A medium to large sized Hovawart
Hovawart Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)23-28in (58-71cm)
Weight55-90lbs (25-41kg)
Hair Colour(s)Gold, black, blond
Lifespan10-14 years
Energy LevelHigh
Litter size6-8
Barking TendencyLow
Exercise requirementsHigh
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsHigh
Animal compatabilityHigh
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftLow

The Hovawart is a medium to large sized, handsome looking dog resembling a Golden Retreiver. The body is solid with a level topline, straight and substantial front legs, broad hindquarters and a straight tail. The powerful head has a broad forehead, black nose, dark oval eyes and high-set drop ears well spaced apart. The coat is long and wavy although it tends to lay flat, with longer hairs to the stomach, chest, legs and the tail areas. The colouring tends to be gold, black or blond.


Hovawarts are good natured, quiet and even-tempered dogs. History shows these dogs also to be quite selfless and dependable in times when they are really needed. They are devoted, loyal, playful and happy dogs that make good family pets, great companions and excellent farm dogs. They are intelligent and responsive and do and learn quickly, and they can be trained to a high level; however, patience is required here as they tend to retain some of their puppy-like and playful qualities longer into adulthood than some breeds. This, combined with their dominant natures, means they are best suited to experienced dog owners. Hovawarts can be aggresive towards other dogs when their owners are not present, but are normally fine with other household pets when properly socialised. As they were bred to protect families, they are generally excellent around children too. Typically used as farm dogs, they need a good amount of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored, timid or fearful, which could lead to fear-biting. These dogs are reserved around strangers but accept visitors that their owners accept. These are brave and protective dogs that will protect their owner's property with a passion, and combined with their deep-throated barks, they make great guard dogs and watchdogs.

History & Skills

Hovawarts originate from the Black Forest region in Germany and have a long history dating back to the twelth century, and were known as guard dogs, mainly of farmyards. Their name literraly translates as "estate guard dog", and one of their first mentions in history involves a bit of a tale. A German castle called Ordensritterburg was besieged and fell to Slavic invaders in 1210, with the lord and most of the inhabitants slaughtered. One of the castle's Hovawarts saved the lord's infant son by dragging the child away to a neighbouring castle, despite being wounded itself. This young boy was called Eike von Repgow, and he grew to become one of Germany's legendry law figures, later publishing the oldest surviving code of law from medieval Germany called the Sachsenspiegel. Not surprisingly, Hovawarts were given a favourable mention. A later book was based upon this one, called the Schwabenspiegel, and lists the Hovawart amongst dogs that had to be replaced, with owners paid compensation, if they were ever killed or stolen. History went a little blank for these dogs until they re-appeared in the early 1900s. Modern day Hovawarts were bred as an attempt to recreate the original dog, and are likely descendants of Newfoundlands, Leonbergers and possibly Kuvaszs, but some maintain that the original breed has survived on isolated farms and in rural areas and that these are the basis of today’s breed. In either case they were recognised by the German Kennel Club in 1937 and have only reached the UK in the last few decades.

Breed Specific Ailments

Hovawarts tend to live between 10-14 years. This is a relatively healthy breed with few noted health concerns. Mnny European lines suffer from an underactive thyroid, and as is common in the larger dog, hip dysplasia has been reported.


Hovawarts are moderate shedders and so may be suited to those suffering with allergies. Their grooming requirements are pretty reasonable and the coat will simply need the occasional brushing to prevent tangles.

Exercise & Environment

Hovawarts can live inside or outside and prefer cooler climates, but they are not recommended for small homes such as apartments. While indoors they will generally be fairly calm and inactive, but they are actually pretty active dogs with plenty of energy, and they will need sufficent exercise such as a daily walk or jog. Hovawarts have strong senses of territory and little interest in hunting, and so will tend not to wander too far.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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