Love the look of the adorable Havanese? Need a breed that is easy on pet-related allergy sufferers? The Havanese is becoming one of America's favorites!
Havanese Country of Origin
Havana, Cuba is this adorable breeds birthplace, however their cousins (breeds considered to be part of the Bichon group) made their way from Europe, making them a popular dog in the Spanish occupied cities in Cuba. Descendants are believed to be Bichon Frise, Bolognese, Maltese, and the Poodle.
Only a handful made their way to the United States with Cuban refugees after the 1959 revolution. A breeder in Florida started working with those dogs brought from Cuba and developed and bred the Havanese during the 1970's. Originally, there were only 11 in the U.S.
This little breed has made an imprint on many American pet-parents and is still growing in number as a popular breed.
All that Fur Requires Regular Grooming
Looking for a dog that has minimal to no grooming needs? Look elsewhere, as the Havanese is not that breed.
Their coat is beautiful, long, and silky. Although they are often referred as hypoallergenic, there is no such thing. They do shed very little, which is perfect for allergy pet-sufferers that would LOVE to share their life with a dog.
Daily brushings to prevent matting and monthly professional grooming will help keep the Havanese coat looking luxurious. Many pet-parents opt for the "puppy-cut," maintaining the Havanese coat in a short-type cut for easy maintenance.
Some Havanese are born with a recessive gene that keeps their coat short. However, these dogs tend to shed much more than the long-coated Havanese and are not recommended for allergy pet-sufferers.
Excellent with Children and Other Animals
As a trainer, I often get asked what "small breed" dog is a good match with kids, and my top choice is the Havanese. Cheerful, easy-going, loving, loyal, playful, and oh, the list could go on to describe this wonderful breed. They have it all!
Although small, this breed is sturdy and won't be easily hurt by running and rambunctious children. The Havanese wants to be in the middle of the fun, but will also be content to join in a quick siesta with their human, preferring a warm lap.
The Havanese gets along with everybody. To ensure this trait of the Havenese is not jeopardized, early socialization and training is important to help maintain this positive attitude.
Smart and Very Easy to Train
The Havanese is a very intelligent breed to work with. They were often used in circus performances because they are such quick learners. Using their intelligence to your benefit means starting training early. Havanese can develop "Small Dog Syndrome" if not given clear limitations and are only indulged by their humans. Training helps to set rules and provides a way to communicate to the Havanese what is expected of them.
Havanese can be difficult to potty train, but in my training experience, I have yet to come across that with this particular breed. I feel their intelligence helps them to learn the potty process much quicker then other small breeds.
Yap, Yap, Yap! No Worries, not the Havanese
Small breeds are known for the yappiness. Not the Havanese - this is one small breed that is not into barking. HOORAY!
But HOLD ON, don't get too excited. The Havanese is known to be a good-alert dog, barking when visitors arrive at the home. To help keep your Havanese in check, start early with training your dog that excessive barking is not allowed. Otherwise, the Havanese will be glad to join in the group of small breeds that are in the "barking department."
Shyness and Separation Anxiety
The Havanese can be shy, but this personality trait isn't a favorite among professional breeders. If a Havanese is shy, extra care in working with them to build up their confidence, training, and everyday socialization sessions is imperative.
Havanese want and need to be around people. They can suffer from separation anxiety, a serious behavioral condition that some dog's experience when left alone for many hours. They typically favor one person in the family and can sometimes struggle if they are separated from their family or that person.
If you work long hours and are unable to bring your Havanese to work with you, consider Doggy Daycare or hiring a dog walker midday to give your Havanese the human interaction they crave.
With guidance and patience, the Havanese should turn into the confident dog that they are known for.
Spirited and Active Breed
Havanese are a lively and active breed that enjoy walking, romping, and playing. Though part of the Bichon group, this is not a lazy dog. They do best in an active family that will enjoy interacting with their Havanese throughout the day.
The breed won't require a running partner, but a daily walk for 30 minutes will make the Havanese a very happy dog!
It Doesn't Get Better than This!
Overall a very healthy breed, with a life span of about 13 - 15 years.
This small package delivers! Havanese are beautiful, spirited, and smart. Kid friendly, social, active, easy to train, affectionate, enjoy being around other animals, and perfect for pet-related allergy sufferers - it REALLY doesn't get better then the Havanese!
As you begin looking for a Havanese, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year, there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe