About 200 years ago these big, white and black dogs were spotted on the island Newfoundland by European fishermen. Because of their appealing appearance these giants were brought to England. The 'dogs of Newfoundland' were present on the island in great numbers and helped the fishermen by towing nets out the water to the mainland. They also helped to bring people who threatened to drown, to safety. It is believed that around 1770 these dogs have been exported to England in great numbers. However, these dogs were seen and reported much earlier. It is known that there is a painting of a boy, named Henry Sidney the later "Earl of Romney", with his white and black 'dog of Newfoundland'. The first written reports of 'the dog of Newfoundland' are from 1732 by a "Person of Quality" in the book "The Gentlemen farrier". This is followed by "An History of the Earth and Animated Nature" dated 1774 written by Oliver Goldsmith. This is a very extensive and impressing description of 'the dog of Newfoundland'. In 1778 the 'dog of Newfoundland' is first reported on our continent by E.A. Zimmerman. In 1790 Thomas Bewick's famous work follows: "A General History of Quadrupeds". His work contains a picture (drawing) of the dog.
From that moment until about 1880 there are at least 60 books known to us and a large number of paintings that include the large white and black dogs. The most famous painting ever is "A Distinguished Member of Humane Society" painted by the famous animal painter Sir Edwin Landseer in 1838. Because Sir Edwin Landseer always painted these large white and black dogs these dogs where referred to as "Landseer-dogs". This explains how the Landseer got his name.
In England these dogs were crossed with the black Newfoundland regularly and it was soon a fact that there were more differences between these 2 dogs than just their colour. Gradually it became clear that the white and black dogs were much higher and more active than the black variety. One could clearly see the differences. The first pure Landseer litter was probably born in Holland in 1893. However, these dogs were crossed with the black Newfoundland. The second Landseer litter was born in Switzerland in 1902 and this litter may be considered to be the revival of the Landseer on the European mainland. Altogether it took until 1960 before the Landseer E.C.T. was considered a separate breed. It is now protected under number 226 of the F.C.I. Landseer-Newfoundlands have usually more black on their body and blacker heads. The name 'Landseer-Newfoundland' is mostly used to indicate the colour of the Newfoundland. This is not the same as Landseer E.C.T. Besides the colour, the characters are also different: a Landseer E.C.T. is much more active and remains active till his last day. The Newfoundland is usually somewhat calmer.
On one side of the pedestal supporting the antique urn Lord Byron had inscribed:
Near this spot
Are deposited the remains of one
That possessed beauty without vanity
Strength without insolence
Courage without ferocity
And all the virtues of man without his vices
praise which would be unmeaning
Flattery if inscribed over human ashes
Is but a just tribute to the memory of
BOATSWAIN, a dog
Who was born at Newfoundland, may 1803,
And died at Newstead, november 18, 1808