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English Mastiff vs. Newfoundland: Breed Differences & Similarities

Looking to adopt a new gentle giant, but aren't sure if the Newfoundland or the English Mastiff is a better fit? Find out what traits these two giant breeds share, and find out how they are also quite different.

Kelly Wilson

Last Updated: March 26, 2021 | 9 min read

English Mastiff vs. Newfoundland

Both the English Mastiff and the Newfoundland are both giant dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club during the 1800s. Though they hail from different areas, these two working breeds do hold some similarities in terms of size, appearance, and temperament.

On the other hand, they also have a few differentiating factors that distinguish them from one another. Both breeds have advantages and disadvantages depending on your lifestyle. Both breeds will require a strong leader and can be challenging for first-time dog owners.

Learning about dog breed specifications is important when you’re considering getting a new pet. You want to make sure you are adopting the right breed to properly suit your lifestyle, which includes activity levels, and for giant breeds like these two, plenty of space! Let’s jump in!

Breed Comparison

English Mastiff

  • Height 27-32 Inches
  • Weight 130-220 Pounds
  • Temperament Docile, Good-Natured, Protective
  • Energy Medium
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 6-10 Years
  • Puppy Prices $1,200 and Up

Newfoundland

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

Breed History

Both of these dog breeds are both working dogs who are a little more stubborn and difficult to train. And they both also have a very rich and unique history. Learning more about a breed’s history can help you better understand the type of care they need to be happy and healthy.

English Mastiff

Large Fawn Dog Standing on a Hill
Mastiffs originated in England about 2,000 years ago.

As its name suggests, the English Mastiff has its origins in England. It has always been considered a giant breed, and it’s been around for quite some time – more than 2,000 years, according to the oldest found records.

While we recognize this breed as a native from England, records also indicate that the Mastiff was also popular in other European countries and Asia. Because of their large, muscular build, these massive animals were often used in ancient times as war dogs and guard dogs.

In these same periods, around 3,000 B.C., Mastiffs were also used for entertainment purposes. Ancient Romans took them from England and put them in arenas to fight other large animals.

Thankfully, this lovable dog was eventually removed from these types of events and was often used for hunting in Medieval England. Later, their jobs moved onto guarding and companionship, which is how we know them today.

Newfoundland

Huge Black Dog Standing on a Road
Newfies come from Canada and were bred as working dogs around water.

Newfoundland dogs are another breed named for the area of origin. Originally used as working dogs in Newfoundland, Canada, this dog is thought to be closely related to other working species, including the Irish Water Spaniel, the Labrador Retriever, and the Curly-Coated Retriever.

Newfoundland dogs (also called Newfies) were excellent working dogs who served as aids for fishermen from both England and Ireland in the 1800s. These dogs were discovered to be easily trainable and quite loyal, and they were excellent at retrieving. They often pulled fishnets and hauled carts and equipment for their masters.

The loyalty and compassion that this breed shows towards humans were proven further when people discovered their affinity for rescuing – particularly in the water. Today, it’s widespread for these dogs to be trained for water rescue. Many kennel clubs in the United States even host Newfoundland Rescue Demonstrations.

Newfies make great household pets in modern times, but you will frequently see them riding alongside sailors on boats. Not only does it increase safety on board, but it also adds a touch of local charm that visitors enjoy.

Appearance

Big Dogs Sitting in Grass
Both breeds are very large, but the biggest difference is the length and texture of their fur.

Both breeds are considered giant dog breeds. While they are both enormous compared to other dogs, and the English Mastiff often outweighs the Newfoundland.

Mastiffs can weigh anywhere from 150 to 250 pounds, with females typically reaching a max of 180. On the other hand, Newfies males weigh 130 to 150 pounds on average, with their females hitting anywhere from 100 to 120 pounds.

In some cases, you may see a 100-pound difference between the two breeds, even though they are both giants.

The Mastiff is most well-known for being large with an impressive, symmetrical frame. Their most common colors are apricot, brindle, and fawn with short fur, and they have a notable black mask feature. It’s also not uncommon for them to have black paws and black ears as well as a long tail.

