Havanese | Bichon Havanese

The Havanese |

Havanese are playful, great with children, and enjoy the company of their families, which makes them a great choice for a family dog. They are not overly hyperactive or yappy, so add that to your plus column of reasons to have one as a family member. Havanese are bred for human companionship, they do not enjoy being alone, so plan on your Havanese following you around, and if you are leaving, meeting you at the door with his or her leash in mouth with a day bag packed, biscuits, and prepared to escort you out on your adventure. Because they tend to be gentle, happy, affectionate, and sociable dogs, Havanese usually get along well with other pets, children, and dogs.

The long haired Havanese sheds little to no hair, but requires plenty of coat grooming and maintenance. You will find that brushing and combing your dog at least twice a week will keep your dogs coat looking great, but by nature, they will always look a little stylishly unkempt. It will be up to you to decide on the coat length and that will dictate your regular maintenance duties. Some owners prefer to have their Havanese shown with a longhaired-corded look. Other required maintenance will be clipping around the paws and pads of their feet, and regularly checking their ears and eyes for mites and irritation. They have little to no dog odor, which is a plus for any dog owner.

Havanese History


Havanese are part of the Bichon family of dog breeds such as the Maltese, Coton de Tulear, Bolognese, and the Bichon Frise. The Bichon breeds origins are in the Mediterranean region. From there they made their way around the world. Havanese are also known by other names such as Bichon Havanais, Havana Silk Dog, Bichon Havanese, and Spanish Silk Poodle.

Brought to Cuba by the early Spanish settlers, the Havanese developed in the hot conditions of Cuba becoming highly tolerant to heat, a trait that remains today.


Havanese NewDogTimes.com

Their soft, silky coats can be any number of colors and combinations of colors and acts as an insulator towards heat. In the 18th century, Cuba had blossomed into somewhat of a cultural center and the Havanese found its way back to Spain and into notoriety within the royalty of Spain, France, and England.

After the Cuban revolution in 1959, some Havanese made their way to the United States and from those new immigrants the breed began establishment. In 1979, the Havanese Club was formed, and in 1999 the AKC admitted the Havanese into the Toy Group. Since admittance into the AKC, their popularity has continued to grow and they rank inside the top fifty most popular dog breeds.


Havanese Training Book

Havanese Training eBookHavanese Health

Like humans, Havanese dogs also have their potential to develop ailments and diseases. Many of these ailments and diseases vary from breed to breed, and some are more prevalent, occurring more often in certain breeds.

Consider these facts when picking out your new puppy, and beware of any breeder that makes a claim that their type of breed puppies are 100% healthy. A reputable and honest breeder should know and share any health related issues that the breed you are purchasing or inquiring about might have, or can potentially surface.

The possible havanese dog health issues include luxating patellas, eye problems such as cataracts, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, hypothyroidism, deafness, and heart problems. I recommend reading about canine health related issues and common breed specific ailments.

By becoming familiar with the signs and symptoms of a disease or sickness, you will be empowered to be the first line of defense in support of your dog’s health and wellbeing.

Routine physical examinations of your dog, inspection of feces, and noting food and dog treat related issues that cause bowel or gastric problems helps to assure him or her enjoying optimal health. By observing and understanding your dog’s healthy behaviors and regular patterns, you will be able to easily identify when your dog is not feeling well, and if medical attention is needed.

In your position and role as alpha, you are responsible for providing the best possible care for your dog, assuring his or her wellbeing and comfort. Do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian if you observe your dog displaying peculiar behaviors or showing any signs of discomfort. It is very important to maintain your dog’s scheduled exams, mandatory check up’s and vaccination appointments. Uphold this duty, so that your dog can enjoy the vitality of good health that he or she deserves, and in fact has a right too.

Long daily walks are recommended for having a healthy Havanese. Walks promote leash training practice, socialization, and over-all mental and physical health for your dog to satisfy its pack mentality needs. Through daily long walks and play sessions your Hav’s daily exercise requirements should easily be met. They enjoy outdoor play sessions.



Feeding Your Havanese

Age, weight, and activity levels are a few of the factors that can change the food requirements of your Havanese. Once you have determined the appropriate amount to provide, feed an accurately measured portion at regular times to help maintain their optimal weight. If you wish to feed your Havanese dog a raw food diet or a mix while maintaining ultimate dog nutrition please do your research and consult your veterinarian prior to any adjustments to their meals. Be sure to keep plenty of fresh, clean water available for your dog, and it is considered a hygienic standard to clean your dog’s bowl well, after each feeding.

