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A Word to  the Informed Buyer!
Havanese Breed Specifics

 

Copyright 2000-2009 Deborah Owens
All information contained herein is protected by US copyright law, none of the Beloved materials, writings, or photographs may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, without the express written permission of Beloved Havanese, Deborah Owens.

 

There Simply Is No Other Breed Like Them on the Planet

The Havanese have a very endearing communication technique ... They stand up on their back tippy toes, stretch their front legs up above their head, and bounce their front paws up and down in a begging motion. What body language! It is irresistible! It is "Havanese" for "Please, Please, Please, Please, Please."

They greet you with oodles of "Hav Kisses". When held, some Havs will place their paws on each side of your neck and give you a big "Hav Hug". They dance and twirl, and are unsurpassed in their playful showmanship. Their keen intelligence, easygoing temperaments, desire to please their master, and friendly dispositions make them a welcome sight to their owners, and to guests as well. We have one Hav, the one at the top of the logo, Pipper Roo, who walks up and down the stairs and all around the house and yard on his front paws. He loves to make you laugh!

They have an intense desire to please their master, and they tend to be submissive. They are very influenced by the ambiance of the home.

BUT:

We have found that the Havanese are such nice dogs that many people have some very unrealistic expectations of the breed. Many promoters of the breed have been so in love with the little Darlings that they have unintentionally misrepresented the breed as totally angelic creatures that do not ever poop, bark or growl. Incidentally growling does not mean a dog is dangerous. The bark and the growl are simply the dog's voice. The global communication of the Internet has blown these myths into hyperspace! The Havanese are nice, but, please remember, they are still dogs!

Havanese Myths:

1.  All Havanese are perfectly calm, and do not bark or growl.
2.  Havanese are very low maintenance dogs.
3.  Some lines of Havanese do not have cataracts and other eye problems.
4.  Havanese are very easily house trained.
5.  Havanese will walk alongside you without a leash.
6.  Havanese will paper train.
7.  Havanese are okay if left alone all day.

General Dog Myths:

1.  Growling is always a sign of aggression.
2.  Gender of new pup (that will be neutered) will matter to older neutered pet (if older pet was neutered either prior to six months of age, or if older pet was neutered in adulthood and it was more than one year prior to introduction to new pup).
3.  Dogs that sleep in their owner's bed do not have dominance issues.
4.  Net advice is trustworthy.
5.  Trainers train animals better than owners.
6.  Sending pups/dogs off to training school is a good idea with good results.
7.  Play dates for pups under six months are safe from contagion if pup has had shots.
8.  Play dates before six months are necessary for socialization.
9.  Dogs can eat table food without consequence, and if there is consequence it will be observable.
10.  All Show Breeders are doing a good job with their dogs.
11.  All Show Breeders are doing a bad job with their dogs.
12.  All Back Yard Breeders are doing a bad job with their dogs.
13.  All Breeders who breed for profit are doing a bad job.
14.  A Puppy Mill is a place that breeds for profit.
15.  All Commercial Breeders are doing a bad job.
16.  Veterinary research is above reproach and is never profit driven.
17.  Veterinary tests recommended by breed clubs are always necessary and have the best interest of the animal at heart, and are never done to eliminate breeders who cannot afford the tests.
18.  Veterinary test acronyms, like CERF & OFA, offer assurance that breeding stock is meaningfully tested and their offspring, or your new pup, is safe from problems.
19.  You can believe what one breeder or breed club personnel says about another breeder (who is their competition).
20.  All pet supplies and toys are safe and have passed some sort of government inspection.
21.  Vets always act in the dog's best interest and never allow unnecessary suffering.
22.  Vets never do unnecessary and expensive tests, procedures & surgeries just for profit.
23.  Vets have an objective licensing agency within each state to remove their license if legitimate complaints indicate that is warranted.
24.  Heart stick euthanasia (a needle puncture of the heart to cause death) is never used anymore.
25.  Pound and Humane Society dogs and cats were not purchased for resale from foreign countries.
26.  Animal Rights groups have the best interest of purebreds as their purpose.
27.  Animal Rights groups want to help the domestication of animals.
28.  Animal Rights groups believe in the ownership of animals.
29.  Animal Rights groups do not engage in illicit and illegal activities to accomplish their goals.
30.  Animal Rights groups do not physically harm animals.
31.  Animal Rights groups are not political action groups, with hundreds of millions of dollars and high paid executives.
32.  Animal Rights groups do not own some politicians (www.opensecrets.org).
33.  Breed clubs have the best interest of their breed at heart and are not protecting and promoting a few select breeders with whom the leadership has financial ties.

