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Information and Pictures

"Lucy is now 2.5 years old and has developed beautifully. She is sweet, playful and devoted but also watchful and protective. Hovawarts require a lot of patience and ongoing training. They respond well to praise and rewards along with a firm yet gentle manner. Lucy is 26" tall and 74lbs.."


The Hovawart looks somewhat like a Golden Retriever. The head is powerful with a broad, rounded forehead. The skull is about the same length as the muzzle, with a well-defined stop. The nose is black with well-developed nostrils. The teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. The dark to medium brown eyes are oval in shape. The triangular drop ears are set high and wide apart. The front legs are straight. The feet are round, compact and strong, with well-arched, tight toes. Dewclaws may be removed. The long-haired, dense coat is slightly wavy, lying flat. There are longer hairs on the chest, belly, back of the legs, and the underside of the tail. Coat colors come in black and gold, black or blond.


The Hovawart has a strong, deep-throated bark. This breed will be calm inside the house provided it receives enough daily exercise. It is determined, obedient and affectionate, especially toward its master. Loyal to the family. Excellent with children when well-socialized, well exercised and see humans as alpha. They are highly devoted and have a strong sense of territory and will not generally wander far away. Remaining playful and puppy-like in its old age, the Hovawart is reserved with strangers but is a pleasant family dog. Good natured and even-tempered. This brave dog is protective, alert and a good watchdog. It will protect your property against intruders with great passion. When its handler indicates that visitors are welcome, it will accept them immediately. The Hovawart has a good scenting nose. It is intelligent and can be trained to a high degree, learning quickly what you expect of it. The best results are achieved with extremely consistent, loving and well-balanced training. Unneutered males can be very challenging to handle. The Hovawart is a dominant breed, that requires a firm, experienced owner. If owners are not there to communicate their leadership the Hovawart may be aggressive with other dogs but it does well with non-canine petsin the household if well socialized. If owners do not treat their Hovawarts in such a way that their canine instincts are fulfilled with the proper leadership and release of physical and mental energy, it can cause them to start fear biting, or be rather timid. Hovawarts are ideally suited for tracking, avalanche rescue, as watchdogs and for defense situations.

Height, Weight

Height: 23 - 28 inches (58 - 70 cm)
Weight: 55 - 90 pounds (25 - 51 kg)

Health Problems

This is a very healthy breed. However, an underactive thyroid is widespread in European lines. Hip dysplasia sometimes occurs.

Living Conditions

Hovawarts are not recommended for apartment life. They are moderately active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized yard. They prefer cool climates and can sleep outdoors. They are outstanding watchdogs, especially for stables, fields and country houses.


The Hovawart needs to be taken on a daily walk, jog or run. While out on the walk make sure the dog heels beside or behind the person holding the lead, never in front, as instinct tells a dog the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. Regular long walks, hikes, and chances to run and play off the lead will be greatly enjoyed and will keep them healthy. Run easily over difficult terrain.

Life Expectancy

About 10-14 years.

Litter Size

About 6 to 8 puppies


The Hovawart's coat is easy to groom. An occasional brushing and combing, taking extra care in the places where tangles might form, is all this breed needs. It is an average shedder.


The Hovawart originates from Germany. It is a very old working breed descended from the Newfoundland, Leonberger, and possibly the Hungarian Kuvasz. The goal of its developers was to re-create the great estate guarding dog of the Middle Ages. The Hovawart is rare in the USA, but popular in Germany. Eike von Repgow wrote about the "Hofewart" as an estate guard dog in the Sachsenspiegel. They were also illustrated in writings in the 1400's tracking bandits. The breed almost became extinct in the 1200s, however by the 1920s a breeder by the name of Kurt Konig worked on a program reconstructing the breed. His efforts were successful and the breed was recognized by the German Kennel Club in 1937. Some of the Hovawart’s talents are watchdog, Schutzhund, search and rescue and tracking.




CKC = Continental Kennel Club

FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale

KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain

NKC = National Kennel Club

APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.

ACR = American Canine Registry

DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.

NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.

AKC/FSS = American Kennel Club Foundation Stock Service® Program

ACA = American Canine Association Inc.

Lucy the Hovawart at 8 months old—"Lucy is affectionate, determined, intelligent, active and protective. Like most Hovawarts she enjoys playing in the snow, long walks and being close to the family. She is responsive to training and does best using a combination of positive reinforcement and firm (but patient) alpha techniques."

