If you’ve ever met a Newfoundland, chances are you love them. These dogs certainly live up to their “gentle giant” reputation—you’d be hard-pressed to find a sweeter breed (especially when you consider their massive size!). They’re also smart as a whip and loyal to boot.
For the right person, Newfies can be the perfect pet. But there’s a lot more to Newfoundlands than meets the eye! Here are 12 Newfoundland dog facts every Newfie lover knows by heart:
1. Newfoundlands are named after—you guessed it—Newfoundland
The Newfoundland dog was originally bred as a working dog in Newfoundland, an island off the East Coast of Canada. The name might not get points for originality, but it gives you some insight into the climate these dogs were bred for. Since Newfoundland is surrounded by the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the second fact in this list will come as no surprise.
2. Newfoundlands are amazing swimmers
Newfoundlands were originally bred as working dogs, primarily serving as rescue and service dogs on fisherman ships. While they rarely serve as ship hands anymore, their expert swimming abilities are still alive and well.
3. Newfoundlands make great water rescue dogs
Not only are they amazing swimmers, but Newfoundlands also have a knack for water rescue. Newfoundlands have a natural inclination towards rescuing struggling or drowning people from water—and have been known to brave treacherous water and dangerous conditions to pull people to safety.
4. Newfoundlands have webbed feet
One of the reasons Newfoundlands are such incredible swimmers is that they have partially webbed feet! Not exactly something you’d expect to see on a dog (we’re not talking about a frog, here!). Newfoundlands share this practical feature with several other breeds as well.
5. Newfoundland puppies LOVE to eat
Newfoundland puppies can gain a whopping 100lbs in their first year of life. And to put on that kind of weight, they need a LOT of food! If you’re adding a Newfie puppy to your family, be prepared to support a voracious appetite.
6. You won’t find a more loyal pet than a Newfie
If you’re looking for a “ride-or-die” kind of dog, you won’t find a breed more loyal than the Newfoundland. Newfies are known to physically place themselves between their humans and strangers as a form of protection. They’re also commonly referred to as a “nanny dog” due to their gentleness toward children in the family. That’s what we call loyalty!
7. Newfoundlands can grow larger than people
On average, male Newfoundlands grow to be between 130 and 150lbs, while female Newfoundlands hover somewhere between 100 and 120lbs. That’s bigger than some fully grown humans!
8. Newfoundlands are happy to chill…but they also need exercise
Unlike many large breeds, Newfoundlands make great house dogs—they’re laid-back, relaxed, and are more than happy to spend hours lounging at your feet. But too much lounge time can lead to an overweight Newfie, which is why it’s important to make sure Newfoundlands have a large yard or enclosed space to exercise in. Supplement with daily walks and the occasional swim and your Newfoundland will stay in tip-top shape.
9. Newfoundlands need to be brushed…a lot
Some dogs are super low maintenance when it comes to grooming. But Newfoundlands? Not so much.
Newfies shed year-round—and in order to keep their coat clean and well-maintained, you need to brush them. A lot. Like, every single day. You’ll also want to become friends with your dog’s groomer since you’ll need to visit them regularly.
10. Newfoundlands know how to snap a great photo
All dogs look adorable in photos, but Newfies take being photogenic to a whole new level. Those sweet faces and puppy-dog eyes were made for close-ups. It’s no wonder you see Newfies splashed all over social media!
11. Newfoundlands were the breed of choice for some of history’s most notable figures
A number of notable figures in history have been proud Newfoundland parents, including explorers Lewis and Clark, former United States Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Lyndon B. Johnson, poet Lord Byron, and author Emily Dickinson.
12. A Newfoundland was the inspiration for one of literature’s most iconic dogs
Another famous Newfoundland owner? J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan. His dog, Luath, was the inspiration for the Darling family’s nurse dog, affectionately named “Nana” in the book (though the Disney film modeled Nana after a St. Bernard).
Whether you’re a long-time Newfie lover or aspiring Newfie parent, the things you love about Newfoundlands is bound to outstrip this list. There’s just so much to love about these gentle giants.