Just as there is variety in human characteristics, other organisms differ in many ways. One of the most diverse groups of animals are dogs with an interesting mixture of personalities as well as physical traits. This diversity makes it easy to find a match and know which one will suit you best. With each breed comes specific characteristics accompanied by responsibility, so also you must know your strengths and weaknesses before choosing one as a pet. The Havanese Dog breed is no exception in that they have unique features and personalities that can be used to distinguish them from other kinds. The Havanese characteristics include a full muzzle that slightly tapers at the nose, pronounced forecast, and almond-shaped lips with dark pigment surrounding them. In this article, other distinctive traits will be discussed to give you a fair idea of what to expect when having them as a pet.
History of the Havanese Dog
The Havanese dog is known to belong to the Bichon family of dogs with their ancestry directly linked to a breed from Tenerife. They are said to have been passengers on ships of Spanish noblemen and farmers that were headed towards Cuba during the early 1500s. The dogs settled in Havana, where they become accustomed to the lifestyle without any help. They were discovered by the Europeans around the 18th Century and become the admiration of the Spanish, British, and French nobles. There are theories that suggest that Tenerife is the origin of all Bichon dogs, while others believe they come from Malta. This breed found its way into the United States through the Cuban revolution but was in minimal numbers. The gene pool in the United States was made up of about 11 dogs at the time the breed was of interest to Americans. It is based on these 11 dogs that the Havanese dogs have become what we know them to be today. It was in 1996 that the AKC officially recognized the Havanese breed, and they became one of the fastest-growing dog breeds via intentional breeding. In 2013 the American Kennel Club statistics ranked the Havanese dog breed as the 25th most famous pure breed in the US.
Quick Facts About the Havanese Dog
- They are Cuba’s only native breed: This breed of dogs is the only one to have been born and raised in Havana, Cuba, and is the county’s pride. They are also called the Havana Silk dog because of their coat and were named in Havana. All other breeds of dog are Cuba originated from elsewhere and found their way into the country via immigration. It was through the 1959 revolution that Havanese owners fled with what was left of them into the US. If not for the escape, the breed would have gone extinct, and the country would not have any native dog.
- Their coat serves multiple purposes: The Havanese dog is famous for its shiny coat with a silky appearance. You might appreciate the skin for its aesthetic beauty if you don’t know its additional function. The fur on the dog serves as insulation against heat and adverse temperatures. It does not necessarily keep the dog warm but helps to maintain a steady temperature for healthy growth. Their coat serves a very important purpose and can affect their quality of life if not properly cared for.
- They are hypoallergenic: It is easy to assume that the Havanese dog will make allergies worse at the sight of their coat. On the contrary, these cute dogs are considered hypoallergenic due to the characteristics of their skin. Unlike other dogs who shed a lot, this breed doesn’t, and so you will not need to worry about fur getting all over the place. Even though there is nothing like a completely hypoallergenic dog, the amount of shedding will make it a candidate for the trait. Havanese dogs are on top of the list of hypoallergenic dogs because of their decreased amount of shedding.
- They bounce when they walk: Havanese dogs have a natural ‘spring’ in their step, which makes them a delight to play with. The natural gait is unique to this breed and is likened to the motion of rabbits. They can even hop to you, and that will make you fall in love with them more.
- They are clingy dogs: The Havanese dog breed is one of the kinds that are called ‘Velcro dogs’ because of the attachment they develop with their owners. They like to be close to their owners at all times and are big fans of cuddling. They give a new meaning to the assertion that dogs are a man’s best friend by proving to be great companions.
Things You Should Know About The Havanese Dog
Before you start searching for Havanese dogs for sale, let’s delve into a bit more detail about this beautiful breed.
The Havanese dog is one of the breeds that does not encounter many health issues throughout their lifespan. They usually live for 14 to 16 years, with the height ranging from eight and a half to eleven and a half inches at the shoulder. By age one, they are mature but will reach their full size at six to eight months. Even though they rarely get ill, they are prone to some illness due to hereditary or otherwise. Some organizations such as the Havanese Club of America closely monitor the breeding such issues to prevent spreading them. Genetic health problems include cataracts, deafness, hip dysplasia, liver shunt, and chondrodysplasia. Cataracts affect the eyes, blurring vision, and reducing overall eyesight and is one of the primary health issues for the breed. Hip dysplasia occurs when there is a disconnect between the hip bone and the socket and can cause the dog so much pain. A liver shunt occurs when blood bypasses the liver, causing it to malfunction. This is a formation of an abnormal connection between a vein and the important portal vein. This connection allows Chondrodysplasia refers to the abnormal growth of cartilage and bone tissues, leading to skeletal malformations. With the right treatment and care, Havanese dogs suffering from any of these can live a normal life but with a reduced quality.
