The Havamalt is a delightful crossbreed of the Havanese and Maltese. The adorable mix brings together the best traits of two beloved and popular small dog breeds.
Their adaptable and eager-to-please disposition makes them excellent pets, provided they receive the attention, exercise, and training they need to thrive. What factors do you need to know when considering adopting or rescuing this breed?
We dive into the history, temperament, appearance, care, and more of the Havamalt to help you decide if this charming canine companion is the right fit for your family.
The Havamalt’s history is rooted in the crossbreeding of the Havanese and Maltese, both of which have long and storied pasts.
The Havanese has a rich history dating back several centuries. The Havanese’s ancestors were brought to Cuba by Spanish settlers during the 16th century, where they were bred over time to develop the breed we know today.
Initially, Havanese served as companions to Cuban aristocrats and wealthy families. They earned the nickname “Havana Silk Dog” due to their luxurious, silky coat. These dogs became cherished members of Cuban households and played a significant role in the culture and society of the time.
The Maltese, on the other hand, is one of the oldest toy breeds with a history that traces back over two millennia. They are believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region, particularly on the island of Malta, which gave them their name. The Maltese was a favorite among European royalty and nobility, often depicted in art and literature as a symbol of opulence and refinement. They found their way into the hearts and homes of aristocrats across Europe, where they were pampered and adored.
The Havamalt’s origins are relatively recent compared to its parent breeds. This delightful Maltese mix was created by crossing Havanese and Maltese to combine their desirable traits. The exact date and circumstances of the first Havamalt’s creation are not well-documented, as mixed breed dogs often result from accidental matings or the desire to produce puppies with specific characteristics.
Breeders who created the Havamalt likely aimed to combine the Havanese’s friendly and sociable nature with the Maltese’s elegance and charming demeanor. The goal was to develop a small, affectionate companion dog with a delightful personality, a luxurious coat, and a loyal disposition.
The Havamalt, as a designer breed, has gained popularity in recent years due to its appealing traits and suitability for families and individuals seeking a loving, small-sized pet. This breed continues to evolve, with dedicated breeders working to maintain and refine its unique qualities.
The Havamalt is known for its delightful temperament, combining the best qualities of both parent breeds. Understanding their temperament is crucial for anyone considering this breed as a companion. Havamalts are incredibly affectionate and thrive on human interaction. They form strong bonds with their owners and love to be close to them. Expect plenty of cuddles, snuggles, and affectionate gestures from them.
These dogs are typically very friendly and welcoming to both family members and strangers alike. They have a social nature and often get along well with other dogs and pets in the household. Both parent breeds are known for their intelligence, and the Havamalt inherits this trait. They are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. Mental stimulation is essential to keep their sharp minds engaged.
Despite their small size, Havamalts can be quite alert and make excellent watchdogs. They have a tendency to bark when they sense something unusual or unfamiliar, making them a good choice for alerting their owners to potential intruders or disturbances. These dogs are eager to please their owners, which makes training them relatively easy. They are responsive to commands and thrive on praise and rewards. Loyalty is a hallmark trait of this dog. These pups are devoted to their owners and will go to great lengths to protect and comfort them.
Size & Appearance
Havamalts are small-sized dogs, and their adult size typically falls within the range of 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) in height at the shoulder. They are considered a toy or small breed with distinctive facial features, including their moppy hair. They typically weigh between 7 to 15 pounds (3 to 7 kg), with females generally being slightly smaller than males.
They have tiny, slightly rounded heads with expressive, almond-shaped eyes. Their eyes are typically dark and alert, giving them an intelligent and engaging expression. The ears are often floppy and can be covered with long, silky hair. Their bodies are compact and well-proportioned, with a straight back and a moderately long neck. The chest is deep, and the tail is often carried high and can have a slight curve. Their coat can have a slight wave or curl, reminiscent of the Havanese parent breed. Due to the Maltese influence, their coat is typically white or cream, but it can also have color variations.
While white or cream is common, Havamalts can display a variety of coat colors, thanks to the influence of the Havanese parent. Colors may include shades of black, silver, sable, or chocolate. Some may have parti-color patterns featuring two or more distinct colors on their coat.
Havamalts adapt well to various living conditions, including apartments and houses with or without yards. They are versatile and can usually adjust their activity level to their living environment, provided they receive enough exercise and mental stimulation. Because they are so attached to their owners, these dogs can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. They thrive on companionship and may become distressed when separated from their family members.