EYE PROBLEMS IN HAVANESE

In the 1980's Havanese were registered with The United Kennel Club, UKC, and in the 1990's Havanese began being registered. At that time, some breeders who were involved with other breeds, decided the sweet little Havanese might be a good breed change for them, so they jumped on the Havanese band wagon. Many breeders flocked to Havanese who were very club savvy older women who knew the inner political workings of breed clubs. A new breed club was formed.

At that time some people promoted the idea that Havanese had an unusually high juvenile cataract incidence, 24%. They also said other eye problems were rampant in the breed. Much money was collected in the name of research and there was much talk about a gene test being developed to indicate which Havanese were actually causing the high incidence of eye problems. During the course of the research, breeders were encouraged to have their dogs tested and then to submit that confidential information to a central group for study. The Canine Health Foundation, a wing of the, was funding research, on the tail of the Bichon grant. However, funding was canceled. Some of the confidential information on some breeder's dogs was allegedly released by someone, no one knows who, and that incident was reportedly the source of some dogs being unfairly penalized (and their owners unfairly targeted, reportedly impacting their puppy sales). We might add that whatever information was or was not released was meaningless as there are no tests or research to indicate the potential inheritance of the eye problems the dogs reportedly had.

Money and information was collected. The research grant was canceled. Some breeders continued to campaign to stop the high 24% incidence of juvenile cataracts with a vengeance. Some of the women probably had Munchausen Syndrome, and simply wanted to draw attention to themselves with a phony made up number such as we now know the 24% figure to be.

The talk of an immediate genetic test to determine which dogs were carrying the genes that create eye problems was debunked. We all now know that the statements that there would soon be a genetic test to determine which Havanese carry eye problems was pure hyperbole. The gene marker tests for Havanese eye problems is light years and millions of dollars away.

The eye health information needed to be "housed" in an agency equipped to handle the potential legal firestorm of liability that would result if the information was released and misinterpreted. The OFA agreed to "house" the information, but only if the Havanese submitted an OFA (hip test) with the other health/eye information the OFA would be storing in their registry.

The present recommendations by some at the breed club, to OFA all Havanese, though we have never been known to have hip problems in the breed, and though the hip tests sometimes injure the dogs and cause hip problems, is an attempt to take the eye registry information (private info on dogs' eye exams collected for eye research) and hold it in one place.

The use of the OFA as a registry for eye information may be a good one but not if the sweet little Havanese have to undergo an unnecessary test that can harm their hips. It is an attempt to correct the errors made in the lack of confidentiality on eye information collections by placing that info in an impartial registry that will keep the information confidential and limit liability to the registration agency.

We think the OFA is unnecessary, as it was predicated upon a need to have a registry absorb the potential liability of unauthorized confidential information release rather than a need to fix hip problems in the breed. So, now, are many doing a disservice to the sweet little Havanese by OFAing them?

No one knows the exact percentage of Havanese that have or will develop cataracts, or other eye problems, at some point in their lives. The last reports we heard said 1.2% of Havanese might develop cataracts at some point in their lives. It is not known what percentage of that number might be hereditary.

