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How to keep your Havanese beautiful!

CPR Heimlich
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Grooming Supplies:


Chris Christensen’s 20 mm Gold Series Pin Brush with ¾” pin length

Chris Christensen's 20 mm Small Pin Brush with ¾” pin length

Chris Christensen’s #002Buttercomb 7 1/2" ALL COARSE

Small narrow roll tooth comb for face and feet

Nail Clippers with safety stop

Rounded scissors for trimming eyes


Coat Conditioner

Leave in spray conditioner or grooming spray

Eye Wipes

Styptic powder for 'just in case'

Never use a slicker brush as these. These will break your Kidz' hair and cause serious damage to your Kidz' coat. They also hurt!

The Havanese do not need to be professionally groomed and when shown are shown completely natural or corded. Because the coat is long it does require regular grooming to keep it in good condition.  Although it's not necessary to have your Kid professionally groomed, some parents prefer to keep their Kidz clipped shorter so it is easier to maintain.  Even with clipping, your Kid will need to be brushed and groomed regularly.  We prefer to keep our Kidz in their natural coat or corded as this is one of the fine qualities of a Havanese.

Havanese are non shedding or minimal shedding.  They have a double coat, the top coat is long and the under coat is short, both are soft.  The Havanese have hair, not fur, and like humans they will loose old hair and grow new hair.  The lost hair will be caught by the under coat and regular brushing will remove this lost hair preventing mats.

Between 8 to 15 months your Kid will go through a "coat change" over a period of approximately 2 to 4 months, the soft puppy coat is replaced with the adult coat.  During this period of coat change, it will be frustrating and challenging for Parents.  Be patient, it won’t last forever!  Your Kidz’ appearance can take a beating.  You can expect their coat to be rough, with uneven locks and your Kid will mat.  Daily brushes will help to minimize the affects of the “coat change”.  The texture of the adult coat may be somewhat different from the puppy coat and the undercoat will now begin more development.  After the coat change, the adult coat will continue to mature in fullness and length, taking up to 3 to 4 years to fully develop.

Grooming should be considered by both of you as an enjoyable experience.  Lay your Kid down on his side and tell him “STAY” in a firm but affectionate voice.  You will definitely have to struggle with him to begin with but remember you are the boss.  You will most likely have to start out by holding three or all four of his feet with one hand while you brush with the other.  Gently brush his side and tummy while telling him “GOOD STAY” or some such phrase.  This should begin as very short, gentle grooming and not particularly serious.  As he gets used to the position, he may even take a nap during the grooming session.  When finished give him a treat.

Non-shedding does NOT mean no-maintenance. Your Kid will benefit from frequent grooming sessions several times a week. Routine grooming helps to keep your Kidz’ skin, coat, teeth, gums and nails in peak condition as well as generally improving your Kidz’ overall appearance. Grooming also provides you with an excellent opportunity to examine the skin and coat for early signs of problems such as parasites, foreign bodies, skin disorders, mats, growths and wounds.

Good grooming behavior should start at an early age, as soon as you acquire your Kid. Begin by getting him used to being placed on a steady table for grooming. Use a rubber backed mat, small carpet or towel to prevent slipping. Teach your Kid to lie down and/or stand quietly and to relax and enjoy your undivided attention. Scratching the ears or chest may help to sooth an anxious Kid, while a hand under a young Kidz’ stomach provides support and promotes confidence as you gently brush through the coat. This early training taught by repetition, correction and praise is important to ensure that your Kid learns to accept grooming and thinks of it as a pleasant experience. You may, if you wish, reward good behavior with a small treat at the end of each grooming session.  Be patient.  Praise for good behavior and scold firmly if the Kid tries to use his mouth on you.


The coat should be brushed in layers with a comb, never use a slicker brush as this will break your Kidz’ hair ends resulting in an undesirable appearance.  When choosing a brush or comb use it on yourself, if it hurts it will be painful for your Kid.  A grooming spray or leave in conditioner should be used to prevent the coat from breaking.  We use Chris Christensen’s #002Buttercomb 7 1/2" ALL COARSE and a detangle conditioner in a spray bottle to prevent coat breakage.  This also lessens the static electricity, which will break the hair ends.  Brush every part of the body that has hair!

