Who are we?
We are Guido and Babs Klabbers-Metaal. We live in The Netherlands outside a small village called Nederweert Eind, since 2006. We both are retired and hopefully have time on our side. We have a nice comfy house, a large garden and meadow, where our dogs can play and where we can get dirty hands but also leisure. In our vicinity there are lots of woods, green fields, places where we can walk the dogs and where we can live a good country life. We are very happy and very lucky people, because we still can afford this life.
As kids and youngsters, we grew up in the provinces of Utrecht (Guido) and Noord Brabant (Babs). During our life together we worked and lived in the provinces of Zeeland, Noord Holland, Friesland. Finally, we decided to move for one last time and we hope to be able to grow very old together in good health in this wonderful ‘land where life is good’, near the Belgian border and only one-half hour drive to the German border.
We always loved the countryside, because we love nature, freedom and we need space to be able to live with our dogs. These wishes we could fulfil, for which we are very thankful.
Who is this dog that is looking at you from our home page?
Hovawart male Enormous Only the Lonely was born on August 13. 2016 in Warszawa, Poland in Anna Pieczynska’s Hovawartkennel “Enormous”. He came to us as a puppy. He looked into the world with a sovereign look, and with that look he enchanted us. His body was beautiful, he had a strong backline and he moved very well.
We named him “Meneer Janssen” at home and for friends, because we all expected him to grow out to a real beautiful and obedient sovereign gentleman-dog.
His puppy test results, taken at the age of 6 weeks in Kennel Enormous showed, that he was a boy who had a real will to please. Fortunately, we could see him grow up, thanks to Anna Pieczynska’s great enduring efforts to take thousands of pictures of every week’s development of her O-litter in her Kennel Enormous. We knew Anna since we got our first Hovawart in November 2004, and we knew her breeding philosophy, how much she cared and how serious she worked since she was 14 and got her first Hovawart, Aggy Oldtyr. We had great confidence in her skills and her way of socializing all her litters.
Meneer(tje) (little Mr.) Janssen was a pitch black, shiny and furry, very well socialized and healthy, playful young kid, who was house clean and already knew to walk on a leash, when I took him over out of Anna’s arms. We had a great car journey home with him, he got lots of cuddles during the trip home from our black Hovawart Bitch “Jetje” (Enormous Essential Evidence). He loved to be cuddled, he followed us and the pack wherever we went and we taught him, to sleep beside our bedside (not ON it!). He learned to listen to our wishes without any problem. We never needed a house kennel for him. He understood the changes in our tone (rewarding, cheerful, or disapproving). How intelligent he solved his little problems…
He grew very fast, so we had to feed and bring him up in a controlled way, with enough stimulation, good playing and rewarding, new experiences, sufficient hours of rest and he was steady on his feet and showed courageousness at very early age. During his walks in the first weeks he met several strange objects, animals and people, traffic, bicycles and tractors. He was never anxious, may be a bit hesitant, but too curious, to neglect ‘strange’ objects or situations. He was confident next to us, and defended our fence at the age of 16 weeks already. Of course, he had good examples from Rens (Romeo Jambo Ankora Estilo) and Jetje, who also really did a great job, in bringing up this fast-growing fine black boy.
The Sunday after his arrival we went to a puppy training, because we wanted him to be socialized within other groups of people and with other dogs. He was a fast learner. He went to first school very soon after he graduated kindergarten.
In his ‘difficult teens period’ -as all youngsters must go through and parents too!))))- he was never really stubborn. But investigating our boundaries, the boundaries of our grown-up dogs and the length of our leash, our understanding and patience, he grew out to become the very steady dog, we always can rely on. If you give confidence, you will get confidence. From a dog, that is…
Unfortunately, we lost our oldest Hovawart Rens of the terrible Degenerative Myelopathy at the age of 12+. During Rens’s last months, when he grew weaker and weaker and had severe difficulties in getting up and lying down, could not run anymore and we only made short walks with him, little Meneer Janssen was always respectful towards Rens. He never nagged him or teased him. After we had to make the final decision, to help this deeply beloved great dog over the rainbow walk, he and Jetje stayed by his side and watched over his body until the final goodbye. Then they stepped out of the door, which was open all the time when we and the vet were near Rens’s side, and they went playing in our back yard. That was a beautiful goodbye under the circumstances.
So young, and behaving with such respect towards an old and sick tutor and ‘father dog’, we were deeply moved by his behaviour. Our love for him grew by the day and while writing this story about his youth, I realize once more, what a superb character he has.
LIVING A LIFETIME WITH DOGS.
When Guido and I were children, both our families owned dogs. So, we ate love for dogs as we ate our porridge. I remember, my baby sister lying in her cradle with our Dachshund next to her to keep her warm and quiet. After school I always went out walking with our family dogs, and so did Guido.
