Havanese & Golden Retrievers







The Havanese is truly a delightful little dog.  They are a very sweet and affectionate breed with exceptional intelligence and quick wit.  They are sturdy, playful and very entertaining.  As if having springs for legs, the Havanese possess a very clown like personality and are often quite busy.  They are excellent with children, other pets, and get along well in almost every situation.


They greet you with oodles of "Hav Kisses". When held, some Havs will place their paws on each side of your neck and give you a big "Hav Hug".  They dance and twirl, and are unsurpassed in their playful showmanship.  Their keen intelligence, easygoing temperaments, desire to please their master, and friendly dispositions make them a welcome sight to their owners, and to guests as well. They have an intense desire to please their master, and they tend to be submissive.  They are very influenced by the ambiance of the home.


But :

We have found that the Havanese are such nice dogs that many people have some very unrealistic expectations of the breed.  Many promoters of the breed have been so in love with the little Ones that they have unintentionally misrepresented the breed as totally angelic creatures that do not ever poop, bark or growl.  The Havanese are nice, but, please remember they are still dogs.


Havanese Myths:

1. All Havanese are perfectly calm, and do not bark or growl.

2. Havanese are very low maintenance dogs.

3. Some lines of Havanese do not have cataracts and other eye problems.

4. Havanese are very easily house trained.

5. Havanese will walk alongside you without a leash.

6. Havanese will paper train.

7. Havanese are okay if left alone all day.


Havanese Origin:

The Havanese is an old breed of the Bichon Family.  They were first recognized in the Mediterranean area and may have originated on the island of Malta.  Today's Havanese decended from those found in Cuba.  They were introduced into the American Kennel Club's registry on June 30, 1995, entered the Miscellaneous Class on February 1, 1996 and began competing in the Toy Group on January 1, 1999. During the Cuban Revolution, so many people fled Cuba thinking they would be going back in a few days.  Most were forced to leave their dogs.  Castro, a self avowed dog hater, did not preserve the purebred status of the breed with a purebred registry, and the dogs were left to run the streets. Purebreds were just about unknown at that time.  Purebred status was basically eliminated in Cuba, the two hundred year old wonderful sweet little Havanese breed almost went extinct.The restorer of our Havanese breed, The Beloved Mrs. Dorothy Goodale, God love her, searched across the Americas for many years to locate all the purebred Havanese she could find.  After years of searching she found eleven purebred Havanese dogs.  The Beloved Mrs. Dorothy Goodale began her breeding program with those eleven dogs.  All of the present TRUE Havanese in the world today, came from Mrs. Goodale's eleven dogs. So, all of the world's present population of purebred Havanese came from those remaining eleven dogs and all of the world's Havanese today are closely related.


Havanese Size:

