Did you hear that the Newfoundland was recently proposed to be our state dog? These cute fluffy pooches have some competition for the title, however: the Border Collie and shelter dogs were also nominated. All three are wonderful options, so we’d be hard-pressed to name our favorite. That said, the Newfoundland is a great dog, and makes a terrific animal companion. A local Portland, OR vet discusses these adorable pups below.
The Newfoundland is a big dog with a really big heart. These lovable pups are known for their size, strength, and loyalty. They are natural swimmers, and even have webbed paws and water-resistant coats. In fact, the Newfoundland typically takes to water like a giant, furry, four-legged duck, and is often used for water rescues. They are classed as a mastiff, along with other huge dogs, such as the St. Bernard.
As one might suspect, the Newfoundland originated in Newfoundland. They are descended from an indigenous breed known as the St. John’s Dog, or the lesser Newfoundland. Although they most likely originated when Portuguese fishermen brought their mastiffs to the island in the 16th century, folklore connects the Newfoundland to even earlier explorers: the Vikings, and their black bear dogs. However, while there is no actual evidence that the Newfoundland is descended from Scandinavian dogs, these pups do have an interesting place in history. The famous explorers Lewis and Clark took a Newfoundland named Seaman with them when they explored America. There are also dozens, if not hundreds, of accounts of Newfoundlands saving lives by performing water rescues.
Newfoundlands are typically very calm and lovable. These gentle giants can make great family pets, and are extremely obedient, and can make great working dogs. However, because they do sometimes (often accidentally) knock small children over, just due to their size, they may not be the best match for a home with very young children.
Just like any other dog, Newfoundlands need a good diet, regular veterinary care, and suitable exercise to be healthy and happy. It is worth noting that, because of their size, they do have some specific needs. For instance, they do age quickly, and are somewhat prone to hip and joint issues. Ask your vet for specific care instructions.
Do you have questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your local Portland, OR animal clinic, today!