Labs vs. Other Dog Breeds

Labrador Retriever vs. Newfoundland

Jane Davis

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Hey there, dog enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into a detailed comparison between two beloved canine companions: the Labrador Retriever and the Newfoundland.

As someone who has had the privilege of knowing both breeds extensively, I’m excited to provide you with a balanced perspective on their key features and how they perform in real-life scenarios.

Labrador Retriever

The Lab, with its sweet face and high-spirited nature, is America’s most popular dog breed. They stand 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall and weigh 55 to 80 pounds. Labs are known for their friendly and outgoing personality, making them excellent companions for families.

They have a dense, water-repellent double coat that comes in yellow, black, and chocolate. Labs are highly energetic, requiring regular exercise and early socialization.

They excel in activities like retrieving, swimming, and various dog sports. Their intelligence and enthusiasm also make them valuable in roles like search-and-rescue and service dogs.

read.. Characteristics of Labrador Retrievers


The Newfoundland, on the other hand, is a massive, dignified working dog. Males can weigh up to 150 pounds and stand 28 inches tall, while females typically range from 100 to 120 pounds.

Newfoundland lpuppy on a leash out side looking at camera

Their appearance is majestic, with a soft and soulful expression. Newfoundlands are famous for their sweet temperament, often referred to as “gentle giants.”

They excel as companions, especially for kids, and are known for their trustworthiness and trainability. Despite their size, they are gentle and patient, making them a unique addition to any family.

Now, let’s break down the comparison feature by feature.

Comparison Table

FeatureLabrador RetrieverNewfoundland
SizeMedium to Large: 21.5-24.5 inches (height), 55-80 pounds (weight)Large: Up to 28 inches (males), 26 inches (females), 100-150 pounds (males), 100-120 pounds (females)
TemperamentFriendly, outgoing, affectionate, socialGentle, patient, affectionate, protective
Intelligence and TrainabilityHighly intelligent, eager to please, quick learnersIntelligent, responds well to gentle guidance, loyal
Exercise and Activity LevelsHigh-energy, requires regular exercise, loves fetch and swimmingModerate-energy, enjoys leisurely walks and swimming
Specializations and RolesVersatile in roles like search-and-rescue, service dogs, huntingWater rescue abilities, strength in water-based roles
Grooming and MaintenanceShort, dense double coat, regular shedding, regular groomingThick, flat, coarse outer coat, shedding, requires regular brushing
Family FriendlinessExcellent with families, good with kids and other dogsExcellent family dogs, known as “nanny dogs”
Unique TraitsEnergetic and versatileGentle giant with water rescue skills
Life Expectancy10-12 years9-10 years

Temperament and Family Friendliness

Labrador Retriever: Labradors are renowned for their friendly disposition. They are outgoing, social dogs who quickly become beloved members of the family.

Their enthusiasm is infectious, and they tend to get along well with both humans and other dogs. Labs are excellent with kids, displaying patience and a gentle nature.

Newfoundland: When it comes to temperament, Newfoundlands are gentle giants through and through. They have earned a reputation as the ultimate family dog, often referred to as “nanny dogs” for their protective and patient nature around children.

Newfoundland sideview in a garden

Their sweet temperament and innate watchfulness make them ideal companions for families.

Expert Opinion: In terms of temperament and family friendliness, both breeds shine. However, if you’re looking for a dog that’s exceptionally patient and gentle, the Newfoundland takes the cake.

Intelligence and Trainability

Labrador Retriever: Labs are not just good-natured; they’re also highly intelligent and eager to please. This combination makes them relatively easy to train.

They excel in obedience training and are quick learners.

Newfoundland: Newfoundlands are intelligent dogs that respond well to gentle guidance.

While they might not be as naturally obedient as Labs, their willingness to learn and loyalty to their owners make them trainable and adaptable.

Expert Opinion: In terms of intelligence and trainability, both breeds perform well. Labs might have a slight edge in terms of quick learning, but Newfoundlands’ loyalty and willingness to learn are valuable traits.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Labrador Retriever: Labs are high-energy dogs. They thrive on physical activity and mental stimulation. Regular exercise is essential to prevent behavioral issues.

They love activities like swimming, fetching, and participating in various dog sports.

Newfoundland: Despite their size, Newfoundlands are not as high-energy as Labs. They enjoy moderate exercise, such as leisurely walks and swimming.

Newfoundland swimming

While they don’t need as much activity, they still benefit from regular outings.

Expert Opinion: If you’re an active individual or family that enjoys outdoor activities, the Labrador Retriever is an ideal choice.

However, if you prefer a more laid-back lifestyle, Newfoundland’s moderate exercise needs might be a better fit.

Unique Roles and Specializations

Labrador Retriever: Labs are incredibly versatile. They excel in roles such as search-and-rescue, drug and bomb detection, and as service and assistance dogs.

Their natural retrieving instincts also make them excellent hunting companions.

Newfoundland: Newfoundlands are known for their water rescue abilities. They have saved countless lives through their swimming and water rescue skills.

Newfoundland laying on the side

Their strength and swimming prowess make them uniquely suited for this vital role.

Expert Opinion: If you’re looking for a dog with a specific specialization like water rescue, the Newfoundland’s unique abilities make it the top choice. However, Labs’ versatility in various roles is equally impressive.

Grooming and Maintenance

Labrador Retriever: Labs have a short, dense double coat that sheds regularly. Occasional baths and regular nail trimming and teeth brushing are essential for their maintenance.

Newfoundland: Newfoundlands have a thick, flat, coarse outer coat. They also shed, but their grooming needs are more intensive due to their larger size. Regular brushing, particularly during shedding seasons, is crucial.

Newfoundland plqaying with a ball

Expert Opinion: Both breeds require regular grooming, but Newfoundlands may demand a bit more effort due to their size and coat type.


In conclusion, both Labrador Retrievers and Newfoundlands are exceptional breeds with unique qualities. Your choice between them should depend on your lifestyle and preferences.

If you seek an outgoing, highly active, and versatile companion who excels in various roles, the Labrador Retriever is a fantastic choice.

They’re the perfect fit for active families and individuals who enjoy outdoor adventures.

On the other hand, if you prefer a gentle giant with a patient and watchful demeanor, especially around children, Newfoundland is your ideal match.

Their loyalty and water rescue skills set them apart.

Ultimately, it’s essential to consider your lifestyle, activity level, and the specific traits you value in a furry friend.

Whichever breed you choose, you’re bound to find a loyal and loving companion in either the Labrador Retriever or the Newfoundland.


Jane Davis

Hi, my name is Jane Davis, and I love dogs. I own a labrador retriever named Max. When I was growing up, we always had dogs at our house. They provide us with such unconditional love and companionship, and I can't imagine my life without one by my side.

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