Frequently Asked Questions

Colour FAQ

The list was expanded to the current choices in January 2010 according to the maximum number that CKC allows.  
A list to include every single colour, pattern and marking variation possible in Havanese would extend to well over 100 choices. This is simply not possible on a registration form. Many variations are subtle and may be quite subjective based on the eye of the beholder. CKC suggests more general categories for registration purposes.  While some registries permit two choices, one for colour and one for pattern, the CKC permits only one selection. 

These are the choices on the registration form and for online registrations. Additional selections may be made using "other" for a colour where one of these does not fit. The colour and patterns choices we have now were selected in an effort to cover the broadest range of Havanese and the most common colours found in the breed. 
Note: It is recommended that colours for registration be determined at birth to a few weeks of age rather than  "guessing" what colour a Havanese many be at maturity.

A mask is a specific expression of the dark coat gene, one which expresses itself only over a certain area of the body, namely the head.   A mask may range in intensity and extent. It could be a simple darkened muzzle or cover the entire foreface. It could be a raccoon-type mask around the eyes or include dark ears. A heavier mask may cover the entire head and even extend into the chest.

Obviously a mask will not show on black, but, where it  exists, is very noticeable on mixed dark/light and lighter colours. Many Sable and Brindle Havanese have a face mask. Some dogs that carry the mask gene but are otherwise clear colours (red, gold, champagne) also may sport a dark mask.  












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 There can be a wide variation in the appearance of Sable Havanese. As newborn puppies they will appear as a base colour interspersed with dark hairs. The base coat can vary, ranging from cream, to gold to red.  The amount of dark coat can be heavy or sparse, and can be deep black or charcoal or silver. The more dark coat there is, the darker the dog will appear overall.  Some Sable Havanese have very little dark coat, in which case they may appear to be the base colour with just a few dark hairs here and there. The ears, tail and along the spine seem to be where the dark coat is most concentrated.  The differences in intensity of base coat colour and extent of dark tipping are what makes some Sables appear lighter and others darker. The puppies below are both Sable with touches of white.

Many people include the base coat colour when talking about Sables, so you will hear about Red Sable, Gold Sable etc.  Some registires have colour choices for each of these variations, others do not and group them all together under the general heading of "Sable".

That is a good question but not be so easy to answer. There are many genes that combine to make colour in the Havanese. Some of these cause colours to continue to develop and change over time.  You may not know whether your Havanese has these modifying genes or not until he grows up and you can see the effects of them. Knowing whether and how the colours of the parents may have changed will provide some clues.

Often, changes that start early lead to the biggest differences. Many colours soften to lighter shades.

There are many different genes which control colour in Havanese (at least 10 and quite likely more).  Some of the genes regulate colour, some determine pattern and markings and others are modifier genes.  The modifier genes are the ones which cause many of the changes you may see. Some cause the colour to lighten or soften or to develop in certain ways. Some affect colour in a very significant way and others affect it more subtly.  Some genes affect only light colours, other affect only dark colours and some affect both. Oftentimes, there is little way to know if these genes are in play until you see the effects of them.
- Light coloured dogs change the least.  White stays white.
- On dogs with colour plus white, the white may either stay pure white or may sometimes develop flecks of colour throughout. This is called ticking.
- Sable is one of the most changeable colours in Havanese. There are two main reasons for this. Dark tipping once cut off generally does not grow back, so a puppy that starts dark may appear much lighter as an adult. As well the base coat may soften as the dog matures. Just these two factors can lead to an adult dog that bears little resemblance to what he looked like as a puppy. A Sable dog generally will retain some dark tipping at least in the ears and tail where the dark hairs are most concentrated.
- Some dogs lighten and then darken again as they mature.
- Others develop colour banding in their coats.
- Many colours soften over time.
One thing is for sure. Havanese colours are always interesting and intriguing.

Where a Havanese puppy does not fall into one of the colour choices listed on the registration form, a breeder may choose to identify the colour/pattern as “other” and then define it. CKC may then register according to your description or they may change it to the closest identification they allow.  On-line registrations do not have this option and only allow the choices listed on our colours page. 
Registration colours are based on the dominant colour(s) at time of registration. Seeing as genotype (the gene combination responsible for the colour) is often unknown, choices are generally made from phenotype (what the dog looks like) at the time of registration.

