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Newfoundland vs. Great Pyrenees: Breed Differences & Similarities


Last Updated: April 10, 2024 | 9 min read | 10 Comments

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Comparing the Newfoundland vs. the Great Pyrenees for your next canine companion? These are two dog breeds with big personalities and even bigger hearts. If you want a giant breed dog that will be easy to train and a joy to have in the family, both of these dogs will meet your requirements. However, if you’re unsure which breed to choose for other reasons, it’s time to do a little research.

Unless you’re a dog breed enthusiast, you might not know much about either breed, or how they differ in specific categories like grooming, health, and even price. Luckily for you, we’ve done all the leg work for you and have compared every important aspect of each dog breed.

There are a lot of similarities between these dogs; they are both extremely friendly and obedient. In fact, some even believe they are related! However, they also differ in key areas like health concerns and exercise needs. The dog you choose should be the right fit for your family, so make sure you look at all the facts before making your decision.

Breed Comparison


  • Height 25-29 Inches
  • Weight 120-180 Pounds
  • Temperament Friendly, Calm, Independent
  • Energy Average
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 8-10 Years
  • Puppy Prices $2,000 and Up

Great Pyrenees

  • Height 25-32 Inches
  • Weight 85-160 Pounds
  • Temperament Guardian, Stoic, Majestic
  • Energy Relaxed
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 10-12 Years
  • Puppy Prices $1,500 and Up

Breed History

When you are comparing two different dog breeds, learning about their history is the first step in understanding their personality. Dogs have been bred for many different reasons over time. In the case of these two giant breeds, both dogs share some common traits with their size and coat length, but they have very different instincts. Let’s jump in and learn more about each breed and what they were bred for.


Black Newfie Outdoors
The Newfie originated in Canada, and the breed history is somewhat of a mystery.

Breeders originally bred Newfoundlands in Canada. They come from the province of Newfoundland (big surprise). There are a few different theories about where Newfoundlands originated. Some say breeders crossbred them with the extinct black wolf. Others give credit to the Viking voyages in the 9th century (maybe even alongside Leif Erickson!), while others cite the cross-breeding of mastiffs, sheepdogs, and water dogs between the 16th and 17th centuries. One additional origin story involves possible crossbreeding with the Great Pyrenees which may explain some of their similarities.

George Cartwright gave Newfoundland’s their name in 1775. They almost went extinct at one point. The Canadian Government imposed a tax in the 1780s on all families with one dog; many families put their pets down to avoid the tax. However, they survived and became extremely popular in the 1800s because of Edward Landseer. He was a famous painter and liked to include the dogs in his paintings.

Today, Newfoundland owners affectionately refer to them as “Newfies.”

Great Pyrenees

White Fluffy Dog Laying in Grass
The Great Pyrenees originates in the Pyrenean Mountains of Europe.

The Pyrenees Mountains form the border between France and Spain. The Great Pyrenees was initially bred in this region to protect sheep from wolves and other predators. The ancestors of these dogs are said to have come to this area as early as 3000 B.C.

The breed’s history is a rags to riches story as they were initially considered peasants’ dogs. However, later on, they were adopted by the French nobility and declared the “Royal Dog” of France.

Interestingly enough, when the breed came to North America, the first area it reached was Newfoundland, Canada. There, they were cross-bred with Newfies to create the Landseer variety of the breed.


Black and White Dogs Outdoors in Water
Both dog breeds have similar appearances, with big fluffy coats.

Both dog breeds have very similar shaped heads. They are wide at the top with big mouths. Their fur is also of similar length: a thicker coat (especially in the winter) that sticks out at the sides. Their legs are bushy, and their tails are long and fluffy.

Both breeds are well suited for colder climates due to the length and density of their coats. However, there are also some key characteristics where the dogs differ.

Newfies can be completely black or completely brown. They can also have spots of white or be white with black or brown spots. Their upper lips are much longer than the Pyrenees, and because of this, they drool a lot more. They also have longer ears than the Pyrenees.

The breed is almost always wholly white but will occasionally have some brown spots on its body. They have shorter upper lips and always have a prominent crest of fur on their chest that juts out like a flowing scarf between the two front legs.


Two Beautiful Fluffy Dogs in Woods
While both dog breeds have appearance similarities, their temperaments are quite different.

Both Pyrenees and Newfies are of the slower variety when it comes to large dogs. They will happily lay on the sofa for hours or loaf about the house after a long walk. You won’t have to worry about them jumping all over guests or running in circles and breaking furniture.

Breeders bred the Pyrenees to protect sheep, so they learned to conserve their energy by remaining calm until they needed to fight or be active. This instinctual nature also means they are very protective of their owners and can be hostile to intruders.

That hostility translates to an undying loyalty to the hand that feeds them. When you adopt a Pyrenees puppy, you are adopting a bodyguard and a best friend. However, these instinctual callings also mean that they won’t be very open to obedience training; they will mostly behave how they want.

Newfies are easier to train. One of their original responsibilities was rescuing people from danger, so they needed to be very adaptable and accepting to learn the skills for saving people. They are slightly more energetic and won’t be as lazy as Pyrenees.


Two Giant Fluffy Dogs Running
Both breeds are moderately active, and will need at least 30-45 minutes of daily exercise.

As stated earlier, the Pyrenees will require less exercise than Newfies. However, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be active. Pyrenees are used to patrolling their territories regularly and should be allowed enough space to roam around as they please.

If you don’t have a lot of space at home, it is good to let them into the yard for a while or take them on a few short walks throughout the day. They also like more complex exercises like pulling a cart.

Newfies require moderate exercise. You won’t need to go for any runs with them, but regular walks twice a day are essential. About thirty minutes per day of walking should keep your Newfie in good health. They also love to swim, so if you have a lake or something else near your house, that’s a great way to keep them fit.

