Hovawart is a large, thick-haired dog with a noble head. Intelligent, distrustful of strangers, susceptible to training, very capable of olfactory work. Balanced, moderate temperament. It requires careful upbringing.
Hovawart is a dog of medium temperament, cheerful and friendly. It ripens relatively late, only in the third or fourth year of life. Sensitive and devoted to the owner, he should not be isolated from his family. He feels good in the company of children, but you must remember to have their games together under control.
He will accept domestic animals, as well as another dog, provided that he does not have an equally strong personality. In general, he does not start brawls with foreign quadrupeds, but provoked he can be a formidable opponent. He is an excellent, brave guardian. He will easily recognize even long-unseen friends and is distrustful of strangers. He can sense a real threat and can not be aggressive without a clear reason.
Representatives of this breed tend to dominate; especially males need a strong herd head. From the beginning, it is necessary to set limits that the dog must not cross. Hovawart already at the age of a puppy tries to get the most favorable position in the family.
Educational errors and excessive indulgence can turn against the owner – an adult dog will not want to comply with him. Puppies require careful socialization, which should start with the breeder.
Hovawart endures inaction poorly. Needs a lot of traffic, owning a house with a garden does not release the owner from the obligation to go out with the dog for walks. In his youth, the spontaneity of a representative of this breed can be a challenge; with age, most dogs become more stable.
Formerly Hovawart was supposed to guard the house, farm and cattle. Currently, he is also a great watchman, but his skills are also used in other areas. This is an excellent rescue dog (avalanche, debris and search), a guide for the blind (France), service dog (Switzerland), some individuals also work well in dog therapy.
Hovawart is good at obedience courses, suitable for defense training (IPO), and – due to its excellent sense of smell – for tracking. You can do dog sports with him: obedience, agility, flyball, canicross, dancing with a dog. However, playing with frisbee should not be competitive. Representatives of this breed are also great swimmers.
Training and education
Hovawart is distinguished by excellent memory, accuracy and the ability to quickly associate facts. He is intelligent, eager to learn, but sometimes stubborn. Since he had once been required of independence, he is obsessed with absolute obedience and mechanical execution of orders. A properly motivated Hovawart can be a champion in a given field, but when he blows boredom – he refuses to cooperate.
It responds best to commands given in a calm, firm voice. However, we do not shout anything or shout violence. Training a representative of this breed requires consistency, varied exercises and positive stimuli (clicker training works well). Hovawart is a foodie, so your favorite treat can work wonders.
Who is this race for?
Not suitable for everyone. The owner should lead a sporty lifestyle (Hovawart needs about 1.5 hours of intensive movement per day), be a firm, patient person and have basic knowledge of the dog’s psyche.
Hovawart. Advantages and disadvantages
tends to dominate (mainly males)
may conflict with foreign dogs
likes to collect waste
quite abundant molting
attached to owner
suitable for a family with children
good, not a noisy watchman
you can do dog sports with him
has a coat that is easy to clean
This breed is considered resistant. Hovawart may be prone to hip dysplasia (x-rays are required to obtain breeding qualifications).
Occasionally eye and heart diseases, hypothyroidism and liver shunt occur – collateral portal liver circulation (blood does not flow through the liver or only partially flows through it and is not cleared of toxins). Like all large quadrupeds, he may experience stomach extension and twist.
Hovawart usually has a huge appetite, so you need to control its weight and the amount of food you give. During the period of intensive growth, it requires well-balanced food for puppies of large breeds with the addition of glucosamine and chondroitin.
The diet of an adult dog should be adapted to his lifestyle (it is worth giving the preparations protecting the joints all the time). The daily dose must be divided into at least two meals, counting the treats.
You can brush an adult dog once a week or two. During molting periods, this should be done more often, paying attention to the hair behind the ears and in the groin. Hovawart’s hair has self-cleaning properties, it is very easy to remove dirt from it.
We bathe the dog, if necessary, in shampoo for long-haired dogs. You need to regularly check your ears and teeth and cut the claws if the dog does not rub them by itself.
Hovawart comes from village guard dogs from around Harz and Black Forest. In the Middle Ages, the name of the breed in Middle High German meant yard guardian.
The first mention of Hovawart can be found in the German legal code of 1380. In 1513, Albrecht Dürer immortalized in the copperplate “Knight, death and devil” of a long-haired dog, which breed lovers consider to be former Hovawart.
The beginning of modern breeding took place only before World War I. Bertram König then associated village dogs from the Harz, Black Forest and Odenwald regions and bred his first Hovawarts.
However, the creator of the breed is believed to be his son Kurt F. König, who in the 1920s took action to reconstruct it. He crossed the country dog, incl. with German Shepherd, Leonberger, Newfoundland, a large Swiss Shepherd Dog and Kuwait.
Although during the Second World War most of the new population became extinct, lovers of the breed managed to find several survivors. In 1947, the Hovawart Breeders Association was founded in Germany, and in 1957 the first specialized exhibition was organized. In 1972, Hovawart was recognized as a working breed with a guard dog exam.
Hovawart – group II FCI, section 2.2, model number 190
Country of origin: Germany
Original purpose: guard dog
Character: balanced dog, medium temperament, cheerful, friendly, independent, confident; sensitive, requires a strong bond with man; has a tendency to dominate (mainly males); great watchman, distrustful of strangers, but without excessive aggression; active, lively and energetic, he is the type of athlete; in adolescence requires careful socialization
Size: dogs 63-70 cm at withers, bitches 58-65 cm (the disadvantage is height below minimum and more than 3 cm above maximum)
Coat: strong, compact, long, slightly wavy and close-fitting, with little undercoat; longer coat on the chest, abdomen, back of the forelegs (feather), on the thighs (generous pants) and tail
Color: blond, black and tan and black
Reaching puberty: 3-4 years
Lifespan: 11-13 years
Molting: quite abundant, twice a year
Activity: very high; needs a lot of movement and activities
Training: the necessary basics of obedience (PT); can be trained as a tracking dog (PTT, IPO-FH FCI) and a guard dog (IPO); suitable for sports (obedience, agility, flyball, canicross and dog dancing )
Vulnerability to training: very high; intelligent dog, likes to work with people, but is stubborn and independent; requires consistency, patience and positive training methods
Attitude towards children: friendly
Attitude towards other dogs: tolerant towards their flock, although two strong-males may not accept; he usually doesn’t start fights with strange dogs, but is provoked by a dangerous opponent
Weather resistance: very resistant
Apartment: preferably a house with a garden, but you can not isolate it from the family; adapts to living in an apartment, if it has regular traffic (about 1.5 hours of active walk per day)
Preparation for exhibitions: bathing or thoroughly combing and refreshing the coat; you can even the fur on your feet
Hovawart defense training must be based on play, not on triggering fear aggression in the dog. Hovawart can easily distinguish an artificial situation from a real threat and you can’t be intimidated by the jumping “clown in a cotton wool”. Competition for a teether is different – many Hovawart will love this fun.
However, it is worth checking whether the puppy’s parents have a well-developed hunting passion. From a small age, you need to train a strong grip on the teether and strengthen retrieving, which is the Achilles heel of dogs of this breed. The problem may also be caused by the fact that hovawart are by nature not very barking and sometimes difficult to provoke to the barking helper required by the IPO regulations. However, during tracking hovawart guides will have an advantage over the owners of other races – Hovawart is born trackers.