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Newfoundland dogs have long been the subject of hoaxes. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s there were many fabricated newspaper reports about our breed. This was understandable as main stream journalism in that period was akin to tabloid journalism today and most people knew of the amazing abilities of the Newfoundland dog. For example, the story of Newfoundland dog Rigel saving a life boat full of survivors from the Titanic would have been possible with this breed but since there was no record of a Newf on board either the sinking vessel or the rescue ship, this had to be another made up story.

Nowadays we have journalistic integrity except for the tabloid press of course. However the internet being largely unregulated has provided a new environment for hoaxes and our breed is certainly not exempt.

One of the most recent such deceptions is the photo of a giant size Newf with the caption “this is a rare breed of Newfoundland, they were bred to hunt bears”.

While according to Snopes this is a real photograph, the perspective exaggerates the size of the Newf. As for the claim that they were bred to hunt bears, that is just plain silly.

Even sillier is a claim that Boomer at 36 inches is the tallest dog in the world. For a Newfoundland he is indeed tall but not in the same league as Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds who have reached 42 inches in height. The photo presented shows Boomer drinking from a kitchen faucet while on all fours and is impressive:

Sampson is supposed to be a cross between a Newfoundland father and a Great Dane mother and was presented as the tallest dog in the world. Perhaps he is but a Newfoundland is unlikely to add height in a combination with a Great Dane so this entry from England definitely doesn’t pass the smell test:

Speaking of England, their moors seem infected by monsters that may be Newfoundland dogs. Since 2007 there have been three monster beasts reported: the Beast of Dartmoor, the Beast of Buchshaw and the Beast of Hackney Marshes. It is speculated that the photos have been recycled. Here is one the pictures:

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.

Newf News

July/August 2013