Having recently started volunteering at Manchester Dog Care based in Timperly, I’ve been exposed to a number of dog breeds that are all wonderful and energetic. While working there I’ve grown attached to a couple of Newfoundlands called Bryn and Ned and it’s inspired me to write about the breed and explain why they make amazing companions.
Newfoundlands have their origins in Canada, bred to help the fishermen of the Dominion of Newfoundland as a working dog. They make adept swimmers thanks to their thick coat, webbed feet and muscular build. Their large musculature gives them the power to swim against rough ocean currents while the waterproof coat protects against cold. A Newfoundland doesn’t have an ordinary dog paddle as it swims with a down-and-out movement. This makes them invaluable as rescue dogs when it comes to going into water.
There have been many stories of Newfoundlands having a strong tendency to rescue people from drowning. A famous example is an unnamed Newfoundland saving Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815 during his escape from exile on the island of Elba. A fisherman’s dog jumped into the water and kept Napoleon afloat until he could get to safety.
Their large size may give them an intimidating appearance when in reality they have a sweet and loyal temperament. Newfoundlands are easy to train if started from a young age and are docile around children. If you have small children be aware that accidents may occur if a Newfoundland leans against them.
The life span of the breed is from eight to ten years, with health problems that include hip dysplasia and a genetic issue called subvalvular aortic stenosis. This is a common heart defect that may cause sudden death at a young age.
Regular exercise is recommended for these large dogs, whether from daily walks or letting them go for a swim. Newfoundlands have an independent streak but he or she will respond well to patient owners who are willing to praise them with love and attention. Be aware that they drool often and pant a lot so watch out for a face lick!
An organisation that is dedicated to watching over the breed is The Newfoundland Club based in the UK. They offer a rehoming service as well as regular show events where owners can bring their dogs to be seen by other animal lovers. The Newfoundland Club Of America also gives plenty of valuable information on the breed.
Newfoundlands are strong, loyal, courageous and intelligent dogs that deserve to be loved and appreciated. They have a gentle spirit and heart and will make a wonderful addition to any family home.