Luath, the Barrie's Newfoundland and inspiration for Nana

Luath, the Barrie’s Newfoundland and model for Nana

The Newfoundland is the archetype nanny dog. Nana the Newfoundland in the story of Peter Pan was hired by Mr. Darling to be his children’s nanny. This is the origin of the concept “nanny dog” which we celebrate on this website. J.M. Barrie wrote the play Peter Pan which was first produced on stage in 1904, and based Nana on his and his wife Mary’s own Newfoundland named Luath. Mary once said, “Luath’s proper place was the nursery. How happy he would have been if there had been one, full of gloriously noisy children!”

A sea-faring dog originating in Newfoundland, the “Newfie” is believed to have descended from Great Pyrenees dogs brought across the Atlantic ocean by Basque fisherman where subsequently it was crossed with native husky dogs. It is important to remember that up until recently most people did not know how to swim, and therefore, the Newfoundland has been credited with saving hundreds of lives, rescuing people swept overboard or rescuing people after a ship wreck, even diving into deep water to save people.  These dogs are very large, and capable of carrying a drowning man ashore. But the Newfoundland’s true job is a working dog. They assisted fishermen with their heavy nets, and also pulled carts and carried burdens like a pack mule would, as well as powering the blacksmith’s bellows.

This 16-month-old Newfoundland weighs about 140lb.

This 16-month-old Newfoundland already weighs about 140 lbs.

The Newfoundland’s intimidating size makes him a wonderful guardian, though his gentle character has given him a sterling reputation as a children’s playmate and protector. He is unbothered by small tugging fingers and undertakes his duties as a nursemaid of his own accord without any training. The AKC official standard for the Newfoundland states, “The Newfoundland’s expression is soft and reflects the character of the breed: benevolent, intelligent, dignified, and of sweet disposition. The dog never looks or acts dull or ill-tempered.”

The Landseer is a coat color of Newfoundland, named after Edwin Henry Landseer who enjoyed painting this breed. Many of his paintings are available as prints further down the page.

According to an anonymous poem found on a grave of a Newfoundland dog who died in 1808, he:

  • Possessed beauty without vanity,
  • Strength without insolence,
  • Courage without ferocity,
  • And all the virtues of man without his vices.

 American Kennel Club Newfoundland page | Newfoundland Club of America, Inc.

Read more about Newfoundlands at Wikipedia

Learn more about Nana from Peter Pan at Wikipedia

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Newfoundland Dog Fireman’s Dog Postcard
Buy item #7917 for $50.00 from http://www.antiquepooch.com/

The famous painting ‘Saved’ as a vintage post card.
Buy item #8071 for $15.00 from http://www.antiquepooch.com/

 

 

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The Darling Family, Illustration from Peter Pan
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Peter Pan, Michael Rides Nana
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Two Newfoundlands
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Neptune, the Property of William Ellis Gosling, Esq., 1824
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