Newfoundlands are a winter breed. Not only are they great for people who enjoy being outdoors in winter, they are great for getting families out in the cold weather. Sometimes it is just for the evening walk – but this alone will make the handler much healthier than the usual hibernation of a couch potato.
The next step up is allowing your Newf to go for a swim each day in the cold months. More and more people with Newfs are accepting the fact that their dog is a first cousin to the polar bear and swimming in ice water is a treat for them. One of the first people to do this in Southern Ontario was Lloyd Nelson of Whitby. The highlight of the day for his Newf, Napoleon, is the three o’clock swim in Lake Ontario. Other Newf owners in the area have gone down to the lake to see this, not believing their eyes. In fact, Napoleon enjoys this so much, Lloyd’s biggest problem is getting him out of the water; sometimes he attaches a long rope to Napoleon’s collar so he can haul him in.
A recent convert to walking the dog in winter coupled with a swim is Elaine Tsubouchi of Markham. She recently adopted a five year old male, Teddy, who automatically headed for the water when he was let loose in a local park. Her other Newf, Morgan, saw how much fun this was and joined in. Now swims have become part of the routine.
Of course, most of us with dog carts take our Newfoundlands carting all winter long. Last month, many of us participated in Santa Claus parades and showed our dogs off pulling carts and wagons and carrying back packs. We also decorated them with such things as antlers, Santa Claus hats, bibs and bells. And then there were the Christmas parties and the premier event of the season, the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada’s Christmas Tree Drag near Alliston, Ontario.
In Southern Ontario, there are still more winter events, usually dog cart rides at winter carnivals.
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.
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