Havanese Dogs Make Great Family Pets
The Havanese Is a Great Family Dog
When my brother needed to go away on business for several weeks, the duty of dog sitting his Havanese, Rufus, was charged to me. I instantly fell in love with Rufus, as did the rest of my family.
We have a young child in the family who is Autistic and does not do very well with loud noises, so there was a concern that having Rufus stay with us might be stressful. Thankfully, as we soon learned, the Havanese breed of dog is a relatively quiet one and does need much coaxing to stop barking.They are also extremely good with kids and are just as happy to sit and observe as much as they are to get in on the playful action.
After a few weeks with us, Rufus went home and I've been missing him ever since. I had never heard of the Havanese breed before meeting Rufus, but I am looking forward to one day having a little Havanese puppy of my own.
If you are currently trying to decide which breed of dog might be best suited for your family, are looking for a dog that will be a faithful companion or you're simply interested in learning more about this once rare breed, then you've come to the right place. Here we'll examine some of the history of the Havanese breed and take a look at some of the reasons why this breed of dog might just be the perfect fit for your family.
A Breed Brought Back From Near Extinction
The Havanese dog (pronounced Have-UH-Neeze) is the national dog of Cuba. This breed was developed from an earlier breed known as the Blanquito De La Habana ("Little White Dog of Havana") which is now an extinct breed. They were brought to Cuba from Europe during the 17th century and enjoyed immense popularity during the 18th and 19th centuries amongst aristocratic families in Cuba. After the French, Cuban and Russian revolutions, the Havanese breed was teetering on the brink of extinction.
Breeding for this family friendly dog didn't begin in North America until the 1970s. The Havanese was the preferred dog for many Cuban families. During the 1960s when people began immigrating to the United States from Cuba, several families brought their Havanese dogs with them. A U.S breeder posted an ad in a Florida newspaper in hopes of finding Cuban families that had brought their dogs with them from Cuba. From that ad she found three families and 10 dogs. It is widely accepted that the origins of all Havanese dogs in North America can be traced back to those first ten dogs.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1996 and the Canadian Club followed suit in 2001. They placed this breed of dog in the "Toy" category.
Are Havanese Dogs Hypo-Allergenic?
It is widely believed that Havanese dogs are considered "Hypo-Allergenic" dogs. This means that they are safe dogs to own for those who have animal related allergies.
The Havanese is a popular choice for people who have allergies to dogs. Havanese dogs produce lower levels of dander and shed less frequently than other breeds. It is important to note however, that there is no such thing as a completely hypo-allergenic dog. All dogs produce some levels of dander. Dog related allergic reactions can also occur when a person who is allergic comes into contact with a dog's saliva. Havanese dogs become especially attached the their human families and are very affectionate animals. If you have a severe allergy to dogs, it is best to visit a reputable Havanese breeder and spend some time with this breed to see if an allergic reaction occurs before bringing one home with you.
What Havanese Dogs Look Like
Considered a "Toy" breed by the American and Canadian Kennel Association. Though it is a moderately sized dog (average weight 7-13 pounds and height of 8-11 inches) it doesn't have the "small dog" appearance that other breeds in the toy category does.
The tail of the Havanese dog arches up over it's back, but doesn't quite touch the back. I liked to refer to Rufus's tail as "Happy Tail" as it's almost always wagging side to side in a happy playful manner.
The Havanese Coat
- The Havanese fur is double-coated. The top coat of their fur is long, wavy and extremely soft. Though their fur appears to be very thick and warm, it is actually the opposite. Because Havanese dogs originate from the warm climates of Cuba their fur is very lightweight, which was meant to help keep them cool. Their undercoat is also very lightweight and sometimes completely non-existent. For this reason, Havanese dogs become cold very easily and need to be protected during winter playtime activities. Though they become cold easily, they are not stuffy dogs who hate the outdoors. I live in Canada and Rufus loves to run around outside in the snow.
- The fur of Havanese dogs is typically longer. Because of the length and lightweight nature of their fur, Havanese dogs need to be groomed regularly. Brushing your Havanese at least twice a week will help to prevent their fur from becoming too matted.
