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Landseer Dog

Nicole Cosgrove


The Landseer is a giant purebred from Canada thought by some to be a black and white variant of a Newfoundland, including the US and the UK, but by some in Europe is categorized as a separate breed. It was bred to retrieve especially in water for fishermen and today is also an excellent family dog being sweet, gentle and affectionate. It has a life span of 8 to 10 years and needs owners who are active.

The Landseer at a Glance
Name Landseer
Other names Landseer Newfoundland
Nicknames None
Origin Canada
Average size Giant
Average weight 110 to 176 pounds
Average height 26 to 32 inches
Life span 8 to 10 years
Coat type Thick, coarse, double coat
Hypoallergenic No
Color White with distinct black patches
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence High
Tolerance to heat Low to moderate
Tolerance to cold Good to very good
Shedding Above average to heavy – will be a lot of hair around the home, does shed heavier during seasonal times
Drooling High – will be slobber and drool to deal with
Obesity Average – measure its food and tracks its exercise
Grooming/brushing Above average to high – brush every other day or daily
Barking Occasional – some barking but should not be consistent
Exercise needs Fairly active – will need daily activity
Trainability Easy to train
Friendliness Very good to excellent
Good first dog Very good
Good family pet Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with children Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with other pets Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with strangers Very good to excellent with socialization
Good apartment dog Good if exercised well but given its size it is best in a home with a yard
Handles alone time well No – prone to separation anxiety
Health issues Somewhat healthy, a few issues can include Hip and elbow dysplasia, sub-aortic stenosis, cystinuria and ear infections
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $400 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $245 a year for toys, basic training, miscellaneous items and license
Average annual expenses $1130 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,500
Rescue organizations None breed specific, check local rescues and shelters
Biting Statistics None reported

The Landseer’s Beginnings

The Landseer’s beginnings are the same as the Newfoundlands. It is believed there are some mastiff type dogs in its beginnings, such as the St.Bernard and the English Mastiff. It is also believed to be descended from an indigenous dog breed in Newfoundland, Canada called the St.John’s dog. They were used by fishermen to help retrieve lines and nets and then in the 18th century came to England and from there spread to Europe where it was also valued by fishermen. It was also noted to be a great rescuer of people drowning.

In 1838 a painting was created by Sir Edwin Landseer, a famous animal artist called “A distinguished member of humane society” showing the black and white breed. That is where its name comes from. The dog in the painting is said to have saved over 20 people from drowning. By the mid 1900s there were several breed clubs in Europe especially in Switzerland and Germany. It was developed further there to have longer legs, be slightly smaller in size and be more athletic.

New Lease on Life

This dog was recognized separately by the FCI in 1960 but in many major kennel clubs it just a different colored Newfoundland dog. However as mentioned there are dogs in Europe that have been developed so that now they are more different than just a coat color. It is not recognized by the AKC or UKC but is by some European kennel clubs.

The Dog You See Today

The Landseer is a giant sized dog weighing 110 to 176 pounds and standing 26 to 32 inches tall. It is a tall, balanced and agile dog, it has longer legs than the Newfoundland especially noticeable in the males. It has webbed feet to help it swim better, its tail hangs down and its dewclaws tend to be removed on its back legs. Another difference between the dogs is the coat. The Landseer’s coat is a little shorter and has no under wool. The coat is still water-repellent though, and is flat, a little wavy, dense and straight just not as dense as the Newfoundland. Main colors are white with black patches. Usually the chest, belly, legs, tail and collar are white, the head is black and it has a white blaze and white muzzle. That muzzle is wide, squared and short. The nose is black, it has small dark brown eyes and the ears triangular, hang down and small.

The Inner Landseer


The Landseer is a sweet, gentle and loving dog which is what makes it such a great family dog or companion. Often called a gentle giant it needs lot of human interaction and attention so will not like being left alone for long periods of time. It needs owners who are home more than out at work or it will develop behavioral problems, like becoming vocal and destructive. It is a good watchdog, it is alert and will bark to let you know of intruders or strangers approaching.

It is protective but will actually use its body placed between you and the danger rather than attacking. It is good at recognizing real threats though and is social and friendly when none is perceived. This is a brave, intelligent and generous breed. It has a lot of patience and is friendly with others even in general being good with strangers. It is very devoted to its family and with good socialization and care it is a trustworthy dog too. It does mature slowly, it can be puppy like until 18 months old. It is sensitive so does best with owners who keep things calm, positive and even.

Living with a Landseer

What will training look like?

