The Newfoundland is a massive and muscular dog breed that was originally used as a working dog to pull nets and boats ashore for fishermen and haul wood from the forest. The precise origin of the Newfoundland breed is still unclear, however the most convincing indication points to the crossbreeding of arctic and other dog breeds found in Newfoundland within the 17th century. The dog’s strong swimming skills make it suitable for both the farmland as well as water work. It is also one of the friendliest and sweet-natured dog breeds and today it is raised as a family companion, and for show competitions.
The Newfoundland dog can be easily identified because of its large body and other prominent features that it possesses. On average, the males normally stand between 27 and 29 inches tall and weigh 58 to 68 kilograms while the females stand between 25 to 27 inches, weighing 45 — 54 kilograms. Other features include a broad and heavy head with a slightly arched crown, and a strong back and neck. The muzzle is usually broad and deep, with a moderate stop. The nose is always black except the bronze-colored dogs which have brown noses. The legs are straight and well-muscled with webbed feet. The dog’s tail is strong, broad-based and ganging down.
The oily, water-resistant coat of the Newfoundland is double layered; the outer coat is coarse and moderately long and can either be straight or wavy, while the undercoat is dense and soft. The face and muzzle are both covered with short hair, similar to the limbs. The dog sheds hair in moderation, with the bulk of it occurring during spring and fall. However, the coat can be trimmed occasionally to keep it clean and tidy.
Most Newfoundlands are either black (the most common), Irish spotted (black with white markings), brown, gray, or white in color. Other color varieties exist as well, including black with blue highlights, as well as the Landseer colored breeds which normally have a white base coat with black markings on the head, a black saddle and black tail base.
The breed has a very sweet temperament and aims to please. He is also courageous, peaceable and is always patient and mild with its master, making it one of the most loyal and trustworthy breeds. Its expression normally portrays intelligence, goodwill and dignity, and is considered a devoted companion by most people.
The Newfoundland rarely bark but is protective and brave when need be, especially when he spots an intruder. He also gets along well with other dogs, but is usually smart enough to tell who is a threat in their pack and attack. He is playful and loving with children and especially enjoys an outdoor setting.
However, a Newfoundland may be slightly difficult to train and this must be carried out in a calm and balanced manner. The trainer must always remain firm, confident and consistent with the dog by giving him rules and sticking to them. Since the dogs are normally sensitive to all kinds of voices, they should be exposed early enough to the surrounding, other people, sounds and experiences in order to develop their social skills.
Newfoundslands love it when they spend time with their family and therefore must not be left alone for longer periods of time The dog may also be taken out on a walk, and may enjoy frequent opportunities to swim and frolic.
Feeding: How much an adult Newfoundland dog eats depends greatly on his age, size build, activity level and metabolism. However, the recommended daily amount is 4 to 5 cups of high quality dry food a day divided into two meals. The puppies need a slow but steady growth and can be given a diet containing not more than 24 per cent proteins and 12 to 15 per cent fat in each serving. Measuring the dog’s food ensures he remains in good shape and it is always advisable to schedule mealtimes rather than leaving the food out all day. The dogs normally drink a lot of water as well and love sleeping outside in the evenings, so ensure there is always cool water provided and a shaded place for them to lie.
Whatever the season, the Newfoundland’s coat must be brushed on a regular basis to remove faded hair and ensure the coat remains clean. This should be done on its entire body including behind the ears and on the legs. Special care is mostly needed during warm and wet seasons to avoid infections and the dog also needs to be washed and its nails trimmed on a regular basis.
Basic training is essential, especially when the dogs are growing and this may include daily walks or dog sporting activities such as swimming and frolicking.