Newfoundland: from Water Rescue dog to the Most Beloved Family dog!

Learn More about the Personality and Temperament of this Lovable Giant

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By Kenny G

Newfoundland dog

The Newfoundland dog is well known for its gentleness, sweetness and skills as a rescue dog. This is one of the biggest dog breeds and in all likelihood its origins must be traced to the Canadian island of Newfoundland. 

It is one of the largest dogs in terms of size, along with the Saint Bernard and the Bullmastiff. Its origins are likely to be traced back to the Canadian island of Newfoundland. It is one of those dogs that don’t even bite in play and is truly affectionate to his family. Here is our guide to getting to know this gentle and lovable giant better!

Newfoundland dog Breed Informations

There are several hypotheses about the origin of this breed. Some believe they were introduced to Canada by the Vikings, under the leadership of Leif Eriksson, son of the legendary Erik the Red. Their ancestors would then be bear dogs, called Oolum. Another hypothesis sees them as descended from the Tibetan Mastiff, which arrived in America during the Ice Age.

In all likelihood, it was from the crossbreeding of these two different breeds that both the Newfoundland and Labrador originated. What is certain is that by the 1600s, dogs very similar to the ones we see today were already present.

In 1780, the widespread presence of dogs on the Island of Newfoundland led the governor to enact a prohibition on owning more than one dog per family. This facilitated their exportation to Europe. In 1878, the first registration of the breed standard took place in England, and in 1886, the breed club was established.

From the very beginning, these magnificent dogs were employed as water dogs, aiding in the retrieval of fishermen’s nets. Their natural inclination for this task has ensured their continued use as rescue dogs to this day. Their ability as lifeguards is inherent and not reliant on any specific form of training.

What is the size of the Newfoundland dog

This dog breed belongs to the category of Pinschers, Schnauzers, Molossoids, and Swiss Cattle Dogs, all of which are large-sized dogs.

  • The average length for males is 71cm (28 inches) and for females is 66cm (26 inches) from the sole of its feet to its shoulder.
  • The weight is an approximate of 55-68 kg. 65-80 kg (males) and 55-65 kg (females).
  • It reaches a height of 66-71 cm
  • The body is robust and muscular.
  • It has a very thick tail.
  • His head is large.
  • The muzzle is square-shaped, with dark and small eyes.
  • The ears are small compared to the rest of the face and are drooping.
  • His coat is smooth, without curls, and comes in black, brown, or white with black patches. In America, individuals with gray or bronze coats are also common

Newfoundland dog

The Newfoundland coat

The Newfoundland dog breed is known for its unique and distinctive coat, that changes twice a year. In the first months of life it is rather soft, but once the dog becomes an adult it tends to be rough and shaggy.

Being a water dog, the coat is water-repellent and waterproof. The paws have also adapted, appearing palm-shaped, ideal for easy swimming, while the tail acts as a rudder.

  • Double Coat: Newfoundlands have a dense, double coat, which consists of two layers. The outer one is coarse, thick, and water-resistant, providing protection from the elements. The undercoat is soft, dense, and insulating, helping to keep the dog warm in colder conditions.
  • Water-Resistant: The outer coat is designed to repel water. It has oils that help to keep the dog dry, even when in the water. Being water-resistant makes Newfoundlands excellent swimmers and water rescue dogs.
  • Colors: coats come in various colors, including black, brown, and Landseer (white with black markings). Some individuals may have small patches of white on the chest, toes, or chin. The coat color can vary within the breed, but solid black is the most common.
  • Shedding: those breeds are moderate to heavy shedders. They shed their undercoat twice a year, typically in the spring and fall, which is known as ‘blowing the coat’. Regular grooming and brushing can help manage the shedding and keep the coat healthy.
  • Grooming: The Newfoundland’s coat requires regular grooming to keep it in good condition. Brushing the coat at least twice a week would help preventing matting and keeps the coat clean. It is especially important to pay attention to the feathering on the chest, legs, and tail, as these areas are more prone to tangling.

Overall, the Newfoundland dog coat is a vital feature of the breed, providing protection, insulation, and water resistance. It is a beautiful and functional coat that contributes to the breed’s unique appearance and abilities.

Lifespan of Newfoundland dog

These dogs have a short lifespan. They can live up to 10 years, as is often the case with large-size dogs.

Temperament of Newfoundland dog

When it comes to describing the character of this giant breed, it is impossible not to compile a long list of positive adjectives.

Among all dog breeds, they are the kindest and gentlest. They love cuddles and are equally affectionate towards their owners. They enjoy playing with children, are loyal to the family, and possess great cunning and intelligence.

However, they need to be trained from an early age to socialize with unfamiliar people and to control their exuberance. They tend to express their affection by constantly jumping on their owners, sometimes without considering their weight.

