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11 Unique Traits That Only The Newfoundland Has

Unique Traits That Only The Newfoundland Has

We all know that the Newfoundland is a dog like no other. 

Once you go Newfie you never go back, right?

Why is that?

Why do we fall so madly in love with this breed?

What is it about them that makes them so unique?

It’s hard to explain because it’s just that way but I’ve been trying to pinpoint some of the unique traits that a Newfie has that no other dog breed does.

landseer newfoundland dog

I had a few unique traits come to mind but I enlisted the help from some other Newfie friends on Instagram and they did a great job in helping!

Here are 11 unique traits that Newfoundlands have that most other dogs do not:

Newfoundland Unique Swimming Style

Instead of doing a doggy paddle like most dogs do when in the water, the Newfie does more of a breaststroke style with their front legs which makes them more powerful in the water than any other dog. 

If you watch a Newfie swimming you will notice that their front legs never come out of the water like other breeds of dogs do when swimming. 

Newfoundland dog swims in the pool. Close-up of a dog's head in water. Rescue dog in the water.

Newfoundland Work Ethic

While most dogs will work for their owner the Newfie works with their owner. 

You can see this demonstrated in water rescue work and draft work

You’re a team and they know that. 

Multiple working skills

Newfies don’t excel at just one job, they excel at multiple jobs such as work in the water, working on land, therapy assistant dogs, and nose work. 

Thank you to newton_the_newfie


As mentioned above, Newfies have an amazing and unique work ethic.

However, when they are not working they are Newfervising everything else that their owners are doing to make sure that they are doing it correctly. 

black and white newfoundland dog sitting in chair

This often can be mistaken for a sleeping or lazy Newfoundland but trust me, they are making mental notes of everything that you are doing wrong and they will have no problem telling you this in the form of a deep bark or slap of the paw. 

Newfie Swagger

When out on a casual walk, Newfies can shake their rump like no other breed out there.

If you need a smile just grab a Newfie, and a leash, and walk behind them. 

Their shake is sure to turn any frown upside down. 

Black purebred Newfoundland dog standing


In relation to pain, Newfies are one of the most stoic breeds that I have ever known. 

They will often not show pain or discomfort until it is at high levels. 

Any Newf that I have had has been extremely stoic which makes it scary when they do show signs of pain because often it is of concern. 

On the flip side, Newfies do get their feelings hurt easily and do not respond well to harsh punishment or aggressive training techniques. 

Thank you to newfs_of_southjersey

Emotional IQ

As I’ve mentioned several times before, Newfoundlands are smart.

Wicked smart and a lot of this is due to their ability to understand emotions. 

This means that most Newfs can perceive, use, understand, and manage emotions not only of themselves but also the emotions of people around them.

This unique trait makes them a great candidate for therapy work and for being around children. 

Thank you to elizabethqk


Newfies have an amazing ability to connect with people. 

This bond is characterized by emotions such as affection and trust.

Newfoundland dog hugging women

Most dogs that spend a lot of time with one person can form a bond but only certain people possess the special gift to bond with dogs on another level. 

When you have the gift and the right dog, the bond you make with a Newfoundland is like no other bond that you’ve experienced before. 

Thank you to williamwallacethenewfoundland

Peak Age For Newfoundlands

Unlike many other breeds of dogs, the Newfoundland doesn’t reach their peak until much later in life.

This is usually around the age of 4 to 8 and makes it bittersweet that their lifespan is shorter than most other breeds. 

black newfoundland dog

This can also be confusing for new owners of the breed because they expect the best traits of a Newfie to be apparent from the beginning. 

Thank you to giddy_up_gideon

Newfies love and hate water

Newfies are working dogs that thrive in the water but many Newfoundlands can not stand getting a bath and some even don’t like the rain! 

Why is that? 

Possibly because the bath doesn’t give them the rush that they get when saving a life in the water?!

Or maybe you’re just doing it wrong according to them. 

newfoundland dog after bath

(obviously, this doesn’t apply to EVERY Newfie)

Thank you to bentleybeardog

Unique History

Not really a trait but still noteworthy is the fact that Newfies have made headlines here and there for hundreds of years but when you start to dig deep into their history you will get goosebumps and fall even more in love with this amazing breed. 

There’s the unnamed Newfoundland that is credited for saving Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815 when rough seas knocked him overboard.

The Newfoundland jumped into the choppy sea and kept Napolean above water until he could reach the shore. (source)

In 1828,  a Newfoundland that went by the name of Hairy Man, along with his owner Ann Harvey, her brother, and her father, saved over 160 Irish immigrants with the wreck of a ship named Despatch. (source)

In 1919, a dog that is thought to have been a Newfoundland saved 92 people that we aboard a ship called the SS Ethie during a blizzard in the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland.

It’s unclear if the dog was lowered into the water from the ship or if the dog retrieved a rope that was thrown into the frigid waters from the deck of the ship but the dog successfully brought the rope to shore and all 92 passengers, including a baby, were saved. 

There are a few different stories that circulate about this rescue mission, some include a Newfoundland dog and some include a Collie mix. (source)

Not all stories involve a Newfoundland and water rescue though.

Gander, World War II mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada, was killed in action at the Battle of Hong Kong when he carried a grenade away from wounded soldiers. (source)

And last but certainly not least is Seamen who was the dog of the famous explorer Meriwether Lewis.

Seamen accompanied Lewis and Clark on the expedition from 1804 to 1806 and is documented in several books. 

The list doesn’t stop there.

This is just a small sampling of how amazing the Newfoundland breed has been throughout history. 

But what is even more amazing is when you see these instincts kick in and you can see the connection to that history. 

Sit back.

Watch your Newfie for a while and see these amazing and unique traits come to life before your eyes. 

Thank you to lucie_the_newfie

Share with us some other traits that you see in your Newfoundland. 






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Bob Loudon

Tuesday 14th of March 2023

Hi, we have a second Newfie and he is what we call a blue coat with blue eyes. Our first newfie lived to be the age of 15 years. The vet told us Bowie was the oldest newfie he has seen. He was a great dog. There are a couple more traits. The first is they use their front feet like hands. And the second trait is both our newfies will hide their treats. We find them in bed, the flower pots, in the chairs, pretty crazy. They are the best dogs. Oh don't forget they slobber all over.


Friday 25th of February 2022

I l0l'd at the comment that they don't respond well to a stern voice. Once I figured that out and spoke softly to him, he did everything I asked! One trait that is so true for my Newfie, Benny, is that he likes to contribute to conversations. When my husband comes home from work at night and we talk about his day and me and Benny's day, he likes to loudly interject his opinion. I wondered if he was jealous but I think he just wants to participate. He talks a lot throughout the day and after three years, I'm beginning to figure out the different notes he sings mean special things. I think He is my first Newfie and everyday I learn something even more precious about him than I did the day before.


Tails Around the Ranch

Thursday 3rd of September 2020

What an amazing breed!


Tuesday 1st of September 2020

My first Newfie! He’s almost 5 months and yes the rump shake when he walks!!! Sooo true! Mine loves water(hates his hair dryer) I previously owned a Great Dane, female. I so love the large breeds. Your site has become my go to for questions!!! Many thanks

Annette Paterson

Tuesday 1st of September 2020

A great article. My Newfies have and do possess all the characteristics here. I cannot imagine a life without them, I cherish every single day spent in their company. My eldest is clever and so much fun, he has a unique skill at passing the play ball back to me or his brother by bouncing it off his bottom jaw. They are truly amazing in every way with big hearts of pure gold. ?

Thanks for the reminder of the great four legged heroes ??

Best Wishes,


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