Group: Working Group
– Males: 24 to 28 inches
– Females: 22 to 26 inches
Weight: 66-88 lbs (30-40 kg)
Photo courtesy of Mika Varpio
The Hovawart, meaning “guardian of the estate”, is of ancient German origin where he was considered very valuable. Hovawarts were originally bred and used to work as reliable guardians of flocks, castles, and farms. By the end of the last century, the Hovawart was virtually extinct. However, during the 1920’s a small group of enthusiasts revived the breed through a strict breeding program and, in 1937, the breed was officially recognized in Germany.
The Hovawart is known for his stable temperament, not easily excitable and he generally carries himself in a dignified manner. He is affectionate, loyal and devoted to his family. He is watchful, agile, intelligent and naturally obedient. He makes an excellent herding and guard dog and also enjoys such activities as agility and obedience. His natural protective instincts make him a good candidate for schutzhund training and his excellent sense of smell makes him suitable for search and rescue and tracking.
The Hovawart is of medium size, impressive but not heavy. Females are smaller in size and more elegant in appearance. His coat is mostly long, except on the face and forelegs where it is short. His colours are either black, black-and-tan, or golden and his eyes are amber.
The Hovawart makes a excellent family companion. However, because of his strong-willed personality, guarding instincts and high intelligence, this may not be the ideal breed for first-time dog owners. Bringing a Hovawart into your home can be challenging and requires significant time and attention along with proper training. The Hovawart also enjoys having a job to do and, therefore, you should be willing to get involved in some form of activity, such as obedience, schutzhund, tracking, or agility to name a few.
The Hovawart is generally a healthy breed with an average life span of 14 to 15 years. According to the Hovawart Club of America, there are no known issues of breed-specific diseases and hip dysplasia rates are exceptionally low in comparison to other large breed dogs.
If you are considering the adoption of a Hovawart puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. To obtain “breeding status” in the Hovawart Club of America, among other things, breeders must have their dogs’ hips x-rayed after the age of 2 years and be evaluated by the OFA as “Good” or “Excellent” in regards to hip dysplasia. In addition, breeding stock must also have a CERF eye evaluation within one year of breeding and have a full thyroid panel prior to breeding. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main General Information page.)
Additional Health Resources:
- Health and Nutrition — Growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website which includes information on several health and nutrition related issues.
- Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) — Providing a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists that will assist in breeding healthy dogs. CHIC is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
- AKC Canine Health Foundation — Working towards developing scientific advances in canine health.
- OFA – Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER)
- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Ontario Veterinary College (OVC)
- University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHip)
- HealthGene — HealthGene Corporation is the leading provider of veterinary DNA diagnostic services in Canada.
- Labgenvet — Laboratory of Veterinary Genetics is a Canadian diagnostic laboratory that offers a comprehensive service of DNA tests for veterinary genetic diseases.
- Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.
Photo courtesy of Mika Varpio
- Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.
- Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
- Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.
*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org
*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.