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Hovawart Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Personality & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Hovawart Dog

Height: 22–28 inches
Weight: 55–90 pounds
Lifespan: 10–14 years
Colors: Golden, blonde, black and gold, black
Suitable for: Rural living, farm living, outdoor enthusiasts, active families, experienced dog owners
Temperament: Devoted, hardworking, faithful, reserved with strangers, intelligent, protective

If there were three words to describe Hovawarts, those words would be devoted, protective, and intelligent. Hovawarts are highly devoted to their jobs, whether it’s watching the house or herding livestock. Originating in Germany as guarding and working farm dogs, they’re instinctively protective of their families. They’re incredibly intelligent dogs that will make decisions for themselves, lest you not do it for them. While they’re bred for work and guarding, their loyalty and moderate energy levels make them potential family dogs.

If you’re looking into getting a Hovawart Puppy, read on to see if this dedicated farm dog is right for you:

Divider 1Hovawart Puppies

Hovawart puppy running
Photo Credit: Michal Ninger, Shutterstock

Hovawarts are, first and foremost, devoted to their families, and praised for their natural wariness of strangers. They thrive off of active living, whether it’s on a farm or playing with the kids for hours on end. Hovawarts love to spend lots of time with their favorite people, which can be a lot for new dog owners. Though they require a large chunk of your day, they’ll pay you back in unyielding loyalty that can’t be trained or taught.

These dogs are an excellent choice for active families that can provide plenty of space for their dog to run around in. They will need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to burn all of their energy off. If you’re a first-time dog owner, the Hovawart might not be ideal.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Hovawart

1. Golden Hovawarts are sometimes mistaken for Golden Retrievers

Golden-coated Hovawarts are shockingly similar in appearance to Golden Retrievers, sometimes being mistaken for the latter. Despite looking like Golden Retrievers, Hovawarts are not as easygoing as Goldens are. The best way to tell them apart is by height, with the Hovawart usually being the taller of the two.

2. Hovawarts are not fully recognized by the American Kennel Club

While Hovawarts have distinct bloodlines and breed standards, the American Kennel Club (AKC) hasn’t fully recognized them as a breed quite yet. They’re listed under the Foundation Stock Service, a program designed to keep breeding records for newly developed breeds. Even though Hovawarts have a relatively long history, the FSS is the first step to breed recognition.

3. The name Hovawart means “farm-watcher” or “yard-watcher”

Hovawarts are true to their name, which means “Farm-watcher” or “yard-water” in older forms of the German language. These dogs love to keep the homestead safe with their watchful eyes, living up to their namesake.

Hovawart closeup
Photo Credit: Pikist

Temperament & Intelligence of the Hovawart 🧠

Hovawarts are, first and foremost, devoted to their families, and praised for their natural wariness of strangers. They thrive off of active living, whether it’s on a farm or playing with the kids for hours on end. Hovawarts love to spend lots of time with their favorite people, which can be a lot for new dog owners. Though they require a large chunk of your day, they’ll pay you back in unyielding loyalty that can’t be trained or taught.

Hovawarts are highly intelligent dogs with powerful noses, which can lead them into trouble if left to their own devices. Like with most working breeds, Hovawarts need a strong leader to follow and a sense of responsibility to keep them motivated. While they may seem like easygoing dogs, Hovawarts can be strong-willed and may test their place in the household.

Although they were originally bred for farming, Hovawarts have playful sides that make them great for busy and active families. Hovawarts should have an area to scan and roam the property to fulfill their built-in guarding duties, but a fence is highly recommended as they’re prone to following their noses. They love to run around and play for hours, while also keeping a watchful eye on the property.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Yes! Hovawarts can be great family dogs if their needs are met. These dogs do require more than the average breed, but they’re entirely devoted to their families in return. Hovawarts are especially great for families that spend a lot of time outside and will go hiking or camping with ease. They’re also quite gentle and patient, so they’re generally considered safe around smaller children with supervision.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Yes, Hovawarts are generally able to get along with other pets. However, they do best when they’re raised with other pets to create established bonds. Smaller animals like bunnies or other prey animals may be too much to resist, though. We recommend introducing your pets slowly to see how they interact.

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Hovawart:

Hovawart chilling
Photo Credit: Pikist

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Hovawarts are energetic dogs that require nutrient-packed foods to support their activity levels. It’s crucial that they eat enough vitamins and minerals to maintain their health and longevity. We recommend feeding your Hovawart a high-quality dry dog kibble with around 20–25% crude protein. If your Hovawart will be a working companion, we recommend trying a kibble that is formulated for working dogs.

Exercise 🐕

Hovawarts have tons of energy that can seem endless and it’s crucial that they’re given a wide variety of outlets. At a bare minimum, expect to take your Hovawart on a few long walks a day plus some time to roam off-leash in a fenced-in area. Usually, this isn’t enough, and they’ll need additional exercises to burn off their energy. Since they’re agile and athletic, Hovawarts can do quite well in canine sports and activities like dock jumping and agility.

Since Hovawarts are known for their intelligence, they’ll need to exercise their minds as well. Hiding treats around the property is a great way to encourage their foraging instincts while also building up their confidence. Another great activity for mental stimulation is with a puzzle toy, but your Hovawart may figure it out too quickly.

Training 🦮

Hovawarts require a confident and consistent leader to follow, but they’re sensitive to harsh training methods. They’re highly trainable dogs, but they can become stubborn or independent if given the chance. Positive reinforcement training with high-value rewards—squeak toys, tasty treats, tennis balls—is recommended, but the emphasis should be on consistency with this breed.

Because of their work-like mentality, a professional dog trainer is highly recommended for those new to owning Hovawarts. On the flip side, Hovawarts can be star students in obedience and training. If given the ability to succeed, Hovawarts have proven to be extremely versatile dogs.

Group obedience classes can be a great way to socialize with humans and other dogs, especially for Hovawart puppies that haven’t grown into their suspicions yet. Since they’re wary of strangers, early socialization is a must to prevent them from becoming overprotective.

Hovawart black
Image Credit: birgl, Pixabay

Grooming ✂️

Grooming your Hovawart is important since their double-layered coats are long and can snarl easily. They’ll need to be brushed at least once every two to three days to remove matted fur and debris, but this will help reduce some shedding. An occasional bath is fine every once in a while, but over-bathing can lead to dry, itchy skin. Your Hovawart will also need to have its nails trimmed every 3 to 4 weeks or as needed, which should be done by a professional until you’re comfortable doing it at home.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Hovawarts are known for being very hardy, healthy dogs that suffer from very few health conditions. This is due to extremely careful and selective breeding since these dogs need to be in prime condition to work in the fields. Most of the health problems listed are common with other large dogs, so the chances of any inherited conditions are on the lower end. Here are the most common health conditions of Hovawarts:

Minor Conditions
  • Bloat/Volvulus
  • Ear Infections
Serious Conditions
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism

Male vs Female

Except for a notable size difference between male and female Hovawarts, with males being taller and heavier, there aren’t any real noticeable temperament or intellectual differences between the two. The choice of male or female is a personal preference.

Divider 3Final Thoughts

Hovawarts may not be common, but their workability and playfulness have made them suitable for families and farmers alike. These dogs have strong familial ties that are truly unbreakable, with natural guarding instincts to protect the house and land. Though they can be a handful for inexperienced dog handlers, Hovawarts are fast learners who thrive off of a firm leader.

If you’ve got the time and space for a moderate-to-high energy dog that has a worker’s mentality, a Hovawart will become your new best friend.

Featured Image Credit: Faigl.ladislav, Blankenfelde, Wikimedia Commons

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