Satin Coat Havana Silk Dog

I’m not sure how it originated, but for years, when Havanese breeders got puppies in a litter with a spaniel looking coat, instead of a “drop coat”… the pups were called “Short Hairs.” To be honest, this name has always bothered me, as it sounds so degrading or something.

Recently, a new name was suggested and voted for approval by the HSDAA board, for these darling pups with an atypical coat. Their new descriptive name is “Satins’ and I think it’s brilliant! I think the name Satin gives them a dignified and very pretty name, which they so deserve. We all love to feel satin and enjoy its texture in cloth form, and these little pups do have a soft, satiny coat to pet.

As a side note, a few years ago, DNA was sent in from Havanese to see if the short hair gene could be identified. Actual “Short Haired” pups had their DNA submitted too and ALL of the dogs came back with the “long haired gene,” NOT a short hair gene! So why on earth should they be called SHORT HAIRS, as that, genetically is not what they are at all. Interestingly enough, over the years, even AKC judges have commented about our “short hairs’ and they always ask why they are called that, when in fact they should be called “long haired” dogs! But we love the name Satin even better than ‘long coats’.

If you think about dog breeds with two or more varieties, such as the Chihuahua, their coats are either ‘smooth’ or “long”. The long coat Chihauhau has a coat nearly identical to what we’ve always called “Short Hairs” in the Havanese and the Havana Silk Dog. The Cavalier’s natural coat, is a coat type similar to the “Satin” Silk Dogs and Havanese as well. Dachsunds and Chinese Crested, for example have more than one coat type too, that you’ll see in the show ring today. It all boils down to a personal preference, of what a person likes best.

Anyone who has ever owned a drop coated breed, like a Silk Dog, a Shih Tzu or a Havanese, knows that the coat can be a lot of work. Most pet people, cut the bangs short to start with and then later end up cutting off most of the coat to keep the dog short or in a ‘puppy cut’. Some even shave their dogs down, to rid them of the hassles of dealing with a long drop coat and mats. When our dogs retire from the show ring, we too sometimes cut them down into a shorter cut, because it’s just so much work, for me, to keep a dog in a long beautiful coat, let alone several dogs! Since Steve is not much for grooming, the grooming is all on my shoulders, and I just can’t keep up with it. So I totally understand the pet owners decision to cut their pet’s drop coat off and keep it in a more managable style. The bad thing is, this dog has to return the groomer every few weeks or months, for a repeat haircut, or the coat will grow long again and mat up if not kept cleaned and brushed.

Grooming issues are not a problem for the Satin variety as the coat hair doesn’t grow 6-8″ like the ‘drop coated’ dogs do. They have longer fringe at the legs, tail and ears and the rest of the coat is in a nice permanent ‘puppy clip.’ Their muzzles look longer and ‘skinnier’ but that is simply because they don’t have the fluff covering it like the drop coated variety. These little pups are still 100% Silk Dog and still display all the wonderful characteristics that Silk Dogs display. They are happy, playful little clowns who love everyone and are happy showing off for their families and friends with their silly antics.

Havana Silk Dog FAQ’s

Q: Are Havana Silk Dogs good with children and other pets?

A: Silk Dogs are natural little “forever kids” themselves so they usually do great with children. If a Silk Dogs does not grow up with kids or is never around them, they may feel intimidated by children at first. So keeping them socialized to all kinds of people and things is important throughout their early development. NEVER let a small child be alone in a room unsupervised with a puppy, no matter how gentle the child is with puppies. This is probably not the right breed however for toddlers, as no small breed is!

Q: Are Havana Silk Dogs yappy dogs and nuisance barkers?

A: Silk Dogs are great watch dogs and will bark at the door, or at people or other dogs passing by on the street. But they are not generally yappy dogs.

Q: Are Havana Silk Dogs difficult to housebreak?

A: In general, I would have to say they can be, but there are some cases where some Silk Dogs have housebroken very easily and quickly. These dogs are very smart and being sneaky is not beneath them (grin). However, with proper positive training and reinforcement, you can have a well trained dog in the house very soon. If you are lousy at being persistent and getting the message across to a puppy about housetraining, the puppy will be lousy in doing what you are wanting. They must be trained and don’t come housebroken! In all fairness to a young toy dog, you can probably expect your Silk Dog to be reliable in the house by 6 or 7 months of age, on an average. They have small bladders and must learn bladder control which comes with age. Confining your puppy to only certain rooms versus letting them run the whole house, will increase your chances of earlier successful housebreaking. Many Silk Dogs respond quickly to being trained to ring a bell hung near the door, or to use a potty box which is wonderful on rainy days or for apartment dwellers.

We also litter box train all of our puppies and by the time they go home, are already fairly reliable about using their potty box. This is a great back up for rainy days or for people who live in a high rise.

Q: We are gone all day at work, how will a Havana Silk Dog respond to this?

A: Silk Dogs have been lovingly referred to many times as a “velcro dog”. Whatever room you are in, that’s where they’ll want to be too. They do not do well being left alone for long periods of time. And housebreaking then becomes a huge issue, as no one is home to train them. A Silk Dog cannot be an outside animal and must be allowed to live inside the house with it’s family. If there is no one home at your house all week during the day, think how unfair this would be to a new puppy (of any breed!) but especially with a breed that doesn’t like being alone in the first place. If you have another dog in the home to keep your Silk Dog company when you are away for long periods, this can help reduce their stress a great deal. But keep in mind that Silk Dogs are like little kids. They demand alot of time and attention. There may be other breeds that are not so ‘needy’ which may fit your lifestyle much better for all concerned.

