Dog trains man

Monday, January 9, 2017


You could be actually reading this because you have just run into a beautiful dog, that looked a lot like a retriever.

Maybe you had a talk with the owner, who explained it was not a retriever, but a ... what was it she said ... a Hova...What? ... ah yes, a Hova...Wart.

The dog's person told you they are actually quite different from retrievers, as they are the descendants of an ancient guard dog breed from Germany.

Most people would have trusted their first impression - they do look cute like retrievers and don't have that fierce look we associate with guarding dogs - and combined with the story of a rare ancient breed, already went shopping for one in places like They will be in for a big surprise.

A Hovawart has a huge guarding instinct. Like all dog breeds that were bred for a purpose, either herding, hunting, or guarding, it is that genetic baggage they take with them in our modern society. And while society has moved on and has changed the criteria and expectations for our dogs, the dogs are roughly still the same. Therefore we still have to acknowledge where they come from and what they were wired to do, if we want to live together in harmony.

Barking and guarding is, if we want it or not, part of the Hovawart package. It is not all bad, as the barking and guarding can lead to funny situations, at least if you have a good sense of humor and are not easily embarrassed.

You might wonder if they actually are family dogs?

They most certainly are.

Being part of a family is as essential for them as breathing air. Only being with you and your family can really make them thrive.

And it doesn't have to stay at that. With the proper socialization they can also bond with people outside your immediate family. Just not on a first date, when they would still act as your "bodyguard".

Whether a Hovawart's personality is to be the clown of the house, the placid matriarch, the work-a-holic, or the clever manipulator, they all have something in common when it comes down to personality.

They'll have a lot of it.

And as a finishing touch they were all given a super-sized spoon of independence, mixed with willpower.

In short: you will get run over by a tank and never know what hit you. The only thing that can help you is not to panic, remain consistent, be confident, keep the faith, and weapon yourself with a good dose of humor.

During the puppy and adolescent years, their favorite nickname is "Hurricane" or "Tornado". The good news is they will grow up one day. The bad news being, a Hovawart matures late. First when they are three years of age, they are considered adults. And even then, some simply refuse to grow up. Either way, they will remain playful for a long time to come.

Did you read this far?

Great, you are officially armed to meet some real Hovawarts in real life, although .... be prepared to find out we hardly even scratched the surface! There is so much more to discover.

When you don't know any Hovawarts in your direct vicinity to meet, visiting a Hovawart dog show from your national Hovawart club would be a great place to start.

Hovawart dog shows are nothing fancy like the big shows where all breeds are represented. It is just a group of casually dressed people having a good time with their dogs. They will all be more than happy to let you meet their Hovie and have a talk or give some advice, or assist you in meeting a Hovawart on its own turf.

The better you will get to know them, the more you will also notice their individuality. And although they all share the traits of the breed, they are all different nonetheless.

Good luck in discovering the Hovawart further. Questions are most welcome, just comment below or mail me at kenzohw (at) gmail (dot) com.


  1. I remember back when I was little I did a school report on Golden Retrievers and included Hovawarts as a comparison dog (as was the guidelines of our report). ...and yes, quite the eye opener!!

    Monty, Harlow, and Ramble

    1. Your choice for a comparison dog was excellent! I bet your teacher found it intriguing how two breeds that look so much alike can be so different.

    2. She did. She thought I was a little nutty - all my reports where on animals - but she enjoyed my report.

  2. I can relate to so much of this. I have a blonde male Hovawart. He is about 3,5 years now. And he is an adult, sometimes, if he really wants to. The rest of the time he is a playful and wonderful maniac. He always knows how to put a smile on my face. :)

    1. Thank you. Those young adult days right after their 3rd birthday are a treat, enjoy them!

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  4. Can anyone outline the major differences between male and female hovawarts? I have heard that the males are more affectionate, but more guarding and weary of strangers coming into your home. Also that females are more trusting of strangers, tend to bark a bit less, and tent to wander off a bit more. I have also heard someone compare the females to a cat, where you need to earn their affection. Is one easier to train than the other? Any input is greatly appreciated.

    1. Males tend to attach more to one person in the household and do take guarding of their family and house more serious whereas females are in general more outgoing.
      I like the comparison you mentioned with a cat, and yes, their ability to think independent might be more prevalent with females.
      Males could be a handful to train especially when they start to guard, females are "easier", although that's a bold statement about any Hovawart!

  5. I do have a female Hovawart at home which is now 7 months old. Still a puppy... But she's behaving a lot like a cat :-) always asking for petting. She likes a lot to greet when people are coming at home. I sometimes already have the impression she's guarding the house but I think anyway it's too early to state this. But it's a real pleasure to have her at home, walk with her in the morning, evening, and whenever possible... What's described on this blog scares me a little. I hope it won't be too difficult when she'll be a teenage. We'll see


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