Xander has the true characteristics of the Hovawart breed. He is protective of the household, he uses his growl to caution strange adults who enter our house, and yet any child can crawl all over him. He is always alert and positions himself so he can watch over us. We take him hiking off leash, and he stays and plays with the family. There is no prey drive, so he doesn’t run off. He lets strangers approach without aggressive behavior, but he is very aware of them and will very quietly place his body in a protective manner near the family. I have walked with him in the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and he has let strangers pet him, approach him and young children hug him. He ignores the busy streets, honking horns and sirens, which on his first visit two years ago was very alien to him. He is very well mannered, and shows real emotional concern if he feels someone is upset. We go swimming by ravines with waterfalls, and both he and Lady have no problem swimming with us in the current, and climbing the rock face, to get to other swimming holes by the falls. I have had to do some rescues of swimmers, and the dogs are right there with me, trying to get people out of the current. They are used to being held onto in the water by a swimmer as well. They are very well socialized and can be around any size or type of dog, with no aggressive behavior, as well as cats and other small animals. My younger daughter has had rabbits, hamsters and now hedgehogs. His fur is long, wavy and exceedingly soft. He is not a heavy shedder, even seasonally. We take all the dogs camping with a twice a year to the Outer Banks and to Assateague Island in Maryland. The dogs are great camping and in car rides. He loves the ocean beaches, the lakes and hiking, but more than anything he loves being with the family. He curls up on us like he is a kitten, and has to be near us at all times.