Are Newfoundland Dogs Good Guard Dogs?

Are Newfoundland dogs good guard dogs?

Newfoundland dogs are often known for their sweet and affectionate nature, as well as their impressive size. But one question that many people ask is, are they good guard dogs? 

It’s a common misconception that larger dogs automatically make better protectors, but the truth is that a dog’s temperament and training are far more important factors.

Despite their imposing size, Newfoundland dogs are not typically known for being aggressive. In fact, their goofy and easy going nature often makes them more likely to cuddle up with a stranger than to bark at them! (Joking… kinda).  

Being up front, these gentle giants are often better suited to roles where their size and strength can be utilised in more passive ways, such as their role as water rescue dogs, providing emotional support or working as therapy dogs.

However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t be trained to be effective watchdogs. With proper training and socialisation, a Newfie can learn to recognise and alert their family to potential threats. So, while they may not be the best choice for guarding a high-security facility, they can certainly serve as a loyal and vigilant protector for their family home.

So … you have a home, livestock or small hold you want to protect, but you’re also looking for a loveable gentle giant that doesn’t scare the pants off every visitor to your home. Then perhaps the Newfie can do the job. 

Personality of Newfoundland dogs as guard dogs

Newfoundland dogs are known for their friendliness and gentle temperament. However, they are also highly intelligent and build strong bonds with their family. Both of these traits lend themselves to making the Newfoundland dog a good candidate for guardian training.  

But what specific aspects of their personality qualify them for such an “impawtant” job?

  • Loyalty: Newfoundland’s are fiercely loyal to their family and will do anything to protect them. This personality trait makes them good guard dogs as they will look out for their family’s safety whenever they sense danger.
  • Strong and Powerful: Newfoundland dogs are large and strong, weighing up to 80 kg. Their physical strength and powerful jaws make them intimidating to potential intruders, and their size alone can be enough to deter intruders. Pair this with a tendency to drool a lot, and no intruder would want to step foot on your property. 
  • Watchful: Newfoundland dogs are naturally observant and watchful, always keeping an eye on their surroundings. This attentiveness makes them natural watchdogs, as they will bark and alert their family to any potential threats.
  • Gentle: You may be thinking, “how do this personality aspect fit in?” But the Newfies tendency to be measured and gentle means that when it comes to guarding property, you have a dog who is intelligent and easily able to distinguish friend from foe. This is important, you want a dog that isn’t going to lunge at any stranger just because they’re not familiar. 

Even with all these great personality aspects, it’s important to note that guard dog training is still necessary to ensure Newfoundland dogs become effective guard dogs. Training can help them develop a greater sense of protectiveness towards their family and learn how to respond to different threats. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when training a Newfoundland dog to be a guard dog:


Start early

It’s important to start training your Newfoundland dog from a young age. This will help them develop the necessary skills and instincts that are needed to become a good guard dog.



It’s crucial to socialise your Newfoundland dog with people outside of their family unit. This will help them understand what is normal behaviour and what is not, and it will also help them develop the ability to distinguish between friend and foe.


Obedience training

This is perhaps the most important aspect of training a guard dog. Your Newfoundland dog needs to be able to obey basic commands such as “stop” and “stay”.


Encourage alertness

While Newfoundland dogs are naturally protective of their family members, you’ll need to encourage their alertness to help them recognize potential threats. This can be accomplished through training exercises and reward-based learning. Remember being a “guard dog” doesn’t automatically mean aggression. It also means becoming a “watchdog”.


Use positive reinforcement

It’s important to use positive reinforcement techniques when training your Newfoundland dog to be a guard dog. This will help them build confidence and develop trust.

Limitations of Newfoundland dogs as guard dogs

While Newfoundland dogs do have some qualities that make them seem like good guard dogs, there are definitely some limitations to their guardian abilities. These are: 

  • Friendly nature: I wasn’t joking at the start. While Newfoundland dogs can be protective, they are generally friendly towards strangers. Therefore, they may not possess the level of aggression required to be a successful guard dog. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be great at the “watchdog” side of the role. 
  • Lack of territorial instincts: Newfies do not typically have strong territorial instincts. They won’t naturally be driven to protect their homes or owners’ property, unlike breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Cane Corsos. However, they will protect you if they sense danger. 
  • Size: While their large size can be intimidating, it can also be a disadvantage in terms of agility and speed. Newfoundland dogs are not particularly fast or agile, which can make them less effective at pursuing or apprehending intruders.
  • Training requirements: As we mentioned earlier, Newfoundland dogs are intelligent and trainable, but they require a lot of patience and consistency. Training a Newfoundland to be a guard dog requires a significant investment of time and effort.

So, are Newfoundland dogs good guard dogs? Parting thoughts… 

In summary, while Newfoundland dogs have some qualities that can make them effective guard dogs, such as loyalty, intelligence and power, their overly friendly nature and lack of territorial instincts may make them less suited to the role than other breeds. 

Additionally, their large size and training requirements may pose challenges for owners looking for an effective guard dog. The need for consistency undoubtedly means more time and energy on behalf of the trainer. Put it this way, you’re kind of going against the dog’s nature. 

So, there’s a vacant role for “head of security”, you have a decision to make. The Newfie is a loveable, gentle giant who is adored by friends, family and even strangers. They certainly have the capacity to protect with rigorous training, but ultimately it’s not in their nature. So what are some alternatives? 

Let’s say you’re a fan of the larger, drooly mastiff breeds, then a perfect alternative may be the English or the French Mastiff breeds. Both are great family members, watchful protectors and have guardian like qualities, they’re also wonderful breeds when well socialised. 

Additionally, if you’re looking for the next level up then a Rottie or a Cane Corso may be the right dogs for the job. Keep in mind that the Cane Corso in particular is extremely protective and dominant. It requires a lot of training and socialisation and is only recommended for very experienced owners. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Newfoundland Dogs As Guard Dogs 

Q. Are Newfoundland Dogs Aggressive? 

A. The Newfound dog is not typically aggressive. It’s known for its gentle giant, docile and patient personality. However, due to its strength and power, it certainly has the capacity to cause damage to others if it senses danger towards its loved ones. 

Q. Do Newfoundland dogs bark when they sense danger? 

A. Each Newfie may be different when it comes to barking, but a Newfoundland dog would typically bark if they sensed danger. They may also bark at animals in the yard just to make their presence known. 

Q. Will Newfies protect livestock? 

A. The Newfoundland dog isn’t typically known as a livestock guardian. It’s more likely that your Newfie will be lounging around the house or garden waiting for you to come home. However, it’s possible that the Newfie could be trained to guard livestock. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *