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This month I have some Newfoundland dog trivia for you:

  • On November 24, 1999, the Stubler painting of a Newf sold in London, England for 2,050,000 Pounds (about US $3.5 million).
  • In 1793 the first dog to visit London, Ontario was a Newfoundland named Jack owned by Governor John Graves Simcoe. Unfortunately Jack had a bad time as he met with a porcupine.
  • Early accounts of the Newfoundland dog in his native island indicated they lived 13 to 15 years. A 1994 report by the Health and Longevity Committee of the Newfoundland Club of America found that the overall average lifespan of a Newf nowadays was six years; dogs surviving to two years of age had their average increased to 9.5 years. Oldest documented lifespan of a Newfie was that of Henry who died on July 21, 1998 at the age of 17 years, seven months and 15 days. He belonged to Joanne Seabloom who lives in northern British Columbia.
  • In the early history of the Newf, it was also recorded that these hardy beasts worked until 13 years of age. On May 11, 2002, a Newfie dog named Big Mac competed successfully in a Carting Class at the Canadian National Specialty just a couple of months shy of his 13th birthday.
  • A Newfoundland was once First Dog in the United States. Jesse, son of Ulysses S. Grant who served as President from 1869 to 1877, had a Newf named Faithful. It is said that the President issued an ultimatum to the White House staff that if any harm befell the dog, they would all be dismissed. Now that’s an executive order!
  • Many sources claim that when the feet of a Newfoundland are first formed in the uterus, the webbing is present and that this feature is unique to Newfies.
  • In 1732 England the Newfoundland dog, under the name of “the Bear Dog”, was described as being in use as a guard dog.
  • The movie, Must Love Dogs, which came out this past summer, was based on a novel by the same name. In the novel there was Saint Bernard named Mother Teresa but in the movie Director Gary Goldberg changed the breed to a Newfoundland. The role was played by two eight month old pups, Molly and Mabel, who were subsequently adopted by Mr. Goldberg.

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

October 2005