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There’s one thing everyone knows about a Newfoundland: he’s big, really big. A full-grown male stands as high as 28 inches tall and weighs in at 130-150 pounds. But there is so much more to this breed than size, as any Newf lover can tell you. Check out these Newfoundland fun facts to learn more about this big breed.

They’re Gentle Giants

Newfoundlands are renowned for their nature: sweet, gentle, and devoted. That sweetness is a hallmark of the breed. They’re ideal family companions, with a special affinity toward children. In fact, some people call them the “nanny dog.”

Newfoundland laying down in the grass next to a young girl.
© Ermolaev Alexandr Alexandrovich -

They Were Bred for Working in Water

This breed doesn’t mind getting wet. In fact, it’s what they were intended for! In their homeland of Newfoundland, this breed pulled in nets for fishermen. On land, they hauled wood, pulled carts, and did other kinds of heavy work. In fact, Newfoundlands are still used that way today.

They’re as Protective as They Are Sweet

They may be known for their sweet temper, but they’re also fantastic protectors. They’re not considered watchdogs, but they will protect their loved ones, children included.

They’re Great Swimmers

The Newfoundland is an excellent water dog. They have broad chests, great lung capacity, webbed feet, and oily double coat serve them well as a long-distance swimmer. Because of that, and their keen sense of responsibility, the Newfoundland is renowned as a lifesaving dog in water, capable of pulling drowning victims to shore.

Three Newfoundlands in a lake.
©Kara Miller

They’re Beloved Throughout History

Famous names throughout history have owned Newfies. Emily Dickenson had a Newfoundland named Carlo, and United States presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, and James Buchanan all had Newfies.

Meriwether Lewis brought his Newfoundland, “Seaman,” on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In his journal he wrote, “May 29, 1805: last night we were all alarmed by a large buffalo bull, when he came near the tent, my dog saved us by causing him to change his course.”

They’re a Working Breed

This breed is part of the Working Group for a reason. They’re workhorses on land and in water, and excel at sports like obedience, tracking, carting, and drafting.

Newfoundland running in a field.
©hemlep -

They’re More Active Than You’d Think

Although they’re sweet and seem like sleepy dogs, they are active. Newfoundlands do require regular exercise, so be prepared to walk, play, and everything in between. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a Newf happily galumphing in the yard.

They Drool. A Lot.

If you’re looking to share your home with a Newfoundland, their size isn’t the only thing to account for. This breed drools quite a lot, so keep a drool rag at the ready. Don’t be shocked if you see wet spots in places where they frequent!

Newfoundland at the AKC National Championship.
Photo by HOTdog

They Come in Four Colors

Though you may think of the big black dog when you see them, but they actually come in four standard colors. Newfoundlands can be black, brown, gray, and white & black.

One Newfoundland Was Named “Dog of the Century”

Newfoundlands are known for their incredible swimming ability. One famous Newfie, “Swansea Jack,” is said to have saved 23 to 27 people from drowning in Wales in the 1930s. Accounts vary of how many people he saved, but he was given a monument in Wales and named “Dog of the Century” for his valiant efforts.
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