A large, brown, shaggy dog with a square head, flopped, triangular ears and small hazel eyes, sits on the grass, between rocks, smiling, revealing a wide, pink tongue.


26 July 2023

Let’s talk about… Newfoundlands: what are they?

  • Newfoundlands (or Newfies as they are often known) appear to have originated as working dogs for fishermen in Newfoundland, Canada, although their lineage may go back further to UK breeds that were exported to Canada which then were developed into the modern Newfoundland we know and love.
  • They are excellent swimmers, with partially webbed feet and are still in some countries used as water rescue dogs.
  • Although originally a working dog, they are mostly pets now, well known for their sweet natures.
  • They are described as a ‘nanny dog’, as they often love children.
  • They are well known for producing large amounts of drool!
  • Newfoundlands are usually between 63-71cm tall and weighing between 55-80kg, with the males larger than the females. They are one of the world’s largest dog breeds.
  • Their average life expectancy is between 8 and 10 years, but they can live into their teens.
Newfoundland  Exercise Needs 3/5 Grooming Ease 2/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Newfoundlands like?

  • Described as the gentle giant, Newfies are sociable, gentle-natured and affectionate dogs.
  • They make a perfect family pet, as well as being used as working dogs. They are great around children, and will often try to play with them, as well as protect them if necessary.
  • They are usually friendly to other dogs and people, but tend to be unaware of their size and will happily try to play with other dogs or children, but they can be a bit big for their potential playmates.
  • Any visitor to the home that they know will get a supaw friendly welcome.
  • They are happy to play, but also love a good snooze too.
  • They are not usually big barkers, but when they do they tend to have a deep, powerful woof.
Bear, the Newfoundland

What kind of exercise do Newfoundlands need?

  • On average an adult Newfie should get 1 hour of exercise a day.
  • It’s really important not to over-exercise a Newfie puppy. They should not be going on big walks or hikes until they are fully grown.
  • They love to swim, which can be a great form of exercise as long as it’s in a safe place, and you have good recall if they start to swim too far out!
  • Their big, heavy, usually dark, coat can lead to them overheating, so be very cautious exercising them on warm days.
  • As well as physical exercise, mental exercising with games etc is really useful to keep a Newfie happy.
Momo is chocolate brown coloured and has thick fur. She's lying on a rug looking comfortable.

Do Newfoundlands need a lot of grooming?

  • Newfoundlands come in several different colours, including black, brown and landseer (white with black).
  • Their double coat is water resistant and dense.
  • They need regular brushing, especially in areas where their thick, straight coat could tangle.
  • When they shed their coats in springtime, you are likely to need to groom them daily, to keep on top of the shedding!
  • Some Newfies will need a bit of trim around their ears, feet and to remove any tangles that can’t be brushed out.
  • They sometimes need their faces and lips cleaned up with all the saliva they produce.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.

Bertie, the Newfoundland

Are Newfoundlands easy to train?

  • Provided they are trained from an early age, the Newfoundland is relatively easy to train and responds well to commands, but it is important to be calm and balanced with your approach.
  • They can be supaw sensitive to the tone of voice used.
  • Because of their size, it is important to make sure they do not take advantage, and from a young age making sure they know not to jump up, walk nicely on lead etc.
  • They love attention and treats so both can be useful training rewards, as well as lots of positive praise.
Ivar, the Newfoundland

What do Newfoundlands eat?

  • Adult Newfoundlands should eat a complete, balanced dog food, specific for large or giant breeds if possible, twice daily. They can also have occasional treats, but like any dog, watch out for the extra calories. Puppies should initially eat four times a day, then down to three, then to two at six months old.
  • For most Newfoundlands you can make the change from puppy to adult food gradually at between 15 and 18 months old. Your pet food supplier and/or vet can advise on individual cases.
  • Newfoundlands are prone to being overweight, so make sure to not overfeed them. If they are an ok body weight, you should be able to comfortably feel your pooch’s ribs, but not count them, when they are standing normally. They should also have a nice neat waist when you look from the top (if they’re quite floofy, then you might have to get your hands on to check that bit), and they should have a good tuck from their chest up to their tummy. If you are worried your pooch could be a bit overweight or underweight then contact your vet practice for advice.
  • Newfoundlands love a good treat as a reward, but like any dog, this should only make up a maximum of 10% of their daily calorie intake.
Joni, the Newfoundland

Are Newfoundlands healthy?

Like any breed of dog, there are health conditions that Newfoundland dogs are more prone to than others.

These can include problems with:

Bones and Joints

  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint.
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint.
  • Panosteitis - Often called ‘growing pains’, panosteitis is when the bones themselves become inflamed and sore, and is usually seen in large breed, young dogs.


  • Osteosarcoma - A malignant bone cancer.


  • Ectropion - with this condition the eyelid rolls out, which can expose the eye to dryness.
  • Entropion - this is where the eyelids roll in, causing eyelashes to rub onto the surface of the eye.


  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!

Heart Disease

  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) - a disease of the heart muscle causing the heart ventricles to get larger.


  • Allergies - when the immune system overreacts to an allergen and usually results in skin irritation.
  • Hot Spots - red, inflamed, moist lesions of the skin, usually found on the head, neck, legs and hips.

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Newfoundland is right for you, consult with your vet.

Our vet top tip

Newfoundlands are big bundles of joy but be prepared to put in a good bit of work grooming them! It’s also important to train them well when they’re young as they are very big and strong as adults.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Newfoundlands

BorrowMyDoggy has 521 Newfoundland members.

What do BorrowMyDoggy owners say about their Newfoundlands?

Ruby is such a good girl. She is very obedient and just loves children.

Amy, Ruby’s owner

While Jenni, Milton’s owner tells us:

Milton is a big soppy boy who, despite not having a destructive bone in his body, has been known to empty the bin all over the floor.

And Ellie, lets us know about their Maggie::

Maggie is a great big hairy bear of a dog who will give you a hand shake for a carrot, and do anything for a piece of cheese!

Agnes is all about swimming. She loves swimming, swimming, swimming, more swimming, running and tug-of-war. You won’t be able to walk anywhere without people coming up and saying hello!

Toby, Owner of Agnes

Chester is true to the breed - he loves being around people and other dogs, he’s amazing with children, is incredibly easy going and he’s very well trained.

Kate, Owner of Chester

And finally, Jacqueline, Rocco’s owner:

Rocco freely offers kisses with his huge tongue to absolutely anyone who will take them.

Sounds lovely Rocco!

Newfoundland Names

The most popular name for a Newfoundland on BorrowMyDoggy is Bear .

25 most pupular Newfoundland names on BorrowMyDoggy

  1. Bear
  2. Rosie
  3. Bailey
  4. Bentley
  5. Bertie
  6. Charlie
  7. Minnie
  8. Ted
  9. Baxter
  10. Bella
  11. Byron
  12. Dave
  13. Evie
  14. Freya
  15. Henry
  16. Hudson
  17. Indy
  18. Luna
  19. Max
  20. Mia
  21. Moose
  22. Nala
  23. Norman
  24. Sasha
  25. Taylor

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

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