Regularly exercising your dog will help prevent obesity and also make them calmer. Well exercised dogs are less likely to become hyper and disobedient. Expect to spend around 30 to 45 minutes of each day exercising both of these giant breed pups.


Two Big Fluffy Dog Breeds During Training
Both breeds are headstrong, but the Newfie can be slightly easier to train.

The Pyrenees are very independent dogs. They have a set of instincts bred into them to keep their flock of sheep safe, and those instincts are the only thing they will listen to at first. If you try to teach them to sit or stay, they’ll respond with a lot of disinterest and slow responses.

However, this just makes early training more critical. Take your Pyrenees puppy to training classes or spend the necessary hours with them to get a well-behaved dog.

Newfies will respond to your training much more quickly. As mentioned earlier, Newfie owners trained them for pretty complex tasks like water rescue. It’s in their nature to learn.

Early socialization and spending a lot of time with people is essential for a Newfoundland’s development. Without this, they won’t be as warm or loving as they can be. If you want to train your Newfie in the water, you can start at the age of four months.

With most large dogs, early and frequent training is a critical part of their development. Their energy levels are high, and they can develop habits that will wreck your house and cause a lot of frustration. Start with training immediately from when they are a puppy to get the best behaved Pyrenees or Newfie.


Healthy Fluffy Dogs Laying Down Outdoors
As with most giant breed dogs, both breeds have a lifespan of under 10 years.

Both breeds are prone to genetic conditions. Breeders pay close attention to these problems. If a breeder notices a genetic disease in one of their dogs, that dog won’t be allowed to breed, so the condition doesn’t continue in the gene pool. If you buy your dog from an ethical and reputable breeder, it’s less likely to develop severe genetic conditions.

Because of their size, both breeds are at risk for bloat. If they have the disease, their stomach will distend, which will cause severe pain and even death. You should always monitor your dog’s health as they get older and keep an eye out for signs of bloat.

Both breeds also have dropped-ears, where the ears descend and cover the ear hole instead of sticking straight up. It’s cute, but it also can get infected easily. Once or twice a year, you should check your dog for ear infections. If they whine when you try to touch their ear or you see any pus or residue, take them to the vet immediately.

Both breeds don’t live very long compared to other dogs. However, the Pyrenees live slightly longer than the Newfoundland. Expect their lifespan to extend anywhere from 7 to 10 years for both breeds, which is common for large breeds.


Very Fluffy Active Dogs Outside
Because of their size, both dog breeds can eat their fair share of dog food.

You should adequately nourish both breeds with quality ingredients from natural sources. Don’t buy cheap brands, as they will hurt your dog’s health and shorten their lifespan. It’s not that much more expensive to buy reputable brands, and your dog will be healthier because of it. Properly feeding a large dog costs around $60 per month.

When it comes to their nutrition, both dog breeds can both become obese quickly. You should keep an eye on your dog’s diet and not feed them unhealthy human food high in fats.

The big difference between these dogs in nutrition is the amount they eat. The Great Pyrenees will eat a relatively small amount for dogs of their size and eat a high protein diet. Expect your Pyrenees to eat anywhere from 3 to 5 cups of dry dog food per day.

You can feed your Newfie just about anything, and it will swallow down the whole bowl in less than two minutes. Newfies are larger. And you guessed it, this means they will eat more. Expect an adult Newfie to eat anywhere from 3 to 7 cups of food per day, depending on their size.


Big Fluffy Dogs Outdoors Laying in Leaves
Because of their long hair and propensity to shed, both breeds need a regular grooming schedule.

The Pyrenees has a double coat and won’t require much brushing. Their fur is naturally tangle-resistant, and so it doesn’t get knotted very easily. During their shedding season (in the early spring), they will shed their undercoat. To keep this and daily shedding, at bay, you should brush your Pyrenees once a week with a brush or a long-toothed comb.

You should brush Newfies only once a week as well. Sit down your Newfie either outside or somewhere you don’t mind having loose hair and gently glide through their coat with a brush and a comb.

Newfies have a shedding season of their own that comes twice a year (depending on the climate). During this time, you will have to brush them daily. Newfies that are spayed or neutered will shed regularly and need more frequent brushing.

Brushing your dog regularly will help them avoid uncomfortable knotting in their fur and keep all those dead hairs from ending up all over your house. Dogs also need their nails trimmed, and teeth brushed regularly to prevent related health issues and more discomfort.

Puppy Prices

Black and White Fluffy Coated Puppy Dogs
Expect to pay over $1,500 for a purebred puppy of either dog breed.

On Average Pyrenees are less expensive than Newfies, but they also have a higher ceiling. More expensive Pyrenees puppies can cost almost $4500, but they usually start at $1,500 from a reputable breeder. The price you pay for the dog will depend on the breeder’s reputation and its genetic lineage quality.

Newfoundlands can cost around $2,000 and up, depending on the breeder and the number of dogs available in your area. Breeders will also list things like size, fur pattern, color, and temperament into their dogs’ price.

To choose the right breeder, you should always ask about the dog’s history and ensure a registered breeder with a national or international organization.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to Newfoundland vs. Great Pyrenees, they have many differences, especially in their diet, energy levels, and exercise needs. Whenever buying a big dog it might be more work than you expected, but in the end, you’ll have a giant friend that the whole family can enjoy.

If you’re still having trouble picking which dog is right for you, take another glance at the comparisons listed above. You’ll want to choose the perfect dog for the way you live.

If you have a big property that needs defending, maybe the Pyrenees is the right dog for you. If you have a big lake in the backyard and want to train a dog to be the lifeguard for your kids, you can’t go wrong with a Newfie. Whichever you decide, you’ll have a loyal friend wagging his tail when you open the door.

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