How long have you been a breeder? I brought home my first Havanese, Zoe, in 2015. She had her (and my!) first litter in April of 2016.

What made you decide to breed Havanese? I started looking into dog breeding when I was sixteen. I wanted to do something that I could keep in my home and involve my family. I started doing some research and talking with people I know and someone said “Hey Dassah, have you ever heard of Havanese?” I hadn’t, but looked up the breed and fell in love right away with what I learned. The very first Havanese I ever met in person was my Zoe when I brought her home! One of the things I love the most about Havanese is though they have distinct traits that are the same across the board, their coloring and personality is incredibly unique to each dog, and that makes them fun and interesting. Havanese are definitely my young first love.

What are some things I should buy to get ready for my new puppy?

  • A lightweight collar or harness, size XS. He will likely outgrow it before too long, but if your collar is too big… it’s useless.
  • A leash.
  • A pack of disposable potty pads. If you want to train him to use only grass, the pad still helps by giving him an okay place to go when he can’t wait (puppies’ digestive systems move very quickly and often). You can place it by the door for a logical transition for him.
  • A wire playpen or a puppy gate that blocks a doorway. Confining him to one area of the house is also very helpful in potty training, especially if you have to leave him alone for a few hours. Just put a potty pad in his playpen so he has a place to go.
  • Clean-up spray. Accidents may (okay, will) happen, and having something to clean it up with is important, especially with a surface that will hold the smell, like carpet. Puppies are attracted to the scent of places they’ve already gone potty in. There are different enzyme spray brands out there, Nature’s Miracle is one I like. I’ve also made my own with disinfecting essential oils and a small amount of ammonia.
  • A small wire or plastic crate. They often size them by weight, and I would say a crate for an 8-10 lb dog would be sufficient. You can get a little bed to go in there, or just fold up a towel in the bottom. Pup won’t know the difference. 😉
  • Puppy toys! Get toys that are small and light enough for puppy to carry, but not small enough to shred. I don’t suggest rawhide, but leftover beef bones are great for teething. Just be sure to throw away the bone before he wears it down small enough to swallow.
  • Food and water dishes.
  • A tag for his collar with your phone number.
  • Dog shampoo, comb, brush, scissors… Havanese don’t shed, so brushing and clipping is necessary. There are YouTube videos galore on how to trim your puppy yourself, or you can take him to a groomer.
  • Toenail clippers, unless you have your vet or groomer clip them for you.

How big will my puppy be as an adult? Zoe’s puppies tend to be 10-13 lbs when full grown, and Daisy’s are usually smaller, in the 8-10 lb range. Oliver my sire weighs approximately 9 lbs.

What are the differences between male and female puppies’ personalities? This is a really hard question for me to answer, and I get it a lot. People say that males are more easy-going and less temperamental, while females are a little more on guard and in-charge but have a deeper attachment to their family. Seeing each of my puppies’ personalities as they mature, though, I think it should be less a stereotype of a whole gender and more a look at the individual personality of each puppy. Especially if you plan to spay/neuter.

Would you recommend adopting two siblings at once? There are pros and cons to getting two puppies at once. I see both sides and I think it very much depends on your living situation, time at home, and dedication to training.

CONS: Fixing one or both puppies is a necessity when you have siblings. Even if you have two of the same gender there can be marking/territorial issues as they mature. Two puppies can form their own pack as far as dominance goes, you need to be firm during their training and let them know you’re the “pack leader” to retain their respect and obedience. Last but not least, if there is some sort of hidden genetic issue in a litter that doesn’t show until adulthood, it may be that both puppies would have the same defect. For this reason some people get two puppies, but from two separate litters or genetic lines.

PROS: Siblings usually get along great. Bringing home two at once relieves a lot of the stress of coming into an unknown environment. It helps keep your puppies from being too lonely and possibly destructive when you leave the house. The pack element of owning two Havanese can really help with potty training: if one puppy starts to “get it” faster the other one usually follows suite. Also, you don’t have to choose just one when you’re picking one out!

What brand of puppy food do you recommend? My puppies are used to eating Taste of The Wild brand, what they call their “High Prairie Puppy” formula. I like it because it’s grain-free and my puppies and adults alike thrive on it.

Can you tell me how much food you are sending home with us and how much and how often my puppy will need to eat? I’ll send you home with about 3 days worth of food for your puppy. Feed him twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, just under a quarter cup per meal. Sometimes a puppy will refuse to eat for the first few meals at home, try not to worry too much about that in the first 12 hours. Try adding a teaspoon of cultured buttermilk or plain yogurt to his bowl to temp his apatite and help digestion.

I want to switch to a different brand of puppy food. How do I do that? Changing food types should not be an issue for you puppy as long as you do it gradually. Add in a little bit more of the new brand at every meal for about 3-4 days until your puppy is eating only the new food.

Do you give the puppies treats? And if so, what brand, or what would you recommend? Treats are very helpful in obedience training! Honestly, sometimes I will just give them a little piece of their food as a treat, and they seem to enjoy it. 😉 If you want to get all posh, try tiny pieces of a mild cheese such as mozzarella.

What is guaranteed in the purchase? Purchase consists of a non-refundable deposit of $400, and the rest is due on pickup. I usually charge $1200 per puppy. My puppies come with a little toy or blanket that smells like mamma, a sample of the food they’ve been eating, limited AKC registration paperwork, 1 month of free pet insurance through the AKC, a personalized puppy booklet including information on grooming and house training, health guarantee, health certificate from my vet, and a receipt of purchase.

Will the puppy be sprayed/neutered? No. I leave that up to the new owner.

What is your return policy? I will take back and refund you for a puppy if it is proven unhealthy by your vet under the terms of my health guarantee.

Have the parents’ health been tested? My sire Oliver tested negative for Brucellosis and has DNA registered with the American Kennel Club. Aside from that all my dogs are healthy pets in my home and I keep a close eye on their health every day.

Will the puppy be micro chipped? I do not microchip puppies as standard protocol. My vet will do it for me when they get their health certificates though, if you let me know ahead of time that you would like me to. It’s an extra $30 for a microchip at my local vet.

Since you don’t believe in vaccination but vaccination protocol starts at 6 weeks of ago and the puppy will still be with you at that time, if requested, will you vaccinate? I believe vaccination is helpful and protective when given wisely. With all vaccines however, there are side effects that may show up right away or take its toll later on in the dog’s life. These are pros and cons you as the puppy’s forever family need to weigh. I take full responsibility for the puppies’ health when they are with me, and so I prefer not to vaccinate. If it’s something you would like to do as soon as they get home, that is completely up to you, and I’ll support you in it! (Typical vaccine protocol would give 2-3 more shots after your puppy comes home anyway.)

Is she doing her business on grass or pad? For puppies born in the winter, I train them to go to a pad because it is too cold to go outside. I will let puppies born in the spring/summer play outside in the grass and they are used to using grass to go potty. I still train them to a mat at night or in bad weather.

Do you offer house training? My puppies are trained to go potty on a designated mat when indoors and in the grass when outside. I offer tips and encouragement on how to fully house train, but there is always a learning curve as they grow and adjust to your house and routine. On-the-ground training is up to you.

What requirements do you have of people looking to get one of your puppies? I need to meet you face to face before or at the time of the puppy’s pickup. I reserve the right to refund a deposit instead of going through with the sale of the puppy if I sense something dishonest or dangerous in a person. I also ask for your contact information and mailing address, as well as your signature on the health guarantee.  

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