Training & Exercise
Early socialization is crucial to ensure your Havamalt is comfortable around other dogs, animals, and people. Expose them to various situations, environments, and people from a young age to prevent shyness or fearfulness. Engage your dog in interactive play sessions. They enjoy games like fetch, tug-of-war, and hide-and-seek. Puzzle toys and treat-dispensing toys can also provide mental stimulation.
Havamalts require daily walks to burn off energy and satisfy their curiosity. Aim for at least 30 minutes to an hour of exercise per day, split into multiple shorter walks if needed. On days when outdoor exercise is limited, indoor play can help keep them active. Set up obstacle courses or engage in indoor fetch to prevent boredom. Keep their exercise routine varied to prevent boredom. Explore different routes for walks, introduce new toys, and engage in activities that tap into their agility and problem-solving abilities.
Remember that Havamalts are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so adjust their exercise routine accordingly in hot or cold weather. Additionally, consistency and patience in both training and exercise are key to raising a well-behaved and content dog. Meeting their physical and mental needs will help ensure a happy and well-adjusted companion.
Like all dogs, they can be prone to certain health issues, many of which are inherited from their parent breeds. It’s important for owners to be aware of these potential health concerns and take proactive steps to maintain their dog’s well-being. Here are some common health issues associated with Havamalts:
This condition involves the dislocation of the kneecap and can cause lameness and discomfort. Regular vet check-ups can help detect and manage this issue.
Although not as common in smaller breeds, hip dysplasia can still occur. It’s a hereditary condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and mobility issues.
Small dog breeds can be prone to dental issues like periodontal disease. Regular dental care, including brushing and dental check-ups, is essential.
Some may inherit heart problems, such as mitral valve disease. Regular cardiac evaluations by a veterinarian are important for early detection and management.
Both Havanese and Maltese are prone to eye issues, including cataracts and retinal problems. Regular eye exams can help identify and treat these conditions.
Havamalts can develop allergies to food, environmental factors, or certain grooming products. Allergies can cause skin issues and discomfort, so it’s important to identify and manage allergens.
This condition affects the windpipe, causing breathing difficulties. It is more common in toy breeds to be at risk.
White Shaker Syndrome
This neurological disorder, also known as idiopathic cerebellitis, is more common in Maltese but can occur in Havamalts as well. It causes tremors and incoordination.
While not extremely common, they can be at risk of liver shunts, which affect the normal functioning of the liver. Symptoms may include stunted growth and neurological issues.
Small breeds are prone to low blood sugar, especially as puppies. Feeding them small, frequent meals can help prevent hypoglycemia episodes.
This orthopedic condition affects the hip joint’s blood supply, leading to pain and limping. It’s more common in toy breeds.
This condition can cause coughing and breathing difficulties, and it’s more common in tiny dogs.
It’s essential for Havamalt owners to work closely with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about the breed’s potential health issues. Regular check-ups, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and maintaining good dental hygiene can go a long way in promoting the overall health and well-being of your dog. Responsible breeding practices can also help reduce the risk of inherited health problems.
The lifespan of Havamalt typically ranges between 12 to 15 years, though some individuals can live even longer with proper care and a healthy lifestyle. This lifespan is relatively consistent with the lifespans of their parent breeds, the Havanese and the Maltese, both of which are known for their longevity.
By providing consistent care and attention to your Havamalt’s physical and emotional well-being, you can help ensure they live a long, healthy, and happy life. Regular vet visits and open communication with your veterinarian are crucial for addressing any potential health concerns early and proactively managing them to extend your dog’s lifespan.
Providing a balanced and nutritious diet will help ensure your pup has the energy, vitamins, and minerals needed to thrive. Choose high-quality commercial dog food formulated for small breeds, which often have different dietary requirements than larger dogs. Look for brands that list a quality source of protein (e.g., chicken, turkey, or fish) as the primary ingredient.
Select dog food appropriate for your Havamalt’s life stage, whether they are a puppy, adult, or senior. Puppies need food with higher levels of protein and calories to support growth, while seniors may require food tailored to their aging needs.
Resist the temptation to feed your Havamalt human food or table scraps. Many human foods can be harmful to dogs and lead to digestive issues. If you use treats for training or as rewards, select small, healthy treats that are appropriate for your dog’s size. Limit the number of treats to prevent excessive calorie intake.
