The Newfoundland

Historical Survey:

The breed originated in the island of Newfoundland (Canada) from indigenous dogs and the big black bear dog introduced by the Vikings after the year 1100. With the advent of European fishermen a variety of new breeds helped to shape and reinvigorate the breed, but the essential characteristics remained. When the colonisation of the island began in 1610, the Newfoundland Dog was already largely in possession of his proper morphology and natural behaviour. These features allowed him to withstand the rigours of the extreme climate and sea’s adversity while pulling heavy loads on land or serving as water and lifeguard dog.


General Appearance:The Newfoundland is massive, with powerful body, well muscled and well coordinated in his movements.
Important Proportions:The length of the body from the point of the shoulders to the point of buttock is greater than the height at the withers. The body is compact. The body of the bitch may be slightly longer and is less massive than that of the dog. The distance from the withers to the underside of the chest is slightly greater than the distance from the underside of the chest to the ground.
Behaviour and Temperament:The Newfoundland’s expression reflects benevolence and softness. Dignified, joyful and creative, he is known for his sterling gentleness and serenity.
Head:Massive. The head of the bitch follows the same general conformation as the male’s one, but is less massive. The skull should be broad, with slightly arched crown and strongly developed occipital bone. The stop should be evident, but never abrupt. The nose should be Large, well pigmented, nostrils well developed. Colour should be black on black and white and black dogs, brown on brown dogs. The muzzle should be definitely square, deep and moderately short, covered with short, fine hair and free from wrinkles. The corners of the mouth are evident, but not excessively pronounced. Flews should be soft. Jaws and teeth should be scissor or level bite. Eyes should be relatively small, moderately deep set, wide apart and show no haw. They should be dark brown in black and white and black dogs, lighter shades are permitted in brown dogs. Ears should be relatively small, triangular with rounded tips, well set back on the side of the head and close lying. When the ear of the adult dog is brought forward, it reaches to the inner corner of the eye on the same side.
Neck:The neck should be strong, muscular, well set in the shoulders, long enough to permit dignified head carriage. The neck should not allow excessive dewlap.
Body:Bone structure should be massive throughout. Viewed from the side, the body is deep and vigorous. Topline should be level and firm from the withers to the croup.
 Back should be broad. Loin is strong and well muscled. Croup should be broad, sloping at an angle of about 30 degrees. Chest is broad, full and deep, with good spread of ribs.
 Abdomen and underline should be almost level and never tucked up.
Limbs:Forequarters: The forelegs are straight and parallel also when the dog is walking or slowly trotting. Shoulders should be very well muscled and well laid back. Elbows should be close to the chest. Pasterns are slightly sloping. Forefeet are large and proportionate to the body, well rounded and tight, with firm and compact toes. Webbing of toes should be present.
 Hindquarters: Because driving power for pulling loads, swimming or covering ground efficiently is largely dependent upon the hindquarters, the rear structure of the Newfoundland is of prime importance. The pelvis has to be strong, broad and long.
 Upperthighs should be wide and muscular. Stifle is well bent, but not so as to give a crouching appearance. Lowerthighs should be strong and fairly long. Hocks are relatively short, well let down and well apart, parallel to each other; they turn neither in nor out. Hindfeet should be firm and tight. Dewclaws, if present, should be removed.
Tail:The tail acts as a rudder when the Newfoundland is swimming; therefore it is strong and broad at the base. When the dog is standing, the tail hangs down with, possibly, a little curve at the tip, reaching to or slightly below the hocks. When the dog is in motion or excited, the tail is carried straight out with slight upward curve, but never curved over the back nor curved inward between the legs.
Movement:Gait/Movement: The Newfoundland moves with good reach of the forlegs and strong drive of the hindquarters, giving the impression of effortless power. A slight roll of the back is natural. As the speed increases, the dog tends to single track with the topline remaining level.
 Coat:Hair: the Newfoundland has a water resistant double coat. the outer coat is moderately long and straight with no curl. A slight wave is permissible. The undercoat is soft and dense, more dense in winter than summer, but always found to some extent on the croup and chest. The hair on the head, muzzle and ears is short and fine. The front and rear legs are feathered. The tail is completely covered with long, dense hair, but does not form a flag. Trimming and scissoring are not encouraged
Colours:Black: The traditional colour is black. the colour has to be even as much as possible, but a slight tinge of sunburn is permissible. White markings on chest, toes and/or tip or tail are permissible.
 White and Black: This variety is of historical significance for the breed. The preferred pattern of markings is black head with, preferably, a white blaze extending onto the muzzle, black saddle with even markings and black croup and upper tail. The remaining parts are to be white and can show the minimum of ticking.
 Brown: The brown colour goes from chocolate to bronze. White markings on chest, toes and/or tip of tail are permissible. White and Black dogs and Brown dogs are to be shown in the same class as Blacks.
Size and Weight:

The average height at the withers is:

o Adult Males   – 71 cm (28 inches

o Adult Bitches – 66 cm (26 inches)

The average weight is:

o Adult Males – 68kg

o Adult Bitches – 54kg


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

o General Appearance: Legginess, lack of substance.

o General Bone Structure: Sluggish appearance, fine bone.

o Character: Aggressiveness, shyness.

o Head: Narrow.

o Muzzle: Snippy or long.

o Flews: Pronounced.

o Eyes:Round, protuding, yellow eyes, shadowing pronounced haw.

o Back: Roached, slcak or swayed.

o Tail: Short, long, kink tail, curled up.

o Hindquarters: Straight stifles, cowhocks, barrel legs, pigeon toes.

o Hair: Completely open coat, lack of undercoat

o Forequarters: Down in pastern, spalyed toes, toeing in or out, lack of webbing between toes.

Eliminating Faults:

 Bad Temperament

o Overshot or Undershot bite, Wry Mouth.

o Short and flat coat.

o Markings of any other colour other than White on a Black or a Brown dog.

o Any other colour than Black or White and Black or Brown.

o Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

o A male animal should have two apparently normal testicles both descended into the scrotum.