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Lewis' Newfoundland dog

The Newfoundland, a gentle giant among canines, is a striking dog bound to elicit admiring comments wherever he accompanies his owner. A sweet, devoted companion, the Newfoundland  will protect children, haul leaves and firewood, save drowning people, and compete successfully in obedience and tracking trials.

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History of the Newfoundland Dog

Born as a canine seaman, the Newfoundland was a standard piece of equipment on every fishing boat in Canada's maritime province that gave the breed its name. Fishing has always been Newfoundland's chief industry; the dogs hauled fishing nets out to sea and back to the boat and retrieved objects or people who fell into the sea. Equally at home in water or on land, the Newfoundland was large enough to pull in a drowning man or to break the ice as he dove into the frigid northern ocean. His lung capacity allowed him to swim great distances and fight ocean currents.

  • At the end of a day's fishing, the day's catch was loaded into a cart, and the dog was hitched up to haul the load into town. Other Newfoundlands pulled wagons to deliver milk and mail throughout the island.
  • There are many legends of Newfoundlands saving drowning victims by carrying lifelines to sinking ships. The dogs were kept in the "dog walk" on early sailing ships. If the sea was too choppy when land was sighted, the dog carried a line to land.
  • The origin of this working breed is disputed. Vikings and Basque fishermen visited Newfoundland as early as 1000 AD and wrote accounts of the natives working side by side with these retrieving dogs. The breed as we know it today was developed in England, while the island of Newfoundland nearly legislated the native breed to extinction in 1780.
  • The Newfoundland has a stiff, oily outer coat of moderate length and a fleecy undercoat to adapt to the harsh climate of its home island. The oil repels water. A Newfoundland can swim for hours, yet remain completely dry and warm at the skin. The breed has completely webbed feet and swims with a breast stroke instead of a dog paddle.

Meriwether Lewis's Newfoundland dog - SEAMAN  Newfoundland Statues

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Charles, Missouri

Jefferson City, Missouri on the Missouri State Capitol Grounds

Fort Atkinson State Historical Park, Fort Calhoun, Nebraska

Case Park -  Kansas City, Missouri

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Sioux City, Iowa

Washburn, North Dakota at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center  
(6-foot-high, 1400-pound steel)

Overlook Park, Great Falls, Montana

Fort Clatsop National Memorial

Seaside, Oregon


Source: Dog Owner's Guide - An online magazine for Pet & Showdog Owners