The Havamalt is fast becoming a popular designer breed. They are a hybrid blend of the popular purebred Maltese and the rather unfamiliar purebred Havanese. What an amazing combination! Their combine genes pooled together, produce one of the most interesting, fun, healthy, intelligent, big-dog-in-a-small package.
The Havamalt is most likely one of the most perfect poochies on the planet. They have tons of energy, yet love nothing more than to snuggle under the blankets. Ever vigilant, they will protect your castle from raiding marauders with their ear piercing bark, yet when you tell them you'll take it from there, they respect your authority and back off. They greet everyone they meet as if they have been best friend forever, yet their devotion to you is unquestionable.
Extremely intelligent, obedience training is a snap! They love it because they are the center of attention. The tone of your voice communicates volumes of information to them. They love nothing more than to hear they have pleased you. They hate nothing more than to hear displeasure in your voice.
The sound of your laughter is music to their ears. It brings out the little jester in them. They can amuse themselves if need be; however prefer to include and entertain you with their clownish antics. When socialized early, they love adventures and new experiences.
They are terrific family pets! Socialization and positive reinforcement, punishment free Puppy Kindergarten and obedience training is vital when they are young. Some smaller breeds are prone to Small Dog Syndrome. The more positive experiences a puppy has in their first 20 weeks, usually determines how self-confident, well-mannered and well adjusted they will be as an adult dog. The young Havamalt needs to be exposed to as many people, other animals and good experiences as possible. They are usually gentle and friendly but if overly isolated, they can become clingy and possessive.
Remember, they are minute, so even though they love children and playing, care must be taken the games do not get too rough and they do not get dropped! For that reason, they should be supervised when around young children. Those little bones break easily.
When their energy switch is flipped to the "on" position, they can keep up with the best. Their self-image is comical. Most prefer running with the big dogs at the dog park, rather than playing with the ones their own size. It's not uncommon to witness the David and Goliath Syndrome. Many a Havamalt can be seen bossing the larger dogs around!
For older people they make a wonderful, loving companion pet. A couple of good walks a day, a trip to the dog park to play with friends and they are ready to snuggle with you to watch a good movie. This is a breed that has been recognized for their therapeutic temperament. Countless nursing homes, rehabilitation and assisted living facilities currently utilize the loving, gentle, and comical personality of the Havamalt as part of their therapy programs. They were born for the job of making people smile!
Havamalt owners unabashedly describe their companions as, happy, silly, curious, intelligent, loveable, loyal, devoted, daring, fun, high-energy, laid back, cuddly, fearless, clownish, gentle, friendly and just perfect for them.
In general they are surprisingly healthy! Being petite, usually weighing between 6-13 pounds, they tend to be carried, so care must be taken to not drop them, or allow them to jump off anything too high. Hip dysplasia and tearing eyes are their most common weaknesses. Expect to have your canine companion around for a while. Their average life span is usually between 12 to 16 years.
The Havamalt's hypoallergenic double coat does require a bit of work. Regular baths and brushing is a must, to prevent matting and to keep their coats shiny and healthy. Visits to a professional groomer may not be a bad idea a few times per year.
So what are the down sides of the Havamalt? Three come to mind. The first, they are not dogs to be left alone outside. It is not unheard of, for smaller ones being carried off by birds of prey. The second, they detest being alone. Third, like many small breeds, they can be difficult to housetrain. These are all "problems" that can be easily remedied.
If you live in areas where there are large birds of prey, never leave your puppy or dog outside unsupervised, especially at night. Your presence is usually enough of a deterrent.
If your Havamalt is going to be left home alone for extended hours while you're at work, consider kennel-free doggie daycare or perhaps a friend or neighbor that would love nothing more than to share their day with your pooch. It will make for a much happier dog!
Housetraining is not easy, but it's not impossible. Plan to spend some time working on it. The trick is to be fair, firm and consistent. Get them outside regularly. Do not go back inside until they successfully complete the mission. Do not interrupt them until they are finished. Then praise, praise, praise them! The objective is to help them make a positive association that outside is where the business at hand is suppose to be done, not behind a chair or in a corner.
Bottom line: Do your homework. Avoid flea markets, backyard breeders and pet shops. They only perpetuate dreadful puppy mills that are grinding out inferior quality dogs. If you must have a puppy, find a responsible, trustworthy breeder. Shelters and specialized rescues occasionally have adult Havamalts available for rescue. Being a favorite of older people, they are more often surrendered because of life circumstances rather than behavior problems. Who knows, perhaps your new best friend may be patiently waiting for you there.