When they sense danger, they defend their territory with all their strength, showing no fear. Nevertheless, they are not aggressive or violent dogs at all, and it is rare for them to show unfounded distrust towards people.

Personality of Newfoundland dog

While being a gentle and affectionate dog, they should be taught to control their exuberance because their significant size can frighten children or unintentionally cause harm to them.

On the other hand, children should also be educated to interact with the dog while respecting its nature and temperament. Among other things, it is crucial to teach them not to climb onto the dog’s back as it can lead to serious issues.

What care the Newfoundland dog needs

This large black dog requires a lot of care like most dogs of its size. He drools constantly and loses a lot of hair, so consider whether you are able to devote your time to cleaning our furry friend and the environment in which he lives, especially if you have a flat.

Newfoundland dog

He needs space, so ideally you should have a very large house with a nice garden at your disposal, where you can leave him free to run around and discharge his energy.

In summer, you must be careful of heatstroke, as they suffer a lot from the heat due to their thick, abundant fur.

Diseases of the Newfoundland Dog

This enormous dog is prone to some congenital diseases, such as:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Heart diseases
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Eyelid disorders
  • Lip infections
  • Heatstroke due to its thick coat

How much exercise does the Newfoundland dog need?

This breed loves spending time outdoors, even in inclement weather, which they tolerate quite well. Therefore, they should be taken out for walks and bathroom breaks at least three times a day.

Furthermore, since they are a water-loving dog breed, it would be beneficial to indulge their predisposition by allowing them to swim in the sea or even in a lake whenever possible.

Newfoundland feeding guide

For the proper bone and muscle development, as well as good intestinal function, nutrition of Newfoundland dog should be organized in a regular manner. Its meals should be well-balanced and consist of approximately:

  • 70% protein source (meat or fish)
  • 30% carbohydrates (pasta or rice)

You can choose whether to provide commercial dog food or prepare the meals yourself. Certainly, the latter option is more cost-effective considering the large quantity of food required daily by this large domestic animal.

It should be noted that dogs generally prefer homemade food as it is more flavorful, and if they are accustomed to commercial dog food, they may not want to switch back. This option requires some organization, and it is also necessary to have a sufficient supply of food. Moreover, creativity is essential to create a balanced recipe for your four-legged friend.

The daily menu should include:

  • Meat, such as chicken, turkey, or beef
  • Vegetables
  • Vegetable oil, such as rapeseed or soybean oil
  • Fish, such as salmon or cod
  • Cereals, such as rice
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements

Once a week, small amounts of cheese, cooked offal (liver, tripe, heart), and well-cooked pasta (to avoid esophageal problems) can also be given.

Regardless of the chosen diet, it is important to regularly have the dog checked by a veterinarian to monitor its growth curve and weight.

In the case of preferring dry commercial food, it is good to know that there are specific products available on the market developed specifically for this breed, balanced and enriched with vitamins and nutrients.

The dog should be accustomed to eating at specific times, and for portion sizes, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian. In any case, it is always best to avoid overfeeding.

Never give the dog our leftovers as they are often seasoned and high in salt.

Since the Newfoundland dog drools a lot, it is very important to replenish its fluids by always providing a bowl of fresh water, especially during hot summer months.

How much does a Newfoundland dog eat per day?

On average, a dog weighing between 45 and 68 kg consumes approximately 1.5 kg of wet food per day.

In order to appropriately feed an adult Newfoundland it is recommended to provide approximately 5 to 6 cups of food per day, that would give him 1912.5 to 2365.5 Kcal per day. A senior Newfoundland has minor quantities : such as 3-4 cups per day, that means 981-1308 Kcal per day.

  • Adult dogs should be fed twice a day
  • Puppies (it is considered a puppy up to 12 months) should be fed 3 times a day

Therefore, consider that the monthly cost of maintenance ranges from 70 to 100 USD.

Does the Newfoundland dog rescue people

Newfoundland dogs have a history of being used for water rescue.

Known for their exceptional swimming abilities and their natural instinct to rescue people in distress in the water, the Newfoundland dogs have a strong build, a webbed feet, and a thick, water-resistant coat. Those characteristics help in water rescue scenarios.

They have been used by lifeguard teams and other water rescue organizations in order to assist in saving human lives.

Newfoundland dog

Their natural swimming and rescue instincts, along with their strength and endurance, make them well-suited for these types of rescue operations.

What is the price of a Newfoundland dog

The price for a tested and pedigreed Newfoundland puppy starts at a minimum of 1,800 USD and can go up to 3,800 USD. This amount depends not only on the pedigree and size but also on the high demand for this breed.

Before making a decision, it is recommended to gather information about reputable recognized breeders. You can directly consult them on the website of one of the National Kennel Clubs to ensure the credibility of the organization you are dealing with.

The puppy is typically delivered after two months of age and comes with a microchip, vaccinations, and routine check-ups. The pedigree is, of course, essential.

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