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Photo with thanks to Charlene Walsh,

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Group Working Dogs (KC)

Origin / History The Newfoundland is one of the few breeds native to North America. It is named after a fishing province in Canada, where the dogs were originally bred for seafaring. The first Newfs retrieved objects from the water, pulled boats and fishing nets to shore, and were even trained to rescue drowning humans. Infact, these dogs are so adept in the sea that they have been dubbed the St. Bernard of the water.

Accounts from European voyagers suggest that they have been around since 1000 BC, although it was almost wiped out by Canadian legislation in the late 1700s. Newfs as we know them today are a product of re-establishment attempts by English breeders. Although they retained their remarkable lung capacity and physical strength, modern-day Newfs are favored as house companions as well as working dogs.

Appearance The Newfoundland has a strong, massive body with a broad head and short, squared muzzle. Its size is balanced out by deep-set eyes creating a soft, gentle expression. Their feet are noticeably webbed, which explains their unusual agility in the water.

Colours The coat can be black, gray, brown, or a white with black markings. White markings on the feet, tail, chest, and chin are allowed.

Temperament The Newfoundland has a well, balanced temperament—brave but not ferocious, intelligent but not stubborn. It gets along well with anyone, including children and pets, although they may be a bit shy around strangers. Some say the Newf is a born babysitter; one can leave kids in the care of a dog and not worry about a thing. It is highly protective of its master, but is so gentle-mannered that it simply stands between master and intruder instead of showing any aggression.

Height and Weight 63.5 - 73.5 cm in height and 50 - 68 Kg in weight. Males are larger than females and at the top end of the size ranges.

Common Health Problems As with most large dogs, hip dysplasia is a common problem. They should not be overfed, as obesity can aggravate existing problems. Some bloodlines are prone to sub-aortic stenosis (SAS), an inherited disease in which the blood flow from the heart is obstructed. Puppies should be checked for SAS between 8 to 12 months, and adults should be cleared again before breeding.

Living Conditions They are not very active indoors and will thrive well in an apartment, as long as they have room to stretch and roam around. However, a small yard is recommended as these dogs are bred to work outdoors. They also prefer cool climates. They don’t take to heat very well, so owners should give them sufficient shade and water in the summer.

Exercise Requirements They will happily lounge around the house all day, but they need their daily dose of exercise. They should be taken on brisk walks every day and allowed to play outdoors. Family outings are a great way to let them work their muscles—they love running around, retrieving toys, and swimming in lakes or pools.

Training Requirements The Newfoundland easily responds to its master’s voice, so a firm hand is not needed. Calm and gentle training works best; raising one’s voice can make the dog fearful and shy. Obedience training is not necessary either, as this breed is naturally submissive. However, mental training is recommended to maintain the dog’s sharp sense and playfulness.

Life Expectancy Newfs can expect to live 8 to 15 years, depending on health and climate.

Grooming Newfs should be brushed daily and the hair kept at a manageable length; otherwise dirt and oil may accumulate on their long double coats. They shed their undercoats heavily in the spring and must be given extra care during this time. Baths should be avoided unless necessary, as this washes away the coat’s natural oils. When they do need baths, use a dry, hypo-allergenic shampoo.

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More Newfoundland Information: Check out our Newfoundland Clubs and links to more informative websites dedicated to the breed.

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Tammy at 2 years old.
Tammy and Sassy
Photos with thanks to CLANBEAR NEWFOUNDLANDS, June Ambler,



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