HOVAWART: Guardians of Farms

The Hovawart, a large German working dog breed, is renowned for its loyalty, intelligence, and protective nature.

The Hovawart is a large working dog breed that originated in Germany. The name “Hovawart” means “Watchman of the Estate” or “Farm Guardian” in Middle High German, which reflects its historical role as a guardian and protector of properties, farms, and livestock.


They were bred to be versatile working dogs, excelling in tasks such as guarding, tracking, and search and rescue.

Let’s dig in to learn about their history, characteristics, temperament, and suitability as family pets or working companions.


The Hovawart is a breed with a long and storied history, tracing its origins back to medieval Germany. The breed’s name, “Hovawart,” translates to “guardian of the estate” in Middle High German, indicating its traditional role as a protector of homes, farms, and livestock.

Throughout history, they were highly valued for their loyalty, intelligence, and protective instincts. They were prized as guardians of property, often entrusted with the safety of their owner’s land and livestock.

However, like many working breeds, this breed faced a decline in numbers during the industrialization of agriculture in the 19th and 20th centuries. By the early 20th century, the breed was on the verge of extinction.

Today, the Hovawart is primarily valued as a loyal and versatile companion, excelling in roles such as search and rescue, therapy work, obedience, and competitive dog sports.


This guardian dog is known for its loyal, intelligent, and protective nature. They are devoted to their families, making excellent guardians and companions. With proper training and socialization, they are affectionate and good-natured, but they can be reserved around strangers. They thrive on mental and physical stimulation, and they excel in various activities such as obedience, agility, and search and rescue work.


Physical Characteristics


  • Male 25-28 inches
  • Female 23-26 inches


  • Male 66-110 pounds
  • Female 55-99 pounds


He has a dense double coat that provides protection.


The main colors are:

– Black

– Black and tan

– Blond


This dog has dark and almond-shaped eyes.


The ears are medium-sized, triangular, and hang close to the head.


The tail is long, bushy, and carried in a gentle curve or saber shape, often reaching down to the hock.


The average lifespan is around 10-14 years.


The breed is known for its loyal, intelligent, and protective temperament. They are devoted to their families and often form strong bonds with their owners. They are vigilant and make excellent watchdogs, alerting their owners to any potential threats. They are generally good-natured and affectionate with their loved ones but can be reserved around strangers.

Early age socialization and consistent training are important to help channel their protective instincts appropriately. With proper training and socialization, they can be gentle and well-behaved companions. These watchdogs are also known for their versatility and can excel in various activities, including obedience, agility, tracking, and search and rescue work.


Grooming typically involves regular brushing to maintain their coat and prevent matting. Use a slicker brush or pin brush to brush their coat at least a few times a week, paying attention to areas prone to tangles.

Additionally, trim their nails regularly to keep them from becoming too long and causing discomfort. Check their ears for signs of infection and clean them as needed, and brush their teeth several times a week to maintain dental health.

If necessary, bathe them every few months using a mild dog shampoo, ensuring thorough rinsing to remove all soap residues.


Training should focus on positive reinforcement techniques and essential commands. Start with basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come, and down, using treats and praise to motivate and reward your dog. Keep training sessions short and engaging, around 10-15 minutes at a time, to maintain your dog focus and prevent boredom.

Socialization is also crucial, so expose your companion to various people, animals, and environments from a young age to help them become well-adjusted and confident.


The exercise should include daily walks, interactive play sessions, and mental stimulation. Aim for at least one long walk or two shorter walks per day to provide physical exercise and mental stimulation.

Depending on their energy level, consider adding activities like fetch or tug-of-war to provide additional physical exercise. Always supervise your dog during exercise and adjust the intensity based on their age, health, and fitness level.


The nutrition should include high-quality commercial dog food formulated for large breeds. Look for a balanced diet rich in protein from sources like chicken, beef, or fish. Ensure the food contains essential vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats for overall health.

Portion control is crucial to prevent overfeeding and obesity, so measure their food intake based on their age, weight, and activity level. Provide access to fresh, clean water at all times to keep them hydrated.

Health Concerns

They are generally healthy dogs, like all breeds, they may be prone to certain health concerns. It’s essential for owners to be aware of these potential issues and to provide appropriate veterinary care. Some common health concerns may include:

Hip Dysplasia

A genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and mobility issues.

Elbow Dysplasia

Similar to hip dysplasia but affecting the elbows, causing lameness and pain.


It is a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and twists, cutting off blood flow. Immediate veterinary attention is necessary.


Also known as “growing pains,” this condition causes lameness and pain in young, rapidly growing dogs.

Heart Issues

They can be prone to certain heart conditions such as dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease that affects the heart muscle.

Eye Problems

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts can occur in some Hovawarts, leading to vision impairment or blindness.


An underactive thyroid gland can lead to weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems.


These dogs may develop allergies to environmental factors, food, or parasites, leading to skin irritation and itching.

Ear Infections

Their floppy ears can trap moisture and debris, making them prone to infections if not kept clean and dry.


Overfeeding and lack of exercise can lead to obesity, which increases the risk of other health problems such as joint issues and diabetes.

Bottom Line

Hovawarts are large, loyal, and versatile dogs originating from Germany, where they were initially bred as farm guardians and estate watchdogs. They are known for their devotion to family and make excellent companions with proper training and socialization. They require regular exercise, grooming, and attention to their health needs to thrive.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Do Hovawarts get along with other pets?

With early socialization, Hovawarts can get along well with other pets, including dogs and cats.

Q: Do they shed a lot?

Yes, they shed moderately year-round and may have heavier shedding seasons twice a year.

Q: Are they good guard dogs?

Yes, they have a natural protective instinct and make excellent guard dogs.

Q: Do these dogs bark a lot?

These dogs may bark to alert their owners to potential threats, but excessive barking can be managed through training and socialization.

Q: Are Hovawarts good with children?

Yes, Hovawarts can be good with children, especially when raised with them and properly socialized.

Q: Do these watchdogs need a fenced yard?

A fenced yard can provide a safe space for these watchdogs to play and explore, but leash walks and supervised outdoor time can also suffice.

Q: Are they suitable for first-time dog owners?

They can be suitable for first-time owners who are willing to invest time and effort into training and socialization.

Q: Do Hovawarts tolerate hot weather?

Hovawarts can tolerate hot weather to some extent, but they should have access to shade and water, especially during hot summer months.

Q: Are Hovawarts prone to separation anxiety?

Hovawarts can develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods consistently. Proper training and gradual desensitization can help prevent this issue.

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