A typical black Newfoundland
|Nicknames||Newf, Newfie, The Gentle Giant|
|Country of origin||Newfoundland / England|
|Notes||Provincial mammal of Newfoundland|
|Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Newfoundland is a large working dog. Newfoundlands can be black, brown, white and black (called Landseer) or gray. However, in Canada, the country of their origin, the only correct colours are black (including black with white markings) and white and black (Landseer). They were originally bred and used as a working dog for fishermen in the Dominion of Newfoundland (which is now part of Canada). They are known for their giant size, intelligence, tremendous strength, calm dispositions, and loyalty. Newfoundland dogs excel at water rescue/lifesaving because of their muscular build, thick double coat, webbed feet, and innate swimming abilities.
The Newfoundlands ('Newfs' or 'Newfies') have webbed feet and a water-resistant coat. Males normally weigh 60–70 kg (130–150 lb), and females 45–55 kg (99–121 lb), placing them in the "Giant" weight range but some Newfoundland dogs have been known to weigh over 90 kg (200 lb) – and the largest on record weighed 120 kg (260 lb) and measured over 1.8 m (6 ft) from nose to tail, ranking it among the biggest Molossers. They may grow up to 56–76 cm (22–30 in) tall at the shoulder.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) standard colors of the Newfoundland dogs are: black, brown, grey and white and black (sometimes referred to as Landseer). Other colors are possible, but are not considered "rare" or more valuable; The Kennel Club (KC) permits only black, grey, brown, and white/black; while the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) permits only black and white/black. The "Landseer" pattern is named after the artist Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, who featured them in many of his paintings. Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) consider the ECT Landseer ("European Continental Type") to be a separate breed. It is a taller, more narrow white dog with black markings not bred with a Newfoundland.
The Newfoundland's extremely large bones give it mass, while its large musculature gives it the power it needs to take on rough ocean waves and powerful tides. These dogs have great lung capacity for swimming extremely long distances, and a thick, oily and waterproof double coat which protects them from the chill of icy waters. The droopy lips and jowls make the dog drool. In the water, the dog's massive webbed paws give it maximum propulsion. The swimming stroke is not an ordinary dog paddle. Unlike other dogs, the Newfoundland moves its limbs in a down-and-out motion. This gives it more power with every stroke.
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 because of their size at a very young age, small children could 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 Peter Pan book by J.M. Barrie.[A] The Newfoundland in general is good with other animals, but their size can create problems if not trained.
There are several health problems associated with Newfoundlands. Newfoundlands are prone to hip dysplasia (a malformed ball and socket in the hip joint). They also get Elbow dysplasia, and cystinuria (a hereditary defect that forms calculi stones in the bladder). Another genetic problem is subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS). This is a common heart defect in Newfoundlands involving defective heart valves. SAS can cause sudden death at an early age. It is common that "Newfs" live to be 8 to 10 years of age; 10 years is a commonly cited life expectancy.
The Newfoundland shares many traits with other mastiffs, such as the St. Bernard and English mastiff, including stout legs, massive heads with very broad snouts, a thick bull neck, and a very sturdy bone structure. In fact, many St. Bernard Dogs have Newfoundland Dog ancestry. Newfoundlands were brought and introduced to the St. Bernard breed in the 18th century when the population was threatened by an epidemic of distemper. They share many characteristics of many mountain dog breeds such as the Great Pyrenees.
The Newfoundland breed originated in Newfoundland, and is descended from a breed indigenous to the island known as the lesser Newfoundland, or St. John's dog. The mastiff characteristics of the Newfoundland are likely a result of breeding with Portuguese Mastiffs brought to the island by Portuguese fishermen beginning in the 16th century.
By the time colonization was permitted in Newfoundland in 1610, the distinct physical characteristics and mental attributes had been established in the Newfoundland breed. In the early 1880s, fishermen and explorers from Ireland and England traveled to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, where they described two main types of working dog. One was heavily built, large with a longish coat, and the other medium-sized in build – an active, smooth-coated water dog. The heavier breed was known as the Greater Newfoundland, or Newfoundland. The smaller breed was known as the Lesser Newfoundland, or St. John's dog. The St. John's dog became the founding breed of the modern retrievers. Both breeds were used as working dogs to pull fish nets, with the Greater Newfoundland also being used to haul carts and other equipment.