For Havanese, the time when a puppy is new born to a few weeks of age is when the colours tend to be most intense and the patterns are most easily discernible. This is often the best time to select the registration colour.
If you are registering or acquiring an older puppy or importing one, then you would be guided by the colour on the foreign pedigree and/or the colour the dog is at the time you register it here in Canada.

The best age to differentiate sable from brindle is between 24 and 48 hours after birth.  At this time, the colours have had time to develop, but the coat is still short enough to distinguish between the two.

A true brindle coat will appear mottled, blotchy, or striped, with two or three different colours throughout the coat, and the irregular pattern is distributed throughout the entire coat. In a sable coat, there is an even distribution of dark hairs sprinkled through the coat, often with a concentration of darker hair along the back, legs and facial mask. For more information and photos of Sable or Brindle, please see their individual pages.

Sometimes differences between a sable puppy and a brindle puppy are quite obvious and othertimes they are much more subtle as you can see from the photos below.

All of these are names used to identify a dog which has a white as well as colour in its coat.

  • “Particolour” can be taken two different ways. First it is the broad and general term for any Havanese which has a coat of one or more colour(s) + any degree of white. Secondly, the name is sometimes used to designate a more specific pattern of colour/white where a dog is more than 50% white with irregular patches of one or more colours.  
  • “Irish Pied”, “Pied” or “Irish” are all terms that identify a particular coat pattern. A pied dog is mostly coloured (at least 50%). White markings appear in specific areas of chin, chest, feet, belly and tail tip. The dog will also have a full or partial white collar and may or may not have a white star or blaze on the face. The coloured portions of the dog are on the head, neck and body. The body colour appears like a cape or matle covering a large expanse of the back and sides. An Irish Pied dog is more or less dark on top and white on the bottom.  The extent of the markings gives many variations.
  • “White Markings”, sometimes also called “white trim” indicates a dog with only a small extent of white areas on the coat.  A dog with white markings will be mostly coloured and will have only small touches of white, perhaps a white star or blaze, a white chin, a spot or patch on the chest or belly and/or one or more white toes or feet.  
  • Some registries have individual registration choices for each of these variations, others do not. Canada does not at this time. The registration choice may be “colour and white”.  This identifies that the dog has defined areas of both colour as well white on the coat, it also identifies what the colour is but does not further specify the extent of white.

Points are lighter markings on specific areas of the body similar to the markings on a Doberman or Rottweiler. The lighter markings “points” appear on the eyebrows, cheeks, inside the ears, muzzle, chest, feet and vent (under the tail). Points can vary in extent and intensity. The colour can be variable from very pale to darker more intense colour in tan shades from off-white to pale gold to deep mahogany or in silver shades from platinum to silver to pewter. The point colour can be solid or brindled.  Black&Tan, Blakc&silver and Tricolour are examples that include points.
The colour of the points may hold their intensity or soften as the dog matures.  In a long coated dog like the Havanese, points may become obscured as the coat grows in. Points will be most noticeable on a puppy.

General Information

The National Club encompasses the entire country from coast to coast. Only the National Club has say in many issues that will shape the future of the breed in Canada (such as the breed standard). Local and regional Clubs have a smaller area of operation. Local Clubs may cover an area as small as a town or city while a regional Club may include a whole province or region of the country. Local and regional clubs may plan and host an assortment of gatherings and special events including local and regional specialties. Joining a local/regional Club provides an opportunity to network, exchange ideas, information, and discuss current issues throughout your city, province or region. Some Local/regional Clubs may be affiliated with the National Club while others remain independent. If I join a local or regional Havanese Club, will I automatically be become a member of the national club? Membership in a local or regional Havanese club does not provide you with membership to the National Club. They are separate entities. You may be a member of both the National Club and a regional/local Club if you wish


This online membership renew process is available for those who choose to renew their membership "on-line". Membership renewal via the postal system is still available who would prefer not to use this online process.

This online process involves four steps:

  1. Read and understand the statement (disclaimer, in bold) below
  2. Fill in the form with  following information about your mailing address, CKC number, etc
  3. Agree to the terms and conditions by clicking on submit
  4. You will be redirected to pay for your renewal membership via paypal and now sending a cheque via snail mail is an option too.

