Great Pyrenees and that it was brought to Canada from Europe by fishermen, but the Newfoundland's exact origin is unclear. Other breeds may also have been used to develop the Newfoundland.
These dogs were primarily used by fishermen to pull nets. They also hauled wood from forests, were used to power the bellows of blacksmiths, and performed other types of heavy labor. Able to work in extreme weather conditions and for long periods, these dogs were very popular for their working abilities.
Today, Newfoundlands are one of the most popular large breed dogs in the United States. They are kept primarily as companion animals, but some can be found competing in obedience, conformation, tracking, and agility trials, and in draft and water tests.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Newfoundland in 1886.