Frequently Asked Questions
(from Hovawart Club of America)
Some Questions and answers from us
Q. Are Hovawart good for first-time dog owners?
We do not usually recommend them for first-time owners because of their strong-willed personality, their guarding instincts and their intelligence. Owning a Hovawart can be quite a challenge and they require significant time and attention from their owners. However, for an owner who is willing to expend the effort to teach their dog appropriate behaviors in different situations, the reward is a faithful companion.
Q. Who is an ideal owner of a Hovawart?
The ideal Hovawart owner is someone who is willing and able to invest the time and effort to properly educate a Hovawart. They would be someone who wants a loyal companion and who is willing to participate in activities with the dog. Also, they should also be physically capable of owning a strong, large dog.
Q. How much room does a Hovawart need?
A Hovawart can be as large as 28 inches at the shoulder and weigh as much as 100 pounds or more. Therefore, the more running room they have; the happier they will be. It is preferable to have a large fenced yard, but substitute exercises such as hiking, trips a dog park, etc. can make up for some lack in this area. Apartments are not normally large enough, or have room enough, for desired activities.
Q. What are the characteristics of a Hovawart? What makes them different?
Physically, they are large, heavy-boned dogs that have been bred to be intelligent guardians of home and livestock. The standard size for males is approximately 25 to 28 inches at the withers. For females the height range is approximately 23 to 26 inches. They are alert, faithful, trustworthy, extremely intelligent, fun loving, and stubborn. A Hovawart likes to have a job to do, or he will use his creative nature to find one. They take approximately two years to mature. Currently Hovawart in North America are participating in search and rescue organizations, therapy dog activities, obedience trials, agility trials, flyball and service dog training.
Q. Are they good with children?
Hovawart are favorably disposed toward children. However, no child should be left unsupervised with any dog. Young dogs and young children are both in a state of learning and may not interact appropriately. Because of the size of a Hovawart, small children may be knocked down by a playful act, or an unintentional collision. Care should always be taken to ensure the safety of both dog and child.
Q. Do Hovawart make good guard dogs?
As mentioned above, they were bred to be intelligent guardians of home and livestock. While they do have the instinct to guard, it is done from a defensive posture as opposed to an aggressive method. When mentioning guard dogs in todayís environment, one instantly calls to mind the stereotypical "junk-yard dog". We, in the Hovawart Club of America, do not encourage any attempt to use Hovawart in this fashion. Instead, we encourage the use of the Hovawart as an individual companion and recommend that owners properly train their dogs to avoid unwanted aggressive behavior.
The Hovawart guarding instincts are best controlled by heavy socialization and exposure to different situations and stimuli. This allows the dog to understand how each situation should be approached and utilizes the dogís intelligence to assure a measured response. Absent directions, the Hovawart will make his own decision, and it may not match what you want it to do. We emphasize the need for training so the dog understands how you want it to make decisions and not rely on its own instincts. Appropriate guarding instincts are a learned process and the dogs need to be educated by exposing them to these situations.
As part of our criteria for determining eligibility to breed, each dog is required to pass a temperament test. We only recommend breeding of defensive, not aggressive, dogs. We are very protective of the reputation of the Hovawart and will not condone any attempt to transform them into an aggressive guard dog.
Q. Should I be concerned about their guarding instincts?
Not overly so. As can be seen from the history of the Hovawart, their inbred guarding instincts predisposed toward defensive methods. Additionally, our breeding tests are to propagate defensive guarding behavior without resorting to attack methods. However, because Hovawart are guarding dogs, caution should be exercised in allowing them to rely solely on their own decision-making abilities. This means do not let them have the run of the property to guard as they choose. While they are extremely intelligent, and will almost always make a good decision, the occasional occurrence where they make a less than desirable decision can result in serious consequences. For instance, it is best to greet a friend at the door and not allow them to walk in and surprise a Hovawart.
