Meet the Breed: The Newfoundland

Updated On: Friday, May 21, 2021 15:00:38 PM America/Los_Angeles

Newfoundlands or, as they are affectionately known, Newfies, are large working dogs indigenous to the Canadian territory of Newfoundland (hence the name). In the early days, Newfies were used by fishermen to conduct daring water rescues and pull nets and carts. Their acts of heroism, much like those of the Alps-faring Saint Bernards (Balto, anyone?), are the stuff of legend. In fact, a Newfoundland named Seaman was said to have accompanied Lewis and Clark on the fabled survey of the United States in 1802! The great romantic poet, Lord Byron also had a Newfie named Boatswain which he loved dearly, and the Robert F. Kennedies' Newfie, Brumus, helped them look after their 11 children. 

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They can have brown, black, or black and white fur which is coarse to the touch. Their big soulful eyes and friendly dispositions make them outstanding family pets and wonderful around children. They are extremely intelligent animals and are often used for water rescue operations due to their sturdy muscular build, double coat, webbed toes, innate swimming abilities, and calm demeanors. They’re strong enough to pull drowning adult men out of the water and swim with them to shore. In fact, they promote such calm in those near them that they are known as nanny dogs in the therapy world! With this said, it will come as no surprise when we tell you that the Darling Family’s dog, Nana, in J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is also a Newfie!

Additionally, they have been sorted into the giant dog breed category by the American Kennel Club, and are actually one of the largest dog breeds in the world next to the great dane, of course! You can check out our article on the Guiness Book of World Records’ tallest dog here

Newfies are gentle, loyal giants that are easy to train and respond well to gentle chiding and positive reinforcement from a young age. If you bring home a Newfie, housebreaking them as soon as possible is essential. Make sure that you only scold your pup if you catch them doing something they shouldn’t be (or pottying somewhere they shouldn’t). Brainstorm some simple command words and phrases and start applying them right away, and keep loads of treats on hand! 

They’re very smart animals, so just be consistent with your command words and your subsequent actions and keep an eye on them. Having pee pads is okay until about 10 weeks; after which, your Newfie should  either be walked outside in fresh grass every time they need to potty, or they need to be trained to use DoggieLawn to avoid creating bad habits that can turn into even bigger messes later (literally). 

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