October 19, 2015

Newfoundland - Temperament & Personality


According to the AKC Standard, "Sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of the Newfoundland." This is a vibrant breed who adores being around people, and wants to be included in all aspects of family life. Newfoundlands are best served by active people who love being outdoors, as these dogs are at their happiest when engaged in activity with a purpose. They get along fabulously with children, remaining patient when kids want to climb all over them, whether at play, or simply to snuggle up to relax in the evening. Perhaps the most famous Newfoundland was Nana, the dog from Peter Pan, who watched over the Darling children. Most owners agree that the characterization the Newfoundland as a natural babysitter who looks out for the well-being of her charges was right on the money.

Activity Requirements

The Newfoundland doesn't need much time to run, but they do need lots of daily walks, and if possible they should wear a weighted backpack or have something to pull. This helps expend maximum energy, and also makes the dog feel like he has a purpose. Two of the Newfoundland's favorite things to do are play in the snow (pulling kids on a sled can occupy him for hours), and swim. A Newfoundland who is not properly exercised is a handful. This breed experiences an extended puppyhood, and they are very bouncy. Having a full-grown, rambunctious Newfoundland can mean household objects and people could to flying across the room.

People who love the outdoors will get along wonderfully with this breed. They are excellent camping buddies, will accompany you on hikes and can even make themselves useful by carrying some of your gear and acting as a guard dog while you sleep. Though they don't need daily runs to maintain health, Newfoundland are good joggers and can keep up with you on bike rides, as well.

This breed is far too large to live comfortably in an apartment or condominium. Large houses with yards or farms are much more suitable locations for a Newfoundland.


Training a Newfoundland can vary from easy to difficult, depending upon the individual dog, but once they get the hang of it, there isn't much this breed can't learn. The best way to keep training on the easy side is to start them off young. They respond best to lots of excited praise and treats, as even a stubborn Newfie possesses the desire to please. Treating a Newfoundland harshly will cause him to become mistrustful of you, so it's best to stay away from discipline, and stick to reinforcing good behavior.

Newfoundlands were originally used on fishing boats where they hauled equipment and were tasked with saving those who fell overboard. Today, they are still used as water rescue dogs and will instinctively jump into water after a person in peril.

Behavioral Traits

Newfoundlands can develop severe separation anxiety. They adore people and become anxious and depressed when left alone for long periods of time, which they express by chewing destructively. While proper exercise can help minimize anxiety, it is best that they not live with people who have hectic work schedules, and families with a stay at home parent are the ideal.

Newfies experience an extended puppyhood and are very bouncy and rambunctious. While they are excellent with children, they aren't recommended for homes with toddlers. An excited Newfoundland is a bull in a china shop, bouncing here and there, sending things flying around the room, which can include people. A small child could get hurt by a well-intentioned Newfie.