Your completed application will be reviewed by the HFC membership approval committee which takes about 4 to 8 weeks. You will be notified once your application has been reviewed. If your application is approved, your membership will be active as soon as approval is received.

  • Sending in an application does not guarantee acceptance. If your application is denied, you may choose to re-apply after one year. Even if your application is denied, you may still be active with the Club. You may choose a newsletter subscription to keep current with Havanese happennings throughout Canada. You do not need to be a member to attend, participate in and help out at HFC sponsored events. These are good ways for us to learn to know each other better.

Even if you do not meet the criteria for voting membership at this time, you may still meet the criteria for a non-voting member. Occasioanlly it may be more appropriate for you, or you may prefer to, simply be a newsletter subscriber for the time being. As circumstances change, you may be able to re-apply for membership at a later date. Non-members may be active with the club in some capacities, and may attend, particiapte and help out at HFC sponsored events.

What if I don't have a sponsor?

All membership classes do require the sponsorship of a current HFC member in good standing. A sponsor is much more than just a name.  A sponsor would be someone who knows you well and has known you personally for a minimum length of time. A casual relationship or passing acquaintance is not adequate for sponsorship.  We do understand that some potential applicants do not live near existing members. In such circumstances, where distance prevents close personal contact,  there are alternate ways to get to know someone where commitment and informed consent is made for such a goal. It takes time and effort to build a relationship. The members you anticipate to be mentors/sponsors/references need to be aware of your intent; please check with them before providing their name as a referral.  As you get to know members, one may be able to sponsor you in the future.

  • You can choose to print the membership form which can then be filled out and mailed in to Havanese Fanciers Of Canada – c/o Grace Westerson Site 9, Box 25, RR#2 Sundre, Alberta T0M 1X0.   If you have any questions phone: 403-638-3052 or email
  • You can request to have an application sent to your mailing address. Contact our membership secretary at or ph: 403-638-3052 or mail request to Havanese Fanciers Of Canada ; c/o Grace Westerson Site 9, Box 25, RR2 Sundre, Alberta T0M 1X0

It’s up to you. Voting members have the opportunity to be more active by taking on appointments to the Board of Directors and committee chairmanships as well as voting on important issues that affect the Havanese in Canada. To be a voting member, additonal criteria apply and you need to have sufficient breed knowledge to make informed decisions when necessary. Non-voting Associate members, Junior and Foreign members have many of the same benefits but with some restrictions. They can attend meetings and voice their thoughts and opinions. They have a voice but not a vote. They may participate on some committees and are entitled to listing in the on-line membership directory. As your experience and knowledge changes, you may be elligible for or wish to move to a different category of memberhsip. * All breeders are encouraged to apply for voting membership.

No it doesn’t. Being a subscriber only entitles you to be on the mailing list for our newsletter. Subscribers may be anyone who has an interest in Havanese whether they own one or not. Subscribers are not members of the Club and as such have no voice in the Club and are not eligible for any Club benefits. There are no requirements to the Club. If you are currently a subscriber, you may choose to apply for membership if you meet the above criteria.

For All Members

  • HFC members have a voice about many issues related to the Havanese in Canada
  • HFC members are listed on the Club member directory on our website
  • HFC members are eligible for HFC awards and contests          
  • HFC members receive a free subscription to our National Newsletter “Hav News and Views”  
  • HFC members are part of our online e-group, and can attend meetings and discussions
  • Make new friends through newsletter, e-groups, puppy parties and Special events.
  • HFC members have access to Club resources

Additional Benefits for Voting Members

  • only HFC voting members can vote on issues that matter to the Havanese in Canada ( ie. Standard)
  • only HFC voting members who are breeders are listed in the HFC Breeder referral service
  • only HFC voting members are listed in breeder Ads published by the HFC
  • only HFC voting members can be elected or appointed to be on the club Executive and Board of directors
  • only HFC voting members can advertise a Kennel or post litter announcements in the newsletter and website
  • only HFC voting members are entitled to a free kennel card in the newsletter
  • only HFC voting members may receive permission to hold HFC approved judges seminars

HFC members have access to our support network to help with home and breeder referrals as well as help for home evaluations in long distance puppy placements

Membership may provide opportunities to develop cooperative and reciprocal breeding relationships and may help members in finding help and guidance to improved breeding practices.

