Getting a puppy from a reputable breeder is only the first step! Care and attention to health, training, activities, and feeding are just as important in keeping your puppy in the best health possible. We hope this information will help you decide if a Havanese is best for you and your family. Please do your research when choosing a puppy or a breeder. Ask lots of questions. Never choose on impulse.
Description: The Havanese is a double-coated breed that is considered to be non-shedding, odorless & “hypo-allergenic”. Their 6″-8″ soft, pearly coats range from curly to wavy, & can be any color or combination of colors, including shades of white, cream, gold, champagne, silver, chocolate, & blue. A sable coat is one that has one predominant color but the tip of each hair shaft is of a different color or shading than the main coat color. A cream sable coat is one where the base is cream with a different color on the tips. Havanese have expressive large, dark eyes, drop ears and a long flowing tail that curls over the back. They are light footed on their low legs and are excellent broad & high jumpers, helping them to have outstanding performances in agility and obedience competitions. They should be between 8.5-11.5 inches high & weigh between 7-15 pounds. Their average life span is 15 years, but they have been known to live beyond 18 years.
Temperament:The Havanese temperament can be best described as “personality plus”. They are truly delightful little dogs who will be happiest living with you in your home. They are affectionate, outgoing & playful. They love everyone: adults, children, & other pets. They are not barkers by nature, and are very sensitive to the tone of your voice and the expression on your face. Because they are loyal, exceptionally intelligent & eager to please, they can easily be trained. Getting your havanese into agility or obedience competitions would be a wonderful experience for both your puppy and yourself, especially children and teens. At least a dozen of our puppies have gone on to be therapy dogs, which is a perfect vocation for them. And it makes us very Happy!
Caring for your Havanese
Grooming should begin while your dog is still a puppy. If you want to show your Havanese, grooming the long coat frequently will be necessary. Brushing keeps your dog’s skin & coat healthy & free of tangles, and will provide great “bonding” moments. Most pet owners will choose to clip the coat short for easier care. Whether kept long or cut short, you should still brush your dog, even though it sheds very little. However, there are a few Havanese who are born “shorthaired” (Shavanese) which do shed and are not hypo-allergenic. With regular brushing, your Havanese need not be bathed more than once a month using a good shampoo and conditioner.
Eyes, ears, and nails should be checked regularly. Keep hair clipped around the eyes to avoid excessive tearing. If ears are not kept clean, ear mites could be attracted and infections can result, which can also increase tear staining. Because Havanese shed very little, the hair does not fall from the ears as in a shedding dog. Some owners and groomers prefer to pull these hairs out with tweezers. This will aid in keeping the ears clean and healthy. Clip nails regularly & clip hair from between the pads of the feet.
Environment: Although active, these sturdy little dogs should really live indoors and will do fine without a yard. They need average exercise but really should not be confined to a patio or kennel. However, keeping a large crate/cage with a soft blanket and toys** can be a quiet, secure place for your pet to sleep at night. A Havanese is happiest sitting next to you in your home, with the occasional rowdy play session. If you have children, be prepared to have your Havanese join them in all the fun.
Food & water: Keep fresh water available for you dog at all times in several places at home. Feed your Havanese a high quality dog food. We prefer a dry food, not canned, with an occasional beef bone to chew. In our research, we have discovered that more medical problems have been diagnosed since manufactured dog food has become the mainstream diet of pets. We are working toward a more natural approach to food & care products for our dogs. You will get a small bag of Royal Canin or Bil-Jac dog food with your “new puppy packet”.
Over the years we have chosen to use Royal Canin (small breed) dog food, but have found that Bil-jac is an excellent alternative. Neither Royal Canin nor Bil-Jac has ever been on a dog food recall list. Because these dog foods use less “filler” products & no dyes or additives, our dogs eat less & have less to eliminate from their systems. That translates to having to buy less food, and having less “cleanup detail”. If you read your dog food package label and find any kind of “by-products” listed as the first few ingredients, throw it away. You are feeding your dog garbage. Royal Canin has many years of continuing research in their foods with many breed-specific and age-specific varieties. If you change manufacturers, please do your homework & make the change slowly (prehaps over a period of two weeks) to keep your puppy from developing diarrhea or stomach problems.
We protect our dogs with NuVet Plus supplements to be sure they have the best immune protection possible. For more information on these all natural, human grade vitamins, just ask us. You will get a sample of NuVet supplements with your “new puppy packet”.
