We are home almost constantly. I am 17. Me and my three younger siblings are home schooled. The younger ones are aged 5, 7, and 9. There are only two other animals around. One guinea pig and one older poodle. The poodle shouldn't be a problem. He has gotten along with everything thus far. Guinea pigs, cats, other dogs, etc. The new puppy will be my responsibility and I will be covering all expenses (I have an after school job and am saving up for the price of a dog and vet bills).
As others have said, you need to think this part through. I know you want a dog now, but the next few years of your life are going to be years of change. There will almost certainly be circumstances where it won't be easy for you or good for the dog for the two of you to live together. Are you OK with this? Is your family willing to step in and care for the dog in your absence? Are you prepared for the fact that if your "unsettled" period goes on for a while, your family might not be willing to give the dog up later on? (and, for that matter, the dog might not want to leave!)
We live in semi-countryside and on a two acre lot. So there is plenty of room to explore and play. Could this breed adjust well to say living an apartment too? I'm looking ahead to the time when I move out of the house. Seeing how getting a dog is a long term commitment I want to get a dog that can adapt.
A two acre lot is great, but keep in mind that Havs are small dogs, and as such, vulnerable to larger animals. They can't be outside alone unless it's a securely fenced yard. You don't HAVE to have a fenced yard, (we have 5 acres and no fence) but that means that someone has to go out with the dog EVERY SINGLE time they go out. Are you and your family willing to do that?
Havs definitely make good apartment dogs, but as others have said, they are companion dogs, and WON'T be happy home alone all day. Also, if you are planning for your dog to eventually live in an apartment, you will want to make sure that you train them to an indoor potty (litter boxes are my favorite, but other people use pee pads, Ugo Dog, etc.) AND KEEP IT UP. Some dogs decide that they prefer to potty outside as they get older and have the opportunity. If your dog gets used to always pottying outdoors now, it could be harder to get them to use an indoor potty later when they are living in an apartment.
1. Are they good for people with allergies? Three people within my family have pet related allergies. However they ARE fine with poodles.
No dog is COMPLETELY "non-allergenic", no matter what you might hear. But Havs are one of the LEAST allergenic. I'm allergic to most dogs, including poodles, and I'm not allergic to Havs. There is at least one other person (Missy) on this board who has had the same experience. Try to arrange for whoever has the allergies to spend some time with the dog before you commit. Another consideration is that for people with allergies, keeping the dog REALLY CLEAN is also a big help... all that fur can hold pollen and dust. That said, be careful of the shampoos and conditioners you choose... I'e made the mistake of washing Kodi in stuff I've been allergic to once or twice!!!
2. Do they shed? I have read conflicting remarks on this and would like to put this question to rest! Reason? I am not allowed to get a shedding dog. ( a hair every once in a long bit is fine, even poodles do that)
They shed like people shed... a few hairs at a time. The more often you thoroughly brush and comb them, the more hair will come out in the brush, and the less on your clothes. This does vary from dog to dog too... I think the silkier coats shed less. Kodi sheds very little except for what gets caught in the brush and comb. (again, as someone else mentioned, they WILL shed while they are "blowing" their puppy coat, but if you don't comb them REALLY often at that time, the shed hair will make huge mats on the dog, so you still probably won't find much around the house.
3. Energy levels? Just wondering what type of energy level to expect, in general, from this breed.
In general, they are pretty calm dogs once they are full grown... Puppies will be puppies!!!
Some are REAL couch potatoes, while others will happily join you in performance sports. Kodi does Rally and Agility with me, but during the day, if I'm not working with him, he's usually asleep on his back on the couch. (look at this month's Photo Challenge to see how many Havs spend their day
) A good breeder will have a good idea of the energy levels of the puppies in any given litter. Ask their help to fine a puppy with the right energy level for you.
4. Grooming? I know brushing every day is a must. Is professional grooming a good idea?
If you are keeping your dog in long coat, you probably won't NEED professional grooming. I do take Kodi evey few weeks to be trimmed around the edges (sanitary, feet, nails, face) because my groomer does a great job and is cheap. Before that I did do him myself, and you can certainly learn to too.
If you are going to keep your Hav in a puppy clip, many people choose to have that done professionally. However, that's QUITE expensive, and you can get the tools to do it yourself for less than the cost of one grooming. For that reason lots of people learn to do it themselves. One good thing to remember is that "hair grows". If you make a mistake, the hair will grow back and you can try again!
The important thing is that you MUST
keep your Hav mat-free. And that's something that has to be done at home, on a daily basis. If you wait for a groomer to do it, you'll end up with a shaved dog.
Silky, wavy coated dogs get less mats than profuse, curly, cottony coated dogs, so look carefully at the coats of the parents, and again, ask for your breeder's advice on this.
I find that with Kodi in long coat, it works best for us to bathe him weekly. But that's not a big deal... I do him right in the kitchen sink and dry him with a regular human hair drier. (I'd like a "dog" drier, but they are pretty expensive!) Weekly bathing REALLY helped when he was blowing coat... the cleaner I kept him, the less mats he got. Now that he has his adult coat, it's more to keep him looking nice, since he's mostly white. At this point, it doesn't take me more than 10 minutes a day to comb him out thoroughly. When he was blowing coat it was 15-20 minutes twice a day, and that lasted for about 6-8 weeks.
5. Health problems: I've read that Havanese dogs do not have as many health problems. Is this true? I'm not super worried about this. A past poodle we had needed some special care(severe allergies). I just want to be prepared.
As others have said, WELL BRED Havs don't have a lot of health problems. Choose your breeder carefully. Make sure they are doing all appropriate health testing. I wanted full health testing (with healthy dogs!) for several generation back on my dog.
Unfortunately, there are MANY back yard breeders out there now who are not doing proper testing and not breeding to the standard. They are simply producing "cute, fluffy puppies". So be very, VERY careful about the breeder you purchase from. There are many threads on this site on finding a good breeder.
[QUOTE=Anthea;367438]6. Submissive or dominant? (in general) I know not all dogs are the same. I want only in general.
There are submissive and dominant puppies in EVERY litter, in EVERY breed. Ideally, you want to choose a puppy who is neither. Both submissive AND dominant puppies can be raised to be great dogs, but it takes more, and more knowledgeable training to get them there. The "middle" puppies are easiest. Again, a good breeder will help you choose wisely.