Perhaps the most obvious physical difference between the two breeds breed is their fur. While Mastiffs have short, dense hair, Newfies have a thick, long, and heavy coat which is made to keep them warm in colder climates.

You can recognize a Newfoundland dog by its large, muscular frame and massive head. Their fur comes in shades of gray, brown, black, and black and white mixes.

Temperament

Happy Dogs Smiling Among Flowers
Both of these breeds are known to be friendly giants and make great family dogs.

You can expect a Newfoundland pup to be very sweet and compassionate toward you, your family, and anyone you invite into your home. They are considerably devoted to their masters and are rarely if ever, considered ill-tempered. For this reason, they are often compared to Labs when being considered as a family pet.

These adoring dogs are known to have a love for people, but they especially tend to adore children. They are very trusting of people, making them ideal pets.

Mastiffs are not all too different from Newfies in terms of temperament. They are also very loving companions and are often viewed as friendly giants. Their lovable face is endearing to all, and they have a great deal of patience.

However, unlike the easy-going Newfoundland, Mastiffs are a bit more cautious of strangers. They are natural guardians who are very protective of their families, showcasing unmatched loyalty. This makes them ideal guardian dogs, which means they are often compared to other guardian dog breeds by potential owners.

Exercise

Large Dogs Running Outdoors
Both breeds are moderately active and require about 30-45 minutes of daily exercise.

Despite their large size, Mastiffs do not require a considerable amount of exercise. Like any dog, they do need daily walks and regular playtime. However, they do just fine in smaller homes and apartments and are even known to lay down if they get tired or hot during a walk.

Likewise, Newfie pups also benefit from regular, moderate exercise. Their energy level won’t overwhelm you, but they do enjoy a nice walk, and they are especially fond of swimming. Newfies can also demonstrate impressive agility in a variety of terrains, so they also like hiking.

Both breeds enjoy their share of dog toys, which can be used during exercise sessions. You’ll just need to make sure your toy selection includes toys like a Jolly Ball, which are big enough to handle the abuse from giant breeds.

Training

Sitting Dogs With Their Tongues Out
Both dog breeds are eager to please, making training them a smooth process.

Newfoundland puppies are very smart, and their outgoing personality means they won’t shy away during a good training session. Not only do they enjoy the company of people, but early socialization is excellent for their development.

Because these dogs are so loyal and dedicated to their owners, they are very eager to please and will thoroughly enjoy a training session that involves lots of encouragement and praise. They’re super trusting of their masters, making them good listeners. Newfoundland puppies can also be water trained as early as four months.

Mastiffs are also very smart and eager to please, but their breed tends to get bored quickly. So, it’s essential to keep training sessions exciting and engaging for them. If they become bored, it’s not uncommon for them to simply lay down and decide to take a nap.

Training will go over well if you maintain good body language and keep eye contact. Mastiffs have a great sense of emotions and expressions. They’re also sensitive to your voice and can quickly become hurt or discouraged by harsh tons. As long as you give them tons of love and respect, they’ll learn any trick you want to teach them.

We recommend crate training for both breeds. This will help both dogs understand where their bed is, and provides a sense of security for their genetic need to have a “den” type feeling. Just make sure the crate you’ve chosen is big enough to fit either giant.

Health

Senior Dogs Outside
These breeds have a lifespan typical to large dogs, which is less than 10 years.

Any dog can have a history of illness or health conditions in its lineage, so it’s always important to be responsible and look into its family history.

As a general rule of thumb, you should keep an eye on your Newfoundland’s ears. Drop-eared dogs are more susceptible to infections. You should also keep an eye out for the following:

English Mastiffs are susceptible to similar ailments as Newfoundlands, including hip and elbow dysplasia and cardiac disease. However, they may deal with more additional health issues such as the following:

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Eye anomalies
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Degenerative Myelopathy

In addition to the above issues, Mastiffs also experience bloat, which is a life-threatening condition that causes the stomach to distend and twist. Owners of Mastiffs must understand the symptoms of bloat so they can take immediate action should it occur.

