The Newfoundland is a large, usually black, breed of dog originally used as a working dog in Newfoundland. They are known for their sweet dispositions, loyalty, and natural water rescue tendencies. The Newfoundland dog excels at water rescue, due partly to their webbed feet and amazing swimming abilities. Newfoundland dogs require grooming at least once every two weeks. Extremely loving and patient, as puppies Newfoundlands are laid-back and considered easy to housebreak.
American Kennel Club (AKC) standard colors of the Newfoundland are black, brown, gray and landseer (black head and white and black body); The Kennel Club (TKC) permits only black, brown and landseer; and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) permits only black and landseer. The Landseer is named after the artist Sir Edwin Landseer, who featured them in many of his paintings. AKC, CKC and TKC all treat Landseer as part of the breed. Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) consider the Landseer to be a separate breed; others consider it only a Newfoundland color variation.
During the Discovery Channel's second day of coverage of the AKC Eukanuba National Championship on December 3, 2006, anchor Bob Goen reported that Newfoundlands exhibit a very strong propensity to rescue people from water. Goen stated that one Newfoundland alone once aided the rescue of 63 shipwrecked sailors. Today, Kennel Clubs across the United States host Newfoundland Rescue Demonstrations, as well as offering classes in the field.
In 1832, Ann Harvey of Isle aux Morts, her father, and a Newfoundland Dog named Hairy Dog saved over 180 Irish immigrants from the wreck of the brig Despatch.
In the early 1900s, a dog that is thought to have been a Newfoundland saved 92 people who were on a sinking ship in Newfoundland during a blizzard. The dog retrieved a rope thrown out into the turbulent waters by those on deck, and brought the rope to shore to people waiting on the beach. A breaches buoy was attached to the rope, and all those aboard the ship were able to get across to the shore.
An unnamed Newfoundland is also credited for saving Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815. During his famous escape from exile on the island of Elba, rough seas knocked Napoleon overboard. A fisherman's dog jumped into the sea, and kept Napoleon afloat until he could reach safety.
Further evidence of Newfoundlands' ability to rescue or support life saving activities was cited in a recent article by the BBC.
"Newfoundland dogs are good to save children from drowning, but you must have a pond of water handy and a child, or else there will be no profit in boarding a Newfoundland." Josh Billings
"A man is not a good man to me because he will feed me if I should be starving, or warm me if I should be freezing, or pull me out of a ditch if I should ever fall into one. I can find you a Newfoundland dog that will do as much." Henry David Thoreau Walden
"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." George Gordon, Lord Byron, Epitaph to a Dog.