We wanted the HFC to be open to as many individuals as possible so try to keep membership fees affordable. All memberships include a free subscription to our quarterly newsletter.  HFC membership dues are $35 per year for voting members (rebate for 2nd voting member in same household), $25 for non-voting associate members and $10 juniors. Foreign membership (non-voting) is a little more at $27 because of higher postage for mailings.

If you love the Havanese breed and are looking for ways to volunteer your time and skills for the betterment of the breed, to meet and network with other Havanese Fanciers across the country, to have a voice on issues that matter to the future of the Havanese breed in Canada, to have an outlet to express your passionate love of the breed and have some fun along the way, the HFC may be for you.

Registration Matters

Why a CKC registered puppy? Or What unscrupulous breeds won’t tell you. Havanese puppies are expensive and you “just” want a pet, so, can you get an unregistered puppy to save money? For many potential puppy buyers it is an innocent question from an uninformed person. So the key is education.

Here we will try to tell you about some of the fallacies and myths about registration and pure bred puppies and pets.

We are delighted to hear that. All Havanese, whether showing or breeding dogs, or performance stars or anything else, all deserve to be first and foremost beloved companions ie) pets. All these other events are just a very small proportion of the entire time of a dogs’ life. The majority of their life is spent as a pet being loved and being part of their family. So, quite honestly every Havanese deserves to be a “Pet” in the true sense of the word.

Some people say “Just a pet” meaning that it won’t be a show dog. And that’s Ok, but by saying “just” a pet seems to imply that a pet dog is somehow less worthy than a show dog, or less important or that its OK for it to be substandard? Nothing could be further from the truth. True, for a show or breeding dog, breeders choose and keep the best examples of the breed however they do not breed “Show dogs” or Pet dogs” In any well bred litter, there are some of both. They are all equal but just like children; some have different potentials and aptitudes.


Both companion puppies and show potential puppies are born in the same litter, and are equally bred; it only makes sense that they be treated the same in registration matters too.

A CKC Registered Dog equals a Pure Bred Dog - This is TRUE; In Canada, the definition of a pure bred dog is a dog of pure proven lineage that is registered by an approved registry. For the Havanese breed in Canada, that is the Canadian Kennel Club. If it is not registered, there is no proof that it is purebred. If a dog is offered for sale as a purebred, it must be entitled to registration papers. If the dog is not or cannot be registered, then it may not be advertised as a purebred.


Under the "Animal Pedigree Act" ( 1985, c. 8 (4th Supp.) ), any dog sold as a purebred animal in Canada MUST be registered with an acceptable registry.  In the case of the Havanese, this registry is the CKC, Canadian Kennel Club.  Paperwork from the CKC is completed and signed by the seller and buyer at the time of sale and the Certificate of Registration from the CKC must be supplied to the buyer within 6 months of purchase of the puppy.  This is a requirement under Canadian Federal Law. 

As well, any responsible breeder should be a member of the CKC and these requirements are also included in the club's Code of Ethics along with a requirement to provide this paperwork at no additional cost to the buyer of this dog/puppy.

All registries are equal - FALSE 

Armed with the knowledge you have now, the word “registered” puppy seems to make sense and that is a tool you now use for screening. But, not so fast! Even then, be careful about "registered Puppies". While one assumes that “registered” means registered with the Canadian Kennel Club, this is not always so. Commercial breeders count on people who do not ask questions. They don’t want informed buyers as they know they won’t stand up to scrutiny. If a Havanese puppy is being advertised as “registered”, make sure the registry is the Canadian Kennel Club. There are also a number of other "registries" that register dogs that are meaningless, including ckc, ACA, UKCI, UABR and APRI. Continental Kennel Club for instance happens to have the same letters as the Canadian Kennel Club. ( ckc). Dogs from these registries are ineligible for registration with the Canadian Kennel Club. Unethical breeders bandy about the words 'registered" and hide under these other registries in an attempt to create an illusion of reputability. If potential owners do not ask, they will not tell. Be informed and ask questions. Ideally you want a Havanese puppy that is registered/registerable with the Canadian Kennel Club.
Nb: Puppies with AKC (American Kennel Club) papers and a few other approved registries may be dual registered in Canada. Those may apply if you are buying your puppy from the USA or Europe.


