Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Havanese the right breed for you?

Is the Havanese right for you?2024-04-19T11:45:10-04:00

The Havanese are happy, lively little dogs who are a true joy to be around. They are truly one of the most delightful of the small breeds. Their love of attention comes from their little “show-off” nature. They are curious and constantly busy. Havanese are equally happy at home sitting 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.

What is Havanese personality like?2024-04-19T11:44:41-04:00

The most appealing aspect of the breed – the jewel in the Havanese crown – is its winning temperament. Happy, loving, intelligent, social and accommodating, the Havanese perform to their highest capability when rewarded with constant human companionship. An ideal family companion, they blend well with dog-oriented children, offering themselves as constant playmates. They are equally content to sit and snuggle and watch while in the company of family members. Gender plays no part in the breed’s mellow temperament, as both males and females display equal portions of brains, beauty and heart. Both playful and alert, the Havanese is both trainable and intelligent, with a sweet, non-quarrelsome disposition.

Havanese puppies are very busy, and full of energy and curiosity becoming calmer yet still playful as they mature into adults. Because Havanese live longer than many other dogs, particularly the larger breeds, they develop more slowly. Havanese age gracefully however, keeping their youthful appearance and playful attitude well into their teens. The average lifespan of the breed 15 years.

When should I bring my Havanese home?2024-04-19T11:44:07-04:00

Havanese puppies on average learn important social skills such as bite restraint, between six and eight weeks old, from playing with their mothers and littermates.  Depending on how much housetraining and socialization the breeder is doing, Havanese puppies will adjust best to their new homes and families if they go to their new homes when they are 10 weeks old.

How do you housetrain a Havanese?2024-04-19T11:43:41-04:00

Havanese housetrain the fastest if they are on a regular schedule and kept in a pen or crate when they are unsupervised. Breeders should be helping puppies choose an appropriate spot to eliminate by eight weeks old. At twelve weeks old, most puppies should be capable of holding themselves overnight, or letting their owners know when they need to eliminate.

When your puppy is first brought home, take it outdoors to a selected spot and praise the puppy for sniffing there. Every time the puppy is taken outside, bring it to the same spot and praise it profusely when it eliminates there.

Do not play with the puppy outside until he goes to his spot and at least sniffs around. Also, keep the spot cleaned up. Inside the house, the new puppy should be let out to play no longer than 20 minutes at a time before either being taken outside to its spot, or being returned to the pen or crate. As the puppy gets older and its muscles develop, it will become more reliable and the free time can be gradually lengthened.

Havanese can be trained to go to the door to “ask” to go out, and can also be bell-trained, whereby they ring a bell to let their owner know they need to go out.

What is the best way to train a Havanese?2024-04-19T11:43:00-04:00

Puppy kindergarten and/or basic obedience training, always using positive training techniques, is recommended for all youngsters. Havanese require consistency, fairness, and firmness in training. Positive rewards, patient understanding, combined with gentle correction, work far better than harsh discipline. In fact, the breed should never be disciplined harshly, as a harsh punishment is counterproductive to proper training of your Havanese. Most Havanese will do just about anything for food treats. But, because they are smart, they are easily bored with rote obedience work. Training sessions should be kept short and exercises varied to maintain the Havanese’s attention. Above all, have fun and keep your sense of humor.

Like all dogs, Havanese have the capability of learning hundreds of words. Understanding this, refrain from over using the word “No.” Take the time to teach your Havanese the right words for the behavior you want to reinforce, as well as for the activities you want to discourage. It is important to establish good communication with your dog early on.

Are Havanese good with children?2024-04-19T11:42:03-04:00

Havanese are generally known as being friendly and good with children. Havanese are regarded as family-friendly and child-friendly due to their playful yet gentle nature. Havanese are commonly recommended as the ideal pet for families with children. Their friendly and playful nature makes them quick to develop a strong bond with family members including the children.

Experienced breeders generally have a good idea which puppy in a litter will do best in each individual family environment.

All play between a Havanese puppy and young children should be guided by a responsible adult to prevent problems and or hurting the puppy. Chasing, teasing, and tug-of-war games encourage a puppy to bite. Instead, hide and seek or fetch will help young kids and puppies learn to trust each other. For more information, read Child-proofing Your Dog by Brian Kilcommons.

