Havanese FAQ’s by Esplendor Havanese 
Find out what is included in the price of your puppy and what kinds of questions you should ask your breeder before you buy
Authored by Lisa Saxey
  For temperament, health, and their hypoallergenic, non-shedding features, Havanese are highly sought after. Havanese train quickly and are smart, sturdy, sweet and happy (permanently!).  Additionally, for showing in conformation, performing agility trials, obedience or therapy work, Havanese are unmatched in their versatility and ability. 

  Most folks are drawn to the Havanese because they are permanently joyful! Havanese love life, and they love to play--they are true clowns. We refer to Havanese as Velcro dogs, as they most love to be anywhere you are and are entirely devoted to their owners. If you are not gone all day, a Havanese will be ecstatic! Many Hav owners take their dogs to work, travel with them and take them in the car regularly. They are adaptive and travel well. I believe that they really don't know that they are dogs, but are your fur-kids with many priveledges!

 We breed to improve the breed in every area, and we can confidently say that our Havanese are excellent companion dogs for children and families, the elderly, single people and fanciers. Havanese love everyone and do not single out one person in your household to love. Their love knows no bounds.

How much should you expect to pay for your new Havanese puppy? 

  Havanese are a rare breed dog and specifically bred in the 1700's to be a children’s companion dog which made them sweet and loyal. They are rare for many reasons, primarily the delicacy of carrying to term, and low birth weights (since they are toys) ranging from 5.6 ounces to 8.0 ounces. You can fit a Havanese puppy in the palm of your hand or the span of a child's hand. By the time they go home they weight about 3-4 pounds, a feat in the animal Kingdom. You can expect to pay between $1,800 to $2,500 for a Havanese puppy from a quality breeder; one that has shown their Havanese to reach Championship conformation,completed health testing and that has a health guarantee. This figure is averaged between pet and show puppy prices, and proven achievements and notoriety of the dog or bitch. We not only show our dogs as puppies when they reach their AKC Championships, but we re-prove them as adults either between breeding, or when the breeding cycles are completed.  

  Esplendor Havanese puppies are similarly priced; our price is $2000.00 for a pet puppy and our contract and price for show puppies may be different. 

It's just a dog you say? Well, imagine that you fall in love with a puppy from a dotcom site that is $600.00 its just as cute what is the difference? (For one thing, they dont show or tell how many puppies died to make that one out of a litter). Today you can go on Facebook and join the Havanese group/page. You will see super cute dogs there that have had surgery for Cherry eye, slipped patellas, are on medicine for their lifetime for liver shunt disease and/or have Chondroplasia. They were sure cute puppies, but primarily the dotcom's are fed from puppy mills and auctions. Thier mothers live in cages their entire lives, and so do the puppies. The ones that survive are washed nice and clean before delivery, which is sometimes their only bath - caked with feces from neglect. Unless you VISIT your breeder - you are taking a huge risk - a crap shoot. Get an address and google the property - what do you SEE? One prominent supplier has an enormous house flanked by even bigger kennels -- say half a football field in lenght. IF that was the perfect kennel - one full time person 24/7 for each whelping bitch (not to exceed three litters in a lifetime)- would they be socialized? Would they be smart? Would they be Potty Trained (in out) What kind of vocabulary would they come home with? My philosophy is pay once and then have a lifetime with a healthy puppy and adult dog.
 When buying a puppy quality does count. Pay a little bit more now for a healthy, quality,hand-raised-with love puppy; or you may pay more later in vet bills for a cheaper, less cared for pup. I am well aware that other breeders in the area charge less, however, I stand behind my breedings with a genetic health guarantee, and I know the parents have been health tested --AND have PASSED.

 Here is a sample letter to a client who inquired about a puppy and was surprised at the price of a HEALTHY puppy:
$2000 is way to much. I paid less for my Mastiff.. If you have puppies that you can sell for less, please let me know.

 Dear XXXX
 I have no idea what Mastiffs are going for these days but they are lovely dogs; I just saw them show yesterday in Monroe.  It's nice that you were able to find a dog you loved for a low price.  That is definitely a win/win!

