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The Newfoundland is the ultimate water dog – designed to swim in ice cold water, designed to swim underwater, designed to tow small boats, designed to catch fish and designed to swim in the roughest of water. This designer dog is just awesome to us humans who still have a long way to go to match the perfection of nature.

When you break down the Newf part by part (figuratively speaking, of course), there is nothing too marvellous to speak of – it is the assembly of all these simple things that makes the dog a work of true art and a major credit to Mother Nature. One of these parts is the eye.

In the 1880’s when the first standard for the breed was being developed in Britain, there was concern with ensuring the retention of the “projecting eyebrow” to protect the dog’s eyes when swimming in rough waters. This is now reflected in the breed standards of the UK (rather deeply set), the US (deep-set) and Canada (deep set).

Another simple but important characteristic for the eye of an animal swimming in high waves or underwater, is a tight eye. Again this is reflected in our modern day breed standards – UK (not showing haw), US (eyelids fit closely) and Canada (show no haw).

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

April 2001