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Hovawart: nature, care and the most common diseases


Hovawart is a representative of a relatively young race and comes from beyond our western border, i.e. from Germany, and in his veins flows the blood of many other races, m.in. St. Bernard, Newfoundland and German Shepherd.

The name "hovawart " is a combination of the words "hova " - yard and "warten " - to watch, which perfectly describes its original use.

These dogs were most often found in the backyards and farmyards, which they carefully guarded during the day and at night.

The first records of them come from around 1220. z in the oldest German law code "Schwabenspiegel ".

Then called hovawart virtually all guard dogs of the type, with long hair and floppy ears were designated.

Scheduled Hovawart breeding, individuals selected in terms of exterior began in the 1920s. Of the twentieth century by enthusiasts of the breed.

Over time, thanks to their exceptional intelligence, balanced character and endurance, these dogs have seen their potential for higher purposes and are now used successfully as dogs:

  • rescue,
  • avalanche,
  • police,
  • blind guides.

According to the FCI classification, the hovawart belongs to group 2.

  • Hovawart character
  • Hovawart appearance
    • Hovawart height
    • Hovawart weight
  • Hovawart care and nutrition
  • Hovawart disease
    • Hip dysplasia
    • Anterior cruciate ligament rupture
    • Dilation and torsion of the stomach
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Inflammation of the outer ear
  • For whom the hovawart will be the perfect dog?

Hovawart character

Hovawart character

Hovawarts they are certainly not dogs belonging to the "easy ".

They are intelligent and have an innate gift for quick learning, but they are also smart and will be able to get on our heads if we let them.

The firmness and dominant character should also persuade future owners of this breed to learn obedience early, because subjugating an adult, not properly trained dog will be a very difficult task.

If we approach the topic of early socialization and training correctly, our hovawart will be a great companion for the whole family.

There are no contraindications against your dog's contact with smaller children, but they should rather be supervised.

These dogs are friendly and very attached to people, so they should not be isolated, but spend as much time as possible in the company of "their ".

By definition, they are good guards, they do not attack and are not aggressive without a reason, but when provoked, they can respond with force and determination.

They also have a very good memory, so if someone gets under their skin, they can recall these memories after a very long time, so it's better not to catch them ?

This memory is also helpful in all agility sports in which these dogs are great.

They need a lot of exercise, so they will feel best, like their ancestors, in backyards or gardens, where they will have the opportunity to run freely.

They also do not shy away from water and swimming, as well as from other physical activities, so their guardian should also enjoy spending time in this way.

Hovawart appearance

Hovawart appearance

Hovawart is a dog belonging to large breeds, with an elongated body and strong build.

Hovawart height

The height at the withers of a male dog is 63-70 cm, and a bitch 58-65 cm.

Hovawart weight

Weight of the breed dog hovawart oscillates between 25 and 40 kg.

Hovawart breed description

Hovawart breed description
  • The head is strong with a convex and broad forehead.
  • The length of the muzzle and the skull are approximately the same.
  • Nose well developed, wide nostrils, black in color.
  • Adherent lips, protect a set of strong teeth set in a scissor or pincer bite.
  • Eyes of oval shape, brown.
  • Triangular ears, set wide apart and drooping.
  • The neck is strong, with close-fitting skin, without dewlap.
  • The back is straight and strong, and the croup is slightly sloping.
  • Chest broad and deep.
  • The tail is long, reaching below the hocks, and very hairy.
  • Limbs straight and strongly muscled.
  • The feet are round and compact.
  • The coat is long, dense and wavy with a little undercoat, more abundant on the chest, abdomen, back of the limbs and tail.

Hovawart coat

Hovawart coat

There are three basic colors:

  • black - hair all over the body is black; the skin of black-colored dogs has a bluish tinge,
  • black and tan - fawn markings on the head, chest, limbs and tail,
  • golden - light and shiny hair, slightly lighter around the abdomen and limbs; the skin of light-colored dogs has a pink tinge.

For all colors, small white spots on the chest or a single white hair on the toes and tip of the tail are allowed.

Hovawart life expectancy

Hovawart lives approx 10-14 years.

Hovawart care and nutrition

Hovawart care and nutrition

Due to the fact that the dog has a beautiful long hair, it must be properly taken care of.

Luckily hovawart he does not moult very profusely and his undercoat is not very dense.

We brush the dog 1-2 times a week, and during the period of increased moulting, we can do it more often.

The dog's hair is resistant to dirt and it is easy to remove it, which was useful for these dogs in the times when they guarded peasant farms, spending the whole day outside in the sand, dust or mud.

We bath, if necessary, in a shampoo for long-haired dogs.

We comb the hair before and after washing.

We periodically check the condition of claws, teeth and ears, which are prone to inflammation, especially if our dog is swimming.

When it comes to nutrition, we always adjust the food dose to the dog's activity.

It is most convenient to use feed intended for large breeds (over 25 kg) with a balanced composition of macro and micronutrients.

Due to the predisposition to gastric twisting, these breeds are best fed at least twice a day.

Hovawart disease

Hovawart disease

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease to which most large-breed dogs are predisposed.

It consists in the incorrect shape and mismatch of the elements making up the hip joint.

Both of these joints may be affected (in most cases) or only one of them.

There are also so-called. additional factors influencing the development of dysplasia, such as:

  • excess body weight,
  • incorrect nutrition,
  • too strenuous exercise of the dog in the growth phase.

Excessive loads on the joint and delayed growth of muscle tissue compared to bone tissue intensify the formation of looseness and productive changes within the acetabulum of the hip bone.

Also, the femoral head undergoes remodeling, becoming more "angular", which significantly disturbs the mechanics of this joint.

