The AKC describes the Newfoundland dog as “sweet, patient, and devoted.” Anyone that knows a Newfoundland would most likely agree. All the Newfoundland dogs that I have met have been very affectionate, kind, and fun to be around. Many of them are even great with young children, showing a wise and patient attitude when being with the younger members of the family. It is no surprise that the dog “Nana” in J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is a Newfoundland dog that adores the children.
The dog originates from the island of Newfoundland, a province near the eastern coast of North America. It was originally used as a sea dog who would retrieve fishing gear or even people who went adrift! I was once on a schooner of the coast of Maine that had 2 Newfoundland dogs; one that was older and basically retired from duty, while the other was young and in training. The young dog would jump off the boat to retrieve any item that it was asked, and it would also jump off the boat to pull in a human by the seat of their pants or their shirt! We watched this occur during a mock rescue that the boat captain did to entertain guests and show that if anyone should fall off the boat, the big, friendly dog would be hot on their heels to assist them.
Newfoundland dogs have a serious slobber factor (I say that with affection, not disgust!). Many owners I have known keep a towel handy to wipe their dog’s drool, or they leave a bandana on the dog that (sometimes) collects the drool instead of letting it fall on the floor. It is literally the “nature of the beast.” I have always felt that some dog breeds drool, so you should know what you are getting into before you buy or adopt one. My dog has some hound in him, so he is a drool factory at times. You have to take it with a sense of humor and, of course, some loving affection for our sometimes goofy companions! Newfoundland dogs also have a very thick coat that may require a lot of attention, especially if your dog spends most of its day inside. During the shedding seasons, that hair needs to go somewhere. It is much better to brush the dog outside instead of having the hair end up on the couch!