Icon Breed Comparisons (Outline) Breed Comparisons

Newfoundland vs. Saint Bernard: Breed Differences & Similarities


Last Updated: April 10, 2024 | 9 min read | 11 Comments

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

Trying to add a new giant dog breed to your family but aren’t sure which one to pick? Nailed down your two choices to the Newfoundland vs. Saint Bernard? These two magnificently giant breeds have some striking resemblances but are entirely different breeds with very different personalities. In fact, because of their similarities, Saint Bernards and Newfies are sometimes crossbred in an effort by dog owners to get the best of both worlds.

The Newfoundland, or ‘Newfie’ for short, is a big dog that bears more than a passing resemblance to a St Bernard. They are of similar height and weight and walk in the same slow-time fashion. On the other hand, Saint Bernards are known to be excellent watchdogs and family companions. But is there more to it than that?

This breed comparison guide compares these two gentle giants in great detail. We’ll look at facts about their history, personalities, feeding routines, and exercise schedules. So, if you’re here because you are torn between these two gentle giant breeds, then look no further. We will deliver all of the doggy knowledge you need to make what might be one of your most important decisions. Let’s jump in and meet these two amazing breeds.

Breed Comparison


  • Height 24-28 Inches
  • Weight 120-180 Pounds
  • Temperament Sweet, Patient, Devoted
  • Energy Medium
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 8-10 Years
  • Price $1,500 and Up

Saint Bernard

  • Height 26-30 Inches
  • Weight 120-180 Pounds
  • Temperament Playful, Charming, Inquisitive
  • Energy Medium
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 8-10 Years
  • Price $1,500 and Up

Key Differences

  1. Saint Bernards are larger, weighing 120 to 180 pounds.
  2. Newfoundlands are smaller, weighing 100 to 150 pounds.
  3. Saint Bernards are heavier shedders.
  4. Newfoundlands are easier to train.
  5. Saint Bernards have denser coats.
  6. Newfoundlands only come in solid brown, black, gray, or landseer.
  7. Saint Bernards come in a variety of colors.
  8. Newfoundlands need more attention.

Breed History

You need to understand its history to understand what drives a dog breed to act as they do. The best place to start this research is back when they were first designed. When you know what they were intended to do, be it work hard or to look pretty. You will know what to expect of them in your home.


Brown Newfoundland Dog
Newfies look similar to Saint Bernards and are often mistaken for them.

It is said that the Newfoundland is the waterborne relative of the Saint Bernard. Although not genetically related, they possess the same rescuing prowess as the Bernard. Newfies were working dogs bred to earn their keep by pulling fishing nets to shore and pulling the cart with the day’s catch to market. Fishermen relied on Newfies to be fearless working dogs that could also save men from icy waters.

Although the Newfies’ career as ship hand is long gone, they are still prolific water rescue dogs. As well as popular and beloved family companions and guardians. Good with adults, children, and other animals alike, they make a fantastic family friend that is loyal to a fault and very caring. Because of their loyalty and loving nature, they are often compared to Labradors, Golden Retrievers, or other family-friendly giant dog breeds.

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard Outdoors with Sky in Background
Saint Bernards are famous for being great family companions and great watchdogs.

The Saint Bernard is another dog with a legendary history. Named after their workplace, the Great Saint Bernard Hospice, which is located on the Italian-Swiss border. Famous for rescuing travelers in trouble and pulling them from snow, they are a renowned canine breed. Because of their loveable personalities and fluffy good looks, they are often compared to other giant dog breeds. Some popular comparisons include the Bernese Mountain Dog or the English Mastiff.

As a rescue dog, the Saint Bernard has saved the lives of as many as 2,000 men. This is attributed to his sensitive and caring temperament. Being calm and unphased by strangers or tough situations, the Saint Bernard has now found a new profession as a therapy dog.


Newfie and Saint Bernard
While the Newfie and Saint Bernard may look similar, there are actually some distinct differences between them.

