Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Comprehensive Comparison

Choosing the right canine companion for your family is a significant decision, and two breeds often stand out as excellent options: the Great Pyrenees and the Newfoundland. In this blog post”Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Comprehensive Comparison” we delve into the intriguing comparison of these two remarkable breeds, exploring their qualities as companion dogs.

Both the Great Pyrenees and the Newfoundland are known for their gentle and loving natures, but they come with distinct characteristics and traits that can influence which one might be the perfect match for your household. We’ll examine their temperaments, exercise requirements, and how they interact with families and children, offering valuable insights to help you make an informed choice when considering these two magnificent breeds as your next furry family member.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Size and Physical Characteristics

Great Pyrenees and Newfoundland are two large and impressive dog breeds, each known for their unique size and physical characteristics. Let’s compare them in terms of size and other physical traits:

Great Pyrenees:

Size: Great Pyrenees are large dogs. They typically stand between 25 to 32 inches (63.5 to 81 cm) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 85 to 160 pounds (38.5 to 72.5 kg). Males are generally larger than females.

Coat: They have a thick double coat, which helps them withstand cold temperatures. Their outer coat is long, coarse, and slightly wavy, while their undercoat is soft and dense. Their coat is primarily white with markings of various shades, including gray, badger, tan, and reddish-brown.

Face: They have a striking, gentle expression with dark, almond-shaped eyes and a black nose.

Tail: Their tail is plume-like, and it is often carried over their back or to the side.



Size: Newfoundland dogs are even larger than Great Pyrenees. They typically stand between 26 to 28 inches (66 to 71 cm) tall at the shoulder, but their weight can range from 100 to 150 pounds (45 to 68 kg) or more. Males are usually heavier than females.

Coat: Newfoundlands have a thick, water-resistant double coat that is typically black, brown, gray, or Landseer (black and white). Their coat is dense and flat-lying, which helps them stay buoyant in the water.

Face: They have expressive, soulful eyes and a broad head with a strong, square muzzle. Their nose can be black or brown, depending on their coat color.

Tail: Their tail is broad at the base and is carried low. It helps them with balance when swimming.

Both Great Pyrenees and Newfoundland dogs are substantial in size, but Newfoundland dogs tend to be even larger and heavier. They have different coat types, with Great Pyrenees having a longer and thicker coat for cold weather, while Newfoundland dogs have a dense, waterproof coat for water activities. Their facial features and tail carriage also differ slightly. Great Pyrenees are known for their elegant, gentle expression, while Newfoundland dogs have a more soulful look. When choosing between these two breeds, it’s essential to consider not only their size and physical characteristics but also their temperament and exercise requirements to find the right match for your lifestyle.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Temperament and Personality

Great Pyrenees and Newfoundland are both known for their unique and distinct temperaments and personalities. Let’s compare these two breeds in terms of their typical traits:

Great Pyrenees:

Guardian Instinct: Great Pyrenees are renowned for their strong protective and guardian instincts. They have a natural propensity to protect their family and territory. This makes them excellent watchdogs and guard dogs.

Gentle and Gentle Giants: Despite their imposing size, Great Pyrenees are often described as “gentle giants.” They tend to be calm, patient, and affectionate with their family, especially with children. They are typically good with kids and can be gentle and loving companions.

Independent Thinkers: Great Pyrenees are intelligent dogs, but they can also be somewhat independent in their thinking. This independence can sometimes lead to stubbornness in training.

Reserved with Strangers: They are usually reserved and aloof when it comes to strangers. This wariness of newcomers is part of their protective nature.

Low to Moderate Energy: While they are large dogs, Great Pyrenees are not extremely active. They have a moderate energy level and are content with daily walks and some playtime.



Gentle Giants: Newfoundland dogs are often described as gentle giants, much like the Great Pyrenees. They are known for their sweet and gentle nature, particularly towards children.

Affectionate and Loving: Newfoundlands are very affectionate and enjoy being close to their family members. They are known for their loyalty and can be quite loving companions.

Swimming Enthusiasts: These dogs are excellent swimmers and are often used in water rescue operations. They have webbed feet and a natural love for the water.

Easygoing and Patient: Newfoundlands are known for their calm and patient temperament. They are generally good-natured and easygoing, making them well-suited for families.

