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The Hovawart is a classic example of the diligence of German dog breeding 100 years ago. In an attempt to re-create the great estate guarding dog of the Middle Ages, a group of dedicated breeders used selected farm dogs acquired in the Black Forest and Hartz mountain regions of Germany, and perhaps the Hungarian Kuvasz, German Shepherd, and Newfoundland, to produce this elegant worker. The Hovawart is popular in Germany. It is a versatile, intelligent breed. Written evidence of the existence of the "Hofewart," an estate guard dog, is first mentioned in Eike von Repgow's Sachsenspiegel. In the 1200's the breed became nearly extinct and was reconstructed in the 1920's by Kurt Konig. Konig's efforts were successful, and the Hovawart was recognized by the German Kennel Club in 1937. Records from the 1400's illustrate and describe this breed tracking robbers. The Hovawart is a fine watchdog, excellent family companion, and excels in schutzhund, search & rescue and tracking.



The Hovawart is a large, robust, but not heavy dog, looking somewhat like a Golden Retriever. It has a strong, deep-throated bark. The pendant ears are fairly low-set and triangular. There is feathering on the chest, legs, undersides and tail. The body is slightly longer than tall with a straight back and gentle slopping croup. The well-feathered tail is carried low and hangs past the hocks. The head is powerful with a rounded forehead. The muzzle is never longer than the skull. The teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite, (scissors is preferred by breeders). The eyes are dark. The single, dense, long-haired, wavy coat lies flat. It comes in blonde, black, or black & tan, with certain markings specified in the standard. The color of the eyes, nose, and nails are harmonious with the coat.



The Hovawart is calm at home, but energetic outdoors. Determined, obedient, and affectionate, especially towards its master. Loyal to the family but with the tendency to become strictly devoted to one person in the family. Excellent with children when they are well-socialized with them from puppyhood. Remaining playful and puppy-like in its old age. Reserved with strangers but is a pleasant family dog. Good natured, even-tempered and demanding of itself. Brave, this 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. Hovawart have good scenting noses. Intelligent and highly trainable, it learns quickly what you expect of it. The best results are achieved with extremely consistent, loving and well-balanced training. Unneutered males can be quite a challenge to handle. This dominant breed needs a firm, experienced master. May be aggressive with same sex dogs but does well with non-canine pets in the household if it is socialized with them from puppyhood. Some strains are prone to fear biting, and others may be rather timid. Hovawarts are ideally suited for tracking, avalanche rescue, watchdogging, and defense situations.


Health Problems

This is a very healthy breed. However an underactive thyroid is wide spread in European lines. Hip dysplasia is present in the breed; however, stringent breeding practices have kept this debilitating disease to a minimum.


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. It is an outstanding watchdog, especially for stables, fields, and country houses.



The Hovawart will adapt itself to the circumstances. Regular long walks and chances to run and play off the lead will be greatly enjoyed and will keep it healthy. They like to hike and go backpacking. It has the ability to run easily over difficult terrain. They are highly devoted and have a strong sense of territory and will not readily desert your property.



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.



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