If you have already gained an understanding of the Havanese and have concluded that this is the breed for you, congratulations! This is a loving, peppy, and energetic breed of dog that you will surely love quickly and soon forget how you enjoyed life without them. But before all that, you have another decision to make; should you choose a male or female? Overall, male, and female Havanese have very similar dispositions and overall care requirements but there are some differences, and we will cover them right here.
At a Glance
The Havanese is the national dog of Cuba and the country’s only native breed. They are full of personality and are revered as very good-natured dogs. The Havanese breed has been in the United States since the Cuban Revolution that took place in 1959. Only eleven dogs remained and were able to save the breed from extinction.
Since their recovery, this breed has thrived in the United States and Europe and received recognition by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1996.
The Havanese are known for being wonderful companions and making the perfect lap dogs. This is a breed that can do very well in urban, apartment settings due to its small size and adaptability. They can be prone to separation anxiety, as they do not enjoy being left alone, are very social, and love being with their family.
The Havanese is small and sturdy with a long silky coat. They are very intelligent, playful, and affectionate. What’s great about the Havanese is that unlike a lot of smaller breeds, they tend to love learning new tricks and commands.
Their coat breed may be one solid color or a combination of two including black, silver, white, cream, tan, fawn, gold, sable, and red. The texture of their fur can vary from silky straight to very wavy with ringlets. The coat can grow up to 8 inches in length and be of higher maintenance. Daily brushing and weekly baths are recommended. You may want to have a professional groomer on standby as well.
The Havanese breed suffers from a few genetic health conditions. They tend to be prone to eye disorders, chondrodysplasia, deafness, heart murmurs, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and patellar luxation. With proper care and nutrition, they can live up to 14 to 16 years.
Male Havanese Overview
Male Havanese tend to be more laid back and easygoing. They are very friendly and can be more tolerant and playful with smaller children. Your attention will be well sought after with a male Havanese and you can expect a fair share of affection.
Havanese can be very trainable, as they are smart and cooperative with their owners. Males and females don’t have many differences in terms of training except that males may be more people-pleasing than females.
This breed does very well with positive reinforcement training. You will need to be consistent, assertive, and keep a handful of treats nearby to reward good behavior.
This breed is not easy to housetrain though, and many owners opt to crate train Havanese puppies from a young age to prevent accidents. Owners will need to be very consistent with potty training as soon as the puppy is brought home.
Health & Care
Both male and female Havanese will need to feed a high-quality small breed kibble that is appropriate for their age, size, and level of activity. You will want to ensure you visit the veterinarian for regular wellness exams or if any concerns pop up.
Havanese have a higher maintenance coat and will require daily brushing. A professional groomer may be required depending on your experience and preferences. You will want to ensure proper dental care by regular tooth-brushing since smaller breeds can be prone to dental disease. Regular nail trimming, ear, and eye cleaning will need to be part of your Havanese’ regular care.
Other than the genetic health conditions we covered, the Havanese is a fairly healthy breed that can live up to 16 years. This goes for both males and females.
Intact males will display hormone-driven behaviors once they reach sexual maturity. They may begin marking their territory and mounting other animals or people. This is typical behavior of unaltered males and can be prevented by neutering.
If you do not plan on breeding your male Havanese, neutering is a great option that should be discussed with your veterinarian. It will prevent your male from trying to wander off in search of females, can prevent or stop unwanted behaviors, and can even prevent health issues.
Female Havanese Overview
Female Havanese may be a bit more territorial and dominant than males. Overall, both genders have the same fun-loving and good-natured personalities. You may notice females being a bit more demanding of your attention and may show a little more attitude if she does not get what she wants.
Since females can be a bit more territorial, they may be a bit more protective of their owners and tend to be wary of strangers. Males will likely also exhibit some hesitancy with strangers.
Female Havanese can be very trainable as well. You will want to utilize the same training techniques as discussed with the male Havanese. They can be just as difficult to housetrain as their male counterparts.
Females may be a little more stubborn than males due to their tendency to be more dominant. Separation anxiety can occur in both genders so early training and socialization are key to having a well-rounded and well-behaved companion.
Health & Care
The health and care of a female Havanese are not any different than that of the male Havanese. You will want to ensure proper nutrition by feeding her a well-balanced diet of high-quality kibble based on age, activity level, and size.
You will need to take her in for regular health exams from the veterinarian and keep up with coat maintenance, routine dental care, nail trimmings, and cleaning of the eyes and ears.
The heat cycle for a female can begin around 6 months of age. If you plan on breeding your female, it is not recommended to do so until they are at least 18 months of age for the sake of their health. Females that remain unaltered will have two heat cycles per year that last 2 to 3 weeks.
If you do not plan on breeding your female, you should highly consider spaying her. Spaying can prevent female cancers and mammary tumors that commonly occur in unaltered females later in life. This will also prevent the heat cycles and any unwanted behaviors associated with the hormone fluctuations.
Which Gender Is Right For You?
Some may feel this is an easy decision, especially if one gender or another was already a preference. When it comes to overall personality traits, behavior, care, and training the male and female Havanese have very few differences.
Overall, the Havanese is a very good-natured and loving breed that can make an excellent companion for the right owner. This dog will genuinely love spending time with you and eating up all the attention. They can be wary of strangers and do not enjoy being alone. It is important to select the puppy that you feel would be most compatible with you, your family, and your lifestyle.
Featured Image Credit: JACLOU-DL, Pixabay (top); Jai79, Pixabay (bottom)