ORCADIA-L ArchivesArchiver > ORCADIA > 2003-12 > 1071499355
From: stephen davie <>
Subject: Re: [<orcadia>]
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 09:45:49 -0500
The name Landseer, and it pertains to Newfoundland dogs, was not ever a
derivative of "Landsheer" or of any sheepdog.
Skeletons of giant dogs have been found in Newfoundland since the fifth
century. Best information is that the dogs were originally Viking in
origin. When Leif Erikson discovered North America, aboard his boat he
had a large black dog resembling a Newfoundland, called "Oolum."
As recent as the 19 century, Norwegians used Newfoundland-like dogs for
wolf and bear hunting.
It is possible if not probable when you look at a Landseer
Newfoundland (black and white), that some Great Pyrenees were bred to
Newfoundland dogs by the Basque folks who routinely sailed from their
homeland in northern Spain, to Newfoundland for fish. They had their
big white pooches in tow, it seems, on these trips, some of which trips
of course were recorded assumedly by the sea captains. These Spanish
sailor dogs made friends in Newfoundland, and had puppies.
A good latter-day report on the Newfoundland dog, was the Newfoundland
journal of Aaron Thomas, 1794, which was a diary kept by able seaman
Thomas during his voyage to Newfoundland from England, returning home
to England in 1795 notes in hand.
As to the Landseer name and origin, it is exclusively British, and
proudly so. Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-1873) was and is still one of the
pre-eminent masters of paintings of animals. He became world famous for
his works, was knighted in 1850 and also received a gold medal in Paris
in 1855 for his splendid work. The Landseer Newfoundland was proudly
named so, after a famous painting of Sir Edwin Landseer called " A
Distinguished Member of the Humane Society." If you punch up any
Newfoundland site, you can see this incomparable painting of a
loveable large black and white Newfoundland dog.
Back to the Orkney topic, while a crude but enthusiastic amateur
student of Orkney history, I have read and believe that dog bones were
found in elaborate stone manmade cave-like structures, carefully
excavated by the scientists of the day. I was wondering simply if there
was any data from these archaeologists and scientists examining the
findings, as to the probable size and structure of these dogs, and if
there was similarities that were somewhat commonplace like big leg
bones and big skulls.
The active Viking connection between Iceland and Orkney was such that
one might conclude that dogs travelled back and forth with the people,
as expressed herein with Leif Erikson's dog. Newfoundlands are
physically, by their structure and nature, a water dog, and their
history of involvement with water and people in and around water,
further confirms what has been concluded from research, that is that
they are of Viking descent, a thousand years ago at least.
At 175 pounds, our Landseer family member Logan, was physically trim
and fit, fast, an incredible swimmer who would routinely hold his head
under water looking for things, and there was even a thought that he
had a Norwegian accent. He was no sheepdog--never. And there is no
question whatsoever that he was named after a man knighted for painting
a picture of one of his ancestors.
Maybe someone in Orkney knows about those ancient Viking dogs. It would
have made sense for people to have these dogs for niightlong vigil,
watching over a sleeping family in the days of the Saga, when out of
the blue in the dark of night, someone or some group could arrive,
blades in hand, intent on settling some current-day score by burning
the house after killing the sleeping occupants. The dogs would make
this stealthy task more of a challenge. They also would protect the
children, and would pull them from the water, if indeed we are talking
about the same breed, which I think we are. In Newfoundland and perhaps
in Orkney, they were used to draw fuel wood which was often miles from
shore encampments in difficult terrain.
Darn sure Leif Erikson's dog wasn't a fabrication. That's where the
breed came from originally, according to the dog experts.
On Sunday, December 14, 2003, at 06:31 PM, Wolfgang Schlick wrote:
>>>>> He was a gentle giant, an Newfoundland, in fact a Landseer
> 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, ...
> Sorry, but that's "a bit confusing" ... it's just "speculations" to
> keep the
> prices high ...
> a Landseer (or Landsheer) has nothing to do with a mastiff ...
> the mastiff has nothing to do with the Basque or the (pure white)
> (sheepdog) ...
> A Landseer (Landsheer) is a sheepdog from the northern parts of Sweden
> (possibly) an ancestor of the Newfoundland ...
> ... and with his 175 pounds he seems to be a "light heavy weight
> My dearest friend "Floh" (flee) showed 97 vital kilogramms yesterday
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