The Hovawart temperament is one that’s full of delight and fun. He’ll bring happiness to whatever home he ends up calling his own with his fun-loving personality. In most cases, he’s the best family companion you could ever encounter.
But some households won’t be the best environments for him mentally or physically. After all, he requires a lot of attention from the people he sees as his family.
It’s understanding these little parts of the Hovawart traits that’ll determine whether or not he’s a good fit for you.
The Hovawart Temperament & Personality
The following discussion about the Hovawart temperament will highlight why he’s a fantastic family companion.
But it will also demonstrate some situations where he might not be an ideal fit for a particular household.
The Hovawart dog temperament has a playful side, which loves to engage in play with kids, adults, and other dogs.
It’s not uncommon for a Hovawart to be the main attraction at a dog park when he’s properly trained.
It’s essential we note that an untrained Hovawart tends to act a little aggressive toward other dogs.
Given this information, it’s best to stay away from dog parks until you do a couple of training sessions.
But when you do get him trained, he will fetch, tug-o-war, or any other game you play with a dog. And he’ll enjoy all of it and do it with have a smile on his face.
His playful nature even makes him great with small children, which makes him a unique commodity within the dog community.
But you still must watch his interactions with small children considering the Hovawart size.
In other words, he would never hurt a child; but he might run them over during playtime, which could cause some issues.
One of the best parts of the Hovawart temperament is their easy-going nature.
He loves living and has an infectious personality that endures itself to the whole family.
It also means that a new environment never overwhelms him.
This trait lends itself to be incredibly useful during training, as he loves new challenges.
In fact, his whole personality is very similar to America’s favorite Golden Retriever. Therefore, you can bet he will be a dog that adds a certain level of joy into whatever household he enters.
His easy-going nature makes him a perfect candidate to take on a journey throughout town.
But make sure he’s appropriately trained first to ensure everything goes swimmingly.
After all, he has been known to jump at the first sign of his nemesis, the squirrel.
Keeping up with the Hovawart temperament needs requires a lot of physical stimulation.
He’s constantly looking for ways to burn off his restless energy. During the day, he’ll need several physical stimulation outlets, or you might come home to a ripped up couch.
A walk or two should be enough to meet the Hovawart exercise needs.
He would also enjoy a hike, run, or playing sessions in the back yard. In fact, he’s down for anything as long as it involves you and him.
It’s also essential you take him out into the world as much as possible. He’s a dog that thrives on social interaction and without it can become quite depressed or reserved.
You should also understand that he isn’t a dog who can be left to his own devices for extended periods.
If you have a 9 to 5 job and the dog will be alone for eight hours, he isn’t the right dog for you.
In the end, he’s a companion animal that works best with a family who will offer him their full attention at almost all times.
The Hovawart temperament is well-suited for the role of being a guard dog.
His ability to excel in this role comes from his protective instincts. These instincts will kick in as soon as he feels something represents a threat to his family.
And given his size, he will be a handful for any intruder that might enter your home.
It's also helpful that he has a loud bark, which will act as an alarm system.
Another positive is he’s smart enough to recognize whether or not something is a threat.
As a result, he won’t be a constant barker like some other breeds people use as guard dogs.
But if his protective instincts are left unchecked, they do have a significant downside. He will become severally reserved around people that are outside his family.
Due to this, socializing him early is a must. A good starting point would be around 7 to 9 weeks.
Intelligent & Stubborn
The most challenging part about the Hovawart temperament is the high-level of intelligence.
His smarts allow him to make his own decisions, which could be an issue for a passive owner.
It also doesn’t help that his stubbornness can make him somewhat hardheaded about training.
He needs a handler that can keep his stubbornness in check and guide him in a gentle, reassuring way.
An owner with this type of approach will get the best out of him and should be able to teach him a multitude of commands.
But this high-level of intelligence also means his need for mental stimulation is much higher than other breeds.
It’ll require a lot of time and effort to keep his mind from drifting off into doing things he shouldn’t.
You’ll need to find multiple outlets that’ll continuously challenge his mind.
Investing in some puzzle toys should be near the top of the list for any prospective Hovawart owner.
It’s also a good idea to ensure this training is always evolving.