Lucy the black and tan Hovawart at 8 months old out in the snow

Lucy the black and tan Hovawart at 8 months old out in the snow playing with a rope


Gandhi de LaVillaRoy - LaVillaRoy's Hovawart

Gandhi de LaVillaRoy, photo courtesy of LaVillaRoy's Hovawart

Fenja von der Koboldshütt - LaVillaRoy's Hovawart

Fenja von der Koboldshütt, photo courtesy of LaVillaRoy's Hovawart

Deubel von Ascona - LaVillaRoy's Hovawart

Deubel von Ascona, photo courtesy of LaVillaRoy's Hovawart

Lancelo - LaVillaRoy's Hovawart

Lancelo, photo courtesy of LaVillaRoy's Hovawart


Joy, the Hovie (Hovawart)

"It started out so simply. I had come across the breed in a book years ago and thought they sounded perfect for our farm. I also pushed the thought of owning one out of my mind since they aren't very common in the United States. That being said, fate or chance decided otherwise. When the decision was made for our 14-year-old Shepherd mix to be put down, my mother and I decided to adopt a rescue dog and give someone a home who needed one. On a whim I looked up the Hovawart on Petfinder, just for grins. I didn't expect to find anything but three came up. One of them was a beautiful 10-month-old purebred female Hovawart named Joy. Joy had been abandoned by her owners while on vacation in Idaho spring of '06. The former owners told the shelter they weren't coming back out for her and to do whatever they had to; they didn't want her. She had been given to them by their kids as an unwanted surprise. She had three days left in that shelter before being put to sleep. One of the employees there had a friend with a 2-acre kennel who would take dogs in from kill shelters and find them either non-kill shelters or homes. Bonnie was this kind lady's name and she had put Joy on Petfinder. The emails started going back and forth. Through a lot of trial and trouble (She was in Wyoming and I am in Wisconsin), I had adopted her October '06. Two of my closest friends took my car (it had the best gas mileage) and drove to South Dakota to meet someone from the rescue halfway to pick her up. I could not go because it was too short of notice for my boss to schedule me off. She settled in and was able to be loose with our other dogs by about mid-December. We all really liked her—even my dad who is a farmer and doesn't usually get attached to animals. True to her name, she was a joy to have around and was a very "joyful," happy dog. I found out she loved playing fetch—which was great because it gave me a way to wear her out. Walks didn't work; I was the only one who came back tired. She even got to be "pals" with Swiffer, one of the cats. February she started running off and so we built a large kennel for her safety when no one was outside with the animals. Since someone was outside most of the time she didn't have to be in it much. Very, very sadly, Joy got out of her kennel while I was at work and was hit by a car. She had been running through the surrounding fields and was coming home along the road—judging from her footprints. She was less than 30 yards from the edge of our property and she had all her tags on but they never stopped and they never called. What upsets me the most was she was almost home and looking at her footprints in the dirt alongside the road they almost had to be trying to hit her. My pal Ryan, one of the two who went out to get her, helped me bury her out in front of the barn where she and my other dog Zeke liked to lie in the sun. Ryan said, he brought her to this farm, he just thought it was right that he help finish getting her where she was going. Joy is going to be very missed, much loved, and not forgotten."



Hovawart Art ze Stareho dvora


Hovawart Art ze Stareho dvora


Hovawart Art ze Stareho dvora


Hofmeester Hovawarts presents Trustenberg Ube de Hofmeester


This is Crezidahof Lord Longfellow (born March 26, 1997) and Nordwart Yacco (born August 31, 1990) from Vantaa, Finland. Photo courtesy of Suski's Hovawart Site


This is a blond Hovawart named Bonnie. She is a 4year-old female Hovawart. She is 29.5" tall (75 cm) and weighs about 120 pounds (54 kg).


Vincent II dei Guardiani della Foresta Nera, the young Hovawart from Valenza, Italy

Vincent II dei Guardiani della Foresta Nera the young Hovawart from Valenza, Italy

Vincent II dei Guardiani della Foresta Nera, the young Hovawart from Valenza, Italy

Vincent II dei Guardiani della Foresta Nera the young Hovawart from Valenza, Italy

Vincent II dei Guardiani della Foresta Nera, the young Hovawart from Valenza, Italy

Vincent II dei Guardiani della Foresta Nera the young Hovawart from Valenza, Italy

Phönix von der Rabenleithe, the Hovawart puppy

Phonix von der Rabenleithe the Hovawart puppy

Phönix von der Rabenleithe, the Hovawart at about 4 years old

Phonix von der Rabenleithe the Hovawart at about 4 years old