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Active dog lovers will enjoy the Hovawart. The former guard dog brings temperament and vigilance with it. But nature has also given the animal a rather dominant character. The breed portrait reveals what the interested party needs to know about the Hovawart before buying it.
The Hovawart belongs to FCI Group 2. The breed is assigned to Section 2.2 Mountain Dogs, Molossoids with a working test.

Hovawart Dog Breed Information

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Size: Males: 63-70 cm, females: 58-65 cm
Weight: 25-40kg
FCI Group: 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molosser – Swiss Mountain Dogs and other breeds
Section: 2.2: Molossoids, mountain dogs
Country of origin: Germany
Colors: black-gold, blonde, black
Life expectancy: 12 years
Suitable as: working, police, protection, companion, sports and family dog
Sports: agility, obedience
Personality: Alert, Active, Family, Devoted
Leaving requirements: high
Drooling Potential: –
The thickness of hair: –
Maintenance effort: rather low
Coat structure: strong, long, slightly wavy, and close-lying with little undercoat
Child friendly: yes
Family dog: yes
Social: rather no

Origin and breed history

The Hovawart breed is not a very old breed of dog. The word “Hovawart”, which comes from the Middle High German, already reveals the task assigned to the dog in translation: guarding courtyards and houses day and night. Those who are interested can find proof of the existence of the guardian of court and possessions in old documents from the 13th century. Although it is not exactly clear what the Hovawarts of that time looked like, it is assumed that the dogs were large and powerful. Today’s appearance of the Hovawart looks very similar to the farm dog of yesteryear.

In order not to let the dog of medieval origin fall into oblivion, breeders in Thale/Harz got together in 1922. This is where the actual Hovawart breed was born.

For the preservation of the old farm dog, the breeders worked with so-called “type dogs”. They should be big, strong, and sturdy. The “type dogs” were bred in varying proportions to Newfoundlands, German Shepherds, Kuvasz, and Leonberger dogs. After the result of the breeds matched the image of the Hovawart at that time, the guard was officially recognized as a dog breed in 1937.

Several national groups, which gradually formed after the Second World War, belong to the breed breeding club for Hovawart dogs e.V. that exists today. The number of this dog breed declined during World War II. Only when the breeders left to their own devices did the dog breed get a chance to continue to exist by resuming breeding.

How much does a Hovawart puppy cost?

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A Hovawart puppy rarely costs less than $1000.

Nature & Temperament of the Hovawart Breed

The instinct of the guardian is inherent in the dog breed Hovawart. This makes the animal particularly self-confident and self-assured. Even today, the character of the watchful four-legged friend is characterized by its pronounced protective instinct, which it knows how to use in a controlled manner. Not everyone is immediately labeled a villain. The infallible sense and two watchful eyes know how to distinguish and to wait and see how the two-legged friend behaves. The Hovawart therefore also has controlled nerves of steel.

The good nose disposition and the instinctive vigilance immediately perceive the existing anxiety of the opposite. If an inexperienced dog owner behaves fearfully or insecurely towards the dog, the Hovawart can do things differently. The natural reaction demands a dominant, intimidating, and sometimes aggressive behavior from him. If the animal owner cannot assert himself as the pack leader, these are the consequences. Counterproductive behavior then provokes misunderstandings that prove to be unhelpful between humans and animals.
If the right relationship is established, Hovawart is friendly, in need of closeness, and sensitive towards his favorite person or other members who belong to the close circle of the environment. The narrow circle in which he moves is his backup pack.

The intelligence of the Hovawart also makes the dog usable for other tasks: as a rescue, tracking, and companion dog.

How do I raise a Hovawart?

The Hovawart must be raised lovingly and with consistency. It must be clear who the pack leader is.

The appearance of the Hovawart breed

The Hovawart is always recognized for its elegant appearance. It is one of the large dog breeds and grows to an average height of around 58-70 centimeters, with males usually being slightly larger than females, which only reach a height of 65 cm. The weight is between 35 and 40 kilos depending on the size. Due to their long fur, however, they often appear larger and heavier.

They come in blonde, black, and black-marked color varieties, with dark Hovawarts being the most commonly encountered. The body of the dog is very strong and the head broad with a bulging forehead. The four-legged friend usually carries the tail long.

