Hovawart: Upbringing and Attitude

They are valued and valuable animals. In a written land law book of that time, the theft of such a yard dog is punished with a severe penalty.

Profile/Breed portrait Hovawart

  • FCI Standard No. 190
  • Size: Male: 63-70cm Female: 58-65cm
  • Weight: Male: 25-40kg Female: 25-40kg
  • Origin: Germany
  • self-confident dog, guard, and protective instinct
  • Late developer, not fully mature until age 3
  • Breeders at


Hovawart – the extremely comprehensive Middle High German dictionary by Gerhard Köbler equates the old term “hove” with “Hof”. This is where the big farm dogs live – have warts. “wart”, the old word for keeper or guard, describes their task as guardians of the farms. As early as 1869, a dog family similar to the current appearance of the Hovawart can be seen in a depiction by the animal painter Benno Adam.

It must have been a large type, similar to a shepherd dog, with a thick coat that protects against all weather conditions. In addition, he must have been quite frugal, have had a very close bond with humans, and have had a strong guard and protective instinct. A writer from that time tells of a wounded Hovawart who is said to have rescued a baby from a burning family castle.

At that time, the theft of a Hovawart was punished very severely, in addition, the thief had to return the dog to its owner.

Because their value as a watchdog was so highly valued, a nocturnal theft was punished more severely than one committed in daylight. With the decline of the German nobility of the Middle Ages, the original Hovawart also seems to have disappeared from the scene, as the breed was neither seen nor mentioned for centuries. In the late 19th century, the appearance of domestic and farm dogs took on the shape of today’s Hovawart.


The Hovawart has been listed as an independent breed since 1937 – before that, it seemed to have almost died out. From the beginning of the 1920s, some breeders reconstructed the medieval court dog with new breeds of similar dogs.

It was only at the beginning of the 20th century that the breed reappeared through the work of dog lover Kurt F. König. Since then, there has been much controversy over whether the 20th-century Hovawart is a “reinvented” or a rescued species.

Kurt F. König crossed farm dogs from the Harz Mountains and the Hessian Odenwald with a various shepherd and mountain dogs, Newfoundland dogs, and shaggy shepherd dogs. In addition, according to the supporters of the “reinvention theory”, Leonbergers, semi-feral African bush dogs, and Kuvasz were used.

This is said to be how this tough working breed, which resembles the original Hovawart, was created. However, since neither the Leonberger nor the German shepherd was established at that time, it is difficult to imagine that, with such extreme crossings, one could have managed to establish the old type and make pure breeding possible in such a short time.

However, supporters of a “rescue theory” believe that the original Hovawart survived on remote farms in the Harz mountains and the Black Forest and that Kurt F. König and his comrades-in-arms searched these areas and came up with dogs that had the desired appearance.

These dogs from the farms were the actual breeding material for the “new” Hovawart. Unfortunately, Kurt F. König refused to provide any information on this question throughout his life. In any case, the “new old” type was already well established in the first decades of the last century, in 1922 the first litter was registered and in 1937 the breed was recognized by the German Kennel Club.

Appearance and Use

The utility dog character is in the foreground and the breed is one of the German dog breeds with above-average health and a high life expectancy. The young working dog breed, assigned number 190 according to the FCI standard, is of medium size, strong build, and very varied.

The Hovawart can appear in three variations, even within a litter: black marks, blond and black. The Hovawart is excellently suited for all areas of dog sport, especially for obedience tests and protection dog training, but it can also be used very well for serious tasks in the police force or as a rescue and avalanche dog.


It remains easy to groom compared to that other long-haired dog breeds. To do this, it must be carefully brushed, especially on the neck, legs, and tail, where it is long.

Height and Weight

With a consistently five centimeters more height at the withers than the bitches, the 63 to 70 centimeter tall Hovawart males weigh between 30 and 40 kilograms.

Bitches weigh 25 to 35 kilograms. Gender differences in physique and head shape are recognizable and expressly desired. The muscular dogs are very lively, can run for a long time, and jump excellently. With great perseverance, they accept the work and play that is demanded of them.

Hovawart Temperament and Nature

Still, Hovawarts are quite diverse in temperament. Normally he is a temperamental, eager-to-learn housemate who is also very sociable and reliably watches and protects. Requiring plenty of exercise and activity to keep them happy and healthy, they are unsuitable for easygoing people, as well as being kept in a cramped city apartment.

The Hovawart is curious and playful into old age and therefore needs a lot of patience when it comes to training. The more they are challenged, the happier and therefore calmer they behave in their accommodation. In good Hovawart fashion, non-family people and animals are reported loud and clear. The family dog ​​does not need any further vocalizations.

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