Start grooming your Kid as soon as possible.  Brushing your Kid a couple of times a week will get him accustomed to grooming as he gets older and has more coat.  Teach him to lie on his side or back so he can rest and enjoy being brushed.  One way of getting your Kid accustomed to this is by laying him down and rubbing his belly then slowly start to brush him.

Pay attention to areas that tend to mat easily such as around the neck, armpits, behind the ears and the genital area.  If you do find matting, spray conditioner on the mat and work it in with your fingers.  Holding the hair in your fingers, gently and slowly pull the hair apart working out the mat. You may use the comb to comb out the mat starting at the outer most end of the hair and working toward the skin. A roll tooth comb is excellent in breaking up mats. Use the roll tooth comb to break up the mat and then use your regular comb to remove the loose mats and hair.

While your Kid is lying down begin by brushing the hair under the chest and belly looking for mats under the armpits.  Start from the back end and work towards the neck in layers.  Brush the legs by holding the leg upward and brush downward towards the belly on the inside of the leg.  Then continue with brushing the outside, front, and back of the leg in the same manner.

Now you can have your Kid stand for you.  This is when you may want to use a grooming table for the comfort of you and your Kid.  Brush the coat in layers again starting at the back end and working to the top of the head just above the eyes.  Don’t forget to use the grooming spray or leave in conditioner.  Always brush the tail, rump area, sides, and back.  Always brush in the direction the hair grows and never try to part the hair down the middle of the back; you should brush the back from your Kidz’ back end to his front end in layers down the middle of the back along the spine and allow the hair to fall in its natural way.  Brush the neck up to the ears, side of the face, and under the chin.  Brush the ears inside and out paying close attention to behind the ears and removing any mats that may have formed.

To complete you will want to use a fine tooth comb; we prefer a fine roll tooth comb, to finish the face area around the eyes, lips and, nose.


Hair growth in the ear canal is common.  Remove it on a regular basis, to allow air circulation and removal of waxy build-up.  Left untended the ear will have an excess of both and may develop fungal or bacterial conditions.   Using your fingers or a hemostat, get a firm grip on a small batch of hair, rotate or twist in a clockwise direction and the hair will come out after you have completed the full rotation.   Never pull out large tufts that will hurt your Kid.  Applying ear powder will aid in grabbing and pulling out these slippery hairs.  YOUR KID MAY NOT LIKE THIS!!!!


Clean around the eyes with an eye wipe or use a cotton ball with eye cleaner.  There are several good ones that you can obtain from your local pet store.  Ensure that there is no hair curling into the eyes to cause irritation.  A tiny bit of trimming at the inner corner of the eyes will help.  We use a rounded tip scissors to clip around the eyes for safety.  Scissor at an angle, on each side of the inner eye area, the end result will look like a triangle.

Also, keeping the facial hair out of the eyes will help by keeping it brushed back or fastened with tiny elastics, barrettes, clips, or a topknot.

If your Kid has excessive tear staining getting a health checkup is the first step.  If the cause of the excessive tearing is a blocked duct or an infection, veterinary interventions like surgery, treatment, or medication may be necessary.  Once you are sure your Kid is healthy, the next step is to eliminate causes from the environment, water, and diet one step at a time.  In the environment, try to limit the use of things like heavy air fresheners, carpet powders, and other chemical products.  Vacuum your carpets thoroughly.

We use bottled water for our Kidz’ as tap water sometimes will cause eye irritation.  This also is good when traveling as you don’t want to change your Kidz’ diet and this includes water.  A diet with high protein may be the cause as well, try changing the diet to a lower protein content.

Kidz’ will tear more when they are teething as well.  There is nothing that can be done for this except cleaning and trimming around the eyes to prevent staining and eye infections.


Leaving the hair between the pads is uncomfortable to the dog. You will need to clip the hair between the pads of the feet and then comb the hair out on each foot.  You will also want to clip around the genital area for cleanliness.  Use rounded tip scissors or, electric or battery operated clippers to clip for safety.


Nail care is a basic grooming issue.  Your Kidz’ nails should be trimmed twice a month.   Long nails interfere with the dog's gait, making walking awkward or painful. They can also break easily.