What breeds are included in the Hovawart?

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Mainly the breeds German shepherd, Leonberger, Newfoundland, and Kuvasz are contained in the Hovawart.

Training and husbandry of the Hovawart breed – this is important to note

The Hovawart is a breed that is not suitable for beginners. Beginners without experience often tend to behave insecurely when training, which the dog could interpret as anxiety. In fact, it can also happen that the inexperienced dog owner develops a fear of the dog when it behaves intimidatingly and aggressively. If you can’t keep the upper hand then, you will quickly find yourself in reversed roles.

The animal needs a pack leader. Its intelligence is designed to test whether its owner can assert himself as such. The intelligent four-legged friend does not just test once, but repeatedly. In this respect, he demands a lot from his mistress and master.

For this reason, a strict and at the same time loving upbringing of the Hovawart is absolutely necessary. So that the animal does not take the lead, the house rules and the hierarchy should be clear. Man is his authority figure. Properly trained, the dog is a tolerable companion dog.

But education does not mean unreasonable hardship. Consistent leadership is necessary for the development of a healthy and normal dog personality, whereby the dog should always be busy. The tasks should be of a challenging nature. The Hovawart notices when tasks are only assigned to him out of boredom. The dog lover should therefore like to deal with his animal. Only then is listening to commands guaranteed.

A dog-friendly attitude and education ultimately lead to a strong bond between man and dog. The Hovawart likes to rely on his master and puts endless trust in him.

Is a Hovawart a family dog?

With the right upbringing, the Hovawart is also suitable for a family.

Nutrition of the Hovawart breed

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As with all other dog breeds, Hovawart’s nutritional requirements depend on a number of factors. These are

  • age
  • weight
  • size
  • health status
  • activity
  • possible diseases or allergies

If the Hovawart is in good health, the animal does not make particularly high demands on its diet. For the Hovawart fan, however, this does not mean that he does not have to pay attention to his diet. The opposite is the case. Like any other dog, the active four-legged friend needs a balanced and healthy diet, which should always be in proportion to the actual movement. With regard to the different nutritional factors, the nutritional needs of each dog are different.

Basically, the Hovawart prefers a meat-based diet with little grain. It goes without saying that dog food should always be of high quality. The Hovawart can consume both wet and dry food. But the BARF method as biologically appropriate feeding can also be considered for the dog’s stomach. Raw meat is used as the main component of dog food. In addition, there are other components to this diet method:

  • vegetables
  • fruit
  • mineral and vitamin supplements

However, an incorrect diet can promote deficiency symptoms. It is therefore not wrong to consult the veterinarian with regard to the right diet. A diet plan may also be designed, which can be adjusted to accommodate dietary factors over time.

When feeding, the Hovawart owner should not heat the bones of poultry. The heating can lead to a splintering of the individual bones.

If dry food is used, the Hovawart should always drink enough liquid. But even when giving wet food, the Hovawart owner should always have a water bowl filled with fresh water ready.

Health – life expectancy & common diseases

The Hovawart owes its health to the strict rules that the numerous national associations follow. Hovawart clubs in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, England, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the USA include dogs with a hereditary disease, a mild form of hip dysplasia or the other disposition are consistently subject to breeding. Combined with a database that Hovawart owners keep up to date with information, the animal is able to maintain robust health.

The Hovawart dog, which is still purebred today, hardly has to struggle with hip dysplasia (HD). The proportion of this disease is very low in relation to other dog breeds. Due to the robust state of health, the Hovawart can therefore get quite old. Its life expectancy is around 12 years.

Basically, the Hovawart does not tend to be overweight. However, this can always occur if the active guard does not experience sufficient exercise and consumes too much food. The nutrient intake should always be in proportion to the activity of the dog.

Although the Hovawart has a little undercoat with moderate fur, the animal is in top form even in cold weather. The dog is not bothered by rain or wind. The active furry friend lives out the outdoors intensively and with a lot of movement. Cold is not a problem. The weather resistance of this canine nature also allows extensive exercise in summer. You should protect the dog from excessive heat.

How old can a Hovawart get?

A Hovawart can live for about twelve years.

