The Newfoundland Temperament…and Other Interesting Things

Before delving into the Newfoundland temperament, let’s take a moment to get to know a little bit more about this sweetheart of a dog.

Some General Info About the Newfoundland

The Newfoundland, or “Newf,” is classified as a “working dog.”  Other types of working dogs include the Golden Retriever, the Great Dane, and the Siberian Husky.

The Newfoundland was originally bred to be used as a working dog for fishermen in a land that is now a part of Canada but that used to be its own separate entity, known as the Dominion of Newfoundland.

Because of their established purpose, Newfoundlands are actually skilled at water rescues.  This is due, in part, to their muscular body structures, thick double coats, webbed feet, and inherent swimming ability.

Interestingly, the Newf likes to drink water almost as much as he likes to swim in it.  He’s pretty messy, though, when it comes to drinking – and he likes to drink a lot.  So you may find yourself cleaning up after his drool rather often.

Newfoundlands come in a variety of colors, including black, brown, gray, or a white and black combo referred to as “Landseer.”

That’s a Big Doggie!

Newfoundlands, on average, weigh in at between 130 and 150 lbs. for males, and between 100 and 120 lbs. for females.  This puts them into the weight range of “Giant.”

Some Newfs have even been recorded as weighing in at over 200 lbs., with the largest one on record being 260 lbs. and measuring in at over six feet from nose to tail!

As far as their height is concerned, Newfs usually reach between 22 and 28 inches, if you measure them at the shoulder.

Some Traits of the Newfoundland Temperament

Despite being a strong, big dog, the Newfoundland temperament is closer to that of a teddy bear than a lion.

  • Gentle

For one thing, the Newfoundland is a gentle creature, renowned for her calmness and docility.  Because of this, Newfoundlands are fantastic to have around children.

However, because she can grow to be rather large at a younger age, small children have to take care that she doesn’t accidentally lean on them or knock them down.  She is the very definition of a “gentle giant.”

Considering those measurements above, it’s a relief to know that the Newf doesn’t have a penchant for using her weight and height in an aggressive fashion.  Could you imagine that much dog taking off after you?  Yikes!

Thankfully, though she may be huge, she ambles around rather slowly.

  • Sweet-Tempered

The Newfoundland’s sweet nature also makes him a pleasure to be around.  He will normally have a deep bark, which is ironic considering his laid-back attitude, and he is normally very loyal to his masters.  He typically doesn’t break out the bark unless he feels it’s necessary.

He’s even good around other dogs and animals, but his size can cause issues if he’s not properly trained.

Should an intruder barge into your home, the Newfoundland will essentially place him under citizen’s arrest.  The Newf is much more likely to either pin the intruder in the corner or put himself between the unwelcomed guest and his family until help arrives, rather than go in for the kill.

Even more impressive, the Newf has an innate sense for who is a threat to his “pack” and who isn’t, so if he doesn’t feel that you’re a threat, he’ll leave you alone.

  • Trainable

Newfoundlands are normally easy to train, but you have to, as with most other dogs, start young.  You can almost never go wrong with showing your dog the ropes as early as you can.  The sooner she learns the rules, the happier you and she will ultimately be.

As with many other breeds, the Newf will get along better with other dogs and animals if she is given opportunities to socialize with them from a young age.  You’ll want to look for even the smallest signs of aggression so that you can train her that this is not an acceptable way to behave.

The Health and Life Expectancy of a Newfoundland

Unfortunately, the Newfoundland is susceptible to a variety of different health conditions, including cystinuria (hereditary – causes bladder stones), hip dysplasia (a common problem for many breeds wherein there is deformed ball and socket in the hips), and even elbow dysplasia.

The Newfoundland can also succumb to a common heart defect of the breed known as subvalvular aortic stenosis, or SAS.  This basically involves the dog being born with defective heart valves.

Sadly, SAS can cause the Newfoundland to pass away suddenly and at a young age.  However, healthy Newfoundlands can live, on average, from 8 to 10 years with the latter being the typical life expectancy.

Is the Newf Right for You?

If you love big dogs, especially gentle giants, then you should definitely have no problems falling in love with a Newfoundland.  His sweet disposition, willingness to train, and gentle mannerisms all make the Newfoundland temperament a joy to experience.

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