The Hovawart Club of Great Britain


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Hovawart Breed Notes - 12 Jan 2010
At the moment of writing these breed notes, Herefordshire is a winter wonderland, and I have walked and walked the dogs for miles, enjoying the views of snowy hills, and snow laden trees. What a beautiful county Herefordshire is, and it can’t have ever looked better. Surprisingly enough the snow must be of a slightly different type from usual, because it does not seem to “ball” up in between the girls’ toes, and it shakes off quite easily before they come indoors again. Maybe the railways are not so off the wall with their “wrong type” of snow.

The planned Committee meeting had to be cancelled, it seemed the sensible thing to do, and the radio was telling folk only to make essential journeys. It has since been re-scheduled for the end of January. The AGM date has also been settled, it is Sunday March 28th at Bradmore, Nottinghamshire. This is the same venue as last year, but it is fairly central for the whole membership. This is always a problem when the club is numerically small, but geographically wide-spread.

We watched a wonderful BBC Horizon programme called “The secret life of the dog”, which went into the relationship between man and dog, and posed some interesting questions, as well as giving some unexpected answers. One thing did come to my mind. In all the furore over pedigree dogs, their breeding and hereditary problems, are we paying enough attention to temperament? After all, it doesn’t matter how health or beautiful a dog is, if it has a bad temperament, it is not an animal that we should be contemplating the future with, and studies on this programme indicated that certainly aggression was not masked by environment. The KC would do well to include temperament as an “equal partner” with the healthy issues so much in our minds over the last few months. I am sure that genetics can play their part in this area too. The Horizon programme is available on the BBC i-player for the next 3 months, and is well worth making the effort to see.

A young couple who want a Hovawart puppy, and visited us here before Christmas to see the girls “at home”, have been surfing the internet and come up with a litter available now at a very low price. As far as we can tell, they have not been bred under the auspices of the club and its code of ethics, and presumably have not been registered at the KC, so if they go ahead I hope they will be wary. In my experience, having a litter and rearing the puppies properly is a very expensive business……so much so that despite three requests, HM Revenue & Customs will not allow us to register our one or two litters a year as a business (a pity, as the losses would have been nice to offset other income for tax purposes!)…..and poorly reared puppies can turn into sickly adolescents and adults, leaving their loving “new” families with years of anxiety and heartache. Our advice was to proceed with the utmost caution, hoping it doesn’t sound like sour grapes on our part because we have no puppy to offer.

Orchid was spayed this last week, and as it has been a little while since we last had a bitch spayed I was impressed with just how tiny the incision is nowadays, no less than key-hole surgery. I am pleased to say that the patient is recovering well. The “no lifting” and “no driving” for 6 weeks does not apply in her case….dogs, once they are out of pain, just go back to normal. We haven’t told her about the possibility of a fortnight’s convalescence by the seaside, or she would probably modify her behaviour.

Elaine Betts
This article was posted on: 13-Jan-10