The Havanese dog is considered a toy dog, and is smart and easy to train. It is advisable to train the Havanese puppies to get the habits to stick when they get older. One of the areas to go into when training this breed is housebreaking. It is challenging to get this breed to excrete their waste in specific places but not impossible. You can use a litterbox to get the fastest results, and because they are smart, it won’t take that long. Use incentives like verbal praise as well as treats to get the dog to behave how you want. Like other breeds, this dog can get uninterested in the training session if it takes too long. Keep lessons short (at most 20 minutes a day) and straight to the point but also consistent so that they can get the hang of it. Havanese dogs can be stubborn sometimes, so you have to be firm with your commands, otherwise, they will not budge. Do not repeat your commands so that your dog knows to obey on the first hearing. Also, use the same words and tone of voice for the terms so that the dog does not get confused. Do not be distracted by this dog’s cuteness and always discourage naughty behaviors by using words like ‘No’ and ignoring their wrong actions. Being harsh and hostile will not help, so you must find a balance and stick to it.
Related Post: Dog Training Books
Since these dogs are small and playful, they do not need much exercise. They also prefer cuddling anyway so their exercise requirements are not vigorous. Daily walks and a few minutes of playtime will be enough to keep them fit. The breed does not need that much space to play around, and so are perfect for apartment living. Trips to the park will also help keep them fit and they will also get to mingle with other dogs. Do not over-exercise the dog and immediately stop when you notice your dog finding it hard to breathe or keep up.
One question that may be running through your mind is, ‘how big do Havanese get?’ Well, they can grow to weight about 10 to 16 pounds, but it will also depend on what they eat. Ideally, their meal should consist of protein, fats, and carbs with proteins having the majority percentage. Since this breed is active, they would need a diet rich in protein to give them the needed energy for activity. Growing Havanese puppies, for example, need to consume about 404 calories daily while older ones need far less. Even though they are small dogs, they burn a lot of calories and so will need a diet with high-quality ingredients. Puppies should eat about three times a day while adult Havanese will do twice. They tend to gain weight, so it is advisable to measure their food before giving them food and don’t leave food out for long. If you are not sure about the diet to give your dog and in what quantity, you can consult a vet for help.
As mentioned, the Havanese dog’s coat does more than just be beautiful, and it also comes in different colors. It is instrumental in protecting them against harsh weather conditions and so should be groomed according to the season. Each Havanese dog has its unique coat and so grooming should be done based on that. Dogs with denser and longer coats are more prone to mats and tangles and so their coats should be brushed more frequently. However, on average brushing the hair twice a week should be enough to keep it clean. You can trim the fur to prevent the tangles from occurring. The dog can be bathed with dog-friendly shampoo and either blotted dry or blown dry depending on the density of the coat. Havanese dogs have drooped ears, making them prone to ear infections. Therefore, you’d have to pay extra attention to their ears, making sure it’s free of dirt that can create a breeding ground for disease-causing organisms. You can pluck out the hair in their ears after bathing to reduce the chances of fungi thriving in there. Clipping the dog’s nails is another essential part of grooming that can be tricky if not done correctly. There are tools designed for dog nail clipping that can help with the task. Also, you will need to brush the dog’s teeth regularly to prevent it from getting the plaque.
The Havanese Temperament is calm and happy but can be disobedient if you are not firm. They are clingy dogs and so will not do well in kennels as they need engagement from their owners all the time. They are active and intelligent animals but can get timid, especially around strangers. It is essential to train them to teach them good habits and socialize them to behave well around others. They are not noisy or yappy dogs but will still bark to alert their owners when there is a stranger or intruder. They will stop barking once you let them know you have heard them and will welcome your guests when they see you welcoming them. This characteristic makes them good watchdog, but they are lousy guard dogs because of their size. They are attention lovers and enjoy performing in the presence of others. There are very affectionate, and so they make excellent family pets.
Not every breed of dog is suitable to live with, but the Havanese characteristics are such that anyone can cohabitate with them. They are cute animals with a lot to offer when it comes to keeping your company and being loyal. The Havanese personality is also likable, and you can get carried away by their charm. This is the perfect breed for you if you are an indoor person looking for a partner to spend the lonely days with.