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Other Names: Bichon Havanais, Cuban Bichon
The Havanese is part of the Bichon family, they originate from Havana, Cuba, where they now have the recognition of the National Dog of Cuba.
Appearance: The Havanese has a small, sturdy frame, slightly longer than tall, covered in a long wavy or curly hair. The tail is carried curled over his back. The eyes are dark and oval shaped. The ears are set high and fold over and are covered in long fur.
Coat: The Havanese has a unique long, double coat that is wavy and soft, with the outer coat a bit coarser but still soft to touch. Colours: black, brown, white, gold, gray, or a mixture of colours. This Breed does not routinely shed its fur so are less likely to cause allergic responses than many other breeds, but no dog can truly be said to be non-allergenic.
Weight: 3-6 Kg
Height: 9-12 inches
Average Lifespan: 14 to 15 years
Temperament: The Havanese is a friendly, affectionate and clever breed making a wonderful member of the household, forming strong family bonds and winning everyone’s heart. They are loyal and become very attached to their owner,a nd so need lots of human companionship. This is not a dog who should be left alone for very long.
Havanese have a gentle temperament and are easy to train. Intelligent and sensitive, this dog does not like to be shouted at or treated harshly. Training should be of a quiet and calm nature to obtain positive results. Their intelligence makes them quick learners and will delight their owner by performing all manner of tricks.
The Havanese is a very playful dog that enjoys a walk but can get enough exercise from playing in the garden. Care should be taken during the winter months as, having been bred on the tropical island of Cuba, the Havanese is definitely a warm weather dog. Although this breed has that beautiful long coat, the fur’s composition is not suited to providing warmth. The purpose of the fur is to provide shade from the hot sun.
Many owners keep the coat of this little dog clipped as, if kept long, the Havanese is a relatively high-maintenance dog in the grooming sense, requiring daily brushing. The coat should be brushed or combed in layers from the skin outward to prevent tangles. In winter and in dry climates, a light oil or coat dressing prevents static buildup and split hairs from occuring. The coat must be free of mats before bathing. Eyes and ears should be checked regularly to prevent infection. Havanese are prone to tear-staining around the eyes, which should be cleaned daily using a warm wet wash cloth.
Unless you’re highly motivated and skilled, you’re probably better off with a professional groomer. Owners can learn to groom their dogs, but it takes a dedicated person to keep this breed’s coat in good shape.
Havanese Health Issues
Cataracts is the opacity of the lens. Inherited cataracts can often appear in young dogs, in most cases a veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist will have to make this diagnosis; owners are often unaware of small focal cataracts. There are also late onset cataracts that may not show up until middle or older age. Cataracts may develop because of an inherited defect, with age, or secondary to inflammation, trauma, diabetes, or retinal degenerations.
Cherry eye is the term used to refer to canine nictitans gland prolapse, a common eye condition in various dog breeds where the gland of the third eyelid prolapses and becomes visible. This condition usually must be corrected, mostly through surgery.
Luxating Patella/Slipping knee joints (also referred to as luxating patellas, slipped stifles) are a common problem in small breeds. In this condition, the kneecap slips out of its groove and moves against the thighbone (femur) instead of along its natural groove. Although this has been found to be a heritable condition, small, active breeds are likely to aggravate it through the course of their natural activities (jumping up and down) around taller objects such as furniture.
Legg-Calve-Perthes disease : affects the hip joints of young dogs when the ball portion of the joint begins to die because of a poor blood supply. If your puppy begins to limp between the ages of 5 and 12 months, have your vet do an X-ray to check for LCP.
A liver shunt occurs when the dog’s blood vessels are malformed, allowing some blood to bypass the liver as it circulates the body. Without a pass through the liver, the blood will not be cleaned of toxins like ammonia. The dog may become disoriented and show weakness and poor balance. He or she may become blind, have seizures, or drop into a coma. His or her kidneys may begin to shut down. A special diet can cut down on the amount of ammonia that builds up in the blood, but the definitive cure for a liver shunt is surgery.
The Havanese is part of the Bichon family. Other members of this family are; the Bichon Frise, Coton de Tulear, Bolognese, Maltese, Bolonka and Lowchen. They are often called the Cuban Bichon, because they are from Cuba. The Havanese is the only dog native to Cuba, the breed probably made its way there hundreds of years ago via trade ships from the Canary Islands. By the 18th century, the Havanese was a major fixture in aristocratic homes across Cuba.
Following the Cuban Revolution in 1959, escaping exiles brought their Havanese dogs to the United States, and eleven dogs were used to rebuild the breed in America.