- Hello....I am Martin Magorrian and I live near Ardglass,
County Down, in Northern Ireland. My wife, Mary and I have really only one
interest in life - our two Newfoundland dogs: Thor (brown) and Leo (black).
We've been owned by Newfies since 1976. The
following is a brief description of the Newfs we have
owned over those years. Click on each dogs name to see
thumbnail pictures of that dog, then click on the thumbnails
to see the full-sized pictures.
- Nero was our very first Newfie. He was such a wonderful
character and confirmed everthing we had read about the
breed. We knew nothing of the Newfoundland Club nor
working groups during his lifetime so we did only normal
pet activities with him but he didn't mind at all and
repaid our love a thousand times over. He did swim as
often as we would take him to a suitable place and
enjoyed himself thoroughly. On one occassion we showed
him at a small local dog show. He got a second place in
the working breeds class and then got a first out of 21
dogs in the “Dog never to win a first place”
class. We were so proud of him.
- We got this Nero as a present for my father who was
eighty-two at the time and decided to call him Nero after
our Nero. Funnily enough, whenever Dad and Nero came to
visit us, there was never any confusion between the two
Newfs as to which Nero was being spoken to. My father
lived in the centre of a town called Downpatrick in
Northern Ireland. Until three weeks before he died at 87,
Dad used to take Nero to the local river to swim. For
someone who trained his dog to work from the bank, Dad
did very well. He had nero taught to swim out, turn left
or right and return to the bank on command. When Dad died
in December 1989 we brought Nero back, after the funeral,
to be with us in England where we used to live. It took
at least three months before he seemed
to cheer up and accept that his old master wasn't coming
back for him.
- The following August we took Nero to the Newfoundland
Clubs' Water Trials held at Ragley Hall. We entered him
for the Beginners Water Trials. Much to our surprise, he
won! Bearing in mind that this was the first time Nero
had been in water since before Dad died, I think that
this speaks volumes for the Newfoundland ability. He must
have remembered all the training Dad had done with him
PLUS used his own natural instincts to do so well.
- Nero used to think he was a submarine. He LOVED to
retrieve large stones about the size of half a house brick
from under the water. He thought nothing of spending a
minute and a half or more with his head under water
looking for either a suitable stone or one which has been
thrown in for him. He had such a strong instinct for
waterwork that even two weeks before he died, he
still insisted on bringing to shore two of us who were
just swimming about for relaxation. Even on the Sunday
before he died, he was still swimming and retrieving so
at least he was enjoying himself near enough right up to
- As you may have guessed, we were really very proud of
Nero, both for his abilities and for still being so fit
right up to a ripe old age. Every now and then, almost
right up to the end of his time, he used to get that
glint in his eye and started to wind up either the other
two Newfs or us - purely for fun - HIS fun that was!!!!
- Merlin was never
really interested in serious water work, just wanting to
swim around as he liked until he'd had enough. However,
put him in a cart and he thought he was the king of the
castle. He took to the cart like a ... well Newfie to
water really, I suppose.
- In 1993, Merlin and I took part in a carting
demonstration which the Newfoundland Club put on at
Crufts. The working group we belonged to, South Eastern
Working Newfoundlands did a display of decorated carts
for this whilst another working group, Horsham Active
Newfoundlands Group did a Newfie Carting obstacle race.
- Merlin was quite a small Newf, but to us his character
was bigger than lots of other Newfs we've met. When he left us,
he left a very big gap in our lives.
- Hagar was our first rehome. We got him on
Saturday 9th of November 1996, aged 2 and a half years.
He came from a lady whose marriage had broken up and who
reckoned she couldn't handle him. He's yet another BROWN.
He has settled in really well although it took him some
time to build up a bit more self-confidence to be able to
handle the others playing about. After he did, we had trouble
trying to stop him from playing too much with the other
- He was somewhat different from most other Newfs in that
he was not at all keen to swim. He didn't mind going into
the water up to chest height but anything further than
that was under exceptional circumstances which distracted
his thought train so that he forgot he was swimming. For
example, one time Mary and I were out in the boat working
with Lercio the next thing we knew, there was Hagar at
the side of the boat. As soon as we spoke to him, he
realised what he was doing, a look of alarm crossed his
face and he headed back to shore as fast as I have ever
seen a Newf swim!!! That was the worst bit - he was actually
a very strong swimmer when he did swim.
