History and origin: The Newfoundland originated from the northeast of Canada. Possibly the result of a cross between the Great Pyrenees and the Labrador Retriever, this giant breed was used by fishermen in Newfoundland to help haul in nets, to rescue drowning victims, to pull carts, and to perform retrieval tasks in the water. His large body and insulative coat keeps him warm and allows him to swim in icy water.
Description: The Newfoundland stands 26 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 100 and 150 pounds. He has a large, powerful body, webbed feet, and a medium-length flat, glossy shedding coat with a soft undercoat. Daily brushing with a hard brush is essential to prevent matting. The color may be black, chestnut, or black-and-white.
About the breed: The Newfoundland is a natural life-saving dog with a great instinct to carry anything in the water safely ashore. This strong, powerful, water-loving breed has a sweet, playful disposition. Though initially suspicious of strangers, he quickly warms up to most people and is not nearly as territorial as the Mastiff or Great Pyrenees. He will function very well as a watchdog and may show some aggression toward strange dogs. The Newfoundland is more trainable than the Mastiff, perhaps due to the influence of retriever bloodlines. Training technique should be firm and consistent, but not overbearing, and should start early, as should socialization. Remember also that giant breeds mature slowly; a six-month-old Newfoundland may weigh 80 pounds but will still have a puppy mind-set. He is very active for a giant breed and must be exercised daily. He loves to swim and retrieve. Depending on the cleanliness of the water, the dog may need to be bathed as well. The Newfoundland makes a good family pet and usually loves children. Just be careful that this giant does not block small children down during play. Roughhousing should not be allowed. The Newfoundland is short-lived and is susceptible to congenital heart disorders, bloat, hip dysplasia, and eyelid problems. He drools, snores, and eats very large amounts of food, making him an expensive pet to own.
Feeding: Recommended feeding for this breed is up to 4 cans (13.3oz) of a high-quality meaty product with biscuit added in equal part or 5 cupfuls of a complete, dry dog food.
Ideal home: This breed needs a house with a fenced yard. The owner of a Newfoundland should be an active, patient, confident leader. Weak, nervous, and overbearing persons should avoid this breed. Time for training, exercise, grooming, and socialization must be made available on a daily basis. A nearby swimming area would be a plus. The Newfoundland does well in cold weather, but may have trouble in the heat. The elderly and the disabled may have trouble controlling this large, active breed.