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A gentleman who recently emigrated to Canada from the Netherlands visited my kennels and then sent me an e-mail in which the following excerpt caught my eye: “…There are white/black Newfoundlands and white/black Landseer dogs. If your puppies are of original Newf bloodlines, that white/black puppy is not a Landseer, but a white/black Newfoundland…”

Naively I had thought that about five years ago when the whole issue of the European Continental Type Landseer exploded in the U.S. and to a lesser extent, here in Canada, the matter was settled once and for all. However I forgot that the global village applies to dogs as well as everything else.

This new breed, usually referred to as the ECT Landseer, according to one version, got started in 1918, with the cross breeding of a Kuvasz and a white & black Newfoundland. However, The International Encyclopedia of Dogs by Anne Rogers Clark & Andrew H. Brace, Howell, 1995 claims: “The Landseer was developed in Germany and Switzerland. During the 1930’s, breeders in these countries started a breeding program by crossing black-and-white Newfoundlands with Pyrenean Mountain Dogs.”

Whatever the actual origin, the goal apparently was to produce or retain the white and black dog that Sir Edwin Landseer had painted in England in the first part of the 19th century. It was most unfortunate that the name chosen for this new breed was the traditional name given to white and black Newfs. However the international governing body for dogs, the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized the new breed in 1960 with the name Landseer.

Now, in countries not affiliated with the FCI, such as Canada, the U.S. and the UK, the white and black Newf is still referred to as a Landseer; everywhere else, it is a white and black Newfoundland.

There are many claims that ECT Landseers have been registered as Newfs in the U.S. and possibly in Canada and some even go so far as to claim that most Newfs today are related to the founding cross-breedings of the ECT Landseer. The probability is that at least some of the genes snuck in to our Newfoundland breeding programs, but certainly not enough to adversely affect our breed. To close the door on any further incursions, the Newfoundland Club of America alerted the American Kennel Club and the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada advised the Canadian Kennel Club. Assurances were received from both national registering bodies. However, until there is unanimous international agreement, confusion is bound to remain.

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

June 2002