Havanese dogs make lovely companions. They don't need much space, they're easy to train, and they have vibrant personalities that make their owners giggle. If you are looking for a small and personable dog, bringing home a Havanese puppy is a very wise choice. The breed is generally quite healthy, but there are a few health conditions, in particular, that you want to check for — or make sure the breeder has checked for — before you agree to purchase a Havanese puppy.
Sometimes Havanese puppies are born deaf, but it is more common for dogs to develop deafness with age. You will therefore want to ask the breeder about both of the puppy's parents. How old are they, and have they shown any signs of deafness? If you are worried a specific puppy may be showing signs of deafness, a vet can conduct a simple test called a brainstem auditory evoked response test. This test is painless and will conclusively tell you whether the puppy is deaf in one or both ears. Puppies with deafness in one ear can still make perfectly nice pets with few limitations, but training a deaf puppy is a much harder task that should be left to an experienced dog trainer.
Patellar luxation is a condition in which the patella, or kneecap, tends to slide out of place. Puppies do not typically show any signs until they are about a year old, but the condition does tend to be heritable in Havanese. So, if the parents do not have trouble with patellar luxation, then the puppies should not, either. Breeding dogs can be checked for patellar luxation and awarded a certificate by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals if they are free from the problem. This is a good thing to check for if you plan on your Havanese hiking, running, or otherwise being active with you.
Heart murmurs are common in Havanese dogs. They are not always apparent when a dog is a puppy, but it is still wise if either you or the breeder have the puppy checked, by a vet, for heart murmurs. If there is a murmur, the vet can run additional tests to determine whether it is benign or associated with some heart malformation. Buying a puppy with a benign heart murmur is usually fine, especially if the dog will be a companion rather than an athlete. Heart murmurs caused by valve abnormalities, on the other hand, can cause problems down the road.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what conditions to test for and look out for in Havanese puppies. These pups can be absolutely delightful to own. Contact a breeder that has Havanese puppies for sale to learn more.