Where are Newfoundland Dogs from?
The Newfoundland breed originated in the coast of Newfoundland in Canada. Basque fishermen were believed to be the ones who introduced Newfies to the country. Although the reason why they opted to bring a flock-guarding dog is vague, they gradually developed the Newf as a working dog, both on land and water.
Newfoundland evolved with water-resistant double coats and webbed feet. These traits made them highly adaptable to working in various jobs. The Newfie's build made it capable of hauling fishing nets and pulling carts filled with fish to the market.
The breed's most important job involves water rescues. These water dogs swam lifelines to victims of shipwrecks. They also pull out drowning children from the water. The Newf's skills in swimming became a very crucial part in saving people from the Titanic.
Rigel, a Newfoundland dog, swam to a lifeboat for three hours. The dog didn't mind the freezing waters as it was searching for its lost owner. Unbeknownst to the Newfie, its master has already drowned together with the ship.
The lifeboat would have been rammed by the steamship Carpathia if it weren't for Rigel. The Newfie kept barking and caught the attention of the ship's crew. The passengers of the lifeboat and Rigel were welcomed aboard the Carpathia.
Many many experts believe that the Newfoundland dog breed descended from the Tibetan Mastiffs and the now-extinct American Black Wolf. Another theory suggests that the breed came from Portuguese Mastiffs brought by Portuguese fishermen in the 16th century.
Newfoundlands were also believed to have descended from the Great Pyrenees dogs and black retrievers. Others claim that the Newfoundland shares many physical traits with the St. Bernard and the English Mastiff with its stout legs, large heads, bull necks, and broad snouts.
Breed enthusiast George Cartwright bestowed the name Newfoundland in 1775. Another fancier of the breed was the English botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, who adopted several Newfies.
In the 1780s, the Newfoundland almost went extinct due to the government-imposed restrictions. It forced Canadian families to pay taxes for keeping a dog in the 18th century.
It survived extinction when Sir Edwin Landseer included the breed in many of his paintings from 1802 to 1873. His apparent favour of the breed contributed to its popularity. The "Landseer" Newfoundland (black and white variety) was given its name to pay homage to him.
The first time the Newfoundland was shown in England was in 1860, whilst the first breed was registered in 1879 by the American Kennel Club. In 1886, the Newfoundland Club was created in the UK and is now the oldest stud club in Britain.
The numbers of Newfoundland dogs in the UK and Europe dwindled after the world wars. Fortunately, the breed survived, and its population grew in the 1950s. As time passed, the Newfie became a popular dog breed around the globe and made its mark in history.
In Newstead Abbey, England, a monument for the beloved Newfoundland dog of Lord Byron named Boatswain has become a popular tourist attraction. As a tribute to his dog, the great poet made a eulogy as a tribute, describing Botwain as: "one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man without his Vices."
Another Newf named Seaman was a part of the historic 8,000-mile journey across America with its owners, Lewis and Clark. Serving as a hunting dog and guard dog, Seaman was able to fend off a stray buffalo that came charging into the camp.
The fictional Nana, the Newfoundland nurse in Peter Pan, became a well-loved character as she embodies the Newfoundland breed's fondness for children and life-saving instincts.