Fishermen from France, Spain, and Portugal first brought the white Great Pyrenees to the Canadian island of Newfoundland during their travels. Over the generations, the dog was bred with other local dogs to create a fisherman's true friend: the Newfoundland. These dogs were kept busy hauling in the heavy fishing nets, pulling carts, and carrying loads in big bags. But they also became renowned for their steadfast bravery in rescue work. They have carried life lines to sinking ships in seas no boat or man could cross. And they have saved countless children and adults from drowning by swimming with them safely to shore.
Most important in Newfoundlands is their temperament. Their kindly expression is calm, patient and dignified. They need human companionship to be happy. They love children.
Because of their size, "Newfs" need room to move, and love a place to swim. His coat should be brushed everyday, especially during shedding season. Shade and extra water are essential in the summer. Black is the usual color, though some Newfoundlands are brown, gray, or black-and-white (called "Landseer").
Excerpts from the Standard
General Appearance: A sweet-dispositioned dog, at home on land and in water; large, heavily coated, deep-bodied, heavily boned, muscular and strong, with dignity and pride.
Size, Proportion, and Substance: Height--males, approximately 28 inches at the withers; females, approximately 26 inches. Weight--males, 130 to 150 pounds; females, 100 to 120 pounds.
The English poet Lord Byron was so fond of his Newfoundland, Boatswain, that he built a monument to him when he died, with this poem on it:
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 unmeaning Flattery
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.
Excerpted from The Complete Dog Book For Kids © 1996, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.