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Newfoundland dog breed profile

Nicknamed “nanny dogs,” Newfoundlands are great for families.

Whether your dog is a purebred Newfoundland, or a Newfoundland mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt a Newfoundland and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.

Newfoundlands, or “Newfies,” are very loyal and trusting companions. Not only are Newfoundlands sweet, but they're easy to train. These even-keeled giants are some of the best friends a family can have. Here’s how you can prepare to bring a Newfoundland into your life.

How big is a full-grown Newfoundland dog?

Like Bernese Mountain Dogs, Newfoundlands usually grow to be large-sized pups, Dr. Megan Conrad, BVMS, a veterinarian at Hello Ralphie, says. These dogs can weigh up to 100 to 150 pounds and be 26 to 28 inches in height. 

Be prepared for your dog to have a growth spurt early in their lives. “Like other giant breeds, Newfies grow very quickly during the ages of 4 to 7 months,” Dr. Conrad adds.

What are Newfoundland dogs’ temperaments like?

“These gentle giants are sweet and loyal,” Dr. Conrad says. Newfoundlands usually have mild temperaments and are very loving. Being gentle with children even earned them the nickname “nanny dog.” You can expect a lot of cuddles from this breed, too. 

Newfies are eager to please, making them easy to train. Newfoundlands, like all dogs, respond best to gentle, positive training. “As with any dog, early socialization is key to becoming a well-adjusted adult dog,” Dr. Conrad adds.

As puppies, Newfoundlands are relatively mellow but enjoy playing. While you’re playing with a young pup, avoid putting stress on their joints through agility training or heavy exercise, she recommends. Swimming is a great activity for young Newfoundlands, as it works out their muscles without unnecessary stress. 

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How to manage Newfoundland dogs’ shedding

Newfoundlands are known for their thick, heavy undercoats and flat topcoats (which usually grow in black, brown or gray fur). Although these qualities make for a soft and cuddly friend, Newfoundlands need weekly grooming (at least). Purchase a long-toothed comb and a slicker brush for the best results, and consider adding nail trimming and weekly teeth cleaning to their bathing regimen, too. 

What common health issues do Newfoundlands face?

“Don't buy a puppy from a careless breeder, puppy mill or pet store,” Dr. Conrad says. And when welcoming a Newfoundland into your life, ask the rescue group or shelter if they’ve tested the pup for genetic diseases to bring up at their first vet visit.

The most common health concern to look out for involves Newfoundlands’ eyes. Ask your veterinarian about ways to prevent cherry eyes (which is when a gland in the dog’s third eyelid pops out), entropion (which is when their upper or lower eyelid rolls inward) and cataracts

It’s a good idea to ask your veterinarian about potential skeletal issues, such as elbow and hip dysplasia and the risk of fully or partially torn ligaments in the knees, which usually affect young, large-breed dogs during physical activity. 

How to integrate a Newfoundland into your home

Before bringing a Newfoundland home, you’ll want to set up their space and buy any necessary accessories. These are drooling dogs, so keeping towels handy ensures your house and their fur coat stay clean. Also, because of their heavy coat, their space needs to be shaded and air-conditioned (especially during the summer to prevent heatstroke).

And because these pups have so much energy, ensure you’re scheduling enough time for mental and physical stimulation. Chronic boredom can have health consequences for dogs, so it’s essential to schedule playtimes and walks. 

Newfoundland dog rescue

Are you interested in adopting a Newfoundland, Newfoundland mix or any pet at all? We think every pet deserves a home and encourage you to check out our shelter partners

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

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