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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-21-2009, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Smile New to Havanese...question please

Hi, I am new to this forum and to Havanese. I wanted to check in with folks that know this breed from experience and ask a few questions if I can. I am really considering getting a Havanese, and have found a breeder near my home who will be having a litter likely in the spring. I have also considered a Cavalier King Charles, which are very sweet dogs, but the Havanese keep coming up. They also seem to be a very endearing breed, but I don't know much about them other than what I've found on the Internet. Would anyone mind telling me why they chose a Havanese and what life is like with them? The pros and cons (if there are any). Thank you. Also I have a son, five years old who has been raised with bigger dogs (Aussies) and he is so wanting a smaller dog and I am too which is how this whole search started!
Thanks so much!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-21-2009, 10:04 PM
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The best thing you can do is take your son to meet some of the dogs. Good breeders welcome visits, will have a number of dogs for you to meet, and can tell you a lot about the breed.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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Hi - and thanks for your advice. I do appreciate it, and I agree that it is important to visit a breeder before getting a puppy. So many people are getting puppies just based on Internet information. It's amazing. (I just tried to post a reply, but it didn't seem to go through so I apologize if this comes twice.) I am hoping to hear from some others with Havanese also. Will check back!
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 09:20 AM
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I have had big dogs most of my adult life and the thought of getting one that I could actually pick up and carry if necessary was appealing to me. I, like many other people, had never heard of the breed till one of my clients got one. "Havawhat?" I asked him as he told me how charming and delightful his little girl was.

I started researching the breed on the web. After a couple of months I found a cute little girl and was about to pull the trigger when something just didn't feel right. I spoke to the breeder and red flags started going up so I chose to back away. Thank goodness I did because I believe it was either a puppy mill type situation or at the very least a backyard breeder.

That's when I found this group. I was given names of reputable breeders to check out and found Milo shortly thereafter. What I can tell you about the breed, based upon my experience is they are very loving, sweet and often velcro dogs. They have a paper shredding gene and are happy surrounded by a toilet paper carpet. They require a great deal of time and care for their coat, which goes through a "coat blowing" stage twice as they change from puppy coat to adult. Of course there is less maintenance when you keep them in a shorter cut. I've always (so far) had Milo and Bailey in full coat. Some of them are picky eaters, but thankfully I haven't dealt with that at all.

You'll get way more information from the group that I'm sure you'll find useful. I would also suggest if you live in an area in which there are other havs that you attend a play date. That way you can interact with the dogs and their loving owners. I wish you luck with your search for a puppy.

<b>Just Milo and me, and . . . </b>Bailey makes three . . . until Ruby said, "hey, what about me?"
Geri, Milo, Bailey and HRH Princess Ruby Tuesday

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 09:31 AM
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I had planned a puppy for two years. I was just starting a business and wanted to wait until I had a handle on getting the business up and running before the stresses of a puppy. My heart was set on a Westie but I also had considered a Havanese. My friend Debbie told me she was getting a Havanese puppy so I started researching them again. Well of course I fell in love with the darling little puppy faces but every site I went to told of the adorable antics and darling little quirks that they have. The site that I visited the most was I just fell in love with little Candela. A few weeks later I put a deposit down on a pup from the same litter that Debbie was getting her puppy from.

Murphy is a doll! I still have some potty issues with him and he is going through a terrible stage of blowing coat (matting), but I truly can't imagine life without him and he definitely shows many of the little Hav quirks! So the two drawbacks that I see is alot of grooming and housebreaking can be a challenge.

Holly & Murphy
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 09:38 AM
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I was sure I wanted a Cavalier until I spent the day with 2 puppies. I went home to think and when I was covered from head to toe with puppy hair I said not again. I had always had large shedding dogs and was hoping my next pup was a little less hairy.
I had only met one older Hav and her personality was sweet but I wasn't sure it was the breed for me until the day I found Hobbes. When I saw him I knew he was for me. He was about 6 months old and had a perfect personality for my family plus he didn't shed.
You'll know which breed is right if you spend some time with each. It's hard but be patient.

Cindy and Hobbes
From the Pines in NJ

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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Hi and thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences! I have to say that part of the idea of a smaller dog, that I can pick up if necessary (and for fun too) is more and more appealing to me. My two dogs now are older (11 & 12 yrs - Australian Shepherds) and about 45 average pounds. As I get older too, I worry that I would not be able to help them if they needed to be carried, etc. So, our next dog will be smaller. The Havanese appeals to me on many levels from what I've learned. For one, they seem full of personality. When my bigger dogs are gone the house will seem very empty so a small dog with a big personality seems just right. I will check out the website - thanks Holly. And Geri the photo show was great. It's fun to see what these guys look like when fully grown. Thanks so much!
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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Also - shedding is an issue too. I have LOTS of dog hair now even though I keep them trimmed. Non-shedding is definitely a big plus. I love seeing what names people chose (Hobbes - great!).

