Canine Breed Menu

Gentle Giant

Gentle Giant

Gentle Giant
Breed Organization
Newfoundland Club of America
Native Country
Canada - Newfoundland Scandinavian Countries Great Britain, etc.
Other Names
Newfoundland, Newfie, Newf
Life Expectancy
Approximately 8-10 Years
Litter Size
8-10 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC Working
Breed Appearance
Newfoundlands have webbed feet and a water-resistant coat. The Newfoundland's extremely large bones give it mass, while its large musculature gives it the power it needs to take on rough ocean waves and powerful tides. These dogs have great lung capacity for swimming extremely long distances, and a thick, oily and waterproof double coat which protects them from the chill of icy waters. The droopy lips and jowls make the dog drool. In the water, the dog's massive webbed paws give it maximum propulsion. The swimming stroke is not an ordinary dog paddle. Unlike other dogs, the Newfoundland moves its limbs in a down-and-out motion, which can be seen as a modified breaststroke. This gives it more power with every stroke.

Breed Description
Head: Broad and massive. Stop not too pronounced. Short, rather squarish muzzle.
Ears: Small, triangular, lying close to the head.
Eyes: Small and wide set. Dark brown color. Lighter in Browns.
Body: Massive. Strong neck. Chest well let down. Broad, sloped croup. Broad back. Strong, muscular loin.
Tail: Thick and strong at the root. Moderately long, reaching slightly past the hocks and carried down forming a slight curve.
Hair: Long, straight (no curls), coarse. Oily feel, water-resistant. Feathering on the legs. Soft, thick undercoat.
Coat: Acceptable colors: black (dull jet black), brown (chocolate or bronze), Landseer (British-American type). Black head with or without blaze, black coat with markings. Black saddle and rump. White base coat.
Size: Dog: average of 71 cm Bitch: average of 66 cm.
Weight: Dog: approx. 68 kg Bitch: approx. 54 kg.

Experts speculate that this breed may be descended from the black Scandinavian "Bear Dogs" brought over from Norway in the sixteenth century, or perhaps from the Labrador, or Molosser dogs introduced by the Vikings, or the Leonberger, or the St. Bernard, or the Great Pyrenees introduced by Basque fisherman. In reality, it is not know how the ancestors of the Newfoundland found their way to Newfoundland in Canada. In the nineteenth century, French cod fisherman brought the Newfoundland to France. In England, the breed was lauded by Byron and immortalized in Landseer's paintings.

This gentle, friendly, extraordinarily loyal dog is even-tempered, calm, and affectionate. He loves children but because of their size at a very young age, small children could get accidentally leaned on and knocked down. While his appearance may be formidable, the Newfoundland is not a guard dog. By instinct, he is a rescue dog. Because of his willingness to dive into the water and swim for hours to save a drowning victim, he has been called the "St. Bernard of the sea." Training must be firm, but undertaken with patience because this gentle giant does not reach emotional maturity until two years of age.

There are several health problems associated with Newfoundlands. Newfoundlands are prone to hip dysplasia. They also get Elbow dysplasia, and cystinuria. Another genetic problem is subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS). This is a common heart defect in Newfoundlands involving defective heart valves. SAS can cause sudden death at an early age.

The Newfoundland can adapt to life as a housedog provided he is not left alone too often. He needs room to romp. This breed does not tolerate heat well. Brushing twice per week is sufficient.

Water Rescue Dog, Companion Dog.

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