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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Tsvetnaya Bolonka

If I had a dollar for every time someone stopped me to ask what kind of dog Eli is (pronounced Ely like fly) in the 8 weeks that I've had him or what kind of mix "Havanese" is, I'd be rolling in money. In fact, I'd quit my job and just walk the streets with him and a jar to collect the cash.

DH and I were at the farmer's market with Eli this Saturday. A very nice lady was walking her gorgeous chocolate dog, which I was sure was a Hav - small in statuture, longer than tall, tail curled over its back... All the signs were there. Since I didn't want to assume, I asked her the breed and was surprised to learn it was a Tvetnaya Bolonka. When I mentioned that our dogs were "cousin" breeds she was astounded. In the four years she's had her dog no one she'd spoken with knew of the breed (no surprise since Havs seem to be pretty poorly known too) or its relation to the Hav. When I mentioned they looked quite similar she commented that she bought the dog from a breeder in NJ, but suspects her dog could be a Hav. Hmmmm.

Naturally, when I came home I looked the breed up online. A lot of Hav links came up in the search. Curious to hear from you all if you believe these are separate breeds or if they've merged together over the generations and now are referred to as Havs in the US, and possibly something else abroad, i.e. Russia. Thoughts?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 11:08 AM
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I believe Laurie fostered a bolonka that was a chocolate for a breeder who had a fire or something. I can not remember the details,but I am pretty sure that chocolate girl was a bolonka. Maybe Laurie will pop in and give you details--

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 12:26 PM
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I was going to post a similar thread after I watched the Dogs 101 Coton de Tulear episode. Based on a wikipedia/google education, here's my take on the different Bichons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bichon). The Maltese and Frise are distinct, but the Cotons, Havs, Bolonkas, and Lowchen are more or less the same dog with some geographic diversity. The 'founder' dog was known as a bichon tenerife and these dogs were popular among the European royalty and the sailors in the 16th-18th century. But once the 19th century hit, with its revolutions (industrial and political) and the monarchies falling, the Tenerife got geographically isolated. The Havs and Cotons were island dogs - Cuba and Madagascar respectively. The Bolonkas were isolated by politics in Russia and the Lowchen are the scarce descendants from the French/German/Italian royal courts.

I'm not sure what exactly constitutes being a separate breed or if 200 yrs of isolation/selective breeding is sufficient to get the genetic diversity necessary for a different breed, but nevertheless, they are called by different names. That said, I think most of us will be hard pressed to tell the difference between any Hav, Coton, Bolonka, or Lowchen on the street. A quick google image search reveals as much. All of the descriptions include the basic Hav personality we so love (intelligent, friendly, eager to please, good with kids/elderly, non-yappy) as well as the long wavy hair that comes in all colors. The Hav might have a little silkier gene in the mix and the Lowchen definitely has a fancy haircut, but they are all basically the same dog.

So that's my take, but I'll welcome corrections from someone actually knowledgeable on the matter.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by marlowe'sgirl View Post
I was going to post a similar thread after I watched the Dogs 101 Coton de Tulear episode. Based on a wikipedia/google education, here's my take on the different Bichons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bichon). The Maltese and Frise are distinct, but the Cotons, Havs, Bolonkas, and Lowchen are more or less the same dog with some geographic diversity. The 'founder' dog was known as a bichon tenerife and these dogs were popular among the European royalty and the sailors in the 16th-18th century. But once the 19th century hit, with its revolutions (industrial and political) and the monarchies falling, the Tenerife got geographically isolated. The Havs and Cotons were island dogs - Cuba and Madagascar respectively. The Bolonkas were isolated by politics in Russia and the Lowchen are the scarce descendants from the French/German/Italian royal courts.

