Meet Lily!

February 8, 2011
Author: Karen Jean Matsko Hood

Great news! We just received a new member to our household on February 6th. Her name is Lily and she is a Newfoundland Landseer with black and white markings. She is 8 weeks old and such a cutie and so sweet.  At 6 weeks she was 14 pounds, and upon arrival here she weighed in at 21 pounds on our scale. She’s growing fast!

I have wanted a Newfoundland ever since I read about Lewis and Clark as a girl growing up in Montana. They had wonderful stories about their Newfoundland, Seaman, who accompanied them on their travels across the country. Seaman was invaluable to them on their journey, and Lewis mentions several times in his journals that this loyal dog was able to scare off some buffalo and even a bear, saving the explorers from dangerous situations.

Newfoundlands are an ancient, hearty breed of working dog with a long and proud history. Vikings who visited Newfoundland Island in 1000 AD wrote about seeing strong water dogs  working with the native people. Today’s Newfoundlands are descended from these dogs and the mastiffs that were brought to the island in the 16th century by Portuguese fishermen. The Newfoundlands were used to haul fishing nets and retrieve objects or people who fell into the water.

A typical Newfoundland weighs between 100-150 lbs, and some have been known to exceed 200 lbs. The largest Newfoundland on record was 260 lbs and measured 6 ft long from nose to tail. They are powerful animals uniquely designed for swimming in rough ocean waters. Their oily double coat is thick and waterproof, keeping them warm and dry for hours in cold northern seas. They have webbed feet that enable them to swim with a powerful breast stroke, rather than the dog paddle used by other breeds, and their large lung capacity gives them the ability to swim great distances through strong currents and choppy waves. There are many instances in which Newfoundlands have saved people from drowning, and these are fascinating and inspiring stories. One Newfoundland saved 60 shipwrecked sailors alone, and another is believed to have rescued Napoleon when he fell overboard during his escape from the island of Elba.

Today, Newfoundlands are known as gentle giants, a beloved breed of calm, loyal animals that are equally good as caretakers and watchdogs. They are caring by nature, and are exceptionally well-behaved and nurturing around children and other animals. Easily trainable, devoted, and hardworking, the Newfoundland remains a popular pet to this day.

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