The *Newfoundland dog* is a spaniel much employed on the southern coasts of our kingdom; and there appear to be two distinct breeds of them, one from Labrador, and another from St. John’s. The *Labrador dog* is very large, rough-haired, and carries his tail high. On his native spot, he is exceedingly useful by his immense strength in drawing sledges, &c. The *St. John’s breed* is that to be preferred by the sportsman on every account, being smaller, more easily managed, and sagacious in the extreme. His scenting powers also are great. Some years ago these dogs could be readily procured at Poole, and, when well broken in, were very valuable ; indeed, some gentlemen who purchased them have found them so intelligent, so faithful, and so capable of general instruction, that they have given up most other sporting varieties, and contented themselves with these ; and, as we are told, found the places of the others perfectly well filled up. This circumstance, however, we should observe, occurred in fenny and aquatic districts principally. *A genuine Newfoundland dog* of the true water-loving sort, and addicted, body and mind, to hunting wildfowl, is most valuable. We once knew such a one, the property of a gentleman of our acquaintance, who resided at Newhaven. We ourselves lived at that time at Seaford, but we visited Newhaven very frequently, and sometimes went along the sea wall, and in so doing we often fell in with this admirable zealot. Whenever it was likely that wildfowl would come inshore, and that consequently, gunners would go along the levels to intercept them, then she was sure to be found, waiting for and attending on them as long as they staid, fetching either out of the sea or the river, spite of ice or snow, any that were shot. She had been known to stay two entire days and nights, and, as was supposed, without food, waiting at the shore-side to assist any shooting parties that might go out; for at the time we allude to an intense frost of two or three weeks had frozen up every river and spring. Hers was indeed self-devotion, and she truly had a sporting mania. Many had offered to purchase her, and many more had attempted to steal her; but her master, although he shot little himself, was proud of his dog, and would not be bribed by money ; and no force, no artifice, could draw her farther from her home, than her knowledge of the locality, and her distance from Newhaven were known to her. Colonel Hawker also writes very interestingly, and very justly, on the properties of the Newfoundland dog, which he says are such, that he may be broken into any kind of shooting. The one we have just noticed, we would have almost wagered our existence, would, after a fortnight’s tutorage, have hunted partridges, pointed them steadily, and would then have waited for the bidding to fetch the dropped bird. As a retriever the Newfoundland dog is easily brought to do almost anything that is required of him, and he is so tractable likewise, that, with the least possible trouble, he may be safely taken among pointers to the field, with whose province he will not interfere, but will be overjoyed to be allowed to look up the wounded game, which he will do with a perseverance that no speed and no distance can slacken, nor any hedge-row baulk. In cover he is very useful: some indeed shoot woodcocks to a Newtoundlander ; and who never shines more than when he is returning with a woodcock, pheasant, or hare, in his mouth, which he yields up, or even puts into your hand unmutilated.
by Blaine, Delabere P. (Delabere Pritchett)
“An encyclopaedia of rural sports” 1840