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Grooming The Havanese
Origin and History

Grooming The Havanese

By Nestor Seijo and Maria Victoria Frayle


The general grooming procedure of the Havanese show dogs is hard work that requires time and patience. The Havanese dog has long, silky hair that requires daily brushing for optimum results. During our seven years of experience in raising Havanese, and grooming and styling many other breeds, we have had the opportunity to perfect the method that is described below. During these seven years, our dogs have become National and International Champions, Best of Breed and Best in Show.


Daily Brushing:

To achieve the best results from daily brushing the following needs to be done:

Place the dog on the table, lying down on its side and; brush in layers, starting with the front leg of the top side. Using a small brush with fine metal teeth; brush against the fall of the hair until you get to the shoulder. Use the same method for the back legs.

The shoulder is the point where the hair is separated by making a line to the buttocks. The layer of hair above the line goes up, along with the ear, and the lower layer of hair goes below of the line. Using a large brush with metal teeth, comb the top layer of hair against the growth of the hair. Comb the lower layer of hair down towards the abdomen. Once this is done comb the hair in layers toward the abdomen, until that side is completed. The lower part of the neck, chest, buttocks, tail, and flank is brushed toward the outside the same way.

Once this is done, put the dog in a standing position and brush down all the hair that was just worked.

Lie the dog down on the other side and brush in the same manner described above. Once both sides are well brushed put the dog in a standing position and brush all the hair down. The head is brushed back from the stop and the rest of the hair is brushed towards the fall of the hair.

Next, place the dog facing forward, and comb using a metal comb that has different separation on the teeth. Then use a small metal comb with thin teeth to comb the snout from the bottom of the eyes to the end of the cheeks. Use the same comb for the underside of the neck.

Glide the comb through the hair gently. If there is any resistance, the brushing must be done again until the brush goes through the hair with no difficulty.

To end the section, brush the hair gently to give it the desired fall. Let the animal shake if it wants to.

This daily brushing is essential to the health of the hair and it must be done with a quality brush and comb. The metal teeth of the brush and comb used must not be thick and no shorter than1 1/2 cm. Never use the combs to untangle the hair, only to enhance the brushing when the brush meets no resistance. Never use scrapers or teasers.

Use commercial powder to brush the area around the anus and genitals if those areas are stained with urine and feces.


The bath:

The first step for a proper bath of the Havanase is the daily brushing. Once this is completed, put cotton balls in each ear to protect the ear canal from having water come inside. Put the dog into the tub and wet it completely, taking care not to put water in the nose or directly into the ears.

When the water has saturated the hair, apply the shampoo by gently massaging the hair towards the direction of its grows, until a thick lather is obtained. Rinse until there is no trace of shampoo in the hair. Apply conditioner by spreading it evenly throughout the hair. Wait one or two minutes for it to take effect and then rinse until the excess conditioner is removed completely.

Remove the excess water with your hands by squeezing the hair downwards, then wrap the dog with a towel,. Put the dog back on the table in a the stay position and with the big brush and a hair dryer, brush slowly until the hair is just damp. Remove the cotton balls from the ears and place the dog on its side to brush its hair in the same manner describe for the daily brushing, except that the hair is not to be separated in layers until the hair is fully dry. The hairs should not be allowed to dry without being brushed. If the hair becomes dry before being brushed, dampen it again before brushing. Brush the hair until the whole animal is completely dry.

Clean its ears with an antiseptic product. It is also recommended to put a drop of Collyrium in each eye to alleviate any irritation caused by the bath.

The Havanese show dog is given a bath every four days, on the average. Since they live in very different climates, from 35 degrees Celsius in the tropic to -10 degrees Celsius in Finland, the owner must determine when the hair of his dog becomes either dry or oily and schedule the bath accordingly. In a tropical climate this deterioration of the hair comes about every four days. It is important to determine the cycle of your dogs bath.

Choosing the shampoo and the conditioner that best suits your dog is a complex chore that is done with patience. It helps to know that not all the Havanese s hair is the same. The hair of the light colored Bichon, (white, beige, gray) tend to be dry and the dark colored ones (black and black and white, where black dominates) tend to be oily.



Grooming a young Havanese is not the same as with an adult. The baths are not as frequent, but the need to become more frequent, in order to train the dog to the routine of the grooming process by the time it is a young adult.


Oiling of the hair:

Oiling the hair is done every fifteen days, more or less. For the dog whose the hair tends to be dry it is done in the following way:

The day before the scheduled bath, and after the daily brushing, comb the hair using a comb with metal teeth, covering it with oil every time it is passed through the hair. Another method is to apply the oil with one hand and comb the hair that has been covered with the oil. It is important to have the comb oiled before introducing it in the hair. Work with patience until all the hair is treated with the oil. In our grooming practice we have used several types of oil, but the best results has been obtained with cooking olive oil. For the oiling procedure be effective it must be done one day before the bath. By doing this, the dog has the oil for 24 hours, which is be optimum time for the treatment.

It is very important that the owner knows the characteristic of his dogs hair to decide if it needs the oil treatment.


The hair cut:

The Bichon Havanese does not require much hair cutting. The A. K.C. or the F. C. I. only authorizes to cut the pad of the paws using a no. 40 blade; the hairs around the anus and the area of the testicles to a measurement of two centimeters using a scissor; and the hairs around the lachrymal in the form of an arch. On the female dog the hair around the vulva is also cut with scissors; The hairs in the ear are extracted with fingers using antiseptic power or boric acid in powder. All these different procedures must be done after the brushing and before the bath.


The light colored Havanese dog (white, beige, golden) usually has a stain on the hair around the lacrimal, which, if not taken care of, might go to the end of the snout. This stain is produced by the congenital illness that can be eliminated by giving a dose (according to the weight of the animal) of infant suspension of lincomycin or cephalosporins in liquid form, for ten days After that treatment put a drop of collyrium (with no antibiotic) every day in the eyes . On the hairs around the lachrymal use boric acid in powder form to remove the stain. It is important to note again that the treatment with the infant antibiotic suspension is done only once for the life of the dog. The drops of collyrium and the boric acid hair washing is done every day of the dogs life, or while the dog is being taken to shows.


Views of the Grooming salon in Cuba of the Kennel "Ay Compadre"



Nestor Seijo drying the hair of Hila


Nestor and Maria Victoria brushing Hila and Papa Montero