As this is a clever dog that likes to do things with you and is keen to make you happy, the Landseer is moderately easy to train. This is taking into account its sensitivity and the stubborn side some can have. Make sure that as well as at least basic level obedience training you also do early socialization by introducing it to different people, places, animals and so on. It will be a happier dog and you can be more confident with it any time you are out together. Be sure to use positive training, offer it treats, praise and encourage it as it makes progress. Avoid getting impatient or using physical punishment but you still need to be consistent and firm. Take into account when waiting for it to respond that it does tend to move slowly!

How active is the Landseer?

The Landseer is a somewhat active dog, it is pretty quiet and calm indoors but being a giant sized breed means apartment living could be hard still, it is best in a house that has more space and comes with a yard. Regular exercise is still important it needs two moderate to long walks a day. It would also enjoy having trips to a dog park and have some play time with you, and it also has some safe off leash romping time. Landseers really enjoy being in the water and are great swimmers.

Caring for the Landseer

Grooming needs

Looking after a Landseer will take daily commitment and can be moderate to high in its maintenance due to its shedding and slobber! It sheds a lot normally but then also has heavy seasonal blow outs so expect a lot of hair around the home and a need for daily brushing. Burrs will need to be removed from its coat, its paws wiped and it should be given a bath as needed. Use a dog shampoo so the bathing does not damage its natural oils that it needs for a healthy coat and skin.

You will also need to look after its oral health, brushing the teeth 2 to 3 times a week at least with a dog toothpaste and toothbrush. Check its ears for infection once a week then clean them just by wiping. Clip its nails when they get too long using dog nail clippers or scissors. Do not go too far down the nail as there are blood vessels and nerves in that part which if cut will cause pain and bleeding. It does have extra saliva to clean up daily as there is slobber and drool.

Feeding Time

The Landseer could easily eat between 6 to 10 cups of a good or better quality dry dog food, split into at least two meals to avoid problems with bloat. The exact amount will depend on its size, level of activity, metabolism, health and age. Be warned that when they drink it can be messy but still make sure they have access to water at all times and that is kept as fresh as possible.

How is the Landseer with children and other animals?

The Landseer is great with children, it is gentle and patient, happy to play and protective too, but its size means it can accidentally knock over small children so supervision may be a good idea. It is also friendly and accepting of other pets especially when properly socialized, it does not really have a high prey drive. Make sure children around it are taught how to approach and touch dogs in an acceptable way. With other dogs in general it is fine, but socialization is needed and there can be dominance issues especially with same sex dogs and more so with males that have not been neutered.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

This breed does not have a life span that is as long as some, due to its size, it is common for giant sized breeds to have shorter life expectancies. The Landseer has an average span of 8 to 10 years and there are several medical issues to be aware of. These include bloat, eye problems, hip and elbow dysplasia, sub-aortic stenosis, ear infections, cystinuria and hypothyroidism.

Biting Statistics

In 35 years of reports from Canada and the US on dogs attacking people and doing bodily harm, the Landseer is not named. This is a big dog and sometimes people can be intimidated by that but it is not aggressive at all. However while usually this dog is not even aggressive when in defense mode, anything can happen. To have better odds that your dog does not over react to something or be drawn into it, it is important to get a breed you can take care of, make sure it is well fed and exercised, given the large amount of attention it needs and is properly socialized and trained.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A healthy and well bred Landseer puppy will be priced at about $1500. That means using respectable and trusted breeders of pet quality dogs. Dogs bred for dog shows from top breeders are actually going to be more even that, starting at double that price. Avoid bad breeders who cannot give you parental health clearances like puppy mills, pet stores or backyard breeder. Rescues or shelter dogs you can pay adoption fees from $50 to $400 but you may find it difficult to find purebred Landseers and dogs tend to be older rather than younger.

There are some medical tests and concerns to be taken care of when your new pet is home and settled in. Some may have been done by the breeder or shelters but in case they are not they will include things like deworming, blood tests, a physical exam, shots, micro chipping and then spaying or neutering. The cost of such tests are about $290. Your Landseer will need some things like a crate, collar and leash, food bowls and so on. These will cost another $200.

Other costs that will be around for as long as it it will include feeding, miscellaneous items, basic health care and insurance. A good quality dry dog food and treats will cost about $400 a year. Basic health needs like shots, check ups, insurance and flea and tick prevention are going to start at $485 a year. Then other costs like basic training, getting a license, toys and other miscellaneous items that could be needed, come to about $245 a year. This gives an annual cost starting at $1130.


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The Landseer is even tempered, sweet and affectionate and is a great companion or family dog for those who have room for it! There is a lot of hair to deal with though and slobber and drool too, this is not a dog that is low maintenance. It is also quite needy in how much human companionship it needs from its owners. It is a friendly dog that is excellent with children and while it likes to laze around it still needs and enjoys a certain level of exercise outside.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.