The Newfoundland is a large, usually black, breed of dog originally used as a working dog in Newfoundland. They are known for their sweet dispositions, loyalty, and natural water rescue tendencies.
Newfoundlands ("Newfies" or "Newfs") have webbed feet and a water-resistant coat. Males weigh 60??“70 kg (130??“150 lb), and females 45??“55 kg (100??“120 lb), placing them in the "giant" weight range. Some Newfies have been known to weigh over 90 kg (200 lb).
Most Newfies are black. AKC standard colors of the Newfoundland are black, brown, gray and landseer (black head and white and black body). The Landseer is named after the artist Sir Edwin Landseer, who featured them in many of his paintings. Some kennel clubs consider the Landseer to be a separate breed; others consider it simply a Newfoundland color variation.
The official AKC breed description says "Sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of the Newfoundland; this is the most important single characteristic of the breed." They are nicknamed the "Gentle Giant" and "Nature's babysitter." They are protective of children.
Relative to other breeds, Newfoundland puppies, especially older puppies, tend to be calm. Newfoundlands take up to three years to reach full maturity. They have deep barks, but are not good guard dogs. They have been known to grieve when separated from their families. Their large size makes them difficult to keep in many living situations, but since they are not very active, as long as the room they lie down in is big, they won't really move too much and just stay there for long periods of time. They do not move around in the house too much, though they tend to spread out and cover large areas of space. Exercise is great for Newfs, although they would be quite content to sit at home for long periods of time as long as they know that there is someone there to love them. A Newfoundland will know whether or not someone is at home and as long as someone is with them, they are quite content, but if there is no one home, a Newfoundland dog will actually appear to be sad and sit and wait for you to return home, even stare out the window while waiting for his family to return.
The breed originated in Newfoundland from dogs indigenous to the island> There is speculation they may be descended partly from the big black bear dogs introduced by the Vikings in 1001 A.D. However it is more likely that their size results from the introduction of larg mastiff type dogs, brought by generations of Portuguese fishermen. With the advent of European settlement, a variety of new breeds helped to shape and re-invigorate the breed, but the essential characteristics of the Newfoundland dog remained. By the time of colonization was permitted in 1610, the distinct physical characteristics and mental attributes had been established in the breed for all time. In the early 1880s fishermen from Ireland and England traveled to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland where there were two main types of working dog: one more heavily built, large with a longish coat, whereas the other was lighter in build, an active, smooth-coated water dog. The heavier one was the Newfoundland and the other was the St. John's dog, the forerunner of the Labrador Retriever. The dogs were used in similar ways to pull fishnets and heavy equipment.
During the Discovery Channel's second day of coverage of the AKC Eukanuba National Championship on December, 03, 2006, anchor Bob Goen reported that Newfoundlands exhibit a very strong propensity to rescue people from water. Goen stated that one Newfoundland alone once aided the rescue of 63 shipwrecked sailors. Today, Kennel Clubs across American host Newfoundland Rescue Demonstrations, as well as offering classes in the field.
In 1832, Ann Harvey of Isle aux Morts, her father, and a Newfoundland Dog named Hairy Dog saved over 180 Irish immigrants from the wreck of the brig Despatch.
There are several health problems associated with Newfoundlands. Newfoundlands are prone to Hip dysplasia (a malformed ball and socket in the hip joint), Elbow dysplasia, and cystinuria (a hereditary defect that forms calculi stones in the bladder). Another genetic problem is subvalvular aortic stenosis, also referred to as subaortic stenosis or SAS. This is a common heart defect in Newfoundlands involving defective heart valves. SAS can cause sudden death at an early age. Newfoundlands also tend to slobber copiously, but this is generally only a concern for fastidious owners, rather than for the dogs themselves.
"The man they had got now was a jolly, light-hearted, thick-headed sort of a chap, with about as much sensitiveness in him as there might be in a Newfoundland puppy. You might look daggers at him for an hour and he would not notice it, and it would not trouble him if he did." Jerome K. Jerome Three Men in a Boat
"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." George Gordon, Lord Byron about his Newfoundland.
"Newfoundland dogs are good to save children from drowning, but you must have a pond of water handy and a child, or else there will be no profit in boarding a Newfoundland." Josh Billings
"A man is not a good man to me because he will feed me if I should be starving, or warm me if I should be freezing, or pull me out of a ditch if I should ever fall into one. I can find you a Newfoundland dog that will do as much." Henry David Thoreau Walden
- Boatswain - pet of Lord Byron
- Pilot - pet of Edward Fairfax Rochester in Jane Eyre - first described in chapter 12.
- Seaward's Blackbeard - 1984 Best in Show winner at the Westminster Dog Show
- Josh - 2004 Best in Show winner at the Westminster Dog Show
- Sable Chief - mascot of The Royal Newfoundland Regiment.
- Seaman - pet of Meriwether Lewis
- Sirius - dog of Maggie in the book Star in the Storm
- Nana - dog of the Darlings in Peter Pan
- Swansea Jack- Dog of the century
- Sgt. Gander the Mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada who was killed in action at the Battle of Hong Kong when he carried a grenade away from wounded soldiers. For this he was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal retroactively in 2000
- Several of the First Dogs in the White House were Newfoundlands
|Dogs originating from Canada
||Canadian Eskimo Dog ?· Labrador Retriever ?· Landseer ?· Newfoundland ?· Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever ?· Seppala Siberian Sleddog ?· Valley Bulldog
||Tahltan Bear Dog ?· St. John's Water Dog