Havanese Dogs Photo

Havanese Dogs – All About Havanese Dogs and Puppies

Havanese dogs photoA cousin to the popular Bichon Frise dog breed, the Havanese dog possesses that same incredible open friendliness and willingness to please, making them a highly sought-after pet. They are well-known for their intelligence and playful nature, as well as their unique appearance and incredibly soft coat.

Originally known as the Spanish Silk Poodle, or the Havana Silk Dog, the Havanese were a popular dog of the aristocracy and remain a modern-day favorite amongst dog fanciers. There is simply no denying the Havanese – one look from this adorable little dog and he owns your heart.

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Havanese Dog Breed Information Guide

Havanese History

This interesting little dog is believed to be descended from the same bloodlines as the popular Bichon Frise and, indeed, both breeds owe much of their development to the island of Tenerife.

There, the different dog varieties were cut off from outside influence and the popular European trend of taking breeds and crossing them with others, for the sake of improving  the European stock.

While many wonderful breeds were lost to this practice, the Havanese was instead allowed to flourish in his tropical home and, in time, developed and adapted to his environment. Limited trade to and from the island of Tenerife not only controlled the influx of outside dog breeds, but also how many of this unique breed were released to the outside world.

Never sold for money, for many years, the only way that one could get their hands upon a Havanese was to receive one of these dogs as a gift. This helped to endear them to the upper-class, making them a rarity and a status symbol amongst the aristocracy of Europe. When this unique dog was finally  discovered  by the Europeans, he became an overnight sensation – even the likes of Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria kept the Havanese as a favored pet.

Havanese Appearance

While considered a toy dog breed, the Havanese has a sturdy build and bears the appearance more of a family dog, rather than that of a pampered lap dog.

While standing less than 12 inches high at the shoulder, he carries himself proudly and possesses an outgoing personality, never being one to turn down the chance to wrestle or play. Even with his mantle of long and silky hair, the Havanese appearance stresses the playful characterization of this breed, as opposed to sleek and coiffed beauty.

Interesting to note is that, unlike many of the other silky-haired breeds, the Havanese is shown in a natural coat – meaning that breeders are not allowed to trim any of the dog’s hair, save for his feet, that his hair is not to be parted down his back, nor are topknots allowed in the show ring.

Havanese may be shown with a braid on either side of his head, but the rest of his coat should be natural and free-flowing, roughly 6-8 inches in length, and with a texture not unlike silk floss. While they are descended from some of the same stock as the Bichon Frise, and developed on the same island, the Havanese comes in more colors than the Bichon’s standard white.

In fact, they can not only be white, but also champagne, cream, silver, black, blue, chocolate, or gold. If that isn’t colorful enough for your tastes, one should also know that it’s is not uncommon to find a Havanese that is a combination of two or three shades combined – now that’s a dog of a different color!

Havanese Temperament

Few who meet a Havanese fail to be taken in by this dog’s impish little personality. The Havanese tends to be a dog that adores attention, yet does not expect to find it by lounging on a lap all day.

Instead, he’d far rather romp and gambol, making his owners laugh in delight at his antics. He is a friendly and non-quarrelsome soul, making him a good companion for children, though he also makes an excellent pet for the elderly as well.

Havanese Exercise Info

These are playful and outgoing little dogs, but they do not require a great deal of exercise. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to go for lengthy walks, but doesn’t mind a short trip to the park or aren’t adverse to a light game of tug-o-war or fetch in the living room, then the Havanese may be well-suited to you.

While not a lazy dog, those short legs have to cover twice as much ground as that of their human counterparts, and can quickly get worn out.

Havanese Grooming Info

For many, this is the deciding factor on whether or not to get a Havanese puppy. With roughly 6-8 inches of fine silky coat, the Havanese falls into the high-maintenance pooch category. Requiring either a thorough brushing, at least every other day, or a couple of trips to the grooming salon, every week, this is often far too much for a person with a busy lifestyle to even consider taking on.

In addition to this, pale colored dogs can get rust-stains at the corners of their eyes or the hair around their muzzles can get dirty when they eat. In addition to bathing the Havanese, responsible owners also have to take the time to dry their furry companions.

If you’re considering taking a look at some Havanese puppies, be sure to keep in mind just how much work one of these little dogs will be, and weigh that into your pros and cons.

Havanese Training Info

The Havanese possesses a very keen mind and sharp wit. More often than not, he is quick to learn obedience commands, as well as tricks. Provided he is properly encouraged and his good behavior is properly reinforced, the Havanese owner is sure to discover that her four-legged friend will learn a wealth of tricks.

Just beware that the Havanese enjoys playtime and is not adverse to playing the clown, if he thinks it will make his humans happy. His lack of seriousness can sometimes grate on the nerves of the more serious dog trainers.

Havanese Health Info

Like any breed of dog, the Havanese is subject to a variety of health concerns. Your best bet is, when deciding to choose a new Havanese puppy, check around with several breeders and ask about the various health issues that can affect these beautiful little dogs.

A reputable breeder should be well-versed in the health concerns and should be able to give you more details, as well as showing you the sire and dam of your potential puppy. Some of the health problems that can affect Havanese Dogs include:

  • Juvenile cataracts
  • Chondrodysplasia
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes (LCP)
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Liver abnormalities
  • Cardiac problems

Again, a responsible breeder will be well educated about these problems that can occur in the Havanese breed and have their breeding dogs undergo rigorous testing to help ensure that their puppies will not have these disorders.

It is extremely important that you educate yourself about health conditions affecting the Havanese so that you can be sure you are dealing with a breeder from whom you will acquire a healthy, well socialized puppy.

Is the Havanese Dog Breed Right For You?

The Havanese has the honor of being not only the country’s national dog, but also Cuba’s only native breed and with good reason – they are an incredible companion, whether you are single or have a family with children. They get along well with other animals and the Havanese always seems to be happy and carefree.

The major concern with this unique breed is the grooming requirements. It takes a very committed person to care for a dog that requires this kind of maintenance and one should think carefully, prior to rushing out and purchasing a Havanese puppy.

If you’re not afraid of whipping out that hairbrush a few days a week, then chances are that you’ll find the Havanese to be a wonderful and charming little pet.

Finding A Responsible Havanese Dog Breeder

Now that you have decided that the Havanese is the right breed for you, it’s time to start the process of finding a responsible Havanese breeder from which to buy a healthy, well-socialized puppy. Not all breeders are alike; there are good breeders – and bad breeders.

Don’t be in a hurry to buy the first Havanese puppy you find at the cheapest price available! To buy a puppy from a responsible Havanese breeder, you may need to pay more and wait longer. The additional money and waiting time will be well worth it.

Buy a puppy in haste from a newspaper ad, pet store or “backyard breeder”, and you’ll likely also purchase a great deal of additional expense and heartache, since you will likely end up falling in love with a puppy with health and behavioral problems that will likely need special care, plenty of veterinary visits, regular medication – or even euthanasia.

But do your homework and find a responsible, caring Havanese breeder who home-raises their puppies with love. The breeder should screens their breeding dogs for health problems and offer a health guarantee. There should be post sale support, and the breeder should genuinely love  the Havanese breed and is in it for the love of the breed, rather than profit.

With these boxes ticked, you can be fairly well assured of getting a healthy, happy, long lived and affectionate family companion that will provide you and your family with many years of joy, laughter and companionship.

More Information About the Havanese Dog Breed