- That's Lercio up there at the top having his very first
go in a cart at 16 months. He loved both carting and
water work. He passed all the UK water tests from 'A'
to 'E'. I am somewhat unhappy with the Newfoundland
carting tests here so I resisted putting him in for
anything other than level 1, which he passed. However, he
was out almost every other weekend doing either water or
carting demonstrations so he got plenty of practice.
- I don't know what was so special about Lercio, but everyone
seemed to fall head over heels in love with him. I have to
admit that although I try not to have any favourites
between them, Lercio did have a slight edge again for
some reason I can't explain. He seemed to shine out
everywhere except in the show ring. If we could have just found
some judges who thought as highly of him as both the
general public and our Newfy friends do then we'd have had a
champion for sure. Still, like all our other Newfs, we
got him because we love Newfs, not to excel above other
- Echo came from the same
breeder as Lercio on Saturday the 6th of Dec
'97 aged 7&1/2 weeks. He grew into the largest Newf we've
ever had. He tackled everything with unbounded enthusiasm which sometimes
made him a bit of a handful to control. However, we wouldn't have changed him
for the world because he was so loving and good natured.
- As time progressed, Echo started to calm down, so we managed
to get him through Water Tests Levels 'A' and 'B'. He also loved
his carting work. As soon as we'd get his carting harness out, he would go mad
with excitement. Given the chance, he'd pull his cart all day long, providing
there's no water about to swim in.
- Monty came to us when he was nearly 2 years old. He was bred by the same lady as Lercio and Echo.
His previous owner was expecting a baby and thought that after the baby was
born she wouldn't have enough time to give him all the love he wanted, so
asked us if we would have him. He was an extremely loving dog and was the only
one who slept in our bedroom for the whole night. The others wander in and
out throughout the night. He hooked on to me as soon as he arrived and for
at least the first six months, he would miss his breakfast rather than leave
me upstairs if I didn't get out of bed early enough. Once he'd settled in
completely, he'd very happily play with all the rest of the guys and
didn't need my constant attention, although he still wouldn't go up to the
bedroom unless I was going as well.
- He wasn't too keen on swimming, although he got better as time went on and he
followed me in with no encouragement. He really loved sitting in the boat
and jumping out of it when it got close to shore. Now carting was a different
story - he took to that like he was born to it. Put him in harness and
between the shafts of a cart and he was as happy as the day is long.
- Piglet came to us
on the 19th August 2001. We were only supposed to be looking after him for a month and then
he would be flying out to America to live with his previous owner who had gone
there to live. However, by the end of August, both we and his previous owner
had agreed that the journey was to much to put a nearly 8 year old Newf
through so here he stayed and became another member of our family.
- He both swam and carted but in moderation. After all, he was an elderly
statesman, well at least when it suited him, other times he acted like a
juvenile delinquent trying his best to get someone to play with him.
- We got Thor just 3 days after Hagar died. We had hoped to get him before Hagar went
because Hagar loved pups so much we thought he would have some fun with Thor in his final
days but it wasn't to be.
- Thor seemed to take on the role of Lercio's understudy. He has adopted a lot of Lercio's
ways and was Lercio's shadow while Lercio was alive.
- Strangely, after Lercio died, while we were burying Lercio Thor howled and barked from
the moment we started to fill in the grave until the moment we stopped even though he in
was the dogrun and couldn't see what we were doing.
- He's also shaping up nicely in terms of water work and carting so we're hoping he'll
follow Lercio in that way too.
- Thor’s claim to fame is that he’s “Benson”, the brown Newfoundland, in the “Butcher's Superior” dog food advert which ran in the UK in October and November of 2008 and his picture is on the 1200g tins of it.
The advert can be seen on the Butcher's website at
- We got Leo on Tuesday the 8th August 2006 at just over a year old.
He's yet another rehome. When he came to us he'd been so overfed by his previous owners that
he couldn't walk for much more than 10 minutes before his legs gave way. We've been
"really cruel" to him (as he sees it) by cutting back a lot on his food and got
a lot of weight off him to the point where he thinks nothing of going for a 2 hour
walk and prefers to run everywhere rather than walk.
- He loves swimming and has done a certain amount of carting. the only thing which
holds him back is that he is a real coward. he has to be physically lifted into any new
water so his front feet are covered before he'll believe it's ok to swim in. If
we don't go through this ritual "toe wetting" then there is no way he will
go for a swim. Once he is in swimming, then he really enjoys himself and just loves
to swim with us.
- One of his favourite tricks when he comes home after a walk is to go out into
the dogrun and dunk his head in the water bucket until the water reached to his ears
and then come into the house to share the water around.