"Is that a bear?" No, that’s a Newfoundland! - 5 things to know about this great Canadian breed
Often when seen for the first time, one may think they’re looking at a bear!However this amazing dog’s gentle, protective, devoted nature will quickly cause you to drop your guard.The Newfoundland is a giant, strong, loyal dog from the working class with an incredible history. Here are 5 things you want to know about this great Canadian breed.
1. A Newfoundland’s strength
Capable of heavy work both on land and in the water, the Newfoundland is a strong swimmer with it’s webbed paws and muscular body. Instead of using a doggie paddle, like most dogs, the Newfoundland uses a breaststroke giving him more power and drive in the water.There are numerous stories of Newfoundlands rescuing people from the water when they are struggling.Historically Newfoundlands were known to save people from shipwrecks!This dog is so attune to people, that it knows how to respond to a person in the water. If an individual is responsive, the dog allows them to grab onto them and be towed to safety. If he is not responsive, the dog instinctively grips the person by the arm so that his body rolls on its back and the head is out of the water.Amazing!
2. Canada’s favourite babysitter
The Newfoundland has often been referred to as the “nanny dog” due to its sweet disposition around children and his devotion to his family. They are well known for their gentle nature, and their special affinity with children.In fact, during Victorian times affluent people would buy a newfie as a sort of “nanny dog”, to protect their children. Who doesn’t remember “Nana”, the dog in the original Peter Pan?This gentle giant was based upon a Landseer Newfoundland named Luath, belonging to the author, J.M. Barrie.
3. How to groom your Newfoundland pup
Comb a part of the puppy’s body every day, even if it’s only one leg. This is done with two grooming implements: the comb for you and another implement for the puppy to hold in its mouth. Get him used to being handled all over the body now while he is little. Bathe the pup often and expect to get wet while you cuddle him during the bath. Don’t do his head until the very end. It’s safe to put shampoo inside the ears during the bath, but don’t rinse inside.Instead use a damp towel. Towel dry him as it takes some time to get used to the blow dryer. Once he is an adult grooming twice a week, and bathing once every three weeks, is sufficient.
4. A Newfoundland workout
These dogs need very little exercise, especially when they are growing. This is not the dog to take running with you. They are quite happy to sleep all day, however letting them is very unhealthy. These dogs need socialization, and early socialization is a must. This breed loves other dogs, given they have been introduced early.People with Newfies rarely have just one.Reason being, this dog especially loves playing with dogs his own size.
5. A Canadian hero
In 1941, a famous Newfoundland named Gander was the mascot of Quebec City’s Royal Rifles of Canada. His official name was Regimental Mascot Sgt. Gander. Gander and the Rifles covered many miles and ultimately ended at the battle of Lye Mun on Hong Kong Island. During his time as their mascot, Gander provided incomparable value many times, but his last heroic act would cost him his life. When a grenade was thrown towards a group of soldiers, commanded by Captain Gavey. The soldiers were unable to avoid the grenade due to intense shooting from the Japanese. Gander ran to it, took the grenade in his mouth and sped away from his men. The explosion killed Gander, but the men he served were saved by their loyal Newfoundland mascot. This last act of heroism has been memorialized by awarding Gander the Dickin Medal for “acts of conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in wartime.”
This heroic dog’s name was listed with those of 1975 men and two women on the Hong Kong Veterans Memorial Wall in Ottawa, at the insistence of survivors of the battle.On July 23, 2015, statues of Gander and his handler were unveiled at Gander Heritage Memorial Park in Gander, Newfoundland.