Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Newfoundlands: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Newfoundland temperament, personality, and behavior.

newfoundland topics

Newfoundland dog breed

Newfoundland Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Newfoundland Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013

The AKC Standard says, "Sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of the Newfoundland."

Calm, dignified, and generally quiet, he does best in a spacious home in the suburbs or country, preferably in a nonhumid climate, ideally with access to a lake or pond.

To stay fit, the Newfoundland needs long daily walks. Swimming is much appreciated. He loves to romp in the snow, and pulling a cart or carrying a backpack gives him a purpose in life.

This kindly breed is good-natured with everyone, especially children, though they should be as well-behaved as he is. He is very sociable and needs more companionship than many other breeds -- he doesn't do well when left alone for long periods.

Early socialization is critical in developing a stable temperament, for some male Newfoundlands are aggressive with other male dogs, and a very few may be dominant-aggressive toward people. Excessive shyness is also seen.

The Newfoundland is not a pushover -- he has an independent streak and must learn his manners -- but he responds well to patient obedience training. Motivate him with praise and food rewards rather than jerking on the leash, for this breed may have a giant body, but his mind and heart are sensitive. Harshness only makes him skittish and distrustful.

Females are most willing to please, while males may be more hardheaded. Newfs pant a lot, drink a lot (sometimes dunking half of their head into their water bucket), and are champion droolers.


If you want a dog who...

  • Is heavy and powerful, with a thick furry coat
  • Is steady-tempered with everyone
  • Loves pulling carts and sleds and romping in cold weather
  • Is responsive to training in a slow, good-natured way

A Newfoundland may be right for you.


If you don't want to deal with...

  • A very bulky dog who takes up a lot of space in your house and car
  • A heavy dog who wants to sit on your feet, lie on your lap, and lean his weight against your leg
  • Rowdiness and exuberant jumping when young
  • "Separation anxiety" and destructiveness when left alone too much
  • Fearfulness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
  • Some stubbornness and/or dominance problems, especially in males
  • Heavy shedding
  • Slobbering and drooling

A Newfoundland may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy


More traits and characteristics of the Newfoundland

If I was considering a Newfoundland, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing the proper balance of exercise. Young Newfoundlands need enough exercise to keep them lean and healthy, but not so much that their soft growing bones, joints, and ligaments become over-stressed and damaged. Adult Newfoundlands need more exercise to keep them in shape, but not in hot or humid weather for fear of overheating. The proper amount of exercise can be difficult to regulate in giant breeds.

    Since you have to minimize their exercise, young Newfoundlands can be very rambunctious. They will romp with uncoordinated gawkiness all over your house. You need to substitute extra quantities of companionship and supervision. Otherwise, left alone, young Newfoundlands become bored and destructive -- and their powerful jaws can literally destroy your living room.

  2. Separation anxiety. More than most other breeds, Newfoundlands need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing.

  3. Providing enough socialization. Young Newfoundlands need careful exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness or suspiciousness, which in such a huge dog can be very difficult to live with.

  4. Strong temperament in males. Many Newfoundlands, particularly young males, are not pushovers to raise and train. Some are willful and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. Some Newfoundland males are also dominant or aggressive toward other male dogs.

    To teach your Newfoundland to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Newfoundland Training Page discusses the program you need.

  5. Heavy shedding. Newfoundlands are one of the heaviest shedders of all breeds. You'll find hair and fur all over your clothing, upholstery, carpeting, under your furniture, on your countertops -- even in your food. Frequent vacuuming will become a way of life. Make sure you're REALLY up for this.

  6. Slobbering. Most people are not prepared for how much Newfoundlands slobber and drool, especially after eating or drinking. When they shake their heads, you will literally be toweling saliva and slime off your clothes, furniture, and walls.

  7. Paying the price. Many breeders are charging $1000 and up.

  8. Serious health problems. The lifespan of a Newfoundland is short and an alarming number are crippled by bone and joint diseases and/or succumb to cancer in middle age.

    To keep this breed healthy, I strongly recommend following all of the advice on my Newfoundland Health Page.


book cover To learn more about training Newfoundlands to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Newfoundland the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.



book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Newfoundland. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.


If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Newfoundland might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.


book cover Once you have your Newfoundland home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.



Please consider adopting an ADULT Newfoundland...

When you're acquiring a Newfoundland PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Newfoundlands who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter

MORE OF MY ARTICLES YOU MIGHT ENJOY.....