Did you know that March 25th is Newfoundland Day? These gentle giants are truly wonderful dogs, and they definitely deserve some recognition. Read on as a Burlington, ON veterinarian discusses this iconic breed.
As you can probably guess, Newfoundlands originated in Newfoundland. They were originally bred to help fishermen with hauling nets. They are water dogs by nature, and excel at swimming. Newfoundlands are known for having very sweet and friendly demeanors, unsurprisingly, these very good boys actually do very well as therapy dogs!
Today, Fido can be black, brown, white, or gray. However, only black and black and white dogs were originally considered to be true Newfoundlands.
Fido To The Rescue
Newfoundlands are great rescue dogs. One of the most famous ones, Bilbo, was renowned in Cornwall, for having saved three lives. There’s even a book about him: Bilbo. The True Story Of Bilbo The Surf Lifeguard Dog. Bilbo isn’t the first Newfoundland to be credited with rescue. Another Newfoundland, this one belonging to a fisherman, was credited with saving the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. When escaping his exile on a prison island, Bonaparte was washed overboard in rough seas. The pooch jumped into the water and saved him. (We’re hoping he got lots of treats and belly rubs after.)
Did you know that the nursery dog in Peter Pan, Nana, was originally a Newfoundland? (A Saint Bernard played the role in the Disney movie.) This is no coincidence: Newfoundlands are renowned for being super sweet and good with children. You would still need to keep an eye on Fido and your little ones, though: our canine pals can get clumsy, and sometimes knock small children over.
Newfoundlands have inspired a few poets, as well as playwrights. Boatswain was the pet of poet Lord Byron. When the pooch contracted rabies, Byron nursed him until he died, apparently with no fear of his faithful pet. After Boatswain passed, Byron wrote Epitaph for a Dog. Another Newfoundland was the inspiration behind a poem written by Henry Berght, founder of the ASPCA.
Newfoundlands have been mascots for many different military troops. They still often serve in this role today. In St. John’s, they are often found on harbor boats to this day.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Burlington, ON animal clinic, today!