One of the most elegant and beautiful dog who is also the national dog of Cuba is – the Havanese. They belong to the Bichon type of dog breed and shared a common ancestry with an extinct dog species known as the Bichon Tenerife. The Havanese is known by many names such as Blanquito de la Habana, Havanese Cuban Bichon, Havaneser, Bichon Habanero, Havanezer, Bichon Havanais, Velcro dogs and the Havana Silk dogs. These dogs probably originated in the Western Mediterranean region.
These dogs initially were bred and raised by some of the higher class families of Cuba. When these pet owners moved to USA during the Cuban revolution they were unable to bring their dogs along with them. However, late in 1970s, the American Kennel Club became interested in breeding this group of dogs and finally gave them recognition in 1995.
Havanese – At a glance
The following list of general and physical characteristics will help you to get familiarized with your Havanese dog: –
• Breed type : Pure breed (belong to the Companion or Toy group of dog breed and have been registered and given recognition by various organizations such as the American Kennel Club, New Zealand Kennel Club, Kennel Club of Great Britain, Continental Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America Inc., North American Purebred registry, Inc. and many others.
• Height: They are medium to tall heighted dogs. The average height of males is about 9 to 12 inches whereas the average height of females is about 8 to 10 inches.
• Weight: Males have an average weight of 10 to 14 pounds whereas females have an average weight of 7 to 10 pounds.
• Life Span: Their average life expectancy is 13 to 15 years.
• The coat is soft and silky and may have a curly or straight texture. Many owners want their Havanese to have trimmed hairs for ease in grooming.
• Available coat colors: White, Gray, Black, combination of black and tan, sable or a mixture of other markings or colors.
• They can give birth to 2 to 9 puppies at a time.
Temperament and Personality traits
It’s very obvious that these little creatures are loved by many because of their cute and magnificent looks. They can mingle well with children and other pets.
These dogs are used as therapy, assistance, sporting, and tracking and as performing dogs. The Havanese is smart and is very easy to train.
The Havanese does not require a lot of room to meet his daily exercise needs and therefore could happily live in a small apartment. They will show extreme love and affection towards their owners and is a great dog for people of all ages.
Feeding habits and Nutrition
Havanese dogs should be fed with right amount of nutrition and their daily nutritional requirement will vary from dog to dog (based upon weight, metabolism, exercise and disease conditions prevailing in your dog). These dogs gain weight readily and thus their weight should be controlled and checked regularly. Obese dogs will give opportunity for weakening of the immune system and hence getting exposed to various diseases.
The following guide shall be helpful for Havanese owners: –
• ½ to 1 cup of puppy dry dog food formula to for puppies who are 6 month to 2 year old. The feed can be divided into three equal parts daily.
• 1 to 1 ½ cups of Adult dry dog food for mature dogs that are 2 to 9 years old. The feed can be divided into two equal parts daily. You can occasionally feed them with kibbles and chews as a part of snacks.
• 1 cup of Senior Dry dog food for aged dogs who are 9 to 15 years old. The feed can be divided into two equal parts daily.
Along with this premium quality dry dog food, feeding your dog with dog food supplements will boost their health and help them live longer. However, make sure that you consult an experienced vet to feed them with the optimum quantity of dog food supplements.
You can trust brands such as Acana, Purina, Hills, Taste of the wild, Dr. Tim’s and Pedigree for getting these high quality dry dog foods. Some Havanese can be sensitive to meals which contain veal and chicken.
Health and Immunization
Havanese can acquire many diseases and infections. Some of the disease conditions common in Havanese are listed below: –
• Hip and Elbow dysplasia causing extreme pain in joints and lameness.
• Legg Perthes disease causing arthritis and inflammation of the hip joint.
• Eye diseases such as cataracts causing difficulty in vision. These can be treated by surgical and laser methods.
• Patellar Luxation causing lameness.
• Portosystemic Shunt in which the toxins that are otherwise removed from the liver remains and flows in to the venous circulation causing hepatic encephalopathy along with loss of appetite, weakness, disorientation, seizures and even coma.
• Heart murmuring which causes disturbances in the blood flow.
• Mitral Valve Insufficiency in which the right ventricle and the left atrium fails gradually. This condition is more common in elder dogs.
• Other diseases include retinal dysplasia, congenital deafness and others.
Havanese should be immunized at regular intervals so that they are protected from various diseases caused by dangerous viruses. Some mandatory vaccines for this breed includes: – Parvovirus, Rabies, Distemper, Coronavirus, Hepatitis A and B, Influenza and Parainfluenza vaccines. Inject annual booster shots from experienced vets.
Care and Grooming
These dogs have a profuse coat and hence grooming can be one of the greatest tasks a Havanese owner may have to face. You need to get his hair trimmed at least once a month or clipping may be a mandatory grooming requirement. Brush his coat daily to avoid tangling of hair. The pet owners should go for puppy- cut while trimming hairs of these little creatures. Hair that grows under the feet also needs to be trimmed to avoid slipping and to ensure smooth walks.
These dogs have dropped ears and thus special attention should be given to avoid growth of pathogens. Clean his ears thoroughly after every bathing session.
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