The Hovawart dog breed was developed in Germany as a guard dog, and they were also used for tracking. Today, this breed is a companion and family dog. But they also work in search and rescue and as guard dogs.
Enthusiasts know that the breed’s name means “a guardian of estates” in German, and also call their pups “Hovies” for short. Although these are purebred dogs, you may still find them in shelters and rescues. Remember to adopt! Don’t shop if this is the breed for you.
Hovawarts are typically not recommended for first time dog parents. They can be stubborn and difficult to train if you’re not diligent and assertive. You must show your dog that you are the “pack leader” in order to earn their respect and for them to listen to you.
Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn’t necessarily an apartment dog make. Plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog. A
Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.
Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
All Around Friendliness
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with wagging tails and nuzzles; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was socialized and exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Remember that even friendly dogs should stay on a good, strong leash in public!
Health And Grooming Needs
If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.
If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!
Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.
Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.
Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.
Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Dog Breed Group:Working DogsHeight:23 to 29 inchesWeight:55 to 110 poundsLife Span:10 to 14 years
More About This Breed
- The Hovawart has a coat that comes in three colors. They can be solid blonde, solid black, or black with tan or gold markings.
- The Hovawart is considered to be an average shedder, with most of the shedding occurring seasonally. They’re not a good choice for allergy sufferers.
- Hovawarts have a medium to high energy level and, regardless of what type of physical activity your pup engages in, they will require at least one hour long walk per day.
- The Hovawart is a great family dog and will get along well with children when properly socialized with them at a young age. They can become very protective of kids.
- Hovawarts have a very dominant temperament, which oftentimes makes it quite difficult for them to interact with other dogs. It can be a tough task socializing your Hovawart with other dogs. However, as long as they are socialized at a young age, Hovawarts generally get along with cats or other pets in the household.
- Hovawarts will thrive best in a home with a large, fenced-in yard. They are not suited for apartment life and can become destructive due to pent up energy from being in a small space.
- They’re not recommended for first time dog parents as they will need someone who is firm, consistent, and will act as the pack leader.
The Hovawart originated in Germany and is claimed to have been descended from breeds such as the Newfoundland and the Leonberger. These strong dogs were built to withstand the various types of terrain in their environment to become excellent search and rescue dogs, as well as to be used for tracking.
The Hovawart was bred to be a working dog, and their most important task was to guard their humans’ homes and livestock. The breed lost popularity, and their numbers were dwindling, but devoted Hovawart breeders were able to reestablish the breed and added regulations to make sure the Hovawart was a healthy, hardy dog breed. They are even known to risk their lives in order to protect their families.
These loyal dogs gained popularity and were recognized by the AKC in 2010 in the Foundation Stock Service group.
Hovawarts stand 23 to 29 inches at the shoulder and weigh 55 to 110 pounds. Some dogs can be smaller or larger than average for their breed.
The Hovawart is a large, strong dog who’s even tempered and loving, despite their often intimidating size. Their strongest personality trait is their constant need to defend their territory and protect the beloved human members of their pack.
While they are generally very quiet dogs, their loud, deep bark will be enough to thwart any stranger that may seem like a threat. Needless to say, if you hear your Hovie barking, they likely have a legitimate reason to do so as they aren’t a “yappy” breed by any means. They are usually fairly skeptical and wary of strangers, but once they see their humans accept this new person, they’ll gradually begin to let their guard down.
Training your Hovawart should begin immediately, as these dogs have a very strong and stubborn personality. They’re not recommended for first time dog parents as they will need someone who is firm, consistent, and will act as the pack leader. They may learn quickly due to their high intelligence, but their headstrong personality also makes them more difficult to train. These dogs are not for the faint of heart.
The Hovawart is a great companion for active singles and families alike. Your Hovawart will thrive best in a home with a large, fenced-in yard. They are not suited for apartment life and can become destructive due to pent up energy from being in a small space. Since they historically guarded farms and livestock, they will also do just fine in more rural areas, as well.
As with any dog, it’s imperative that you socialize and expose your Hovawart to many different situations to get them used to other people, dogs, places, and noises. This will help to mold your pup into a confident, well adjusted dog.
As far as exercise goes, the Hovawart enjoys several physical exercises, but also needs mental stimulation games as well. They enjoy any type of outdoor activities such as jogging, hiking, and trips to the dog park, once properly trained and socialized.
Hovawarts are carefully bred and, thus, are generally a healthy breed. However, like all breeds, they can be subject to certain health conditions. Not all Hovawarts will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.
Some of the more common health problems Hovawarts suffer from include:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Thyroid issues (such as hypothyroidism)
Since the Hovawart is a working dog breed, these dogs need plenty of physical exercise to stay happy and healthy. They’re not necessarily a “needy” breed, but they do need to have a pet parent who can give them the proper amount of attention that they require.
Hovawarts are considered to be very versatile dogs, which makes them perfectly suited to go on hikes with their humans, even on trails with more difficult terrain, and they’re excellent jogging partners. However, it’s very important that the dog parent of a Hovawart is mindful to always walk in front of the dog in order to show that they are the pack leader.
In addition to jogs and hikes, the Hovawart is also very fond of dog agility and other doggy sports. They have a medium to high energy level and, regardless of what type of physical activity your pup engages in, they will require at least one hour long walk per day.
You will also need to keep up with your Hovawart’s ear, nail, and dental hygiene. Check the ears regularly for any debris that needs to be cleaned out, and brush your dog’s teeth a few times a week. It’s best to start teeth brushing during puppyhood so that your dog is comfortable with the process, thus making it easier to do on a more frequent basis and, eventually, daily.
This breed has a tendency to have fast-growing nails, so make sure to keep up with nail trims, ideally twice a month. If you can hear the nails clicking on the floor, you’ll know they are too long.
An ideal Hovawart diet should be formulated for a large breed with medium to high energy.
As with all dogs, the Hovawart’s dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your Hovawart’s diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs — including weight, energy, and health — to make a specific recommendation.
Coat Color And Grooming
The Hovawart has a coat that comes in three colors. They can be solid blonde, solid black, or black with tan or gold markings.
The Hovawart is considered to be an average shedder, with most of the shedding occurring seasonally. They have a soft and long coat and require occasional baths and weekly brushing in order to stay clean and keep the coat from tangling.
Even though this breed has very little of an undercoat, its average amount of shedding does not make it a good choice for those who suffer with allergies.
Since the coat on a Hovawart is not too short, they can withstand and prefer temperatures on the cooler side, but do not tolerate extreme heat or extreme cold very well.
Children And Other Pets
The Hovawart is a great family dog and will get along well with children when properly socialized with them at a young age. They can become very protective of kids in the household since they view them as members of their pack.
Due to the large size of this breed, it is very important to supervise playtime and to make sure the dog isn’t getting too rough with children.
As with any dog breed, children must always be taught how to properly interact with dogs, especially one of this size, in order to make sure both the dog and child can interact together safely.
Hovawarts have a very dominant temperament, which oftentimes makes it quite difficult for them to interact with other dogs. It can be a tough task socializing your Hovawart with other dogs, but if you plan on having them interact with any dogs in the future, it must be done as soon as possible during puppyhood. However, as long as they are socialized at a young age, Hovawarts generally get along with cats or other pets in the household.
Rescues specifically for Hovawarts might be hard to come by. However, you can always check with your local shelter, and you may want to try a rescue that caters to all kinds of dogs. You can take a look at the following:
- Wright-Way Rescue
- Angels Among Us Pet Rescue