Moderate Energy: While they are big dogs, Newfoundlands do not have extremely high energy levels. They enjoy moderate exercise and are content with regular walks and some playtime.

Both Great Pyrenees and Newfoundland dogs share the “gentle giant” quality, making them great choices for families seeking large, affectionate, and calm dogs. Great Pyrenees are more reserved with strangers and may have a stronger guardian instinct, while Newfoundlands are known for their water-loving nature. Your choice between these two breeds should consider your lifestyle and preferences, as well as the specific traits that best align with your needs and expectations for a canine companion.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Grooming Needs

When it comes to grooming, both the Great Pyrenees and Newfoundland require regular upkeep due to their thick coats. However, the Great Pyrenees demand more frequent grooming sessions due to their long, flowing fur. It is recommended to brush them at least twice a week to prevent matting and keep their coat healthy. On the other hand, Newfoundland’s coat requires less attention, but they should still be brushed once or twice a week to remove loose hair and prevent tangles.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Lifespan

The lifespan of a dog is an important consideration for prospective pet owners. Great Pyrenees typically have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years, while Newfoundland dogs have a slightly shorter lifespan of 8 to 10 years. It’s worth noting, however, that individual factors such as genetics, diet, and healthcare can influence a dog’s longevity.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Good with Kids

Both the Great Pyrenees and Newfoundlands are generally excellent choices for families with children due to their gentle and loving nature. Great Pyrenees, often referred to as “gentle giants,” are known for their patience and calm demeanor, making them great playmates and protectors for kids. They have an instinct to care for and watch over their family, which extends to children.

Similarly, Newfoundlands share this gentle temperament and are renowned for their affectionate and sweet disposition. Their love for children is well-documented, and they tend to be highly tolerant and patient, even with rambunctious play. While their large size might seem intimidating, it often works to their advantage as they become loyal and devoted family members, making them both great choices for households with children. Nevertheless, it’s essential to supervise interactions between dogs and kids, regardless of breed, to ensure safety and teach children how to interact with and respect their canine companions.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Trainability

When it comes to trainability, both the Great Pyrenees and Newfoundland have their unique characteristics. Great Pyrenees are known for their independent thinking and can be stubborn at times. This breed requires consistent and patient training with positive reinforcement methods. Newfoundland dogs, on the other hand, are generally eager to please and quick learners. With proper training and positive reinforcement techniques, they can easily grasp commands and behaviors.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Exercise Needs

Both the Great Pyrenees and Newfoundland are active breeds that require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. However, the Great Pyrenees tend to be more laid-back and have moderate exercise needs. Daily walks and playtime in a securely fenced area are usually sufficient to keep them content. In contrast, Newfoundland dogs have a higher exercise requirement, particularly when they are young and full of energy. They enjoy activities such as swimming, hiking, and playing fetch.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Dog Behavior Issues

Both Great Pyrenees and Newfoundland dogs are known for their gentle and loving nature, but like any breed, they can exhibit certain behavior issues if not properly trained and socialized. Here are some potential behavior issues to be aware of for each breed:

Great Pyrenees:

Guarding Instinct: Great Pyrenees have a strong guardian instinct, which can lead to over-protectiveness. If not properly socialized, they may become overly aggressive towards strangers or other animals.

Independence: They are independent thinkers and can be stubborn at times. This can make training a challenge, so consistent and patient training is essential.

Barking: Great Pyrenees are known for their barking, which can be excessive if not properly managed. This tendency to bark is often part of their guarding behavior.

Territorial Behavior: They may show territorial behavior, which can include marking and protecting their living space. Early socialization is crucial to prevent aggressive territorial behavior.

Maturity and Dominance: As they mature, some Great Pyrenees may become more dominant and assertive. It’s important to establish yourself as the pack leader from a young age to prevent dominance-related issues.



Clumsiness: Due to their size and build, Newfoundlands can be somewhat clumsy, especially in confined spaces. They may knock things over or accidentally bump into people.

Slobbering: Newfoundlands are known for their excessive drool, which can be a potential issue for cleanliness, especially if you’re sensitive to saliva.

Separation Anxiety: They are affectionate dogs and may develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. This can lead to destructive behavior and excessive barking.

Excessive Shedding: Newfoundlands shed heavily, especially during seasonal changes. Regular grooming and cleaning can help manage this issue.

