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Is the Hovawart right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Hovie

The basics:
The Hovawart is a very old German working farm dog breed that has been redeveloped and restored since the 1920s. Its original purpose was to guard farms and estates, and it retains a strong instinct to guard. With proper training, it can also be a fine search and rescue animal. However, they do offer some challenges to the trainer, and they are recommended to experienced trainers, not to the general public.

In 1937, the Hovawart gained official recognition in Germany and the breed is recognized by the Federation Cynalogique Internationale (FCI). It has been recorded in the AKC's Foundation Stock Service since 2010, a first step on the road toward recognition of the breed in the US.

Appearance / health:
The Hovawart is a large, sturdy, powerful-looking dog with feathering on its chest, legs, undersides and tail. It has a body that is slightly longer than it is tall with a big chest and a broad, short, muscular neck.

The head is medium-sized bearing a rounded forehead with a short, pointed muzzle. The eyes are medium-sized, round and dark. The ears are big, low-set, triangular, and pendulous. The legs are muscular and strong, and the long tail is usually carried low.

The Hovawart is an average shedder. It requires regular brushing and combing.

Regular exercise in the form of walks, jogs, hikes, and play off the lead keeps the Hovawart healthy and happy.

The Hovawart is generally a healthy breed but is occasionally prone to hypothyroidism (an abnormal health condition caused by insufficient production of the thyroid hormone). In Germany, breeders claim that the prevalence of hip dysplasia (crippling of hips caused by dislocation of hip joints) has been reduced to a small percentage by using correct breeding practices.

Behavior / temperament:
According to the Hovawart Club of Great Britain, "Hovawarts are hardy dogs, inured to all weather, intrepid, watchful, agile, not nervous, affectionate, intelligent and naturally obedient they retain their lively good natured puppyhood until they are at least two years old. They have quick and enquiring minds and need the minimum of a garden to keep them occupied. Some form of mental exercise is recommended and socialisation in puppyhood is essential. Hovawarts enjoy obedience and agility training at an appropriate age, while the breed adapts well to all kinds of work an untrained Hovawart is likely to take over the household and is not always recommended for the first time dog owner."

"Their most important asset however is their stable temperament. They are and should remain a family dog or working companion and are certainly not suited to a kennel life. Not quarrelsome or possessive but of great courage and faithfulness, they are not easily excitable and are usually dignified in manner. However, if roused Hovawarts will defend themselves with all that they have. They can be wilful and dominant towards other dogs but are not easily provoked."

Training may be a challenge. However, the Howavart is eager to please and responds well to firm, consistent training. Traditional training methods may not work, as the Hovawart responds well to praise and positive reinforcement rather than harshness.
Hovawarts are not noisy and bark only to alert their owners when necessary.


family dogs, guarding dog, fun loving dog, Energetic Owner, handsome breed


energy level, behavioural issues, long hair


independent personality thrives, Schutzhund, regular agility lessons, medium size

Hovawart Training Tip


From 266 days ago

/ 5

From shelters/rescues




Poland, IN


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