What You Should Know Before Getting a Newfoundland Puppy

Updated on: Jan 23, 2021
Share on:
What You Should Know Before Getting a Newfoundland Puppy

Newfoundlands, or Newfies as their fans affectionately call them, are one of the most iconic dog breeds out there. Powerful, gorgeous, loving, and loyal, these dogs are fantastic for a lot of people and make for great family pets.

They do have their peculiarities, however, so they are not the “right” fit for every home.

It’s perfectly understandable if you’re mesmerized by Newfies and you desperately what one but it’s wise to first make sure that your home and lifestyle are truly suitable for a Newfie.

What are the key characteristics that make Newfoundlands special?

Newfoundlands are a true working dog breed. For centuries they were bred and used by Canadian fishermen to help them haul out heavy fishing nets and to carry carts of lumber around.

All this doesn’t mean that you have to get a Newfie only if you need a working animal – not at all!

Newfoundlands make for excellent family pets thanks to their mild characters, gentle nature, and high intelligence. They are fluffy, loyal, and playful – perfect for most families. However, the fact that they are inherently a working dog breed means that they are huge, powerful, and in frequent need of exercise too.

So, if you want a dog that’s constantly in your feet and doesn’t need to go out – the Newfie is only half-right for you.

But let’s break down all their characteristics one by one.

The 9 things you should know before getting a Newfoundland

1. The Newfoundland needs lots of space

Newfoundlands are huge, plain and simple. The standard Newfie can grow up to 26 or 28 inches (66 or 71 cm) and can weigh as much as 120 or even 150 pounds (54 or 68 kg).

That’s a lot of dog!

Naturally, this means that Newfies are not very suitable for small homes or apartments. Even regardless of how active and playful a dog is, the Newfie’s size alone is enough of a reason to only pick this breed if you have a large enough space for it.

Naturally, this means that having a yard is also crucial. Newfoundlands will often choose to remain indoors with you, especially if it’s hot outside but they’ll also often utilize the extra outdoor space too.

2. This is a powerful working dog – it needs to exercise

In addition to being absolutely massive, Newfoundland dogs also need a fair bit of exercise every day. They are not as hyperactive as some other breeds so don’t be afraid of having to spend half a day every day in the park. But they still need an adequate amount of exercise to remain healthy and happy. As we said, Newfies are working dogs.

What exactly does this mean for you?

It means that two brief walks around the block are not enough daily exercise for a Newfie. You’d also want to spend some extra time in the park, run around a little, play fetch, and they play several more times in your yard too. Going further away to a trail or another park on the weekends is also strongly recommended.

3. Newfoundlands don’t just love to swim – they basically need to

Speaking of exercise, there’s one other form of exercise that’s especially important for Newfies – swimming.

Some dog breeds are virtually incapable of swimming while others – like water retriever breeds - are bred specifically to be great swimmers. Newfies are not exactly a retriever breed but they are also bred to be excellent swimmers.

This means several things:

  • If you want a dog that you can swim with – Newfoundlands are one of the best options.
  • If you want to make your Newfie happy – go for a swim!
  • Most importantly, however, swimming is the best type of exercise for Newfies – not only do they love it but because they are a particularly large breed, swimming allows them to exercise without wearing out and damaging their joints and growth plates.

4. This breed hates warm and humid climates

Most people know that Huskies and Malamute dog breeds don’t like warm climates – the same goes for Newfoundlands. In fact, an argument can be made that Newfies are even less tolerant toward warm climates because they are even more massive than other cold-climate dog breeds.

The takeaway for the dog owner here is very clear – if you live in a warmer climate, it’s probably for the best if you don’t get a Newfoundland dog.

But I really want one!

If you insist on getting a Newfie in a warmer climate, you’ll have to do everything possible to keep your dog healthy. Here are some of the basic must-have-precautionary measures:

  • Never go out with your Newfie in the middle of even just a moderately warm summer day – instead, go out in early mornings and early evenings only.
  • Never keep your Newfie in a car in the middle of the day – that’s a big No-No for most dog breeds but can be especially disastrous for a Newfoundland.
  • Go swimming. Often. This is a great way for a Newfie to cool off. So, if you’re going out in the summer, it better be to a nearby beach or lake with dog access.
  • Make sure that your home – and every other place your Newfie goes to – is well air-conditioned at all times.

5. Newfoundlands are relatively healthy but there are a few things to look out for

Newfies aren’t one of those breeds that have dozens of genetic health issues. Instead, they are a relatively healthy dog breed.

This doesn’t mean that they are invulnerable of course, and there are a few things to look out for:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia, especially if all your Newfie’s exercise is on land.
  • Heart problems such as sub-aortic stenosis.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Kidney or bladder stones.
  • Gastric torsion (due to their large size).

To prevent any of these or to react in time after the first symptoms, always go to routine vet check-ups and follow your vet’s advice to the letter. Another smart thing to keep in mind is to always look for reputable breeders or shelters only and to always ask for a health certificate when getting a Newfie.

6. Do you love grooming your pets? You’d better cause Newfies need it!

As a cold-climate dog, Newfoundlands have long, thick coats and can shed a lot! This means that you should be prepared for two “fun” shedding seasons every year and for lots of non-seasonal shedding in the meantime too. Bathing and brushing your Newfie’s coat several times a week is a good idea and you’d better have a nice vacuum cleaner too!

7. Newfoundlands tend to drool so make sure you’re ok with that

One of the things that turn most people off this breed is their drooling. Like Bulldogs and several other breeds, Newfies can’t help but drool almost non-stop. Some Newfies drool more than others but all drool at least a little. If that’s a deal-breaker for you – sorry, that’s just how Newfies are!

8. This breed is the very definition of the term “Gentle giant”

The term “Gentle giant” was essentially invented for the Newfoundland breed. These dogs are massive, muscular, and extremely lovable and well-mannered.

Remember that the Newfie is a working dog, not a guard dog or a hunting dog. These dogs were bred to help people carry stuff around, not hunt, attack, and kill stuff.

They are still carnivore animals, of course, but in terms of their attitude toward humans – they love us even more than we love them!

Does this mean that Newfoundlands are great with kids?


You’d still need to train your Newfie on how to behave around your kids (and vice versa) of course, but once that’s done, everything should be fine!

9. Newfies are highly intelligent dogs

Speaking of training, Newfoundlands are exceptionally intelligent dogs. As a breed that has been working with humans for centuries, Newfies know how to listen, follow orders, complete tasks, and respect their owners’ authority. With a bit of patience and the right approach, you can train and teach your Newfie to do almost everything!

Of course, like all intelligent dog breeds, Newfies can also be prone to boredom and even depression when they don’t receive enough mental stimulation. This means that you should make sure to give your Newfie plenty of attention, lots of playtime (especially if you work out of home), and many different puzzle dog toys to have fun with.

Who are Newfoundlands “right” for?

Given everything we talked about above, Newfoundlands are the perfect dog for some people but are just not ideal for everyone. Consider getting a Newfie if:

  • You have the physical space for such a giant dog.
  • Drooling doesn’t bother you.
  • There’s a lake or beach nearby for your dog to swim in.
  • You love playing with your dog in the park.
  • You’d love to groom a giant ball of hair every day!

How to prepare for getting a Newfoundland?

If you have the time and space for a Newfie, there isn’t all that much prep you’d need really to do. Large dogs require a certain preparation by definition, of course – a strong leash, durable dog toys, a tall yard fence, and so on. Quality grooming tools are a must with a Newfoundland too.

But aside from that – and a powerful vacuum for all that Newfie hair – the two main factors are space and time. If you have that and want a Newfie – go for it!

Recent Posts