The Newfoundland, like many other versatile and intelligent working breeds, has worn many hats throughout its history. They are known foremost as water dogs and are highly valued for their water rescue abilities. They are strong swimmers and their thick coats protects them from frigid water. In the past they were trained to pull nets for fisherman, used as cart dogs to haul wood and other heavy necessities, and even to power blacksmith’s bellows. It is generally agreed that the Newfoundland’s ancestors were brought over from Europe by fisherman and they may be descended from the Great Pyrenees. Their sweet disposition and docile demeanor makes them a good family dog but they do require daily exercise and frequent brushing of their plush coat. They take very well to obedience training and other canine activities such as conformation, tracking, agility, draft and water tests, and carting.