Cut the nails at an angle with the top angle on the front top side of the nail and bottom angle on the back bottom side of the nail being careful not to cut into the bloodline or quick.  Light colored nails are easy to see the bloodline but, with dark colored nails it is pretty much a guess.  Start with the light colored nails and use your judgment based on how much length you cut on the lighter nails to cut the dark colored nails. Should you cut the nail below the bloodline the nail will bleed so apply pressure directly on the nail until the bleeding stops or use a clotting product to stop the bleeding quickly.

We always use a nail cutter that has a safety stop and we keep styptic powder handy for stopping the bleeding, yes we have cut below the bloodline, it happens.

If you have great difficulty with this task, most vets will do a nail clip for a nominal charge.


Before bathing your Kid always brush first (see Brushing above) to remove any loose hairs and mats.  Use a good quality pet shampoo and conditioner.  Never use human shampoos and conditioners; human products will damage your Kidz’ coat and skin as they are too strong and remove the natural protective oils.  Always rinse thoroughly removing any residual soap.  Most conditioners recommend rinsing partially.  Try not to frighten your Kid when bathing.  Place a rubber bathmat on the bottom of the tub or sink to prevent him from slipping.  Place cotton balls inside the ear canal to prevent water from entering the ear; this is one common cause of ear infections.

Towel dry your Kid by squeezing the water out of the coat with a towel.  Do not rub the hair while towel drying as this will cause matting. We use a sponge towel known as Sham Wow. This will absorb the excess water and reduce the drying time.

Always blow dry your Kid.  It may be cute to see him running around like a maniac after a bath but all it does is mat the coat and cause you a lot of extra work not to mention the stress on your Kid when removing mats.

When blow drying brush as you dry the coat.  We use Chris Christensen’s 20 mm Gold Series Pin Brush with ¾” pin length. When you have completely dried your Kid, go back over the coat with a comb and a detangle conditioner in a spray bottle to prevent coat breakage.  This will eliminate any potential matting and your Kid will look beautiful.

You should not bath your Kid too often as this will dry their coat and skin.  We bath once a month, unless we find mud puddles.  A good brushing will remove much of the dirt and debris in your Kidz coat.

Pet Clip:

Few owners choose to keep their Kid in the glorious full coat of the show dog. Many pet owners prefer a shortened coat that will be easier to brush and maintain.  A number of options are available.

The most popular option is to have the coat clipped or scissored to a uniform length all over. Your groomer can help you decide which length is best according to your grooming skills and inclination as well as the appearance that you wish to maintain.

Try to take a little time to daily brush and comb out the coat, a standard scissor cut will leave the hair at ¾ inches.  The legs are kept fluffy.  The head is rounded, leaving a small beard.  The ears and tail are not clipped.  This is a “wash n’ go” style.  It is very easy and less time consuming to keep.  Be sure not to forget to comb the ears and tail

If the longer hair appeals to you, but there is just too much of it, you can have it scissored into a 3” cut.  The coat is layered 3 to 4 inches all over, with the feet rounded and the hair around the eyes trimmed.  This is easier to manage, but must be combed out more regularly.


Proper dental care is also important. Just like human beings, your Kidz’ teeth accumulate plaque, which can harden into tartar. If the teeth are neglected, bacteria can grow causing infections. Regular brushing can help maintain your dog’s teeth and gums, as well as keeping his breath fresh. You should brush his teeth 1-2 times a week.

If you start at a young age by scratching the muzzle and handling the mouth you should soon be able to rub the teeth and gums with your finger. Then you should be able to easily progress to gently brushing the Kidz’ teeth with a small soft toothbrush or finger brush. Never use human toothpaste as it contains detergent, which will foam in the dog’s mouth and if swallowed may upset the stomach. A better alternative is to use canine toothpaste. This special enzymatic toothpaste comes in an assortment of palatable flavors like chicken, liver and malt.  You can find good quality pet toothbrushes and toothpaste and your local pet store.

You should brush your Kidz teeth regularly and always provide chewies for them to chew as this will provide a natural way to help remove plaque.  We advise against Greenies and rawhide, as it can block the digestive system.  Never give your dog bones from a carcass.  You may also give nylabones, sow ears and, natural odorless bully sticks.  Chewing also helps the teething puppy.

Have a dental check by your Veterinarian regular and professional cleaning when needed. You can have the anal glands cleaned at this time also. Usually, your Veterinarian will offer these services.


With proper grooming your Kid will be a beautiful Havanese!

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