Proactive Measures for Havanese Puppy Selection

If you want to buy a Havanese puppy, be sure to find a reputable Havanese puppy breeder who will show you health clearances for both of the puppy’s parents. Health clearances are official documents that prove a dog has been tested for, and cleared of any, or all breed specific conditions, however a clearance does not guarantee against acquired diseases or abnormalities. Remember, even under the best breeding practices and proactive care measures, puppies can still develop diseases.

For the Havanese breed, you should expect to see a health clearance from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia, and patella evaluations, as well as a clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF), certifying that the eyes are healthy. Deafness can be screened with a BAER test. You can also confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) conducts large canine research studies on diseases that affect purebred dogs. Their health program is the Canine Health Foundation (CHF). This foundation, in partnership with OFA, has a breed testing designation called the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC). The results of these tests are maintained in a registry, and dogs that have all the required exams, including tests of the hips, elbows, and eyes, receive a CHIC number. Along with the breed-testing program, there is the CHIC DNA Repository.

CHIC is trying to gather and store breed DNA samples for canine disease research. The goal is to facilitate future research aimed at reducing the incidence of inherited diseases in dogs. You can search the database to find out if a specific dog has information listed about it. More information about CHIC is available here: Canine Health Info

To be accepted into the CHIC database, breeders must agree to have all test results published. This enables the reader to see both good and bad results of the testing. Obtaining a CHIC number does not imply that the dog received good or passing evaluation scores. The CHIC registration also does not signify as proof of the absence of disease, and all information must be read and evaluated. CHIC allows the information collected to be readily available to anyone with an inquiry.

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA www.offa.org) maintains an open registry with evaluations of hips, elbows, eyes, thyroid, cardio and other canine health issues. PennHIP is another registry that also evaluates dog’s hips.

Havanese Care

You are responsible for the welfare of your new puppy or dog. Please treat him or her with respect and love, and this will be reciprocated tenfold. Dogs have been human companions for thousands of years, and they are living beings complete with feelings, emotions and the need for attachment. Before bringing home a new dog or puppy, please determine if you are capable and willing to provide all that your new family member will need.

From the time you bring your pup home, positive training is a great start to introducing your new pack member to your household. Dogs have an amazing capacity to remember experiences, so please refrain from harsh training tactics that may intimidate your puppy and negatively affect personality or demeanor.

When you train your new puppy, give him or her the respect they deserve and utilize all available positive reinforcements, and as a result your dog will amaze you with surprising abilities, traits, and characteristics that are buried within the genetic profile of their specific breed. I am an advocate for beginning with rewards based clicker training, followed by vocal and physical cues for your young dog to learn, and then obey.

Havanese Crate training has positive benefits, and provides a safe place for your dog to nap or simply to be alone. In addition, crate training at a young age will help your dog accept confinement if he ever needs to be transported, boarded or hospitalized.

Proper, early, and ongoing socialization will help you and your Havanese throughout his or her lifetime. Expose your new puppy or dog to a wide variety of situations, people, and animals. This prevents shyness, aggressiveness, possessiveness, and many other potential behavioral problems, meanwhile supporting the bond between the two of you. Never leave young children unsupervised around dogs or puppies, and remember that situations of aggression may happen no matter how loving, gentle, and well trained a Havanese dog may be.


Havenese Hot Tip:

Be sure to follow a scheduled basic care program for your dog so that his coat, nails, teeth, and general health aspects are always done in a timely and efficient manner when taking care of your Havanese.


Go to this Page to: Learn How to EASILY TRAIN Your Havanese


Carrying a happy and easy-going demeanor this little dog is intelligent and willing to learn, which makes them easy to train. They enjoy showing off and will even compete in agility, obedience, or be trained as terrific therapy dogs. They are easy to train, but are sensitive to harsh vocal tones, follow the instructions inside this guide and you will have a great companion. Beware of small dog syndrome by remaining in charge and enforcing the rules. This breed enjoys performing and is sturdier and tougher than they appear. Provide them with plenty of opportunities to play and entertain.