Care of Hovawart

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The Hovawart has a fairly decent coat length. Nevertheless, the fur is easy to care for. Dogs with a lot and thick undercoat are prone to matting if not brushed and groomed regularly. However, because the Hovawart only has a little undercoat, the owner need not worry in this regard. That means: The coat does not have to see the brush or the comb every day. There is an exception for the change of fur. The dog should be brushed and combed at least once a week. The Hovawart enthusiast should carry out basic care regularly. This does not include shearing or trimming.

Hair loss can be reduced if care is taken more than once a week. The grooming ritual should always begin as a puppy so that the animal gets used to it. In addition to grooming, nail care is also part of it. Claw clippers can be used to trim the claws.

After walks, the dog owner should always pay attention to the cleanliness of the Hovawart’s paws. They must be free of foreign bodies so that small stones, for example, cannot cause wounds.

Don’t forget to take care of your teeth too. If the teeth are not properly cared for with a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste, tartar can develop over time. This causes unpleasant bad breath and also pain. For example, the beef scalp can be used as a chewing product for dental care.

Hovawart – Activities, and Training

The Hovawart needs a lot of exercises. This is essential for the proper husbandry of this breed. The dog lover can enjoy the active nature of his animal companion. If you like jogging or cycling, you can take the Hovawart with you without any problems. The athletic animal legs are in remarkable condition. Body and mind are also sufficiently utilized.

Anyone who enjoys working with their dog and can integrate dealing with the animal as an essential part of their own lives can look forward to the loyalty of their friend as a reward. If there is not enough time for an exciting and varied excursion, the Hovawart can also take long walks. It is important to find a healthy and varied combination of several different activities.

In order to further promote a bond between man and dog, the use of dog toys is advisable. Rings, ropes, and intelligence toys can be used as part of extensive hours of play.

Dog sports such as agility, obedience, or tracking are ideal for the Hovawart breed. The selected activities should be carried out regularly so that the dog always experiences sufficient relief. Predominantly being kept in a kennel can have a fatal effect on the dog’s behavior and mental development.

Good to know: Peculiarities of the Hovawart breed

In the family, the Hovawart is particularly characterized by its close bond with the family members, which it sees as its pack. This creates a special protective behavior.

Disadvantages of the Hovawart breed

The Hovawart is driven by a constant urge to move, which demands a lot from the owner. The active four-legged friend is not a dog for easy-going minds who only deal a little with sport. The animal is also not suitable for beginners. If an inexperienced dog lover decides for this dog breed, disadvantages can arise. They are then mostly based on inconsistent leadership of the dog. The relationship would be marked by misunderstandings because the still ignorant beginner does not understand his own dog. The Hovawart knows how to take advantage of this and the animal quickly asserts itself successfully against its owner.

Such disadvantages can be avoided if when choosing the right dog, not only the desire to own an animal prevails but also the rational view.

Is the Hovawart right for me?

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If you are looking for a lap dog for certain social circles, you have come to the wrong place with the Hovawart. The former guard dog of house and yard is driven by a pronounced urge to move. This dog breed needs a lot of exercise in nature and open spaces where it is allowed to let off steam. The active animal does not complain about a house with a garden.

Keeping them in a small apartment is not suitable because the Hovawart is not a classic city or apartment dog. If kept in an apartment, daily excursions, walks, and other activities are a must. The utilization of the dog’s nature should be guaranteed. Associated with this is the time that the dog lover must have for his faithful companion.

For this reason, living in a family is a good choice for the animal. It is always a good idea to have a member do something with the dog. The temporal flexibility may be more given here than with a person who has to spend most of his time in the office. The Hovawart is only happy when he gets the time he needs and demands with his favorite people.

The purchase of such a dog breed should be carefully considered. The characteristics ideally suit the dog owner. Time and space must be available. With a loving and at the same time consistent upbringing, the dog is ideally suited as a family dog ​​that gets along well with children.

The Hovawart is not a dog for inactive seniors. Physical limitations of the dog owner automatically lead to a restriction of the dog’s activities. The Hovawart is also satisfied with walks, but there must also be other activities in which the dog’s nature can be extensively lived out. Active seniors with dog experience are best served with a Hovawart. The dog also keeps its owner fit and always has an animating effect.