Many puppy buyers are under the impression that registered puppies are more expensive and that registration costs are very high - This is untrue. Registration costs are not nearly the exorbitant expense that some allude to.  Reputable breeders will never charge more for papers. A pure bred dog is a registered dog: Registration and associated costs are the responsibility of the breeder. Registration costs truly are nominal. In 2009, the cost of registering a litter is just over $20. Once the litter is registered, the breeder can apply for individual papers for each of the puppies. This is the registration certificate that belongs to the puppy and goes to the new owners. The individual registration cost less than $ 20 per puppy if applied for within 4 months of birth. If a breeder delays or if a breeder is not a CKC member, the costs do go up slightly but remain inexpensive. With the costs of registration being so low, there really is no reason for a registered puppy to cost more than an unregistered one. Just as important, is that it is illegal to charge extra for registration and registration costs are the responsibility of the breeder not the buyer. 


Breeders who offer to sell registered puppies for $$$ more than unregistered dogs are simply out for more money, and breeders who tell you that unregistered dogs are so much cheaper are not telling you everything. Charging more for papers is one way that disreputable breeders give an air of respectability. They know that few people will want to pay "extra". They sell more dogs as the lower price makes it sound like you are getting a "deal".   The truth is that their dogs may not even be registerable in the first place. If you pay more for the promised papers, you may never get them.

That paper may matter a lot more than you think. When buying a puppy in Canada, the word “purebred” is reserved for dogs of pure ancestry that are registered with an approved dog registry. For the Havanese, this is the Canadian Kennel Club. Furthermore, the Canadian Animal Pedigree Act states quite clearly that “a buyer of an animal represented as purebred is entitled to its registration certificate”. It is against the Canadian Livestock Act to sell a purebred dog without the papers therefore doing so is an illegal act and the persons that do this could be asking for problems if they are caught.

If you have no registration, and the unethical breeder you get your puppy from has more than one breed, you may not be getting what you think you are. Even at a perceived discounted price for an unregistered puppy, you could be paying a huge amount for a crossbred or mixed breed and not a Havanese at all. DNA testing is available, and many of the reputable breeders have their stud dogs DNA profiled so if there is ever any question, parentage can be positively established. This is unlikley to happen with an unethical breeder.  In their eyes, you wanted a puppy and you got a puppy. End of story.

Under the "Animal Pedigree Act" ( 1985, c. 8 (4th Supp.) ), any dog sold as a purebred animal in Canada MUST be registered with an acceptable registry. In the case of the Havanese, this registry is the CKC, Canadian Kennel Club. Paperwork from the CKC is completed and signed by the seller and buyer at the time of sale and the Certificate of Registration from the CKC must be supplied to the buyer within 6 months of purchase of the puppy. This is a requirement under Canadian Federal Law. As well, any responsible breeder should be a member of the CKC and these requirements are also included in the club's Code of Ethics along with a requirement to provide this paperwork at no additional cost to the buyer of this dog/puppy.

A breed standard is basically a blue print for the breed. Good breeders strive to breed dogs as closely as possible to this blueprint. This is what keeps a Havanese a Havanese and by breeding only the best to the best, the breed improves for the future. There is no perfect dog but perfection is what we strive for. Dogs designated for showing or breeding are ones that conform most closely to the breed standard and in this way can help to further and improve the breed in subsequent generations.

All dogs of all breeds have faults, some minor, some major. Within a litter, some puppies may be closer to the standard than others. In a well bred litter, the differences may be very subtle, perhaps something as minor as an ear a little too long or a nose a little too short. The puppy is just as well bred, from the same parents, from the same careful breeding program, raised with the same care and attention. A too tightly curled tail in no way impacts the quality or potential for being a wonderful family companion but it may be detrimental to a show career, so such a puppy may be placed into a companion home.

While an asking price may appear to be higher from a reputable breeder, in part this may be a reflection of all of the testing has been done on their dogs and they guarantee the health of their pups. Breeding ethically and properly can be expensive.


