We study the dynamical structure of pure Lovelock gravity in spacetime dimensions higher than four using the Hamiltonian formalism. The action consists of a cosmological constant and a single higher-order polynomial in the Riemann tensor. Similarly to the Einstein-Hilbert action, it possesses a unique constant curvature vacuum and charged black hole solutions. We analyze physical degrees of freedom and local symmetries in this theory. In contrast to the Einstein-Hilbert case, the number of degrees of freedom depends on the background and can vary from zero to the maximal value carried by the Lovelock theory.