Nutrition

Hungry Dogs With Mouths Open
Due to their massive structure, both breeds can consume quite a lot of dog food.

For giant dog breeds like these two, the first two years of growth are critical. Since they will experience a lot of development from birth to adulthood, it’s best to aim for a slow and steady maturing. Making sure they have the right dog foods as giant puppies is critical for their growth.

When feeding a Mastiff, its diet must include an adequate amount of calcium to phosphorus ratio. Mastiffs who are fed calorie-dense diets that lack proper nutrition can experience dangerous skeletal disorders. Most Mastiff puppies start on adult dog food that has a lower protein percentage.

Newfoundlands’ diets aren’t quite as strict as the Mastiff’s recommended feeding, but they should still consume high-quality dog food. They should also have food that’s appropriate to their age, meaning puppies can have puppy food, and so on.

Since Mastiffs are susceptible to bloat, many experts recommend feeding them multiple small meals per day and avoiding exercise around mealtime.

Mastiffs can also quickly become obese since they aren’t tremendous athletes. It’s a good idea to stick to a lower-calorie diet and limit treats.

Grooming

Close Up of Two Large Dogs
Newfies and English Mastiffs require mild grooming in different ways.

Newfoundlands are considered moderate-level breeds in terms of grooming. They do have heavy coats, so it’s necessary to give them a thorough brushing at least weekly. Doing so will get rid of knots and keep their coats shiny and healthy.

Newfoundland dogs go through shedding seasons twice a year. During shedding, you may find yourself brushing them daily rather than weekly. It’s also worth it to note that a spayed or neutered Newfoundland will shed all year round and will require more brushing.

Mastiffs make life a little easier with their short, dense coat. You can stick to low-maintenance work that may include a light brushing once a week or so. However, during their shedding seasons, it’s important to use a toothed comb to remove dead hair that gets matted below the surface.

Additionally, because of their wrinkly faces, owners should frequently check and clean around a Mastiff’s ears, head, eyes, and muzzle. Mastiffs are also big-time droolers, so you may find yourself wiping down their faces frequently.

Puppy Prices

Cute Puppies in Grass
Expect to start at $1,200-$1,500 for a purebred puppy of either breed.

Mastiff puppies are sure to steal your heart with their giant paws and squished faces full of excess skin. And while their love and affection may seem priceless, this breed is anything but in the real world.

Mastiff puppies can cost, on average, about $1,500. On the low end, you might see $1,000 for a purebred pup. On the high end, these puppies can go for $2,000.

Newfoundland puppies generally cost about the same as a Mastiff pup, with the average cost sitting at $1,200. However, their low-end prices are much more affordable than the Mastiff. You might be able to find a Newfoundland pup for $600 if you know how to scope out a good breeder.

When you’re purchasing any breed puppy, you must find a reputable, responsible breeder. Always avoid mass breeding facilities, or puppy mills, as those breeders are typically not very responsible.

The best way to find a responsible breeder is to get a referral from your veterinarian or a well-informed friend. You can also contact your local breed clubs and check out dog shows in the area.

Good breeders always work directly with their customers and do not sell their puppies through a pet store. If your breeder is unwilling to meet with you in person or answer any specific question you have, that’s an immediate sign to start looking elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

Both dog breeds make for excellent family companions. You can expect both of them to do well with your family and get along great with your kids. While the Mastiff may be a little protective and cautious of strangers, it’s just a part of his loyal nature and his natural guarding instincts.

A Newfoundland pup will get along with anyone and everyone, so if you have visitors often or simply want to bring your dog everywhere you go, then this might be the better choice for you.

Both breeds will respond well to training, so long as you are consistent, kind, and loving. Lots of praise is sure to do the trick, especially when it comes to your English Mastiff. Overall, it’s hard to go wrong with either one of these friendly giants. Don’t be intimidated by their size; they simply have more love to offer.

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