The Havanese: A Dog That Won't Shed
My daughter comes home for a visit one day and says, "I'm getting a dog." "That's nice, what kind of dog?" I replied. "This guy where I work has a Havanese and I just fell in love with it." That was the beginning of our relationship with the Havanese. I'd never heard of the breed before and had certainly never seen one! Of course I had no idea what a Havanese was so I had to start looking it up. Seems Havanese is the national dog of Cuba. With a name like Havanese I guess you could understand that.
The Havanese is descended from two extinct dogs, the Blanquito and the Bichon Tenerife. Apparently these two breeds and possibly some poodle were mixed together to form the Havanese. The Havanese Club of America says the Bichon Tenerife is probably the parent breed of all Bichons but that is another hub. There are other claims made as to the original breeds that formed the Havanese.
The Havanese found in Havana by the Spanish was an especially heat tolerant dog, probably due to its silky, light, soft coat. Cubans never cut the Havanese hair or tied it out of the dogs eyes as their hair was a protection for them and for their eyes. The Havanese Club further states the Havanese of today doesn't differ from the Havanese of the 18th Century! Some information says the Havanese dates as far back as the 15the Century. Having no way to check we'll just say somewhere between the 15th and 18th Century.
They were actually darlings in Cuba and well loved in Spain when they were brought there. There are many European portraits including the Havanese.
The American Kennel Club says the Havanese is a small sturdy dog with a friendly disposition. They further state the Havanese is trainable, intelligent and the Havanese temperament is that of a very friendly dog. They are energetic and do require some exercise. One of the best qualities of the Havanese is that despite their long, silky coat, they don't shed! Hard to believe but true. So the Havanese is great for people who suffer from allergies, particularly dog hair.
The Havanese is a little longer than he is tall but not so noticeably as to look out of proportion. He has a plumed tail that arches over his back. He also has a playful and spirited personality. As with any dog breed specific traits and temperaments are always present in some form but can vary from dog to dog.
Going back to my daughter, her first Havanese was black and named Pepe. Pepe has always been his own individual. He will cheerfully greet you and then go on his merry way. His independence manifested itself more as he got older. In spite of his independence, he still likes attention most especially from my son-in-law. He's not overly tolerant of my two year old grandson but then Pepe is seven years old. He's always been a good dog and very smart. House training was no problem at all.
My daughter and son-in-law were so taken with Pepe and thought he needed a companion so they got a second Havanese, Leo. Leo is a typical Havanese. He is very affectionate, loves to play and is great with my grandson. Leo has his favorite toys both at his house and mine. He's a great little guy, always friendly and always in a good mood. Although he's been neutered he still likes to hump a particular toy that has now been named "Mr. Humps". He will follow my grandson all over the house trying to get Mr. Humps back but never roughly. Leo and my grandson often run around the house playing together. First my grandson has Mr. Humps, then Leo, then my grandson and so on. They could do it almost all day and there's never a growl to be heard!
While the Havanese's coat varies from silky to curly both Pepe and Leo have curly coats. They are generally gentle dogs and get along well with all the other dogs in our family, though here again Pepe sometimes shows his independence. He will play or sniff and when he's done he will growl to let the other dogs, usually my own Min Pin, know that he is finished for now. Leo on the other hand will just keep on playing and enjoying himself.
Havanese do not respond well to harsh voices, calm discipline works much better. They don't bark a lot but are good watch dogs alerting you to any noise or visitors. They come in just about any color and color combination.
They are subject to some health problems including hip dysplasia, cataracts, dry skin and a few other problems. My daugther's dogs haven't exhibited any of these problems to date though there have been problems with Pepe's teeth. It seems a lot of small dogs have problems with their teeth so they really need to have them checked regularly.
They're great for apartment living as they really only require one good walk daily. If you live in an apartment remember to get them out to walk because they do need some exercise. Their life expectancy is 14 to 15 years!
If you leave their coats long they need to be brushed. Having a two year old and two dogs my daughter keeps her boys clipped. Leaving some hair near their eyes offers their eyes protection from bright sun light. It won't particularly hurt their eyes if the hair is cut but why not leave a little there?
As with all breeds there is a rescue group called Havanese Rescue which can be looked at by clicking here. There is an abundance of sites for Havanese puppies from New York to Mexico. As with any dog or puppy make sure you check out the breeder and/or get references before getting a puppy. Havanese are not cheap, most are over $1,000 because they are still fairly rare, so if you see one for sale under $1,000 beware and research, research, research before you buy!
If you're interested in a Havanese another site that might be of helpful is theHavanese Puppy Guide. These little guys are really a joy to own. If you decide to get one you won't regret it.
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