Saturday, November 1, 2008

Beware of the dreaded Multiple Havanese Syndrome

It starts innocently enough. You get a dog, a little pooch with so much hair you can barely see its eyes.
At first you think it's just another lap dog. But you quickly discover that the Havana Silk Dog is no ordinary canine.
The spunky dog, also known as the Havanese, has roots in Cuba and its history is rich. At one time, it was nearly wiped out. But these dogs are survivors. And breeders say they have grown in popularity over the years on both sides of the Florida Straits.
But be careful, they say, because you can get hooked on them pretty easily.
Make that, infected.
Yep, hang around with these guys long enough and you just might get MHS - Multiple Havanese Syndrome. And then there's no turning back.
Fortunately, there's help - the Havanese Forum, a support group for people with MHS.
I don't believe I've been infected with MHS yet, although I was exposed to the breed a few years ago while shooting pictures of the pooches with their breeder in Havana.
There are many breeders of the dog in the United States. Some of them disagree over issues of pedigree and genes. Among those who appear to be at odds: the Havanese Club of America and the Havana Silk Dog Association of America.

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