The Newfoundland is a native North American dog from Newfoundland Island in Canada; it is not clear how the breed arrived there, though it is thought that his ancestors were brought there by fisherman arriving from Europe. Some believe his ancestors are the white Great Pyrenees, and others believe he came from a French hound. Originally an all-purpose water dog and fishing aid, the Newfoundland now is involved in water rescue. A large breed, the average male weighs 130 to 150 pounds and reaches 28 inches in height and is slightly longer than it is tall. Muscular and with heavy bones, the Newfoundland has the ability to rescue those who are drowning even in rough water. Dogs of the breed have webbed feet and water repellent coats, making swimming easier. Their strong and effortless gait also helps them excel at pulling.
From Newfoundland Island in Canada, it is thought that ancestors of the breed were brought to the island by fisherman coming from Europe. While the makeup of the breed is not clear, some think his ancestors are the white Great Pyrenees while others feel the breed evolved from a French hound or the Great Pyrenees. There are many old prints of Newfoundlands that show what is believed to be evidence of husky ancestry and the breed shares similarities to the Labrador (and Newfoundland’s coastline is close to Labrador). Regardless, the Newfoundland evolved to be well suited to the island where he originated. Dogs of the breed are excellent in and around water. They tend to be amazing swimmers and have saved many lives by rescuing people that are drowning. In 1919, a Newfoundland was given recognition for pulling a lifeboat that held twenty people from a ship wreck. In early years, residents of Newfoundland were only allowed to own one dog; this along with the dog being exported to Europe, led the breed to decline on the island. Breeders in America had to obtain new stock from Europe. After World War II, the breed declined in Europe, leading to Europeans seeking new stock from the United States.
The Newfoundland is a large dog with a broad, heavy head that has a somewhat arched crown and a strong neck and back. Dogs of the breed have a wide, short muzzle; the nose of the Newfoundland is usually black, with the exception of dogs that are bronze-colored (typically brown) and the teeth meet in a level bite. The smallish eyes are deep set and dark brown and the somewhat small ears are triangular in shape with rounded tips, which hang by their cheeks. A Newfoundland’s legs are muscular, straight and parallel, with webbed feet that are helpful in the water. A strong tail is broad at its base and hangs down. The outer coat of the Newfoundland is oily, coarse and somewhat long and can be straight or have waves.
It is imperative that a Newfoundland be brushed around two times a week with a hard brush in order to avoid its fur becoming matted. One of the heaviest shedders of all dog breeds, the Newfoundland will shed the most during springtime. Dry shampoo is recommended so as to not remove the natural oils of the coat and baths should be given only when necessary for the same reason. The breed is messy when drinking and tends to drool significantly. While Newfoundlands enjoy laying around, dogs of the breed should get appropriate exercise (including swimming as frequently as possible). Newfoundlands cannot tolerate heat, doing better in colder conditions. On days when the temperature is high, it is important that there is access to fresh, cool water and appropriate shade. As a large dog, the Newfoundland does best with a fenced in yard and sufficient indoor space.