- Some Havanese owners prefer to keep their dogs fur in a style known as "corded" This gives the dog a look almost like dreadlocks. This look is difficult to achieve and should be done only by a professional groomer with experience cording Havanese fur.
Havanese Colours & Markings
- Dog Breeders disagree as to whether original Havanese dogs were all white or multi-coloured breeds. Today Havanese dogs come in a wide array of colours and markings.
- Fur colours for Havanese dogs include: white, sable, brown, black, red and beige. They can either have a solid coat in one colour, or a mixture of several colours. See below for photos of the variety of colours and markings of Havanese dogs.
- Havanese dogs have dark brown, almost almond shaped eyes that are lined with either black or brown pigment. This almost gives them the appearance that they're wearing eye liner.
Quick Facts About Havanese Dogs
Average Height: 8-11 inches
Life Expectancy: Average 14-15 years.
Gentle & responsive. Very good with children.
Average Weight: 7-13 pounds
Common issues: Liver & kidney problems.
Easy to obedience train, but won't respond to harsh discipline.
Typical litter size: 1-9 puppies (average of 4)
Needs regular grooming. Ears need to be checked regularly. Prone to ear infections if not kept clean.
Not in their nature to bark a lot.
Havanese Dogs Are Very Sociable
Havanese dogs get a long very well with children and other animals. While dog sitting my brother's Havanese, Rufus we took him to meet some new friends. The above video is Rufus (the bigger white dog) playing with my sister in law's dog, Jasper.
How Havanese Dogs Behave
Havanese dogs are extremely smart and naturally curious.This breed has a long history of being a circus dog, due to their high level of intelligence and the ease in which they get along with people and other animals.
Facts About Havanese Dog Behavior
- Havanese dogs make great family pets. They become very attached to their human families and have an eagerness to please.
- They don't naturally have the "Small Dog Syndrome" of other breeds in the toy group, which usually makes for a jealous or moody animal. Havanese dogs are very sociable and get along well with people, as well as other animals.
- Havanese dogs are very easy to obedience train. However, they are very sensitive to the tone of voice in which they are spoken to. They will not respond well to harsh discipline. They can also tend to be a bit stubborn if they sense that they are stronger minded than their owners. When training a Havanese you will have the most success if you start their training when they are puppies and use a calm, authoritative voice.
If you live in a colder climate, consider getting a jacket for your Havanese dog. Their fur is very lightweight and they get cold very easily.
The Best Homes for Havanese Dogs
Because Havanese dogs become very attached to their families, it is not ideal to bring a Havanese into your family if they will be left alone for extended periods of time. These dogs have a very high need for social activity.
What Do Havanese Dogs Need
- Havanese dogs will require daily walks. Two walks a day, in the morning and in the evening is plenty physical exercise for a Havanese dog. The Havanese was originally bred as a "lap dog" so their requirement for physical exercise isn't as a demanding as that of other dog breeds.
- Though their need for physical exercise is lower compared to some other breeds, their need for social activity is higher. A Havanese dog will require more play time than some other breeds. This means Havanese dogs are ideal if you have active children or other pets in the home.
- Havanese dogs are ideal for apartment dwelling. They are naturally a quieter dog and tend not to bark a lot. The Havanese dog is one of the easiest dogs to train not to bark.
- Though they do well in smaller homes, Havanese dogs can be equally happy in a larger or country home. This breed of dog is very adaptable. When playing outside, if your Havanese will be allowed off leash, they do love to run. They tend to dart around a lot and be very playful. Because of their smaller size, it's important to ensure your Havanese stays within your sights, so as not to be preyed upon by larger predators.
- Havanese dogs were originally bred for warmer climates. They can do very well in colder climates as well, with the proper care. They should never be left outdoors for extended periods of time, as their fur is very thin. If you live in a colder climate, it would be ideal to consider investing in a jacket or booties to help shelter your Havanese from the cold.
The Perfect Companion
The Havanese dog will prove to be a faithful and loving companion to you and your family. If you would like to find more information about the Havanese Breed check out The Havanese Fanciers of Canada web-site. If you have any furthers questions, comments or stories about your Havanese to share, please post in the comments section below!
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