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The first Newfoundland to reach Australia arrived with the First Fleet, on the Scarborough – his name was Hector and he was owned by the ship's master, John Marshall. When the ship sailed for home again, the dog was left in Australia. When the Scarborough returned two years later with the Second Fleet, Hector is said to have swum out to meet the ship and welcome his master.

Newfoundlands have a very powerful water rescue instinct and were also used to rescue people and retrieve cargo lost overboard from ships – these dogs have well-developed webbing between their toes to assist in swimming.

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