The Hovawart Club of Great Britain

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Breed Notes - 20 Jun 2021
I was very disappointed to read in this week’s Our Dogs that the government is minded to impose a ban on the import of puppies younger than six months old. Whilst I understand their desire to stop the mass import of whole litters of young puppies from puppy farms abroad, with their accompanying health problems, this ban would also penalise the serious dog breeder who wants to add a specific bloodline, extremely important in numerically small breeds like ours, exhibitors who see an opportunity to get a promising pup and again, in breeds like ours, the pet owner unable to source a puppy in the UK. It may be felt that this increase in age would not be very detrimental, but those early weeks and months are so critical to the relationship owners will have with their dogs, as well as losing all the normal early training, bonding etc so vital in the proper, rounded development we need in our dogs.

On the subject of the age that puppies go to their (hopefully) forever homes, it was very apparent that our litter that have just gone really were ready to go up to a week before we actually saw them on their way, after having the vet check and microchipping at eight weeks. I’m not sure how mandatory this date is, but in my experience, almost unbelievably over fifty years now, each litter is slightly different and some are really losing something by not going at seven weeks, whereas I have had some that needed to stay until nine or ten weeks. Even in this lot, one of the puppies did need those extra days. As a rule of thumb, I suppose eight weeks is a good general guide, but I would like to reserve the right to vary it if I feel it necessary.

An exciting day today, with the very first club AGM via zoom. It all went well and enabled members from as far apart as the north of Scotland, Surrey and us here in Shropshire to attend from the comfort of their own home, and still be in time for lunch! It would have been good had more members chosen to be involved, but from little acorns……One thing that will lead on from this is the setting up of a zoom meeting for potential new owners to have a question-and-answer session with both experienced breeders and those a little further on the Hovawart path, who have recent knowledge of the steps newcomers will be faced with. This could be a real help to ensure that the most suitable people end up with Hovawart puppies.

At last, only a week after the puppies have gone, the KC have sent the registrations. This was preceded by an email earlier in the week asking us to send evidence that we had actually had ten puppies, either a photo of them all together (which luckily we had….it was certainly too late by the time they asked) or a certificate from our vet. The latter bothers me somewhat because, as a rare breed with three different possible colours for the dogs, I am not sure any vet would be competent to certify the breed without a DNA test. How many have even seen more than a couple of hovawart litters? Anyway, my first reaction was one of indignation, but apparently the KC issued a directive back in 2008 that they would want proof of above-average-for-the-breed numbers, and I suppose I should applaud any effort to prevent fraud. I have yet to discover what they regard as average, but I did work out that our average over the twenty litters we have had since 1988 is 8.35, not including stillbirths or deaths in the very early weeks.

Elaine Sharpe
01743 891310
pineshovawarts@gmail.com
This article was posted on: 28-Jun-21