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Group: Working
Breed Family: Newfoundland

As with many of the breeds, its exact origins are uncertain, but The Newfoundland is thought to have originated in Newfoundland, Canada, and that his ancestors were brought there by fishermen from Europe. Whatever its origins, it is in the romantic imagination closely associated with its life-saving abilities.

Known as a life-saving dog from as early as the eighteenth century, there are several accounts which indicate that the distinction was well earned, including one of a child who fell into the Tyne River to be rescued by a Newfoundland. Accounts of the breed's life-saving activities continue until well into the nineteenth century and the Newfoundland was forever fixed in the popular imagination as a dog who saves lives.

Indeed, the majority of paintings of Newfoundlands which survive from the nineteenth century, somehow allude to this. Sir Edwin Landseer's portrait of the "Distinguished Member of the Humane Society," to name but one, shows a black and white Newfoundland on a wharf, looking out confidently at the viewer. Landseer was so fond of the black and white variety of the breed that it eventually became known as the Landseer Newfoundland. The breed of course pre-dated Landseer and was depicted by many other English artists in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.


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