Fun Facts About Newfoundland Dogs

Newfoundlands are called “nanny dogs”

The sweet and gentle temperament Newfoundlands are known for might seem strange for such a large dog, but anyone familiar with the breed will tell you otherwise. One of the hallmarks of the breed is their patient demeanor.

Newfoundlands are great with children because they are so laid back and are an ideal family pet. Despite their size, they are careful and gentle and take care not to play rough. They earned the nickname “nanny dogs” because of this.

They are skilled at water rescue

Due to their strength, size, and their thick fur, Newfoundlands are excellent at assisting in water rescue. They take to the water well, and they are not in danger of succumbing to the cold due to their coat, which helps to keep them dry and warm.

Also, they have superior swimming skills and webbed paws. They rank among Labradors and Golden Retrievers as the breeds with the best propensity for water rescue. Even untrained, Newfoundlands have the instinct to dive into the water to rescue people that are in danger.

A Newfoundland saved Napoleon’s life

In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte famously escaped from imprisonment on Elba. A storm complicated the escape, and the water became dangerous and choppy.

Napoleon nearly drowned during his escape from exile when he was knocked into the water. A fisherman’s dog, thought to be a Newfoundland, jumped into the water and dragged him to safety.

Newfoundlands have featured in many famous novels

Newfoundlands are such a beloved breed they have found their way into many famous novels.

The pilot is the beloved pet of Edward Fairfax Rochester in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Lion features in Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit, and perhaps most famous of all Newfoundlands is Nana who is the dutiful caretaker of Wendy Darling and her brothers in Peter Pan.

They have been a favorite breed of many people for centuries, so it is no surprise that they have turned up in many works of fiction over the years.

There were much famous real-life Newfoundlands

Newfoundlands are not just heroes of fiction, but they have made their mark on history, too! Seaman was an integral part of Lewis and Clark’s expedition across the western United States in the early 1800s.

Seaman was a loyal assistant to the captains and researchers and so beloved that he became the mascot of the expedition.

Napoleon, the Wonder Dog, was a famous performer in Van Hare’s Magic Circus and one of the star performers. The circus was one of the best known in England at the time, and Napoleon was exceptionally well known.

When Napoleon died, he was memorialized in national papers as an ‘artiste’ and mourned wide and far.

Newfoundlands have been the loyal companions of many famous figures throughout history, as well. Lyndon B. Johnson loved his Newfoundland Charlie Erhart and kept him at the White House with him while he was President.

He was not the only U.S. President to have a Newfoundland while they were in office. Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, and James Buchanan were all proud owners.

Emily Dickinson was rarely seen without her Newfoundland companion, Carlo. Famous poet Lord Byron wrote a moving epitaph for his Newfoundland, Boatswain.

Newfoundlands are working dogs

Newfoundlands are classified as working dogs. This means that they were bred to perform a practical task instead of as companion dogs.

Newfoundlands were bred from another breed called St. John’s dog or the Lesser Newfoundland, which was a smaller dog breed native to Newfoundland, to make a breed that could accompany fishers out onto their boats.

It is very likely that the St. John’s dog was bred with a Mastiff to achieve a larger size. Newfoundlands share a common genetic ancestor with other working breeds such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, as well as other Retriever breeds.

When at work, Newfoundlands hauled fishing nets and wood, pulled carts, and did other sorts of heavy lifting. They were also trained for tracking.

Newfoundlands are a very large breed

Newfoundlands rank in the top ten largest breeds of dogs alongside breeds such as Mastiffs, St. Bernard’s, and Great Danes.

On average, the breed tends to be between 120 and 150 pounds and stands around 28 inches tall at the shoulder. The largest Newfoundlands have gotten as heavy as 200 or more pounds!

Newfoundlands take up a lot of space and do not do well in apartments because of their size. A family in a larger house with more space for them to move around it is better for them.

They do require regular exercise, but they are not hyperactive or nervous dogs.

Newfoundlands need frequent grooming

Newfoundlands have thick double coats to keep them warm and dry when they are in the water, but this means they need frequent grooming.

To keep shedding and fur under control, Newfoundlands should be brushed daily and see a professional groomer frequently for bathing. Their size makes bathing them at home difficult. Their fur is rough and coarse and can become tangled or matted without proper care and attention.

Newfoundlands are droolers

Newfoundlands have large jowls that store liquid when they drink, which causes them to drool a lot. They will leave pools of drool and slobber marks on all of the things around them if they aren’t careful. It’s a good idea to keep a drool rag handy to avoid getting any wet spots on your clothes.

Newfoundlands are originally from Canada

Newfoundlands are named for the island province of Canada, where they were first bred. The breed was recognized for consistent, distinctive traits by 1600.

The distinctive breed made its way to Europe in the early 1600s when trade opened up between Canada and England and Ireland. Newfoundlands would become a staple breed of England in the centuries that followed.

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