The Newfoundland's Origins and History Source: Wikipedia. Country/Region of Origin: Newfoundland, Canada Original purpose: working dog Name: nickname: "Newfie." Historical notes: Newfoundlands' origins are uncertain, though they have been used on Newfoundland centuries. Meriwether Lewis even brought a Newfoundland dog named "Seaman" on his expedition into the Louisiana Purchase territories. Nana in the original stage version of Peter Pan was a Newfie. The Newfoundland breed almost became extinct by the 1920s. Most of the Newfoundland dogs today can trace their ancestry to a single male dog, Siki.