We think the percentage of Havanese with potential eye problems is much higher than the 1.2%, but, we cannot prove it, and we have no idea how much higher it might be. We think the percentage of Havanese with potential eye problems is between the 1.2% number and the 24% number.

Probably all Havanese have the ability to develop cataracts, as well as other eye problems, at some point in their lives. We know that almost all older animals, in all breeds, develop cataracts.

The puppy purchaser should understand that their dog can develop eye problems and we can make no claim otherwise about any of our dogs.

It is not known how many Havanese might develop juvenile cataracts or other eye problems. We think that all lines carry the ability to produce juvenile cataracts and that it would virtually be impossible, without breeding another breed into the breed, to weed out the cataract problem.

During the Cuban Revolution, so many people fled Cuba thinking they would be going back in a few days. Most were forced to leave their dogs. Castro, a self avowed dog hater, did not preserve the purebred status of the breed with a purebred registry, and the dogs were left to run the streets. Purebreds were just about unknown at that time. Purebred status was basically eliminated in Cuba, the two hundred year old wonderful sweet little Havanese breed almost went extinct.

The restorer of our Havanese breed, The Beloved Mrs. Dorothy Goodale, God love her, searched across the Americas for many years to locate all the purebred Havanese she could find. After years of searching she found eleven purebred Havanese dogs.

The Beloved Mrs. Dorothy Goodale began her breeding program with those eleven dogs. All of the present TRUE Havanese in the world today, came from Mrs. Goodale's eleven dogs. So, all of the world's present population of purebred Havanese came from Those remaining eleven dogs and all of the world's Havanese today are closely related dogs. The original eleven dogs probably all carried the ability to produce juvenile cataracts. As long as we have purebred Havanese we will have cataract potential. Though genes may not be seen for a while, they are still in the gene pool, and they will surface again, from time to time.

We still love the Havanese, and we consider them worth the difficulty of cataracts and other eye problems, if they do develop them, as there is no other breed that can take the place of the sweet & gentle little Havanese. No cross breed can duplicate the true Havanese personality.

The Havanese personality is a mixture of light hearted joyful friendliness, boldness without aggression, and a whole hearted loving devotion to their owners.

CERF

CERF. The Canine Eye Registry Foundation, certifies eye exams by canine ophthalmologists. The CERF exam is an attempt to determine hereditary eye conditions and to prevent dogs with the ability to transmit hereditary eye problems from being bred. The problem with the CERF concept is that most eye conditions are not known to be hereditary or non-hereditary. The problem is that we do not know enough about most eye conditions to say if they are, or, are not hereditary.

Additionally, determining genetic markers to identify parents who can pass along hereditary conditions is a tremendous undertaking, somewhat like trying to fly to the planet MARS, next year. We are light years away from predictive genetic tests.

The CERF, has become a sales tool to many Havanese breeders. It is often used as a breeder's political weapon to indicate the quality of a dog's eye health to the public, while standing as an unspoken insinuation that those breeders who do not CERF are somehow producing dogs with less eye health. CERFs, and the lack thereof, are often used by clubs and breeders to discredit other breeders. AGAIN, The CERF is a certified eye exam that is presumed to indicate known hereditary eye conditions. This is a very flawed method, with less than anticipated predictive value, as most eye conditions are not known to be --- or known not to be --- Hereditary.

The problem is that most eye conditions in Havanese, including the many various types of cataracts, are not known to be hereditary or known not to be hereditary.

Therefore, a dog can have a cataract and pass a CERF.

Additionally, if the dog does or does not have cataracts, neither condition can be used to predict if the offspring will have cataracts. Cataracts in the parents, or the lack of cataracts in the parents, will not allow one to predict if the offspring of those parents will develop cataracts.

The problem is most people think a CERF means the animal does not have cataracts. That is untrue. The passed CERF indicates that the animal does not have cataracts that are known to be hereditary. Again most cataracts are not known to be, or not to be, hereditary. An animal with a cataract can pass the CERF if the cataract cannot be proven to be hereditary.

