Hovawart – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Hovawart is a great family dog of great skills. Check this article to learn more about this rare breed and how it survived some really turbulent years. Read on.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
23 to 29 inches
55 to 110 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 14 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Hovawart is one of the oldest German dog breeds.

In fact, this breed is so ancient that it was mentioned in German chronicles as far back as the Middle Ages.

At the beginning of the 20th century, this breed was almost extinct, but responsible breeders manage to get back the breed on its track.

In 1936, the German Kennel Club recognized the Hovawart. This breed was originally developed as a guard dog, although they were also used for tracking.

Today, the adorable Hovawart is mostly a companion and family dog. They may also be seen working in search and rescue and as guard dogs.

If you ever hear someone calling dogs ‘Hovies’ know that they are in fact talking about the Hovawart.

As a general rule, this breed isn’t recommended for first time dog owners. They can be highly independent and as such stubborn and difficult to train.

If you feel like you need extra help with training, think about attending puppy classes together with your Hovawart.

This is why it’s so important for the Hovawart owners not to be diligent and assertive. Your dog needs to know that you are the pack leader in order for you to gain their respect and love.

Quick Facts

Real name: Hovawart
Other names: Hovie
Origin: Germany
Breed type: Working Dogs
Weight: 55 to 110 pounds
Height: 23 to 29 inches
Lifespan: 10 to 14 years
Litter Size: 6 – 8 puppies
Color: Black, black and gold, and blonde
Coat: Double coated

Hovawart History

It’s no secret that some of the best working dog breeds originated in Germany, and this breed is no exception.

Powerful Hovawart is an ancient breed of great working skills. This breed descended from large Newfoundland, powerful Leonberger, and massive Hungarian Kuvasz.

Breeders wanted to create a breed with great working and guarding skills, which is why this breed was originally created.

From day one farmers were fascinated with this breed due to remarkable guarding and working skills, but the German Shepherd took the glory of the breed and strongly increased its numbers.

Thanks to dog enthusiasts the year 1915 was a big milestone for the breed’s survival as efforts to save the breed have officially began.

Zoologist Kurt Friedrich König was the one leading this group and created the plan for breeds revival.

Their first step was to find remaining representatives of the breed. Their first location was the Black Forest region, which is a large forested mountain in southwest Germany.

Dogs from this region they crossed with German Shepherd, Newfoundland, a Bernese Mountain Dog, African hunting dog, Leonberger, and Hungarian Kuvasz.

In 1922, the first litter of Hovawart was introduced to the world and entered the German Breeding Registry.

In 1937, the German Kennel Club officially recognized the breed. Like with many other dog breeds, WWII affected the breed’s numbers strongly declined.

These dogs were actually used in war battles so strongly that by 1945 only a few remained.

In 1947, dog enthisastn gatehred once again, lead by Otto Schramm, and formed a new club, the Rassezuchtverein für Hovawart-Hunde Coburg, existign even today.

As of 1964, the Hovawart is recognized as the country’s seventh working breed.

Hovawart Physical Appearance

If you are not much of a dog expert, recognizing this breed can be tricky. Since Hovawart has many breeds running his genes, this fog may look like a gentle German Shepherd, or a more rough Bernese Mountain Dog, but it’s most likely that Hovawart will resemble a Golden Retriever all in all.

This is a medium-sized dog of powerful stand and long hair. Females are usually smaller in size than males and less muscular. There may be some differences in the head and build of the body.

As for the size, Hovie usually comes between 55 and 110 pounds, while having 23 to 29 inches. They have oval eyes and triangular ears that fall freely.

The neck is strong and of medium length, while the tail is bushy and carried high. The coat is long, dense, and waved.

The undercoat is present but in small amounts. The hair is usually longer on the chest and belly.

As for the color, they usually come in three color varieties, including black/gold, black, and blond.

The coat should always be shiny, and some point-shaped markings are visible above the eyes. Overall movement should be light and confident.

Hovawart Personality

Hovawart is a great watching dog and as such has many traits that come with watching skills, including calm temper and fast movement.

They will be reserved toward strangers, but they will never be why. If you want a family dog who is loyal and loves spending time with his family members, this is truly a breed to consider.

Not only that they will be loyal, but they will also be devoted to family members completely.

They are also a hard-working breed. which means that you should provide a lot of regular walks and exercise.

If your home is a multi-pet home, or you are thinking about welcoming a second dog, make sure that you safely introduce them.

They will tolerate other dogs and smaller pets if raised together. This is why early socialization is a must.

Hovawart will love spending time with children. However, to make that bond between child and dog is great, there should be some education included. That being said, children should know how to interact safely with dogs.

In fact, children should know that dogs are territorial beings who will define what they are for almost everyone. This is why they should never approach a dog while he is eating, resting, playing with his toys, or sleeping in his crate.

Sudden moves and any ear or tail pulling shouldn’t be allowed. On the other hand, dogs should house dog rules and how to move around children, especially toddlers.

This is a larger dog and accidents may happen out of nothing. To put possible accidents to their minimum, always supervise a dog-child interaction.

Hovawart Training

When it comes to training you should always bear in mind that dogs can learn as of eight weeks of age.

If you miss starting training them at this period you can expect to have a dog of destructive behavior and occasional stubbornness.

This does mean that your Hovawart isn’t capable of mastering tricks later on, but it just means that the training process will be more demanding later on.

To get the most out of training sessions, make them:

  • Short and fun
  • Consistent and engaging
  • Reward-based and packed with treats

If you feel like training your Hovawart is too much work, think about the following options:

Hire a professional dog trainer. This way you will speed up the training process and get a dog that is well-behaved and packed with tricks.
Enroll your pup in puppy classes. Another way to speed up the training process is to have puppy classes with your pup. This can also make a bond between you and your Fido stronger.

Hovawart Grooming

Not a fan of long grooming sessions? If so, you are in luck, because Hovawart is a low-maintenance breed.

This breed comes with a thin layer of undercoat which means that short weekly brushes should be enough to keep his coat debris-free.

For fast and stress-free grooming practice, have the right grooming tools on hand.

The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails monthly
  • Bathe only when needed
  • Check gums weekly
  • Check eyes daily for any sign of eye discharge
  • Clean ears when needed

If your veterinarian recommends it, brush his teeth. When it comes to teeth brushing or bathing, make sure that you use products that are specially designed for dogs.

Hovawart Health

Hovawarts are healthy dogs.

If you provide the proper care, the right nutrition, and regular exercise you can expect your Hovawart to live up to 14 years.

So far, there are no known health issues of breed-specific diseases, and the commonly seen hip dysplasia has been presented in less than 5%. Although it may sound like a lot, this is a low rate for a large size dog.

To get the most out of your dog’s health make sure that you provide regular veterinarian check-ups.

Just like in humans prevention is the key when it comes to keeping your dog healthy.

To help your Hovawart reach his senior years without any major health issues, make sure that you provide the following:

  • High-quality food
  • Regular exercise
  • Proper nutrition
  • Keep away human foods that can harm your dog
  • Provide supplement when needed
  • Provide regular veterinarian check-ups

Is Hovawart For You?

Hovawart is a loyal and intelligent dog that is usually recommended to those with more extended dog experience.

These dogs are of medium size and will be happy to top jump in for any activity as soon as an opportunity arises.

To get the most out of this breed, you should provide enough training and exercise sessions. This dog isn’t for you if grooming and training sound like too much work for you, or if you don’t like a dog who is reserved toward strangers.

On the other hand, if you want a dog who is of medium size, loves to be with his people, and isn’t afraid to confront strangers, then Hovawart is a breed to consider having.

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