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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have an eleven-year old Havanese and we are thinking of getting a Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka? Just wondered if anyone on the forum has one and how they compare to Havanese?
 

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Arf! Arf!
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Why are you interested in a Bolonka instead of another Havanese? Apparently the Bolonka is descended from the Bichon breed in France and therefore a distant relative of the Havanese. My understanding is that they are not native to Russia, but to western Europe. They share many of the same characteristics with the Havanese and are about the same size. I don't think I have ever met one, but they do pique my interest.
 

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Hi, I have an eleven-year old Havanese and we are thinking of getting a Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka? Just wondered if anyone on the forum has one and how they compare to Havanese?
I have a friend who breeds them. they are very nice dogs, but few and far between here in the US.
 

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I wanted a dog similar to a Havanese, friendly, not yappy but I wanted under ten pounds, ideally around seven pounds. I have found with small dogs you end up carrying them a lot, in a bag in the airport, we have dog friendly stores where small dogs that can be carried are welcome or sometimes at the end of a long walk. My Havanese and most of the Havanese I see at dog shows tend to be twelve pounds or bigger. I feel it's hard to find a Havanese under twelve pounds or maybe, it's just where I live. The breed standard for Bolonkas is five to ten pounds although now, that I have spoken to breeders, I have found there is a big variety in size, four to seventeen pounds. I did find a breeder I really like, very knowledgeable, very focused on health and temperament and she told me most of her dogs are seven to eight pounds which is perfect for me. Everything I have read about Bolonkas, on the internet, is very positive, they sound like amazing dogs but of course, I have never met one in person. I was hoping to get some input about their personalities on this forum. The breeders rave about them but again this is their breed.

I would love to know the difference in temperament and personality between the Havanese and Bolonka. I understand every dog is an individual but just wondering if there are some common differences. One breeder I spoke to that breed Havanese for twenty years and Bolonkas for last ten years felt Bolonkas were a little more active, obedient and willing to please than Havanese. My Havanese is very low energy, he loves lazy days but that might just be his individual personality. My Havanese is very easy to live with, he is very easy going and calm and never reacts to anything but he can be stubborn. When I take him out for a potty break and call him back inside, he usually just looks up at me and continues sniffing as if to say, "I'll come in when I feel like it." LOL
 

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I wanted a dog similar to a Havanese, friendly, not yappy but I wanted under ten pounds, ideally around seven pounds. I have found with small dogs you end up carrying them a lot, in a bag in the airport, we have dog friendly stores where small dogs that can be carried are welcome or sometimes at the end of a long walk. My Havanese and most of the Havanese I see at dog shows tend to be twelve pounds or bigger. I feel it's hard to find a Havanese under twelve pounds or maybe, it's just where I live. The breed standard for Bolonkas is five to ten pounds although now, that I have spoken to breeders, I have found there is a big variety in size, four to seventeen pounds. I did find a breeder I really like, very knowledgeable, very focused on health and temperament and she told me most of her dogs are seven to eight pounds which is perfect for me. Everything I have read about Bolonkas, on the internet, is very positive, they sound like amazing dogs but of course, I have never met one in person. I was hoping to get some input about their personalities on this forum. The breeders rave about them but again this is their breed.

I would love to know the difference in temperament and personality between the Havanese and Bolonka. I understand every dog is an individual but just wondering if there are some common differences. One breeder I spoke to that breed Havanese for twenty years and Bolonkas for last ten years felt Bolonkas were a little more active, obedient and willing to please than Havanese. My Havanese is very low energy, he loves lazy days but that might just be his individual personality. My Havanese is very easy to live with, he is very easy going and calm and never reacts to anything but he can be stubborn. When I take him out for a potty break and call him back inside, he usually just looks up at me and continues sniffing as if to say, "I'll come in when I feel like it." LOL
Havanese in general are neither inactive nor “stubborn”, but I would not use that term for any dog. ;) Coming when called, when they would rather not, is a matter of the owner putting the time into training the dog. Here are a couple of photos of my “inactive, stubborn” Havanese working... the second photo is of my boy in a recall.

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Bolonkas DO tend to AVERAGE a little smaller than Havanese, but a 4 lb adult would certainly be an outlier, even in that breed. I honestly don’t think it is good for dogs, even tiny ones, to be carried around too much. It is not good for them physcally, emotionally or in terms of training. Of course airports and such are different, but there are MANY Havanese (most) that are airport size. (12 lbs is well within airport size) But I respect your desire for a smaller dog.

