Buy from reputable breeder
You might find Havanese puppies for less from puppy millers and backyard breeders but it is very likely you will spend much more in the long run on vet bills, not to mention emotional stress when your puppy gets sick.
The following is a recent article-on-line that talks about vet costs to underscore these points.
General Guidelines on Breeder Selection
Selecting a breeder should be the number one factor in selecting a puppy. There are some important fundamental reasons. First, all breeders are NOT alike. Breeding quality dogs is a time intensive and expensive endeavor. There are many factors which go into a quality puppy and several are discussed here.
The most common problem that puppy shoppers do is put price first, that should be last. There is a simple reason for this fact, in that high end quality breeder's prices are normally within a price range that is fairly narrow among quality breeders. When you find “bargain puppies” you are going to get just that, and you will regret that decision as the dog matures. Genetics and how the pups are raised have a DIRECT impact on the health of the dog over their life-span. This is a fact that any veterinarian will attest to.
Quality breeders monitor and watch breeding stock carefully for genetic fault tendencies. Quality breeders will remove breeding stock from their kennel when faults show up in any offspring. Thus the decision to retire either a bitch or a stud impacts the operational cost of the kennel, and in effect are losses.
A quality breeder will do extensive health testing on each dog in the breeding stock. Most of these tests are annual and must be conducted by veterinary specialists. These tests directly impact the breeding costs, yet they are critical to monitor the breeding stock to ensure that the breeding stock is as sound and healthy as possible. This testing quickly runs up in the thousands of dollars for a breeder who adheres to all the testing recommended for the breed.
It is interesting that no matter what dog breed one is looking at, you will find quality breeders talking about these same issues discussed here. The simple reason is that quality breeders work very hard to raise quality puppies that will live long and healthy lives. In every breed there are the quality breeders, the backyard breeders and the puppy mills. And much too often it is difficult for the buyer to sort out the difference. Also often those looking for a puppy in any breed “fall in love with a puppy” and forget both common sense and reason. Do your homework if you are looking for a puppy.
A "good" breeder has certain criteria which sets them apart from the random backyard breeder and puppy millers.
1. Make sure you get a puppy from parents who passed all the health testing required by the breed club. You should be able to verify health testing done on parents, grandparents, great grandparents etc on OFA website www.offa.org. All the health testing is public record that could easily be checked online. A good breeder health tests her breeding dogs and breeds only dogs who passed all required health testing. There are four health tests that are currently recommended by the HCA: BAER (hearing), CERF (an annual eye exam), patella (once after they are a year old) and hips (once after the dog is two years old or preliminary after first birthday). Many reputable breeders also do cardiac (heart), elbows, full blood work with CBC as well as bile acid test.
It has come to our attention that some breeders advertise "Health Tested" breeding stock when, in fact, the dog(s) that have been tested have NOT PASSED all of their health screenings. NEVER TAKE SOMEONE'S "WORD" for the results of a specific health test! Verify the testing done on parents yourself before purchasing a puppy. All you need is the AKC number of each parent. You can research any of these health tests directly at http://www.offa.org/search.html, just type in the dog's AKC registration number in Search field. You also have an option to type full or partial registration name of the dog.
Please note: Yearly eye test CERF is now called EYES. It is the same test done by the specialist ophthalmologist. The exam protocol and interpretation of results are the same.
Become an Educated Consumer before you buy. Buy from breeders who ONLY BREED DOGS THAT HAVE ACTUALLY PASSED ALL OF THEIR HEALTH SCREENINGS! If there is no info on certain health test done on particular dog, dog did not pass the test or testing was never done.
Reputable breeders usually have parents' AKC registration numbers listed on their individual pages on the website. If breeder will not supply you with AKC Registration numbers of their dogs, run like hell and don't look back!
2. A good breeder will be there for you and will provide pictures of the growing puppies and updates while they are with the breeder. A good breeder will be available via e-mail or phone calls to prospective puppy buyers and will care about their pups and you, long after you've taken the puppy home. In other words, a good breeder is available to you! It's part of what you are paying for, when buying from a knowledgeable and caring breeder.
3. A good breeder allows you to come to her home to pick up a puppy. While it can be very time consuming and stressful to have hordes of strangers coming to visit, a good breeder will WANT you to come to her house.
Most caring breeders would not want to upset nursing mom with strangers when puppies are nursing, but they would want you to come when puppies stop nursing, eat solid food and have some personality developed.
If breeder refuses to let you come to her home to pick up your puppy, and insists on meeting you at the McDonalds parking lot instead with puppy in hand... run like hell and don't look back!
4. Good breeders do not sell multiple breeds of dogs, they specialize in one or two breeds.
5. Many people believe that you only go to a 'breeder' if you are interested in a show dog. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A good breeder sells most if not all of her puppies to pet homes simply because good show homes are far and few between! A good breeder carefully selects homes for her puppies. Placing her puppies in safest and most loving environment is always her first priority.
Don't buy any puppies from pet stores. Regardless of what they tell you, all of their puppies are coming from brokers who purchased them from puppy mills. Those puppies are not properly socialized, the parents are not health screened, and the puppies generally are not healthy. The dogs they breed are kept in terrible conditions, without human love and attention. They live their sad lives in cages. Every time someone buys from a pet store or puppy mill, they are giving reason to puppy millers to continue abusing defenseless animals. Some pet stores will tell you they get their puppies from small breeders rather than puppy mills. Don't let them fool you. Reputable breeders would never sell to pet stores! They are all coming from puppy mills and backyard breeders. Reputable breeders personally screen and select homes for their puppies, advise people on caring for the breed and turn away people whose lifestyle, commitment or home situation does not fit the breed.
Miniature, Teacup or Tiny Havanese
Don’t be fooled by so-called rare Havanese that are advertised as “miniature” or “teacup” or “tiny” Havanese. As cute as they may appear, there is a reason we are supposed to breed to the Havanese Standard, which says the dogs should be 8.5” to 11.5” tall at the shoulder. The Havanese breed is meant to be a sturdy, playful companion dog. A mini version of it has much higher risks of being unhealthy and living a shorter life. You may pay a lot of money for a “rare teacup” Havanese, but the chances of paying a lot more in veterinary bills is likely, too.
If there were just two things that I could stress upon you, that you'll take with you after reading this page, it's: DON'T BE IN A BIG HURRY to buy a puppy from the first person who has puppies available and DO YOUR HOMEWORK first! This is a long term commitment for you and your family both financially and emotionally. So you owe it to yourself (and to your new puppy) to buy from a good breeder who health tests their dogs and breeds to the AKC Havanese Standard so that you could have a good example of the breed and a healthy companion for many years to come.