A Newfoundland is a one of a kind dog first used and bred as a workman’s dog in Canada. These dogs are famous for their black coats, enormous size, powerful body, calm demeanor, and immense loyalty. These types of dogs are ideal for rescuing or lifeguard dogs because of their immense strength, thick coat, and strong swimming capabilities.  

The American Kennel Club (AKC) categorizes dogs into 7 groups:

  • Herding Dogs
  • Hound Dogs
  • Non-sporting Dogs 
  • Sporting Dogs
  • Terrier Dogs
  • Toy Dogs
  • Working Dogs

The American Kennel Club recognizes the Newfoundland as a working dog because of its unique characteristics. This type of dog was used by fishermen to haul nets and haul wood. They are also ideal for rescue missions on the beach or at sea because of their strong body and swimming capabilities.


Newfoundland dogs have similar characteristics as other mastiffs which include the St. Bernard and English mastiff. These types of dogs have huge heads with wide snouts, a large neck, and a firm bone structure.

These dogs came from Newfoundland in Canada. This type of dog has a St. John’s Dog ancestry. The mixed mastiff characteristics are brought about by the Portuguese who bred the mastiffs with the Newfoundland during the sixteenth century.

Explorers and fishermen first spotted this type of dog along the Grand Banks where they saw dogs pulling nets and hauling wood for fishermen. These working type dogs also hauled carts and other equipment for the workers. These types of dogs were even used for rescue missions.

Although large in stature and their extreme love of swimming and mud these dogs are also calm and trainable as household pets.

What are the characteristics of a Newfoundland dog?

Besides their innate abilities as rescue dogs or their strength as workman’s dogs, Newfoundlands have other characteristics that make them a good pet.

These huge dogs are very calm and compliant despite their size and muscular stature. Their calm demeanor suits their nickname “gentle giant.” These dogs are also easy to train because of their calm nature. Once you start them young, they will easily adapt to their environment and will absorb what you will teach them. Their size and stature makes them ideal as guard dogs or watch dogs. Its calm demeanor makes it suitable as a nanny for children, they also adapt well in the company of children. These types of dogs are hospitable toward other creatures making them a good overall pet.

Newfoundlands need to socialize to develop their social skills and tone down their aggressiveness toward other dogs, animals, or people. Socializing with them and other people at a young age will train them to be compliant and sociable. This type of dog is often shy but once trained well, it can get along well with anybody and anything. Despite its shyness, it needs company for it to stay happy. This dog should not be left alone for long periods of time because loneliness can ruin its temperament and interaction with other people or animals.

This type of dog is also an exercise freak. It needs to move around and walk around to make it feel comfortable. As a workman’s dog, it needs to feel its muscles work and move that is why it is important for it to exercise. It has a fondness for swimming because of its nature, you can train it by allowing the dog to pull equipment or furniture inside your house.

Here is a list of traits associated with Newfoundlands:

  • Sweet temperament
  • Docile
  • Sociable
  • Easy to get along with
  • Shy
  • Exercise lover
  • Dignified
  • Quiet
  • Gets along well with other animals and other people
  • Congenial

What are the physical characteristics of a Newfoundland dog?

It is a large dog with varying degrees of color. Its color ranges from brown to black to white or gray. These dogs have a large head and muscular neck and back. The teeth are large and form a scissor bite. The eyes are cut deep and have a brownish shade. Despite the large size of the dog, it has small eyes that are spaced far from each other. The ears are triangular with rounded tips and the dog has webbed feet making it a good swimmer. The thick double coat of the dog makes it ideal for swimming and rescue missions. It has a powerful tail and it has an outer coat that is coarse and wavy.

The ideal pet for you

Newfoundland dogs are ideal pets because of their demeanor and easy-to-train sensibilities. But if you are looking for a cute house pet then you are better off looking the other way. Newfoundlands are large and they require a lot of physical activity so if you want one, you’d better be prepared for the demands that come with owning this dog.