My friend who breeds them seems to feel they are slightly less biddable than her Havanese. That said, her Havanese were spayed/neutered (most have crossed the rainbow bridge) while ALL the Bolonkas are intact breeding dogs, and that certianly makes a difference in terms of ability to pay attention.

I don’t THINK you will find anyone on the forum these days with direct knowledge of both breeds. However, if you are on FB and join some of the Havanese groups there, my friend still is on several of those, and would probably respond to your questions. That said, they are in the same general group of dogs and have most of the same, general attributes. Pet-type DNA testing would probably confuse them. ;) So if what you want is a Bolonka, and you’ve found a breeder you trust, I’m not sure what the hold-up is!:D
 

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I completely adore them. I seriously looked into getting one around the time I started moving forwards with plans for a second Havanese. I only found 3 breeders in the entire U.S. that came even close to the minimum standards I would hope for in a breeder. Many of the breeders I came across were pretty sketchy. My conclusion was that the breed is still so new to the U.S. it would take a lot of dedication to pursue it. Around the end of 2019 DH opened to international offers and was recruited pretty heavily, and then covid happened. If we had relocated to Europe I would most likely have waited and chosen a Bolonka. Breeding programs have grown there and are strong outside of Russia. There are several excellent breeders in Germany in particular, where there also happen to be excellent Havanese breeders. Since we are staying here, at least until after the 21-22 school year and I would like a second puppy before then, it will be a Havanese! I had never met a Havanese before choosing one but I knew it was the right dog for us. I believe given the right circumstances a Bolonka would fit right in, too.

I would very much love to know more about Karen’s friend, though!
 

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they are in the same general group of dogs and have most of the same, general attributes. Pet-type DNA testing would probably confuse them.
In my opinion, "all dogs are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get! (especially Havanese)" That is why I think it is best for a respected breeder assign you a puppy that will fit your family personality best. It is dangerous (just rolling the dice) to fall in love with a puppy picture.
For example only
we acquired RICKY at 9 m.o. We were sent photos and liked what we saw but didn't make a decision at that time. We drove about 1000 miles over two days just to meet him at the owners residence. We played with him for over two hours when we met. We REALLY liked him and he liked us. We made the decision but there was no obligation to take him. I pulled out the checkbook and asked for the first time, "how much should I make the check for." (Momi nearly fainted) I was told and said, "okay and I want to purchase his crate and everything in it." An additional price was named and I wrote the check. (At that point I thought Momi might need the paramedics! she wasn't breathing!) RICKY got in the car and we drove home, 1000 miles distant - Momi in Ricky's crate and RICKY strapped into the passenger seat!

As far as size in an airport, RICKY is now a veteran flyer and loves it. He is 15+ pounds and is at the very top limit for transporting in a carrier under the seat in front (for take off and landing) *in my opinion. Every time we have flown the cabin crew has said we could take him from under the seat and put him on our lap if adjacent passenger had no objection. We usually book the first and third seats to allow a vacant seat between us, IF LUCKY. One time a woman boarded at the last minute and took the middle seat. I asked if she wanted the aisle seat or window seat and she said no, she was happy where she was. I informed her that I had a dog under the seat in front of me and asked if she minded. She said, "No, but only if I get to hold him." Once the plane took off, I retrieved RICKY from under the seat and out of his Sherpa 'airline approved' carrier and plopped him on her lap (for I thought would be about 5 minutes). RICKY was delighted and made 'GOO-GOO' eyes at her and the woman fell in love with him. 2+ hours later, RICKY was still on her lap, he had a new best friend and the woman kept me occupied with questions about him. There is a Havanese sucker born every minute!

Oh, RICKY is big enough that we put him on his 5 foot leash in the terminal and he walks on his own. He thinks terminals with all the hustle-bustle are SO MUCH FUN!
 