Some Havamalts may be prone to food allergies. If you notice signs like itching, digestive upset, or skin issues, discuss the possibility of food allergies with your vet and consider an elimination diet if necessary. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your Havamalt’s specific needs. They can offer guidance on portion sizes, dietary supplements (if necessary), and any dietary restrictions or allergies your dog may have.
The specific dietary needs of your Havamalt may vary based on factors such as age, activity level, and health status. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help ensure that your dog’s nutritional needs are met and any dietary adjustments can be made as needed to keep them healthy and happy.
With their long, silky coat, regular grooming is essential to prevent matting, keep their coat clean, and ensure their overall well-being.
Frequent brushing is key to keeping your Havamalt’s coat in excellent condition. Aim to brush their coat at least 2-3 times a week, if not daily, to prevent mats and tangles. Use a pin brush or a slicker brush to gently remove loose hair and debris. Pay special attention to areas prone to matting, such as behind the ears, on the belly, and around the legs.
Bathe your Havamalt as needed, typically every 4-6 weeks or when they get dirty. Use a high-quality dog shampoo and conditioner to maintain the softness and shine of their coat. Ensure you rinse thoroughly to remove all shampoo residue. Many Havamalt owners opt for regular haircuts to keep their dog’s coat manageable and free from mats. The frequency of haircuts will depend on your preference and your Havamalt’s coat type. You can choose to keep their coat long or go for a shorter, more manageable style.
Check your Havamalt’s ears regularly for signs of wax buildup, dirt, or infection. Clean their ears as needed using a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaner and a soft, damp cloth or cotton ball. Be gentle and avoid inserting anything deep into the ear canal.
Oral hygiene is crucial for small dog breeds like Havamalts, which are prone to dental problems. Brush their teeth daily or at least a few times a week using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. Dental treats and toys can also help maintain dental health. Havamalts can also be prone to tear staining, which can discolor the fur around their eyes. Gently clean the area around their eyes with a damp cloth to remove any discharge and prevent staining.
Grooming your Havamalt not only keeps them looking their best but also contributes to their overall health and comfort. Establishing a grooming routine early in your dog’s life will help them become accustomed to the process and make it a more pleasant experience for both you and your pet.
Breeders & Puppy Costs
Start by conducting thorough research to find reputable breeders. Look for breeders who specialize in small breeds and have a positive reputation within the dog breeding community. Ask for recommendations from local dog clubs, veterinarians, or Havamalt owner groups. Personal referrals from people who have acquired puppies from reputable breeders can be valuable.
Check reputable websites like the American Kennel Club (AKC) or the Havanese Club of America for breeder listings and resources. Reputable breeders often have a web presence or are listed on breeder directories. Ensure that the breeder conducts health screenings for genetic conditions common in Havanese and Maltese breeds. Ask for documentation of these clearances.
The cost of a Havamalt puppy can vary based on several factors, including the breeder’s reputation, the puppy’s pedigree, health clearances, and geographic location. On average, you can expect to pay between $800 to $2,500 for a Havamalt puppy.
It’s important to note that while budget considerations are important, prioritizing the health and well-being of the puppy should be your primary concern. Choose a breeder who prioritizes responsible breeding practices, health, and the welfare of their dogs. By doing so, you increase your chances of bringing home a happy and healthy Havamalt puppy.
Rescues & Shelters
Adopting a Havanese Maltese Mix from a rescue or shelter is a wonderful way to provide a loving home to a dog in need. While Havamalts may not be as common in shelters as some other breeds, you can still find mixed-breed dogs with similar characteristics.
While there may not be many breed-specific rescues, there are Havanese and Maltese breed-specific rescues that sometimes have mixed-breed dogs available for adoption. These organizations are dedicated to finding homes for dogs of those breeds and may occasionally have Havamalts.
As Family Pets
Havamalts are generally good with children, making them suitable family pets. Their friendly and gentle nature often results in harmonious interactions with kids. However, as with any dog, it’s essential to teach children how to handle and respect them, especially due to their small size.
The Havamalt offers a loving and affectionate companionship for those who appreciate their unique characteristics. With their friendly disposition, adaptability to various living conditions, and eagerness to please, they make excellent pets. However, it’s crucial to provide them with the proper care, including grooming, exercise, and a nutritious diet, to ensure their well-being and happiness.
With their potential for a long lifespan and unwavering loyalty, the Havamalt can be a treasured member of the right family or individual’s life, bringing joy and affection for many years to come.