The Saint Bernard is easily identified, and most people will know the breed. The Newfoundland, on the other hand, isn’t quite so easily recognized. The Bernard is an easy-to-spot tri-color dog, and the Newfie comes in mainly block colors. Such as gray, brown, black, and the odd black-and-white. They both have a thick double-layer coat that is very soft to the touch.

When it comes to their weight, these two are very similar. The Bernard can range from 120 to a whopping 180 pounds. The Newfie is no lightweight either, ranging from 100 to 150 pounds. There is also little difference between their height, with the Newfie standing at 26 to 28 inches and the Bernard at 26 to 30 inches.

Both dogs have a big head that is wide and square, with the Newfie having a slightly more slender snout compared to the Bernard’s square and stubby muzzle. Both breeds have large feet as well, but for different reasons. The Bernard’s give a greater surface area for better grip in the snow, like a snowshoe. The Newfie has large feet that are webbed, aiding them in their waterborne abilities.

They both have big, heavy tails as well that act as a counterbalance for the Saint Bernard in snow and ice and as a rudder for the Newfie. In both cases, it’s a great tool for knocking over drinks and young children, so be sure to supervise them with kids around.


Black Newfoundland and Saint Bernard Laying in Leaves
Both breeds have very similar temperaments, with some slight differences.

These big boy breeds are very similar in most aspects, with just a few minor differences. Firstly, they are both magnificent companion dogs that love people. Cuddly with adults, sweet and gentle with kids, and extra loving and cuddly with their immediate pack members. Both these doggos love family life and like to stay close to the pack. As such, their wanderlust tendencies to go and explore aren’t very strong.

Both will be keen to protect their family at the first sign of danger. The Bernard will stay with the family and supervise the situation. Whereas the Newfie will quickly get vocal to get the message across that, he’s there and he means business. They are both gentle giants until his family is in danger.

They are very loyal and attentive to their families and laid back when it comes to other animals in the house. Both Breeds have a low prey drive meaning they will be less than interested in cats and other animals like birds and squirrels. They are working dogs, not hunting dogs. Which is ideal for multi-pet households.

When it comes to energy levels, both these pups are a great balance of playful and relaxed. They will be excited to see you and expect a fuss. Both will love a bit of rough and tumble at playtime. They are silly canines with their family, but they also know how to relax too, making them calm at home.


Giant Dog Breeds in Snow
Both giant breeds have relatively low exercise needs.

Neither the Newfie nor the Saint Bernard need a considerable amount of exercise. They are slow-paced pooches that will take a slow excursion with the family at a leisurely pace. Due to their size and weight, it is not advisable to over-exercise them as it will cause health problems. A moderate 45 to 60 minutes of daily exercise is more than enough for both.

The Newfie will happily play in the water for hours on end. Floating in water takes a lot of pressure off their joints, and their webbed feet make it easy exercise for them. The Bernard can be a bit of a goofball at times when playing games. He will play chase with other dogs and his family until he gets too tired.

Both dogs can be a little lazy and prone to obesity if not exercised correctly. Left to their own devices, they will eat at every given opportunity but only exert themselves when forced to. They both love a nap, especially if it involves the pack and lots of cuddles. So, don’t let them dictate activity levels.

Depending on your lifestyle, these breeds could be perfect for the average family. If you like a walk or a day out for a picnic and a wander, they make fantastic companions. If, however, you want to hike, bike, and explore, it might be too much for these giants.


Giant Dog Breeds Playing Outside With Toys
Both breeds will need a firm owner and aren’t necessarily recommended for first-time dog owners.

The Saint Bernard is known to be an intelligent breed that isn’t too difficult to train. They are sometimes too laid back for their own good and will need a lot of motivation. When we say motivation, we mean edible goodies. Positive reinforcement training with food rewards is the way to win over this boy’s heart and mind.

The Newfoundland is intelligent and eager to please, so he takes to training with enthusiasm. He is a quick learner and rapidly learns to carry out tasks with a voice command or hand signal. Both breeds can also be a bit hard on toys, so you’ll want to provide them with dog toys that match their size.