These new challenges will keep him from becoming bored.
The good news is he's capable of doing some spectacular things with the right trainer: agility, obedience, rally and lure coursing. And it’ll only further develop the bond between you two.
The Hovawart History
As an older German working dog, the Hovawart has been around for a long time.
In fact, their name comes from the combination of two Middle High German words, Hova, and Wart:
- Hova means yard or farm
- Wart means watchman.
His first appearance was documented around the early 15th century where he was often the subject of drawings and writings.
He continued to thrive within Germany for centuries until around the 1920s.
During this period, the Hovawart almost became extinct.
However the breed was ultimately saved by a breeder named Kurt Konig who carefully brought the breed back through selective breeding.
Kurt's vision was fully recognized when the German Kennel Club acknowledged the Hovawart in 1937.
From this point on, it has been a pleasant ride for the Hovawart.
He was also accepted into the AKC (American Kennel Club).
The Hovawart Appearance
The first you’ll notice about the Hovawart appearance is his rather medium build, which has a longhaired coat.
Weight and Height
You can expect this medium build to result in the Hovawart weight being between 55 and 88 pounds.
And you should also expect a mature Hovawart height to be between 23 and 28 inches.
His hair will be somewhat wavy and stay closely fitted to his body. And his undercoat will almost be non-existent.
It’s also essential that we mention his hair will be longer in some regions of his body: chest, tail, underside, and his legs’ backsides.
You should know this information to ensure you know where the potential knots and tangles might appear.
The Hovawart colors could have a couple of different variations:
- Black and gold,
If he’s black and gold or all black, his skin should have a bluish gleam to it.
If he’s blonde, you can expect this gleam to be pinkish.
He also will have brown oval eyes and ears shaped like triangles; these ears will hang down and have a considerable distance between them.
In fact, these ears should be long enough that they’ll touch the edges of his mouth.
How to Train a Hovawart Dog
The Hovawart dog training experience isn’t exactly a smooth one.
He tends to be somewhat stubborn as he has a mind of his own and isn’t afraid of using it.
You should also be mindful of his guarding instincts, which can cause some issues without proper training.
The best way to control his guarding instincts is by socializing him at an early age.
But make sure this socialization occurs in various environments; the exposure to different situations will calm his fear of the unknown.
And once he’s comfortable entering unfamiliar scenarios, his intelligence will allow him to determine what's a threat and what isn’t.
It’s also essential you make sure you’re the right owner for these training sessions.
You see he needs an owner who can be alert and consistent in their commands.
Most importantly, he needs a handler that can gain his trust. If he doesn’t, he might start making his own decisions about what he wants to do.
It’s also crucial you understand he will not respond well to harsh training.
Ridiculing him will get you nowhere and set back the entire process considerably.
It’s best to rely on positive reinforcement techniques to get the results you desire.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Hovawart dog take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
All You Need to Know About Hovawart Grooming
Luckily for potential Hovawart owners, his grooming requirements are rather low-key.
His coat only needs brushing about once a week, which will keep it in good shape.
It's also worth noting that he doesn’t have a heavy shedding period during the year.
But this attribute doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it at all as he will occasionally shed throughout the year.
You can easily control this potential issue by keeping up with the required brushing of him every week.
This weekly brushing will ensure his shedding fur doesn’t end up on your clothes or furniture.
It’ll also keep both tangles and mats in check and stop them from becoming a significant issue.
You should be aware that he’s prone to knots forming in the area behind his ears and his legs’ feathering.
We should also note that he’s more inclined to getting ear infections than other breeds.
This issue is a result of his ears hanging down. Aside from shedding and ear infections, all his other grooming needs fall under basic care requirements:
- Clipping his nails monthly
- Checking his ears for build ups regularly
- Brushing his teeth weekly
Hovawart Health Issues
In terms of health issues, the Hovawart is level above most dog breeds when it comes to their health.
This attribute reflects itself in the Hovawart lifespan, which ranges from 10 to 14 years old depending on certain factors.
But even with their generally healthy disposition, these dogs are still prone to some conditions. And if you plan on being a Hovawart owner, the following medical issues should be on your radar:
As you might expect from a healthy breed, it’s not a significant amount of issues.
You should take comfort in the fact that even these conditions are rare in this breed as well.
For instance, the hip dysplasia rate is less than 5% in the Hovawart population.
It’s still essential, however, to keep up with regular vet visits.
A professional opinion will help make sure he lives closer to the 14 years rather than the 10.
These visits will also give an idea of where you can improve as a dog owner.
It’s also a must that you make sure your puppy has parents with OFA certified hips.
Puppies with this type of lineage have a significantly less chance of picking up the awful condition that’s hip dysplasia.
If the breeder you contact doesn't have these certifications, run away quickly.
This paperwork is standard for reputable breeders and not having them is a massive warning sign. And since you don’t want to support bad breeders, it’s best you move onto a different one.
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Finding Your Hovawart
If you’ve decided that the Hovawart temperament is right for your household, there’s one more thing you must do.
Choose between adopting and buying.
Considering the Hovawart is a rare breed within the United States either route’s going to be a little tricky.
The decision between which is the right one for you comes down to your personal preference.
But we’ll go over all the information about each process below to show you where there might be available Hovawarts.
Hovawart For Sale
If you want to go the buying route, there are two places you should check out immediately.
Both of these sources will point you towards reputable Hovawart breeders and give you ways to contact them.
But the best part about both these places is they’ll only recommend breeders that follow their strict guidelines.
Although this positive aspect doesn’t mean you should trust these breeders without looking into them.
It also doesn’t help that their strict guidelines often mean there aren’t any puppy available for purchase.
If there aren’t any available Hovawart puppies, you should move onto sites like Puppyfinder.com.
A site like this one will locate the nearest available Hovawart puppy and the seller’s contact information.
It’s essential we note that breeders on these sites don’t have to follow any guidelines; therefore, the probability of engaging with bad one heightens significantly.
The following warning signs should give you enough knowledge to separate the bad breeders from the good ones.
- Numerous puppy litters at once
- Able to purchase a puppy online via credit card
- Lack of proper paperwork, etc.
If the breeder you intend on using displays any of these, move onto a different one.
It’s better never to get a Hovawart then to support horrifying breeding practices or puppy mills.
If the breeder does pass your evaluation, a Hovawart price will range from $1000 to $1200.
Checkout our Complete Guide to Breeders:
Hovawart For Adoption
If you feel adoption is more your speed, the first thing you should do is head over to your nearest shelter; a humane society works as well.
There’s a high probability a Hovawart won’t be there, but it doesn’t hurt to look.
It also gives you the opportunity to express your interest in the breed; therefore, you can give them your contact information.
This action will allow them to contact you when/if one does coming into their facility.
If there aren’t any available at the shelter, go onto the Hovawart Club of North America website.
From there, enter the Hovawart rescue portion of the website and fill out the form. And then, you wait until they contact when the organization has rescues available.
If this waiting around sounds like too much, there are more proactive options you can try.
Sites like Adoptapet.com will show you the nearest adoptable Hovawart and provide you with the contact information.
But regardless of the option you take, there are background questions that need answering before bringing him into your home.
These background questions should cover things like:
- Medical history
- The dogs Previous situation, temperament, etc.
In other words, all the information you need to ensure your home represents the best environment for him.
Once you confirm your household’s a good fit, an adoptable Hovawart should cost you around $300.
This figure could be lower or higher depending on factors such the organization, medical issues, and age.
Conclusion: Is the Hovawart the Right Dog For You?
If you’re looking for a fun, lovable companion, the Hovawart temperament will be perfect for you.
He will be able to brighten up your day with each adorable little mannerism.
His easy-going attitude could also make for a good fit with a committed first-time owner.
But if you can’t keep up with his high-level activity needs, it’s best you stay away.
He’ll end up become somewhat depressed, which isn’t ideal for anyone involved. And if you plan on leaving him alone for several hours, you should also look for a different breed.
Calvin is the co-founder and one of the main contributors to dogtemperament.com. He has been an avid dog lover all his life. He enjoys researching and sharing great ideas on how you can avoid common pitfalls of dog ownership and build the most loving and enjoyable relationship with your dog.