APRIL 24, 2005
Starkette CEO de Tresors, at the Havanese Specialty,
a Havanese feels like embracing the clouds. With their silky and
soft coat, they are the closest you can get to a real-life plush
toy. But, to have keep them looking their best, they do require
some time and dedication. "The dog should be shown as
naturally as it is consistent with good grooming", reads
the AKC standard. Therefore, "natural" and
"non-shedding" do not mean without grooming and care.
people prefer to have their Havanese (if they are not being
shown or already finished their championships, of course) in
"puppy-cut", keeping their coat shorter, sort of the
way they looked when they were puppies. I have to say that I
just love a Havanese in full or show-coat. To me, their coat, is
one of the attributes that really stands out with the breed.
Somehow, the softness of their coats, and that natural way of
carrying it, perfectly shows their lovable, joyful and
However, as you can see for yourselves in these pictures, Havs
look adorable with long hair, puppy coat: their smiles and their
personalities are what make these guys the best breed in the
Havanese models showing-off their puppy-cuts
see a bigger picture, please click the thumbnail)
Karen Horne-Grant of
Long Island, NY
owner of Carolyn Angus'heart
owner of Bruce + Katie Say's life
Prairiwind's Drivin' Miss Oopsa
lives in California
are some tips -regarding the grooming routine, and the brushing-
that have helped me keep my babies coat in good shape. It´s
been a learning process, so I owe many of them to people that
have lots more experience with long-coated breeds. Also, there
are some really good sites and works on this subject that I'll
mention in the LINKS area. I trust you'll find them useful.
Moreover, please do refer to their sections on teeth and nail
care, very important part of their grooming routines.
Get him/her used to a grooming routine from day one
very little grooming might be required prior to six months, get
your Hav puppy used to the grooming routine as early as
possible. It is during these early months that you should get
him used to all aspects of grooming care -- bathing, brushing,
nail clipping, dental care, etc. This is also a golden
opportunity to accustom him to lying on his side either on the
grooming table or wherever you plan to groom him.
with only a few minutes expectation at first, and slowly
lengthen the time period. Be firm, but patient and kind. Play with his feet, cut his nails, clean his ears and
teeth, and brush him, so the whole routine feels natural to him.
Your best bet is to start slowly, winning her trust. Havanese love to please, so she'll get into the
routine fast. If she feels uneasy at the beginning, don't worry.
She'll get used to the routine sooner than you might expect. In
my case, all of them, Lola, Charlie and Candela, fall asleep
while I brush them! Well, Candela "almost" falls
the other hand, the opportunity you have to be with your dog, to
share this time together, caring for them, is one of the
advantages of having long-coated breeds. If you see it like
that, like an opportunity to relax and to share with your
companion some "quality time" together, I guarantee
you that the whole thing will become something you look forward
to, instead of a dreadful affair.
tip that was -and still is- very important in my case, is to
give them a treat when you're done. All of mine run to the place
where I keep their goodies as soon as the grooming sessions are
people prefer to groom their Havs on grooming tables. To me,
this table is essential for shows and to blow-dry their coats
after a bath. However -and this is totally personal- I like to
place them in my bed, turn on the CD player or watch a good TV
show, and brush them thoroughly.
After watching the
DVD of the Grooming Seminar, I bought a new Ionic Dryer.
It has worked great. Make sure that the one you buy has
different temperature settings, and it allows you to set the
cool air without having to keep the botton pressed! Great
with the arms that you attach to the grooming tables.
Brushing and combing
is, perhaps, the most important step in the grooming of a
Havanese. The ideal would be to brush them daily, but three to
four times a week is enough to keep the coat in good shape. By
brushing, I mean, "deep" brushing, not just a light
best way is to brush the coat in layers, starting at the root,
close to the skin, with the dog laying on her side. After
you finish one layer -making sure it is tangle free- , then you
part the hair some two inches up, and start working the second
In my case,
I always start with the hind leg on that side, then the
buttocks, the stomach, the chest, and I work my way up towards
the backbone. After I finish one side, I turn them over to the
other side, and start all over again.
leave the head area for the end. What I do is that I get a
cushion, put their front legs on top, so the head is closer to
me, and start combing and brushing it. I prefer to keep their
head hair on a top-knot so it doesn't get in their eyes -thus
irritating them- and it does help keep it cleaner.
with any long coated dog, some food, or any kind of
"memento" from the places they have been discovering,
will get in their face. Also, when they drink water and eat,
the hair around the muzzle might get "cakey" and
hard. A good idea is to spray some of the conditioners
mentioned before brushing the area. Another product that
comes in handy for that area is to use a waterless shampoo in
areas tend to mat more than the others. Therefore, special
attention should be paid to the neck area, the armpits, behind the
ears, the area close to the tail- and the small tangles that tend
to form close to their "private" parts.
imagine that each person has their own little routine, but I
find that the ideal is to have one, so you don´t leave any part
of the coat un-brushed, and your Hav already knows how the whole
thing will go. I mean, Lola starts waving her tail when I get to
the head part - I think I do too-, Candela starts to kiss me and
Charlie just looks at me like saying: "Move it Mom, I want
any rate, each layer must be sprayed with a coat conditioner, a
grooming spray or
a detangler. Diluted
cream rinse also works well. This prevents the coat from breaking and it helps
loosen any mat or tangle.
Christenssen's Ice on Ice is wonderful for brushing
best brushes are the pin brushes without the tips that tend to
tangle and break the hair. I use a small one for the head area
and a bigger one for the rest of the body, specially in
Charlie´s case, because he's the one who has a fuller and more
brush is the best investment you'll made in your Hav's coat.
