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Breed Profile: Newfoundland

Newfoundlands just might be the most gentle dogs there are. Before I started my pet sitting and dog running business, I used to pet sit for a Newfoundland named Wallee.

Wallee (pictured below, left) didn’t realize his size and liked to cuddle up next to me on the couch with his head in my lap. He was basically a giant puppy. He loved all people and all animals, typical of his breed.

The breed was first used to haul heavy fishing nets through cold water off the coast of Newfoundland (what a surprise) and to save drowning people, as they are strong enough to rescue a grown man from the water, according to the Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds by D. Caroline Coile.

Newfoundlands are anywhere from 100-150 pounds, but they look a lot bigger because of their thick coats.

The AKC recognizes the breed in solid black, brown, gray or white and black. Newfoundlands with black and white coats are referred to as Landseers.

Black Newfoundland dog and St. Bernard sitting together in kitchen begging

Advantages to owning a Newfoundland:

1. Newfoundlands do not have a ton of energy, considering their size. They need a daily walk to stay fit just like anyone else, but they are very mellow, relaxed dogs. You might actually have to bribe a Newfoundland to take a walk.

2. They are gentle around children and other pets. They are very affectionate. It is impossible not to love a Newfoundland.

3. A Newfoundland can tolerate very cold weather. In fact they love the cold, water and snow. I hope you’re willing to share your pool!

4. The breed’s size is enough to intimidate strangers.

5. They do not bark a lot.

Disadvantages to owning a Newfoundland:

1. Well, a 150-pound dog is not easy to handle, even if he is mellow. They are strong and powerful, able to pull anyone down the street if they are not under control.

2. Newfoundlands drool. A lot. The drool gets all over their fur (as though it’s a bib), and then mud and food sticks to the fur, too.

Be prepared to deal with drool on your clothes, the furniture and the walls. They are pretty sloppy and will carelessly spill their water bowls or at least make sure half the water ends up on the floor. A neat freak should not own a Newfoundland.

3. Newfoundlands require a lot of grooming. They have a ton of hair and although they look beautiful just after a bath and brush, they don’t stay clean for long. Plus the hair gets everywhere.

Buy a good vacuum and plan on brushing your dog at least weekly and having her professionally groomed several times a year. Newfoundlands also can’t tolerate the heat at all and are happiest if they have water to swim in.

4. This giant breed rarely lives past 9 years old.

5. Health issues common with the Newfoundland include gastic torsion, hip and elbow dysplasia, cystinuria and subvalvular arotic stenosis (form of heart failure), according to Coile.

If you would like to write a profile of your favorite breed, send me an email at I’ll use pictures of your dog and link to your site. I’m happy to feature any breed!

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