CERFs are most often a sales tool, giving that breeder a publicly perceived edge over non-CERFed dogs. The CERF indicating to the public that the breeder has had an eye exam of the parents, offers no guarantee that the dog will not pass on an eye problem. The predictive value of the CERF is highly questionable and the ability to use it as a sales tool is far more the reason d'etre.

We caution the public not to place a lot of predictive value in the CERF as there is presently no safeguard that will prevent cataracts in the Havanese.

Genetic testing for markers that determine the many complex factors that would indicate that a dog is carrying the ability to pass on cataracts or other eye problems is millions of dollars and light years away. There are just too many factors involved to sort out the genetic and the environmental contributions to the many eye problem potentialities.

In dogs, as in humans, many factors affect eyes and cause cataracts. The amount of light to which the dog is exposed, and the nutrition provided to the dog, impact the formation of cataracts. In humans, diabetes and high sugar intakes contribute to cataract formation and dogs might be similarly affected. Another issue is that sometimes tiny capillaries, formed before birth, do not disappear on schedule, before birth, and although they are not cataracts they are often picked up in a CERF as a cataract. Additionally, Pups under one year of age cannot be CERFed, because their eyes may still be changing.

In Summary, some of the problems with CERFs are:

1.  Dogs with cataracts and other eye problems, that are not definitely known to be hereditary, can get a CERF.
2.  The CERF report can be changed by the breeder.
3.  Three is no identification of the dog being CERFed by the vet, it is left up to the integrity of the word of the breeder. A breeder can place any dog on the table, as vets, understandably, refuse to become policemen, and ID the dogs.
4.  Even the microchip/tattoo ID can be changed on a dog with a known hereditary problem.
5.  There is no genetic marker available to identify known dogs who are passing on the eye problems. If there was a gene marker test and the carriers were eliminated from breeding programs there would be no more Havanese bred as all Havanese probably have the ability to pass on eye problems.

If you get a $1500-$2000 Havanese we would assume that you will be able to afford the possible Havanese cataract surgery that may be necessary at some time in the animal's lifetime! Surgery is available, sometimes, and it can usually be done at a major university for about $1500 for one eye and $1700 for both eyes.

The surgery is often quite successful. Most animals who do not get surgery can still see, though their vision is clouded, and if they are older they sometimes should not undergo surgery.

If this upsets you, discourages you, or concerns you greatly, you should not get a Havanese.

We cannot guarantee that the dogs will not develop cataracts or any other eye problem. We will not sell to individuals who have a great deal of skepticism or neurotic worry about this.

House Training & the Revolutionary Litter Trays for Toy Dogs:

Havanese are sometimes a little harder to house train than some other breeds. We used to tell people that it took a year to house train a Havanese and after that, if they still wanted a dog then we would talk with them. Over the years, I have talked many more people out of getting a Havanese than into getting a Havanese.

In the past, it took a very long time to house train a Havanese, however, we now have a revolutionary concept that has greatly improved the ability to house train a Havanese quickly, Litter Boxes.

Litter Boxes for toy dogs.

Many people are now using the DOG Litter Boxes with a hard cylindrical paper pellet. The dogs are instinctively drawn to the paper pellet litter. (Cat litter cannot be substituted as the pups may eat it and it can kill them.) Many people who use the litter trays report the dog having only one or two accidents during training. There is an attractive rattan cube, the size of a small table, that will conceal the litter tray available at the dog catalogs.

After the pup has learned to use the litter you can advance his training to going outside, by placing the litter tray near the back door.

Regarding outside house training?

Havanese do not train well at the end of a leash. They are so submissive that they will follow you dutifully until returning home, at which point they will feel they have been an obedient pet in following you and upon arrival home, they will "Go."

