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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thinking of Getting a Havanese - Questions!

Hello!
I am looking at getting a Havanese, as stated in the title. However I am doing a TON of research first. I don't want to get a puppy then find out it won't fit into my family. I've read all the sites google gave me yet I would like to hear from actual owners as they know the most!

About Our Family:

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).

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.

1. Are they good for people with allergies? Three people within my family have pet related allergies. However they ARE fine with poodles.

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)

3. Energy levels? Just wondering what type of energy level to expect, in general, from this breed.

4. Grooming? I know brushing every day is a must. Is professional grooming a good idea?

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.

6. Submissive or dominant? (in general) I know not all dogs are the same. I want only in general.

7. Other things you think I should know? Are there any quirks or problems you think I could run into? I want all the bad AND the good. I would LOVE stories of your time with your doggies



As I've said before, I want to be ready. I won't even be able to think of getting a Havanese for at least three months in the future due to saving up money. I have however found two respectable breeders in my area and have thought of emailing them these same questions but decided to post here instead

Thanks for reading my long winded post. Sorry that it IS so long!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 11:49 PM
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WOW!, you sound incredibly grown up for being 17!! Good for you learning and doing your research!!

I will answer a few of your questions and ask a few of my own!

1. yes, they are good for people with allergies, in general.
2. they don't shed per say, BUT they do go through a coat change when they lose their puppy coat and gain thier adult hair. we are going through this now. not. fun. LOTS of brushing required during this time, 1-3 times a day.
3. I think in a Hav, they will do what you want to do, if you are up doing things, they will be right there by you, if you are resting and sleeping, they are too. IN GENERAL. puppies do have a lot of enegery, but it comes in spurts, they aren't crazy ALL the time. LOL
4. unless you can learn to do all of the grooming yourself, taking them to a groomer every 4-6 weeks is a good idea for thier HEALTH. ears need to be cleaned out from hair to prevent ear infections, hygene clip to keep them clean, nail trim, paw pad hair trim, eye area cleaned and trimmed, etc...
5. not sure about the health problems. I too did a ton of research before finding and bringing our baby home (she is 7 months old tomorrow!) and think that in general this breed is healthy, BUT there are a lot of not so ethical breeders out there that are NOT doing good things in thier breeding and that can cause some havs to not be very healthy sadly. do your research.
6. the only thing I need to let you know, is that these dogs are COMPANION dogs. they want to be WITH YOU.

So, now that I've answered your questions, (hopefully lots more will respond soon!!) now I want to ask you a few!
I can remember very well being 17. one of the BEST times of my life. I can't quite understand why you want a dog NOW? You are on the cusp of your adult life, you will be going to college soon, be in classes, out with friends, having a LIFE!! A havanese CAN be a very good apartment dog, BUT not if their human isn't home very often. That isn't fair to the dog, nor to you. Would you be leaving the dog at home with your siblings and parents when you go off to college?? I think that would be a terrific idea. They are at great ages! My kids are 9 and 5 and do amazing with our Hav, they love her and play with her so much!
I'm sure other members will have other input, hopefully I've given you something to think about and some answers while you are do your research!!

and WELCOME to the forum!!
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 08:38 AM
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Hello Anthea,

Yes, your level of maturity also struck me. And the amount of research you have done already.

I would agree with TilliesMom but would add that Havanese do shed, at least my two. Very little, however, compared to my two English Shepherds. What is desirable in this breed is that they do not produce dander which is why they are considered hypo-allergenic.

As for health, yes, the well bred ones are generally healthy. A measuring stick is the health stats for the sire and dam that should be posted on the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) website. Not only that the dog has gone through a particular test but what the results were (actually, more important). Dogs that have gone through all the testing considered significant for Havanese will have what is called a CHIC rating. That is also indicated on the OFA site.

Finally, as for grooming, I try to groom my girls at least every two weeks. Ideally once a week to keep their long coats silky and healthy. Of course you can use a groomer but actually it is a great time to bond with your dog. With three of you at home, you could easily trade off. If you keep the dog in what is referred to as a "puppy cut" you can get away with longer stretches between baths.

I think Tillie's comment about your next four or five years is important too. But, your nine year old sibling will be at a good age to take over if that is what you have in mind. I believe that is the age children are considered mature enough to begin training as a Junior Show Handler.

