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

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Intelligent

Size :

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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

FCI Group

Group 2 - Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs


Section 2 : Molossian type

Physical characteristics of the Hovawart

  • Hovawart

    Adult size

    Female : Between 23 and 26 in

    Male : Between 25 and 28 in


    Female : Between 55 and 77 lb

    Male : Between 55 and 77 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    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.


    • 100%


      She is affectionate and family-oriented.

    • 100%


      She’s very playful and will soon tune into the family sense of humour.

    • 66%


      If well exercised, she will remain calm in the house. Outside, she is level-headed but ready for action.

    • 100%


      Highly so. She is a versatile dog with many abilities.

    • 33%


      No, although some say she has hunting dog in her heritage. She’s good at search and rescue, though.

    • 66%

      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.

    • 66%


      Independence is within her capacity but she needs regular contact with humans.

      Behaviour of the Hovawart

      • 66%

        Tolerates solitude

        She can get by for an hour or two by herself if exercised beforehand.

      • 100%

        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.

      • 66%


        Her loud and authoritative bark is more likely to be a benefit than a problem as the Hovawart makes an excellent watchdog.

      • 33%

        Tendency to run away

        She is not noted as an escape artist.

      • 66%


        When not given enough exercise, the Hovawart may turn her mind – and her teeth – towards wanton acts of destruction. Otherwise, she is a patient dog.

      • 100%

        Greedy / Gluttony

        This can certainly be an issue with the Hovawart. She shouldn’t eat before exercise, as this would upset her stomach.

      • 100%

        Guard dog

        The Hovawart’s name means ‘guardian of the estates’ – she is protective and alert, sounds a loud bark, and although not aggressive her size can be ample dissuasion for burglars.

      • 66%

        First dog

        This breed is recommended for first-time owners who have the capacity to deal with her energy levels, since she’s a family-oriented and reliable dog.

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        • 66%

          Hovawart in a flat

          A countryside house with a garden is her ideal home, but she can adapt to an apartment and city life as long as she gets enough exercise outdoors.

        • 100%

          Need for exercise / Sporty

          The Hovawart requires at least one hour of proper walking/park-based exercise a day in addition to her three or four constitutional strolls. Physical and mental stimulation are very important for her well-being.

        • 33%

          Travelling / easy to transport

          You will need a car with a large boot and dog guard to transport this dog by motor vehicle. Other means of transport may be a challenge due to her size.


          • 66%

            Hovawart and cats

            She should be good around cats as long as she is accustomed to their company from puppyhood.

          • 66%

            Hovawart and dogs

            She can be friendly and playful with other dogs but it is important to give her lots of ‘other dog time’ while she’s still a puppy.

          • 66%

            Hovawart and children

            This dog is a dream with respectful children since she’s loving and playful. 

          • 33%

            Hovawart and the elderly

            Her power and active needs are not compatible with people of a certain age.



            We do not have enough data to set an average price, but you can expect to pay upwards of £600 for a well-bred puppy. Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £70 to £110 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.


            She doesn’t require much maintenance apart from brushing to avoid knots.


            She sheds seasonally, when daily brushing is essential.

            Nutrition of the Hovawart

            The Hovawart’s diet should be formulated or otherwise designed to support the health and growth of a large breed.

            Health of the Hovawart

            Life expectancy

            The Hovawart is a hardy, healthy dog with an average life expectancy of 13 years.

            Strong / robust

            This dog is fairly durable although she should not be overworked, especially as a puppy, as she may suffer size-related bone, joint, and muscle injuries.

            Withstand heat

            The Hovawart is not especially well prepared for hot weather and should be offered plenty of shade and fresh water.

            Withstand cold

            The Hovawart likes cool climates and is reasonably hardy in very cold weather.

            Tendency to put on weight

            This dog may pile on the pounds if under-exercised.

            Common illnesses

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