Fast Facts

Country of Origin:Germany
AKC Group:Rare
UKC Group:Guardian
Use today:Watchdog, livestock guardian, obedience, agility, family and working companion
Life Span:12 to 15 years
Color:Black, blond or black and tan.
Coat:Long, dense and close-lying with little undercoat
Grooming:Brush daily
Size:Large Dog Breed
Height:Males, 25 to 27.5 inches; females, 23 to 25.5 inches.
Weight:Most adults average between 60 to 90 pounds

Reproductions of dogs named Hofewart have been found in documents and pictures dating back to the 13th century. The dog's name means "estate dog" or "farmyard warden" and they were used as courtyard guards. Resurrectionists offer the explanation that old-type dogs survived on isolated farms and in remote areas of the Harz and Black Forest. The breed was formally recognized by the German Kennel Club (VDH) in 1937 only to be threatened a few years later by World War II. Though still rare, the breed is firmly established in Germany and the 1980s saw the Hovawart introduced to the United States. Though they are intelligent and responsive, Hovawarts are late bloomers and need patience in training as they tend to retain their puppy qualities longer than other breeds. Bred to protect home and family, they are natural guardians and require a firm hand and a show of dominance from their owners. Lacking any tendencies toward hunting, quiet in temperament and requiring minimal care, Hovawarts make good housedogs.


The Hard Working Hovawart

Sarah Christie


In German, Hovawart means "watchman of the farm." In the United States, it means loyalty, power and reliability. This rare, elegant dog breed is wonderfully versatile -- easily trained for guarding, tracking, search and rescue, and livestock work.

As pet dogs, Hovawarts are as docile as Golden Retrievers -- a trait likely derived from Newfoundland ancestors -- and offer the alertness and protective instincts of a German Shepherd Dog, another of the Hovawart 's ancestors. Similar to the German Shepherd Dog in size and temperament, the Hovawart dotes on the family but tends to be a one-person dog.

"They are devoted, easy to train. Very observant and always with you," says Christa Wendblandt, a fancier in Vallejo, Calif.

In 1922, creative German dog fanciers collaborated to re-create the sturdy, powerful, multipurpose working dogs featured in paintings depicting village life in the Middle Ages. A thorough search of remote German valleys turned up several dogs that fit the type. They were crossed with German Shepherd Dogs, Kuvaszoks, Newfoundlands and Leonbergers. In 1937, after more than 10 years of selective breeding, the Federation Cynologique Internationale recognized the Hovawart as a dog breed.

Hovawart  puppies are playful and extremely interested in their environment. Adults are kind and self-confident. Hovawart  handlers report a good nose for tracking and an impressive ability to handle the stress of advanced training.

This active dog breed needs long walks or runs and stimulating activities every day.

-More About Hovawarts-

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