Siegreich Havanese kennel


Havanese Grooming



(Bichon havanais)

Havanese male Siegreich Riki "Doki"

Information on how to groom your Havanese

The Havanese has been described as non-shedding. Actually, it loses its hair more like humans do.

The Havanese has an abundance of long silky hair.

Regular brushing is one of the most important things you can do to keep your pet healthy and happy.


. Removes dirt and debris
. Invigorates the skin
. Spreads oils to moisturize skin and keep its coat shiny
. Prevents mats and tangles which are irritating and painful and can harbour bacteria, fungus and other infection
. Keeps your house clean, especially during shedding seasons
. Bonding, massaging, loving interaction
. Early detection of fleas, ticks, eczema, infection and smells that may alert you to sickness

Tools: Slicker, Pin Brush, Medium and Fine-toothed Hybrid Comb, Spray Conditioner

Line brushing consists of holding hair up and out of the way and then brushing/detangling a small amount of hair, a line or row, at a time from underneath.

Always work from the inside out on a coat and from the bottom to the top of the hair.

Brace the skin of your dog with one hand while working on knots, and always brush in the direction of hair growth.

Your Havanese has an abundance of hair. There is no hard and fast rule about where to start.

Use a soft-tipped pin brush for most brushing. Use the slicker for feet and tangles. Use the comb for tangle and to finish.

Eyes: Check your dog's eyes daily.

Debris is flushed to the corners of the eyes and daily wiping with a wet cloth or paper towel can prevent the build up of bacteria.

You should also use a cotton ball to clean around your Havanese' eyes.

Ears: Check ears once a week.

Your dogs ears should be pink and healthy inside. If not, don't do anything to them until you see a vet. Keeping your dogs' ears clean minimizes odour, removes dirt, bacteria and mites trapped in wax. Never use a cotton swab on the inner ear.

Ear Hair Plucking: Every two weeks.

Hair growing into the ear canal can prevent the canal from drying properly and trap bacteria, causing infection.

Tools: cotton wool balls or soft cloth and ear solution.

There are solutions made specifically for dogs but substitutes include: hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, mineral oil, witch hazel, and tea tree oil.

Place a few drops of ear solution in ear and rub and massage to loosen wax. Swab out with cotton wool balls or cloth.

Teeth: Regularly.

Brush your Havanese' teeth? Yes. 80% of 3 year old dogs have periodontal disease. Cavities and gum disease are painful for your dog; they diminish its pleasure and ability to eat. Bacteria that develops can infect the heart, kidney, liver and brain. Really bad breath is usually a sign of gum disease.

Tools: Toothbrush/finger cap/cloth, doggie toothpaste, tooth scraper.

Never use human toothpaste. It is not edible.

Starting this dog off with this practice takes patience.

Reward it constantly.

Start off by getting it used to its mouth being handled.

Progress to touching the teeth with your finger.

Get some meat-flavoured toothpaste and apply with your finger.

Then introduce the brush. Clean a few teeth at a time and soon you will have a routine that takes just minutes.

Brush in a circular motion and get under the gum line.

If you don't want to brush everyday, use a tooth scraper once or twice a month to get rid of the build up of plaque. It accumulates mostly on the outside of the teeth and on the back molars. This won't be much fun for your or your dog though. Lots of bones and hard, crunchy foods can minimize plaque but not to a truly effective degree.

Nails: Every two weeks.

Nail care is very important for your Havanese. Nails that aren't trimmed can splinter and infect the quick or grow and curl into the flesh. This can be painful for your dog to walk on. It will affect its gait, posture, and eventually it's skeletal and ligament health. Nails should never touch the ground. When your dog is standing its nails should rest above the ground. If you hear clicking on the kitchen floor, clipping is overdue.

Tools: Doggie Nail Clippers (scissors, pliers, guillotine), Dremel or file, Styptic or Kwikstop.

Introducing your dog to nail clipping should start off by getting it used to its paws being handled. Stroke, touch and play with your dog's paws whenever you are giving it affection.

Getting it used to the Dremel is your best bet to avoid clipping altogether.

Sit beside your dog and put your arm around it. Gather it up so that you are clipping from underneath and at the right angle.

Lift the paw and press on it to expose the claw.

If it has a clear nail you should be able to see the quick: a dark bundle of nerves and blood vessels. Clip from underneath close to the quick but do not cut into it. If you do, your dog will soon let you know. Use Styptic pencil or Kwikstop to staunch the bleeding.

Buff the ragged edge with a file or Dremel.

If it has a dark nail, clip just under the curve of the nail and then you will be able to look inside and see the quick if you look close enough. Clip using tiny snips at a time.

Don't forget to check for dewclaws: an extra claw dogs may have farther up on the leg that works like a thumb. It is better to clip your dog's nails frequently as this encourages the quick to recede farther away from the tip.

Paws: Check daily/Trim every two weeks.

It is very important to Check between your dogs pads for foreign objects that may have wedged there and check the pads themselves for cuts, scrapes and infection.

Tools: Small, blunt scissors, slicker brush or comb.

The Havanese has hair that grows between its pads. This hair can mat and trap bacteria, besides becoming painful to walk on.

Trim hair around the paws to keep them clean. Only do this when the dog is standing on the paw.

Then, Push the feathers growing on top of the foot down through the toes and trim to pad level.

Lift the paw and from the back, brush out the hair and trim to pad level.

Push feathers back up through the toes and trim from the top.

Hygienic trimming: 2 to 4 weeks.

Tools: Blunt-nosed scissors, Thinning Shears, Electric clippers

Trimming at the front of ears, under the tail and around the privates keeps your dog feeling better as well as keeping it and your house cleaner.

Expressing Glands: Every 2 to 4 weeks

This is a task normally done when you take your dog in for professional grooming. Your dog uses scent glands in the anus to mark its territory.

These glands also excrete when your dog defecates. At times, they may get impacted. Signs of this include: increased doggie odour, excessive licking and chewing of the behind and worst of all, scooting (when your dog drags its bottom along the floor or carpet).

There is no risk of overly expressing these glands so it's best to get accustomed to doing it regularly as it will lessen dog odour.

Tools: Warm cloth

Lift the dog's tail and hold the cloth against it's behind. Place your fingers at 5 o'clock and 7 o'clock and press inward and squeeze to expel.

Bathing: As needed

Havaneses do not need regular bathing. Natural oils to in their coat moisturize their skin and keep them resistant to dirt and water. Stripping these oils with frequent bathing dries out the skin and prevents you dog from having a healthy coat.

A rubdown with a damp towel can remove dirt and spot cleaning is always an option. With regular brushing, ear cleaning and gland expression, dog odour will remain minimal.

Bathing a few times a year is usually adequate.

Tools: Non-slip mat, sprayer hose, dog shampoo, conditioner, towels.

Choose a place where you can block escape routes and expect 1-3 water-spraying shakes.

Never bathe your dog in standing water and never use human shampoo.

Wet your dog using your hand to massage and lift hair to thoroughly soak.

Avoid getting water into the eyes, nose and ears.

Cotton wool can be stuffed into the ear canal to deter water.

Massage shampoo into lather.

Rinse thoroughly as leftover shampoo can severely dry out and irritate your pet's skin.


Rinse and squeeze off excess water by running your hands along its body and pressing down gently.

Dry with a towel.

Blow-dry and comb on low heat.

The Salon Treatment:

If you want to show your Havanese the only scissoring that is allowed is of the feet.

If you're not interested in showing your Havanese, there's much fun to be had with all this hair, particularly the head hair: braids, topknots, or bangs.


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