Hovawart: Dog Breed Profile

Country of origin: Germany
Shoulder height: 58 – 70 cm
Weight: 30 – 40 kg
Age: 12 – 14 years
Color: black brands, blond, black
Use: Companion dog, the family dog, service dog

The Hovawart is a versatile, sporty, and active companion dog and recognized service dog. It is docile, intelligent, and good-natured, but needs clear leadership and consistent training so that its pronounced protective instinct is steered into moderate channels. It also needs a lot of activity, meaningful tasks, and a lot of exercises.

Origin and history

The Hovawart has its origins in Germany and goes back to medieval court and farm dogs (Hovawarth, Middle High German for court guards), which guarded the farm or were also used as draft dogs. Up until the 19th century, every type of farm or house dog was known as a Hovawart, and there was no breed standard or breed description. At the beginning of the 20th century, the self-proclaimed zoologist Kurt Friedrich König began breeding these old court dogs back. He crossed existing farm dogs with Newfoundlands, Leonbergers, and German Shepherds and entered the first litter in the studbook in 1922. In 1937 the Hovawart was recognized as a separate breed.

The appearance of the Hovawart

The Hovawart is a large, powerful dog with a long, slightly wavy coat. It is bred in three different colors: black-branded (black with tan markings), blond, and solid black. Bitches and males differ significantly in size and physique. Female Hovawarts also have a much slimmer head – the black specimens can easily be confused with the Flat Coated Retriever, while blonde male Hovawarts bear some resemblance to the Golden Retriever.

The temperament of the Hovawart

The Hovawart is a confident, very intelligent, and docile companion dog with strong protective instincts and territorial behavior. It only reluctantly tolerates strange dogs in its territory. Although it is very versatile and, for example, one of the recognized service dog breeds, the Hovawart is not necessarily easy to handle. While it is even-tempered, good-natured, and affectionate, its strong personality can be problematic for novice dogs. The sporty all-rounder is also not suitable for lazy people and couch potatoes.

From an early age, a Hovawart needs a very consistent upbringing and a clear hierarchy, otherwise, he will take over the command himself in adulthood. The intelligence and energy of these dogs should also be encouraged and directed. It needs meaningful tasks, regular activity, and a lot of attention. The Hovawart is a very good tracking dog, an ideal protection dog, and is also suitable for working as a rescue dog. The Hovawart can also be enthusiastic about other sporting activities – as long as they do not require too much speed. The Hovawart is long-haired, but the coat has a little undercoat and is therefore relatively easy to care for.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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