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The Havanese is a healthy breed overall with relatively few serious health issues. The Havanese Club of America, as the AKC Parent Club for Havanese, serves as caretaker and protector of the breed. To fulfill that role, we take pride in a proactive health program led by an active Health Committee functioning in an advisory role on matters related to the health and welfare of the Havanese.

The HCA participates in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) program to promote testing and reporting of health test results for the Havanese breed. CHIC is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).  Testing required for a Havanese to receive a CHIC certificate include OFA Hips, OFA Patellas and annual CERF exams. It is not necessary for the Havanese to actually pass those tests as our intent with the CHIC program is to simply encourage widespread testing and the open disclosure of results through the OFA database.

HCA encourages Havanese breeders to use the OFA database to research the health pedigree of dogs prior to breeding. This provides an outstanding research tool for performing searches on individual dogs and also links health testing results of the dog’s related pedigree information (Parent, Offspring, and Sibling) , when those related dogs have been health tested.

It is fair to assume the vast majority if not all breeders have good intentions, as no one sets out to breed unhealthy dogs. Each breeder faces similar challenges as we work to translate good intentions into producing healthy puppies. Appropriate utilization of available information along with a continued commitment to health testing and research will ensure we meet our common goal ‘to encourage and promote quality in the breeding of purebred Havanese’.

Please contact the Health Committee if you have questions or concerns about Havanese health.

Here in the Health section you can learn more about:

  • The innovative Top Paw Health Award system developed by the Havanese Club of America to encourage widespread health testing. Recognition is awarded not only to those dogs whose owners have health tested them at various levels, but also to those breeders and stud dog owners who are health testing their own Havanese in addition to mentoring other Havanese fanciers to encourage them to health test their Havanese.
  • Our relationship with other leading health organizations such as the AKC Canine Health Foundation (AKCCHF), the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC.
  • Common canine health issues included in our extensive health testing programs are summarized in a Havanese Health Testing Flyer which may be downloaded and printed for quick reference.

Ocular Abnormalities – 92.9% Normal*
*Source – Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) 2006 Havanese Statistics Report for Eye Disease


Patellar Luxation – 97.1% Normal**
**Source – Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) online breed statistics 12/2012


Cardiac – 99.3% Normal**
**Source – Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) online breed statistics 12/2012


Hip Dysplasia – 89.2% Normal Hips**
**Source – Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) online breed statistics 12/2012

  • Definition – Literally, this is faulty or abnormal development of the hip and is a genetic condition causing laxity of the hip joint which in turn may lead to various degrees of arthritis (also called degenerative joint disease, arthrosis, osteoarthrosis).
  • Diagnosis – hip radiographs sent to OFA for rating
  • Preliminary rating available at 1 year of age
  • Permanent rating and OFA number available over 2 years of age
  • Verify hip testing online at OFA website here
  • More Info – through OFA website

Elbow Dysplasia – 92.9% Normal**
**Source – Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) online breed statistics 12/2012

  • Definition -An inherited, polygenic disease in the dog’s elbow. May consist of one or more than one of these conditions: Pathology involving the medial coronoid of the ulna (FCP), Osteochondritis of the medial humeral condyle in the elbow joint (OCD) or Ununited anconeal process (UAP).
  • Diagnosis elbow radiographs sent to OFA for rating
  • Preliminary rating available at 1 year of age
  • Permanent rating and OFA number available over 2 years of age
  • Verify elbow testing online at OFA website here
  • More Info – through OFA website

Legg-Calve-Perthes – 99.9% Normal**
**Source – Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) online breed statistics 12/2012