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The Newfoundland is a breed of dog that has been around for at least the early 15th century. While some say the breed descends from mastiffs of the time, others claim the Newfoundland has the bloodline of the Viking bear dogs that go much further back to the 2nd century. A working breed, this massive dog is used in the water. They are suited to water fowl retrieval and even saving lives in the water thanks to their water resistant fur and webbed feet. These dogs were made to swim, and have been used in many daring rescues. Legend has it that it was a Newfoundland that rescued the French emperor Napoleon when he fell overboard.
Newfoundlands are almost always black and have a massive, shaggy appearance, almost bear-like in their sturdiness. This dog breed has both an undercoat and overcoat that protects it when swimming. Male Newfoundland dogs can reach up to 150 pounds in weight and 28 inches tall at the shoulder. Female dogs weigh slightly less, approximately 120 at their heaviest. Newfoundlands drool a lot because of their floppy jowls, but there is a purpose. The design of the lips and jowls helps the dog breathe even in treacherous water conditions. They have large legs and paws that allow them to swim powerfully much like a human doing the breaststroke. Because of the amount of fur on these dogs a Newfoundland must be frequently groomed.
When it comes to personality, Newfoundlands are extremely mellow dogs. They have a reputation of being intelligent and easy to train. They are also brave, and will jump in a stormy sea to save a life. The Newfoundland is a friendly breed, and does not usually snap at strangers if it is clear the owner knows them. Sometimes these dogs will block their owner or a child with their giant body as a means of protection from someone they don't know or another animal. As you can imagine, these dogs love playing in water and need lots of love and interaction.
Although the average life span of a Newfoundland is 10 years, some may live as long as 15. Some Newfoundlands may experience hip problems and heart disease, so your dog should be monitored for these conditions from puppyhood. While a Newfoundland can live indoors and even in an apartment, it is recommended they reside in a place with cool weather. Because of their thick dark coat, they can become easily overheated. All in all, Newfoundlands are useful, loyal, and loving companions.
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