Male vs Female Newfoundland: 6 Key Differences

Beautiful newfoundland dog in the park.
© Roman Zaiets/

Written by Gail Baker Nelson

Published: February 16, 2024

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Originating in the same region as Labrador retrievers, Newfoundlands are big lovable teddy bear dogs. Bred for work, these gentle giants have retrieved lost fishing gear, rescued people in the water, and taken ropes ashore for docking.

Yet, even among these giants, differences exist between the sexes. Differences can help you decide between bringing home a male or a female, so let’s discuss male vs female Newfoundland dogs!

Comparing Male vs. Female Newfoundland

Male NewfoundlandFemale Newfoundland
SizeAverage 27-29 inches;
130-150 pounds;
8-10 year lifespan
Average 25-27 inches;
100-120 pounds;
8-10 year lifespan
Physical TraitsBigger bone structure with more muscle massLeaner bodies with less muscle mass
ReproductionSexually and physically mature earlier; mentally mature laterSexually and physically mature later; mentally mature earlier
HealthProne to epilepsy, SAS, bloat, osteochondritis dissecans, and urinary incontinence.Prone to epilepsy, SAS, bloat, osteochondritis dissecans, urinary incontinence.
TemperamentMore playful, active, and outgoing; territorial around dogs of same sexCalmer around the house; more likely to get along with all dogs
TrainabilityA little more patience requiredEaser to train

Male vs. Female Newfoundland: Size Differences

Newfoundland dogs weigh as much as a person! Males can weigh up to 150 pounds, while females stay a little smaller at 120 pounds.

Yet, weight is only a number. Male Newfoundlands are bulkier overall, with heavier bone structure and correspondingly more muscle mass. Females, with their lighter weight have lighter bone structure and less muscle. They’re probably a little easier to physicall handle than males, but neither is a small dog!

Male vs. Female Newfoundland: Physical Appearance

Physically speaking, male and female Newfoundlands generally look similar. Both sexes are big, strong dogs that can easily drag their human down the street! Males, because of their bulkier build, have broader heads and bodies than do the females.

They come in several colors, including black, brown, and Landseer (black and white). Their fur is dense and coarse, protecting them from the harsh winters where they originated. Thanks to that fur, Newfoundlands handle cold climates like champs!

Male vs. Female Newfoundland: Reproduction

puppy and adult newfoundland dog in front of white background

Newfoundland dogs are gentle giants with thick, oily coats.


Like most dogs, males tend to mature physically and sexually a little ahead of females. This is probably because carrying and giving birth to puppies is physically demanding and the female must have enough body mass to support them.

Males can be prone to cryptorchid, an undescended testicle. Females can have problems with urinary incontinence as they get older, especially if they have had a little of puppies.

Male vs. Female Newfoundland: Health Problems

Although generally healthy, Newfoundlands are prone to a few different diseases. Epilepsy, bloat, sub-aortic stenosis (SAS), hip and elbow dysplasia, and osteochondritis dissecans all occur in male and female Newfoundlands. However, the bone and joint disorders are more common in the males because of their generally larger size.

In either sex, joint disorders can be mild or become debilitating, so OFA testing and x-rays are highly recommended to rule them out before breeding your dog.

Males are prone to a few reproductive issues including undescended testicles (cryptorchidism), priapism, and paraphimosis. Females, on the other hand, have their own set of problems like having difficulty giving birth and false pregnancies.

Male vs. Female Newfoundland: Temperament

Newfies are generally great with kids and can even coexist peacefully with smaller animals. Early socialization and training are key, because smaller animals like cats often engage a Newfie’s prey drive, but with proper introductions they can do well.

Males can be territorial, especially with other male dogs, but they are usually great with females. Raising a male puppy with an adult male Newfoundland would likely be fine and the two males could become buddies. However, introducing two adult males can cause problems.

On the flip side, females are more likely to get along with other dogs — male and female. Of course, that depends on the individual dogs and can’t be confidently predicted.

Males are more likely to seek attention and approval from their humans, while females are more independent. Females are more suspicious of strangers, but both sexes warm up fairly quickly to new people.

Both male and female Newfoundlands do well with children, so well that Newfie owners say they have a soft spot for kids! But, where males are probably less careful and more playful around small children, females are more patient and careful.

Male vs. Female Newfoundland: Training

Newfies are bright and take to training easily, they’re quick learners and fun to teach. Because females mature mentally a little earlier, they can be a bit easier to train. Plus, they’re not as goofy as their male counterparts and can generally focus longer.

Males’ goofier nature may require more patience, but they learn just as quickly. Both sexes thrive with lots of rewards under positive training methods.

Final Thoughts About Male vs. Female Newfoundland Dogs

Choosing a male or female is largely preferential. Just knowing that male Newfies are bigger, goofier, sometimes territorial, and slower to mature mentally than females can either be what you want or don’t want. No matter which one you choose, your Newfie will be a great family member with just a bit of training.

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About the Author

Gail Baker Nelson is a writer at A-Z Animals where she focuses on reptiles and dogs. Gail has been writing for over a decade and uses her experience training her dogs and keeping toads, lizards, and snakes in her work. A resident of Texas, Gail loves working with her three dogs and caring for her cat, and pet ball python.

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