The Truth About The Teacup Havanese
Among many cross breeds that have been introduced, the teacup havanese truly must rate as one of the most adorable. However, these tiny dogs are not recognized with either of the two major players in dog registry, the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club. It is important to know some important facts about the methods used and the consequences of breeding these dogs.
The havanese breed is the only registered breed that is native to Cuba, where it has been named the National dog. The ancestry of this little dog extends back many years, traced as descendants of a breed named Bichon Tenerife that is now extinct. Its popularity in the United States has been rather recent, within the past 40 years and its association with the AKC even more so; recognized only in 1996. The characteristics of this little lapdog make it highly desirable. A virtual non-shedding dog, it is a great companion for people with allergies. Categorized in the toy group, the ideal adult havanese measures around 10” at the shoulders, although AKC allows any dog between 8 ½ and 11 ½ inches for show. They feature long, silky coats that protect the dog from the intense heat of the tropical areas to which they are indigenous.
Although already quite small, some breeders made the decision to capitalize on the obvious attention that even smaller dogs receive from the general public. Teacup varieties of any dog species are not a breed at all, but rather an anomaly of birth. When a female is in heat, she will be fertile mid cycle for several days. Pups can be conceived several days from another, yet they are all born at the same time when the female goes into labor. Some of the puppies could be several days younger than other litter mates, and will therefore be much smaller in size. Typically, these tiny pups are called the runts of the litter, but in marketing terms, they are now called “teacup” varieties. Unethical or ambitious breeders will use these tiny versions to take advantage of a market of dog lovers who are captivated by miniature versions, such as the teacup havanese. While these little pups certainly deserve a loving home, they are hardly the rare breed they are advertised to be.
Needless to say, because these runts have had less time to develop in the womb, they are very likely to experience health issues and abnormalities. All dogs naturally have genetic dispositions toward certain ailments, and the havanese is no exception. Add unforeseen defects and disorders to the common health problems of a breed and suddenly, veterinarian bills begin to mount. Unfortunately, the breeders who contribute to this “teacup” fairy tale fail to disclose the likelihood of health issues to the unsuspecting buyer; touting instead the erroneous fact that the teacup havanese is a rare and specially bred variety that is of healthy stock.
More often than not, the teacup variety of this breed is marketed as being associated with registries that exist in name only. While the AKC and UKC are well known for their long lived reputation and high standards, many obscure registries are developed to provide an arena for breeders to make money and for dog breeds that are hybrids or abnormalities.
It is imperative that people be aware of such practices before furthering the efforts of these breeders and registries by spending money on teacup pups. The willingness of many to spend money on these littlest of victims merely encourages more to join the game, with more puppies suffering from health issues as result.