55-88 lbs

Many people compare the look of the Hovawart with that of the Golden Retriever. He is a versatile working dog with an easy going temperament. He is confident and has a high protective instinct. This makes him a great guard dog and excellent family companion. The Hovawart is a relatively active dog and does require plenty of time for exercise. He loves playing games and enjoys interactive toys that make him think. Dog sports are ideal to keep him active and happy. He would do great performing rally, agility or even obedience. He is a sturdy dog that is not well known outside of his country of origin.

purpose Purpose
Estate Guard Dog
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Leonberger, Newfoundland, Kuvasz

Hovawart Health

Average Size
Male Hovawart size stats
Height: 25-28 inches Weight: 55-88 lbs
Female Hovawart size stats
Height: 23-26 inches Weight: 55-88 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hypothyroidism
Minor Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
Occasional Tests
  • OFA
  • Thyroid Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination

Hovawart Breed History

The Hovawart is not a well known breed outside of Germany. His name is derived from the Middle High German word, hova, meaning yard or farm and wart, meaning watchman. He is a very old breed that descends from larger, working breeds such as the Leonberger, Newfoundland, and the Hungarian Kuvasz. The breed was developed by fanciers of an ancient estate guardian dog from the Middle Ages. He gained popularity in Germany when author Eike von Repgow described the Hovawart in Sachsenspiegel. In this writing, the Hovawart was renamed the Hofewart and was described as a fierce estate guard dog. In writings and illustrations dating back to the 1400s, the Hovawart has been mentioned, especially as a dog capable of tracking thieves and bandits. He has also been depicted as a search and rescue dog. The Hovawart almost became extinct in the 1920s but Kurt Konig, a breeder, began reconstructing the breed through careful planning and breeding. He was successful in his efforts and was able to get the Hovawart officially recognized by the German Kennel Club in 1937. In Germany, the health of the Hovawart is extremely important and the German Kennel Club expects all Hovawarts to be tested for hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism. In Germany, due to the efforts of the breeders, there is a very small percentage of Hovawarts that are afflicted with hip dysplasia. Due to the small number of Hovawarts within the United States, he is still a relatively unknown breed. However, enthusiasts of the breed have been able to achieve acceptance into the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service. The Hovawart is now eligible to be entered into AKC performance events. 

Hovawart Breed Appearance

The Hovawart is a medium sized working dog with long hair. The difference between the male and female Hovawart is easy to recognize because of the body build and the head shape. The Hovawart has oval eyes that are dark to medium brown. He has triangular ears that hang down and are set wide apart. The ears should be long enough to reach the corners of the mouth and have a rounded tip. His skin is tight fitting on his body and should never hang loosely. Hovawarts that are black and gold and solid black will have a bluish sheen to his skin. Hovawarts that are blond with have a pink sheen to his skin. He has hair that is slightly wavy and hangs close to the body. He has very little undercoat. His long hair is longer on the underside, backs of the legs, chest and tail. Even though he has little undercoat, his topcoat is dense. His coat comes in three colors: solid black, solid blond, black and gold.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Hovawart eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Hovawart nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Hovawart coat
fawn Hovawart coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Hovawart wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Hovawart Breed Maintenance

The Hovawart is a low maintenance dog and only requires brushing once a week. Since he does not have much undercoat, he does not shed heavily at one time, but he does still shed throughout the year. Shedding occurs when the dead hairs loosen and fall out, by grooming once a week, these dead hairs are easily removed and keeps them from being deposited on furniture and clothing. Weekly grooming will also keep any tangles or mats from becoming unmanageable. Tangles can easily form behind his ears and in the feathering on his legs. The Hovawart is not hypoallergenic. Check his ears when he is groomed for any dirt or foul smell that might indicate an infection is starting. Since his ears hang down, he may be more prone to ear infections. His nails should be trimmed as needed, usually every few weeks. Set up a dental plan for him that includes weekly teeth brushing. Start cleaning his teeth from puppyhood to ensure he is accepting of having his teeth brushed.

Brushes for Hovawart
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Hovawart requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Hovawart Temperament

The Hovawart is considered to be a very versatile working dog with the ability to track, protect, perform search and rescue and be a great companion. He quickly forms a special bond with his family and will protect them from danger. The Hovawart has an easy going nature and is a confident dog willing to take on new challenges. He is often compared to the Golden Retriever and is as beloved in Germany as the Golden Retriever is in the United States. He is a playful and active dog and enjoys playing games, especially with children. Games or puzzle toys that make him think are a great way to keep him occupied and mentally stimulated. He is not the type of dog to be left alone all day and will become destructive if not given plenty of exercise or social interaction. The Hovawart excels in dog performance events. These events allow him to expend energy, use his intelligence and form a stronger bond with his owner. He would do great in agility, obedience, rally and lure coursing. 

Hovawart Owner Experiences

6 Years
2 People
I found Harry at a local Shelter about five years ago. Didn't k ow what he was at the time other than large and friendly. I took him in as a foster but adopted him the next day. He is an angel (yet a very good watchdog).
4 years, 6 months ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - My pet

I adopted a "mixed breed" puppy and I am pretty sure he is a Hovawart. I am curious as to the maturity growth rate of this breed. He is 6 months old. He's a stocky fella about 28lbs, about 20in from shoulder to bum, about 16 in from shoulder to floor. (Every other characteristic is identical to Hovie :colors, hair texture/length, ears, eyes, feet, feathering, demeanor, nose, litter mates size and markings) My sister's golden at same age is TWICE the size. Is the Hovie a slower growing breed?

Hello some are slower growing where others grow faster. Without knowing 100% for sure his breed he could end up being almost any size
2 years, 4 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd