Standard (FCI Nr. 190)
F.C.I. Hovawart Breed Standard
Brief Historical summary:
The Hovawart is a very old German working breed. The name originates from the
middle high German (an old form of German); Hova = Hof (= a yard, farm) and Wart
= Wachter (= watchman). The breed was restored in 1922 by the use of dogs
similar in type still found on farms. In the early years of breeding there were
crosses with German Shepherd Dogs, Newfoundlands, Leonbergers and other breeds.
Due to strict measures taken in selecting the breeding stock, the original
working type was attained again. In the country of origin very great importance
is attached to the health of the Hovawart. The incidence of hip dysplasia has
been reduced to a small percentage by decades of breeding with animals free from
dysplasia. It is expected that the HCGB will aim for this exemplary goal.
The Hovawart is a powerful medium sized, slightly elongated, long-haired
working dog. The difference between the sexes is clearly recognisable,
especially in the shape of the head and the build of the body. No part of him is
The length of the body comprises 110% to 115% of the height at the
Behaviour and Temperament:
Recognised as a working dog with versatile usage. Kind and even disposition.
He has a protective, fighting instinct, self confidence and an ability to take
stress; of medium temperament; combined with a very good nose. His balanced body
proportions and special devotion to his family make him an outstanding
companion, watch, guard, tracking and rescue dog.
The nasal bridge is straight and parallel to the skull. Muzzle and skull are
of about the same length. The skin of the head fits tightly.
Cranial region: Skull: the powerful head has a broad rounded forehead. Stop: moderate though clearly defined.
Facial region: Nose: Nostrils are well developed. In Black & Gold and Black animals
the pigmentation is black. In Blonde animals it is black, however a temporary
loss of pigmentation (snow nose) is accepted. Muzzle: Strong, tapering only slightly when seen from above and in profile. Lips: Fit tightly. Jaws & Teeth: Strong complete scissor bite with 42 teeth according to
tooth formula. Teeth are set square to the jaws. A pincer bite is
acceptable. Eyes: Oval, neither protruding nor deep set, medium sized. Colour is dark
to medium brown. The eyelids fit tightly. Ears: The loosely fitting triangular drop ears are set on high and wide
apart, thus giving the optical illusion of broadening the skull. They reach in
length to the corners of the mouth (labial commisure). Their tip is slightly
rounded. When the animal is at ease they are kept hanging flat, when alert
they may be carried directed slightly forward. Their front edge lies
approximately halfway between eye and occiput.
Body: Neck: Strong, of medium length, skin tightly fitting. Back: Straight and firm. Loin: Strong, slightly longer than rump. Croup: Medium long and slightly sloping. Chest: Broad, deep and strong. Tail: Bushy, reaching to below the hocks, but not to the ground. According
to the animal's mood it is carried high and curved over the back, or hanging
Limbs: Forequarters: Forelegs: are strong, straight and vertical seen
from the front and the side. Shoulders: Very well muscled. Shoulder-blade
long and well laid back. Upper arm: Long and closely fitting to the body. Elbows: Fitting well to the chest. Pastern joint: Strong. Pastern: Moderately sloping.
Hindquarters: Hindlegs: are strong and vertical when seen from
behind. The hindquarters are well angulated without exaggeration. Upper and lower thigh: Very well muscled. Hock joint: Strong, well let down. Feet: Roundish, strong and compact. Toes arched and tight. Dew claws may
be removed. Nails with black pigmentation in Black & Gold and Black
animals, in Blonde animals their may be less pigmentation.
Gait & Movement:
In all gaits the movement of the Hovawart is in a
straight line covering the ground well. The trot is very extended, with powerful
drive from the hindquarters.
Tightly fitting all over, with a
bluish sheen in Black & Gold and Black animals, with a mostly pink sheen in
Coat: Colour: There are three variations: Black &
Gold, Black, Blonde Hair: The strong long haired coat is lightly waved and
closely lying, with only little undercoat. It is longer on the chest, belly, the
rear of the forelegs (feathering) and rear of the thighs and tail. It is not so
long on the rib - cage and thighs. It is short on the head and on the front of
the fore and hind legs. The coat is dense. Black & Gold: The coat is black and shiny, the colour of markings is
middle (medium) blonde. On the head; the markings begin below the nasal bridge
and extend round the corners of the mouth into the marking of the throat. The
point shaped markings above the eyes are clearly visible. The chest; markings
consist of two adjacent patches which may be connected, but must not extend
continuously to the forelegs. On the forelegs; the marking seen from the side,
extends from the toes to about the pastern (carpus joint) and tapers off on
the rearside at about elbow level. On the hindlegs; seen from the side, the
marking below the hock is seen as a broad stripe, above the hock only as a
narrow stripe, which extends on the front of the hindleg up to the level of
the belly. A marking is also present beneath the set on of the tail. The
markings are distinct in outline everywhere. Single small white spots on the
chest as well as some single white hairs on the toes and tip of the tail are
permissible. Black pigmentation on eyelids, lips and pads. Black: The coat is black and shiny. Some single white spots on the
chest as well as some single white hairs on the toes and tip of the tail are
permissible. Black pigmentation on eyelids, lips and pads. Blonde: The coat is medium (middle) blonde, shiny and becomes
lighter towards legs and belly. Single small white spots on the chest as well
as some single white hairs on toes and the tip of the tail are permissible.
Black pigmentation on the eyelids, lips and pads.
Size: Height at the withers for:
- Dogs is 63 - 70 cm.
- Bitches is 58 - 65 cm.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a
fault, the seriousness of which should be regarded in exact proportion to its
Disqualifying faults: General appearance:
- Dogs which do not conform to the impression of the original breed type.
- Distinctly dog like bitches.
- Distinctly bitch like dogs. Important proportions:
- Distinctly differing body proportions to those quoted in the standard. Behaviour and Temperament:
- Aggressive, anxious, gun-shy or lethargic animals. Head:
- Lacking stop.
- Blue eye or wall eye.
- Erect, tipped ears, rose ear, off - standing ears.
- Undershot, overshot or wry mouth.
- Absence of more than 2 of the 4 PM1 or the 2 M3, or absence of any other tooth. Neck:
- Distinct dewlap or very throaty. Body:
- Pronounced sway or roach back.
- Narrow or barrel shaped chest.
- Abnormal tail; tail much too short; pronounced ring tail. Limbs:
- Too high in the hindquarters (overbuilt). Coat:
- Hair which is a predominantly curly coat (ring curls).
- All colours not conforming to the standard, e.g. blue-grey, deer colour, brown,
white, patched, blonde with a smutty touch or predominantly banded hair.
- White patches. Single white hairs on the inside of the upper thighs are not
a disqualifying fault. Black & Gold animals:
- Grey or brown patches other than the correct markings.
- Undercoat predominantly another colour other than black.
- Predominantly grey or whitish markings. Black animals:
- Grey or brown patches.
- Undercoat predominantly of a
colour other than black. Blonde animals:
- Red - blonde colour throughout without getting lighter.
- Whitish blonde colour, also on the ears.
- Single white hairs on nasal bridge are not a disqualifying fault.
- Distinctly white markings.
- Dark patches or a dark mask. Size:
- Oversize by more than 3 cm.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Standard FCI Nr 190 12.01.1998 Rassezuchtverein für Hovawart - Hunde e. V. Deutschland