Last updated: November 11, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Hana Hanigerova/Shutterstock.com


Hovawart Scientific Classification


Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Hovawart Locations

Hovawart Locations

Hovawart Facts


Hovawart Physical Characteristics

  • Brown
  • Black
  • Blonde

Hovawart as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$1,000-$1,200 to purchase; $650 / year to maintain.
Dog group
Male weight
60-90 lbs
Female weight
60-84 lbs

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“The hovawart is an ancient German breed dating to the Medieval era.”

Hovawart Introduction

The hovawart or “hovie” is a medium-sized dog breed from Germany whose name means “Estate Guardian.” True to their name, they are excellent watchdogs—loyal to their family but cautious toward strangers. This is an ancient breed, going back to the 13th century, but it nearly died out in the 20th century. Fortunately, a careful breeding program brought them back. Like other intelligent and energetic working dogs, they thrive when their owners train them and involve them in activities. They do require a high level of attention, so they are not recommended for first-time dog owners.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Hovawart

Great guard dog! Hovawarts were bred to guard property. They are loyal to their families and appropriately cautious toward strangers.Need space and exercise. The hovawart is an intelligent and energetic working breed that requires daily outdoor exercise, training, and interaction. They are not well-suited to apartment life or sedentary families.
Good with children and pets. Hovawarts are kind, faithful, and affectionate toward children and get along well with other pets when properly trained and socialized.They do shed. Hovawarts have long hair and should be brushed occasionally, but they do not require an exceptional level of grooming. However, they do shed moderately and are not hypoallergenic.
Exceptionally healthy. There are no particular health problems with this breed. The issue of hip dysplasia, a problem with many breeds, is rarely seen with the hovawart because of careful breeding.Can be aggressive. If not properly trained and socialized, hovawarts can be overly territorial and aggressive. Males may especially have problems getting along with other male dogs.

The Best Dog Food for Hovawart

A hovawart should eat a diet of high-quality dog food that has essential vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. As an energetic breed, these dogs process carbohydrates well, but make sure the food you choose has a high meat content to satisfy their protein needs. Your hovawart can eat a high-quality wet or dry dog food, as well as limited amounts of fresh meat. Add meat broth to dry food to make it tastier.

Because of the dietary needs of a hovawart, at A-Z Animals we recommend Hills Science Diet Adult Specialty Dry Dog Food. This brand has a high protein level, is minimally processed, and is sourced responsibly from cage-free chicken. It lacks artificial colors and preservatives. It’s available in multiple flavors and great for dogs of all ages.

Best for Sensitive Stomach & Skin
Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Speciality Dry Dog Food
  • Real chicken is the very first ingredient in this highly-digestible, flavorful recipe that’s scientifically formulated to provide complete and balanced nutrition.
  • Natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin support the development of healthy cartilage and joints.
  • Clinically proven antioxidant blend including vitamins C and E supports strong immunity and overall good health.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids and other added nutrients nourish the skin and promote a noticeably shiny coat.
  • Made in Hill’s U.S. facilities using high-quality ingredients and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

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Hovawart Size and Weight

Hovawarts are medium-sized dogs averaging 25-29 inches at the shoulder for males and 23-26 inches for females. The weight of either sex can range from 65-90 pounds.

Height (Male)25-29” Tall
Height (Female)23-26” Tall
Weight (male)65-90 lbs, fully grown
Weight (female)65-90 lbs, fully grown

Hovawart Common Health Issues

The hovawart is a very healthy dog with few known issues. As with many other canine breeds, hip dysplasia was a problem for this breed in the past. However, careful breeding programs have made it a rare problem for hovawarts today. Underactive thyroid is a potential health problem, but it is not common.

Hovawart Temperament and Behavior

One of the strongest personality traits of the hovawart is its protectiveness. Originally bred as a guard dog for farms and estates, this breed is quite loyal to its family and will warn off strangers and other animals that it sees as a threat. This behavior means new owners must be intentional and consistent in socializing their dog properly with other animals and people so that it does not become aggressive and overprotective.

Another positive behavior of this breed is their high intelligence. They are easily trainable as therapy or service dogs, and for search and rescue operations. Historically, these traits have made them popular choices, not only as agricultural guard dogs, but in military service as well. 

