Healthy Little Dogs

While some health conditions occasionally occur, the Havanese remains a healthy little breed with a life expectancy of approximately 12 to 15 years.  

The majority of Havanese experience few significant health issues. The health testing requirements for a CHIC number for Havanese (patellas, eyes, hips and hearing) are only the first step to maintaining Havanese health for the future. Other health tests, which some breeders have found of benefit, are checking against elbow displaysia, cardiac issues, thyroid disease and liver disorders. 

At first glance all these tests and conditions which may affect Havanese may appear alarming but one must not lose sight of the fact that ALL breeds have heritable disorders and that some are more serious and widespread while others are much more limited in their occurrence. Think of all the diseases which can potentially affect mankind; just because they exist and have been diagnosed in man does not mean they will manifest in any given individual and no one person can possibly get every condition known to mankind. The same is true in dogs. There can be any number of conditions diagnosed in Havanese which may have a genetic component and may be heritable; however, one must also keep in mind that some of these conditions can be caused or aggravated by environment, lack of education and lack of care. A blow, serious tumble or head trauma can lead to Epilepsy. Other types of seizures can be caused by chemicals, poisoning etc. Luxating patellas can be caused by injury or by unlimited jumping before the growth plates are closed. Hip dysplaysia will be aggravated by obesity and lack of exercise. Poor diet can contribute to Diabetes as well as allergies. Allergies can also be due to chemical products used in the house and yard. Getting a puppy from a reputable breeder is only the first step. Care and attention to training, activities and feeding are just as important in keeping your puppy in as good health as possible. Health testing is not to search for disease, it is to search against and to help ensure the health of our breed for generations to come. While some health conditions can and do occur, the Havanese remains a relatively healthy little breed with a life expectancy of approximately 12 to 15 years. The majority of Havanese experience few significant health issues.

Research thoroughly and choose a breeder with care to ensure that you are getting a quality puppy from a reputable ethical breeder who tests their breeding stock regularly against heritable disorders. Though these cannot be eliminated completely, careful breeding practices help to minimize problems. 

Authored by: 
Penny Will/Suzanne McKay and published in Dogs In Canada Fall 2009