Already formally recognized by the Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club, Havanese dogs belong to a breed that makes for excellent companion dogs. The Havanese, in case you didn’t know, is the national dog of Cuba. A Havanese dog is very smart, eager to please its owner, and is naturally affectionate. It’s also great company for kids, unlike other small dog breeds that tend to snap at little children. You should also know that the Havanese can be very reliable watchdogs.
There are some health issues with this breed you should be informed about. You need to know about these problems if you’re seriously thinking of adding this small dog to your family.
Retinal atrophy – a condition that may render the afflicted Havanese blind
This breed is vulnerable to a condition called progressive retinal atrophy. In this condition, the Havanese’s retinas, or the tissue layer behind its eyes, degenerate. This condition, given time, can aggravate into complete blindness – there’s nothing one can do to stop the retinas (blood-rich tissues in the eyes) fro deteriorating.
What’s not obvious here is how painless the gradual tissue deterioration is to Havanese dogs. Over time, the dog’d vision dim until it fades completely, but the fading will not hurt. Right now there is no treatment or cure for the said condition. But if the dog breeder performs checks to prevent his breeding use of dog with this condition, then this hereditary condition will not be passed on. This is why it can be expensive to buy a genuinely bred, healthy dog from a breeder – a good breeder is not easily found.
Juvenile cataracts – cloudy spots that reduce the dog’s vision
Senior dogs are usually the ones affected by this conditions, for most breeds at least; but in Havanese, young ones can manifest signs of having this. When you spot a cloudy area on the Havanese’s eye lens, that’s Cataracts. A small spot in the beginning, this will grow over time. In many Havanese puppies, this condition may not be easy to spot. The dog will go blind over time if the Cataracts are not removed. Surgery is the only known option that works.
Patellar Luxation – or a slipped kneecap
Patellar Luxation, is a slipped kneecap, is also common to Havanese dogs. Dogs with this condition tend to walk with pronounced, painful limp. As with the previous condition, surgery is the solution.
A Havanese could also suffer from malformed hip joints leading to arthritis, ear infections, and eye infections, among other things. A good breeder will have checked his puppies and dogs and will provide you with the necessary documentation as per health checks are concerned.