The Hovawart is a proud dog with a distinct personality. Due to his past as a working dog, he is very agile and eager to run. For sporty people or as a rescue dog he is a faithful companion. Consistently and lovingly guided, Hovawart dogs are extremely people-friendly, alert and tolerant.
Typical for the Hovawart is the strong head with large gentle eyes and the triangular hanging ears. The body is elongated and athletic. The dog's posture is upright with spacey movements. He is a persistent, strong and alert.
The sexes are very easy to distinguish in this breed. Females have a slimmer head and reach a height at the withers of 58 to 65 cm. In males, the head is strong, broad with a clearly arched forehead. They reach withers heights between 63 and 70 cm.
The Hovawart is available in three color drawings. Black marks are dogs with a dark upper coat and light belly and bib. Other markings are on the face, above the eyes and on the side of the muzzle. Blonde is the cream colored dog type. Occasionally blond Hovawart are confused with Golden Retrievers. However, the physique of the Hovawart is more elongated and the coat is wavier. Finally, he still exists in pure black. This coloring occurs more rarely.
As a former working and farm dog, the Hovawart likes to be outdoors and active. As a pure apartment dog he is not suitable. These pedigree dogs are something for active people who enjoy exercise. The dog should be offered all-day employment.
Staying on a large property or in the garden can make a Hovawart happy. Nevertheless, the dog needs additional free running and walks. If he accumulates too much energy, he can develop oversensitivity. This is occasionally manifested by an overprotective instinct.
A young Hovawart is only conditionally suitable for beginners. He needs a safe and loving leadership. A weak owner is very quickly taken by surprise by these dogs. They need clear communication and firm boundaries. Only then this extremely alert dog feels comfortable and safe.
Hovawart are great family dogs for active people. For individuals he is suitable when there is enough free time. He will gladly accompany you on the bike, jogging or dog sports. Hovawarts can have a strong hunting instinct. In the field and near forests it is better to keep him on a leash. The dog should be allowed to let off steam regularly. Dog play groups or joint sports such as agility or tracking are suitable for this purpose.
Due to the size, the breed had to fight for a long time with hip dysplasia (HD for short). Through breeding selection, this disease in the Hovawart could now be well pushed back.
The right food
Feeding the Hovawart is uncomplicated. All varieties of high-quality dog food are suitable for this breed. As with all other dogs, you should pay attention to a balanced diet. It should contain many high-quality ingredients. Ready-made food usually contains all the essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
Hovawarts are very athletic dogs and usually metabolize carbohydrates very well. Nevertheless, you should pay attention to a high meat content in the food. Often you hear the opinion that carbohydrates are absolutely unsuitable for dogs. As a reference such teachings call the nutrition of the wolf. In the meantime, however, this has been scientifically refuted. The dog is no longer a wolf.
Thousands of years of domestication have adapted its digestion to carbohydrate-rich foods. Always pay attention to the quality of grains, rice and other vegetable ingredients. Unspecified by-products should be included only in small amounts.
If you have a puppy in the house, the diet is somewhat different. The needs of young dogs are quite different from those of adult animals. It is best to ask the breeder for advice. In the beginning he can give you a ration of the food you are used to. If you want to feed something different, you should change slowly.
This means that you mix new food slowly and in small portions with the old. Then you increase the proportion of the new food every day. There are special mixtures for young dogs. They cover the increased need for energy, protein and vitamins.
Adult Hovawart can get any wet or dry food from quality-conscious manufacturers. They are also suitable for feeding fresh meat. Barf diet provides for the administration of raw fresh meat. In addition, the dog gets grain and vegetable food through ready mixes. Fresh meat is also suitable as a special morsel even with a normal diet. Of course, it can also be boiled. Many dogs love it when you give some meat broth over the dry food.
How much effort you put into grooming depends on what you do with your dog. A Hovawart that romps around outside a lot will drag a lot of dirt into the apartment. Branches, grass and other small particles from the woods and fields tend to get stuck in the medium-length coat. Despite the extra effort of grooming, you should allow your dog these pleasures in nature.
The medium-length hair of Hovawarts must be brushed regularly. On the one hand, you can remove plant parts and dirt. On the other hand, you always remove dead hairs from the coat before they can become matted. Besides, after brushing your dog will look beautifully shiny again. The coat of a Hovawart should always shimmer lightly and flow in loose waves around the dog's body.
Parasites can quickly settle into an unkempt coat. Under certain circumstances, they are not noticed so quickly. They can settle in the undercoat under the armpits or in other warm places. It is quite similar with ticks. To find these uninvited guests, you should examine the dog intensively several times.
In winter, snow clumps or mud can accumulate in the fur and between the pads. Many dog owners have a set grooming ritual before entering the home. Usually, your dog will get used to it quickly and won't push either. A garage or the backyard are perfect for ridding your dog of the grossest dirt.
You may need to trim the hair between the pads occasionally. You should also cut out matted areas of hair.
For the Hovawart is suitable harness or wide collar. A harness always provides a better grip for dogs of this size. If you do have to intervene, you won't choke your dog so easily with a harness.
The Hovawart has an uncomplicated physique. Most accessories in large sizes fit him. Since these dogs like to get dirty and wet, you should own several sets. All in all, you will have to wash your Hovawart's outfit more often. Therefore, look for easy-care materials. Leather can look chic, but can also quickly become brittle if it gets too wet and dirty.
The selection of a suitable dog sleeping bed is quite similar. Especially young Hovawarts can be seized by sudden attacks of joy. A full plush dog bed may not survive the wild play of an excited dog. Wicker or plastic baskets make more sense. Blankets and pillows can be replaced more easily.
Dog toys and employment material for large dogs are also sufficient. It is important not to just leave the Hovawart to its own devices with toys. You should spend enough time with your dog. For exhaustion common bicycle tours are suitable. You can find special bicycle sets in the accessories trade.
Origin & History
The Middle High German word Hova means the farm and the Wait we know to this day as a guardian. Hovawart therefore simply means Court Guard. For a long time, the term was a designation for farm dogs of all kinds. Mentions of the Hovawart can already be found in writings from the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, the appearance of these dogs has not been handed down.
At the end of the 19th century, the Hovawarts were described for the first time, which clearly corresponded to the current breed standard. After the First World War the actual breeding was established. Two gentlemen named Bertram and Kurt Friedrich König were looking for a special type of dog. He should be alert and react according to the situation. The breeding was aimed at protection dogs. He eventually built his kennel on a stock of local farm dogs.
German Shepherds, Newfoundlands, Leonbergers and the Hungarian Kuvasz were crossed in. According to legend, the king even brought in an African wild dog.
From 1937, the Hovawart was recognized as an independent breed. Today's breeding is more oriented towards a family-friendly leisure companion. The suitability for protection and guard dog is still there, but has receded into the background.