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The origin of the Newfoundland is in dispute but generally believed to be a cross between the Great Pyrenees brought to Newfoundland by Basque sailors and a native water dog. He is large, heavily coated and a swimmer which adapts him well to his role of helping fishermen with their heavy nets and rescuing seamen who have been swept overboard. He is also used as a draft animal for pulling carts. He is recognized by the American Kennel Club, the Canadian Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, the Kennel Club of Great Britain, and the Federation Cynologique Internationale, the predominantly European registry for dogs.
The Newfy is an intelligent, loyal and sweet tempered dog who loves children. Besides his above mentioned occupations, he is an effective guard dog and watchdog.
The head of the Newfoundland is massive with a broad skull. The forehead smooth and free of wrinkles. The drop off between skull and muzzle (stop) is moderate but may appear in profile due to the well-developed brow. The muzzle is square, being as long as it is deep. It is shorter than the length of the skull. The top of the muzzle is rounded and the bite is scissors or level. The ears are relatively small and triangular with rounded tips. They are set on the skull level with the brow and lie close to the head. The eyes are dark brown, relatively small and set deep. They are spaced wide apart. The neck and back are strong and muscular. The chest is full and deep, reaching to the elbow. The legs are muscular, heavily boned and straight. The feet are cat like, proportionate to the body in size and webbed for swimming. The tail is broad and strong and reaches to the hock. It hangs straight or with a slight curve at the end. The coat is double with a soft, dense undercoat and a coarse, moderately long, outercoat that may be either straight or wavy. Its oiliness and density make it ideal for shedding water. The hair on the face and muzzle is short. Backs of the legs and the tail are heavily feathered. Coat colors include solid black, brown or gray and Landseer, which is a white base with black markings. The Landseer is recognized as a separate breed by the FCI. Average height is 26 to 28 inches. Average weight is between 130 and 150 pounds.
Name withheld by request of North Carolina writes:
Terrific personality, but can you stand the mess?
We've had a Newfoundland for about nine years. We chose this breed because we wanted a dog that would be gentle and very predictable around our kids. She definitely has been that. She has the sweetest, most gentle temperament I could imagine. She seems impervious to anything a careless child might do that would upset another dog. My son once said, "There's nothing you can do to make Munsie scared, and there's nothing you can do to make Munsie mad." That just about sums it up. Affectionate, gentle, smart, protective in a non-threatening way, gets along with everybody and all other dogs. They are suprisingly careful and gentle ­p; don't seem to knock kids down, etc., as much as some more rowdy smaller dogs. The downside: HAIR and do I mean HAIR. This dog is a huge investment in grooming time. They have a somewhat oily, water-repellent outer coat and a fine, undercoat. Even with grooming they shed enormous amounts. I make the joke that everyday I vacuum up enough hair that I could use it to knit a full-sized dog. And drool! We refer to it as being slimed. I have often had to change clothes before going out if I made the mistake of letting her lay her head on my lap. Just to clarify: I am not a fussy housekeeper ­p; I have LOW standards for neatness and am more tolerant of dog hair than most. We love this dog, but I will never get another one only because of the mess and the enormous amount of time it takes to deal with it. Another downside is that they age early and don't live that long. Our nine-year-old dog seems quite old. I've had other breeds that didn't show their age this much until they were twelve or so. Oh yes, one really fun thing about this breed. They are big and strong enough to pull a small cart. I used to walk to the grocery store and have her pull the groceries home in a small cart. We got a real kick out of that!
Name withheld by request of Florida writes on 2/19/01:
Sweet, easy going, loving companion.
I own a Newf and have been around quite a few. They are big, but easy keepers, attentive and loving but not anxious when separated. They do need good socialization with other dogs and people and should be trained from puppyhood to obey. They can do things on "Newf Time" and be slow to respond to commands, but they are very easy to train because of their high desire to please. My Newf (and others I know) is trustworthy around everyone because he loves people and other dogs.
On the other hand, when I was threatened, he went into guard dog mode and was perfectly capable of taking care of me. Don't get a Newf unless you can live with mess, slobber and water seem to follow them around. And please, let your Newf swim. They love it and need to.
firstname.lastname@example.org of Tennessee writes on 1/14/00:
Truly a gentle giant - always friendly and eager to please.
If you don't mind a lot of shedding and drooling, the Newfoundland is a fantastic family dog. He's gentle (although young dogs may not know their own size and strength and should be watched around toddlers) and loves people. In the olden days Newfs were used as nursery guards, such was their gentleness and protectiveness around children. He's not a yard dog - he needs plenty of human contact. He'll happily lie on your feet (keeping them warm) while you read, but if you can take him to the park or for a good long walk he'll be even happier. Newfs love to swim and many of them are natural retrievers. The Newfoundland Club of America (NCA) offers several titles to working dogs: Draft Dog (pulling carts) and Water Dog (general usefulness in and around water, including retrieving lost oars and towing a small boat). Newfs are strong dogs but never vicious, but they are prone to some big-dog problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia and heart problems. Make sure you get your dog from a reputable breeder so you know your pup will be as healthy as possible. While the Newf needs and loves plenty of exercise, inside he's low-key and will sleep most of the day if there's nothing much going on. Newfs make great therapy dogs because of their love of people, and are easily trained if you're patient and use rewards instead of punishments.
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