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That is why I think it is best for a respected breeder assign you a puppy that will fit your family personality best. It is dangerous (just rolling the dice) to fall in love with a puppy picture.
My statement above got me thinking about our path to RICKY. We searched for a Havanese for a year. Waiting lists were long 7 years ago too. Prior to having any knowledge of RICKY, I made contact with a very reputable breeder about 8 hour drive from us. She did have a stud dog about 9 years old that she was going to retire him and would be willing to sell. She sent me pictures of AKC Talk of the Town (TALKER). He was a drop dead gorgeous black/white parti Grand Champion Havanese. I fell in love with his picture and we agreed on a price. She agreed to meet us halfway by car (4 hours each) to make the exchange. Then she asked me about our lifestyle. I said we were an active family, always on the go and walked several miles a day. She said TALKER was a couch potato. He had spent his life on the show circuit, often in a crate, and his idea of heavy exercise was ONE trot around the show ring. I said I thought we could make it work. The day before we were to make the exchange, she called me and said she had changed her mind, she wasn't going to sell him. I was very disappointed but I think she made the right decision for US and TALKER. I didn't understand then but I do now.

When we visited with RICKY for the first time, I had not made a commitment. I knew he was an experienced show/conformation dog already at just 9 months. I really didn't want a couch potato (but for some, that may be a perfect choice). Well he was anything but a couch potato, he was highly energetic with a rocket up his butt - very energetic, very active, and highly inquisitive. At 9 months he was a bit uncoordinated, but he was gorgeous and I could see his potential. We made the right decision to get him after being very thorough in our selection process. Today, Momi says she can't envision a life that didn't include RICKY. She says he was a BARGAIN.

REGARDING BOLONKAS
They sound like very nice dogs and I think I could be happy with one. BUT I would miss the national/international support group and comradery of the Havanese breed. Although a Bolonka would always be welcome on HF, it is just not the same as being on a centric forum dedicated primarily to Bolonkas. Yes, there is always Facebook, but it is a clunky format and subject to potential hostility. (I do not support Facebook because of their policies) We may have some disagreements on some subjects but never arguments and at the end of the day we are a family here on HF with outstanding input from every one, no matter how new or experienced. How many fora are you going to find a breeder who walks us through the birthing process in detail like Karen? What an educational experience! I get to enjoy it without all the work! If it is a small dog you want, there are plenty of outstanding adult Havanese in that 7 - 8 pound range (I'm looking at you SHAMA and WILLOW). If you want a very small dog breed at 4 - 5 pounds, you should look at a Yorkie...but be prepared to deal with all the issues with them.
 

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I’m curious how you found the breeder you spoke to. I know there is a national club but very little information on it or about events or breeders. I don’t have firsthand experience, but it seems to me that if Havanese are cousins to other Bichons they are much closer to Bolonkas, more like siblings. It’s my understanding that they were bred based on similar characteristics and genetics but their isolation to a different part of the world led them to become unique. I would love to learn more about their presence in the U.S. and how the breed is developing here, even if I never own one.
 

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I’m curious how you found the breeder you spoke to. I know there is a national club but very little information on it or about events or breeders. I don’t have firsthand experience, but it seems to me that if Havanese are cousins to other Bichons they are much closer to Bolonkas, more like siblings. It’s my understanding that they were bred based on similar characteristics and genetics but their isolation to a different part of the world led them to become unique. I would love to learn more about their presence in the U.S. and how the breed is developing here, even if I never own one.
I know that my friend has imported ALL of her breeding stock. So there can’t be a lot of them here in the US.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just heard about the Bolonka a week ago but since then I have scoured the internet and spoken to a dozen breeders. I found the breeders on the AKC website and Bolonka Club of America. I found two breeders that I felt stood out among the rest but one is retiring, she was actually one of the first breeders here in the U.S. back in 2000 and she also, bred Havanese.
I am not sure how closely related Havanese and Bolonkas are, they do look very similar. I am certainly not an expert on the history of either breed and in my personal research have found discrepancies. I have heard Havanese were from a little dog from Cuba and a poodle. It seems Bolonkas have Shih Tzu and Pekingese but different sites mention different breeds including Toy Poodle, Maltese, Bichon and Yorkie. The breed is in the FSS program with AKC, than it goes in the Miscellaneous class and hopefully, AKC. The breeders are working towards that but there are limited numbers of Bolonkas here in the states.
Yes, it would be much easier to acquire a Havanese and since I have shown my Havanese in conformation and rally, I know most of the Havanese breeders in my area. I have, also, considered Maltese, I think they are loving, little charming dogs. I know Maltese are smaller but it’s pretty easy to find a seven pound Maltese. I am just in the early stages of my search and who knows it’s possible I could end up with another Havanese. I am very happy with the breed, I just never get the same breed twice because I don’t want to compare. I know most people think the opposite, they find a breed they love and they stick with it which makes total sense.
I just love dogs, I’ve had mutts and purebreds and they have all been wonderful. 😊
 
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