 My dogs are guaranteed Healthy against genetic disease (heart disease, liver shunt disease, Chondroplasia, Cherry Eye, hip displasia, juvenile cataracts). My price reflects the care that goes not only into the puppies who are health tested, but the mothers and fathers who are health tested and receive the best medical care, home care and food available throughout their lives --who are also AKC champions. They are not stored in a barn in the ever changing climate, and then rushed inside for a bath and a viewing for clients, and they are not randomly bred in the hope of producing a dog without cataracts, Chondroplasia, faulty hips, slippery patellas, crooked legs or horrible teeth, undershot bites, short jaws - all things that result from indiscriminate breeding, or " trying to get lucky" breeding.

You can find a cheaper puppy no doubt, and most likely a cute one, but will the buyer stand behind it for the lifetime of the dog with a money back guarantee AND with the offer of either a full refund or a puppy replacement? This is the one question you should ask all breeders you come in contact with if you don't ask any others.

I can refer you out to a cheap puppy if you like -- I know many of the "breeders" in the TRI-STATE area and what they produce. You can also Google "Havanese Puppies" and you will find a lot of brokerage services, where the kennels are un-named and the pups run from $600.00 to $2500.00 without AKC papers.  I'm not being snobbish here, Im being real. I have seen dogs and heard from many sorry puppy buyers who want advice on what to do with their sick dog. When I had my phone number posted, I averaged a call a week, most times late at night, or from the E.R. Buyer Be AWARE.

The standard that we strive for is to support the breed; the breed does NOT support us. We have a healthy primary income and we do not live off of the proceeds of the sales of our dogs, in fact, every thing we "earn" on our pups, goes back into the process of showing, testing and breeding. Ask any good breeder if they MAKE or LOSE money on this labour of love and you will hear a resounding NO! The benefit to us is the joy we see in the faces of our buyers when they walk out of the door with a great puppy that is a good match for them. We also have the priveledge of choosing puppies for show, which gives our children a great expereince in being responsible for a living, loving, joyful creation. I have thought long and hard about staying in business - it is hard to raise these kids. If I had to estimate my hourly "pay" for each puppy.....well we would be near 5 cents and that is being generous. My average litter is 4 pups (on a good litter). I stay up 24/7 until I feel they are safe -- 5 weeks. Why 5 weeks? So I nourish my momma when her calcium is dropping like a rock so she doesnt die. Yes, they are fragile.

Please visit my HAVFAQ page for more information on puppies and puppy mills so that when you shop your breeders you are armed with good information. As they say knowledge is power. 


I have included this letter because I think it holds valuable information at a glance, but please read on, there is a lot more to learn!

  I have seen AKC puppies for a lot less, so why are yours more?

  Our Havanese have been shown to reach their AKC championships, proving that they have the AKC's seal of approval on their breed type confirming that they reach or exceed the standard. This is different than just being an AKC registered dog. Showing is a costly and time intensive process, however once a dog or bitch is "finished" we can assure you that you are receiving a puppy from TOP QUALITY breeding. These are not kennel dogs, mill dogs, commercial enterprise dogs, or pet store dogs, which any "AKC" dog can be. Our dogs are part of the family and are loved and treated with dignity. They live in our home, sleep on our beds with us, play with us during the day and receive top quality veterinary care and the very best food on the market.

  Our expectant moms are attended to by a reproduction specialist before breeding, during pregnancy and after whelping, then they are whelped at home with an expereinced mid-wife's hands. Experts vets are on hand 24X7 should a bitch or puppy need immediate care.This process ensures sound breeding 100% of the way. We do not skimp on the care of our dogs, or "get by" a cheaper way and we do not breed multiple, mass litters per year. Our Havanese do NOT pay our bills; they are not a source of revenue for our household.  See below for what is included in the price of your puppy.

REMEMBER, a CHEAPER, unhealthy puppy can cost you ten times more in a lifetime! Havanese live to be up to 13 years old and some live to 17! You do want those years to be happy for both you and your dog! 