To begin training, establish your alpha position from the moment you bring home your new dog or puppy, then slowly begin training the basics around six weeks to eight weeks age. Once your puppy realizes that you control schedules, toys, mealtimes and all the things he or she cherishes, he or she will respect you as the alpha in the family hierarchy. Remember that all family members are above your dog. Leading as the alpha assists in working together with your dog towards the goal of understanding the rules of conduct and obedience. Your dog will be at ease when the rules are understood.



Put your puppy on a schedule for feeding, potty times, walks and more. Be in control of toys and play time so that your Havanese understands that you control all good things. This is important, because if your puppy doesn’t have this structure early he or she will grow up thinking that they can do as they wish. No matter how wonderful and easy- going your little Havanese seems now, most likely that will change with age.

Begin gradually socializing your puppy from the time you bring him or her home. Proper early socialization that continues throughout your puppy’s lifetime will provide you with a well-adjusted dog that is able to handle almost any situation in a calm manner. Early, thorough, and continual socialization is important for your Havanese. You do not want your dog being territorial and wary of strangers, so it is important to expose them early to a variety of situations, animals, people, and places.

Socialization benefits you and your dog by providing you with a peace of mind and that you can expose your Havanese to different situations with the assurance that he or she will look to you for guidance in rules of etiquette for the indoor and outdoor world. Socialization is a foundation for all dogs throughout their lifetimes.

Training should always be an enjoyable bonding time between you and your dog. Remember that all dogs are different, and that there is no set time limit for when your dog should learn, understand, and properly obey commands. Always have fun during training, remembering to keep your training sessions short and stop if either of you are tired or distracted. I always suggest beginning training new tricks or commands in an area of least distraction. I promote starting with rewards based clicker training and ending with vocal and or physical cues for your dog to follow.

If you notice any negative behavioral issues and are not quite sure if you are offering your dog the proper socialization and training necessary, do not hesitate to enter your puppy into a puppy kindergarten class to assist you with your training and socialization. The time to enroll your puppy is usually around eight to ten weeks of age and after their first round of shots, although some kindergarten classes will not accept puppies until they are three to four months of age.

Reward good behaviors, but do not reward for being cute, sweet, loveable, or huggable. If you wish to reward your dog, always reward after you issue a command and your dog obeys the command. During your training sessions, be sure to mix it up, add a variety of toys and treats, and do not forget to have fun. Remember to provide them with ample daily exercise to keep them fit, healthy, and to keep behavioral problems at bay. Provide consistent structure, firm authority, rule enforcement, love and affection, and you will have one heck of a dog for you and your family.
Enjoy your Havanese dog!



Havanese Dog Factoidinals

Country of Origin: Cuba
Other Names: Bichon Havanais, Havana Silk Dog, Bichon Havanese, Spanish Silk Poodle
Nicknames: Hav
Group: Toy, Toys, Companion
Size: Small
Height: 8.5-11.5 in (22-29cm)
Weight: 10-16lb (4.5-7.3kg)
Lifespan: 14-16yrs
Colors: Solid, pied, or brindle in almost all colors.
Coat: Long, soft and wavy. Long coats requiring brushing at a minimum of twice a week, many dog owners keep it clipped short, some owners also cord the coat, coat will mat without human grooming
Shedding: Little to none.
Apartment: Yes
Temperament: Gentle, affectionate, great companions, sociable, get along well with other animals.
Exercise: Average, daily walks and play, long daily walks are paramount for health.
Training: Easy to train, but they are sensitive to harsh vocal tones, follow the instructions inside this guide and you will have a great companion, beware of small dog syndrome -remain in charge and enforce the rules. This breed enjoys performing and is sturdier and tougher than they appear. Establish yourself in your alpha role as the controller of all things. Toys, schedules, play, and feeding are all controlled by you. Once you establish that you are capable of providing and leading, you are establishing your position. From here forward, be firm but fair, and consistent in your training. Always try to have some darn fun. If you or your dog becomes tired, quit and start another day, leave on a high note with praise and nice vocal tones.

Havanese Rescue

Havaneses are often acquired without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one, and these dogs regularly end up in the care of rescue groups, and are badly in need of adoption or fostering. If you are interested in adopting a Havanese, a rescue group is a good place to start. I have listed a few below. If you have the facilities and ability please rescue a dog and enjoy the rewarding experience that it offers both of you.

Havanese Shelters
Havenese dot Org
Rescue Havanese

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