Q. Where do I get a Hovawart?
Puppies born in North America are rare. However, when a litter is available, information is posted on our website. Additionally, we have a rescue page on this site and occasionally we will have an adult needing a new home.
If you truly want to be a Hovawart owner, please be cautious of non-authorized breeders. In the past, we have had very unpleasant experiences with breeders that have not paid sufficient attention to ensuring that they have healthy, well-adjusted dogs. Because a Hovawart is a large dog, you will want to make sure it does not suffer from unwanted physical, or attitudinal, characteristics.
If you want a U.S. born Hovawart, you will need to place yourself on a waiting list. An alternative option is to import a Hovawart from Europe. Our breeding director can help, in either case. Please contact our Club President, John Rutkowski at 760-944-9589 for additional information.
Some Questions and answers from us
Q. Is the breed recognized by The American Kennel Club (AKC)?
No, not yet.
Q. Is the breed recognized by The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)?
Yes. The Hovawart is now recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club. Hovawart can compete in any event held by this club.
Q. Can I enter any obedience trial or other event with my Hovawart?
Yes. All owners of a Canadian Hovawart who want to participate with his (her) dog in obedience or tracking trials in Canada can do. This means that Hovawart can compete in Canada in obedience trials or Tracking trials or Agility or any other events held under the CKC rules and earn official Canadian titles . You can get more information on the web site club at www.ckc.ca or by e-mail at email@example.com You donít need to be a member of the Canadian Kennel Club to participate in any event. But you need to have registered paper from a club recognized by CKC.
Q. How long have you bred Hovawart?
We have actually four Hovawart (one male and three females). We purchased our first dog six years ago. It was the male Lancelot Des Trois Petits Diables. He comes from France. Today, we have two females coming from Germany (two different breed lines) and one female coming from France. We had our first litter last February, 2001. We got 9 beautiful puppies.
Q. How did you become interested in this breed?
When we lost our Rott, we looked for another breed. We spent one complete year to find a breed. We searched for a dog which would be a working dog, but softer and more manageable than our Bess. We wanted to find a healthy dog, with a moderate temperament who can fit with children and other animals (family pet). Also we wanted a dog that could be protective if necessary. We find the Hovawart. This breed met our requirements. And furthermore, he can have three coat colours. Blond, Black andÖBlack and tan like our Rott.
Q. What are the majors and minors health issues of this breed?
First of all, Hovawart are healthy dogs and rather resistant. But like other large breed, we must take care for Hip dysplasia and also eye diseases. In Europe, about 80% of livestock are free from hip dysplasia. We bought our dogs from France and Germany. These country are very strict when selecting genitors. We intend to do the same. In addition, we are members of Hovawart club of America. This club agreed with German club rules about the breeding of these dogs. Until now, we havenít experimented no specific problem with our dogs.
Q. What is the average age life expectancy of this breed?
They live an average of 12 - 13 years.
Q. What are the most common causes of death?
Until now, we havenít sufficient data to tell the most common causes of death. We will investigate that.
Q. What registered papers will we get when we buy a Hovawart from you?
We give a 4 generations pedigree (from the Hovawart Club of America). We also give registration paper from Canadian Kennel Club. This allows you to get pedigree from this club. Pedigrees from CKC are FCI recognized. You get a health certificate and a shot certificate from our vet. Also, puppies are tattooed. They will be dewormed three time by the time they leave home.
Q. What are your guarantees?
We guarantee that both male and female are hip dysplasia free, and also their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. We guarantee that our puppies are healthy. We guarantee the authenticity of the above stated documents, but can not in any way guarantee the future hip status and health of the dog. (This guarantee is included in the official sale contract approved by the HCA)
Q. What about training the Hovawart?
If you never trained a dog, we strongly recommend that you follow a training course with your dog. Especially if you have a male. We strongly recommend that you socialize your dog very well . The Hovawart need to meet many people and in particular children. They need to see a great variety of places and things. In summary, they need to be socialized with people, places, noises, things, odors, etc.Ö