Spirited, curious, active, and sweet – these are only a few adjectives to describe the Havanese breed – the national dog of Cuba.
During the Cuban Revolution, immigrants brought Havanese dogs to the United States, where they now rank are quickly becoming one of the most popular breeds.
This member of the bichon family also has an incredibly cheerful disposition, is eager to please, and makes a great life companion. To ensure that these dogs will fit in your family and your home environment, we prepared a 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, these 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 a great family dog or a therapy dog.
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 and suffer from separation anxiety.
Although they are considered a toy breed, they are active and want to be kept busy, so they are 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.
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.
This 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, 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 – dogs with 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 joint 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 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 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 dog’s lifespan 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 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 dogs since 2002.
- Havanese Rescue organization – a nationwide organization that rescues both purebred Havanese and Havanese mixes.
- 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.
If you choose to buy a Havanese, contact an American Kennel Club-approved breeder.
Adopting a Havanese will bring you 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.