Skip to Content

Labrador vs. Newfoundland

Image of a yellow lab and one of a Newfoundland meeting in the middle on the diagonal with the letters VS in the middle

Newfoundland is a very popular breed because of its courage, kind disposition, and great swimming ability. It possesses a thick, oily outer coat and a fleecy undercoat, allowing it to adapt to tough and moist environments. On the other hand, Labrador originated on the island (not in Labrador) and British breeders named it as “Labrador” to distinguish it from other similar breeds. Keep reading to get a detailed comparison between Labrador and Newfoundland.


The Labrador Retriever is a loyal, obedient, and lively breed. Although it was developed as a sports and hunting dog, it is now frequently used as a companion dog. It may be trained as a guide or service dog, as well as for rescue and rehabilitation work.

The Labrador Retriever, sometimes known as the Labrador, is a British retriever gun dog breed. It was called after the Labrador area of Newfoundland and was produced in the United Kingdom from fishing dogs imported from the colony of Newfoundland (now a province of Canada). It is the most popular dog in several nations, especially in the Western world.

Does it really matter if you get a male labrador vs a female labrador? Click here to read more.


Brown Newfoundland dog laying in wildflowers and grass

Newfoundland is a working dog with a lot of energy. They come in various colors, including black, brown, grey, and white. Only black and Landseer (white-and-black) colored dogs were regarded as valid members of the breed in the Dominion of Newfoundland before it became part of the Confederation of Canada.

Newfoundlands are known for their enormous size, intelligence, incredible power, calm demeanor, affection for youngsters, and loyalty. Because of their robust physique, thick double coat, webbed paws, and swimming ability, they excel in water rescue/lifesaving. In Newfoundland, the Newfoundland was bred and employed as a working dog for fishermen.

Fishermen and explorers from Ireland and England visited the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in the early 1880s when they recorded two varieties of working dogs. One was a massive, powerfully built water dog with a longish coat while the other was a medium-sized, energetic, smooth-coated water dog. The Greater Newfoundland, or Newfoundland, was the heavier breed. The Lesser Newfoundland, sometimes known as the St. John’s water dog, was a smaller breed.

What is the deference between an Irish Labrador and a British Labrador? Read our post “Irish Labrador vs British Labrador” to learn more.

Are Labradors Related to Newfoundlands?

Portrait of a black lab outdoor

Although Labradors and Newfound lands are unrelated, they were both recognized as legitimate breeds by the Kennel Club at about the same time. Labradors have descended from the St. John’s water dog, a valued working dog in Newfoundland that was famous for its intelligence and ability to swim. During the French and British colonization of the region in the early 1500s, the first records of these dogs were made.

The St. John’s water dog was the finest at what it did. It includes retrieving fishing lines, diving for fish, and hauling in full fishing nets by itself. Therefore, local fishermen and farmers valued the breed for its hard ethic, and would often rear pups to trade and sell to other employees.

The water dog ultimately left Newfoundland’s coasts in the 1800s and moved to England where royals treasured the breed for its cross-breeding potential. The Labrador was created as a result of collaboration between breeders who transformed the fishing dog into a hunting dog.

As the breed was traded back and forth between the Old and New Worlds, it earned a reputation for being a superb work dog, not just on the sea but also on land. It was a wonderful swimmer as well as a great watchdog on farms all over the world. Hence, Labrador Retriever became one of the most popular dog breeds in the United Kingdom and the United States. Both field and bench Labs exist, and they are often bred for various purposes.

Differences Between a Labrador and a Newfoundland

The following table shows marked differences between these two breeds.

CharacteristicsNewfoundlandLabrador Retriever
Weight100-150 Pounds55-80 Pounds
Life Span8-10 Years13-14 Years
Height27-29 Inches21-24 Inches
TemperamentFriendly, calm, and independentFriendly, hardworking, and intelligent
Shedding RateConstantModerate, Seasonal
HealthAverageAbove Average

Similarities Between a Labrador and a Newfoundland

Yellow Labrador Retriever sitting outdoors in grass with trees in the background

Some of the major similarities between Labrador Retrievers and Newfoundlands are discussed below.

