The Newfoundland dog is a large working dog. Newfoundland dogs can be black, brown or white and black (called Landseer) or gray. However, in Canada, the country of their origin, the only correct colours are black or 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 Newfoundland comes from the Canadian province of the same name and worked alongside the fishermen of the area. Although originating in Canada, the details are sketchy.
There are three theories of how the Newfoundland came to be, though as is the case with most breeds, it’s hard to validate. The first is that the Newfoundland is a cross between the Tibetan Mastiff and the now-extinct American Black Wolf. Through the pairings of those two animals, the Newfoundland eventually evolved.
Another school of thought is that Vikings left the dogs when they visited the New World in 1000 A.D. and these dogs interbred and were eventually bred with wolves native to Eastern Canada.
The third theory is that the Newfoundland is the result of many European breeds cross bred around the 15th and 16th centuries, among them the Pyrenean Sheep Dogs, Mastiffs, and Portuguese Water Dogs.
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 small children can 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 J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. The Newfoundland in general is good with other animals, but its size can cause problems if it is not trained.