Because of that, they were part of the foundation stock of the Leonberger (which excelled at water rescue and was imported by the Canadian government for that purpose); and the now extinct Moscow Water Dog, a failed attempt at creating a lifesaving dog by the Russian state kennel—the unfortunate outcross with the Caucasian Ovcharka begat a dog more adept at biting than rescuing.
Many tales have been told of the courage displayed by Newfoundlands in adventuring and lifesaving exploits. Over the last two centuries, this has inspired a number of artists, who have portrayed the dogs in paint, stone, bronze and porcelain. One famous Newfoundland was a dog named Seaman, who accompanied American explorers Lewis and Clark on their expedition.
The breed's working role was varied and another famous all black Newfoundland performed as the star attraction in Van Hare's Magic Circus from 1862 and for many years thereafter in one England's founding circus acts, traveling throughout Europe. The circus dog was known as the "Thousand Guinea Dog Napoleon" or "Napoleon the Wonder Dog". Van Hare trained other Newfoundland dogs to perform a steeplechase routine, with baboons dressed up as jockeys to ride them. Nonetheless, his "wizard dog" Napoleon was his favorite and would compete at jumping against human rivals, leaping over horses from a springboard, and dancing to music.
Napoleon the Wonder Dog became a wildly popular act in London from his debut at the Pavilion Theatre on April 4, 1862, and onward until his untimely death many years later when he slipped and fell during a circus practice session. At the peak of his fame, his performance was described in London's Illustrated Sporting News and Theatrical and Musical Review as follows: "Synopsis of his entertainment:-- He spells his own name with letters' also that of the Prince of Wales; and when he is asked what he would say of her Most Gracious Majesty, he puts down letters to form "God save the Queen." He plays any gentleman a game of cards, and performs the celebrated three-card trick upon which his master backs him at 100 to 1. Also "The Disappearance," a la Robin. He performs in a circus the same as a trick horse, en liberté, giving the Spanish trot to music, also leaping over bars, through balloons, with numerous other tricks of a most interesting character." 
The breed prospered in the United Kingdom, until 1914 and again in 1939, when its numbers were almost fatally depleted by wartime restrictions. Since the 1950s there has been a steady increase in numbers and popularity, despite the fact that the Newfoundland's great size and fondness for mud and water makes it unsuitable as a pet for many households.
During the Discovery Channel's second day of coverage of the AKC Eukanuba National Championship on December 3, 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 the United States host Newfoundland Rescue Demonstrations, as well as offering classes in the field.
- An unnamed Newfoundland is credited for saving Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815. During his famous escape from exile on the island of Elba, rough seas knocked Napoleon overboard. A fisherman's dog jumped into the sea, and kept Napoleon afloat until he could reach safety.
- In 1828, Ann Harvey of Isle aux Morts, her father, her brother, and a Newfoundland Dog named Hairyman saved over 160 Irish immigrants from the wreck of the brig Despatch.
- In 1881 in Melbourne, Australia, a Newfoundland named Nelson helped rescue Thomas Brown, a cab driver who was swept away by flood waters in Swanston Street on the night of 15 November. While little is known about what became of Nelson, a copper dog collar engraved with his name has survived and 130 years after the rescue it was acquired by the National Museum of Australia and is now part of the National Historical Collection.
- In the early 20th century, a dog that is thought to have been a Newfoundland saved 92 people who were on the SS Ethie which was wrecked off of the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland during a blizzard. The dog retrieved a rope thrown out into the turbulent waters by those on deck, and brought the rope to shore to people waiting on the beach. A breeches buoy was attached to the rope, and all those aboard the ship were able to get across to the shore including an infant in a mailbag. Wreckage of the ship can still be seen in Gros Morne National Park. E. J. Pratt's poem, Carlo, in the November 1920 issue of The Canadian Forum commemorates this dog.
- In 1995, a 10-month-old Newfoundland named Boo saved a hearing-impaired man from drowning in the Yuba River in Northern California. The man fell into the river while dredging for gold. Boo noticed the struggling man as he and his owner were walking along the river. The Newfoundland instinctively dove into the river, took the drowning man by the arm, and brought him to safety. According to Janice Anderson, the Newfoundland’s breeder, Boo had received no formal training in water rescue.
