11. June 2018

Getting a Newfoundland dog

I recently received an email from my reader Charlotta. She want to now if she should be getting a Newfoundland dog. My answer is of course yes!

Our Newfoundland dog Kapten Kolja.


"I'm thinking about getting a Newfoundland dog but I'm a bit hesitant since I have a 2-year-old daughter. What has it been like for you, raising small children together with a newfie? Is it possible or are they too big and lively?"

Asking a devoted dog owner to talk about their experiences with their dog is always a bit of a risk. You'll likely get a very, very long answer to that question. This is what getting a Newfoundland dog has been like for me so far:

A Newfoundland is a LOT of dog

Your newfie can weigh around 165 lbs (75 kilo) and sometimes even more. It has a big and fluffy coat and drools a lot. All in all, it's a whole lot of dog. But it's also a loyal friend who will be there for you through thick and thin. The fact that the newfie is so big and present all the time just makes the friendship feel even more special. Owning a large breed is quite different from having a smaller dog. You need to be able to handle a large and heavy animal. But when it works, that special bond that develops between a newfie and its owner is just pure joy.

Newfies love water

The newfie lets you know how much they love water in more or less subtle ways. Our dog sometimes stares me down when we're out on a walk and I want to go inside because it starts pouring. He also likes to lie down in muddy puddles and refuses to leave until he's completely soaked.

Newfies are kind

Patient is one of the best words to describe a newfie. And it's a good quality for us who have both children and dogs. All of our children learned to walk by hanging on to his coat or ears. They love to rest their heads on his warm body and listen to his heartbeats. His furry hugs are the best!

Newfies are BIG

Newfies are very large dogs. He's basically as large as our dinner table (his height by the withers). The children like to tell people that he could walk away with the table if he happens to stand up underneath it. The fun thing about newfies is that they have no idea how large they really are. This is a constant source of amusement (and some frustration) here at home. The command "back up" has been one of the most important things to teach him.

A newfie is strong

You sometimes see grown men basically wrapped around light posts, holding on for dear life while trying to control their unruly young newfies. Almost anyone will get pulled to the ground if the dog lashes out, which is why it's so important to train your dog. You need to make sure that the newfie feels motivated to go where you want to go. A lot of people will want to pet your newfie and they might get pushed over when the dog expresses its excitement or leans in to get some extra scratches. We don't worry that much about it anymore since we figured that the people who want to be close to him are aware of their own limitations.

Newfies can seem scary

Most people just can't get enough of newfies. You can't go out on the town with your dog unnoticed. People will look at you and your dog, and exclaim "look at him" wherever you go. But not everyone will be excited to see him. Some people are very afraid of dogs and telling people how nice he actually is won't help. I have come across grown men who panic when they see him because they think he's a bear!

A newfie has a lot of fur

Taking care of the coat is a big job. You need to brush and cut it. The newfie sheds twice each year and when this happens, I feel like I could brush him forever without seeing any results. You need to train your dog to accept being groomed. Try making it a nice moment for both of you, that will make it easier next time. The same goes for clipping his nails. You need to practice this too. Our last dog was extremely ticklish. It was always a bit of a challenge to position ourselves in a way where we didn't get a paw in the face when we tried to clip his nails.

Newfies cost a lot of money

Getting a Newfoundland dog is expensive. Last time I heard, a newfie cost about 1600 dollars (14 000 Swedish crowns), but the price might vary between breeders. There will of course also be additional costs, some are bigger for a larger breed. Food costs of course, and insurance. I can't stress this enough: you need a good insurance for your dog. If the dog gets sick, you could easily spend a fortune for a few days at the vet. It's also important to remember that you might need extra help to move a large and sick dog.

Newfies are the best company

A newfie is the perfect best friend for both adults and children. This breed enjoys spending time with the family in the garden, they like going on adventures, riding in the car and helping out with different chores at home.

Our last dog Captain Kolja was part of three of our children's lives. We were out in the forest picking lingonberries one day, and he stayed by my side the entire time. He didn't go off on his own or stray to follow a scent. He kept an eye on me instead. Whenever I stopped, he stopped and looked at me. He carried the large bucket of berries on our way back. That same night, my water broke and I gave birth to our son, seven weeks too soon. He knew what was going on all along. I miss him a lot.


Sara och valpen Kuling. Sara Bäckmo captain Kuling.

Newfie puppies are so cute! Luckily, they're equally cute when they grow up. And they grow so quickly!


We have another newfie now, our Captain Kuling. He's so lovely, he learns fast and wants to be useful all the time. Right now, we're working on his behavior with the children. He needs to learn a few things so that they can spend time together without any any accidents. A large dog like that can't be allowed to jump up on people. He has a tendency to put his paw on us when he wants something, which could be a problem if he does it to the kids.

Kuling is almost six months old and a lot bigger than in the picture above. Charlotta asked what it's like to have a puppy and children in the same house. Will the newfie puppy be too lively? Well, the newfie is actually a really calm and relaxed breed compared to many others. And the puppies are like this too. But their size and sharp teeth might cause some problems if the children play alone with the dog, (which you shouldn't let them do regardless of the breed, in my opinion.) But in general, I have to say that the newfies are very perceptive and empathetic dogs. My husband said this about him when he was only four months old:

"Our three-year-old daughter was sitting on the swings by herself and suddenly got very sad. She later said that she was sad because she was all alone and her siblings were in school. When she started to cry, Kuling came running towards her and stood by her side. She put her hand on his back and he guided her to the door. When she stopped, he stopped. When she went forward, so did he."

