So, you are thinking about getting a Havanese to own you. Wonderful choice!
Who would ever guess these sturdy little dogs that once traveled with Spanish sea captains to Cuba in the eighteenth century could offer such an abundance of love, companionship, and loyalty. Thanks to the trade monopoly between Spain and Cuba, these wonderful dogs found their way to the new world and finally made their way to the United States so we can enjoy these beauties today. They began being bred here in the late 70’s and were accepted by the AKC in 1995.
The Havanese are known for their delightful personalities and becoming attached to their family. They love to go places, including car rides, just to be with you. Puppy and adult Havanese do not like to be left alone. Doing so for more than four hours per day on a routine basis, is likely to make your pet sad, depressed, and very anxious, resulting in a pet that barks a lot, cries, poor potty habits, and or destructive behavior.
When in full coat, the Havanese has lovely, silky hair that flows long to about six inches. They are low-shedding and considered hypoallergenic. The long coat is not maintenance free and does require weekly brushings, more often at age 8 to 12 months when they transition from their puppy coat to their adult coat. The puppy coat can stick and cause matting if it is not removed with a brush and comb. The alternative for less maintenance would be to go with a puppy cut.
They are springy on their feet and can even balance for a time on their hind legs. Their love for play and romping around is entertaining to watch but they will settle down nicely when told. The are extremely bright, can be taught many tricks, and to behave appropriately.
If you are looking for a dog sport, they do great in agility, obedience, and conformation. They also make wonderful Therapy Dogs.
You can read more about show standards at the Havanese Club of America (HCA).
The Havanese can have potential health problems and should be screened for juvenile cataracts, have their hearts checked by a cardiologist and checked for patellar luxation (displaced knee caps).
House training can be somewhat lengthy in puppies if you are not consistent from the start. With consistency (scheduled feedings and bringing them out to eliminate) and maturity, they will get the idea but will occasionally test to see if it’s okay to do it in the house. Havanese are seldom house trained before six months of age.
Havanese do not bark a lot, but usually will when someone approaches the home, making them somewhat of a watchdog. When told “enough” they will stop barking, unlike some of the other toy breeds which continue to yap. Some Havanese even have a way of talking to you when they want something.
Havanese do not need a huge living area, and can do well in an apartment. That is not to say they don’t need exercise for health and life longevity; the average is 15 years.
They make wonderful walking partners using a harness, either at a leisurely pace, or their own brisk pace. They should be kept on a leash or in a surrounding fenced area at all times, because like all dogs, their curiosity may get the better of them and they might roam or take off. Obedience training is recommended and helpful, especially if you never had experience training a dog.
The Havanese are alluring. You may find yourself with more than one in a matter of time. These little gifts from heaven will lift your spirits, fill your heart with love and laughter, and provide many years of joy.