Like most working dogs, both the Newfoundland and the Golden Retriever were created to accommodate a need with the humans living with these breeds. The Newfoundland dog was created on the Newfoundland Island in Canada, where his main task was to aid the fishermen with catching nets, pulling carts with today’s catch to the market. They are excellent swimmers and through time, they developed the ability to sense a human in need in the water, and swam to rescue him. A Newfoundland is to people who live by water what the Saint Bernard is to the people living in the Alps.
The Golden Retriever was created in Scotland. During the reign of Queen Victoria, it was Dudley Marjoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth, who developed this gorgeous breed. His goal was to create the ideal gundog to be used at his Guisachan estate in the Scottish Highlands. He needed this gundog to withstand the Scottish weather with rain and mud, so he crossed “the Yellow Retriever” with, among others, the Tweed Water Spaniel (now extinct), Irish Setter and Bloodhounds.
The result was the ancestors of the glorious Golden Retriever we know of today. Hard working dogs who after a bit of refining, began being popular among hunt-happy aristocrats. The first Golden was shown at a dog show in 1908, which was approximately when they began arriving in the US and Canada. The breed has been popular ever since, but it’s peak was in the 1970s with President Gerald Ford with his beautiful Golden, Liberty.
There’s no question about it; the Newfoundland is by far the larger of these two breeds. A Newf can reach 28 inches to the shoulder, where the Golden Retriever rarely is taller than 24 inches. A Newf can weigh almost twice as the Golden Retriever’s 75 pounds (fully grown male). Any Newf would look huge compared to the more slender built Golden Retriever. Both are well balanced dogs with long, beautiful coats. The Golden’s coat is water-repellent which serves it well considering the weather in his birthplace, Scotland. The Newf has a thicker fur that kept him warm in the water when working to catch fishnets or saving drowning people. Both breeds shed throughout the year, but more profusely in shedding seasons. Grooming is essential for their well-being and for them to look their best. Colour-wise, the Newfoundland come in black, brown or black/white – this specific colour is named after the artist Sir Edwin Landseer who painted numerous paintings of these beautifully coloured dogs. In some countries, Landseer is considered a breed of its own.
If you want a dog who’s easy to train, look no further. Regardless which of these beautiful breeds you choose, you’ll have a dog who’s affectionate and eager to please his human. The Newfoundland is, like several other larger breeds (especially the molossoid types) prone to work better with gentler methods rather than harsh corrections.
Both breeds should begin their socialization and training process as soon as they are at home with you. No dog, regardless of breed, turns out the perfect canine companion all by himself – he needs guidance and direction, and you’re the one to provide it for him.
If you’re looking for a social, friendly dog, you’ve come to the right place. Either of these breeds will be the perfect canine companion for you and your family. There are of course pro’s and con’s with them both, and let’s take a quick look.
The Newf is said to be the Giant Nanny – amazing with children. While this can be true, please remember that your dog becomes what you raise and train him to be. Any dog can become a monster if not raised and trained properly, and that part is completely up to you. The Newf also happens to be an extremely large dog. Depending on how old your children are, a Newf wagging his tail or running around the house can cause your children to fly around in the air, even if your dog doesn’t mean to cause harm. And even if he’s huge, he is still playful and while he’s young, he most likely has no idea how big he is.
The Golden Retriever, on the other hand, is smaller and likely a bit easier to handle from that perspective. They are, however, also more active and energetic than the Newf, which requires more from you when it comes to tending their need for exercise and activity. If you have children, they are most likely going to have the time of their life together.
On the temperament part, it can also be good to know that the Newf can be quite the stubborn dog. Just think about it; back in the day when he swam to catch fishnet and rescue drowning people, he had to make decisions for himself. He’s still used to doing that, and his decisions may not always be compatible to what you think is right for him to do at that given moment.