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The breed history


In the Middle Ages «hovewartach» served for the protection of estates and castles.

Ancient hovawarts were used as dogs for hunting a large animals and as sentry and military dogs, accompanying their masters in campaigns and protecting the entrusted territory at night.
A hovawarts was considered to be an elite breed which was grown exclusively by feudal lords and aristocracy. The main difference between the Hovawarts and other service breeds is serving and independ decision making in difficult situations. It is in the Middle Ages when the intelligence inherited by modern hovawart was developed.

The first documentary data about hovawarts are found in the thirteenth century. One of the earliest sources tells us about the dogs extreme bravery while protecting of a family estate during a severe robbery. Another ancient records of the breed in Albrecht Durer’s engraving dated of 1513, called «Chevalie, death and a devil». In it we can see a man sitting on a horse, fearless in front of the death and the devil. Near him there is a dog who reminds of a modern hovawart very much.

Zoologist L.Bekmann in his book “Dogs breeds”, a published in 1894, describes two breeds which the security guards of estates. One of them was a hovawart. In the book by the cynologist R.Strebela published in 1904 «German dogs and their origin» there is also description of a hovawart.

In the end of the XIX-th century, when the industry of Germany was gaining power, the number of very many dogs breeds was considerably reduced. And hovawart was not an exception either.

In the revival restoration of the breed Bertram and Kurt Koenig belonded the leading role. In the end of ХIX century in mountain areas of Harz and Schwarzwald Bertram Koenig collected the remain hovawarts and by the infusion of blood of some other breeds he began to restore the number of hovawarts. It is necessary point out that a special attention was paid not only to appearance exterior, but also to the preservation of the character, intelligence and working skills inherited by hovawarts.

In those not numerous articles about hovawarts which can be found in Russia, is said that breed had been restored in the beginning of the XX-th century by crossing Newfoundlands, lionbergers, kuvases, German shepherds and even the African hunting dogs. The part of it is true. However “the author” of German shepherd captain fon Stefanits, in the book «the German shepherd in descriptions and images» wrote about hovawarts as about one of the breeds participated in creation of a German shepherd. Besides, lionberger as a breed was formed during the same period. That’s why its participation is improbable.

Since 1908 work on restoration of hovawart had been continued Bertram Koenigs son, Kurt. Breed restoration passed in three stages — till 1914, since 1918 and since 1952.

In 1922 Kurt Koenig had registered the first hovawarts nursery in all German registration book (Zuchtbuch). On April, 3rd the same year in Kurt Koenigs nursery from mail with nickname “Baron” and female — “Ortrud Hudson” was born the first official dung — 4 puppies. Since this day the present stage in a centuries-old history oh hovawart has begun.

Kurt Koenig has defined main principles of a breed cultivation which adhere also today: carrying out koerung for breeders and application of only moderated imbreeding, within III—IV family tree knees.

Besides, a merit of Kurt Koenig is that in the breeding he placed the basic emphasis on working qualities of hovawart.

In Germany breed had been registered in 1922.

In 1972 hovawart obtained an official recognition in ФЦИ as working breed.

In 1984 the International Hovawarts Federation (IHF) was formed. It included 10 countries — Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, England, France, Holland and Belgium. Later Czechia and Slovakia have joined them on the rights of associated members.

Now breed development passes under IHF rigid control watches which with German pedantry over health of a livestock and preservation of working qualities. For example, more than the 30-year-old control for dysplasia of coxofemoral joints has allowed a modern livestock to be almost free from this hereditary disease. For cultivation are accepted only the dogs who have passed koerung, do not have problems with the health, have diplomas of working tests. These austerity measures of cultivation also have allowed hovawart become universal working breed with fine working qualities, excellent health and the counterbalanced mentality. For this reason hovawarts number now grows steadily in Europe and in the USA.