Q: Which make better pets? Males or Females?

A: Both males and females make wonderful companions and family members but there seems to be something extra special about the males. The best way I can describe it is: “My girls love me, but my boys are IN love with me!” The girls will give me a kiss and lay next to me, where as the boys love to be in my face and lay partly on my lap to touch me and look lovingly into my eyes. They are so mushy! LOL
As a rule, the females are more independent and the boys are simply more lovey dovey, but that is not to say that females aren’t loving and sweet too! The boys just have a little edge on feel, I feel.

Q: Why do I have to get my puppy spayed or neutered? I may want to breed him/her one day!

A: All reputable breeders will sell their pet puppies on a spay/neuter agreement or get the pups spayed and neutered before placing them. This is to protect the puppy and the breed itself. There is much to learn before embarking on breeding dogs. It’s so much more than just putting two dogs together to make puppies. It’s important to know your pedigrees and lines, to health test (which is very expensive), to understand conformation and to show your dog in conformation events towards a Championship and what to look for in puppies and dogs when evaluating them against their breed standard. Most importantly, there can be some serious health issues to learn and know about which the average owner and back yard breeder may not take seriously before breeding, or even understand. Breeding dogs is a huge responsibility and alot of work not to mention a great expense. You will not make lots of money breeding dogs, contrary to popular belief, if you do it ‘right’ by showing the dogs in conformation events, health testing dogs and puppies and providing a good guarantee to new owners. Once you bring a litter of puppies into the world, you, the breeder are responsible for them for their entire lifetime in many ways. Most states have ‘Lemon Laws’ and can hold breeders responsible even without a good contract. How many would really be prepared for these huge responsibilities? There is alot to consider and should not be done without much thought and planning and financial backup.

Q: Where should I keep my young puppy when I bring him home?

A: At night, the best thing to do is keep your young puppy in his baby crate next to your bed so he/she can see/smell you at all times during the night . If he fusses at night, you can slip your fingers into the crate to reasure him you’re still there. If he continues to fuss, he probably needs to go potty. You cannot expect a young puppy to ‘hold it’ all night long, so expect to get up with him for outside potty breaks once or twice a night for the first few weeks. Once he can hold it all night for several weeks, he can remain in his crate for bedtime, or he can then join you in your bed at night.
During the day, when your puppy cannot be supervised, it’s beneficial to invest in a puppy x-pen. (you can buy nice ones made out of hard plastic at Toy’s R Us, Wal-mart, etc. that work well). Put his open crate in the pen along with his toys, potty pads or litter tray and his water. This gives him enough room to move around but to also go into his crate if he wants to, for a nap.
Never let your puppy roam the house unattended. Young puppies can and will chew phone cords, or electrical cords not to mention the furniture! While Havanese are not destructive dogs and generally don’t chew alot of things up, they do seem to like cords! So please keep your puppy safe at all times.

Q: Are Havana Silk Dogs hard to groom?

A: If kept in a long coat, you can expect to brush your dog’s coat every 3 or 4 days to keep the mats at bay. Brushing the dog ‘line by line’ all the way to the skin is important. Bathing a dog with a long coat should probably be done every 1 to 2 weeks. Many pet owners chose to keep their dog in a cute puppy clip instead of the long beautiful coats. If you don’t know how to do this, you’ll have to hire a professional groomer for the job about every 3 or 4 months. Silk Dogs are not hard to groom, but depending on what look you want, they can require quite a bit of time for upkeep. If the idea of brushing a dog does not appeal to you, then a Havana Silk Dog is probably NOT the right breed for you.

Q: What grooming ‘tools’ will I need?

A: A pin brush, a greyhound comb with rotating long teeth (for mats which you can purchase at, a flea comb (for eye goobers) a rubber bath mat (placed on top of a table or washer or dryer for grooming purposes) diluted shampoo and conditioner and a blow dryer. Mix your shampoo and conditioner in spray bottles diluted about 10:1 (water/product) and spray it on the dog during it’s bath. Be careful with the hair dryer so you don’t burn the coat or the dog’s skin. If you’re serious about grooming, invest in a ‘metra blow dryer for dogs’ (purchased in any pet catalog. These dryers blow the water off the dogs and do not get hot.. just warm!) Remember to blow the coat dry in all one direction so you don’t cause more matting during drying.

Q: What can I do to prevent eye staining on a light colored Silk Dog?

A: Not all Silk Dogs will have eye staining, but many do. It goes along with a long haired breed. You can either clip the hair short at the corners of the eyes or pull it back into a small topknot when long, which may help irritation to the eyes. Secondly, giving them bottled water instead of tap water can help reduce the eye staining significantly. Adding some dried or fresh parsley to their food or water each days helps a lot too! Just a heaping teaspoon or two should do it. There are also products on the market to clean the staining with. These are not all that valuable but they are worth a try to see if they’ll work on your dog or not.

Remember that a puppy that is teething will have eye leakage, but most of them outgrow this by the time they are an adult.