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“It’s not the cost of the dog, it’s the accessories that will cost you.” Ever since I have been involved in Newfoundland dogs, I have heard this phrase or some variant of it. Initially this meant that I bought up every conceivable type of novelty item so that there are now pictures of Newfs on just about everything in my house from the kitchen clock to the mugs and glasses in my cupboards.

As you get more into Newfs and debt, you discover that this breed was particularly popular in the Victorian era and there are many antiques to be collected. Fortunately you don’t have to take out a second mortgage on your house to be able to afford them. Should you go through dealers, it can be somewhat expensive, but if you like to peruse flea markets and antique shops, you will often find a real bargain. In my opinion, the many statuettes of the Newfs are the most interesting to collect. Right now I am focussing on two sub categories, the Newfie banks and the nutcrackers.

Back in the mid seventies, everyone with Newfs seemed to have a brass Newfie coin bank. This was a standing Newf with a box strapped to its back; the coin slot was at the top of the box. Because they were so common, I assume that they were modern reproductions. People were donating them for penny raffles and the like as they were taken for granted. My wife and I gave ours to our son as we too did not appreciate its significance. A couple of years ago, I won a cast iron statuette painted as a Landseer in the penny raffle at the National Specialty. Upon closer examination I discovered that it was also a bank but without the box. This got me hooked and ever since I have been searching for Newfie banks at every flea market and antique shop, the junkier the better. The most interesting find since has been a cast aluminum version of the traditional Newfie bank with the box.

In searching for Newf banks, I also discovered that there are many variations of the Newfie nutcracker as well. You can get modern reproductions, some of which are old enough to soon be antiques themselves, and all sorts of variations in size and materials. Prices at flea markets in Southern Ontario are still quite reasonable at about $60.00 or so for a genuine antique version. In the States you can easily spend hundreds of US dollars for the same item. All of them operate by having the tail as a handle which moves the lower jaw to crack the nuts.

Peter Maniate has been writing columns for the Newf News, the magazine of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada, since 1979.  In 1996 he started writing a Newfoundland dog column in the Breedlines section of Dogs in Canada magazine on behalf of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada.  When Dogs in Canada ceased publication at the end of 2011 he continued the Breedlines column in the Newf Newfs.

Permission is granted for re-publication of the preceding article or excerpts from it as long as the author is credited and the name of the original publication and date of first publication is included.

Dogs in Canada

July 2003