Standing tall on the American Kennel Club’s list of the world’s biggest dog breeds, the Newfoundland also holds a big spot in the hearts of dog devotees! In fact, the Newfie is so beloved that the breed has its very own pet holiday, with National Newfoundland Dog Day taking place on March 25.
To celebrate, we’ve fetched a few fun facts about the Newfie!
Newfies in the White House
The paws of several Newfoundlands have promenaded through the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!
In 1857 a Newfoundland named Lara moved into the White House alongside her pet parent, President James Buchanan.
In 1869, it was President Ulysses S. Grant‘s dog Faithful’s turn to be First Fido, followed by Rutherford B. Hayes‘ canine companion Hector and James A. Garfield‘s Newfoundland, Veto.
Literary Giants & their Newfoundland Dogs
On the grounds of Newstead Abbey, the former estate of Lord Byron in Nottinghamshire, England, stands a tribute in stone to the poet’s pal with paws.
A devoted friend, Boatswain died of rabies in 1808, but his memory lives on in the lines of “Epitaph to A Dog,” the poem which his pet parent wrote in his honor.
Lord Byron wrote in part that man is honored with words of praise upon his tombstone, while:
…the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend/ The first to welcome, foremost to defend/ Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own/ Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone/ Unhonour’d falls, unnotic’d all his worth…
Ensuring that his beloved Boatswain would not suffer the same fate, the poem is etched upon the dog’s monument, which is even larger than the memorial for the famous poet who loved him.
Another poet with a penchant for Newfies was Emily Dickinson, who named her dog Carlo after a canine character in one of her favorite novels, Jane Eyre. A present from her father, Dickinson considered Carlo her “shaggy ally.”
Author Charles Dickens had a number of four-legged friends, among them two Newfoundlands named Don and Bumble.
Along The Poets’ Path at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Aryshire, Scotland a Landseer Newfoundland dubbed Caesar sits frozen in rapt conversation with a Border Collie named Luath in a sculptural depiction of “The Twa Dogs,” a famous poem by Robert Burns.
Newfies in History
Outside Cascade Locks Marine Park’s Visitor’s Center in Oregon stands sculptor Heather Soderberg’s interpretation of Lewis and Clark’s traveling companions, guide/interpreter Sacagawea and Seamus, the Newfoundland who took part in a 8,000-mile journey which led his human pack from the Mississippi River to the Pacific coast and back again.
The canine companion of Captain Meriweather Lewis, the explorer named a creek along the Blackfoot River in his adventurous dog’s honor. As time flowed on, the tributary’s name was changed, but the story of Seamus lives on through a series of statues located throughout the United States.
Visitors to the Gander Heritage Memorial Park can pay their respects to the memory of Sergeant Gander, a mascot for the Royal Rifles of Canada who saved the lives of many soldiers during the Battle of Hong Kong, but lost his life in the process. A creation by sculptor Morgan MacDonald, the Newfoundland silently stands guard by a statue honoring the men with whom he once served.
Did You Know?
Although the Newfoundland holds the number one spot in the hearts of many dog devotees, the breed ranked 41st in the 2020 edition of the American Kennel Club’s list of the most popular dog breeds.
While movie buffs may remember Nana in the Disney animated adaptation of Peter Pan as a St. Bernard, in the pages of author J. M. Barrie’s classic children’s novel the canine character is immortalized as a Newfoundland!
The Newfoundland has webbed feet! Other aquatically-inclined canines on the list are: the American Water Spaniel, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the Dachshund, the German Short-Haired Pointer, the German Wire-Haired Pointer, the Irish water Spaniel, the Labrador Retriever, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, the Otterhound, the Poodle, the Portuguese Water Dog and the Weimaraner.
The Newfie coat can come in many colors. Although black is the most prevalent, Newfoundland fur can also be black and white (known as Landseer), brown, and gray, which is the rarest variety.
Why are black and white Newfoundlands known as Landseer Newfoundlands? The name is in honor of Sir Edwin Landseer, the renowned British artist who preferred to paint the dogs with a two-toned coat.
There are five breeds of dog believed to have originated from Canada — the Canadian Inuit Dog, Labrador Retriever, the Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever, the Tahltan Bear Dog and the Newfoundland. Both the Labrador Retriever and the Newfoundland are honored with statues in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador at Harbourside Park in the city of St. John’s.
Did you know that the average weight of a male Newfoundland ranges from 130 – 150 pounds, with a female weighing 100 – 120 pounds?