        What happens once I decide I want one of your dogs?

 Once you have decided that you want a puppy from us, we will review your formal application and add you to our waiting list and then assign you a "pick placement" based on when your deposit has been recieved. If the puppies are already spoken for, we can either refer you to another good breeder that also health tests and has excellent standards, or add you to the list for our next litter.  

All puppies are cute, so how do I know if I have found a quality breeder?

  As a general rule, a quality breeder is one that performs health testing on their acquired and personally bred dogs. Health testing includes testing the eyes, ears, hips, patellas, LCP, bile acids and heart function.  Quality breeders also strive to pair their dogs to conformation to prove soundness and temperament. 

Esplendor Havanese puppy prices include:

  •  AKC litter registration and AKC papers on each puppy
  •  Shots pertinent to the age of the puppy including 2 DAPPv shots and Bordatella vaccine with a complete health record for you take to your new vet 
  •  Microchip - either I do this before the pup goes home, or you do if the pup is a smaller pup. I dont like putting a great big chip into a small pup until the Rabies vaccine. It is just painful on a smaller pup. 
  •  De-worming
  •  Dew claw removal 
  •  BAER test (for hearing)
  •  A “well puppy” check-up with trackable vet records that you can refer back to
  •  An “Owners Manual” of tips for raising your new pup as well as a grooming guide
  •  Food that your pup has been raised on 
  • Piddle pad AND outside training if weather permits 
  • A puppy crate and pad to ensure safe travel home, and a place your dog is familiar sleeping in by the time he goes home
  • A bag of surprises
  • Optional: the best Havanese Hair Care Products, grooming tools are available for purchase.If you like we can secure a Potty Park for you and you can buy it from us. We know which ones work and which dont.
  • Invitation to a grooming seminar and information on the state Havanese Club for fanciers.

  Because we go to great measures to ensure the health of our dogs and pups, we provide an excellent health guarantee.  Once you take your puppy home you have 72 hours to have your vet verify that the pup is healthy.We can usually suggest a vet in your area that is familiar with a Havanese. 

  In that time period you can bring the puppy back and exchange for another if one is available, or receive a full refund if your puppy does not pass the health screen. However, you can rest assured that the entire litter will see the vet prior to sale and be health certified. We also give you 5 full days to make sure that buying this puppy was a good idea for your family. You can return the puppy UN-INJURED in 5 days and receive your money back MINUS your deposit. If your puppy is injured upon return, you will be billed any necessary vet bills. This is why it is crucial for you to have your well puppy check asap! 
So far, no one has returned a puppy but you have that option if you are overwhelmed at home. We want you and your puppy in a great environment FOR LIFE! 

If in the unlikely event that your dog develops a life threatening illness due to a congenital, gentetic defect  in the first two years of life (**such as Juvenile cataracts which is when an illness like that would occur), we will offer you a replacement puppy if one is available or refund the full original price you paid for your puppy. We test all of our dogs annually at Seattle Eye Clinic to ensure the eye health of all of our dogs -- not just our producing Champions -- and are confident in making this guarantee. 

  We also agree with the AKC that ALL breeds of dogs should have pet insurance. You will save money on routine pet care, shots, teeth cleanings, spaying and neutering, etc. In case of an unforseen accident, you will be glad you had coverage. Most pets are only insurable at a low cost as pups, so check out the AKC website for their recommendation on policies. Compare Prices with VPI, AKC's insurance or any other vet recommended insurance available. 

  Should you need advice about raising your Hav, you will also have access to us for tips on training, grooming or anything else that pops up . Occasionally we will  board our own offspring back when space is available. We only take one additional dog at at time and insist that your dog is CURRENT with SHOTS and is flea and tick free and current with Comfortis, Frontline or Advantix.  

 I just saw an ad in the newspaper and it is a great deal! Should I buy there?

  You may find a really good deal on a healthy looking dog from an ad, however, we recommend that if you do find a “great deal”, get references from the breeders previous buyers. Also, ask the breeder what health tests they have performed. You should be offered absolute proof that the breeding pair are AKC registered Havanese. 

