A giant in size but as sweet as they come, the Newfoundland is a great family dog and a real workhorse!
This devoted dog is everything you could want in a companion – sweet, intelligent, and affectionate. If you are debating adding this breed to your pack but want to know more about them first - read on.
From their incredible size, and their unusual, webbed toes, here are five things you should know about the Newfoundland dog.
They Can Reach Up To 100lbs. In The First Year
At one-month-old, the Newfoundland dog weighs around 10 lbs. By one-year-old, a male Newfoundland weighs 120 lbs, and a female just over 100 lbs. With an average weight gain of 10 lbs per month during their first year, this is one of the fastest-growing breeds.
Partially due to their size and partially due to their rapid growth, the Newfoundland dog is prone to skeletal problems. Osteochondritis dissecans is a particular problem for giant breed puppies that gain weight too quickly, not allowing sufficient time for cartilage to attach to the bone.
By the time a Newfoundland dog turns 2 years old, it can weigh anywhere from 120lbs to 150lbs and stand 28” tall at the shoulder. Is it any wonder that these pups are often confused with bears?
They Often Forget Their Size
Despite weighing between 120lbs and 150lbs fully grown, the Newfoundland still thinks it weighs 12lbs. It is not unusual for this giant pup to try to sit down in your lap or lay on top of you for snuggles.
While this gentle giant is known for tolerance of younger children, it is crucial not to forget that the Newfie can forget her size. This obliviousness can easily result in accidentally knocking down an unsteady toddler or elderly relative.
It is a fairly common occurrence for the Newfoundland dog to get underfoot. Being underfoot is also common for dogs with separation anxiety – a problem often seen in Newfies. Fearful of being left, this giant pup will hug close to her people and refuse to let them out of her sight, often resulting in tripping.
They Have a Shorter Lifespan
Like most giant dog breeds, the tragedy of the Newfoundland dog is that they have a significantly shortened lifespan. The average Newfie lifespan is between 8-10 years, although some dogs have lived as long as 15 years.
Due to their size, these giant dogs’ bodily systems are under significant stress. The Newfoundland dog’s joints and major organs, like the heart, are most significantly affected by their size.
In addition to their overall size, the major determining factors in a Newfoundland dog’s lifespan are genetics and overall health. A poorly bred Newfie is more likely to succumb to health conditions such as Subaortic Stenosis (SAS), Pulmonic Stenosis (PS), and Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD) which are common to the breed.
They Have Webbed Toes
A handful of dog breeds – the Newfoundland included – have webbed toes. These dogs developed webbing between their toes as an evolutionary advantage. Most dogs with webbed feet are dogs like the Newfie, the Labrador, and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever - dogs bred for water work.
All dogs have some webbing between their toes, but breeds that must navigate swampy lands or mud or swim frequently have more webbing. This webbing helps these dogs get a better grip on slippery land and to propel themselves through the water.
The Newfoundland dog was originally a fisherman’s dog in Newfoundland, but a large portion of their work involved fishing net retrieval and water rescue work.
They Have a Double-Layered Water Resistant Coat
Some dog breeds – particularly those bred for work in the water – have a double-layered water-resistant coat – the Newfoundland dog is one of them. The Newfie’s bottom coat is soft and thick, and it provides insulation; the topcoat is coarser and oily and provides water resistance.
The thick, long coat of the Newfoundland sheds year-round with two major sheds – one in spring and one in fall. During these major sheds, the Newfie loses larger amounts of hair – often in clumps.
Frequent grooming is helpful in reducing the amount of dog hair in your home – especially during major sheds. It is important to educate yourself on grooming double-coated dogs if you plan to groom them at home since improper grooming techniques can damage the coat.