The Newfoundland is a massive, strong, docile, gentle dog.  Nothing is more fun than to be "loved" by one.  As a guardian, companion, or working dog, he displays those qualities that make him loved the world over.

The Newfoundland’s impressive size, intelligence, and gentle disposition make him an excellent guardian for children.  He is particularly happy in this role, for it satisfies his unlimited capacity for devoted companionship.  His size and amiability render him immune to the unintended roughness of small children.  Babies tumble over and about him, secure in the knowledge that no snap or growl will mar their play.  When he becomes tired, he simply moves away, though his watchful eyes remain alert to their safety.  Should danger threaten: a busy highway, a deep pool, a suspicious stranger he is there, shielding his charges with his great strength, nudging them to safety.  Gentle though he is, such is his size that few strangers would dare to challenge his devotion.  
The ancient people dubbed the Newfoundland “the hero dog” because of its renowned and selfless feats of bravery.  The Newfy is also referred to as the “gentle giant” among dogs.  

The origin of the Newfoundland breed is very uncertain.  The American Kennel Club suggests that its ancestors are a combination of indigenous Indian dogs interbred with others such as the Great Pyrenees dogs.  
Another theory suggests that the Newfoundland evolved from the Tibetan Mastiff, and ancient breed that accompanied Asian warriors on their journey across the Asian continent, eventually entering North America at Newfoundland, Canada.  
A third theory suggests a cross-breeding between Mastiffs, Pyrenean Sheepdogs and Portuguese Water Dogs sometime during the 15th and 16th centuries.  In fact, these and other breeds are believed to have been used and cross-bred by the native Beothuk Indians to aid them with their fishing chores.  
A fourth widely accepted theory holds that the breed descended from what were known as Bear Dogs, large working dogs that were brought over to North American continent by Leif Erikson and the Vikings in 1000 AD.  Other accounts claim that when the Vikings visited Newfoundland during the second century, they witnessed the native fisherman working side-by-side with large black retrieving dogs.  Further speculation suggests that those dogs were eventually interbred and cross-bred with the native wolves.  

What ever the true beginnings, the actual history of the Newfoundland will forever remain a matter of conjecture, adding to the mystique and majesty that sounds this unique breed of dog.