Newfoundland, breed of massive, powerful working dog developed in Newfoundland, probably in the 17th cent., and later perfected in England. It stands from 25 to 28 in. (63.5–71.1 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 110 to 150 lb (49.9–68.1 kg). Its dense, flat-lying coat is coarse and rather oily and is usually a dull jet black in color. The Landseer type of Newfoundland is one in which the color is other than solid black, the most frequent being black with white markings. The precise origin of the Newfoundland is obscure, but the most convincing evidence points to the crossbreeding of arctic and other dogs native to Newfoundland with the ship dogs of European fishermen. Specimens of the resulting breed, similar to the modern variety but smaller, were then brought to England, where their size and appearance were refined. The Newfoundland is an excellent water dog and has been used to rescue drowning people. It also has been a popular draft animal, particularly on its native island. Today it is raised for show competition and as a family companion, being especially gentle with children. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.