A HOVAWART PUPPY FOR YOU?
Me and my family
First and foremost, is Hovawart a breed for me and my family? Have I taken the time to understand its characteristics, and do those match with our wishes and lifestyle? Am I ready to invest time in socialising and training the dog, and in learning to become a good Hovawart owner? A Hovawart should not be left untrained due to its strong guarding and protective instincts. A happy Hovawart that knows its boundaries and respects the hierarchy in its human pack, makes a happy Hovawart family.
Below are some other questions to reflect upon when deciding on whether to introduce a Hovawart into your life:
Do I have enough time and energy to take care of a dog? Does my lifestyle allow me to have a puppy? What about in five years - in ten years - will my situation change - is it still possible to have a dog?
Does everyone in the family want a dog? Who will be responsible for the dog?
What about when the puppy comes home, can I take time off to make the newcomer feel at home, teach the habits of the household? What will I do with the dog during the holidays? Where can I train him?
What about the practicalities... is my garden fenced? Do we have to change the car?
This is just a small sample of the kind of questions one should think thoroughly before committing to providing a home to a dog for the next 10 - 15 years to come.
Where to start
You want to be sure to get your puppy from a breeder who is a member of a National Hovawart Club, recognised by the National Kennel Club and thus receiving an FCI pedigree; for example, KMSH-SRSH in Belgium. The Club should also be a member of the International Hovawart Federation, IHF, if such Club exists in your country. What to do - the easiest is to look for the contact details in your country and you are sure to land in good hands.
Why all this fuss - true, others may also have one or two good dogs, they may have even be tested for some of the health aspects. However, the real benefit of getting your puppy from an IHF recognised breeder is that the health and character records go back, way back, not just to the parents of your puppy, but several generations. The years of close co-operation in exchanging confidential records between IHF member organisations is your reassurance to a best possible start.
Once you have found the breeder - how to go about choosing the puppy? Let the breeder guide you in finding the right puppy. You will meet the puppies maybe twice, even three times, however, the breeder has lived with them 24hrs a day since they were born. Explain to the breeder how you see the future with your dog - is (s)he going to be a pet dog at home, working dog, dog for competing in dog sports - are you into dog shows, even breeding? How do you live, in town or at countryside, with or without children - young or old? The more you talk the better the breeder will be able to help you.
There is one thing I cannot emphasize too much: the character of the dog is far more important than the colour. At the end of the day, you will fall in love with your Hovawart - be it black, blond or black and gold. The puppy character tests will assist the breeder in making the right choice with you.
Lastly, one should not forget that at the end of the day, breeding is playing with living genes where the outcome can never be guaranteed no matter how carefully we have chosen the right parents. We can only guarantee the care we have taken in screening the parents and their families, and the effort we have put in raising the puppies.
The happy end...
Once you have your puppy, be a gentle but firm leader and treat your dog with respect. Learn more about Hovawarts, join a local club for puppy lessons. Participate in the activities of your Hovawart Club. Read and learn more about dogs, canine behaviour and their fascinating ways of communicating. I guarantee...
...it's a whole new world to discover!