Newfoundland Dog - Famous Citizen of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Newfoundland Dog is a breed of working dog, that originated in Newfoundland from the crossbreeding of native strains with foreign breeds, the latter possibly the Great Pyrenees or the boarhound.
Most pedigree Newfoundlands of today are descended from dogs bred in England. The male is about 71 cm (28 in) high at the shoulder and weighs from 64 to 68 kg (140 to 150 lb); the female stands 66 cm (26 in) high and weighs from 50 to 54 kg (110 to 120 lb). The Newfoundland has a broad, massive head; small, deeply set, dark-brown eyes; small ears lying close to the head; a deep chest; a dense, water-resistant double coat, usually dull black in color; and a broad, strong tail. The feet are large, strong, and webbed, for traversing marshlands and shores.
Powerful swimmers, Newfoundlands are known to have rescued human beings from drowning and to have carried lifelines from shore to ships in distress. Today they are used primarily as watchdogs and companions, but they were once used to draw carts and carry burdens. Because of their loyalty, intelligence, and tractability, Newfoundland dogs are ideal pets.
Most Newfies are black, but brown and gray varieties exist, as well as the striking black-and-white Landseer (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.
Newfies have a gentle, placid disposition. Indeed, 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 protective of children, and the dog Nana in James M. Barrie's Peter Pan was a Newfoundland. (Newfie owners resent the depiction of her as a St. Bernard in the Disney animated film version; the 2004 film Finding Neverland used a Great Pyrenees).
The origin of the Newfoundland Dog is uncertain, but they were in use as working dogs on the island of Newfoundland in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, as early as 1000 AD. Newfoundlands have been used as water rescue dogs, and for draft work. The breed almost became extinct and most modern-day Newfoundland Dogs trace their ancestry to a single stud dog named Siki who lived in the 1920s.
Evidence points to the crossbreeding of arctic and other dogs native to Newfoundland with the ship dogs of European fishermen. Specimens of the resulting breed, similar to the modern variety but smaller, were then brought to England, where their size and appearance were refined. The Newfoundland is an excellent water dog and has been used to rescue drowning people. It also has been a popular draft animal, particularly on its native island. Today it is raised for show competition and as a family companion, being especially gentle with children.
Unofficially, the second most important breed characteristic is a tendency to drool. Newfie owners acknowledge this cheerfully, proudly displaying paraphernalia with slogans such as "Newfoundland is my name—slobber is my game" and "Spit happens." One club assures us that "that's OK, because drool is good for you."
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