What the St Bernard is to land, the Newfoundland is to the sea. They are a natural and outstanding water-rescue dog to whom many people have owed their lives. In 1919, a 'Newfie' was awarded a gold medal for pulling a lifeboat containing 20 people to safety.
They look like a huge, fluffy bear but underneath the thick, double coat is a strong and powerful dog. Their feet are webbed and their coat is oily and water-resistant. They can be black, brown or 'landseer' which is white with black markings. The black or brown can have a splash of white on chest, toes and tip of tail.
They have a long history of helping the fishermen in Canada, they rescued people and goods from the sea and could also haul things on land and be an effective watch and guard dog. They can be slow to train but are very sweet natured. They are calm and obedient, loyal and trustworthy. Although they make a good guard dog, they are more likely to hold than attack an intruder. They are good natured with people, including strangers if reassured that they are friends, good with other animals and especially with children. They are quite sedentary indoors so need a decent daily walk. They prefer cool and shade, their thick coat makes them uncomfortable in hot climates.
They should be brushed regularly, especially during times of seasonal heavy shedding but bathing should be avoided as this strips away the coat's natural waterproofing oils. They are prone to a heart disease called sub-aortic stenosis (SAS) and hip dysplasia.