No doubt the best trait of this breed is its devoted, affectionate personality. Hovawarts are kind, fun-loving, and have an even disposition. They bond closely with their owners and families as a “pack” and enjoy all aspects of family life.

How To Take Care of a Hovawart

Maintenance and Grooming

Hovawarts have long black, gold, or blonde fur but do not have thick undercoats, so they do not need extensive grooming, aside from occasional brushing to remove loose fur. They shed moderately and are not hypoallergenic. More grooming will be necessary if the dog roams in wooded or overgrown areas where its coat may pick up debris. Their nails grow fast and require regular trims. Examine their ears regularly for wax and debris, and brush their teeth.


Hovawarts are easy to train because of their intelligence, eagerness to please, and their love of having a job to do. They require a great deal of time, attention, and consistency from their owners.


Hovawarts must have daily vigorous exercise to stay physically and mentally healthy. Owners who want a running partner will enjoy their high energy. This breed is not well-suited to apartment life. The ideal environment for them includes a large yard for exploring and running. They do well with agility trials, flyball, searching, and fetching.


As puppies, hovawarts often engage in mouthing and jumping more than other breeds. They are also slow to mature mentally, so it can take more than a year to accomplish full training. As highly alert dogs, hovawarts can become stressed in new environments. Owners should introduce them to new situations gradually to avoid creating anxiety, aggression, or reactive behaviors.

Havowart dog

As puppies, hovawarts often engage in mouthing.


Hovawart And Children

Hovawarts make great family dogs. When raised with children, they adjust well to the normal ways children play with them. They can be a good choice for parents who want a dog that will guard their children. Keep in mind, though, that the hovawart will also guard your children against other children. Your dog may mistake fun playtime screaming as a threat to its family and try to protect assertively. Additionally, some hovawarts may act dominantly toward your children. Adults should closely supervise, provide consistent training, and remove a dominant dog from a home with small children.

Dogs similar to the Hovawart

Other similar dog breeds to the hovawart include the German shepherd, golden retriever, and goldendoodle.

  • German shepherd – This breed is similar in size and coloration to the hovawarts, has a similar German origin, and makes an excellent guard dog.
  • Golden Retriever – These dogs are medium-sized, possess a kind and gentle nature, and are excellent with children. Their coloration is similar to a blonde hovawarts.
  • Goldendoodle – This hugely popular mixed breed is a combination of the golden retriever and poodle. Unlike havowarts, they are hypoallergenic.

Popular Names for the Hovawart

Names for male hovawarts include:

  • Felix
  • Alaster
  • Baumer
  • Juku
  • Maximillian

Names for female hovawarts include:

  • Matti
  • Gretta
  • Mia
  • Rayla
  • Sarilda

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

Drew Wood is a writer at A-Z Animals focusing on mammals, geography, and world cultures. Drew has worked in research and writing for over 20 years and holds a Masters in Foreign Affairs (1992) and a Doctorate in Religion (2009). A resident of Nebraska, Drew enjoys Brazilian jiu-jitsu, movies, and being an emotional support human to four dogs.

Hovawart FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does the hovawarts cost to own?

The average purchase price of a hovawart puppy is $1,000-$1,200. Annually, the typical cost of food, veterinary care, toys, pet insurance and supplies is about $650.

Is the hovawarts good with kids?

Yes, if properly socialized and trained. They are devoted to the children of their own family but if left untrained they may misunderstand play, display dominant behavior, and show aggression toward other children.

How long does the hovawarts live?

The average lifespan of the hovawarts is 10-14 years.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


  1. Wikipedia / Accessed November 10, 2022
  2. Petfinder / Accessed November 10, 2022
  3. Helderberg Hovawarts / Accessed November 10, 2022
  4. Dog-Learn / Accessed November 10, 2022
  5. Hundeo / Accessed November 10, 2022
  6. DogFoodAdvisor / Accessed November 10, 2022
  7. American Kennel Club / Accessed November 10, 2022
  8. American Hovawart Club / Accessed November 10, 2022
  9. Wag! / Accessed November 10, 2022
  10. Pet Net ID / Accessed November 10, 2022

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