Symptoms indicating dysplasia may appear already in 2 month old hovawart puppies and they are:

  • reluctance to move,
  • sitting down a lot,
  • the so-called. rabbit jumping.

If, on the other hand, the damage to the joints is not too strong, the first few years may be symptom-free, and the difficult movement will be noticed only in an older dog.

It is therefore important to detect dysplasia early, as there are more treatment options in young dogs, primarily surgical.

A prophylactic X-ray should be taken in a sedated dog between 4 and 6 months of age to assess the shape of the hips.

Treatment of dysplasia can be surgical and palliative, depending on the dog's age, severity of degenerative changes and its body weight.

The most common surgical procedures are:

  • anastomosis of the pubic symphysis,
  • triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO),
  • DARtroplasty,
  • femoral head resection,
  • hip endoprosthesis,
  • operations on the comb muscle and its tendons (tenotomy, tenectomy, pectinotomy, pectinectomy),
  • lowering of the greater trochanter of the femur.

Symptomatic treatment in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with various duration of action or low doses of steroids is most often used in older dogs.

Recently, new treatments using stem cells or IRAP, where the anti-inflammatory substances are obtained directly from the blood of the sick animal.

Anterior cruciate ligament rupture

The anterior cruciate ligament is a structure located inside the knee joint and connects the articular surfaces of the femur and tibia, ensuring the stabilization of the joint and not allowing these surfaces to move too much in relation to each other during the flexion and extension movement of the limb.

In the event of its tearing or rupture, there is excessive "slipping " of the tibia and the retraction of the femur.

The most common symptom of rupture of this ligament is acute, sudden lameness of the hind limb.

The veterinarian diagnoses this disease on the basis of the so-called. drawer test, which shows a significant "play" in the knee and the aforementioned excessive movement of the bones in relation to each other.

Treatment consists of a surgical procedure, a method selected by the surgeon, and postoperative rehabilitation.

Dilation and torsion of the stomach

Large breed dogs are predisposed to this disease due to the anatomical predisposition related to the length of the mesentery on which the stomach is suspended.

Gastric dilatation and torsion most often develop as a result of consuming a large amount of food at one time and greedily.

Enlargement can also occur when we force the dog to be very active shortly after eating.

Fast fermenting foods and gastric motility disorders also contribute to its expansion.

In the case of the same only ORŻ (acute dilation of the stomach) the following is observed:

  • anxiety,
  • vomiting,
  • wife,
  • abdominal soreness.

If it comes in addition to twist, the situation becomes much more serious.

You may notice that:

  • the outline of the abdomen is enlarged,
  • the animal is drooling,
  • the dog tries to vomit unsuccessfully,
  • has shortness of breath.
As a result of pressure on the vessels and inhibition of diaphragm movements, pressure is reduced, ischemia and, consequently, shock, which ends in the event of failure to provide prompt assistance (surgical procedure)!) the death of an animal.


Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disorder in which the body produces less hormones necessary to stabilize the body's metabolism.

It is most often caused by:

  • inflammation of the thyroid gland,
  • thyroid atrophy,
  • neoplastic changes.

Symptoms are diverse and often develop slowly, which may go unnoticed for a long time.

Belong to them:

  • apathy,
  • wife,
  • skin changes,
  • inflammation of the ears,
  • obesity,
  • increased thirst and urine output,
  • no estrus,
  • muscle weakness.

The diagnosis is made on the basis of a blood test of thyroid hormones (T4, fT4) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) released by the pituitary gland.

The treatment is lifelong and consists of oral administration synthetic levothyroxine in an appropriately selected dose, subject to periodic control based on the determination of its level in the blood.

Inflammation of the outer ear

Hovawarts they are also predisposed to inflammation of the outer ear, mainly due to the drooping auricle, as is the case with Labradors or Golden.

There can be many causes of ear infections.

Primary factors include:

  • allergies,
  • the aforementioned structure of the ear canal,
  • parasites,
  • foreign bodies,
  • pathogenic bacteria or other diseases (e.g. Hypothyroidism),
  • excess wax remaining in the ear.

Secondary factors are the so-called flora complicating e.g. yeasts of the genus Malassezia or indirect staphylococcus (Staphylococcus intermedius), which occur naturally in the ear, but overgrowth due to the action of primary factors.

Inflamed outer ear is red, painful, itchy, and may have various types of discharge.

Otitis externa requires treatment and causes great discomfort to the dog, so do not delay the visit to the veterinarian to implement appropriate therapy.

For whom the hovawart will be the perfect dog?

For whom the hovawart will be the perfect dog?

Hovawart will be the perfect choice for someone who is looking for a dog that will take care of his belongings, and at the same time will be a companion for the whole family.

Due to a strong instinct of domination and independence, these dogs require intensive training from a very small age and early and long socialization.

Their owner should have basic knowledge and skills regarding obedience training and be consistent and patient.

In this way, he will be able to tame his pet's primal instincts and prevent it from becoming a nuisance in the future.

Hovawarts do not like to be bored, so they are happy to learn new tricks and take part in both dog and "human" sports, such as running, swimming or mountain trips.

Such spending time together is important also so that the dog feels like a member of the family and is not isolated from it.

It can be kept in an apartment, but it will certainly feel better, being able to keep an eye on something and being able to move freely in its own area.

If we absolutely want a Hovawart, and we do not have a house with a garden, we will have to provide him with a solid daily dose of exercise so that he can use up excess energy.

It is also probably not for him to spend all day in the four walls alone when you are at work, because it may result in demolition.

Therefore, when thinking about the Hovawart, we should mainly consider whether we will be able to cope with his upbringing and provide him with the right amount of movement and contact with a human, because these factors will determine his behavior and thus his common life with us.

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