The Hovawart is an ancient dog breed of German origins that came close to extinction at one point in time but received a new lease on life because of the concerted efforts of 20th century enthusiasts. This is fortunate because the Hovawart is a loyal dog with a clear ability to think for itself, which is something that can appeal to a wide range of people out there. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about the Hovawart:
1. Estate Guard Dog
Hovawart translates to something along the lines of “estate guard dog.” As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that the breed started out as dogs meant for that particular role. In modern times, the characteristics that made the Hovawart an effective guard for estates make them an effective guard for other things as well.
2. Comes from the Schwarzwald
The Hovawart comes from the Schwarzwald, which might be more familiar to some people as the Black Forest. In short, the Schwarzwald is a mountain range that can be found in Southwest Germany, which is called thus because it is covered in forest. There was a time when the Schwarzwald was covered in both deciduous and evergreen trees, but extensive deforestation resulted in much of it being replanted with monocultures of the spruce tree.
3. Clear Evidence of Existence in Medieval Times
Tracing the origins of dog breeds can be a serious challenge. After all, there is no guarantee that interested parties will have access to a wide range of evidence that can provide them with a comprehensive picture, meaning that most of the time, interested parties have to make do. The Hovawart is interesting in that there is clear evidence of their existence in medieval times in the form of both textual mentions and inclusions in paintings.
4. Saved Eike of Repgow
One of the earliest mentions of the Hovawart is the story of Eike of Repgow. In short, a German castle was captured in 1210. However, the son of the castle’s lord was saved by a Hovawart, who managed to drag the child to another German castle in the local region in spite of the fact that it had sustained injuries. Said child was Eike of Repgow, who is famous for having put together the code of law called the Sachsenspiegel.
5. Valued in the Sachsenspiegel
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Eike of Repgow seems to have had a lot of respect for the Hovawart. For proof, look no further than the fact that the Sachsenspiegel lists the Hovawart as one of the breeds that must be replaced and paid restitution for should someone either kill or steal the dog, thus suggesting a high value.
6. Suffered a Serious Decline
In time, the Hovawart suffered a serious decline, so much so that by the start of the 20th century, it had come close to the edge of extinction. This happened because the Hovawart had been replaced in lot of its previous roles by other breeds, with an excellent example being the German Shepherd.
7. Good Family Dog
Now as then, the Hovawart is a good choice for a family dog. After all, they possess an incredible sense of loyalty, which is paired with an affectionate nature towards family members as well as a surprising sense of playfulness that might seem strange in such a dog. With that said, the Hovawart still needs a dog owner who is both firm and consistent to do their best.
8. Reserved with Strangers
The Hovawart tends to be much more reserved with strangers that are not introduced to them by someone that they trust. With that said, members of the breed tend to have a sense of territory, meaning that they won’t go out of their way to chase people.
9. Good Nose
Besides being a guard dog, the Hovawart excels at a number of other roles because of its excellent nose. For example, it is good at tracking. Likewise, it is a breed that can excel when it comes to search and rescue work.
10. Needs Regular Exercise
Having said this, the Hovawart is not a dog that can remain cooped up in an apartment without causing serious issues. They need regular exercise. Moreover, they need regular stimulation if their dog owners want them to be at their best.