I'm not sure what exactly constitutes being a separate breed or if 200 yrs of isolation/selective breeding is sufficient to get the genetic diversity necessary for a different breed, but nevertheless, they are called by different names. That said, I think most of us will be hard pressed to tell the difference between any Hav, Coton, Bolonka, or Lowchen on the street. A quick google image search reveals as much. All of the descriptions include the basic Hav personality we so love (intelligent, friendly, eager to please, good with kids/elderly, non-yappy) as well as the long wavy hair that comes in all colors. The Hav might have a little silkier gene in the mix and the Lowchen definitely has a fancy haircut, but they are all basically the same dog.

So that's my take, but I'll welcome corrections from someone actually knowledgeable on the matter.
Thanks for the great information. I've looked at a few more pictures and read the standards. They seem quite similar to the Hav. The only visible difference I noted in looking at the pictures was that some appeared to have slightly larger eyes. You're right in that it would be nearly impossible to pick out the TBs from the Havs in a line-up. They are lovely dogs and now I want one! DH will have none of it. He's very pleased with the one (and only one) we have
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 01:26 PM
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Bolonka is a Slavic language term for "lap dog" much like "bichon" in the old Romance languages. Turns out we share some DNA with Bolonkas and none with Bichon Friese, but do with Maltese and some others. Much of any history depends more on who wrote it than anything else. With DNA these days, it can be narrowed down to what's more true history and what isn't. If you strip away all the wishful thinking and beliefs, we only believe that they came from Cuba because one person told us they did.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom King View Post
Bolonka is a Slavic language term for "lap dog" much like "bichon" in the old Romance languages. Turns out we share some DNA with Bolonkas and none with Bichon Friese, but do with Maltese and some others. Much of any history depends more on who wrote it than anything else. With DNA these days, it can be narrowed down to what's more true history and what isn't. If you strip away all the wishful thinking and beliefs, we only believe that they came from Cuba because one person told us they did.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tom King View Post
Bolonka is a Slavic language term for "lap dog" much like "bichon" in the old Romance languages. Turns out we share some DNA with Bolonkas and none with Bichon Friese, but do with Maltese and some others. Much of any history depends more on who wrote it than anything else. With DNA these days, it can be narrowed down to what's more true history and what isn't. If you strip away all the wishful thinking and beliefs, we only believe that they came from Cuba because one person told us they did.

What's in a name................
Tom - So you're saying the Hav is not related to the Bichon Friese? Well, that flies in the face of everything I've read. I thought if I read it on the internet it was true! I can't tell you how many breeder sites list the relation. I've learned so much from this forum. Thanks all!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 03:37 PM
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Wow! That's a new breed to me! I just googled it, though, and learned a lot.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 04:57 PM
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Yes, Guapo's breeder, Candi, is located in NJ and breeds both Havs and TBs. She's wonderful and produces beautiful dogs! (and yes, she did have a fire not long after Guapo was born...her dogs saved her life and not all of them made it )


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 05:06 PM
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I saw a Coton at the airport a few weeks ago, and at first glance I thought he was a Hav! However, after petting him and picking him up, I could quickly tell the difference. He was much larger than a Hav, and his hair was definitely "Coton" hair and not Hav hair.

I've met several Lowchen and a Bolognese, and while the differences are slight, they are most certainly there. IMO, 200 years of separation is certainly enough time for the breeds to change enough to differentiate one from another. In people, absolutely not, as there may only be a handful of generations there, but in dogs you can have 100 generations over 200 years, which is plenty of time for slight differences to be bred in (or out).

Tom, where did you get the information that Havanese share no DNA with the Bichon Frise? I have to disagree since dogs as a whole share 99+% of the same DNA - there is less than a .025% variation within most breeds. Heck, humans share 98% of our DNA with Apes and between 75-90% of our DNA with dogs - there is currently an argument within the genetic community about whether the higher or lower numbers should be accepted because some of the genes in common are "garbage genes" that actually have literally no function.

Edited to add that IMO, the Bolognese and TB are the SAME DOG as there is not really an actual breed standard for the TB...

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