Starting training early when these two are tiny puppers is the key to getting right. The sooner they know what the rules are both in the house and outdoors, the less likely they are to make their own rules. Doggy play dates and visits to busy areas such as play parks and plazas will acclimate them to the big wide world. Socialization is important to remind these dogs how to play gently and that not everyone is an enemy of the family.


Healthy Giant Breed Dogs Outdoors
Both breeds have health concerns, primarily due to their size.

The Newfie and Bernard are both prone to suffering from hip and elbow dysplasia. It can be a real-life changer for these breeds. It will limit mobility and exercise until treated and can be an expensive ailment for any owner. This is why it is important to work with a reputable breeder who checks hip scores before breeding.

Both breeds can suffer from problems concerning their eyes. The Newfie’s most prominent concern is cherry eye, where a gland in the corner of the eye swells and looks like a growth. The Bernard is likely to suffer from entropion, which is a defect that causes the eyelid to roll inward.

Large breeds should also be checked for heart conditions such as dilated cardiomyopathy and subvalvular aortic stenosis. Saint Bernards have a shorter lifespan just like Great Danes, Mastiffs, and other giant breed dogs. The same is true for the Newfie. This reduced life span is due to accelerated wear and tear. Which, in turn, accelerates them to old age faster. This is something to bear in mind when considering either of these gorgeous giants.


Saint Bernard and Newfie Playing in Water
Both breeds eat quite a bit, so that’s something to consider before adopting either pup.

On average, the Saint Bernard will eat more food than a Newfie. At an average of six cups a day, they eat one more cup on average than their Newfoundland counterpart will eat. With both beasties being giant breeds, they have specific nutrient requirements for their health and ongoing health concerns. They will need good quality nutritious food that is specifically designed for large or giant breeds.

Both the Newfie and the Bernard should have set meal times twice a day. Not a constant supply of food in their bowls. Unlike some smaller breeds that can be trusted to graze, both these breeds will hoover up as much food as you’re willing to give. You also need to be wary of bloat and recognize the symptoms of this life-threatening condition.


Newfoundland Dog and Saint Bernard Playing in Leaves
Both breeds shed significantly.

The Newfoundland has a water-resistant double coat. As a result, they are moderate to high shedders. It’s worse in spring when they rid themselves of the extra thick winter coat. Brushing them two to three times a week is plenty throughout the year. Giving the Newfie a once-over with a decent grooming brush takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

The Saint Bernard is similar to a double coat and will also need a regular brush to keep him looking his best. Again, two to three times a week with a few daily brushes during the spring and autumn season change should be enough. If started early, grooming is a great way to bond with your pup for both the Bernard and Newfie.

Because they are both prone to eye concerns, when brushing them be sure to take a quick glance over their eyes. This way, if you note any changes, you can take them to the vet and get them checked out before it worsens. If lower shedding frequency is vital, look for a hybrid dog that sheds less, like the Saint Berdoodle.


Newfie and Saint Bernard Puppies
Expect to pay $1,500 and up for puppies for either breed.

The average price of these two handsome canines is $1,500 for a pup from a reputable breeder. Good breeders will have clean and presentable areas for birthing and raising litters. And be able to show you the health certificates for the mother and father. It’s really important to work with a reputable breeder when it comes to both of these guys. As they already have shortened lifespans, you do not want to cut that shorter by buying a pup from a puppy mill.

Final Thoughts

Just like both of these lovely canines, the decision to allow a big dog into your life is humungous. Both the Newfoundland and Saint Bernard will need a lot of time and attention, and financial investment to keep them fit and healthy. So be sure you are willing and able to commit to them before taking the plunge.

Use the information in this guide to decide which pooch is better suited to you and your lifestyle. Whichever breed you choose, they will both create a giant dog-sized hole in your heart that will always bring you back to gentle giants. So, be prepared to fall hopelessly head over heels for these gentle giants.

Author's Suggestion

Big Dog Names: 200 Different Names For Male & Female Giant Breeds

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

Notify of
Oldest Most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top