Further evidence of Newfoundlands' ability to rescue or support life saving activities was cited in a recent article by the BBC. The breed continues in that role today, along with the Leonberger, Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever dogs; they are used at the Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs, Scuola Italiana Cani Salvataggio, SICS, founded by Ferruccio Pilenga.
- Adam: Seaward's Blackbeard: 1984 Best in Show winner at the Westminster Dog Show
- Bashaw (Matthew Cotes Wyatt): The Earl of Dudley's favourite dog, a sculpture by Matthew Cotes Wyatt can be seen at the Victoria and Albert museum in London
- Boatswain: pet of English poet Lord Byron and the subject of his poem "Epitaph to a Dog"
- Brumus: Robert F. Kennedy's dog
- Bummer: A stray Newfoundland, or Newfoundland cross, that was known to roam the streets of San Francisco in the early 1860s, often accompanied by another dog named Lazarus.
- Carlo: Emily Dickinson's dog
- Charlie Erhart: Lyndon B. Johnson's dog
- Darbydale's All Rise Pouchcove (AKA Josh): 2004 Best in Show winner at the Westminster Dog Show
- Faithful: First dog of President Ulysses S. Grant
- Frank: Unofficial mascot of the Orphan Brigade during the American Civil War
- 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.
- Hairy Man: The dog who helped Ann Harvey and her father and brother rescue 163 people from a shipwreck.
- Jeff: Wonderful gorilla-loving friend of Flagstaff, AZ; mascot of dream pop band the Sea Section 
- Luath: Landseer Newfoundland pet of J. M. Barrie and the inspiration for "Nana", the Darling children's nurse in Peter Pan.
- Smokey: Lion-styled mascot of the East Coast Bays Barracudas.
- Plato: pet of John James Audubon.
- Pluto: pet of the Croatian operatic soprano Ilma de Murska, which used to dine at table with her and was trained to eat a cooked fowl from a place setting without dripping gravy on the tablecloth. Pluto lived in the 1860s.
- Robber: dog of Richard Wagner who accompanied him on his flight from his creditors from Riga on a fishing boat, which inspired the opera The Flying Dutchman.
- Russ: last dog of Richard Wagner, buried at the feet of his master in the composer's tomb in the park of Villa Wahnfried in Bayreuth, under his own plaque: "Here rests and watches Wagner's Russ."
- Sable Chief: mascot of Royal Newfoundland Regiment
- Swansea Jack: Famous Welsh rescue dog identified as a Newfoundland, but had an appearance more like a modern Flat-Coated Retriever
- Seaman: Once thought to have been named Scannon, was a companion of explorer Meriwether Lewis on the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806. His collar tag reads, The greatest traveller of my species. My name is SEAMAN, the dog of captain Meriwether Lewis, whom I accompanied to the Pacific ocean through the interior of the continent of North America.
Famous fictional Newfoundlands
- Bonkers: pet of the Percy family in The World According to Garp, by John Irving
- Carl: pet of Teddy Armstrong of Anne Of Windy Poplars, by Lucy Maud Montgomery.
- Crusoe: main character of The Dog Crusoe and His Master (1860), by R.M. Ballantyne.
- Curly: a minor character in Jack London's Call of the Wild
- Lou: companion to Officers Mahoney and Shtulman in the 1985 movie Police Academy 2
- Mother Teresa: major canine character in the movie Must Love Dogs
- Nana: The 'nurse' dog of Wendy, John and Michael in J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan
- Pilot: pet of Edward Fairfax Rochester in Charlotte Brontë's classic novel Jane Eyre (1847), first described in chapter 12
- Pollux: pet of Lieutenant William Babbington in Patrick O'Brian's novel Desolation Island
- Rollo: Effi and Geert Von Instetten's dog in Effi Briest, by Theodor Fontane.
- Rigel: mythical pet of first officer William Murdoch aboard the RMS Titanic. Murdoch went down with the ship but Rigel swam for three hours next to a lifeboat until it was rescued by the RMS Carpathia. Rigel is renowned as a hero alerting the Carpathia's captain of the weakened survivors before the ship hit them. Rigel was adopted by crewman Jonas Briggs.
