Excellent information on the breed available at the Golden Retriever Club of America website. Read the booklet Acquiring a Golden Retriever.
Is the Havanese the Right Breed for You?
© Copyright Cynado Havanese
The Havanese is a sturdy little dog with relative good health that has culminated in a life span of approximately 15 years. They are companion/lap dogs and do NOT do well left alone for extended periods of time. They are happy, lively little dogs who are truly a joy to be around. Havanese are equally at home sitting quietly on your lap, or racing through an agility course, as long as they can be with you. They are very easy to train, and that combined with their amazing balance and athletic ability, is seeing their numbers increase rapidly in many dog sports.
If you have allergies, the Havanese might be a breed for you to consider. A member of the Bichon family, Havanese are touted as hypoallergenic. Also their minimal shedding helps with allergen pollution. However, it would be advisable to meet a Hav or two in person to see how you react.
The Havanese coat is so soft and luxurious it is like petting silk embroidery floss. The length of a full show coat can be quite time consuming to maintain, requiring one or two baths a week as well as the need to be brushed out while blow-drying to avoid breakage. They also require additional brushing every other day or so depending on each dogs’ coat texture to avoid tangles. For pet Havanese some of the extreme care required by the show coats can be avoided by keeping the dog in a shorter cut. However, this may require a visit every few weeks to a groomer and those costs also can add up. The pet clip still requires bathing and brushing each week to maintain a healthy, tangle-free coat.
The range in Havanese size makes for a range of exercise requirement. The smaller Havs can probably get almost all of the exercise they need in the home following you around and playing. The upper size ranges may require a little more exercise, such as going for walks, playing fetch, or just running in the backyard. Be forewarned, Havanese have a game very much their own, that Hav owners affectionately refer to as “runlikehell”. This is where they will begin running for no apparent reason in absolute total abandon…and then just stop. They all do it…size won’t help you here. LOL. It is very much a part of their nature. If their occasional running through the house is unacceptable to you, then a Havanese is definitely NOT for you.
Havs can have allergies too
Like many other members of the Toy group, some Havs can be susceptible to allergies. They seem to be the most prone to foods, or chemical allergies…i.e. shampoos, conditioners, etc. Just like in people, it takes trial and error to discover their individual allergies.
Havanese can live to be 15 years old. The acceptance of a Havanese into your life is a serious long-term commitment. You need to be certain you can successfully fulfill such a lengthy obligation.
Sorry, as far as I know, ALL breeds shed. LOL It is the degree that varies. However, the Havanese does very little shedding on a daily basis. The most common occurrences of large amounts of shedding occur when their puppy coat sheds out to make way for the adult hairs; and when females go into heat. Not all bloodlines shed the same. If this is a concern of yours, ask the breeder. A reputable breeder will have a pretty good handle on how much their dogs shed.
Havanese are shredders. This habit is so inherent in the breed that jokes about that it should be added to the breed standards. This particular trait can drive you crazy. Newspapers, magazines, Kleenex, dollar bills…nothing is safe. If you don’t think you can stand walking into a room and finding paper shredded across the floor moments before a dinner party, then this ain’t the breed for you. You can no more stop a Hav from shredding than you can stop the sun from rising.
Havanese range in size from 8½ inches to 11½ inches for a show dog. Pet Havanese can exceed those limits. The large size variance can be made to work to your advantage. If you are disabled, or live in an apartment, perhaps a smaller Hav who you can teach to use a litter box might be just perfect for you. If you have children, or are thinking about doing eventing with your dog, perhaps you would prefer a Hav in the sturdier mid to upper range.
A good breeder will try to match you to your dog. The more information you can give them in regard to your lifestyle and anticipated needs, the better they will be able to find a suitable puppy for you.
Remember, any dog you bring into your home will be a part of your family for a very long time. Please do both of you a favor and make an educated selection.
*Reproduced with permission from Cynado Havanese, Cynthia Rust
From Havanese Fanciers of Canada: