When our farm began losing a lot of animals to local predators, the search was on for a livestock guardian dog (LGD) we would be comfortable having around our little girls (and a soon to be born son). The typical and popular breed that are used on a lot of farm is known sometimes for being aggressive, and that just wouldn't fly with us and having little ones in the field around them.
Enter the Newfoundland. We have another gentle giant here on the farm - a Great Dane who is now 12 year old that have been with us since 2011. But these Newfies are different. They are sweet dispositioned dogs that act neither dull nor ill-tempered. Known as a great family dog, they are sweet and devoted with an amazing protective instinct. Newfoundland is a multipurpose dog, at home on land and in water, the Newfoundland is capable of draft work and possesses natural lifesaving abilities.
True story - Izzy, this girl pictured here on the right, jumped into a deep icy pond and dragged Alex safely to shore when he fell through the ice in the middle of the night in the depth of winter.
We know our Newfies aren't a typical LGD. They are more like our family dog than a true LGD, but we take the blame for that. Our family never took the time to truly train them as an LGD. Rather than living year-round alongside our farm animals like an LGD should, they lives with us both indoor and outdoor year round. Depending on the weather, typically they decide themselves whether or not they are more comfortable on the patio buried under 3 inch of snow, or to lie down over our AC vent during the hot summer months. They do a great job as our family "guard" dog without being aggressive or barking excessively. When they bark, we know something is up and it's time to check on our animals. Nine times out of ten, they are right. Several of our farm animal babies have been saved because of their wonderful observance and protective traits.
With an experienced LGD trainer, we truly believe Newfoundland makes a perfect LGD. While our family is an experienced dog owner and dog breeder (we used to breed a different dog breed in our past life, way before settling in our home here in Northern Kentucky), we must admit we aren't experienced owners of a true or experienced livestock guardian dogs who live alongside their animals 24/7.
The Newfoundlands, despite their size, are docile and can happily adjust to living in the house. They do, however, need considerable exercise and ideally should have safe access to water because of how much they love swimming. If you want a protective yet gentle dog for your family, especially if you have young children, there's no better breed of dog in our opinion.