The Hovawart Dog Breed: Everything You Need to Know

The Hovawart is an ancient dog breed hailing from Germany. It is known for its intelligence and friendliness, hence being a great fit for any home.

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about the Hovawart dog breed, from its history and appearance to its temperament and health.

History of the Hovawart Dog Breed

Origins and Ancestry

The Hovawart is an ancient dog breed that first emerged in Germany’s Black Forest region. Their name roughly translates to ‘Farm Watchdog’, which is exactly what these dogs were bred to be.

The Hovawart’s ancestry is not entirely clear, but it is believed to be a mix of several breeds, including the Leonberger, Newfoundland, and Kuvasz. This mix of breeds gave the Hovawart its impressive size, strength, and protective instincts.

Throughout history, the Hovawart has been valued for its loyalty and intelligence. These qualities made them ideal for guarding livestock and property, as well as for search and rescue missions.

Development and Recognition

Over the years, the breed has undergone several changes to its appearance and temperament. In the early days, Hovawarts were primarily black in color, but today they can also be found in blonde and black-and-tan varieties. They have also become more docile and family-friendly while still maintaining their protective instincts.

Physical Characteristics

The Hovawart is a beautiful and majestic breed with a powerful and sturdy build that commands attention wherever it goes.

Size and Weight

One of the most striking things about the Hovawart is their size. Breed members typically stand between 23 and 28 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh between 65 and 90 pounds.

Hovawarts are incredibly agile and athletic. They can move quickly and gracefully, hence being great companions for those who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, running, and swimming.

Coat and Colors

The Hovawart’s coat is another distinguishing feature of the breed. It has a thick, double coat that is both soft and durable. The fur is medium-length and somewhat wavy, which gives the breed a unique and striking appearance.

In terms of color, Hovawarts come in shades of black and blonde. Both color is equally beautiful, and the breed’s coat is described as being lustrous and luxurious at the same time.

It’s worth noting that Hovawarts require regular grooming to keep the coats healthy. This includes frequent brushing and combing to prevent matting and shedding, as well as occasional baths.

Distinctive Features

One of the most distinctive features of the Hovawart is their black mask. This mask covers their face and eyes, creating a striking contrast against their fur. The breed also has a broad head with a strong jaw, which gives them a powerful and commanding presence.

In addition to their striking appearance, Hovawarts are known for their intelligence and loyalty. They are incredibly devoted to their owners and will go to great lengths to protect and care for them.

Personality and Temperament

The Hovawart is loyal and affectionate and forms strong bonds with its family. The breed is highly intelligent and can be trained to perform a variety of tasks.

Hovawarts are also great watchdogs and are protective of their families and properties. However, it is important to socialize them from a young age to prevent any aggressive tendencies.

General Disposition

When it comes to their general disposition, Hovawarts are known for being loving and loyal companions. They are affectionate with their families and enjoy spending time with them.

However, they can be wary of strangers at first. This is a natural instinct for the breed, as they were originally bred to guard estates and properties. With proper socialization, Hovawarts can become friendly with new people.

Hovawarts are also instinctively protective and make great watchdogs. The breed is not typically aggressive without reason, but it will not hesitate to protect its loved ones if it feels that they are in danger.

Intelligence and Trainability

The Hovawart is a highly intelligent breed that is able to learn a wide variety of tasks. They are quick learners and excel in tasks that require both physical and mental stimulation. This breed is often used for search and rescue, tracking, and even as therapy dogs.

While their intelligence is a great asset, it can also make them a bit stubborn. Hovawarts require training with a firm but kind hand. They respond well to positive reinforcement and consistency. Early training is also important to prevent any bad habits from forming.

Socialization and Interaction

Because of their protective instincts, Hovawarts require socialization from a young age to ensure they are comfortable and calm around new people and other animals. Early socialization can help prevent any aggressive tendencies that may be present in poorly socialized Hovawarts.

It is also important to note that Hovawarts thrive on interaction with their families. They enjoy being included in daily activities and spending time with their loved ones. This breed is not suited for a home where they will be left alone for long periods of time.

Health and Lifespan

The Hovawart breed is generally a healthy breed, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. It’s important to be aware of these issues so that you can take preventative measures and ensure your Hovawart lives a long and healthy life.

Common Health Issues

The Hovawart dog breed is prone to conditions such as: 

  • Hip Dysplasia: A condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly and causes arthritis and lameness
  • Eye Problems: Breed members are at risk of cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and other eye conditions
  • Bloat: Or gastric torsion, is a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and twists around itself

Preventative Care and Maintenance

Proper preventative care and maintenance are key to ensuring your Hovawart lives a healthy and happy life. Regular vet visits are important for keeping up with vaccinations and dewormers.  

Providing your Hovawart with a balanced and nutritious diet can also help prevent health issues such as obesity and diabetes. Exercise is also an important aspect of preventative care for Hovawarts. 

Grooming is another important aspect of preventative care for Hovawart breed members. Regular brushing and bathing help prevent skin issues and keep the coat healthy and shiny. 

Expected Lifespan

The average lifespan for a Hovawart is 10 and 14 years. However, with proper care and attention, some Hovawarts have been known to live longer than that. Providing your Hovawart with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and preventative veterinary care can help ensure that they live a long and happy life.


Now that you know more about the Hovawart breed and its health and lifespan, you can make an informed decision about whether this breed is right for you.

Just remember, these intelligent, loyal, and protective dogs require plenty of love and attention to thrive. Also, ensure that you find a reputable Hovawart dog breeder. 

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