Hovawart: character, habits and advice for care and training

L’Hovawart is a German watchdog with very ancient origins. Strong, balanced and very loyal to his social group, he is often used today as a guard and protection dog, and also as a rescue and search dog. Let’s find out more about his character and many tips to take care of him.

Hovawart, the guard dog with ancient Germanic origins

Hovawart: the origins

Dog breed with ancient Germanic origins, highly esteemed and cited in the legal texts of the medieval era. Having risked extinction after World War I, the breed was rescued by scientist and cynologist KFKöning. The scholar, in fact, “rebuilt” the Hovawart using breeds such as the Newfoundlandthe German Shepherd and the Leonbergerall dogs having physical and aptitude characteristics very similar to the ancient Hovawart.


The name Hovawart derives from the language spoken during the High Middle Ages. Hova meant “court” while wart “Guardian”. The Hovawart, in addition to being the guardian of the house, was also the protector of the herds and the faithful companion of man during the wild boar hunt.

The FCI officially recognized the breed in 1955.

Two examples of Howavart: the hair can be dark blond or black with blond spots.

Hovawart: physical characteristics

The Hovawart is a medium sized dog with a slightly elongated shape.

Let’s see more specifically what the various parts of the body look like.

  • body size: Muscular and with strong bone
  • Skull: powerful, with a broad and rounded forehead
  • Eyes: oval in shape and color that follows that of the coat
  • Ears: triangular in shape, they are well attached at the top and well spaced apart. They go to lean a little on the cheeks
  • Lip: tight and clean
  • Teeth: robust with scissor bite
  • Tail: of length that exceeds the hock, it is very hairy and in any case does not touch the ground
  • Fur: long and slightly wavy
  • Color: black, black and tan, black with white or dark blonde markings


Here is what the average height at the withers is:

  • males : from 63 to 70 cm
  • females: 58 to 65 cm

Medium weight

Between 25 and 35 kilograms for both males and females.



Hovawart, character

He is a very balanced and sociable dog. Reserved and non-aggressive, he binds deeply to his master and is very sensitive, constantly looking for a sincere relationship of trust with the man.

If well bred, it easily adapts to family life. With his owners he is affectionate and very protective. He is very patient with children. Generally it has no problems living with other animals already present in the house. It should not be left alone for long periods.

Training and uses

Raising the Hovawart requires time, patience and perseverance.

It is a guard dog. For this reason, it is currently often used by the German police. In Switzerland it is used as a rescue and avalanche dog, while in France and Germany as a guide dog for the blind. Finally, in the Northern Countries it is an excellent sled dog.

In addition, it is also often used as a defense dog, in civil service, to search for people and to carry out drug checks and military use.

Two splendid specimens of female Hovawart.

Hovawart, health and pathologies

Although it is a rustic and robust dog, it suffers from those problems that are quite common in large dogs. In particular, the most frequent diseases are hip dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy.

Hovawart, care

It is a dog that needs to regularly carry out adequate physical and even psychic activity.

Despite the undercoat, it does not suffer from cold or bad weather. Instead, it can suffer from the heat. For this, it is best not to make him carry out too heavy activities during the hottest periods.

It should be brushed regularly especially during the moulting period. It also requires a grooming weekly, to be associated with an accurate check of eyes, teeth and ears.


Because of the tendency to gain weight, you have to devote a lot of time to the outdoors and the right physical exercise. For this type of dog, two meals a day may be sufficient, based on raw meat, vegetables and carbohydrates, or high quality kibble.

The portions of food must be adapted to the dog’s morphology but, above all, to its daily lifestyle. Avoid all snacks and overabundant nutrition compared to the work that the dog actually does.

A dog with an ancient history, all to be known.

How long does a Hovawart live?

This type of dog has an average lifespan of between 10 and 12 years.

How much does a Hovawart dog cost?

The cost of a copy is between 1,000 and 1,300 $. It is advisable to contact certified breeders and expert breeders of this breed who have tested their breeding stock and who are able to provide guarantees regarding the excellent state of health and well-being of the specimen you intend to purchase.

Maintenance costs

Allow for excellent quality food and a few sessions by the professional groomer considering the size of the dog. The possible enrollment in an educational work camp should also be taken into account.

Hovawart, breeding

It is not a very common dog in Italy but, lately, its admirers are increasing. It is estimated that, currently, 200 puppies are born every year, shared among a dozen breeders. The main farms are concentrated in Northern Italy. There are a couple of examples in the province of Cremona where Dellagiolina is a very active breeding, while near Ferrara there is the Delizie D’Este breeding, recognized by ENCI.

Other insights

Learn all about the various breeds of shepherd dogs:

Below you will find other articles on the subject that may interest you:

Hovawart: character, habits and advice for care and training

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