- SONAR: The naval mascot, was "recruited" into the Canadian Forces Maritime Command in 2010 as part of the Canadian navy’s centennial celebrations.
- Tiger: companion of Arthur Gordon Pym in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, a novel by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)
"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
"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
"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, Epitaph to a Dog.
"That boat, Rover by name, which, though now in strange seas, had often pressed the beach of Captain Delano's home, and, brought to its threshold for repairs, had familiarly lain there, as a Newfoundland dog; the sight of that household boat evoked a thousand trustful associations..." Herman Melville Benito Cereno
"Your fatuous specialist is now beginning to rebuke "secondrate" newspapers for using such phrases as "to suddenly go" and "to boldly say". I ask you, Sir, to put this man out without interfering with his perfect freedom of choice between "to suddenly go", "to go suddenly" and "suddenly to go". Set him adrift and try an intelligent Newfoundland dog in his place." George Bernard Shaw, letter to the Chronicle newspaper (1892)
- "Newfoundland - CKC".
- John Henry Walsh (1878). The dogs of the British Islands: being a series of articles on the points of their various breeds, and the treatment of the diseases to which they are subject. "The Field" Office. p. 173.
- William Jardine, Charles Hamilton Smith (1 January 1999). The Naturalist's Library: Mammalia, Dogs. Elibron.com. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-4021-8033-0.
- "Bonewatch: The doggy lifeguards that leap from helicopters to save stranded swimmers". Daily Mail. August 27, 2010. Retrieved January 15, 2011.
- Newfoundland Breed Standard The Kennel Club, 'Exceptionally gentle, docile nature' .. 'webbed' ... 'oily nature, water-resistant'
- American Kennel Club (31 January 2006). The complete dog book. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 349–350. ISBN 978-0-345-47626-5.
- Newfoundland Breed Standard American Kennel Club, 'a sweet-dispositioned dog that acts neither dull nor ill-tempered' ... 'Sweetness of temperament'
- CKC Breed Standards Canadian Kennel Club, 'The Newfoundland's expression is soft and reflects the character of the breed—benevolent, intelligent, dignified but capable of fun. He is known for his sterling gentleness and serenity.'
- Newfoundlands are a Therapeutic Breed
- Cassidy, Kelly M. (February 1, 2008). "Breed Longevity Data". Dog Longevity. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- Dan Rice (1 March 2001). Big dog breeds. Barron's Educational Series. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-7641-1649-0.
- Fifty years of a showman's life, or, The life and travels of Van Hare. [G Van Hare; McManus-Young Collection (Library of Congress)]
- "East London Theatre Playbills UK". elta-project.org. Retrieved 2011-11-14.
- Illustrated Sporting News and Theatrical and Musical Review, Issue #28, September 20, 1862
- "The Newfoundland Dog Club UK - Breed History". Thenewfoundlandclub.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
- Shewmake, Tiffin. Canine Courage: the Heroism of Dogs. [Portage, MI]: PageFree Pub., 2002. pg. 75
- "Nelson the Newfoundland's dog collar, National Museum of Australia". Nma.gov.au. 2011-12-05. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- "Guard Dogs: Newfoundlands' Lifesaving Past, Present". News.nationalgeographic.com. 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
- Beach rescue dog alerts swimmer, August 23, 2007, BBC.
- "– first dogs – Retrieved November 15, 2007". Doggienews.com. Archived from the original on 29 Dec 2008. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
- Lady Twylyte (1904-02-27). "Civil War Company Mascots". Floridareenactorsonline.com. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
- "Gander: Canadian War Hero". www.newfoundlanddog.ca. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
- "Double Header: Radiohead and Talking Heads". Jackcentral.
- www.newfoundlanddogsuk.co.uk[dead link]
- FAMOUS PEOPLE AND NEWFOUNDLAND DOGS
- Myers, Laurie (2002). Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog's Tale. New York: Henry Holt and Co. ISBN 0805063684.
- Roger Danielsen (1912-04-21). "Rigel on the Titanic". Brightstarnewfs.com. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
- "SONAR". Forces.gc.ca. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
- Kosloff, Joanna (2006). Newfoundlands: Everything about Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Diseases, Breeding, Behavior, and Training. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series. ISBN 978-0-7641-3399-2. OCLC 67840186.
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