Hovawart: The Ultimate Dog Guide



The Hovawart is a versatile working dog breed originating from Germany, known for its protective instincts and excellent scent-tracking abilities. They were initially developed as estate guardians, with their name literally meaning “an estate guard” in Old German. The purpose of this comprehensive guide is to provide a deep understanding of the Hovawart breed, from its historical background and physical characteristics to its care needs, training, and living environment.

Feature Information
Breed Origin Germany
Average Lifespan 10 – 14 years
Size Large
Weight 65 – 100 lbs
Coat Colors Black, Black and Gold, Blonde
Temperament Calm, Alert, Loyal
Exercise Needs High
Grooming Moderate
Diet High-quality dog food (age-appropriate)
Common Health Issues Hip Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism

History and Origin of the Hovawart Breed

Medieval Origins

The Hovawart breed dates back to the Middle Ages. It was highly valued for its guarding capabilities and was commonly seen protecting estates and castles.

Decline and Near Extinction

The breed saw a significant decline by the late 19th century, almost reaching extinction due to the increasing popularity of other breeds.

Revival and Modern Recognition

The breed was resurrected in the 20th century by German enthusiasts who sought to recreate the classic working dog. It’s now recognized by various kennel clubs worldwide.

Characteristics of the Hovawart

Physical Traits

The Hovawart is a large, powerful dog, possessing both strength and agility. Its coat comes in three colors – black, black and gold, and blonde, and is thick and slightly wavy.


Hovawarts are known for their calm and even temperament. They are excellent family dogs but can be reserved with strangers. They are protective, alert, and very loyal to their human families.

Unique Breed Features

Aside from their rich historical background, Hovawarts are known for their impressive scenting ability, which is often compared to that of the Bloodhound.

Health and Lifespan of the Hovawart

General Health Concerns

The Hovawart is generally a healthy breed. Regular veterinary checks and a balanced diet contribute to their overall well-being.

Breed-Specific Conditions

Certain genetic health conditions, like hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism, have been identified in the breed. Regular screenings are recommended.

Lifespan and Aging

On average, a Hovawart lives between 10 to 14 years. Older dogs may require extra care to manage age-related health issues.

Care and Maintenance for Hovawart

Feeding and Diet

Hovawarts do well on high-quality dog food that is age-appropriate. Individual dietary needs can vary, so it’s always best to consult with a vet.

Exercise Needs

Hovawarts are an active and energetic breed. Daily physical and mental exercises are necessary to keep them happy and healthy.

Grooming Requirements

Regular grooming is necessary to maintain the Hovawart’s thick coat. Routine brushing can prevent matting and keep the coat healthy.

Training the Hovawart

Temperament Considerations in Training

Hovawarts are intelligent and eager to please, but they can also be independent. Positive reinforcement methods work best.

Effective Training Techniques

Consistency is key in training. Early socialization and obedience training can help mold a well-rounded dog.

Living with a Hovawart

Home Environment

Hovawarts are best suited for homes with large yards where they can roam freely. They can adapt to apartment living, provided they get enough exercise.

Interaction with Family Members

Hovawarts form close bonds with their families. They are generally good with children and other pets if properly socialized.

Adoption and Buying Guide for Hovawart

Choosing a Reputable Breeder

It’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder when purchasing a Hovawart puppy. Breeders should provide health clearances for both puppy parents.

Understanding Adoption Options

Adopting a rescue or shelter is another wonderful way to bring a Hovawart into your life. There are breed-specific rescues where you can find Hovawarts in need of homes.

The Hovawart’s Role in Search and Rescue Operations

The Natural Tracker

Equipped with a keen sense of smell and a naturally curious disposition, Hovawarts are excellent at tracking. Their unique skills have proven instrumental in various search and rescue operations. This employment not only keeps their mind stimulated but also allows them to contribute in a significant way to their communities.

Children and Hovawarts: A Wonderful Bond

The Gentle Protector

Hovawarts have a deep-rooted protective instinct that extends to all members of the family, including children. Their gentle, patient, and caring nature makes them particularly good with kids. They enjoy participating in games and activities, creating a wonderful bond with the younger members of the household.

The Hovawart’s Adaptability

From Estates to Urban Living

Originally bred as estate guards, Hovawarts have shown an admirable ability to adapt to various living conditions. Whether it’s a large farm, a suburban home, or even a city apartment, these dogs are able to adjust as long as their physical and mental stimulation needs are met.

Hovawarts and Water

A Swimmer’s Instinct

Given the opportunity, many Hovawarts enjoy swimming. This love for water not only provides an excellent form of exercise but also offers a way to cool off during hot summer days. It’s essential to ensure a safe environment when allowing your Hovawart to take a dip.

The Hovawart as a Running Companion

The Joy of the Open Trail

Hovawarts make excellent companions for active individuals who enjoy running or jogging. Their natural endurance and love for outdoor activities make them well-suited for long-distance runs. However, care must be taken not to over-exercise puppies as their bones are still developing.

Hovawarts in Media

A Star in His Own Right

While not as commonly seen in media as some other breeds, the Hovawart’s striking looks and impressive skills have earned them roles in various films and television series. Their trainability and unique characteristics make them fit for a variety of roles.

The Hovawart’s Role in Therapy

The Calming Companion

Given their loyal, gentle nature and the ability to sense human emotions, Hovawarts can make effective therapy dogs. They can provide comfort and companionship to those in hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions, serving as a bridge to enhanced social interaction and emotional well-being.

Hovawarts and Other Animals

Friend or Foe?

Hovawarts typically get along well with other pets in the household, especially when raised together from a young age. However, due to their protective instincts, they can sometimes be wary of strange animals. Early socialization is key to ensuring peaceful cohabitation with other pets.


Bringing a Hovawart into your home can be a rewarding experience. They are loyal, and intelligent, and make excellent family pets with proper care and training. Every Hovawart is a unique individual. With love, patience, and understanding, you’ll create a strong bond that lasts a lifetime with this wonderful breed.


Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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