Havashu (Havanese x Shih Tzu Mix): All You Need to Know

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Havashu (Havanese x Shih Tzu Mix)The Havashu is a brilliant dog for those looking for a small companion that is outgoing and interesting. Not a very common breed, the Havashu will be a great conversation starter at the dog park and will keep you on your toes day in and day out.

If you’re interested in maybe adding a Havashu to your family, it’s important to be sure you know all that you can about the breed before bringing one home!

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Havashu (Havanese x Shih Tzu Mix) History

The Havashu is a new hybrid breed and, having been created in the last 20 years or so, there is very little data on it. Experts are not yet sure where the breed originated or when, but, what they do know is that it is a hybrid of the Havanese and Shih Tzu breeds – two very well-documented breeds of dog! So, what we know about the Havashu comes from the experiences of owners, as well as a glimpse into the breed’s parentage.

The Havanese is a relatively small dog breed that emerged in Cuba, hence its name. The breed is thought to have descended from the Bichon Frise (or perhaps another Bichon-type) and the Little White Havana dog that used to live in Cuba. The breed, when it first emerged, was incredibly popular with the rich and was kept as a status symbol by many. It then eventually became just as popular with the poor, and eventually found its way over to Europe where it was equally as popular.

Unfortunately, in the 1900s, the breed’s popularity began to dip, and their numbers dramatically declined. In a twist of fate, this was around the time of the Cuban Revolution, which led to an influx of Cubans moving to the United States, taking their beloved Havanese with them. From there, the popularity boomed once again, and in 1996, the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The Shih Tzu has a much longer history. The breed is an ancient one that dates back to early China or Tibet. It was a treasured friend and can be seen documented on artifacts from both countries. The breed was often gifted to noblemen and was treasured for their gentle and affectionate nature.

Sometimes called the Little Lion Dog, the breed was first taken to England in 1828 for breeding, and then the breed found its way across the pond to America, where, by 1969, it was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Bailey Waiting For Mommy to Come Home_DSC01791

Havashu Appearance, Coat, Size, and Weight

Since the breed is still quite new and has not yet been officially filed, there is no breed standard. Each individual Havashu looks slightly different and may look more like one parent breed than the other. As a result, the exact appearance of the breed is hard to nail down.

Generally, though, the breed will have amber or brown eyes and a black or brown nose. The coat may be brown, gray, cream, black, white, or sable and is usually long and wavy. Size-wise, the breed will measure around 8” to 12” tall and will typically weigh around 7 to 15 lbs.

The breed has a higher back end than the front and will either have a tall or curled tail and a rounded head. The Havashu has floppy, feathered ears and a short muzzle, as well as highly expressive eyes.

When growing, the breed will likely reach its full size by the time it is around a year old. It may need to fill out a bit more, but generally speaking, after 12 months most toy breeds’ growth slows down dramatically.

Havashu Maintenance, Activity, and Space Requirements

Below, we’ll look at some of the requirements for keeping this breed.

Grooming Requirements

The Havashu isn’t too high-maintenance when it comes to its grooming requirements. The breed does not shed excessively, but because of its texture, the coat will still need regular brushing. Three or four times a week should help to prevent knots from forming in the coat.

Owners will need to also ensure that they provide their Havashu with regular trims as the coat can get quite dense and long. The breed will need washing when it seems necessary, i.e., when visibly dirty or beginning to smell. Washing should only be done using a mild dog shampoo to allow the breed to keep the natural oils of its coat.

In addition, the Havashu will need regular teeth brushing, and nail clipping, and will also need its ears checked for signs of infection each week, as the breed is prone to this. It would be beneficial to regularly wipe the breed’s ears to prevent such things.

Activity Requirements

The Havashu is incredibly lively and is a very excitable little dog. Most of the time it will burn off energy just running around the home, chasing you, playing, or just rushing around with zoomies. But to help accompany that, and to keep the Havashu happy and healthy, owners should be sure to provide plenty of exercise as well.

The Havashu would benefit most from around an hour of exercise each day. This can be provided as a walk, lots of walks, or more creative exercise activities like jogging, swimming, fetching, or even intense agility training!

Living Space Requirements

The Havashu is small, but it is very much a dog full of energy. Whilst the breed can adapt to apartment living, it is not recommended to be kept in a studio or in nomad living styles. It would benefit greatly from a small, secure yard, but if kept in an apartment will just need to have plenty of regular exercise.

If keeping the breed in an apartment, short regular walks are a good way to keep the breed’s energy levels down, and mental stimulation can help to prevent the Havashu from getting bored and restless.

Havashu Temperament and Intelligence

The Havashu is much like its parent breeds in that it is a playful ball of fun. The lovely little dog is cheery and excitable and will stick to you around the house. They’re inquisitive and will always want to know what you’re up to.

The breed is very alert and intelligent and can be relatively easy to train so long as positive reinforcement is used. The breed will take on most skills and commands directed at it, and should be able to learn pretty quickly – especially in comparison to other toy breeds.

The Havashu is quite an alert dog, and will often bark when strangers approach your property, but the breed is smart enough to be able to tell the difference between friend and foe, so if you’re after a watchdog, the breed can work quite well!

Overall, the Havashu is a smart and friendly pup with a heart of gold. The dog wants to constantly be by your side and look after you, despite its small size. Happy to cuddle up on the couch or run laps around the lounge, it’s a great breed for a multitude of lifestyles.

Sugar Female CKC Havashu 1lb 15oz 6W1D old (30)

Havashu Health and Lifespan

All dog breeds have certain conditions that they are predisposed to genetically, but mixed breeds like the Havashu usually have less of these due to having a larger gene pool than their parent breeds. Nonetheless, they still have some conditions that owners should watch for.

The Havashu is prone to patellar luxation (dislocated knees), chondrodysplasia (a bone health disorder), bladder stones, mitral valve disease, allergies, ear infections, eye infections, and generalized bone and joint disorders.

These conditions can influence how much things like veterinary insurance can cost, but they can generally be avoided and treated if necessary with the support of a medical professional. Typically, vets will keep an eye out for signs of these conditions and implement things like skin scrapings, ECGs, urine analysis, and x-rays when necessary to ensure the health of the Havashu.

Is Havashu the Right Breed for You?

In addition to all of the above, it is also important for those considering a Havashu to be sure that the breed fits their current household and lifestyle. That means being sure that the adjustment process isn’t going to be too difficult for them or for the dog.

This involves considering factors like whether the Havashu is good with children. Fortunately, the Havashu is a sturdy small dog and is actually one of the few breeds that can hold their own against children pretty well. The breed loves to play and gets on with kids quite naturally.

Likewise, it is important to ensure the safety and happiness of other pets in the home. The Havashu is a breed that does reasonably well with other animals so long as it has been socialized from a young age. Otherwise, the breed is prone to chasing dogs, cats, and basically anything else. Socializing is imperative in getting your Havashu to live with other animals.

It’s also worth noting that the Havashu is not one of the Bichon-related breeds that suffer too much from separation anxiety. The breed benefits from the Shih Tzu genetics and is fairly independent. This means that it is a suitable breed for those who wish to go out to socialize regularly or who need to go into the office on a daily basis.

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