The National Dog of Cuba is best described as happy dog. This toy breed is sturdily built, but they generally do not weigh any more than 13 or 14 pounds. These dogs are nothing if not cheerful. Havanese are fun-loving dogs who live to provide peppy, active companionship to their owners, from whom they hate to be separated.
The Havanese are very social little pups. They are easy to get along with and enjoy socializing and showing off for large groups of people. They rarely get stressed when they are surrounded by admirers, but they can get separation anxiety if they are left alone for long periods of time or if they have to be away from their owners. These dogs do best in social, active homes where there is plenty of potential for the Havanese to interact with lots of people and spend plenty of time with his owners. Havanese are not particularly yappy, nor do they mind visitors, so they do not make effective watch dogs.
These dogs are responsive and mindful, so they will learn commands and behaviors relatively quickly. This breed will characteristically eat anything. A messy house is really a gigantic snack for the Havanese, so make sure to store away anything you wouldn't be happy to have your dog eat, and get them accustomed to eating a healthy diet of dog food right away. Havanese love to have fun and have a high standard for activity. Even though they are small, they need about as much exercise or active play as a larger dog.
The Havanese has long, silky hair that is soft and thick. His coat is surprisingly light, however. It actually helps insulate him in warm, humid weather by deflecting heat. The coat has a mop-like appearance and is most frequently seen in black, white, tan, sable and gray variations. The Havanese's coat should be kept long and have a somewhat rakish appearance.
The Havanese's full coat will need to be brushed nearly every other day to stay tidy and silky.
With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.
The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but drop coated dogs usually should be bathed more frequently, most commonly every three to eight weeks. The coat should end up fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.
Although the Havanese's coat can be shaved for convenience, it does act as insulation and the Havanese is probably just as comfortable wearing a long coat. If you plan to show your dog, the coat should never be short. The hair covering the Havanese's eyes protects them from the sun, which is why that hair is often left long and never pulled back onto the dog's head.
Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.
It is especially important to keep the area around the Havanese's eyes clean and trimmed, if necessary, because they are incredibly prone to weepy eyes and eye infections.
Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.
Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.