Caring for your Havanese’s health
The Havanese is a long-lived, very healthy breed. However, as with any pure-bred, long-lived breed, they may develop health problems similar to those toy breeds in it’s heritage. Several of these, which have been diagnosed in Havanese and have a hereditary component, are cataracts, luxating patellas, poodle eye and dry skin. While these conditions may be inherited, the environment & care you provide for your pet, and your canine education, all play a part in your dog having the best possible health during its lifetime.
Our puppy’s/adults’ health is maintained by our vet-approved vaccination/worming regime. Their dental health is maintained by using great chew toys and greenies, to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Regular grooming, cleaning eyes and ears, all prevent a variety of possible health issues.Our puppy’s/adults’ health is maintained by our vet-approved vaccination/worming regime. Their dental health is maintained by using great chew toys and greenies, to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Regular grooming, cleaning eyes and ears, all prevent a variety of possible health issues.
While your Havanese may never encounter any of the problems mentioned below, we feel it is important to address them, so that you are aware that they can and do sometimes occur in this breed.
We strive to have the healthiest adult dogs and puppies “on the planet”. We have many inquiries about the health testing we provide for our adults. To answer our most frequently asked questions, we have provided a handout for our “potential families”. If you would like a copy, please don’t hesitate to ask. We will be happy to send it your way.
Viewable and Downloadable Havanese Health Document Havanese Health Issues
Havanese Toy Safety
Be careful about leaving toys with your dog unsupervised for a long period of time. There are a lot of dog toys available, but most of them can be very dangerous. We do NOT give our dogs chicken bones, plastic toys, rawhide or smoked products. Stuffed toys are fun, but the stuffing & squeakers can easily be pulled out and swallowed by an active dog. Chicken bones are brittle and can be very dangerous if the splinters are swallowed. Plastic toys can also be torn and the bits swallowed. Any foreign objects ingested by your pet can tear stomach or intestines, causing internal problems. Rawhide is something we never give our dogs, because the bits they chew off can swell inside them. This can be extremely dangerous especially to a puppy. Smoked products cause your pet to ingest unnatural & harmful additives.
We let our dog have natural beef bones, knuckle bones, large stuffed toys, beef hooves & high quality chew toys. Some people control the hooves, because they can be fattening to older dogs. We keep watch while they are playing with the stuffed toys, and take the bones and hooves away when they get small enough to be swallowed.
When we attend seminars or set up educational booths, we share several informational handouts about poisonous plants, dangerous household items, disaster preparedness & zoonatic diseases. Let us know if you’d like any of this information. It may save your pets life. Some of these handouts will be part of your “new puppy packet”.
Origins of the Havanese
Havanese is one of six types of dogs belonging to the Bichon family: Bichon Havanais (Havanese), Bichon Maltiase (Maltese), Bichon Bolognese, Bichon Teneriffe (Bichon Frise), Coton du Tulear, and the Lowochen. Havanese originated in Cuba and are sometimes called the Havana Silk Dog, although the true Silk Dog (Blanquito de la Habana) is now extinct.
Havanese ancestors are most likely from the Mediterrarean area, according to Plinius references about toy white dogs called Barbichons. Most canine historians attribute Spain, Italy and the island of Malta as being the places of origin for the dogs that would eventually become the Havanese.
Arriving in Cuba in the 1700’s, probably by sea captains, Bichon lapdogs quickly became favorites of the aristrocats. In the 19th century, aristocratic Cubans became interested in French & German poodles, which were bred to the native Blanquito’s. The continued breeding in Cuba resulted in a lively little dog that adorned the homes of Cuban aristocrats: the Havanese.
Today’s American Havanese, unknown until the 1970’s, resulted when many Cuban refugees were fleeing to the USA in the 1950’s & 1960’s, a few smuggling their dogs & papers with them. As a result of the dedicated efforts to save the breed, from the original 11 dogs discovered in the USA, the Havanese has survived and was recognized by the UKC in 1991, AKC in 1996, and the CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) in 2001. Although the Havanese breed standards are usually aligned with those of AKC, there has been some interest in the standards being used by the HSDAA (Havana Silk Dog Association of America) which registers only havanese with specific characteristics. Today this social little dog is also recognized by the American Rare Breed Association and all major registries throughout the world.
We have worked hard to be sure our Havanese adults are top quality, being champions themselves or being champion-sired; and all have great pedigrees with champion ancestors. We have our adults registered with AKC, APRI and UABR, each for a different reason. When you get a BBCK havanese puppy, your photo CD will include information about the first Havanese in America.