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  • Temperament: Sweet, Patient, Devoted
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 35 of 194
  • Height: 28 inches (average male), 26 inches (average female)
  • Weight: 130-150 pounds (male), 100-120 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 9-10 years
  • Group: Working Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Newfoundland standing in three-quarter view on grass facing forward with a garden in the background
Newfoundland sitting in three-quarter view facing forward
Newfoundland head facing left
Newfoundland sitting in three-quarter view
Newfoundland coat detail
Newfoundland

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Newfoundland is a sweet-dispositioned dog that acts neither dull nor ill-tempered. He is a devoted companion. The Newfoundland is a large, heavily coated, well balanced dog that is deep-bodied, heavily boned, muscular, and strong. A good specimen of the breed has dignity and proud head carriage.

HEAD

The head is massive, with a broad skull, slightly arched crown, and strongly developed occipital bone. Cheeks are well developed. Eyes are dark brown. (Browns and Grays may have lighter eyes and should be penalized only to the extent that color affects expression.) They are relatively small, deep-set, and spaced wide apart. Eyelids fit closely with no inversion. Ears are relatively small and triangular with rounded tips. They are set on the skull level with, or slightly above, the brow and lie close to the head. When the ear is brought forward, it reaches to the inner corner of the eye on the same side. Expression is soft and reflects the characteristics of the breed: benevolence, intelligence, and dignity. Forehead and face are smooth and free of wrinkles. Slope of the stop is moderate but, because of the well developed brow, it may appear abrupt in profile.

BODY

The neck is strong and well set on the shoulders and is long enough for proud head carriage. The back is strong, broad, and muscular and is level from just behind the withers to the croup. The chest is full and deep with the brisket reaching at least down to the elbows. Ribs are well sprung, with the anterior third of the rib cage tapered to allow elbow clearance. The flank is deep. The croup is broad and slopes slightly.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders are muscular and well laid back. Elbows lie directly below the highest point of the withers. Forelegs are muscular, heavily boned, straight, and parallel to each other, and the elbows point directly to the rear. The distance from elbow to ground equals about half the dog’s height. Pasterns are strong and slightly sloping. Feet are proportionate to the body in size, webbed, and cat foot in type. Dewclaws may be removed.

COAT

The adult Newfoundland has a flat, water-resistant, double coat that tends to fall back into place when rubbed against the nap. The outer coat is coarse, moderately long, and full, either straight or with a wave. The undercoat is soft and dense, although it is often less dense during the summer months or in warmer climates. Hair on the face and muzzle is short and fine. The backs of the legs are feathered all the way down. The tail is covered with long dense hair. Excess hair may be trimmed for neatness. Whiskers need not be trimmed.

HINDQUARTERS

The rear assembly is powerful, muscular, and heavily boned. Viewed from the rear, the legs are straight and parallel. Viewed from the side, the thighs are broad and fairly long. Stifles and hocks are well bent and the line from hock to ground is perpendicular. Hocks are well let down. Hind feet are similar to the front feet. Dewclaws should be removed.

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About the Newfoundland

A male Newfoundland can weigh up to 150 pounds and stand 28 inches at the shoulder; females typically go 100 to 120 pounds. The Newf head is majestic, the expression soft and soulful. The outer coat is flat and coarse. Colors are gray, brown, black, and a black-and-white coat named for artist Sir Edwin Landseer, who popularized the look in his paintings.

The Newfie breed standard says that a sweet temperament is the “most important single characteristic of the breed.” The Newf’s sterling character is expressed in their affinity for kids. Trusting and trainable, Newfs respond well to gentle guidance. These noble giants are among the world’s biggest dogs, and acquiring a pet that could outweigh you comes with obvious challenges.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Newfoundland

Find a Puppy: Newfoundland

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AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
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Care

NUTRITION

The Newfoundland  should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. The breed can experience bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach distends and twists. The causes of bloat aren’t fully understood, but experts agree that multiple, small meals per day and preventing vigorous exercise around mealtimes may help reduce the chances of it happening.

GROOMING

The Newfoundland’s heavy coat requires thorough brushing at least once a week. A thorough going-over with a slicker brush and a long-toothed comb will remove dead hair and prevent mats from forming. These will become daily sessions during shedding season, which generally occurs twice a year; however, spayed and neutered Newfs shed year-round and will probably need to be brushed out several times a week. As with all breeds, the nails should be trimmed regularly, as overly long nails can cause discomfort and structural problems.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

EXERCISE

The Newfoundland is a multipurpose dog, at home on land and in water. As well as being a devoted companion, he is adept at draft work and has natural lifesaving abilities. Newfoundlands need at least a half-hour of moderate exercise daily to stay healthy and happy. While they are definitely meant to live indoors with their human family, Newfs enjoy outdoor activities, especially swimming, and make great companions on long walks or hikes. Newfs enjoy pulling a cart, and some even participate in carting and drafting competitions. Other canine activities in which Newfs participate and excel include agility, dock jumping, flyball, herding, obedience, rally, and tracking.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

The Newfoundland puppy is outgoing, intelligent, and curious—never timid, skittish, or aggressive. Daily human contact is absolutely essential for any Newfie. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended and help to ensure that the Newfoundland grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. A puppy who is going to be trained for water work should be carefully introduced to water by the age of 4 months. Newfs are eager to please and generally easy to train. They are also affectionate and trusting; they respond well to gentle guidance but don’t respond well to harsh corrections or training methods.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Easy Training

