Spirited, curious, active, and sweet – these are only a few adjectives to describe the Havanese breed – the national dog breed of Cuba.
Havanese pups belong to the bichon breed of small but sturdy dogs, known for their hypoallergenic coats. Their ancestors come from Tenerife, and their progenitor was a Tenerife bichon, the dog breed, which is not considered extinct.
During the Cuban Revolution, immigrants brought Havanese dogs with them to the United States, where the dogs now rank as one of the fastest-growing breeds for their popularity.
These dogs also have an incredibly cheerful disposition and make great life companions. To make sure that these dogs will fit in your family and your home environment, we prepared a little guide for use before adopting a Havanese puppy.
Havanese pups are considered toy dogs. However, they are not overly delicate.
The dogs are small and stand between 9 and 10 inches tall (23-27 cm). They can weigh up to 16 pounds (7.3 kg).
These dogs are moderately boned, which means that they are strong enough that you don’t have to worry about your pup damaging their legs or tail because of bone fragility.
Generally, Havanese dogs are friendly, playful, and sweet. They are usually easily trained, as they are alert to commands and very intelligent.
These pups are great with children and are even friendly to strangers; that is why they make great family pets.
They are usually not aggressive or shy. If a dog behaves this way, this is typically a sign of sickness or poor treatment.
Also, you should keep in mind that these dogs demand a lot of attention, and, if ignored for a long time, they turn into troublemakers.
Although they are considered a toy dog, they are active and want to be kept busy, so this breed is ideal for people who spend a lot of time at home.
We already mentioned that these pups are usually very friendly, both with people and other dogs.
However, don’t force interaction with watchdog breeds, such as the German shepherd or Dobermann, or Rottweiler. These dogs can be quite aggressive and if their prey drive engages, they can inflict serious bodily harm on a small Havanese pup.
Don’t bathe your dog too often. To maintain the fur’s good condition, it needs natural oils from the pup’s body. That’s why you should wash your pup no more than once every month to six weeks.
Tip! After washing your pup, make sure that you thoroughly dry their fur; otherwise, it will grow musty and acquire an unpleasant smell. To maintain the health of your dog’s coat, make sure your pup drinks about a cup of water a day.
A Havanese dog usually lives 14-16 years. There are, however, a few factors that can either increase or decrease the dog’s quality of life.
Talking about the life expectancy of the Havanese pups, let’s discuss possible health-related issues that affect the dog’s lifespan.
According to the Havanese Club of America, there are eight most common conditions:
- Hip dysplasia – this is the abnormality in the hip joint, which can cause severe arthritis. However, this condition can be asymptomatic; that’s why it is essential to check your pup as early as possible.
- Chondrodysplasia – Havanese pups who have a “crooked” front might have this disorder, which should be diagnosed as early as possible, as it can cause difficulty walking and standing.
- Patellar Luxation – this condition causes the kneecap to pop out of the joint, and often happens in Havanese dogs as they are very active.
- Liver shunt – this disorder causes the inability of the liver to clear toxins, which is why they go directly to the dog’s heart. If your dog has a poor appetite, sleeps a lot, and seems weak or disoriented, schedule a check-up as soon as possible.
- Legg Perthes – another join condition that develops in the first year of the pup’s life, involves pain and limping, and needs early treatment to prevent arthritis.
- Cataracts – Havanese dogs are at high risk of having cataracts, so dog owners should check their pups annually.
- Cherry eye – this condition commonly occurs in young dogs, requires surgery but is curable.
- Deafness – it is essential to check your Havanese pup for this disorder since deaf pups should be spayed or neutered.
All of these conditions are treatable and don’t affect the lifespan of a Havanese pup too much if treated.
Havanese are easily trainable. They are very alert and intelligent and will follow your every movement.
However, there are a few training peculiarities you need to consider:
- Puppies take longer to housebreak. This characteristic feature describes not only this breed but all toy dogs in general. It is not impossible, but it will take some time and patience.
- Don’t scold your dog. Scolding is a poor tool for training not just a Havanese dog, but any dog in general. If you catch your pup making a mess, startle them with a loud noise instead of screaming.
- Use a crate. If you need to leave the house for work, make sure that your pup has a crate where they can stay while you’re out.
Other than that, these pups are very trainable and eager to learn, so you will have a lot of fun teaching your Havanese a few commands.
Where to adopt a Havanese
To conclude our guide, here’s the list of a few Havanese rescue organizations:
- The Havanese Angel League Organization for Rescue – an Illinois-based non-profit organization that has rescued Havanese dogs since 2002.
- The Havanese Rescue organization – a nationwide organization that rescues both purebred Havanese and Havanese mixes.
- The Havanese Club of America – a charitable Havanese rescue organization that also offers membership for those who need help adjusting their adopted Havanese pups to the new environment.
Adopting a Havanese pup will bring you a lot of joy. These dogs will not only become an excellent addition to your family but also become your life companions, bringing fun and happiness to your everyday life with their cheerful and sweet disposition.
Daniela McVicker is a psychologist and family counselor. She is also a freelance writer and a contributor to Topwritersreview. Her passion is writing about leading a healthy family life and helping people enjoy their lives to the fullest.