The Newfoundland is a large working dog breed. It originated in Newfoundland, and is descended from a breed that was native to the island known as the lesser Newfoundland, or St. John’s dog. Because the breed shares many traits with other Mastiffs such as the St. Bernard, the breed’s characteristics are most likely a result of breeding with Portuguese Mastiffs that had been brought to the island by Portuguese fisherman in the 16th century. They were originally bred and used as working dogs for fisherman in the Dominion of Newfounland. Because of their webbed feet, thick double coat, and muscular build, the Newfoundlans excel at water rescue/lifesaving.
The male Newfoundlands normally weigh between 130-150 pounds and the females between 99-121 pounds. They may grow up to 22-30 inches tall at the shoulder. This breed has extremely large bones which gives it mass and gives it the power it needs to take on rough ocean waves and powerful tides. They are able to swim extremely long distances due to its great lung capacity. Its thick, oily waterproof coat protects it from the cold waters. The dogs feet are webbed which gives it maximum propulsion in the water. Because the Newfoundland moves its limbs in a down-and0out motion, they have more power with every stroke. The standard coat colors of the Newfoundland are; brown, grey, black, and white and black.
The Newfie dog is well known for having a calm and docile temperament. They are loyal and make ideal working dogs, and have breed described as having a sweet temper. Because of this the breed is known as “the gentle giant”. They have a deep bark but is easy to train if it is started early on. While small children may be knocked down by them during play, they are typically good with children. They are often referred to as the nanny dog and are ideal companions in the therapy world. The Newfie is normally good with other animal, but if not trained properly its size can cause problems.
The average lifespan of the Newfoundland is between 8-10 years. There are a few health problems associated with the breed. They include; hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cystinuria, and subvalvular aortic stenosis.