Not every Russian dog handler, having heard the word "hovawart", will understand that this is not a dog's nickname, but the name of the breed. Meanwhile, in Europe, these dogs are in the TOP-7 service breeds and are especially loved in their homeland, in Germany.
The first mention of the Hovawarts ("hova" - courtyard / "wart" - the watchman) dates from the Middle Ages, when these unsurpassed guards guarded peasants and feudal estates from thieves. In those days, a law was in force that prescribed a fine of 10 guilders to anyone who kills or kidnaps a Hovawart. At the end of the 19th century, a rise in industrial production was noted in Germany, which negatively affected the abundance of most canine breeds, including Hovawart. The breed had to be restored in stages - until 1914, from 1915 to 1945 and starting in 1949.
Kurt Koenig, who created the first Hovawarts nursery in 1922, is considered the founding father of the breed. Their modern history began on April 3, when four puppies (Helma, Hunolf, Herma, Hummel) were born from a mating male named Baron and bitches Ortrud Hudson. In January 1924, the “Hovawart Breeding Union" arose, whose members intended to get a bold, alert, ready to fight back, but not an evil dog, adapted to work on the trail. The emphasis (until 1932) was placed not so much on the exterior as on the working qualities of the breed.
It is interesting! The ancestor of most of the current Hovawarts is called the outstanding producer, nicknamed Castor Meyer, who lived in the kennel of K. Koenig before the Second World War.
The Nazis, who came to power, declared the Hovawart an “imperial service dog,” appointing Kurt Koenig the Reich Minister of Breeding, Improving and Raising Service Breeds. In fact, the selection of Hovawart was curtailed, and by 1945 purebred representatives of the breed could be counted on the fingers. Hovawart survived thanks to enthusiasts who began to cooperate in alliances.
In 1959, the breed was recognized in Germany, and five years after the filing of FCI - already at the world level. The International Hovawarts Federation (IHF) appeared much later, only in 1983. Now IHF includes 13 states - Germany, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway, England, Holland, France, Belgium, Slovakia, Czech Republic and the USA.
The international federation formulates its tasks like this:
- maintaining the health of Hovawart;
- education of psychological stability;
- high level of socialization;
- the formation of excellent traits inherited;
- improvement of the breed exterior.
Hovawart (by IHF decision) ceased to be an exclusively watchman, and expanded his functions, becoming a friend who can help out in difficult situations (defending during attacks or saving on water / in the mountains). In pursuit of these goals, the IHF not only lays down the basic principles of breeding and raising dogs, but also in German pedantically tracks breeding activities throughout Europe / USA.
Description of Hovawart
This is a powerful, but not heavy dog, designed for universal use and able to withstand prolonged stress, both physical and psychological. The growth of males is from 0.63 to 0.7 m with a weight of 40-45 kg, the growth of bitches is 0.58-0.65 m with a weight of about 35-40 kg.
An expressive head, where the muzzle is equal in length to the skull, is planted on a dry, strong (without suspension) neck. The straight back of the nose and the triangular (high or medium set) hanging ears, overgrown with short / long hair, are noticeable. Oval-shaped eyes, usually dark. The look is calm. For teeth, a direct bite is allowed, but preferably a scissor bite. The body, whose length slightly exceeds growth at the withers, is balanced.
The chest is deep, the croup is short, and the back is even. The forelimbs are characterized by dry developed muscles, the hind limbs have flexible but strong hock joints. Forelegs are oval, hind legs are also oval or hare. Picked up in a lump.
Important! The densely pubescent tail is lowered below the hock (does not touch the ground) when the dog is standing, and raised high (slightly bent) when running. The movements are well coordinated, but at the same time sweeping and free. There is lightness, not turning into looseness.
The coat is long, short hair covers only the head and front legs (partially). The standard allows three colors - black (10%), black and tan (60% of dogs) and fawn (30%).
The soft appearance of the Hovawart is very misleading. The dog is somewhat reminiscent of a retriever, which is why it is not perceived threateningly. But in vain. External danger mobilizes the Hovawart, and he is ready to answer all ill-wishers. At other times, it is an intelligent, calm dog, very mobile and self-confident. An innate love for the owner is complemented by a strong will and a pronounced protective instinct (without signs of unmotivated aggression).
Hovawart is loyal to family members, distrusting strangers and trying to dominate the rest of the dogs. One of the innate qualities of the breed is stress resistance. Strong nerves, multiplied by unpretentiousness, allow you to use Hovawart in several directions. Dogs patrol the surroundings, become guides of the blind, save the lost in the mountains and in distress on the water. Dogs (due to their sharp sense of smell) are often involved in drug / explosive searches and tracing. Before determining the type of service for a particular dog, he is satisfied with professional tests and testing.
Thanks to the principled position of the IHF, with a strict rejection of weak manufacturers, the Hovawarts live long, on average 14-16 years.
Hovawart content at home
If you exhausted your pet for a walk (he needs about 1.5-2 hours a day), his presence in the city apartment will be invisible. Raised (and walked!) Dogs do not gnaw shoes, wallpaper and furniture. The most striking emotion of a Hovawart who has noticed a runner, skier or cyclist will be alertness. It treats strangers neutral, not allowing them to rule and taming active brawlers. The best feature of Hovawart is affection for the family, where he fully receives love and joy.
Care and hygiene
Despite the long coat, caring for the dog is straightforward: the hair does not get tangled and the Hovawart is combed once a week. Hovawart sheds like all dogs, but the problem of hair loss is solved by the same regular combing.
Important! In winter, so that the pet does not cling to excess snow on walks, wool is cut out between the pillows of the paws. General haircuts are usually not required.