Good luck. I would say you have found the perfect breed. Of course, I'm slightly prejudiced.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies!

Actually, I'm not planning on going to college. Instead I hope to start my own business teaching young children art. Most likely within the deaf community.

And I was kinda planning on taking my dog with me when I taught. Of course I wouldn't be able to take it on every lesson(some kids might be terrified of dogs or something) but when I can't I could, for sure, let it have a play date with my siblings.

Naturally I don't know if my business plan will work... I haven't tried it yet lol. That's just what me (and my Mom) can see me doing. So I could end up going to college later but I don't see myself doing that(and neither does my Mom).

As to why now... I'm lonely, to be honest. I want a dog that I can spend time with and enjoy as well as have fun teaching it and maybe doing agility(if I can find a place that teaches it nearby). Right now I have no real living object for my attention. My life revolves around un-living things. Reading, computer, or video games. I'm dying to have something LIVE to give attention to. Yes, we have a dog already. But he's old and you really can't do that much with him. If he runs around or gets too excited he starts puking. This really limits what you can do with him! Plus he has a bad back which means we can't really pick him up and at the same time he can't jump up on my bed.
Another reason for getting it now is that I have people who can help me with potty training when I work. So by the time I move out the dog will (hopefully) already have been trained and I won't have to worry so much about leaving the house for a couple of hours. I also have my siblings who will get it well acquainted with living among kids. Important if I do the art thing.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 10:52 AM
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Part 1

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Originally Posted by Anthea View Post
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!)

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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.

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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!!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 10:52 AM
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Part 2

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7. Other things you think I should know? Are there any quirks or problems you think I could run into? I want all the bad AND the good. I would LOVE stories of your time with your doggies
Hav puppies have the reputation of being hard to potty train. The reality is this is LARGELY dependent on the early training they receive with their breeder. The best breeders start potty training as soon as the puppies can crawl out of the whelping box. Even so, remember that the more closely you watch your puppy, confine him or her near their potty spot and PREVENT accidents, they more reliable they will be in the long run. Expect it to take at least a full year before you can RELIABLY trust your young Hav all the time. Some are reliable earlier than this, for some it takes even a little longer. The important thing is to be vigilant and PREVENT mistakes for as long as it takes.

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As I've said before, I want to be ready. I won't even be able to think of getting a Havanese for at least three months in the future due to saving up money. I have however found two respectable breeders in my area and have thought of emailing them these same questions but decided to post here instead

Thanks for reading my long winded post. Sorry that it IS so long!
DEFINITELY e-mail the breeders you are considering and start the conversation with them. You want to have a great long-term relationship with your breeder. If they aren't willing to work with you and guide you now, will they be there for you AFTER you have your puppy? I am regularly in touch with Kodi's breeder and feel that they have become true friends.

While this forum is a wealth of information, people here don't know YOUR puppy the way his or her breeder will. Your breeder should be your number one source of information once you bring your puppy home! (and before, too!)

Talk to those breeders now. You may find that you feel more comfortable with one than the other. I talked to MANY breeders over a several month period before I found my breeder, and then had to wait for my puppy to be old enough to come home. You're doing a great job starting your research; keep it up!


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 06:48 PM
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Hi Anthea.

I think if you are careful about your choice of breeder, your choice of puppy, and have a smidgen of luck (as we can never fully know what the personality of a puppy will turn out like) a Havanese could be life enriching for you.

Obviously you are going to have to bear in mind that you will (hopefully!) have an elderly dog to care for/look after in your late 20s. But if you're willing to shoulder that responsibility, then owning a Havanese may well give you the outside/'living' focus that you are looking for. It may also open up avenues for human interaction - as a dog can be a great ice breaker and, as you mentioned, provide you with an opportunities to join a dog agility club etc.

In answer to your questions, based on my own experience with my 20 month old Havanese boy:

1. From my own experince - yes. I haven't had a single allergic symptom. (I am allergic to other breeds).

2. No. (or at least only very minimally).

3. All puppies are manic. But life with my 20 month old boy is very different to when he was 6 months old. He's calmer and I would say is generally low-mid energy. If you want to play with him - he's very happy to play. If you want to relax - he's usually happy to relax with you (unless he's having his mad half hour in the evening).

