The Newfoundland is indigenous to this hemisphere and probably did originate on the island of Newfoundland. However, around the turn of the century the dog in this country had been bred down in size to the extent that it was essentially a large, big-boned retriever. It was noted for its extraordinary intelligence and water ability, but was very different from the giant breed we see today. The British, who imported their original dogs from the US and Canada, bred for increasing size and in the 1930’s several offspring of a very famous dog, Siki, were exported back into the US. The ancestors of most of the Newfoundlands seen in this country trace back to those original English exports. The English history is most poignantly revealed in the great oil paintings of Sir Edwin Landseer, who apparently painted Newfs as the black white (piebald) color pattern, regardless of their actual color! This pattern (white and black) came to be known as the Landseer. In addition to solid black, the most common color, Newfs also come in solid brown and solid gray. While gray white and the occasional brown white Newfs exist, they are not accepted in the show ring.Lord George Byron owned a Newfoundland, Boatswain, about whom he felt so strongly, that when the dog died, he put a monument over the grave at Newstead Abby. Inscribed is the following eulogy, which describes the ideal nature of the Newfoundland that is still being bred today:
Near this Spot
Are deposited the Remains
Of one who possessed
Beauty without Vanity
Strength without Insolence
Courage without Ferocity and all the
Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be
If inscribed over human Ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG, who was
Born in Newfoundland May 1803
And died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808.
Reprinted with permission from, Pat Judi Randall, as printed in Pet Talk, Dianne Hardie, Editor.