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Havanese

 Photo of Havanese
Photo: by Jill Terry

Havanese Books

Group: Toy - Breed Standard

Description

Ideal height 23-28cm (9-11 inches).

The Havanese, while a toy dog and always a companion, is also a hearty and sturdy dog for such a size, and should never give the appearance of fragility or of being overly delicate. A unique aspect of the breed is the topline, which rises slightly from withers to rump, and the gait, which is flashy but not too reaching, and gives the Havanese a spritely, agile appearance on the move.

The expression of the face, with its almond eyes, is one of mischievousness rather than being cute, like the Bolognese, and the ears, which are medium in length and well feathered, always hang down. The tail should curve over the back at rest, and like the rest of the dog, is covered in long fur.

The key word for the Havanese is 'natural', and the breed standards note that except for slight clipping around the feet to allow for a circular foot appearance, they are to be shown unclipped; any further trimming, back-combing, or other fussing is against type and will cause a dog to be disqualified. That includes undocked tails, uncropped ears, and even a standard that forbids the use of topknots and bows in presentation. Havanese, like other Bichons and related dogs like Poodles, have a coat that doesn't readily shed. Rather, it catches hair and dander internally, and needs to be regularly brushed out. Many people consider the Havanese to be nonallergenic or hypoallergenic, but they do still release dander, which can aggravate allergies. It's best to be exposed to the Havanese before deciding to choose one as a dog for a house with allergies.

Havanese have three coat types, the smooth, which is similar to the Maltese, the curly, which is not unlike a Bichon Frise coat, and the wavy, which is the preferred coat type and the type most uniquely Havanese. The hair is long, soft, and abundant, and should have no coarseness. A short coat mutation shows up occasionally in otherwise normal litters, but these are not showable Havanese and go so far against standard that even novelty breeding of them is discouraged.

Because of the tropical nature of the Havanese, the thick coat is light and designed to act as a sunshade and cooling agent for the little dog on hot days. This means, though, that the fluffy Havanese needs protection against cold winter days, in spite of the warm wooly look of their fur.

Character/Temperament

The Havanese has a playful, friendly temperament which is unlike many other toy dog breeds. It is at home with well behaved children and most other pets, and is rarely shy or nervous around new people. Clever and active, they will often solicit attention by performing tricks.

The Havanese is a very people oriented dog, and does not do well with long periods of separation from their family. Because of that, they are not suitable for people who work long hours or take frequent trips. They often have a habit of following their humans around the house, even to the bathroom, but do not tend to be overly possessive of their people, and do not usually suffer aggression or jealousy towards other dogs, other pets or other humans.

The Havanese's love of children stems back to the days when it was often the playmate of the small children of the households to which it belonged. Unlike most toy dogs, who are too delicate and sometimes too nervous or aggressive to tolerate the often clumsy play of children, the Havanese, with care, is a cheerful companion to even younger children, and this is no small part of its growing popularity around the world.

Training

See our books on training


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Last link added: 17 Jan, 2006