The structure of the coat prevents the dog from becoming wet. After the exercise in the rain and wet snow, it is enough for the Hovawart to shake off. But he still needs to wipe his paws or wash. By the way, representatives of the breed are very fond of water and everything related to it: bath procedures (rare), trips to the river / sea and mischievous games with splashes.
It is preferable to feed the pet according to the BARF system. Responsible breeders build menus based on unpeeled scar and cartilage, adding other offal and muscle meat from time to time.
Only with intolerance to raw meat, it is recommended to transfer hovawart to ready-made holistic-class rations. The top positions in dog food ratings are held by Orijen and Acana (2 brands from one Canadian producer). Selected and unfrozen ingredients are used for food, grain lines are not used in the holistic lines, but the proportion of animal proteins is high (up to 70%).
It will also be interesting:
If your Hovawart has normal digestion, feed it with natural foods such as:
- offal, especially untreated scar and liver (rarely);
- lean meat (beef);
- fillet of sea fish (occasionally);
- egg, cottage cheese and kefir;
- stewed and raw vegetables (as a side dish);
- porridge (do not get involved!);
- cheese (as a treat in training).
Like many heavy dogs, hovawart is prone to stomach upset, which can be avoided in two ways. Firstly, the dog is not fed before / after intense exertion, and secondly, they put the bowl in the stand at the chest level. This device facilitates food intake and protects against inversion.
Diseases and birth defects
For his excellent health, the Hovawart must thank the strict German breeders who work only with trusted dogs.. Animals whose parents have congenital abnormalities, including mental ones, are excluded from breeding.
Bitches and males are allowed to mate after a full veterinary examination, which includes:
- examination by a licensed optometrist (with the issuance of an opinion);
- check of the cardiovascular system by a cardiologist;
- visit to the endocrinologist to check the thyroid gland;
- general blood analysis;
- a picture of hip dysplasia.
Important! Compulsory examination of joints in all canine breeds was introduced into breeding practice precisely with the submission of Hovawarts breeders. In West Germany, they began to do this since 1965, in East - since 1968.
Now Hovawarts with a degree of inbreeding of at least a third are allowed for breeding. Animals recognized as breeding can have a limited number of litters: females - up to six (ideally no more than two), males - five. These measures do not multiply, but preserve and improve the Hovawart population. Thanks to the vaunted German meticulousness, the percentage of inherited somatic and mental illnesses in the breed is extremely low.
Parenting and training
A person with experience in training will easily establish contact with the Hovawart, who is always trying to please the owner. Classes are built sequentially and on interest, with a gradual increase in their complexity. Do not wait for the pure execution of commands from the puppy and remember that the Hovawart does not tolerate pressure and rudeness, especially turning into a plane of physical impact.
The instructors, who train heavy breeds (for example, the Rottweiler) for protection, note the winning qualities of the Hovawart: it is more efficient, recovers faster after loads, much more maneuverable and faster. The duration of intensive exercises on the site hovawart surpasses any large breed.
Hovawarts show good results not only in the office, but also in sports training, whether it be agility or schutzhund. From the point of view of German breeders, the peak of the physical and psychological maturity of the Hovawart is 3 years. This circumstance must be taken into account when embarking on his education and training. A true Hovawart is devoid of nervousness and tantrums, on the site it turns on its head, always monitors the situation and is ready to repel a sudden attack at any moment.
Buy a dog breed Hovawart
The IHF never tires of emphasizing that Hovawart is not a commercial breed advertised and promoted for profit. Puppies are prohibited from selling to nationals of countries not included in the IHF.
It is interesting! The first representative of the breed by the name of Ashley Palatsow Pieknosci appeared in Russia only in 2004. And 2 years later, the first domestic Hovawarts were born from the mating of a fawn male Ashley and an imported female PP Zilka (Hungary) in the Hof Harz kennel.
For 11 years, about 30 litters (4 generations of dogs) were released at Hof Harz - a total of 155 Hovawarts of three recognized colors. The nursery closed in January 2017, but now several pure nurseries in Moscow, Omsk, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Zaporozhye (Ukraine) offer purebred Hovawarts.
What to look for
The breed standard is best studied before purchase. In Germany, for example, those wishing to acquire a hovawart file an application with a pedigree club and wait (sometimes up to six months!) For a decision by the club management. So puppies get to people who can provide competent care and upbringing.
In the nursery you must present the pedigree and working diplomas of the manufacturers. Do not trust intermediaries who promise to bring live goods from abroad, but go for the puppy yourself. Otherwise, you can buy an animal with flaws (both in the exterior and for health). They take the puppy no earlier than he turns 8 weeks old. At this age, a male dog weighs at least 7 kg, a female - 6 kg (these parameters are controlled by the breeder).
Hovawart puppy price
These dogs are not cheap, due to their exclusivity and remarkable performance. The price of puppies starts at 30 thousand rubles (in nurseries of the Russian Federation). Everyone who takes a hovawart should present an approximate amount of expenses - participation in exhibitions, visits to the veterinarian, proper nutrition / maintenance and payment of instructors. If your financial possibilities are limited, it is better to refuse to buy.
Those lucky enough to make friends with the Hovawart admit that he has no equal. And the point is not so much in his charming appearance as in his magnificent character. The dog is friendly to strangers and dogs, will never bounce first, but will always respond to aggression.
Important!Hovawart will come to grips with anyone who tries to offend his master: he will give a worthy rebuff to the Rottweiler or protect him from a drunken bully.
This is a large but not huge dog with surprisingly soft hair, which does not stray into tangles and almost does not give back a dog. Hovawarts live both in the courtyard (outside the city) and in the city apartment, requiring daily 1.5 hour walks and sports training on weekends (4-5 hours). They know how to be inconspicuous at home, but they are transformed, being involved in any kind of activity - competitions, official training or outdoor games.