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.