The words Dog Breed Info with the letter D inside of a black paw print

The Purebred Hovawart

Information and Pictures

Side view - A black and tan large-breed dog standing outside in grass with a purple cloth toy in front of her.

"Lucy is now 3 years old. She is a wonderful companion. Lucy remains protective, but is also social and fun."

Other Dog Breed Names
  • Hovie
  • heufe-vɑ-t

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 = American Kennel Club
  • ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
Side view - a furry, happy looking black dog standing in grass with its tail relaxed and hanging down next to him almost touching the ground. The dogs long tail is hanging out.

"Along with Lucy, Leo is now part of our family. At 9 months old he is very sweet and sensitive. He is already a great watchdog but is friendly once he sees we accept someone. Leo gets along great with Lucy as well as our 5 year old cat Bella."

Front view - a fuzzy black puppy with a little bit of white on its chest sitting on a wooden deck connected to a purple leash with its head tilted to the left.

Leo the Hovawart as a puppy at 4 months old

A black and tan Hovawart dog is standing outside in snow with grass sticking out. There is snow all over its face

"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.."

A black with tan Hovawart is sitting in snow. It has snow all over its snout

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."

A tan Hovawart is standing on a sidewalk looking to the left

Remy the Hovawart at 11 years old—"Remy is now 15 years old. He has lost most of his hearing, is losing his sight (especially in in left eye), and has bad hips. Yet he still tries walking up and down the stairs. He used to bark at passing people a lot but now that he has lost his hearing, he barks 5 minutes later when he smells them. He also barks when someone leaves the house now. He gets along with dogs smaller than him and is timid around those larger. He gets along with cats and other small animals. He gets along with children of all ages and is very loyal."

A golden orange colored Hovawart dog is standing in a body of water looking forward.

Gandhi de LaVillaRoy, photo courtesy of LaVillaRoy's Hovawart

Close up side view head shot - A black with tan Hovawart is wearing a red collar standing in grass looking to the right.

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

Close Up - A golden orange colored Hovawart dog is standing in snow.

Lancelo, photo courtesy of LaVillaRoy's Hovawart

A small black with tan Hovawart puppy is sitting on a red rug next to a wooden chair

Phonix von der Rabenleithe the Hovawart puppy

A large happy looking black with tan Hovawart dog is standing in grass. Its mouth is open and tongue is out

Phonix von der Rabenleithe the Hovawart at about 4 years old

See more examples of the Hovawart