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Forty-seven years ago, Canada took on a new status with respect to the Newfoundland dog. In 1949, Canada joined Newfoundland and, in so doing, became the country of origin of the Newfoundland dog.

The international community did not seem to take full cognizance of this new honour for Canada until just recently. References to the Newfoundland in foreign publications often referred to the dog’s origin as simply the island of Newfoundland or, more generally, as the north east part of the North American Continent.

Now, all of a sudden, the Canadian Kennel Club and the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada, are being inundated with correspondence recognizing Canada as the country of origin. However, almost in the same breath, these letters are requesting that we change our breed standard to add another colour variation, brown.

The CKC consulted the national Newf Club and we informed them that such a change would not be considered. This is not an arbitrary act on our part; it is based on a very real and deep respect for the democratically elected government of the Province of Newfoundland.

The Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada has on file a copy of a letter sent to the Club’s President from the Premier of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It makes it clear that they do not want us to tamper with the tradition of their official animal emblem with respect to its colour. The text of the letter is as follows:

October 4, 1972

Mrs. Joyce MacKenzie
Newfoundland Club of Canada
Oxford Station, Ontario

Dear Mrs. MacKenzie:

I have been informed today that movements are afoot to tamper with the official standard of the Newfoundland Dog, which is the official animal emblem of the Province of Newfoundland.

The Government of Newfoundland is adamant, indeed totally opposed, to any changes in the standard that would depict our dog as anything other than the traditional black or parti-coloured landseer.

My Government is therefore very much against any innovations relating to our native dog, and accordingly we have this day passed an Order-in-Council which gives force to our convictions and supports our view on this matter. A copy of the Order is attached.

Yours sincerely,

Frank D. Moores

The Order-in-Council that was passed on that historic day reads:

Ordered that the Newfoundland Dog be and it is hereby des­ig­nated as the official “Animal Emblem” of the Province of Newfound­land. Ordered further that the Stand­ard set forth in the Sched­ule hereto shall apply to the New­found­land Dog for the pur­pose of this Order.

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

September 1996