FCI standard

HOVAWART BREED STANDARD - van de Hoevemeester Hovawarts.

 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 all Hovawart Clubs and breeders will continue to aim for this exemplary goal.

General appearance:

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 exaggerated.

Important size proportions:

The length of the body comprises 110% to 115% of the height at the withers.

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.


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 down.


The 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.  Moderately sloping.

The 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.


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 there 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 Blonde animals.


Colour: There are three colour variations: Black & Gold, Black, Blond

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 (gold/medium) blond. 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 rear-side 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.


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.


The coat is medium (middle) blond, 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.


Height at the (shoulder)withers for: Dogs is 63 - 70 cm

Height at the withers for 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 degree, and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog, and on the dog's ability to perform its traditional work.

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.

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.

Distinct dewlap or very throaty.

Pronounced sway or roach back.
Narrow or barrel shaped chest.
Abnormal tail; tail much too short; pronounced ring tail.

Too high in the hindquarters (overbuilt).

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.


Undersized or Oversized by more than 3cm.

Male animals 

        should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

The Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) 

 Promoting and protecting
cynology and purebred dogs since 1911
  Founder Nations of the FCI

* Germany (Kartell fur das Deutsche Hundewesen en und Die Delegierten               Kommission)
* Austria (Osterreichischer Kynologenverband)
* Belgium (Sociiti Royale Saint-Hubert)
* France (Sociiti Centrale Canine de France)
* Netherlands (Raad van Beheer op Kynologisch Gebied in Nederland)

The Federation Cynologique Internationale is the World Canine Organisation recognising more than 330 breeds, and includes 84 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The 'owner' countries of the breeds write the standard of these breeds (description of the ideal type of the breed). The FCI makes sure that the pedigrees, standards and judges are mutually recognised by all the FCI members.

In co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, there is continual translation and updating. These standards are the reference point for judges when judging shows held in the FCI member countries, the FCI keeps a list of all the judges appointed by its different members and lists the judges internationally licensed to award the CACIB in international shows.

Every member country conducts international shows and working trials. results are sent to the FCI office and the information computerised. When a dog has been awarded a certain number of awards, it can receive the title of International Beauty or Working Champion.

* International Beauty - the CACIB - Certificat d'Aptitude au Championnat International de Beauti
* Working trials awarding of the CACIT - Certificat d'Aptitude au Championnat International de Travail
* awarding of the CACIL - Certificat d'Aptitude au Championnat International des Courses de Livriers
* awarding of the CACIOB - Certificat d'Aptitude au Championnat International d'Obiissance
* awarding of the CACIAG - Certificat d'Aptitude au Championnat International d'Agility

The FCI publishes a magazine in four languages , translates and updates the various international regulations, and via the national canine organization and the FCI, every breeder can ask for international protection of his/her kennel name. The breed standards are in four languages (French, English, Spanish and German).

Contrary to popular belief, the FCI is not a registry and does not issue pedigrees. Niether does it have records of breeders addresses ; this information is available from the national canine societies that are recognized by the FCI.