A Pup of All Trades: The Hovawart Dog Breed

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image of hovawart dog

The Hovawart dog breed has its origins in Germany. Records of this working dog breed go as far back as the 13th century. Bred as a livestock and property guardian, the Hovawart has a long list of attributes and is trainable to excel in almost all canine disciplines. Truly a jack of all trades! This excellent family dog is loyal to the end.

The History of the Hovawart Dog Breed

This working dog breed has been around since medieval times. The name originates from Middle High German. Hova = Hof = farm or yard + wart = Wächter = watchman. 

With time, the breed almost died out. After the 2nd world war, a zoologist, K Konig, started breeding programs to revive this breed. German farm dogs from the Black Forest region were crossed with Newfoundlands, German Shepherds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, the Hungarian Kuvasz, and the African Hunting Dog. The German Kennel Club gave the Hovawart dog breed official recognition in 1937.

Their Appearance

The Hovawart breed of dog looks like a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Bernese Mountain Dog! What more could you ask for?

This good-looking dog is of medium to large size. The balanced body is longer than the dog is tall. Their front legs are straight. Their hindquarters are strong and well-muscled. These powerful shepherd dogs have strong, round, and compact paws.

Their eyes are oval and medium to dark brown in color. Hovawart ears are triangular with a slightly rounded tip. They are set high and wide apart on the head.

beautiful hovawart sitting down

How Big Do They Get?

The Hovawart is a large breed dog. They weigh between 55 – 90 pounds (25 – 51 kg). Their hight, at the shoulder, is between 23 and 28 inches (58 – 70 cm).

Due to their large size, these working dogs only achieve physical maturity at about two years of age. Keep this in mind when planning their exercise and training regimes. You don’t want to overdo it too early, because this can cause long term damage that will lead to major discomfort later in life.

The Beautiful Coats and Colors of Hovawart Dogs 

The Hovawart has a long-haired coat. The slightly wavy coat is dense but lies flat against the body. To add to their majesty, the hairs on the chest, belly, tail, and at the back of the legs are longer. These handsome dogs come in three coat colors: black, black and gold, or blond.

Their Grooming Requirements

They have a long-haired coat, usually with very little undercoat. Therefore, this dog breed is fairly low maintenance when it comes to brushing requirements. During seasonal shedding, dog owners should groom their Hovawart once or twice a week. Other than that, the occasional brush should keep your pooch in top condition.

Hovawarts have strong and fast-growing nails. Consequently, trim nails regularly to avoid impaction and discomfort. Use a nail clipper or nail file to keep your pet’s nails from growing too long and splitting and cracking.

Temperament and Personality of These Watch Dogs

This working dog is not recommended for first-time dog owners or apartment dwellers. Hovawarts need plenty of mental stimulation. Similarly, they require loads of space to run and play. If you live in an enclosed yard, you should take your Hovawart for long walks daily. These dogs love to hike and explore.

They have a wonderful temperament and suit well to families with children and other animals. However, they do need to be trained from an early age. Likewise, they need a good deal of attention and time investment from their owners and family members.

The Hovawart is a good watchdog but will back off if it sees that family members do not regard the newcomer as a potential threat. They are strongly attached to their families. As a result, they should have access to the family for most of the day and not be relegated to a kennel outside.

adorable hovawart puppy lying down

Trainability: Working Hovawarts are Happy Hovawarts

These magnificent dogs were originally intended as guardians of livestock and property. Not only are they good-looking, but they are intelligent, alert, obedient, faithful, trustworthy, affectionate, and playful too. With a side of stubbornness! These multi-faceted, capable dogs train for search and rescue, as therapy dogs, for obedience, agility, flyball, and as service dogs. Certainly, there is very little that this breed of dog cannot do!

Classified as working dogs, the Hovawarts need plenty of mental stimulation. A bored Hovawart will get creative about what it keeps itself busy with. Perhaps not always in line with your expectations!

To prevent this from happening make sure to start obedience training and socialization early on. Hovawarts do not respond well to harsh discipline. Positive reinforcement training from a confident and consequent dog owner is the winning combination! The Hovawart dog is extremely faithful but looks for a leader that they can trust and respect.

How Long Do They Live?

Of the large breed dogs, the Hovawarts have the longest life span. You can expect a healthy Hovawart to live for 10 to 14 years!

Potential Health Concerns to Be Aware of

Because of interbreeding and overbreeding, several purebred dog breeds have developed a stigma of being riddled with genetic health conditions. Thanks to very careful breeding and strict control of breeding stock, this is a very healthy breed of dog. In the U.S, hip dysplasia rates for Hovawarts are less than 5 %!

Hovawart Puppies for Sale!

A healthy dam can have a litter of 6 – 8 puppies. A litter can be made up of puppies of all three of the different Hovawart colors. In other words, you can get a mixture of black, black and gold, and blond puppies in one litter.

Have a look at the American Kennel Club site for a list of registered breeders.

How Much Does a Hovawart Puppy Cost?

At present there are only just over 400 registered Hovawarts in the U.S. Because of this, as well as the high cost of breeding healthy, well-rounded puppies, the cost of a puppy can be quite high. For Hovawart puppies, expect to pay anything between $ 1000 and $ 2500.

Find a Responsible Breeder!

With any dog breed chosen, it is always important to do your due diligence when it comes to selecting the breeder that you will buy your puppy from:

  • Are they willing and able to answer all your questions about the breed and their breeding stock?
  • Is the premises clean, hygienic, and conducive to raising an emotionally well-balanced pup?

two hovawart dogs playing near water

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Where to Find a Hovawart Rescue Group

As always, it is better to adopt a dog looking for a second chance at the life that they deserve. Have a look online for Hovawart rescue groups. Or, get in touch with your local vet or animal shelter to find out about Hovawart rescues.

Common Questions About Hovawart Dogs

How much is a Hovawart puppy? 

Are Hovawarts aggressive?

Is the Hovawart a good family dog?

Is the Hovawart a type of shepherd dog?

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