Newfoundland

Newfoundland

[noo-fuhn-luhnd, -land, -fuhnd-, nyoo-; noo-found-luhnd, nyoo-]
Newfoundland, island and province, Canada: see Newfoundland and Labrador, province.
Newfoundland, breed of massive, powerful working dog developed in Newfoundland, probably in the 17th cent., and later perfected in England. It stands from 25 to 28 in. (63.5-71.1 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 110 to 150 lb (49.9-68.1 kg). Its dense, flat-lying coat is coarse and rather oily and is usually a dull jet black in color. The Landseer type of Newfoundland is one in which the color is other than solid black, the most frequent being black with white markings. The precise origin of the Newfoundland is obscure, but the most convincing evidence points to the crossbreeding of arctic and other dogs native to Newfoundland with the ship dogs of European fishermen. Specimens of the resulting breed, similar to the modern variety but smaller, were then brought to England, where their size and appearance were refined. The Newfoundland is an excellent water dog and has been used to rescue drowning people. It also has been a popular draft animal, particularly on its native island. Today it is raised for show competition and as a family companion, being especially gentle with children. See dog.

Province (pop., 2006: 505,469), one of the four Atlantic provinces of Canada. Consisting of the island of Newfoundland and Labrador on the mainland and bounded by Quebec, it extends into the North Atlantic Ocean and is the easternmost part of North America. Its capital is St. John's. It was originally settled by Indians (First Nations) and Inuit (the Arctic people of Canada known as Eskimo in Alaska). Viking ruins from circa AD 1000 have been found in the northern part of the island. John Cabot claimed the island for England in 1497; the first colony was established at St. John's in 1583. France and England disputed possession of the area; though England retained control with the 1713 Peace of Utrecht, controversies over fishing rights continued through the 19th century. A province since 1949, it includes the Grand Banks fishing grounds. Fishing, mainly for cod, was virtually the only economic activity until the early 20th century, when western Labrador's vast iron reserves began to be exploited. Fishing subsequently declined considerably with the depletion of stocks, but exploration for offshore petroleum and natural gas and also tourism rose in importance.

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Dog breed developed in Newfoundland, possibly from crosses between native dogs and the Great Pyrenees dogs that Basque fishermen introduced into North America in the 17th century. Noted for sea rescues, the gentle, patient Newfoundland stands 26–28 in. (66–71 cm) and weighs 110–150 lbs (50–68 kg). Powerful hindquarters, a large lung capacity, large webbed feet, and a heavy, oily coat enable it to swim in cold waters. It has also been used as a watchdog and draft animal. The typical Newfoundland is solid black; the Landseer Newfoundland is usually black and white.

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