I'm off to go walk the dogs and get some things done before company arrives. Thanks again to you all for writing about your Havanese (and Cav experience)!
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 09:48 AM
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Nobody here likes them. We only have them because they like us. LoL The only negative I would say ,would be the grooming ,if you don't like grooming.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 01:13 PM
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Kodi is my first dog of any type, and I did a LOT of research before I chose him. I wanted a small dog, and since there are allergies in the family, something non-shedding and low allergy was a plus as well. (We have a long haired white cat, so a hairless house is not an option, but it would be nice not to ADD to the quantities of hair!!!<g>)

I have known a number of Cavalier King Charles, and they don't seem to set off my "allergy alarm" too badly, and they are absolutely darling dogs. HOWEVER, when I looked into the breed more closely, and talked to several owners plus several friends who are vets, I was warned away from the breed due to the extensive heart problems in the breed. Over and over, I was told, "You'll fall in love and they will break your heart."

Somewhere on the internet, I found a couple of websites where you could put in the characteristics you valued in a dog, and it would give you a list of possible breeds. In each case, the breeds that topped the list were Coton de Tulear and Havanese. Hmmm... had never heard of either one! I found that there were a few Coton breeders in N.E., and contacted them, but none had any puppys available or expected within the foreseeable future. At that point I had not found any Havanese breeders in the north east that I felt comfortable with. (though I now know there are a few)

Then I found this forum, and started seeing the names of a few excellent breeders pop up over and over. I started reading Tom King's posts here, and then contacted him to see if he had (or would have) any puppies available. Even though the Kings (Starborn Havanese) are a long way from me, (I'm in MA, they are in NC) I really felt comfortable talking to them, they answered all my questions, were very honest and open about the way they raise their puppies and the health testing they do, and they had a litter that had just been born! Two of the puppies were already spoken for, but they had a waiting list for female puppies, and this whole litter was boys. If I was open to a male puppy, I could have one of the remaining 3. A friend of mine who is a dog trainer flew down with me to meet the Kings and temperament test the puppies. The Kings couldn't have been nicer, and the puppies were all wonderful... though one stole my heart from the moment he first climbed into my lap.<g>

While I know there are people on the forum who have Havanese that are a bit on the timid, clingy side, I think this is something you have to assess in each individual. Kodi is neither. He prefers to be right with us, of course... that's what these dogs were bred for! But he is perfectly comfortable and relaxed in his ex-pen, either when we are away from home or when we need to be doing something without a bouncy puppy under foot. That said, these are probably NOT a good choice for a family where no one is home all day every day... They really need their family around to be happy. Two can keep each other company, but I bet they'd still rather have their people around too.

Kodi is extremely smart. He really wants to work with you, and the people at the training center I go to with him are constantly amazed at how quickly he learns. He is very intense - always watching me to try to figure out what I want him to do next. (this is one of the reasons I picked him over the other puppies in the litter) He's a real people-pleaser. And it's not just me - when we work with a trainer, he is just as happy engaging and working with someone else. We are starting competition obedience lessons now, and I am looking forward to showing him in both Rally and formal Obedience. When he's older, I want to do agility with him as well. There are a number of people on the forum who compete in both obedience and agility.

Some people have a lot of trouble potty training their Havs, but a lot of Havs come from puppy mill or backyard breeders who don't pay enough attention to early potty habits. A pup from a good breeder should be already using a litter box, pee pad or other "designated potty spot" well before you bring them home. Kodi has had few accidents from the beginning, and all could be chalked up to us not being careful enough or not "reading" his signals that he needed to go. This is in spite of the fact that we started traveling with him in our travel trailer only a week after we brought him home. (I think he was 11 weeks on his first camping trip!) So he needed to learn the appropriate potty spots both at home and on the road. He was a champ!

We got a good puppy from a good breeder with excellent, healthy blood lines that are ALSO completely health tested (documented). We see over and over on this board that people fall in love with cute puppies (they are ALL to-die-for cute!) only to find that they have serious health problems after they are already in love with them. Any puppy can have a health problem... there are no guarantees with any living creature. But it makes sense when you are spending a lot of money on a dog to get one where the breeder is doing everything they can to prevent passing on health problems.

Dave mentioned grooming as being a potential "issue" and these are certainly not dogs for people who want to completely ignore grooming. But it also depends on coat type how bad the grooming issues will be. The silkier, less curly coats seem to matt less, while the cottony, curly or frizzy coats matt more. Kodi (and both his parents) have the silkier, less curly coat type, and so far, it really hasn't been much of a problem. While I ddn't get to see a dog "blowing coat" when we visited the Kings, I did get to see all their adult dogs, and watch Pam grooming them. Because of their coat type, even the adults in full coat were relatively easy to keep combed out. And if you just don't want to deal with the long coat at all, many pet Hav owners choose to keep there dogs in shorter "puppy cuts".

I can't tell you how happy I am that we decided to get a Havanese. As Dave said... you probably won't hear many people on this forum who feel differently. Even my husband, who had real reservations about getting a dog (he's a TOTAL cat person) has succumbed to his charms. He comes in the door at night, and the first thing I hear is, "Kodi, Daddy's home!" and Kodi goes bounding off to greet him. Kodi is loving and gentle, and beautiful and we love him to pieces.

Karen, Kodi, Pixel and Panda
(ARCHMX Starborn Kodak Moment CGC, NTD, BN, PCD, NA, NAJ, CDX-CCH, RE, RLV, RL1X3, RL2X4, RL3X3...
plus Starborn's Picture Perfect & Nauti Herd Compact Flash RN, CGC, NTD, SN-C, RL1)

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