A three-year-old isn't exactly very large and ours is a bit smaller than most. One day, she put her arm around Kuling (as tall as she is) and said: "I'm glad we have such a small dog."

And I'm glad we have such a big dog (or at least, he will be.) I love cuddling a large dog, spooning or just sitting together and hugging. It's so fun to wrestle and play with a large dog too. It's a real workout. Life with a Newfoundland is filled with joy and precious moments. Getting a Newfoundland dog is a wonderful way to increase the quality of life every single day.

But having a newfie in the garden then? Well, that's another story. We're working on it.
/Sara Bäckmo


*Charlotta and her family decided to get a newfie after all, a sister to our own Captain Kuling!



14 responses to “Getting a Newfoundland dog”

  1. Anita Pedersen says:

    What a lovely story. We are on our 6th newfoundland. Ours have been black, brown and the last 2 white and black also called Landseer Newfoundland dogs. We have been lucky to have them until 10 to 13 years and they are all missed when we have to say good bye. our present Landseer girl is close to 7years and a terrific scent work/nose work dog

    • Sara Bäckmo says:

      Oh, it sounds so nice! Our Kolja got sick and had to leave us almost the same day as he turned seven. Hope Kuling will have a long and happy life =)

  2. Pat says:

    We also have a Land seer Newf. Very amazing, goes to work with me every day, loves riding in the car. Very discipline and has to stay that way related to his size.
    These dogs are one of a kind. He will sit and stare at either of us when he needs to go out. Definitely knows what back up means. Very intelligent and all people around him know he's wonderful and loves him. They shed Alot. I'm always cleaning up hair. He goes to the groomer every 6-7 weeks. Not energetic breed and likes to lay around, but will have bouts of playful moods. Jakes tail never stops moving, he appears always happy. A very good mix with children, the elderly, special needs, etc. I love him with all my heart.

    • Sara Bäckmo says:

      Lovely words to read, Pat! We had such a lovely moment in the kitchen today when my eight-year-old boy brushed the dog on the floor and they had a cozy time before school. All our children learned to walk by grabbing the fur. I think it means a lot to children to grow up among animals. We went for a walk the other day and the dog pulled my youngest child in a trolley. Our neighbor saw us from some distance and actually thought we were walking a pony. Ha ha ha!

  3. Robert Bart says:

    We first saw a Newfoundland in Mount Dora 2 years ago . I fell in love and we had just lost our dog of 12 years
    Needing something more hypoallergenic, we found a Newfie Poo. Standard Poodle mixed with a Newf.
    He is over a year old now, weighs close to 100 pounds and has more Newfoundland in him then Poodle. He is great!!! They dont grow as big but ot is a good compromise. Less shedding, strong as an ox and can gently drag my 10 year old daughter actoss the floor. Smartest dog I have ever had and am my 10th one.

  4. Steven Racquer says:

    I am on my second newfi
    Bear the 2nd. Newfies are the best
    The only one close was my saint Bernard

  5. Greetings,
    My service dog is a Newfounland. He knows his commands in French and English. Jean Jacques Robert is four years old.

  6. Terri Moore says:

    I'm considering a Newfie as a service dog. Did you train yours to be a service dog? I have balance issues.

    • Sara Bäckmo says:

      Oh, I think that is a wonderful idea! I know people here in Sweden that trained their newfies to service dogs. I have read they are very good at their job.

  7. Deborah Doll says:

    My husband and I have our 2nd Newfy. She a Landseer also. Very gentle, sweet temperament and a joy to have. Her name is Corazon, Cora for short. My husband is partially handicapped and walks with at least 1 crutch. Cora's very good around him. She knows what the command, Move, means. We have 8 grand children and she's wonderful with children. The youngest grandson is 2 and she's always patient. We've had a boxer mix, greman shepherd, beagle and several other mongrels but after our first Newfy we knew we wanted another. They do drool after they drink and shed plenty but they're so loving and gentle.

  8. Daniel says:

    One of the first memories that i have is petting our family Newfy. Her name was Rusty and i was two years old. That dog was my most loyal friend in all sorts of small kids shenanigans (she used me to get herself cookies and other pastries that she, normally wasn't allowed to have:).
    I'm 24 now and i still miss that dog. She left us to soon due to complications with tick bites (infection) and then we moved to big city and didn't have enough space for that kind of dog.
    So now one of my drives to get a better paid job is to have a house where i can have my own big and fluffy newfie 🙂

    • Sara Bäckmo says:

      Oh my goodness, I get tears in my eyes reading this! I really hope you will get your newfie soon, because yes - it IS a wonderful dog!

  9. Ellie says:

    Love your story!!
    I have always wanted a Newfoundland, I have three kids two other rescued dogs and a cat, would adding a newf to my pack be stressful? How many hours of training do you have to put in a week? Are they friendly to strangers and other dogs? Do they jump when they get really excited?

  10. Carline says:

    I need help with my 11 month old Newfie she is so good at home with my husband and myself but she is so reactive to other dogs and I’m now afraid incase she gets aggressive. I have to cross the road and she will stil be jumping and trying to get over to them .I have went to 3 different trainers please help as I want everyone to see her for the beautiful girl she is

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