Are Newfoundlands Good Guard Dogs (Protective Or Lap Dog?)

  • By: Justin
  • Date: February 1, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Big and fluffy! Newfoundlands are great at stealing the spotlight with their cuteness.

It’s no surprise that Newfoundlands have won over the hearts of many, including my own.

I have done a lot of research about these beautiful breeds. And found some popular questions that I will answer for you today. 

In this article, I will fully answer the question, are Newfoundlands good guards?

I’ll also discuss their traits, temperament, qualities, what they are suitable for, and some downsides of having one in your home.

Are Newfoundlands Good Guard Dogs

Are Newfoundlands Good Guard Dogs

No, Newfoundlands are not good guard dogs, but they make good watchdogs due to their inherent alertness. Newfoundlands are great for alerting their owners if they sense any threat that is around. According to the AKC, Newfoundland has scored a perfect five out of 5 on their watchdog capabilities. 

Although they will likely warn you if they sense any threat because Newfoundlands are too kind and gentle, they will not do well as a personal protection dog.

3 Reasons Why Newfoundlands Are Not Good Guard Dogs

Below, I put together three reasons why Newfounds don’t make a good choice for being a guard dog.

Trusting And Friendly Towards Strangers

The Newfoundland dog is said to be the giant nanny of the dog world.

However, when it comes to strangers, They are a friendly, outgoing, and gentle breed that is very open to people. 

However, they will alarm you if a stranger is nearby. But will not attack or show any aggression toward them. Most people stay put because of their size and stature. 

This is because Newfies were bred to be working dogs and to work around people; they are not up to the task of being guard dogs because of their friendly nature. 

If you are looking for a fierce guard dog to protect you and your home, then Newfoundland is not the dog for you. 

Laid Back

Newfoundlands are incredibly docile and very eager and willing to please people.

Although they are known to have a laid-backed personality, they are not known for being energetic dogs. This can be a flaw about them. A guard dog needs to be alert and ready to attack at a moment’s notice. 

Not Bred For Protection Or Guard Dog Work

Newfoundlands are not bred for guard dogs or protection work because they are known for their gentle and friendly personalities. 

They are known for their affection and loyalty towards their owner, which makes them great companions rather than guard dogs. 

Instead, they excel in other roles like search and rescue, service, and therapy dogs. Because they lack aggression, they will not excel as protection or guard dogs, unlike other breeds bred for this purpose. 

History Of Newfoundland

Also called Newfies or gentle Giants, the Newfoundland was initially bred to work alongside fishermen. 

It was believed that fishermen and explorers from Ireland and England traveled to Newfoundland in the 1800s. 

It is there where they discovered the heavily built active water dogs that we know today as the Newfoundlands.  

Newfound’s are said to be a cross between the Tibetan mastiff and the American black wolf. 

They became famous for their ability to perform water rescues and were popular as ship dogs among English sailors.

In fact, they were such powerful and robust swimmers they could pull small boats to shore.

In 1879 the American kennel club officially recognized Newfoundlands. 

Newfoundland Breed Characteristics

Breed Characteristics
Height:Male: 28 inches
Female: 26 inches
Weight: 130-150 Lbs Males
100-120 Lbs Females
Life Expectancy:9- 10 years
Colors:Black, Brown, Gray, White & Black
Breed Group:Working
Costs:$1,000 – $2,000

Newfoundland Temperament

Despite their large size, Newfoundlands are sweet, loving, and affectionate dogs. 

Newfies are considered one of the most empathetic dog breeds on the planet. It is rare for them to be aggressive. 

They are also very friendly, calm, and lazy dogs. Even though they are not excessively playful, they do love the water. 

Newfoundland’s primary purpose is to work with people. And in many cases, rescue drowning people from the icy cold water. 

Because of this, they have developed a sense of distressed people. 

Furthermore, these giant cuddly dogs are also great with children and other pets. 

However, I would be cautious of having them around toddlers or older adults. 

Because of their clumsy demeanor, they can easily knock them over because of their large size. Which could be dangerous to small children or elderly people and could cause injury because they can be a bit clumsy and a bit reckless. 

The Newfoundland is an intelligent dog. And according to the clever canine, they are the 46th most intelligent dog breeds. 

Can You Train Newfoundlands To Be Protective?

Unfortunately, Newfoundlands are the wrong type of breed to have protective or guard dog training. Other breeds are a better fit for this role.

For example, German Shepherds, Dogo Argentino, Dobermans, and Bullmastiffs are excellent guard dogs

However, Newfies are naturally protective of their owners due to their strong bond with them. They can easily scare off intruders because of their intimidating size. They are great for alerting you if they sense strangers or threats. 

Although this is true, they will not show any aggressiveness toward strangers. Because they are not an aggressive breed, are meant to serve, and are not the type of dog that will excel in protective guard dog training. 

Do Newfoundland Bark When They Sense Danger? 

Newfoundland is not known for being excessive barkers, but they will alarm you if they sense any danger. They can detect potential threats around them and bark to alert you of any dangers. 

What Are Newfoundland Dogs Good For?

They are one of the world’s best water dogs, known for their intimidating size, intelligence, tremendous strength, and intense loyalty to their family members. 

These powerful dogs rescued passengers from drowning in the water. They are known to be great at service, therapy, and search and rescue dogs. And were bred for carting and hauling side by side with sailors. 

Are Newfoundland Dogs Good For First-Time Owners?

Newfoundland is an excellent choice for people that are first-time owners. Newfies is known to be the largest dog, with extraordinarily kind souls and gentle temperaments. 

Newfs are known not to be very energetic dogs; adults will lay around most of the day if allowed.

So they will need an owner that is willing to ensure they get exercise each day. Exercise is especially important when they go through their teenage years. 

There are several months when they are in their adolescence when they can get rowdy, and they will need a positive outlet for their energy. Big dogs can cause a lot of damage when they get bored. 

So, Newfs need an outlet such as training, swimming, or playing in the back yard are all great exercise methods. 

Newfs are known to drool quite a lot and have a unique and musky odor about them. Which some people can’t live with. 

Another important thing to know about Newfoundlands for first-time owners is that they require a lot of maintenance because of their hair and shedding. 

Although intelligent and easy to train, they must start training as soon as possible. So that they can understand what is expected of them from an early age. 

If you are looking to bring a Newfoundland dog to your home, you must do your research first. Also, talk with owners who already own a Newfoundland. 

Final Thoughts- Can Newfoundlands Be Guard Dogs

No, Newfoundland can not be guard dogs because they do not have the temperament to be one. They are incredibly docile, sweet, affectionate, and people pleasers. Other breed choices are a better fit for the role of a guard dog

Newfoundland is a good watchdog. But they can alert you if they sense anything out of the ordinary. However, it is important that you give them a lot of physical exercises and a lot of mental stimulation. 

Newfs are working dogs. They are known for doing jobs like pulling carts or water rescues. They are not known for being energetic, or they are not known to be big barkers. 

Newfoundlands are smart, but at the same time, they can be very stubborn. With appropriate training, they can be well-behaved and very obedient.  

I hope this article was helpful and answered your question of whether a Newfoundland is a good guard. Please check out our other helpful post. 

Justin- Writer & Chief Editor of


Justin is a protection dog enthusiast. He has years of experience teaching and training dogs. He enjoys sharing what he’s learned. Read More

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