Breed Category: Livestock Guardian / General Purpose Farmdog
Country of Origin: Germany
Size: Medium Large
Height: Males 63-71 cm, Females 60-67cm(at the withers)
Weight: 30-40 kg for males 25-35 for females.
Average Life Span: 10-13 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: Medium High
Best Suited: Family Pet
Originating in Germany in the 1300s the Hovawart lies somewhere in breed type between a livestock Guardian and all-purpose working dog. Size wise there at the higher end of medium or low end of large, though they have strong guarding instincts they are more trainable than your average Guardian livestock dog and certainly far more active. They were initially bred as guardians and pets for noble families in Germany
The breed is famous for individual dog that following invasion of his owners Castle in the slaughtering of most of its inhabitants, the Hovawart, but also injured was able to rescue the baby of its family and carried a child to a neighbouring castle.
Today this protective instinct is harnessed with the dogs being used as search and rescue dogs. Outside Germany they are rare but they remain a family favourite within the country of origin.
They look a little like a golden retriever has been crossed with a St Bernard, though they have the more disciplined and watchful temperament of the German Shepherd. The coat is long and slightly wavy, allow colours include blonde, black and a combination of these colours. They are moderate shedders requiring brushing every couple of days, the daily brushing will be necessary in Spring.
It is a train or drop variety set the high on their heads. Muzzle is slender and elongated and shorter facial fur. They have the deep, caring eyes of a shepherd or livestock Guardian dog, tail is full and long.
They are strongly built without the massiveness of the Molosser breeds, the long fur does add to the size appearance. They are graceful and agile movers, the male is distinctly larger and more masculine in build and with a more masculine squarer head.
their protective instincts make them wary of strangers expect to sound a loud warning to a stranger and owner when someone outside the immediate family approaches their territory. They will bond closely with their family and often especially so with one member. Their protective instincts aside their temperament is calm and reliable. Assuming other pets such as cats are introduced as important members of the family the Hovawart will accept them as family members and include them in its protective circle.
In all dogs with a protective temperament is essential to provide training in socialisation to they understand what is appropriate and what is inappropriate behaviour especially with strangers and other dogs. Remember that they are not hurting dogs and will not respond well to the disciplined training methods so effective this breed type. Positive reinforcement and light repetition is far more effective with this breed, they will quickly get bored with long training drills and will be offended by training methods using harsh criticism.
Typical of older breeds bred for a purpose are extremely healthy breed. Issues of elbow and hip dysplasia are not unheard of as a thyroid issues they are certainly less prevalent in this breed in another large breeds.
Expect your Hovawart to live to at least 11 years of age.
Hovawarts in Australia
At the time of writing this article there were no registered ANKC and yet to recognise the breed in Australia and there were no registered breeders so unfortunately if you are interested in this breed as many German expats are you will need to go through very long process of importing one from Germany yourself.