Other names: Hovie
This large, hairy German is kind-hearted, often to the extent of heroism. Originating as a guard dog, the Hovie has gone on to star in search-and-rescue expeditions as well as winning the hearts of many a family – to whom she will always be devoted. Clever, fun, and hard-working when required, the Hovie is the veritable picture of a suburban family dog, her tousled blonde, black and tan, or black fur the stuff of many a German camping trip snapshot, a Teutonic take on the Labrador Retriever.
Key facts about the Hovawart
Origins and history
The original Hovawart goes back at least as far as the Middle Ages, when one heroic tale tells of a Lord’s son being dragged to safety by an injured Hovawart during a raid on the castle. The breed became almost sacred after that, but declined over the centuries so that it had to be rebuilt between the world wars, with Alsatians, Newfoundlands, and Leonbergers among the genetic stock mixed into the Hovawart soup. The second world war almost did for her again, since the Nazis put them to work even as breeding programs became unfeasible. Nevertheless she survived, has gone international, and now the breed flourishes.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 2 - Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs
Section 2 : Molossian type
Physical characteristics of the Hovawart
Female : Between 23 and 26 in
Male : Between 25 and 28 in
Female : Between 55 and 77 lb
Male : Between 55 and 77 lb
Black and gold/tan, black, or blond.
Type of coat
A strong, wavy, close, dense overcoat, with a little undercoat.
Coming off somewhere between a Newfoundland and a Labrador Retriever, this mid-large sized dog is a handful of fun. Her haircut may be sloppy, but it covers a strong body leading to an impactful head, with tight skin and an easy-going, suburban sort of a facial expression. Her ears are fabulous, loosely fitting her skull so that they seem to expand its breadth; at the other end, muscular legs prop up a bushy tail whose angle denotes the dog’s mood.
Good to know
These dogs often find work as therapists due to their intelligence and sensitivity.
She is affectionate and family-oriented.
She’s very playful and will soon tune into the family sense of humour.
If well exercised, she will remain calm in the house. Outside, she is level-headed but ready for action.
Highly so. She is a versatile dog with many abilities.
No, although some say she has hunting dog in her heritage. She’s good at search and rescue, though.
Fearful / wary of strangers
She is likely to be shy rather than aggressive towards strangers. She’s a warm host, unless she detects a threat.
Independence is within her capacity but she needs regular contact with humans.
Behaviour of the Hovawart
She can get by for an hour or two by herself if exercised beforehand.
Easy to train / obedience
She is very intelligent and quick to learn but her manners could go awry if training isn’t prioritized from a young age.
Her loud and authoritative bark is more likely to be a benefit than a problem as the Hovawart makes an excellent watchdog.