What's my history?
Howdy, our history is beguiling and pan-continental, so hang onto your seat. It all began in the place which gave rise to our name, the island of Newfoundland, off mainland Canada. We descended from a breed known as St John’s dog, aka the lesser Newfoundland (we prefer St John). So how did an island create its own breed of dogs? Well in fact we have the Portuguese sailors that brought over their own Portuguese Mastiffs to thank for that. Out there the weather was atrocious! Aside from helping the fisherman to retrieve their nets, stories abound of our life-saving heroics. In fact our contribution to humanity has been depicted in art across generations, ranging from paintings to statues and porcelain. We made our way over to Europe and had a spell performing tricks in London circus acts. One of our more famous brothers was known as ‘Napoleon the Wonder dog’. Various wars have depleted our numbers, although today the Newfoundland dog is thankfully a secure breed across the world.
What do I look like?
Well you can’t really miss us – we’re big and typically black, although we can come in brown and white with black (known as Landseer). We’re a dog built for water, which means our feet are large and webbed, whilst our coat is incredibly dense, coarse and slightly oily. Our tail is bushy. We’re not sure why our tail needs to be quite so bushy but I guess we’d look odd with it short. Our swimming stroke is like no other. Forget doggy paddle, ours is more akin to your breaststroke. One slight issue you might find with us – we are prone to drool. Wish we didn’t, but hey-ho, nobody is perfect.
What do I need from you?
Well really we need a job. If you want us as a layabout type pet, forget it – we’re all action! We need water – lots of it, exercise – ideally near water and a rather large towel, with our name on it. Only joking about the name. Our coat is prone to matting so we will need fairly regular grooming. Given our size, Newfoundland dogs are prone to some health defects so you’ll need to keep an eye on us. In particular, hip and elbow dysplasia and a bladder defect known as cystinuria are particular problems to look out for.
What I will give in return
This is where I have to dismiss our modest nature and be honest – we’re a truly amazing dog! Known in dog circles as ‘the gentle giant’ you will have to go some way to find a more loyal, docile and friendly dog than ours. You can trust us around children, although naturally we are a little clumsy around the house, given that we take up half of it. We’re also pretty good with other animals. And of course, if you ever need rescuing out of water, we’re right there!
How big will I get?
The person who coined the saying “good things come in small packages” clearly hadn’t seen a Newfoundland dog. We will grow to around 70cm (28in) and weigh in at around the same weight as a typical teenager – let’s say a modest 130lb (60kg). Although some Newfoundland dogs can weigh substantially more!
Lord Byron and Robert Kennedy – yet another example of how extremes can share common ground.
Want us to live with you?
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Disclaimer: the views expressed on this page and any comments below are only a guide to typical traits and views on the breed. Individual circumstance and traits will always vary so we can be in no way responsible for any of the information provided.
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