Dog Profiles - Description of Havanese


Description: The Havanese, while a toy dog, is hardy and sturdy and does not appear fragile or overly delicate. A unique aspect of the breed is the top line, which rises slightly from withers to rump, creating a back that is straight but not level. This breed is renowned for their unusually small tongue and flashy but not too reaching gait, giving the Havanese a sprightly, agile appearance. Typically, the front legs of the Havanese are shorter in height than the back legs. This gives them the 'hopping' quality to their gait.

Height: 8-11 inches (20-28 cm)

Weight: 7-13 pounds (3-6 kg)

Colors: Cream, gold, white, silver, blue, black, chocolate, parti, and tricolors.

Coat: The profuse coat varies from wavy to curly. The Havanese is a double-coated breed with soft hair, both on outer and undercoat. Adult coat reaches 6 to 8 inches, and has a pearly sheen.

Temperament: Havanese are natural companion dogs: gentle and responsive. They become very attached to their human families and are excellent with children. Very affectionate and playful with a high degree of intelligence. These cheerful dogs are very sociable and will get along with everyone including people, dogs, cats and other pets.

Care and Exercise: For pets the coat can be clipped short for easier care. If the coat is to be kept long it needs to be thoroughly brushed and combed at least twice a week. There is a lotion available to prevent the hair from splitting. Clip excess hair from between the pads of the feet. The feet themselves may be clipped to look round. There is little to no shedding, so dead hair must be removed by brushing. Check the eyes and ears regularly. If the ears are not kept clean it is prone to get an ear infection. If you accustom your dog to nail clipping from puppy age, he should accept the routine as an adult. Teeth should be brushed weekly, and it is also best started as a puppy.

Training: They are easy to obedience train and get along well with other dogs. This curious dog loves to observe what is going on. They are sensitive to the tone of one's voice and will not listen if they sense that they are stronger minded than their owner, however they will also not respond well to harsh discipline. Owners need to be calm, yet possess an air of natural authority. Few tend to bark a lot, as they can be taught not to do this. It is not their nature to bark a lot. It is best to teach them not to bark unnecessarily while they are still young to prevent it from becoming a habit. Havanese are good watch dogs making sure to alert you when a visitor arrives, but will quickly welcome the guest once it sees you welcome them. Some dogs, who have not been properly socialized, may exhibit a degree of shyness around strangers, but this is not characteristic of the breed. Havanese live for your every word and gesture. They should be neither timid nor aggressive, for dogs who do, are a result of a human who is not providing proper pack leadership, and / or who are not treating the dog like a canine, but rather a human. It shows no cowardice, in spite of its size. Do not allow the Havanese to develop Small Dog Syndrome.

Activity: This playful little dog has an average demand for exercise. This breed needs to be taken on a daily walk. While walking be sure to make the dog heel on the lead. It is an instinct for a dog to migrate daily and to have a leader and in their mind the leader leads the way. This is very important to raising up a well rounded, balanced pet.

Living Environment: Havanese are good for apartment life. They are very active indoors and will do okay without a yard. Havanese are born to live in your home, and not in a patio or a kennel. but at the same time, they require plenty of exercise.

Health Issues: This is a very healthy long-lived breed, however, all long-lived breeds eventually have health problems. Some are prone to hip dysplasia, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), poodle eye, Juvenile heritable cataracts, luxating patellas, Chonrdodyplasia, Patellar Luxation (dislocated knee caps), Legg-Calve Perthes Disease, unilateral and bilateral deafness and dry skin.

Life Span: 14-15 years

Litter Size: 1-9

History: Following the French, Cuban and Russian revolutions, the Havanese were almost extinct. Now rare in Cuba, the breed has been facing a crises through the 1900's, but is presently on the rise in popularity, having some dedicated believers in the breed who are actively campaigning for its preservation in the USA. This dog belongs to the family of Dogs called Bichons. The Bichon Havanese originated in Cuba from an earlier breed known as Blanquito de la Habana (also called Havanese Silk Dog - a now extinct breed) The Bichon Havanese adorned and enlivened the homes of aristocratic Cubans during the the 18th & 19th centuries. Bichon Lapdogs were being brought to Cuba in 17th century from Europe, they adapted to climate and customs of Cuba. Eventually, these conditions gave birth to a different dog, smaller than its predecessors, with a completely white coat of a silkier texture. This dog was the Blanquito de la Habana. In the 19th century, the Cubans took to liking the French and German Poodles, which were crossed with the existing Blanquito to create today's Bichon Havanese. In the development of the Havanese, the Blanquito was much more dominant than the poodle. The Bichon Havanese originated in the 19th century (1800-1900). It was continually bred in Cuba all through the 20th century (1900-2000) and was the preferred pet/dog of the Cuban families. Breeding the Havanese in the USA only started in the 1970's. In the 1960's many Cubans migrated to USA. Most Cuban refugees settled in Florida, and some brought their pets (Havanese). A US breeder, Mrs. Goodale saved the breed from extinction. She advertised in the Florida paper, and found two or three immigrant families who had brought their Havanese from Cuba with papers. From them Mrs. Goodale got 6 Bichon Havanese with pedigrees; a bitch with 4 female pups, and a young unrelated male. Later she was able to get 5 more males from Costa Rica. As an experienced breeder, Mrs. Goodale began working with the 11 dogs. Her first lines appeared in 1974. The UKC recognized them in 1991. The AKC recognized them in 1996. The CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) recognized them in 2001. Around 1980, several German breeders started finding odd-coated puppies in litters with regular Havanese. As these pups matured they did not grow full coats like their other littermates. They had feathering on the skirts, tail, legs, chest, and ears - the rest of the body hair was close lying. They oddly enough grew up to have smooth coats. Breeders got together and found that this was happening in other litters of Havanese and was not a chance genetic mutation in one single litter, but something carried in a lot of Havanese as a recessive gene. These dogs were called Smooth-Coated Havanese, but have picked up the name Shavanese somewhere along the line. The short coated Havanese are not showable or breedable, however they are perfectly healthy.