The Newfoundland (commonly called ‘Newf’ or ‘Newfie’) originated in Newfoundland, Canada, descending from a mix of indigenous breeds with either Viking dogs or the mastiffs of Portuguese fishermen. The resulting breed, present by the 1600’s, was a black dog which loved swimming in cold waters; the black and white ‘Landseer’ Newfoundland developed a century later. The Newfoundland served as a helpful assistant by pulling heavy fishing nets or other equipment and rescuing sailors who had fallen overboard. Local laws limiting dog ownership to one dog per man kept the Newfoundland’s numbers low in its home country, but it was exported to Europe, where its numbers grew as it became a popular show dog. In 1832, a Newfoundland name ‘Hairy Dog’ and its owners saved 180 Irish immigrants from the wrecked ship ‘Despatch’. A Newfoundland also reportedly saved Napoleon Bonaparte when he went overboard during his escape from Elba. Well-known Newfoundlands include ‘Sable Chief’, mascot of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and ‘Nana’ from ‘Peter Pan’. Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and James Buchanan had pet Newfoundlands. English poet Lord Byron had a pet Newfoundland for whom he wrote ‘Epitaph to a Dog’, which begins ‘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 Boatswain, a dog
The Newfoundland is a large, heavy-boned, powerful dog that is strong enough to pull a drowning man from rough seas and imposing enough to make an effective guard dog. It is slightly longer than it is tall. Its gait gives the impression of effortless power, with good reach and drive. Its double coat consists of a soft, dense undercoat and a coarse, moderately long and straight outer coat. Its soft expression reflects its benevolent and dignified temperament.
The Newfoundland dog is known for its calm and docile nature and its strength. They are highly loyal and make ideal working dogs. It is for this reason that this breed is known as “the gentle giant”. International kennel clubs generally describe the breed as having a sweet temper. It typically has a deep bark, and is easy to train if started young. They are wonderfully good with children, but small children can get accidentally leaned on and knocked down. Newfoundlands are ideal companions in the world of therapy and are often referred to as the nanny dog. The breed was memorialized in “Nana”, the beloved guardian dog in J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. The Newfoundland in general is good with other animals, but its size can cause problems if it is not trained.
Features of Newfoundland Dog
Despite the size of the Newfoundland, this dog is rather docile and can happily adjust to living in the house. He does, however, need considerable yard space for exercise and ideally should have safe access to water. The breed is watchful and trustworthy, and tolerant of the behavior of children. It is said that author J.M. Barrie based the “Nana” in Peter Pan on his own Newfoundland.
Newfoundlands are protective, known to put themselves physically between their family and any stranger. They are not barkers but will show themselves to be watchful and willing to protect. An intelligent breed, the guardians of Newfoundlands often tell of their dogs alerting them to fire in the home as well as rescuing them from their own swimming pools.
Specification of Newfoundland Dog
extra large (101 lbs. or more)
children seniors dogs cats families
gentle friendly playful
blackgraybrown / chocolate / liver
easy to trainrequires lots of groomingtendency to chewprone to health issueshighly territoriallow prey drivehigh potential for weight gainloves watercold weather tolerantgood for first-time pet ownersstrong loyalty tendenciesgood hiking companion