FCI standard (number 190)

Origin: Germany

Mission: working dog

Classification FCI: group 2, Molosser dogs

Section 2.2 Mountain Molossers

A brief historical note: the Hovawart is a very old German working dog.

General characteristic: the Hovawart is a sturdy, active medium size dog with a slightly elongated body and long fur. Sexual dimorphism is quite distinct being marked by the form of the dog’s head and its physique. Hovawarts are good runners and jumpers. They are courageous and attentive, with an instant reaction. The dogs are excellent watchdogs, defenders and companions. Their beautiful fur is a thing to admire.

The dog body proportions: the Hovawart has a well-balanced physique. Length of body to height at withers is 110%–120%.

Behaviour: the Hovawart is considered to be a working dog with flexible capabilities. The dog has a distinctive defender instinct, it is clever, attentive, kind and faithful to the owner. Despite its massiveness and strength the Hovawart is very dexterous, temperamental and kind. It is manageable and docile in training. Absolute faithfulness to the family makes the dog a good companion, watchdog, guardian, lifeguard and tracking dog.

Height and weight: male 63-70 cm and 30—40 kg, female 58-65 cm and 25—35 kg.

Head: Big and round shaped head, broad and vaulted forehead. Nostrils are well shaped. Black tan and black dogs have black nasal lobe, straw-coloured dogs can have straw-coloured nasal lobe. The nose part of the head is narrowed when viewed from above and in profile. The dog has pursed thin lips, strong jaws and a scissors bite. The teeth are set in the jaws in the form of triangle. Level bite is within normal parameters.

Eyes: medium-sized, oval, from light brown to dark. Tightly fitted eyelids.

Ears: floppy, high-set, far-set, tapered to the bottom so that the head seems to expand. The length of the ears reaches the corners of the eyes. The end of the ears is slightly rounded. When the dog is relaxed its ears are floppy, when the dog is alert they are forward directed.

Neck: medium-long, not too thick, symmetric, covered with fur.

Body: straight and strong back with a well-developed musculature. Slightly narrowed and convex lower back, long back line tapering from withers to tail, deep, well-cut but not too wide chest.

Limbs: strong, covered with fur, moderately long, with well defined joints. The front limbs are parallel when viewed from the front and from the side. The shoulders are well muscled. The shoulder blade is long and well set back. The elbows are resting against the chest. The wrists are strong. The heels are moderately sloping. The rear limbs are muscular, prominent and straight when viewed from behind. The angles are well defined. The breed has round-shaped bunched paws. The toes are vaulted and tightened. Black tan and black dogs have black nails, straw-coloured dogs can have less pigmented nails.

Tail: long, lower than hip joints. It can be raised up or lowered down according to the animal's mood. The tail is thick at the root, thinning gradually towards the end, drooping downwards.

Fur: long, slightly wavy, well covering the body, with some undercoat. The fur is longer on the backs of the front legs and tail. There are combs on the hind legs. The fur cover is dense.

Coloration: black, black tan, straw-coloured. Black dogs have a long and glossy fur, sometimes with small white markings on the chest, toes and tail tip.

Black tan dogs have a glossy black fur with not many pale color markings. The markings can appear along the lower edge of the lips and near the neck. There are small straw-colored markings above the eyebrows. There are two straw-colored not merging spots on the chest. There are straw-colored spots on the back and inside of the limbs. There should be a mark below the tail base. The pattern is clearly defined and symmetrical. Individual small white spots on the chest and white hairs on the toes and the tip of the tail are within normal parameters.

Straw-colored dogs have a glossy fur which is lighter on the belly and limbs. White hairs on the toes and tail are within normal parameters. Pigmentation of paw pads is black.

Disqualifying defects:

  • dogs that do not belong to the breed type
  • males of female type
  • females of male type
  • differences from the standard proportions
  • drowsy, phlegmatic, cowardly, or aggressive dogs
  • too light eyes
  • underbite, overbite, crossbite
  • poorly defined feet
  • rather high-bottomed or high-footed
  • narrow chest
  • irregular tail
  • highfootedness
  • curly fur
  • other differences from the standard