  Important to note: There are cross bred dogs that are not genuine Havanese and will not be hypoallergenic and non-shedding. Just because it looks like a Havanese puppy does not mean it is not an “oops” litter from Havanese and another toy dog on-site.  Also some breeders do not feed a balanced diet when their bitches are pregnant. This can result in a puppy that will later have insufficient bone or brain and eye health issues. ASK if there were any major hospitalisations, surgerys, etc that could have affected the puppies.  

  Prices vary on Havanese in WA and across the country which is why you will occasionally find really different pricing on puppies of any breed across the U.S and Canada. Some breeders will undercut a good breeder’s price just to sell dogs as a means to support themselves.  Lately, there are many breeders that live off of the proceeds of their sales as their only source of income. These breeders are not rare, nor uncommon and are usually Puppy Mills. (click on the link called "Puppy Mills" at any point in this document for my personal experience with a Puppy Mill)

Why not buy a puppy at the pet store or from a pet brokering site online? 

  Your puppy’s health and happiness is your utmost concern from the moment you bring him home. Think of it this way; a Havanese can live to be 13 years of age or older and some live as long as 17 years of age. If you purchase an unhealthy puppy, you may end up nursing your dog forever and be stuck with the ensuing vet bills. You also must contemplate that your dog may not live a very long or quality life in some cases.

 Puppy mills who sell to pet stores and online brokers do so JUST for profit while maintaining perfect anonymity. It has been proven that there is very little respect or basic care given to the breeding stock from puppy mills. Pet stores and onlinie pet brookers (who sip puppies to you that you never see first in person) are released from their obligation to you once they sell you a dog. 

How do I know if I am buying from a puppy mill if I hear about a breeder from my friends or from a newspaper ad?

  A good way to determine whether you are dealing with a Puppy Mill is to look at your puppy more than once at the breeders home during daylight hours. Once you are there determine:

  •  Do the puppies and parents look cared for?
  •  Are you allowed to see both parents if the stud dog is on site?
  •        Can you verify that the parents you are shown produced the puppy?
  •  Does the kennel or home smell clean?
  •  Are you sure that there isn’t a large, hidden facility out back? 
  •  Are you being provided a contract with spay and neuter requirements?
  •  Are you being shown the dog at the owner’s actual residence?
  •  Can the owner provide AKC documentation for both the parents and the
  • Are they offering a TEACUP Havanese? There is no such thing as a Teacup Hav. To create one, a person must "breed backwards" into the smallest of the small dogs that they can find, and then pair them. This is dangerous breeding as all puppies born from such pairings will be 3 ounces or less and will not have the same development as a regulation sized Havanese. Buyer Beware when you read about a TEACUP Havvie.

  If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ then you most likely are looking at a dog that is the result of a Puppy Mill. A little bit of research now will save you heartache later.    One note about the breeder’s home: You should be able to tell that dogs live there, but it should not have a pervasive urine or feces odor.

What Happens To Dogs from "Commercial Breeders" or Puppy Mills that don't health Test or heath guarantee their dogs?

 Click here, and see two very sweet videos from Havanese Rescue.  


If you decide that you would rather Rescue an adult Havanese, please contact me and I will contact my member board and see if a Rescue Havanese (via HRI) is available in your area.

Now how about some encouragement?

  The very excellent news is that if you do your homework, and buy from a show home that health tests and has raised the bitch on good dog food, not human food  and shows you the brood bitch and sire (when available) of that litter, you WILL find a fantastic, healthy Havanese! 

  Please feel free to contact us anytime for advice, references or for a breeder in your area where you can go SEE your new puppy. We have helped many families find their “dream dog” in more than one way from more than one breeder. Esplendor Havanese is a family show home, and we are more concerned that you find the puppy you want, even if it does not come from our own AKC Champions. We network with many responsible breeders all over the United States and we will do our best to assist you. No family should be without a healthy, happy, Havanese!  

   Lisa Saxey
   Esplendor Havanese

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