Group: Working Group

Origin: Canada

– Male: Average adult is 28 inches (71 cm).
– Female: Average adult is 26 inches (66 cm).

– Male: Average adult is 150 lbs (67.5 kg).
– Female: Average adult is 120 lbs (54 kg).


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Breed Profile

The Newfoundland is massive, well muscled and co-ordinated, carrying himself with dignity. His expression is one of gentleness, intelligence and serenity and should never be timid or ill-tempered. Well known for his gentleness toward children, he is a wonderful family companion. He loves the outdoors, especially if he has access to water.

The Newfoundland Dog is a versatile working breed. With his strong life-saving instincts and excellent swimming abilities, he is a natural at water rescue — there are hundreds of documented cases of water rescues performed by Newfs. The Newfoundland is also used as a draft dog as well as a fisherman’s helper. Newfs can also be seen working as Therapy Dogs, Assistance Dogs, and in Search and Rescue.

His coat is flat, dense and water-resistant. The outer coat is moderately long and straight but can have a slight wave. The hair on the head, muzzle and ears is short and fine and he has a soft, dense undercoat. The traditional Newfoundland colour is black. He may also have white markings on the chest, toes and tip of the tail.

The Landseer Newfoundland is white with black markings. The preferred pattern of marking for the Landseer is a black head with white blaze extending onto the muzzle, black saddle, and black rump and upper tail. All remaining parts should be white with a minimum of ticking. The symmetry of markings and beauty of pattern characterize the best marked Landseers.

The Newf’s large size, dense coat and webbed feet help him withstand a harsh climate and sea.

A Brief History of the Newfoundland Dog

The Canadian Kennel Club Breed Standard for the Newfoundland Dog states that “the breed originated in Newfoundland from dogs indigenous to the island, and the big black bear dogs introduced by the Vikings in 1001 A.D. With the advent of European fishermen, a variety of new breeds helped to shape and re-invigorate the breed, but the essential characteristics of the Newfoundland dog remained. By the time colonization was permitted in 1610, the distinct physical characteristics and mental attributes had been established in the breed for all time.”

While the exact origin of the Newfoundland Dog is debated, the three most common theories are that the breed: a) evolved from the now extinct Black Wolf which was crossed with the Asiatic Mastiff; b) developed by crossing native dogs/wolves with the dogs the Vikings brought to Newfoundland around 1000 AD; or c) developed from interbreedings of Mastiffs, Sheepdogs and Waterdogs brought to North America by European explorers during the 15th and 16th centuries.

The name “Newfoundland Dog” was first used in 1775 when Mr. George Cartwright applied it to his own dog. Around the end of the 17th century some dogs were shipped from Newfoundland to Europe, mostly to England. During this time, there were two sizes for the breed known as the “Greater” and “Lesser” St. John’s Dog and both of these were shipped to Europe. It is believed that the dog known as the “Lesser St. John’s Dog” was used in the development of Retrievers while the larger one, the “Greater St. John’s Dog”, was further developed in England into the Newfoundland Dog as he is known today. The first breed club, the Newfoundland Club, was started in England in 1886. Today, the Newfoundland Dog is seen all over the world and most purebred Newfoundlands, even in Newfoundland, are descended from those born in England.

The breed was always known as a working partner to fishermen and settlers. On land, the dogs worked at pulling carts and carrying packs, hauling and delivering milk for farmers, hauling wood for construction workers, and delivering mail. On the water, they hauled fishermen nets and delivered lines. They also served, and still do today, as rescue dogs, both on shore and in the water. In 1894, a commemorative half-penny stamp was isseud to honour the breed and the Newfoundland Dog became the first animal to be commemorated by any country.

Newfoundland Dog
Pictured above from left to right are:
Moonfleet’s Oberon’s Eli, Am.Can. (High in Trial) CD, Am.CDX, Am.UD,
NCA WD, WRD, NCA DD, TDD, T.D.I, CGC (major pointed) (Eli)
Moonfleet’s Distant Thunder, NCA DD, WD, WRD, NCA TD, TDD, Am.Can.CD,
Am.CDX, Am.UD, OFA, OF-EL, OF-CA, CERF (major pointed) (Louie)
Ch. Moonfleet’s The Star Gazer, Am.Can.CD, NCA WD, NCA WRD, NCA DD,
All co-owned by:
Gerry & Judy Heinz and Ray & Donna Overman
Photo courtesy of Moonfleet Kennel Perm. Reg’d.

Health Issues

The Newfoundland, as with all breeds of dogs, is susceptible to certain health problems, from orthopedic to genetic disorders to life threatening diseases. If you are considering the adoption of a Newfoundland puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main General Information page.)

Additional Health Resources:


Breed Standards


Grooming Information

The adult Newfoundland sheds twice a year — Spring and Fall. Regular grooming promotes good health and helps keep your Newf’s coat looking good.

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.

Training Resources

The Newfoundland is naturally eager to please and intelligent which helps make training easy. As for all breeds, training should begin at a young age and be done with patience and consistency.

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.

Additional Information

Breed Listing

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

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