The Havanese size is measured in inches (measured from the top of the shoulders to the ground) and ranges between 8-1/2 and 11-1/2inches.  The weight of the adult Havanese varies depending upon his size but usually ranges between 7 and 14 pounds.  What about your puppy? What weight will he wind up being?  How can you tell?  Looking at weight at specific ages is one of the simplest methods.  When predicting adult size, the two easiest formulas to remember are FOUR FOLD and DOUBLE UP.  Four Fold:  The weight of a healthy Havanese puppy at 8 weeks of age is approximately one quarter of adult weight.  Double Up:  The weight of a healthy Havanese puppy at 16 weeks is approximaately one half of adult weight.  The 16 week calculation is more reliable than the 8 week one.
Male verus Female:
When people talk about gender variations, generally they are talking about intact dogs.  In the Havanese, many people find intact males easier to live with than intact females as the males are generally more easygoing, mellow and laid back as well as gentler, calmer and more patient than their intact female counterparts.  Some people find males to be better with children as they may also be more tolerant, affectionate and playful.  Some males also have a higher will to please which in turn may make them easier to train.  On the other hand, males may also exhibit sexual behaviors such as wanderlust, arousal, mounting and marking.  Though many people think that sexual behavior is exclusively a male thing, , intact females often mount and mark much more than the males do.  Intact females are generally more moody and emotional than the males, and also more dominant and demanding of time and attention.  If your Havanese is to be a family pet or companion dog, then in all likelihood it should be spayed or neutered which removes many of the above behaviors associated with hormones in both genders.  In altered Havanese, the differences tend to be much less pronouned.  Spayed and neutered Havanese make the best family companions.  Overall, whether altered or not, Havanese males may be more loving and easy going while felmales may be more demanding and tempermental. 
Coat Development:
Around one year of age; generally starting anywhere from 8 to 15 months, Havanese go through what is known as a "Coat change".  Over a period of approximately 2 to 4 months, the soft puppy coat is replaced with the adult coat.  This period of coat change can be a trying one with grooming challenges for many owners.  During coat change, apperance can also take a beating.  Bedraggled, scruffy, uneven locks may be an unexpected but common phase during this brief period.  The texture of the adult coat may be somewhat different from what the puppy coat was and the undercoat may now begin more development.  The Havanese is a double coated breed which means it has an outer coat as well as an undercoat; both are soft.  After the coat change, the adult coat will continue to mature in fullness and length, taking up to 3 to 4 years to fully develop.  There is a length at which the Havanese coat appears to mature, it does not continue to grow and grow without end.   There is no one right length for a mature Havanese coat.  The texture, final length and fullness of the adult coat are dictated mainly by genetics.  A full coat on an adult Havanese ranges approximately from 6-10".
To insure a mat free coat, the Havanese should be line-brushed at least 3 times a week followed by running a comb through the coat to make sure that all the knots are out of the coat.  Havanese have hair inside the ears, some more than others.  This hair should be pulled out every 5 weeks.  If your dog is being taken to a groomer, make sure that the groomer does this.  Otherwise do it yourself to make sure that a good job is done.  It will prevent ear infections and a build up of wax in the ear, if all the hair is removed.  Always make sure that the anal area is free of any dried fecal matter.  The hair around the anus should be trimmed so that nothing can stick to it or build up there.
Teeth Cleaning:
Just like any Toy breed, the Havanese can develop teeth and gum problems over time.  So, it is important to get them used to getting their teeth brushed at an early age.  There are tooth pastes and brushes especially for dogs.  You want to use a small tooth brush for them.  Their teeth should be brushed at least 3 times a week, more, if they will let you do it..

Havanese health:

The breed is generally very healthy and long lived, however, all long-lived breeds may eventually develop  some problems.  The Havanese should be examined for patellar luxation, congential cardiac health, and heritable eye disease. They may live to be as old as 18 years of age when they receive proper care.  The average life span is about 14 years.
When bringing the new puppy home:
Give the puppy special attention during it's readjustment period. Small puppies can develop low blood sugar while enroute to your home, as a result of stress, not eating, and moving to a new environment.
A suggestion: If you should notice the puppy being slow and comatose, give it Karo syrup, sugar water or some other sweet supplement such as Nutri-Cal.  If it won't take it, rub it on its gums.  You have to always make sure that the puppy is eating, especially when it is young, because that is when they can develop low blood sugar.
Hypoglycemia:  Toy Dog Problems
Toy breeds might not have to grow much, but they have their own special needs.  Their biggest concern is hypoglycemia, a potentially fatal condition that can occur in very small or young puppies because of differences in how they store energy.
Mature dogs store glucose as glycogen for energy, but these little ones can't store much, so it's used up quickly when the puppy goes too long between meals and then becomes stressed, chilled or overly active.  When the glycogen runs out, the brain, which is highly dependent on it, starts to fail.  The puppy becomes abnormally sleepy, weak and uncoordinated, to the point it might not even eat when offered food.  If it doesn't eat, the puppy can have seizures, lose consciousness and die.
If your puppy can't eat, rub corn syrup on its gums and rush it to the vets.  Toy puppies between 6 and 12 weeks of age are especially at risk, but the threat rermains up to 7 months.
Feed tiny puppies frequently to avoid hypoglycemia.  A young toy puppy (less than 4 months old) should be fed four or five times a day, and allowed to eat as much as it wants.  From about 4 to 7 months of age, it can eat four times a day;  from 7 to 9 months of age, it can eat three times a day; and by the time the dog reaches 12 months, you can transition its meals to twice a day.
When you can't feed the puppy as often as suggested, keep it warm and quiet to conserve energy.  Avoid foods with simple sugars, such as sweets and semi-moist foods.   Simple sugars might cause a rollercoaster effect with blood sugar levels, initially raising them, but then allowing them to plummet.  Feed meals fairly high in protein, fat and complex carbohydrates, such as are found in commercial puppy foods for toy breeds.
Anesthetic Reactions:
Some breeds in particular, including Bichons and Havanese, may have a heightened sensitivity to certain anesthetics and require reduced levels to achieve the same effect.  Methoxyflurane is an older anesthetic which is rarely but occasionally used (because of low cost); however is not nearly as safe as newer anesthetics.  Halothane is a commonly used general anesthetic.  One drawback is that it may take an hour for complete wakeup and there may be residual sedative effects for an additional 12+ hours.  In anesthetic-sensitive Havanese, this may increase risks.  Isoflurane, though more expensive, is extremely safe, and is not metabolized in the same way as halothane or methoxyflurane.  Wakeup is almost immediate once the medication is discontinued.  Isoflurane is generally the anesthetic of choice for Havanese.  Discuss this with your Vet.
Along with general anesthesia, some Vets use a pre-anesthetic sedative.  Some Havanese may be hypersensitive to a relaxant or tranquilizer called Acepromazine or "Ace".  The dose prescribed is determined by weight.  For sensitive Havanese, this calculated amount may be double of what they actually require.  The Vet needs to know to reduce the amount for potentially sensitive Havanese or to avoid it altogether.  Some Vets are willing to skip the pre-anesthetic and just mask down a toy dog so that there are less chemicals to metabolize and thus minimize risks.  The riskiest for Havanese appears to be ACE/Halothane combination and it may be best to avoid ACE altogether as it seems to be the one that has provoked the most reactions.


