Judging the breed

This page is to assist judges in assessing the breed.

1. There are no body proportions given in the English Standard (which we are under in Australia) so we must go back to the country of origin for this information and it is explicit and easy.

The length of body from withers to ground is equal to withers to set on of tail, so a little longer than square, very little!


First look at the dog in profile to assess wether it falls within this requirement. 

The topline should be level, the back broad, the loin reasonably short and broad.

The bone should be MASSIVE throughout, front legs' bone all the way to the large well shaped feet, rear legs the same, with short well let down hocks denoting a dog built for endurance.

The tail is set on a slightly sloping croup, it’s thick in bone especially at the top, well covered with hair and the bone reaches to the hock.  It can be carried up when excited but never ever over the back.

The head should immediately give you an impression of a soft nature, ideally having a broad muzzle, rather square and no decided stop. The skull should be broad and slightly rounded, with a well developed occipital bone. Opinion varies on skull to muzzle ratio, however a little less than 50/50 is considered desireable.

The bite is square and both scissor and level are equally acceptable.

The ears, set on at about eye level, are small and lie close to the head. Ideally they shouldn't be noticeable. They add to the softness of the whole head. The eyes are small, and are ideally dark. They should not be loose, protruding or large. If they take your immediate attention due to their lightness or size, they are most probably incorrect. The expression is soft. 

Feel for breadth of skull. Some dogs grow lots of hair on their heads, giving an illusion of skull. It is something we are sadly losing in our breed and we need to keep it!

Our standard does not give a neck length nor angulation, however this is a working breed and as such the dogs require at least a medium length of neck and good angulation, balanced front and rear . 

The coat should be harsher on the outer with a dense undercoat. Summer and grooming often remove a lot however it will always be present on the rump and hopefully the chest.

Please only ever rub the coat back on the shoulders, doing so on the rump will just bring up the undercoat and up it will stay!

Current fashion sometimes trims back basically to undercoat. This is wrong for our breed. If you have to trim back that far to get a desireable outline the dog isn’t put together well.

Movement of course is the test of any dog and no matter how clever the grooming,moving the dog will reveal all.

The newfoundland will move with good reach and drive with a slight roll in gait. This roll, in essence, is just skin and hair rolling and is usually much more evident in the landseers depending on where the white and black meet.

The newfoundland MUST be well ribbed up and well ribbed back. Many judges feel the topline and simply forget this hallmark of our breed. Newfoundlands are first and foremost SWIMMERS, without well sprung long ribs they could not do the job they were developed to do. If you forget everything else please remember this.

A newfoundland gets his size from bone throughout and his height from depth of body not length of leg. No this doesn’t mean he is long and low as he should not be, but he must never look leggy. If he does, check the depth and spring of rib again please UNDER THE COAT before awarding your placements.

And remember if a dog is very tall he needs to have corresponding bone. Height isn’t what we are looking for, substance is !

And finally, if there is ANY sign of bad temperament please penalise accordingly, for this is the number one hallmark of the breed, sweetness of temperament . 

Contact Details

Robyn Nagle
Woodville, NSW, Australia
Email : [email protected]