The Newfoundland: facts about your Lab’s cousin

Narrated from: Dog Breeds

Today it is widely believed that the Newfoundland breed is closely related to the Labrador Retriever. Newfoundland dogs and Labrador Retrievers are direct descendants of a breed known as the St. John’s Water Dog, but Newfoundland dogs also have mastiff blood in their veins.

There are a lot of similarities between the two breeds, though mostly in character – both Labs and Newfoundland dogs love water, and they are famed for their courage and goodwill towards humans.

The Newfoundland, however, is an enormous dog – according to an urban legend a Newfoundland once surpassed a baby elephant in terms of weight! Well, regular Newfoundland dogs reach only about 60 to 70 kg (132 to 154 pounds), but the biggest Newfoundland ever weighed 120 kilograms (264 pounds) and was six feet long! That’s a world record.

Newfoundland dogs come mainly in dark colors – black, brown, grey and landseer (a special combination named after the famous artist Sir Edwin Landseer).

Newfoundland dogs are very courageous, but surprisingly they are not aggressive – actually, Newfoundland dogs are famed as rescue dogs. In this they resemble the St. Bernard, but instead of mountainous terrain they prefer the water.

If someone is drowning, then a Newfoundland dog would jump in to help – there is a long list of people saved by Newfoundland dogs, the most famous of them being none other than Napoleon Bonaparte.

However, a trained Newfoundland is also a very smart dog – at the beginning of the 20th century a Newfoundland saved 92 people who were on a ship sinking near the island of Newfoundland! But no dog could carry them all to shore one by one during the storm – so the dog retrieved a rope and swam to the shore, where other people were waiting to secure the rope!

It is widely believed that a Newfoundland dog would leap to the rescue even without proper training; still, these dogs are the main pupils in the famous Italian School of Canine Lifeguards, along with Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers of course.

So, if you are one of the lucky owners of a loyal Labrador, never allow the dog to invite some of his distant relatives for dinner; unless you enjoy being buried alive underneath 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of canine fondness!

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