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

Responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia, cardiac disease, and cystinuria, which can cause stones to form in the urinary system. As with all drop-eared dogs, a Newf’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Cystinuria DNA Test

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Newfoundland
Newfoundland
Newfoundland
Newfoundland
Newfoundland
Newfoundland

History

Canadian fisherman long relied on Newfoundlands as peerless shipboard working dogs who specialized in dramatic water rescues. Newfs are born swimmers, complete with partially webbed feet, and strong enough to save a grown man from drowning. Their prowess as rescuers is the stuff of legend: What the Saint Bernard is to the Alps, the Newfoundland is to the icy waters of the North Atlantic. Newfs also earned their keep by hauling fishing nets to shore and carting the day’s catch to market. Although the Newf’s career as a seagoing deckhand is mostly a thing of the past, the breed is still considered the premium water-rescue dog and is employed in that role the world over.

The Newf is one of the world’s most beloved breeds, and history is rife with examples of their dedication to humankind. In 1802, when Lewis and Clark began their historic 8,000-mile trek across the American continent, a Newfoundland named Seaman was part of the expedition. He was useful as a hunter and guard dog, once saving lives by running off a rogue buffalo that was charging the camp. Today, Seaman is depicted in 10 different Lewis and Clark monuments across the country.

A well-visited tourist attraction in England, where Newfs have always been a great favorite, is a monument erected by Lord Byron at Newstead Abbey for his cherished Newf, Boatswain. The monument’s inscription, devised by the great poet himself, eulogizes Boatswain, “Who possessed Beauty without Vanity/Strength without Insolence/Courage without Ferocity/And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.” Such was Byron’s regard for his Newf that Boatswain’s tomb at the abbey is larger than his own.

A Newfoundland named Brumus burnished his breed’s “nanny dog” reputation by helping Senator and Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy look after their 11 children.

Did You Know?

Exported to England, where it was extensively bred; today, most Newfoundlands of pedigree, even in Newfoundland, are descended from forebears born in England.
The Newfoundland is large enough to bring drowning victims ashore; lung capacity enables long-distance swimming.
Although he is a superior water dog, the Newfoundland has been used and is still used in Newfoundland and Labrador as a true working dog, pulling carts or carrying burdens as a pack horse.
The Newfoundland is particularly suited to the island of its origin with a thick, heavy coat.
The Newfoundland’s great size and strength make him a wonderful guard dog, but his disposition makes him good for children and families.
James Buchanan’s large Newfoundland, Lara, was a celebrity around the White House because she would lay motionless for hours with one eye opened and one eye closed, always sure to keep an eye on her owner.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Newfoundland is a sweet-dispositioned dog that acts neither dull nor ill-tempered. He is a devoted companion. The Newfoundland is a large, heavily coated, well balanced dog that is deep-bodied, heavily boned, muscular, and strong. A good specimen of the breed has dignity and proud head carriage.

HEAD

The head is massive, with a broad skull, slightly arched crown, and strongly developed occipital bone. Cheeks are well developed. Eyes are dark brown. (Browns and Grays may have lighter eyes and should be penalized only to the extent that color affects expression.) They are relatively small, deep-set, and spaced wide apart. Eyelids fit closely with no inversion. Ears are relatively small and triangular with rounded tips. They are set on the skull level with, or slightly above, the brow and lie close to the head. When the ear is brought forward, it reaches to the inner corner of the eye on the same side. Expression is soft and reflects the characteristics of the breed: benevolence, intelligence, and dignity. Forehead and face are smooth and free of wrinkles. Slope of the stop is moderate but, because of the well developed brow, it may appear abrupt in profile.

BODY

The neck is strong and well set on the shoulders and is long enough for proud head carriage. The back is strong, broad, and muscular and is level from just behind the withers to the croup. The chest is full and deep with the brisket reaching at least down to the elbows. Ribs are well sprung, with the anterior third of the rib cage tapered to allow elbow clearance. The flank is deep. The croup is broad and slopes slightly.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders are muscular and well laid back. Elbows lie directly below the highest point of the withers. Forelegs are muscular, heavily boned, straight, and parallel to each other, and the elbows point directly to the rear. The distance from elbow to ground equals about half the dog’s height. Pasterns are strong and slightly sloping. Feet are proportionate to the body in size, webbed, and cat foot in type. Dewclaws may be removed.

COAT

The adult Newfoundland has a flat, water-resistant, double coat that tends to fall back into place when rubbed against the nap. The outer coat is coarse, moderately long, and full, either straight or with a wave. The undercoat is soft and dense, although it is often less dense during the summer months or in warmer climates. Hair on the face and muzzle is short and fine. The backs of the legs are feathered all the way down. The tail is covered with long dense hair. Excess hair may be trimmed for neatness. Whiskers need not be trimmed.

HINDQUARTERS

The rear assembly is powerful, muscular, and heavily boned. Viewed from the rear, the legs are straight and parallel. Viewed from the side, the thighs are broad and fairly long. Stifles and hocks are well bent and the line from hock to ground is perpendicular. Hocks are well let down. Hind feet are similar to the front feet. Dewclaws should be removed.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black Check Mark For Standard Color 007
Brown Check Mark For Standard Color 061
Gray Check Mark For Standard Color 100
White & Black Check Mark For Standard Color 202
Beige 004
Black & Tan 018
White & Brown 204
White & Gray 210

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
White Markings 014