Grooming a Hovawart - van de Hoevemeester Hovawarts

On this page How to groom Cleaning ears Cleaning teeth Nail clipping Bathing a hovawart

Grooming a Hovawart

Regular grooming with a brush or comb keeps the hair in good condition; it removes dirt, spreads the natural oils throughout the coat, prevents tangles, and keeps the skin clean. Hovawarts are 'low maintenance' and do not need any special grooming or trimming. In fact a couple minutes brushing a day will keep his hair in good order.

Grooming sessions should always be enjoyable

Its easiest to groom a Hovawart when he is relaxed, and take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen the bonds between you.

When you first get your Hovawart accustom him to being touched and handled by making a habit of touching and stroking every part of his body. Remember to include sensitive areas like the ears, tail, belly, back and feet. Rub your hand up and down his leg, firmly but gently press each individual pad and nail; and don't forget to look at his teeth too. Do this every day for five minutes and give lots of praise and maybe a small treat. Don t treat grooming as a game and don t treat the brush as a toy or your Hovie will always be trying to grab the brush to play with it.

How to groom properly

Hold his collar if necessary and start at the head and always brush in the direction that the coat naturally grows. Get right to the base of the coat, using your fingers to part the hair and do a little at a time.

Grooming tools

a slicker brush
First remove any tangles or mats by using a slicker brush. Do not use it as a "quick fix" because over use can damage the coat.
an undercoat rake
An undercoat rake could also be used, especially when he is moulting.
a de-matting comb
Should you find that he has serious knots or matted hair then use a de-matting comb or mat breaker.

A mat breaker is a comb with sharp blades that will cut through the mat. You could also use a mat disentangler or a water-less shampoo with an anti-static. Saturate the mat with the disentangler and comb out, Alternatively, use scissors and cut the mat vertically and then brush out. Work out knots that the slicker brush can't, with a flat steel comb with teeth that are spaced wide apart.
a bubber brush
A rubber brush, will loosen dead skin and dirt and remove shedding hair and massage your dog and is also a handy tool.

The grooming routine

Grooming really begins by using a pin brush, the stainless steel pins open up the coat removing loose hair and debris.
 a pinbrush
Brush his ears gently, then brush his chest, under his armpits, brush the feathering, hocks and feet. the tail, thighs, neck, and back.
a combination comb
Now use a combination comb with both wide and medium spaced teeth, it's ideal and is best for longer coats. Repeat the same process as with the pin brush.
bristle brush
Then it is time to use the bristle brush, which removes dead hair and adds gloss. Brush the hovawart's face and muzzle very gently.
chamois cloth
End with the chamois leather, to literally polish, leaving his coat shiny.

Nail Clipping

Many people don't handle their hovies feet until they are about to clip the nails and then......a lot of hovawarts do not like the feeling of having their nails trimmed. That's why it's a good idea to get him used to having his feet touched long before you attempt a nail trim, handling his feet should start while he is still a puppy.

Begin by spreading each of your dog's feet and inspect them for dirt and debris. This a good time to trim the hair on the undersides of his feet. Use round nosed grooming scissors for this.

Ask a vet or the pup's breeder to show you how to clip the nails. Don't just try it by yourself first! Use very sharp, guillotine-type dog nail clippers (not human nail clippers) and cut off the tip of each nail at a slight angle, just before the point where it begins to curve. Take care to avoid the quick, a vein runs into the nail. This pink area can be seen through the nail. If your hovawart has black nails however, the quick is hard to see, so be extra careful. Keep a styptic pencil or nail powder handy when you clip your dog's nails, you can buy it at most pet shops. Only clip the tip of the nail. If you cut the quick deeply, blood will spurt everywhere and your dog will be in pain. If you just nick it, you may see a few drops of blood, but it still hurts. Dip the nail into the nail powder, eventually the bleeding will stop. If the bleeding is severe, keep the nail in the powder and phone your vet.


Once every 3 months is more than sufficient.
First, give your hovawart a good brushing to remove all dead hair and any tangles or mats. Put a large a rubber bath mat into the bath/shower to provide him with secure footing, and fill the bath with about 7cm of lukewarm water. Now put him or coax him in. Use a shower spray to thoroughly wet him, this may take some time and patience, taking care not to spray directly in her ears, eyes or nose. If you do not have a shower spray, use a large plastic jug or unbreakable cup.

Alternatively go and find a safe clean freshwater lake or a river and let him wash himself, a lot more fun, less hassle and its free.

Shampooing the coat

Use a "creamy" dog shampoo and conditioner which will make his coat silky and soft. Do not use a "harsh" shampoo, as it can make the coat brittle. Harsh shampoos look clearer and more like a gel. They are also thicker than creamy shampoos. Put a small amount of shampoo into the palm of your hand. Gently massage in the shampoo lathering from the top of the dog's neck to the end of the tail. Shampoo the outside of the ears, the legs, the chest, belly, feathering, and the rest of the body, and don't get it in his ears or eyes!

Thoroughly rinse with the shower spray or jug; - avoid the ears, eyes and nose. Rinse the dog with clean water until there are no more suds or bubbles coming from his coat. Next, shampoo the head. Always use a tear-less dog shampoo, not human shampoo, to avoid stinging the eyes. Start at the top and work your way down to the muzzle. Check the ears for any nasty odours or excessive wax.

Conditioning the coat

Use a small amount of creamy conditioner in the palm of your hand and smooth the conditioner over from the top of the neck to the end of the tail. Cover the outside of the ears, the legs, the chest, feathering and the rest of the body. Leave the conditioner on for about five minutes. Rinse thoroughly and keep rinsing until all traces of the shampoo and conditioner have been removed. Now let him shake the water off, then using a large dry towel, stroke all over his body until it is no longer dripping. The coat is supposed to lie flat on the body, so stroke the towel against the body, do not rub! Afterwards, he will still be damp, but not wet. Using a dog blow-drier, on the lowest heat setting possible, take the pin brush and repeat the brushing routine as before. Then comb and repeat the same steps. Pay special attention to the feathering, ears, and tail making sure to comb these so the are straight, keep combing until dry. Afterwards, brush the coat out and his fur will be lustrous and silky.
Have you ever watched a Hovawart roll on the ground, lick his coat or chew at a tangle in his fur? - just his way of keeping clean!!


Check them weekly. Remove wax and dirt from your hovies ears with a ball of cotton wool moistened with a proprietary ear cleanser, or warm water, or a little mineral oil; you could also use ear wipes.

The wax is usually a brown or black color. Do not to stick your finger into the ear canal. For cleansing, use a product available from your vet. Squirt the solution in the dog's ear and rub the ear in a circular motion. Take some cotton wool and place it right under the flap, and tip your dog's head toward it. The solution will be caught in the cotton wool. Next, take some clean cotton wool and wipe again to ensure that all the cleanser has been removed. His ears should be very clean.

Clean Teeth

Use a dog toothbrush or a finger brush and dog toothpaste. Don't use human toothpaste as it is harmful to dogs. Small finger brushes that fit over the tip of your finger are handy and available in pet shops. Squirt a pea-sized amount of dog toothpaste onto the toothbrush. Move the dog's lip upward to expose his teeth. Brush the teeth for about one minute - twice a week. Brushing a dog's teeth can prevent painful and costly dental work. Alternatively natural teeth cleaning is by giving him a fresh meaty bone, or sometimes a specially designed dental chew.