Did you know?
A Newfoundland Dog accompanied Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition to the Pacific Ocean.
The dog, “Seaman” travelled from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back, a distance of 8,000 miles.
Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man without his Vices. This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery, if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just Tribute to the Memory of BOTSWAIN, a Dog. – Lord Byron (written for his Newfoundland dog)
Named for his province of origin, the Newfoundland Dog is one of the very few dogs native to Canada.
He is believed to be descended from Viking bear dogs brought to Newfoundland by Leif Ericsson in 1001 A.D. These bear dogs interbred with Mastiff-type dogs who came to Canada with British and French explorers. By 1610, the Newfoundland Dog was established in Canada.
Early settlers used the Newf to pull sleds, hunt, and guard. The Newf’s large size, heavy coat and webbed feet allow him to withstand the demands of the extreme climate and frigid sea water while serving both as lifeguard and draught animal.
Photos displayed courtesy of Heidi Becker, Babyboomers Reg’d, Quebec
The Newf is a massive dog, standing an average of 28 inches (71 cm) tall at the shoulder and weighing on average 150 pounds (68 kg). He has a medium length, straight, water resistant double coat. The outer coat is traditionally black and may have white markings on the chest, toes and/or tip of tail. The undercoat is shed (a lot!) twice a year. Grooming can be a chore.
The Landseer Newfoundland is white with black markings. Typically the Landseer has a black head with a white blaze onto the muzzle and a black saddle and black rump and upper tail. All remaining parts are white. The “Landseer” pattern is named after the artist, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, who showcased many of these dogs in his paintings.
The Newf adapted to island life by developing an oily coat that allows him to stay in very cold water for long periods of time. His webbed feet and huge lung capacity allow him to swim extremely long distances, helping him in his most famous role, a water rescue dog.
This gentle giant’s soft expression reflects who he is, an exceptionally goodnatured and patient dog. A docile, loving companion, the Newf is a real couch potato who loves to loaf around when he isn’t doing his favourite thing….swimming!
Easy-going, friendly, devoted, and protective, this dog is intelligent and projects dignity and serenity. However, he is certainly capable of fun and is good with children and other pets as long as one is mindful of their size. Small children may be accidentally leaned on or knocked down.
Due to his size, the Newfoundland needs lots of room. A larger home with a good amount of fenced property attached is ideal. His heavy coat makes him unsuited to hotter climates. His droopy lips and jowls make him drool, especially in hot weather.
The Newf has a deep bark, and is easily trained if started early. Training is important because of his size. Newfs are ideal companions and therapy dogs, and are known as the nanny dog. The most famous example of the breed is “Nana”, the nursery guardian in J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.
Newfoundlands need regular but moderate exercise to combat that tendency to loaf! They should ideally have the opportunity to swim regularly.