Joint Problems: Given their large size, Newfoundlands are prone to joint issues, including hip dysplasia. Providing them with a balanced diet and regular exercise while avoiding overexertion is crucial.

It’s important to note that many behavior issues can be prevented or managed through early socialization, consistent training, and a loving, firm, and consistent approach to discipline. Both breeds are known for their affectionate and gentle nature, making them wonderful companions when properly cared for and trained. However, potential owners should be prepared to invest time and effort in training and socialization to ensure that these breeds exhibit their best behavior.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Intelligence

When comparing the intelligence of these breeds, both the Great Pyrenees and Newfoundland are considered to be intelligent dogs. However, their intelligence manifests in different ways. Great Pyrenees are known for their independent thinking and problem-solving abilities. They have an instinct to think and act on their own when necessary. Newfoundland dogs, on the other hand, are quick learners and highly trainable. They excel in tasks that require obedience and working capabilities.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Good with Other Dogs

Great Pyrenees are known for their protective instincts, which can sometimes lead to a bit of aloofness or territorial behavior around other dogs. However, with proper socialization from a young age, they can learn to coexist peacefully with other dogs. Newfoundlands are generally friendly and sociable with other dogs, thanks to their easygoing nature.

Their love for the water and friendly disposition often makes them great playmates at dog parks or during social gatherings. While both breeds have the potential to get along well with other dogs, early socialization and training are crucial for fostering positive relationships and ensuring harmonious interactions with canine companions.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Companion Dogs

Great Pyrenees, with their protective and calm nature, are excellent for those seeking a loyal and loving pet that doubles as a watchful guardian. Their size and gentle disposition make them ideal for families, including those with children, as they are patient and protective. Newfoundlands, on the other hand, are known for their gentle and affectionate personality, making them perfect companions for families who value a loving and easygoing nature.

Their propensity for bonding with humans, coupled with their love for the water, means they can be great partners for outdoor activities. While both breeds require space and regular grooming due to their large size and heavy coats, they reward their owners with loyalty, affection, and a calm presence, which can make them exceptional companions for those who are prepared to meet their specific needs.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Health Issues

As with any dog breed, it’s important to be aware of potential health issues they may face. Great Pyrenees are prone to certain conditions such as hip dysplasia, bloat, patellar luxation, and dental problems. Regular vet check-ups and a balanced diet can help in preventing or managing these health concerns. On the other hand, Newfoundland dogs may be susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Responsible breeding practices and regular veterinary care are crucial to safeguard their well-being.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: Pros & Cons

Great Pyrenees: Pros

Excellent Guardians: Great Pyrenees have a strong protective instinct and make fantastic watchdogs and guard dogs. They will defend their family and property.

Gentle with Family: They are often described as “gentle giants” and are known for their calm, patient, and affectionate nature, particularly with children.

Low Exercise Needs: Despite their size, they have moderate exercise requirements, making them suitable for families with less active lifestyles.

Beautiful Appearance: Great Pyrenees have a majestic appearance with their white coat and elegant features.

Low Shedding: Their double coat sheds seasonally, but their shedding is manageable with regular grooming.


Great Pyrenees: Cons

Independent Thinkers: They can be independent thinkers and sometimes stubborn, which can make training a challenge.

Reserved with Strangers: Their protective instincts can lead to aloofness with strangers, which may not be ideal for those who want a very social dog.

Size: Their large size may not be suitable for smaller living spaces or homes with limited outdoor areas.


Newfoundland: Pros

Gentle and Loving: Newfoundlands are known for their sweet and gentle nature, making them excellent family dogs.

Swimming Enthusiasts: They are superb swimmers, and their love for the water can be a bonus for outdoor enthusiasts or those near water.

Easygoing Temperament: Newfoundlands are calm, patient, and easygoing, making them great companions for families, including those with children.

Good with Strangers: They are typically welcoming to strangers and are not overly protective, which can be an advantage in social settings.

Moderate Exercise Needs: Despite their size, they have moderate exercise requirements and are content with regular walks.



Size and Space: Like the Great Pyrenees, Newfoundlands are large dogs and may not be suitable for small living spaces or homes without outdoor areas.

Heavy Shedding: They have a dense double coat that sheds heavily, especially during seasonal changes, which requires frequent grooming.

Water and Mud: Their love for water can sometimes lead to wet and muddy encounters, so be prepared for some cleanup.