How much exercise do Havanese need?2024-04-19T11:41:19-04:00

Havanese can be very content living indoors. Unlike many larger breeds, they usually do not need regular exercise to reduce nervous energy. However, even those Havanese that have their own fenced yards enjoy spending time with their owners on a 15 or 20 minute walk a couple times per week.

How much grooming do Havanese need?2024-04-19T11:40:50-04:00

Havanese are non shedding, however this does not mean no maintenance. The hair on a Havanese grows all the time. As a result, all Havanese require some sort of regular grooming regimen, even if the coat is kept short. Puppies should be brushed and combed about three times per week so that they become accustomed to being groomed. Havanese that will be professionally groomed should start visiting the groomer while they are still babies, so they can become accustomed to the noise and activity.

Please do not wait until your dog is matted to take it to the groomer. Not only is that irresponsible behavior for any Havanese owner, but it is not fair to the dog. Long, de-matting sessions are very uncomfortable for the animal. Havanese owners must commit to a regular grooming schedule in order to comfortably maintain their dog. This includes Havanese, which have short haircuts. The timing between sessions will vary considerably, depending upon whether the dog is cut down, or in full show coat, but whatever the schedule, it should be kept on a consistent basis.

Full-length coats on adult Havanese can usually be maintained by regular brushing and combing. Never brush the coat dry. Always use some kind of conditioning spray prior to brushing. Depending upon the coat texture, Havanese in full coat may need to be brushed two to three times per week. Full-coated adult dogs should generally be bathed every one to two weeks. Puppies and adult Havanese with short haircuts can usually go longer than that, but, as a general rule, should probably be bathed at least every two to three weeks. Responsible breeders will provide detailed instructions on grooming and coat care when you pick up your puppy.

Can my Havanese be left at home alone while I’m at work?2024-04-19T11:40:05-04:00

It is not recommended to leave your Havanese alone for long periods of time. Havanese thrive on our companionship and do not well when left alone for so long. Some Havanese may suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods of time. Some people who have Havanese and work out of the house, have friends, neighbors, or dog walkers or pet sitters that will come and spend time with their Havanese and let them out on potty breaks. If you must go to work outside the home environment, make sure your Havanese is in a safe environment, preferably a large crate or pen, while unsupervised. A smart Havanese can think up all sorts of amazing mischief to keep himself busy when you are not at home.

Additionally, in case of an emergency such as a fire or an earthquake, for example, it is important that the owner or rescue crews can locate the animal quickly, without further risking human life to search for the dog. Keeping the dog penned or crated can facilitate its rescue much more effectively. Since it is most likely that the animal will spend much of its time sleeping while its owner is away from home anyway, it just makes good sense to keep it penned or crated for its own protection.

Do Havanese bark a lot?2024-04-19T11:39:26-04:00

Havanese generally are not barkers. They will bark to let you know if something alerts them, for example if someone is at the door or when at play. As Havanese mature, and with the assistance of their owners, they learn to distinguish between normal, day-to-day sounds and those noises which are out of the ordinary. Therefore, unlike many other breeds of dogs, Havanese tend to bark only when there is a legitimate reason to do so. It is typical that the Havanese does not join in when it hears other dogs in the neighborhood barking.

Do Havanese suffer from any hereditary diseases?2024-04-19T11:38:55-04:00

In general, the Havanese is a healthy and hardy breed. The Havanese Club of America is a very proactive Parent Club which encourages its breeders to complete and pass genetic health testing for their breeding dogs in order to continue to keep our breed as the happy healthy breed that it is. To be sure a breeder is reputable – Please refer to our Breeder Directory and also ask for references.

Are Havanese suitable for people with allergies or asthma?2024-04-19T11:37:58-04:00

Many people with allergies have a difficult time being around dogs because of the dog’s saliva, coat oil, hair, etc. However, many people with allergies and even some asthmatics can live with Havanese because this breed does not shed like shorthaired breeds. Regular grooming is essential for the Havanese living in an allergic household. It is recommended that potential owners with these medical conditions check with their doctors first, prior to bringing any dog, even a Havanese, into their homes.

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