ORCADIA-L ArchivesArchiver > ORCADIA > 2003-12 > 1071420227
From: stephen davie <>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 11:46:46 -0500
Dogs of Orkney:
We lost our dog in a freak accident a couple of years ago, and come
springtime we hope to get another.
He was a gentle giant, an Newfoundland, in fact a Landseer
Newfoundland, a black and white fellow named Major Logan (aka Logie),
from the Robbie Burns poem. He weighed 175 pounds.
In the books relating to this breed there is speculation that it came
originally from mainland Europe from the mastiff breed, or from Basque
region of Spain, a cross from the pyranees breed. There is evidence
that somewhere along the way the breed was mixed up with wolves on
Newfoundland, our Island province. But he was a Viking, most say.
Fascinating it is to discover that there seems to be proof handed down
through history, that the original breed arrived here a thousand years
ago with the Vikings, first to arrive from Europe notwithstanding all
the noise abut the Italian fellow, Christopher Columbus. (I think he
was merely delivering pizza to the Vikings).
This breed of dog is ideally suited to a cold island terrain. Over the
years they have developed an instinctive urge to pull people from the
water. And countless records of their courage are expressed wherever
they are discussed. In particular, a dog named Gander, from whence he
came, was posthumously decorated by the government for in world war
two, Japanese theater, picking up a ticking grenade thrown amongst his
friends, only to die a sudden death as he scooted off with the bomb in
his mouth to dispose of it, in order to protect his friends engaged in
the heat of the battle.
In Orkney, is there any evidence of big dogs or a breed like Newfies
that have been established over time on those islands? All the dog
bones that archaeologists dig up seemed to get a rather royal burial in
many cases in Orkney of old. I have read when these ancient imbedded
stone caverns are opened, that dog bones were interred there, evidently
with more dignity than any other critter. Was there any examination of
these old bones to determine what size of dog they were? Any idea of
the breed? Was there any similarity in size or skull design and
After all the speculation, the Newfie gets the most votes as an
original Viking family member, who endured on Newfoundland and
Labrador, and thereafter interbred with whatever canines settlers
brought over a few hundred years, from Scotland, Ireland England and
France to Newfoundland. Most believe truly he is t probably a Viking,
being water adapted and devoutly faithful and protective of children.
I would be interested in knowing if there is one dog breed that is
historically significant in Orkney, before the islands were officially
handed over to the Scots. It was said that Iceland would be where the
dogs originated from. The ties between Iceland and Orkney being what
they were a thousand years ago, it makes me wonder more about dogs in
Stephen and Elaine ( missing Logie terribly)
|[<orcadia>] by stephen davie <>|