4. The downside. It is a chore. Arlo hates being groomed and therefore I have to keep him in a puppy cut and trimmed regularly, which I do myself. (If you're willing to put the time in - a groomer isn't a necessity).

5. There are health issues in the breed - please go to a reputable breeder who does all the available tests. (More information available on this forum and in a book such as 'The Havanese' by Diane Klumb - which generally might be an excellent resource for you before purchasing a puppy).

6. Arlo isn't dominant and has been responsive to training.

7. I have been blessed with an easy going dog who has never once experienced travel sickness. I can therefore take him anywhere - whether it's by car, train, bus, underground etc (I'm in the UK). As I don't drive, he often goes in his 'fundle' bag - which I started getting him used to straight away after he arrived. But really this was just down to luck - as I know some Havanese can suffer terribly from travel sickness. (Perhaps it's genetic - if it's important for you - ask the breeder about the parent dogs).
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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@Lau- Yes, of course I would continue to take care of my dog even in its old age. I guess I came off wrong when speaking of our poodle? It's not that we don't love him or anything. We just can't do as much with him as we used to.

I emailed the local breeders(that I have researched and am almost positive are respectable) asking more annoying questions and I think the Havanese is the right fit. Hopefully in some months into the future I'll be able to post here about getting my own Havanese!

And thanks again, everyone, for your replies.
They were a big help. Just like this whole forum has/is. I think I'll probably lurk around until I can get my own!
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 09:38 PM
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@Lau- Yes, of course I would continue to take care of my dog even in its old age. I guess I came off wrong when speaking of our poodle? It's not that we don't love him or anything. We just can't do as much with him as we used to.

I emailed the local breeders(that I have researched and am almost positive are respectable) asking more annoying questions and I think the Havanese is the right fit. Hopefully in some months into the future I'll be able to post here about getting my own Havanese!

And thanks again, everyone, for your replies.
They were a big help. Just like this whole forum has/is. I think I'll probably lurk around until I can get my own!
Please do more than lurk! Feel free to ask questions and enter discussions. We're a friendly bunch, and the more you learn now, the easier it will be when you get your puppy!!!


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 12:17 AM
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I'm so happy that you're putting a lot of thought into this and doing lots of research!

I have two Havanese that are opposite ends of the spectrum. One is VERY high energy, very stubborn, very independent. Although even with that, he still very much looks to me for direction and doesn't do well when I have to go out of town overnight (even if someone we know comes to stay at the house, as opposed to boarding him somewhere else). He isn't snuggly much during the day and is definitely NOT a lap dog. But he sleeps wrapped around my head at night. Literally. Like earmuffs, with front paws on one side of my head and back paws on the other! He is extremely playful, very intelligent, and I have to work hard to keep him occupied, happy, and challenged, otherwise he starts doing things like stealing socks from the laundry basket, tearing all of the toilet tissue from the roll, pretty much anything to get attention!

The other is extremely different. She isn't interested in toys at all. She doesn't like to run and play, and doesn't even much like to go for walks. She just wants to be held ALL THE TIME. I can't even go to the bathroom without her following me in. She follows me through the house as I move from room to room, and is never more than about 2 feet from me. If I stop walking, she lays directly behind my feet. I have to be VERY careful not to step on her!

So there are many, many personality types in this breed. The breeder you decide on (assuming it is a good breeder) can help you pick a puppy that will best match what you are looking for.

As for getting one now as opposed to a different time in your life - I went to college without having a dog. And I was miserable. Horribly so. It was the first time in my life I had been without a pet, and I did not adjust well. I spent a year living in the dorms, then rented an apartment off campus and got a dog first thing. It was a lot of work, especially as my life started to change (as was mentioned above). However, if you are commited to doing what is right for the dog, it can be very rewarding. You will definitely have to make some sacrifices, but for some people that is the right choice.

It sounds like you have given this much thought. Please continue to think about this and what it will mean for the next 20-ish years, as you continue to save money and prepare. If you've truly thought it through and you're sure this is what you want, I would see no reason to wait any longer, once you have reached the savings goal you have in mind.

Please do stay and let us all know how things are going!
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