After we left our families, there were short periods without dogs, because we were in our wild years and lived in rented rooms, studied, had our first jobs, learned about life and had to become adults.
As soon as we settled, both of us had dogs immediately. In the early 80’s we fell in love and married 1987, our dog attended our marriage. After he died, we tried to live without a dog, which was no success.
We got our first Beagle, then our second, went to train for field trials with them, attended dog shows and we both got really caught by the ‘dog virus’ in a very serious way. An infection which never could be cured. We started our Beagle Kennel, bred many puppies and worked in field trials with our own small pack. We had wonderful times but also realized, Beagles are dogs for real strong and young people.
Time flew like clouds with strong wind and due to mutual health issues, we had to decide in the late 90’s, to change to less complicated dog breeds, who were more built for an easier life.
Since our twin sons grew up with the dog next door, a dog of a special character, of extreme beauty and liability, I always peeked at dog shows over the fence at Hovawart judgings and thought “if I ever could have a dog like our neighbour’s dog….”
I did not see any dog, who answered his profile or looks. That dog came from beyond… was is France?? Aaauww, so far away, I never knew his pedigree name…. stupid me! It took me over a half year to find the real type and character that I wanted.
On the beach, spring 1976. The beautiful blond Hovawart male Pascha from my neigbours with his friend Pico, the small black dog, my youngest son and me (26). The hovawart was beautiful, well built but in reality he was blonder (old picture). He had a superb character, and his body was strong.
Hovawarts became part of our lives.
Before I will tell you about the why’s and how’s about us, deciding for the noble breed of the Hovawart, first you should read the breeding standard that was made in 1998 and that is still valuable in all FCI countries, all recognized Hovawart Clubs in those FCI countries, and of course recognized by judges, breeders and of course, needless to say, by us.
why a hovawart?
You can read in the breeding standard, that the Hovawart is a noble creature with an outbalanced character. My experiences with the Hovawart I knew more than 40 years ago, were so obvious, that we really wanted this special character, behaviour, mental and physical health and beauty. If and when you decide, to buy a precious dog, you should be informed as broadly as can be. So, we went to dog shows, club matches and we looked at the great number of websites of breeders all over Europe. We looked at hundreds of Hovawarts all over our continent. By that time, we agreed, we would like to have a male dog. We had no more breeding aspirations, we just wanted to start with a fine, steady and healthy, beautiful MALE.
Breeding dogs is a very serious job, with many expectations, much joy and very splendid experiences but also deceptions and great sorrow once in a while. Starting with a new breed of tall dogs takes time to get used to the specific character details, tallness and weight, so we took our first steps into Hovawart world very carefully and after good thinking.
WHY THESE HOVAWARTS?
Because we fell in love.
But when falling in love, people are stupid and look at the world through pink glasses. We wanted to avoid an emotional choice. Therefor we discussed the pro’s and con’s (we listed them), we questioned ourselves and each other, discussed our expectations and considered the questions like “What, if….”, and “What, when…” many times together, and decided to go for the Hovawart. Only problem was: where to find HIM????
One day, after searching for months in many countries, we saw a dog who made our hearts dance. He lived in Germany and was a stud male, and his boss had an E-mail address and telephone number. So, I took the phone and dialled the number…. We got into contact with his friendly owners and we went to look at this great black dog, who was the father of our first black Hovawart. His name was Jambo von Wittlerdamm. We were enchanted.
He had a litter in Poland, in the vicinity of Gdansk. We made contact with Anna Pieczynska who was intermediating for the people, because they did not speak but Polish. I drove one day through wintery and slippery Holland, Germany and Poland to the wonderful East sea coast, where I could see Kaliningrad in the distance, when I opened the curtains of my hotel room early next morning.
The litter was fantastic and so was my preferred little black boy. There I met Anna for the first time. She had made the trip through mountains of snow from Warszawa, to be of help in choosing the best puppy. The help of Anna was so overwhelmingly professional and kind, -we could talk about dogs as equals- that it was an easy choice. This little puppy -we called him “Rens”, endured the journey home with great balance and interest, good, long naps and no problem whatsoever. Coming home, he soon became the loving, beautiful and successful dog we both wished. His name was:
Romeo Jambo Ankora Estilo (“Rens” for friends)
After a few years, and when we already had moved to our present domicile, I made the journey to Poland again. This time by plane: I came home with my desired blond Hovawart, the last granddaughter of the famous Aggy Oldtyr, our luscious blond girl:
Enormous Déja Vue of Aggy (“Pleun” for friends)
Since we had both gained the incurable Hovawart virus there soon came a really wonderful black bitch, who made our trio complete:
Enormous Essential Evidence (“Jetje » for friends)