House Training & the Revolutionary Litter Trays for Toy Dogs: 

Just like any Toy Breed, Havanese are sometimes a little harder to house train.  I will tell people that it takes a year to house train a Havanese and after that, if they still wanted a dog, then I would talk with them. In the past, it took a very long time to house train a Havanese, however, we now have a revolutionary concept that has greatly improved the ability to house train a Havanese quickly, Litter Boxes and Pee Pads.


Litter Boxes for toy dogs: 

Many people are now using the DOG Litter Boxes with a hard cylindrical paper pellet. The dogs are instinctively drawn to the paper pellet litter.  (Cat litter cannot be substituted as the pups may eat it and it can kill them.)  Many people who use the litter trays report the dog having only one or two accidents during training. There is an attractive rattan cube, the size of a small table, that will conceal the litter tray available at the dog catalogs.  After the pup has learned to use the litter tray or pee pad you can advance his training to going outside, by placing the litter tray or pee pad near your door. 


Regarding outside house training:

Havanese do not train well at the end of a leash.  They are so submissive that they will follow you dutifully until returning home, at which point they will feel they have been an obedient pet in following you and upon arrival home, they will "Go."  Ideally, Havanese need a fenced yard to run and play un-tethered so that their systems work properly and so that they house train more quickly and easily for you. Another pup can be very helpful in helping the pup house train.  A second companion pup will keep the pup interested in spending time outside and the exercise helps his system work.


Havanese at Chase, & Care: 

Havanese have an instinctive drive to play chase.  They like to play chase when you try to bring them back inside from a potty trip.  They will sometimes play chase for 15 minutes without being "caught". Havanese really need a home or apartment with a private fenced yard so that they can run.  And RUN THEY WILL.  They should be allowed to run un-tethered in a confined area. Collars and leashes can harm a toy dog's neck & back.  It is not uncommon for a Havanese to get an injured trachea, because the dog pulled against the flexi leash.  The injured tracheas are often fatal.  I recommend against a collar and leash.  I do recommend a halter and leash.  Some Havanese bark a lot and some do not bark, even at intruders. Generally, Havanese are not considered yappy and most bark less than other toy dogs, but they do bark!  They also need heartworm preventative monthly.  HeartGuard Plus, rather than a combination product that has flea and heartworm meds in it, is what I recommend as the combination products can be very strong and can cause problems in this breed.


I believe owning this special breed incurs some special responsibilities!  If we are able to accept those responsibilities, then we will be blessed  with the unequaled love and devotion the Havanese will provide to us.  Now, you must decide if you are able to accept the responsibilities that go along with owning this exceptional breed, the Havanese.  I hope that this information will help you  make an informed decision about owning a Havanese.





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