Ideally, Havs need a fenced yard to run and play un-tethered so that their systems work properly and so that they house train more quickly and easily for you. Another pup can be very helpful in helping the pup house train. A second companion pup will keep the pup interested in spending time outside and the exercise helps his system work.

Havs at Chase, & Care

Havs have an instinctive drive to play chase. Havs like to play chase when you try to bring them back inside from a potty trip. They will sometimes play chase for 15 minutes without being "caught". Our longest chase was 3 hours and as "Lightening" was running wild, in her own backyard in an ice storm, we considered buying a net to catch her. "Lightening!" Remember that name, it describes their chase activity! She is settled down somewhat now, but she will forever be known to us as "Lightening"! She, rather regularly tells us to "Kiss Her Grits"! She is an extreme example of their chase activity, but she is a stunning example of what a Havanese should look like, and yes, she was too wild to sell! Occasionally, this can complicate house training!

Havanese really need a home or apartment with a private fenced yard so that they can run. And RUN THEY WILL. They should be allowed to run un-tethered in a confined area. Collars and leashes can harm a toy dog's neck & back. We have frequent calls from people who have dogs with injured tracheas, because the dog pulled against the flexi leash. The injured tracheas are often fatal. We recommend against a collar and leash. We do recommend a halter and leash.

Sometimes we grow 'em wild! We like spirited dogs and in our Southern vernacular, "Boy, howdy, have we got 'em". Even older Havanese tend to have periods of uncontrolled "wildness" during which they run and delight in escaping the grasp of their owner. A fence is an absolute necessity.

Having said that, generally Havanese blend best with other Havanese but they also blend well with Maltese & Bichon Frises. Usually, we do not recommend combining large and small breeds! The one exception we always make is for Goldens.

Some Havanese bark a lot and some do not bark, even at intruders. Generally, Havanese are not considered yappy and most bark less than other toy dogs, but they do bark!

All untrimmed Havs require brushing/grooming a couple of times a week. They can be put in a puppy cut, or just plain shorn. Their ears must be cleaned weekly and the hair in their ears must be removed at least every two weeks, to prevent bacterial and yeast infections. Fleas love Havs, so flea preventative must be used regularly. We prefer a one line spray (not a saturation) of Frontline Spray, not the vial, as it is milder. Young pups need shots and worming monthly until they are 20 weeks of age. Young pups, under six months of age, should not be taken into public as their immune systems are not mature and there are many diseases they can pick up in public places like parks, and along the roadside. The first shots may be blocked by maternal immunity so it is best to err on the side of caution, since we never know just how well the pup's first few shots worked. We recommend prescription wormers twice a year, as recommended by your vet, as people can contract the worms dogs have. Pups also need heartworm preventative monthly, Heartguard Plus rather than a combination product, that has flea and heartworm meds in it, is what we recommend as the combination products can be very strong and can cause problems in this breed.

We believe owning this special breed incurs some special responsibilities! We are able to accept those responsibilities and balance them with the unequaled love and devotion the Havanese provide to us! Now, you must decide if you are able to accept the responsibilities that go along with owning this exceptional breed, the Havanese.

We hope that this information will help you can make an informed decision about owning a Havanese. Wishing you Puppy Kisses and Hava Hugs!

Peace & God's Blessings Always.

Deborah Owens


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For more information please contact:

Deborah Owens
Cloudstepper Ranch    
Beloved Havanese  
Box 70 Waverly Hall, Ga. 31831

(706) 577-5733
Office Hours 1 to 4PM, EDT, Usually

But Call Anytime And Leave Message And We Will Call You Back As Quickly As Possible.
Calling is usually better than email.
 

We try to be available during these hours, and at all other times we are usually very busy caring for pups, training, grooming, cleaning and the hundreds of other things necessary to properly care for our baby darlings. Please call during office hours so that we will have time to speak with you.  If you would like to talk at another time, Please send your phone number, and appropriate time or email us. 
Email: belovedhavanese@aol.com

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