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Form and Function

The Hovawart is a large, strong and powerful working dog primarily used as a guardian of livestock and property. The breed is well known for its versatility and keen scent ability, positioning him as a suitable guard, watch, tracking and rescue dog, not to mention a devoted family companion. He is recognized for his powerful head, triangular drop ears, deep chest, heavy boning, and well-balanced body that’s longer than it is tall. His long, slightly wavy coat can be black, blond or black-and-gold.


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Breed Traits

Energy Level

3 out of 5

Exercise Requirements

4 out of 5


3 out of 5

Affection Level

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Dogs

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Other Pets

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Strangers

2 out of 5


5 out of 5

Ease of Training

2 out of 5

Grooming Requirements

2 out of 5

Heat Sensitivity

2 out of 5


2 out of 5

Breed Attributes




65 to 90 pounds


25 to 27 ½ inches (male), 23 to 25 ½ inches (female)


Guardian (UKC), Foundation Stock Service (AKC)

Area of Origin


Date of Origin



An old German working breed, the Hovawart is primarily used as a yard and farm watchdog. His name originated in the old German language called Middle High German, in which “Hova,” or “Hof,” means yard or farm, and “wart,” or “Wächter,” translates to watchman. The Hovawart nearly became extinct in the early 20th century, but was restored by cross-breedings of German Shepherd Dogs, Newfoundlands, Leonbergers and other similar breeds until the original working type was attained. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale accepted the Hovawart in 1937. The breed was almost lost again during World War II, but was again revived due to various breeding groups’ efforts to sustain the stringent breeding regulations of these hardworking dogs. The Hovawart has been recognized by the United Kennel Club as a member of its Guardian Dog Group since 1996 and recorded with the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service since 2010.


Intelligent and naturally protective, the Hovawart thrives on having a job to do, whether guarding the home or livestock, or participating in search and rescue organizations, therapy dog activities, obedience or agility trials, flyball, or service dog training. Kind and even-tempered, the Hovawart bonds closely with his human family. He should be properly trained and socialized from puppyhood. Because the breed requires a substantial amount of time and attention from his master, the Hovawart is not recommended for rookie dog owners.


Besides the occasional bath and brushing, the Hovawart doesn’t require much grooming. His nails should be trimmed regularly, as should his ears be cleaned and teeth brushed. The Hovawart needs regular exercise — this large breed thrives on room to run, and his preferred exercise would be free play in a large fenced yard, as well as going on hikes and taking trips to the dog park. At minimum, he should be taken on a long walk, as well as several shorter walks, daily.


Major Concerns: N/A

Minor Concerns: N/A

Occasionally Seen: Hip dysplasia

Suggested Tests: Hips

Lifespan: 10 to 14 years


Note: While the characteristics mentioned here may frequently represent this breed, dogs are individuals whose personalities and appearances will vary. Please consult the adoption organization for details on a specific pet.

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