Temperament: Intelligent, Outgoing, Funny
- Height: 8.5-11.5 inches
- Weight: 7-13 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 14-16 years
- Group: Toy Group
Havanese, the only dog breed native to Cuba, are cheerful little dogs with a spring in their step and a gleam in their big, brown eyes. These vivacious and sociable companions are becoming especially popular with American city dwellers.
The Havanese is a small, sturdy dog of immense charm. The native dog of Cuba, he is beloved as a friendly, intelligent and playful companion. He is slightly longer than tall, with a long, untrimmed, double coat. The Havanese has a short upper arm with moderate shoulder layback and a straight top-line that rises slightly from the withers to the croup. The plumed tail is carried arched forward up over the back. The unique springy gait is a result of the breed’s structure and playful, spirited personality. These characteristics of temperament, coat, structure and gait are essential to type.
About the Havanese
Distinctive features of the Havanese include a curled-over tail and a gorgeous silky coat, which comes in a variety of colours. Some owners enjoy cording the coat, in the manner of a Puli, and others clip it short to reduce grooming time. Happily, Havenese are just as cute no matter what hairdo you give them.
Their small but sturdy bodies, adaptable nature, and social skills make Havanese an ideal city dog, but they are content to be anywhere that they can command the attention of admirers young and old alike. Havanese, smart and trainable extroverts with the comic instincts of a born clown, are natural trick dogs. Havanese are also excellent watchdogs and take the job seriously, but will usually keep the barking to a minimum.
NUTRITION The Havanese should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to his age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some Havanese can be prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. If you choose to give your dog treats, do so in moderation. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.
GROOMING The long, soft, and silky coat of the Havanese needs to be groomed daily to be kept free of mats and tangles. This can be done by gently running a comb or soft brush over the dog while he is on your lap. Pet owners often choose to have their dog’s coat clipped to a short trim to reduce grooming time. The Havanese should also be bathed occasionally as needed. The corners of the eyes should be gently cleaned daily to prevent tear-stain of the lighter-coloured hair in the area. Check the ears often to remove excess wax or accumulated debris, and wipe out the inside of the ear-flap with a slightly moistened gauze or paper towel.
EXERCISE The Havanese has moderate exercise needs. They will benefit from a brisk daily walk or a fun playtime with their owner in the backyard, as they are happiest when someone is with them. Romping inside the home can also provide enough activity. Never over-exercise a Havanese of any age. If they are panting and struggling to keep up, it is time to go home. Havanese do well in both houses and apartments, but they are not happy left alone for hours at a time.
TRAINING Havanese are highly intelligent and eager to please, and they are easily trained so long as you use only positive methods. This can be a sensitive breed, so care must be taken to not scold them harshly. Socialisation from an early age is very important. Expose them calmly to a wide variety of new places and new people, always ensuring that the experiences are positive and not intimidating. Gentle, patient training will result in a wonderful companion dog. They are affectionate with people and get along with other non-aggressive pets.
HEALTH Havanese are generally healthy and fairly long-lived. There are several conditions that the breed can be prone to, including eye disorders, chondrodysplasia, deafness, heart murmurs, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (which affects the hip joint), and patellar luxation. A responsible breederdoes health clearances on all breeding stock. The Havanese Club of Americapresents awards for members’ dogs passing and registering Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) results for at least four specific health tests for the breed: an annual eye exam (CAER), a hearing test (BAER), a hip x-ray, and patella (knee) certification.
Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:
- Hip Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
- BAER Testing
- Patella Evaluation