Training – Each dog needs some form of obedience training, although some dogs are more easily trained than others. These breeds are reasonably aren’t particularly obstinate, although patience is required. To properly teach your dog, you must be persistent and consistent.

Physical Activity – Newfoundlands and Labrador Retrievers require a lot of exercise.

Nature – Children like both Labrador Retrievers and Newfoundlands, and they are typically kind and patient with them.

Energy Level – Both breeds are known for high energy levels. However, labs are quite more energetic and excited.

Labrador Retrievers and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are both from retriever breeds, but what else do they have in common? Click here to learn more.

Which is Bigger, a Labrador or a Newfoundland?

portrait of a Newfoundland dog outdoors

Labrador retrievers are medium to big dogs, weighing 65 to 80 pounds for males and 55 to 70 pounds for females. They stand between 21 and 24 inches tall. That is considered the small end of the giant dog spectrum. Because of their family-friendly temperament, they are usually compared to other family-friendly breeds by prospective dog owners.

Newfoundland, on the other hand, is a true behemoth. Males may weigh up to 150 pounds, while females weigh between 100 and 120 pounds on average. The breed stands between 27 and 29 inches tall. That is substantially taller than most other dog breeds. They are frequently likened to the Pyrenees and other thick-coated breeds due to their size and, fluffy coats.

What is Better about a Labrador?

Yellow lab wearing sunglasses, sitting in a field of wildflowers with partly cloudy skies in the background.

If trained, a lab makes a good companion and can assist with various tasks. They have a high level of sensitivity and are quite loving toward their family members.

he Labrador Retriever is an athletic breed. They have a high amount of energy and will require constant physical and mental activity. Purebred labs come in black, chocolate, and yellow and are very fond of hunting and wandering. Young Labs need the training to swim as they love to spend their time in the water. When we compare them to other breeds, they take longer to grow and stay young for long periods.

What is Better about a Newfoundland?

Newfoundland outdoors surrounded by autumn colored trees

The Newfoundland is calm, as are many dogs, and his sheer size makes him more suited to life in the countryside than in the city. That is also because this specific dog prefers to be near water where he can swim.

He is a dependable, loyal dog who gets along well with youngsters and other household pets. Any dog should be trained and socialized, but a large dog might frequently ‘get in the way inside, and you want him to lie down or sit when you order him. Most of these dogs will respond well to your instructions because they are sharp and intelligent.

Labrador Retriever vs. Siberian Husky? Which is the better breed? Click here to learn more.

Who Should Get a Labrador?

Yellow lab puppy laying on dirt and grass covered ground outdoors

The Labrador Retriever is a devoted companion, babysitter, and closest friend, making it an ideal family dog. They’re very patient and only display hostility when provoked. They make the best watchdogs and protectors because of their loud bark. The Labrador requires a nice backyard to run around in because of their tremendous liveliness and enthusiasm for life. They need a lot of love, care, and walks. So they might be a fantastic addition to a busy, growing household.

Large houses with enough indoor and outdoor space and pet owners, who are ready for an active and adventure-filled life, are ideal for Labrador Retrievers.

Who Should Get a Newfoundland?

2 newfoundland puppies sitting in grass

The Newfie is a working dog that was developed to help fishermen. Because of their natural swimming abilities, robust frame, double coat, and webbed feet, they make excellent aquatic companions. Newfies are widely trained as water rescue dogs nowadays.

If grooming dogs is therapeutic for you, Newfoundland could be the breed for you. Brushing your dog daily might help you relax and bond with your dog. A tidy home is unlikely because of shedding, drooling, and the capacity to track anything from outside. A Newfie, on the other hand, could be right for you if you’re comfortable with fur tumbleweeds all over your house and becoming best friends with your vacuum/mop.

Newfound lands are suitable for dog owners who have had prior dog experience. They get along with singles and families with children, and because these pups are so large, they require a large house.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.