Do not go for the cheaper ones.
Here are some of the ones that have worked for us.
and Plastic Metro
Wonder from Chris Christenssen
This size is really useful for the ring!
Half Plastic, Half Bristle Brush
New shape of Chris Christenssen
Systems Pin Brush small
Chris Christenssen brushes
After I finish
brushing them, I always comb them
with a greyhound comb to make sure that all of it has been
good brushing is always important and it is essential before
bathing them. Never bathe your Havanese without brushing him
first. Should you wet her hair without combing it first, all the
tangles would turn to mats, making it a lot harder to remove
them and a lot easier to break the coat.
day, to avoid the stains around the eyes, and to keep your Havs
face clean, remove the "stuff" that gets close to the
inner corner of the eye. You
might use a flea comb or a face comb. Afterwards, I clean
the area with a cotton with tear stain remover.
"M" word: Mats
mats are part of the deal when you have a long-coated dog. The
most important thing is not to panic. Take it easy, be patient,
and you'll see how you conquer. Of course that the best thing is
not to let them form or to eliminate them as soon as they
appear, but sometimes, specially when the puppy is in the
"blowing coat" stage (changing his puppy coat into an adult
coat, it may happen any time when they are around a year old), it is easier said than done. Somehow they do seem
to appear from one minute to the next!
Also, every coat is
different, some do tend to mat more easily than others. In our
case, for instance, even though Charlie is the one who has the
more profuse coat, he is also the one who mats the least. (Thank
the most important tip I can give you is: Divide and you'll
conquer! Take it "one mat at a time", and do not even
look or think about the rest of the coat until you're done with
it. There are lots of products in the market that help a lot.
Their effectiveness will depend on you taste and on the type of
coat of your Havanese. You may find that the product that does
wonders for one, doesn't seem to work for the other.
you do is to saturate the mat (wet of spray it) with the
detangler. First, I work the mat with my fingers, carefully
separating the hairs. At this point it's better not to comb it,
this would only contribute to the mats getting tighter. After
I've work them with my hands, I brush the area softly and very
carefully. I finish with a comb. Here the detangler combs -with
rotating teeth- come very handy.
teeth comb or "untangler"
everything very smoothly to avoid breaking the hair. Do not
think in the mats that are still out there. Concentrate on the
one at hand and you'll see that it is not that terrible. You may
even choose to do one side at one time, take a break, and then
come back to finish the other. Again, the best way to go is to
brush daily and to try to avoid tangles before they turn into
mats. By the way, those tiny balls that may be left in a strand
of hair when the mat is separated, have to be comb out or they
will turn into mats all over again.
tip I've read to ease a tough mat is to use either powder/ corn
starch on it. It absorbs the humidity that might be helping
tighten the mat. Once you've sprinkled the mat with the
powder, you should work the mat with your fingertips and finish by
brushing the area.
products to help with the mats
them in moderation -just in the mat-, and always follow-up
with a bath
have dropped ears and as such are more prone to infections and
dirty ears than some prick ear breeds. Cleaning the ears,
then, should be done regularly in order to avoid any problems. It
is a pretty simple procedure: hold open the ear area, and clean
inside the ear flap with a moistened cotton ball or a cloth.
I use an ear cleaner in liquid form, pour a small amount, close
the ear flap, give them a small massage, and then run a cloth that
will pick up any accumulated dirt and/or wax.
people advice to either pluck, with tweezers or with your fingers,
the hair inside the ears. Some don't. I guess it
depends on the amount of hair that each dog has in the area and if
it is causing trouble. Thank God, we've had no problems
whatsoever with their ears, and none of them has that much hair in
with humans, it is very important not to probe too deep inside the
ear canal. Also, do not use a Q-Tip to clean them. There is no need and you might end up hurting
Cleaning the teeth
accumulate plaque which can promote tooth decay, the same way
humans do. Not only that, bacteria left may cause serious
gum infections. Therefore, routine cleaning of the teeth
-twice or three times a week- is very important. There are
special toothbrushes -and flavor pastes- for
part of the routine is also very important. It's amazing how
fast some dogs' nails can grow. Most of our Havs live inside
the house, so the chance that their nails will be
"naturally" filed is almost non-existent.
nails may cause a lot of problems like broken nails -painful and
bleed profusely-, nails may curl and grow into the dog's feet or,
this may even affect their posture. A good indication that
it is time for a pedicure is when we start hearing that
"click, click" sound when they walk. If dogs get
used to having their feet handled from the time they are puppies,
this will be a lot easier for both dog and owner.
that you just want to cut the excess. Learning what is
excess and where the nerves and blood vessels begin is key before
doing it for the first time. However, if an accident occurs
and the "quick" (the vein that travels under his nail)
is cut, have styptic powder (like Kwik Stop) at hand.
is very important to get a good nail trimmer, and to start slowly,
building yours as well as your Havs confidence. Ah, remember
to praise her a lot when you're done and a treat would not hurt
There are some great
products out there. However, not all work the same with all
dog's coats at all times. The only way is to try them and
see what works with each type of coat. Here are some brands,
and PetEdge -great store, great service-, that have worked for us.
Other ones that we've tried and liked are Vellus, #1All Systems,
some of the EQyss products.
be adding more tips along the way. In the meantime, do visit the
places marked in the LINKS area. Some people have lots of
experience and have done wonderful jobs explaining the whole
process. I feel like I learn something new every day.
Believe me: the grooming time is now something I
actually look forward to, instead of dread.