Shorter Lifespan: Newfoundlands tend to have a shorter lifespan compared to some smaller dog breeds, which can be a drawback for those seeking a longer-term companion.

Both Great Pyrenees and Newfoundland dogs have their unique strengths and weaknesses. Your choice should consider your lifestyle, living situation, and the specific traits that align best with your needs and preferences in a canine companion.


Key Takeaways

In conclusion, the choice between a Great Pyrenees and a Newfoundland as your canine companion ultimately depends on your specific needs, lifestyle, and preferences. Both of these breeds offer their unique charm and advantages as loving family pets.

The Great Pyrenees, with their protective instincts and gentle demeanor, make excellent watchful guardians and loyal companions, while Newfoundlands, known for their affectionate nature and water-loving personality, are ideal for those who desire a gentle and easygoing canine friend.

Whether you opt for the elegance of the Great Pyrenees or the water-loving enthusiasm of the Newfoundland, both breeds have the potential to bring joy and warmth to your household.

Remember to invest in proper training, socialization, grooming, and healthcare to ensure a long and fulfilling companionship with your chosen furry family member. Making an informed decision is essential to welcoming the perfect companion into your home, and we hope this comprehensive comparison has provided valuable insights to guide your choice.


Great Pyrenees vs Newfoundland: FAQ

Q1. What are the origins of the Great Pyrenees and Newfoundland breeds?

Great Pyrenees: The Great Pyrenees, also known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, hails from the Pyrenees Mountains, which are situated between France and Spain. They were originally bred to protect livestock from predators.

Newfoundland: The Newfoundland breed originates from Newfoundland, Canada. They were initially used by fishermen to assist in water rescues and hauling heavy fishing nets. They are also known for their strong swimming abilities.

Q2. What is the size difference between Great Pyrenees and Newfoundlands?

Great Pyrenees: These dogs are typically large, with males weighing between 100 to 160 pounds (45 to 73 kg) and standing 27 to 32 inches (69 to 81 cm) tall. Females are slightly smaller.

Newfoundland: Newfoundlands are even larger, with males weighing between 130 to 150 pounds (59 to 68 kg) and standing 28 to 30 inches (71 to 76 cm) tall. Females are similar in size.

Q3. What is the temperament of these breeds?

Great Pyrenees: They are known for their gentle and calm nature. They are loyal and protective, making them excellent family pets and livestock guardians. They can be somewhat aloof with strangers.

Newfoundland: Newfoundlands are known for their sweet and gentle disposition. They are often referred to as “gentle giants” and are very good with children. They are also protective and can be good watchdogs.

Q4. Do the Great Pyrenees and Newfoundlands get along with other pets?

Great Pyrenees: They have a strong guarding instinct, so they may be protective of their territory and may not always get along with other dogs of the same sex. Early socialization is important.

Newfoundland: Newfoundlands tend to be gentle with other pets, including dogs and cats. They are not as territorial as the Great Pyrenees.

Q5. What are the exercise and grooming needs of these breeds?

Great Pyrenees: They require regular exercise but are not overly active. Their thick double coat needs brushing to prevent matting, especially during shedding seasons.

Newfoundland: While they are not highly active, they do need regular exercise. Their coat is dense and needs frequent grooming to prevent mats and tangles.

Q6. Are Great Pyrenees or Newfoundlands more suited for families with children?

Both breeds are known for their gentle and patient nature, making them great choices for families with children. However, due to their large size, supervision is necessary to ensure the safety of both the dog and the child.

Q7. Which breed is better suited for colder climates?

Both breeds have thick double coats that provide insulation, making them well-suited for colder climates. Great Pyrenees, being mountain dogs, are particularly adapted to snowy and cold conditions.

Q8. Which breed is more prone to health issues?

Both breeds can be susceptible to certain health issues common in large breeds, including hip dysplasia and heart conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups and a proper diet are essential for their well-being.

Q9. Which breed is easier to train?

Neither breed is particularly easy to train, as they can be independent thinkers. However, with patience and consistent training, both can be trained effectively. Early socialization and positive reinforcement methods work well for both breeds.

Q10. What is the lifespan of the Great Pyrenees and Newfoundlands?

Great Pyrenees have a lifespan of around 10 to 12 years, while Newfoundlands typically live for 8 to 10 years.


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