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The Difference Between A Golden Retriever And A Hovawart

Updated on September 25, 2012

At first glance, a blond Hovawart looks like a Golden Retriever. I was curious about the similarities and the differences, so I looked-up specific information about the two breeds. I was especially interested since I've helped raise two female golden retrievers.

In my research I found out that not all hovawarts are yellow or golden. They also can be black or black and gold. They are a German breed and very popular in Germany. Other europeans also raise hovawarts. However, there are only a few of them in the United States.

Hovawarts are stubborn and free-willed. They can be hard to handle. And, training is often time-consuming and difficult. Golden Retrievers are easy to handle and relatively easy to train.

They both have similar exercise needs, such as long walks and being able to run outdoors. Exercise is needed for a hovawart or they may become destructive. A golden retriever can become destructive if left alone for long periods of time.

A hovawart loves its family and wants to please them. This is also important for a golden retriever. However, I think a golden retriever just wants to please, period. With a hovawart strangers will be accepted if the owner accepts the visitor. A visitor that is not accepted will be barked at and possibly attacked. A golden retriever will bark loudly, but they usually won't attack someone.

Dominance makes a hovawart difficult to socialize with other dogs. They don't do well with other dogs. They get along with smaller animals well. A golden retriever likes everyone and everything, it seems.

Apartment life is not suitable for a hovawart. However, a golden retriever can live in an apartment as long as it gets enough exercise.

A hovawart stands about 23 to 28 inches and is usually 55 to 90 pounds. A golden retriever is 20 to 24 inches and is usually 55 to 80 pounds. A golden retrievers life expectancy is usually 10 to 12 years. A hovawart usually lives between 10 and 14 years. So a hovawart can be a pretty big sized dog and they also may live longer.

Golden Retrievers were first bred in Britain. They've been around since the late 1860s, and hovawarts were being bred about 100 years ago.

The three colors of hovawarts.
The three colors of hovawarts. | Source
Golden retrievers vary widely in shade.
Golden retrievers vary widely in shade. | Source


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    • profile image

      tulin yurdakul 

      8 months ago

      I found two Hovawart puppies in our living area.They had been left alone by someone.One with black & gold has a wonderful home now.The other black and cream colour is with me. I let her to be trained partially.When she was 8.5 months vet sterilezed her not knowing that she was hovawart.Because they are puppies till 2 years old. Vet told me afterwards that it will not cause her health problems. She never and never loooses her hair. The best she has shiny beautiful soft coat.She never barks.Only twice I heard a very short voice like "hav".

      Since I am 68 yrs old and live in apartment eventhough I love her I am thinking to have her new home with large garden near forest or open fields preferably in USA or at Europe.She has complete care and vaccinations.

      pls write if interested to

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I have a 5-yr-old blond Hovie. She is amazing, and not the same as a golden. She loves all children, but is wary of adults until we approve of them. She matches our energy, always ready to do something, but ok with chilling for hours. Somehow she can be sleeping on her back with her feet in the air one moment, and the next, she's letting us know the UPS man is at the door.

      "Hard to train" is a funny comment. They do need you to be their leader. What they do NOT do: blindly follow your every command. What they WILL do: learn what is "normal" and let you know when something unusual happens. They will try their best to fit into your family, but also keep watch over everything. So, when you say "sit", they may pause to consider that odd sound they just heard before sitting. OTOH, she will leap straight up, clearing the floor by 2 feet in an instant, to reach my extended hand, held 6' in the air, and touch it with her nose when I say "touch", hoping she will get a piece of cheese. Or she'll roll over, if I twirl my hand instead.

      She may refuse to be moved two feet over so you can hug her better, because she doesn't want to. But, she noticed I don't like the cat scratching the couch (or clawing my feet), and started running him off. When she ran him off his scratching post, I gave her a stern verbal scolding, once. Since that, both animals clearly understand the rules.

      She knows not to steal food from the counter, but will go get the kids and lead them to the dish that was left out, and ask them for it.

      So, is that hard to train? Yes, if you want a dance partner. No, if you want an independent helper around the house. They do love to please and take pride in doing their job right. It's up to you to make sure they know what that job is and isn't.

      She plays tug-o-war, but matches her pull to the strength of the human she's playing with. She's never pulled my daughter down although the dog weighs more; she can also match my husband's strength. She loves to meet and will play energetically with any dog, no matter how big or small. Some dogs can't handle that energy, so she has to back off. I have no doubt she could be an amazing working dog, also.

      They are strong, smart, beautiful, and hairy.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I think you meant they've (Hovies) been bred for "1000" years not 100.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have had a swartzmarken hovawart (black & tan) for just over nine years. They stand a bit taller than golden retrievers. Hovawarts are not for first time dog owners but when raised correctly they are amazing dogs, they fetch and swim as good as and retriever, are fast an agile, are great guard dogs, he would not trust strangers until a formal introduction.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      mours sshields 

      7 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

      For a long time I didn't know about the hovawart. It is an interesting breed and so is the golden retriever. Especially when you compare the two!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      There are so many breeds of dogs and you have just introduced me to one that I had never known...the Hovawart. They do look a bit like the golden retrievers of which I am very familiar. Up and interesting votes!


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