UKC Guardian Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Popular in Germany, but virtually unknown in the United States, the Hovawart is a versatile, intelligent breed. Though written evidence of the existence of the “Hofewart” goes back to the 1200s, the breed became nearly extinct and was reconstructed in the 1920s by Kurt Konig. Konig’s efforts were successful, and the Hovawart was recognized by the German Kennel Club in 1937. The Hovawart is a fine watchdog and excellent family companion, and excels in Schutzhund and tracking. There are only about 100 Hovawarts in the United States.


The Hovawart is a large, robust dog, looking somewhat like a Golden Retriever with fairly low-set triangular pendant ears. There is feathering on the chest, legs, undersides, and tail. The body is slightly longer than tall with a straight back and a gently sloping croup. The tail hangs past the hocks and is covered with hair. The head is powerful with a rounded forehead. The muzzle is never longer than the skull. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite (level bites are accepted but not preferred). The eyes are dark. The single dense coat comes in blonde, black, or black and tan, with certain markings specified in the standard.

Key Facts

  • Height:  26 to 28 in. (male); 24 to 27 in. (female)
  • Size:  Large
  • Weight:  80 to 100 lbs. (male); 60 to 80 lbs. (female)
  • Availability:  Very difficult to find
  • Talents:  Tracking, watchdog, search and rescue, agility, obedience, police work, guarding, and Schutzhund


A very healthy breed, the Hovawart is not predisposed to any specific genetic diseases. While hip dysplasia is present in the breed, stringent breeding practices have kept this debilitating disease to a minimum. Lives about 11 to 12 years. Likes backpacking and hiking.


Calm at home, and energetic outdoors. Intelligent and highly trainable. Brave and alert. Puppylike for many years. Protective. Affectionate. Unneutered males can be quite a challenge to handle. This dominant breed needs a firm, experienced master. Hovawarts are generally good with other family dogs, especially when they are raised with them from puppyhood. Intact males as well as females can show aggressive tendencies toward dogs of the same sex and, on occasion, toward the opposite sex. Great care should be taken if housing your Hovawart with small family pets such as cats and birds. Fine with children when well-socialized with them as a puppy.


  • Children:  Excellent with children
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Easy to train
  • Independence:  Fairly independent
  • Dominance:  High
  • Other Pets:  May be aggressive with same-sex dogs; do not trust with non-canine pets
  • Combativeness:  Can be a bit dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Average barker
  • Indoors:  Moderately active indoors
  • Owner:  Not recommended for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Feathered coat
  • Shedding:  Average shedder
  • Exercise:  Needs lots of exercise
  • Jogging:  A good jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Not recommended for apartments
  • Outdoor Space:  Best with at least an average-size yard
  • Climate:  Best in cooler climates
  • Longevity:  Average (10 to 12 years)

Useful Links

UKC® Hovawart Breed Standard


Hovawart Breed Club



Search for a Breeder


Rescue Organizations


Books about the Hovawart


Hovawart Gifts