The Hovawart, also sometimes called the “Hovie”, originates from the Black Forest region of Germany. This breed dates back to medieval times. It was used as a guard dog, to watch over sheep and just as a general working dog. With the introduction of the German Shepherd, the popularity of this breed declined rather a lot, to the point where they were facing extinction. However, thanks to the efforts of Kurt Friedrich Koenig, a breeding program was started and by 1922 the first Hovawart litter was entered into the German Breeding Directory.
As was often the case, the Second World War saw the breed used for military purposes and it was nearly wiped out again. Today, the Hovawart is mainly kept as a pet, but some dogs still work and many are used by search and rescue organisations.
Hovawarts are a loyal and affectionate breed who are best suited to living with people, rather than kennels. They’ll like your company, but won’t always be pestering you to play with them like some breeds do. They are a good family dog and will be fine with children if raised with them. They can be wary of strangers, but are rarely aggressive unless provoked. They can be protective of you, but they’ll be fine if you assure them that everything is ok.
If properly socialised from a young age, the Hovie will be good with all other pets and dogs. Unneutered males may sometimes try to dominate other dogs.
This is an intelligent breed that will need constant training. They are devoted to their owners which helps make training quite straight forward. This being said, they will still need a firm, loving hand in order to get the best results. These dogs can become bored with repetition and dislike harsh words or actions. Hovies have a keen nose for tracking and can be trained to a high degree. Competitions such as agility, tracking, herding and search and rescue will all thoroughly stimulate the dog.
These dogs are active and will need a fair amount of daily exercise each day. They can make good jogging partners, but will be happier if allowed to run free. Recall is rarely a problem with this breed as they are obedient. They enjoy running, jumping and just exploring their surroundings, but they rarely wander too far from their owner. If you enjoy long weekend hikes then this is the perfect breed for you.
If given the right amount of exercise, Hovies will be fine in the house.
Their coat needs brushing a couple of times a week to remove dead hair, but is quite low maintenance. More brushing is needed when they are moulting.
These are hardy dogs, bred to cope with most weather conditions. They do seem to prefer cooler climates and may seek a cool spot to sleep in if they get too hot.
Hovawarts are calm and obedient dogs. They make good family dogs and form tight bonds with their family members. They are fine with children and are tolerant of other household pets. These are intelligent dogs who thrive in training and mental stimulation. They can be disinterested or wary of strangers, and they make good watchdogs.
Hovawarts are prone to canine hip dysplasia (CHD) and thyroid problems.
- Status: Common
- Life Expectancy: 11 - 14 years
- Weight: 66 - 110 lbs
- Height: 23 - 28"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Medium - Double
- Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
- Town or Country: Either
- Minimum Home Size: Large House
- Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
- Breed Type: Working Dog
- Size: Large
- Energy Level: High
- Exercise Required: Over 2 hours