The Newfoundland breed originated on the East Coast of Canada and are affectionately referred to as "Newfies" or "Newfs." The breed's ancestors were likely brought to Newfoundland during the 1400's by European sailors, although the exact lineage of the breed is highly debated. Many theorize that the European dogs were crossed with local dogs to establish the modern Newfoundland. Due to their exceptional swimming and water crossing skills, they have been called the "St. Bernard of the water" and were often used to pull fishnets and heavy equipment. Because of these skills, the breed was taken to Europe and put to use by fishermen. By the 18th century, the Newfoundland had established a reputation for itself as an accomplished all purpose water dog, lifeguard and draft animal. The Newfoundland Club was established in England over one hundred years ago and is one of the oldest breed clubs in that country. Most of the Newfoundlands in the United States and Canada are descendants of the dogs that were bred in England. The Newfoundland was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886.