The unethical and commercial breeders often charge exactly the same price, but, without the testing and careful breeding and raising, the puppy will end up being more expensive in the long run.  Pet store puppies often cost significantly more than a registrered purbred from a reputable breeder. In many cases, cross-bred and mixed breed puppies are also sold for huge amounts. Puppy brokers have middle men, their puppies go through several hands before getting to their new owners. Each middle man takes a cut and each one adds a hefty profit on top of expenses.  The cost just goes up and up.


As well, commercial breeders and puppy mills sometimes have puppies that did not sell for assorted reasons, and so discount them to make them more saleable. This is simply a discounted “sale” price to attract potential unsuspecting owners to buy such a puppy. Discounted puppies may have health issues, or may have developped behaviour problems and be lacking in skills that they would have learned when placed into a home at an earlier stage of life. A "sale" may cost more than you bargained for.

FALSE – but that sure is what the pet stores want you to see. Of course the puppies are lonely. They are locked in a cage with a window looking out at people smiling and cooing at them through the glass. Any puppy locked up in a cage would rather be out there where the action is and lapping up all the attention it can get. Puppies sold in pet stores are offered for sale at exactly the time that they are their cutest and most beguiling. That sells puppies and that generates profits for those where money is the bottom line.


I would never buy a puppy from a puppy mill!

Good for you! However, puppy mills are not always what they seem. People in general think of a Puppy Mill as a mass production breeding operation with deplorable conditions as seen in the newspaper and television when a Mill is “busted”. Of course no one wants to support such operations, but many unsuspecting puppy buyers may be doing just that. These Mills you hear about are the worst of the worst. But you also need to know that there are other breeding operations that are just as poor. Any breeder who breeds for quantity and profits rather than quality is a poor breeder. Someone who breeds just a few times by accident or by design is sometimes called a backyard breeder.
A commercial breeder is one who breeds as a business for profit. They may have just one breed or many breeds of many dogs. While the dogs may be reasonably housed and cared for and do not live in the deplorable conditions of a “Puppy Mill” there may be no genetic testing done and no care or attention in breeding practices, just the production of lots of puppies. The more that people buy dogs from these sources, the more such puppies will be produced. It’s a vicious cycle. Backyard breeders, commercial breeders and puppy mills are the source of the majority of Pet Store dogs. Well bred puppies simply are not sold in Pet stores.

A breeder that will sell their dogs without papers is often a back yard breeder or commercial breeder who does not do any genetic testing and for a lower cost you could end up with a puppy that has luxating patella's, leg perthies disease, cataracts or perhaps something worse like a liver shunt or heart defect. To fix these things could be very costly. Overbreeding, poor breeding, breeding dogs that should not be bred and breeding without genetic testing produces masses of puppies which can then be sold cheaper. But then, such breeders are producing quantity not quality. The fall out is that unsuspecting families are left with a poorly bred dog that may have an assortment of health and other problems down the line. What is saved initially is often paid out later in Vet bills and heartache.


"Without papers" is a term used in regards to unregistered dogs

"With papers" is an every day term for a registration certificate

Anyone who has bred a litter of puppies is by definition a "breeder".  That is not an endorsement of quality or care. All breeders are definitley NOT the same.


Pure Bred = Well Bred  - FALSE -  All purebred registered puppies are not equal.  Papers and proof of pure bred status does not necessarily mean a quality puppy. While choosing a breeder who sells Canadian Kennel Club Registered puppies is certainly a good start, not all of these are as well bred as others.


See our section on How to Choose A Breeder to help you further.

We do understand that. Once you have made the decision to add a puppy to your family, it is difficult to wait. And that’s another ploy used by unethical breeders. They tout themselves as having the colour, sex, breed etc of puppy you want when ever “you” want it. From all you have read here, we hope you will see that purchasing a puppy in haste or on impulse may well be a decision you will regret in the future. When you consider that the addition of a Havanese to your family is a 12-15+ year commitment, researching thoroughly and waiting a few months for the puppy that is truly ideal for your family is perhaps not such a bad thing.


Reputable, ethical breeders do not do shortcuts when breeding. Please see our other sections for further tips on How to Choose a Good Breeder and How to Spot a bad one.