Hello! I’m Romeo—a 7-year-old male Havanese. I live with my sister Juliet—a 6-year-old Havanese. (By the way, we’re not actually brother and sister, but we are related. My father is Juliet’s grandfather, which makes me her uncle, right?)
I’m writing this article because I have the most education—having attended PetSmart Puppy College when I was 5 months old. Poor Juliet never had formal schooling.
Although Juliet and I are similar in many ways, we also have distinct personalities, likes, and dislikes.
For example, although we both love to play, Juliet prefers chasing, shaking, and defluffing squeaky dog toys. She loves her toys—even taking them upstairs to bed with her at night! I prefer to chase a laser. (Yes … I know, most people think cats chase lasers, but some dogs like it too!)
Juliet and I love playing together. We enjoy wrestling, which usually gets Juliet riled up. She ends up running flat out around the couch five or six times. Because I’m more mature, I don’t do “zoomies”—although I halfheartedly try to catch her when she speeds by.
We both love shredding tissues. I’ve been known to look for them in trash cans. We also know that Daddy keeps a tissue in his pockets. If we see his pants on the floor, we’ll dig around until we find the tissue.
We love walks!
We both enjoy walks, but one walk a day is enough for us. It is also enough for Mommy because our walks can take a long time. We like to sniff and pee on every fire hydrant and mailbox post in our neighborhood—and there are lots! Mommy sometimes gets frustrated with how often we want to stop to sniff or explore.
Walks also take a long time because we are popular with the kids in the neighborhood. All the kids want to pet and play with us. Juliet is patient and kind with children. She lets them pet her and enjoys the attention. However, I’m more high-strung—the large groups of loud, unpredictable kids make me nervous and growly. I hide behind Mommy for protection.
Both of us love treats (especially those involving meat) and will beg for food from Mommy and Daddy. I’m more motivated by food than Juliet, but she’ll beg aggressively if it is something she really likes—like beef brisket! To beg for food, I stand on my hind legs and turn in a circle. Juliet isn’t as good at balancing as I am, so sometimes she stands up behind me. It looks like we’re in a conga line!
We know all the sounds that mean food—the crinkle of our treat bag, the opening of the refrigerator meat drawer, a tuna fish can being opened. I like to hang out in the kitchen when food is being prepared. If Daddy is grilling, I accompany him back and forth to the Meat Machine.
Here is a story that demonstrates how smart and observant I am. One time, Mommy went through a crepe making phase. However, Mommy isn’t always the best cook, and she often set off the smoke detector while making crepes. We don’t like the smoke detector because it hurts our ears. Juliet will evacuate the house, and I run to Daddy for protection. Well, after a few times of Mommy making the crepes and setting off the fire detector, I learned that Mommy always used the same bowl for making crepes. So, whenever I saw that bowl come out, I would run to Daddy for protection—even before the smoke detector went off!
We are velcro dogs!
In addition to food, we love Mommy. She is our favorite person in the whole world! Luckily for us, she is home with us almost all the time. We love having her nearby. One of us is always keeping an eye on her. If she goes upstairs, then we go upstairs. If she goes to the bathroom, then we go to the bathroom. If she goes in the backyard, then we go in the backyard.
Although we’re both Velcro dogs, Juliet is less dependent on Mommy than me. In fact, Juliet was adopted because they thought that bringing her into the house would lessen my obsession with Mommy. It didn’t work though! I still follow Mommy around, and Juliet follows me. It is like a little parade.
I get upset when Mommy leaves the house. I watch and wait for her to return. One time, Mommy and Daddy went away overnight, and we had babysitters come to our house. I stayed up all night looking out the front window waiting for Mommy to come back. It was a long night!
We don’t like being home alone. If our people are gone, we sit by the window and wait for them to come back.
Speaking of windows, we love looking out the windows from the top of the couch—even when Mommy is home. We monitor the front of the house and alert Mommy to Important Things. We let her know what we’re seeing with our three Barking Alert Levels.
Level One is a low growling that indicates we don’t like something, usually someone walking by the house. Level Two is regular barking, like when the mail lady comes up to the porch with a package. Level Three is non-stop, loud barking and pawing at the window, like when we see other dogs, cats, bunnies, squirrels, chipmunks, or plastic bags blowing in the yard. Level Three barking continues until the threat is gone or we lose our Window Privileges.
I also help the police and firefighters by howling along with their sirens. I consider it my civic duty.
We are great at communicating our needs. For example, if I want attention, I do the Bunny Sit, which is when I sit up on my hind legs with my paws in front of me like a bunny. No one can resist it, and it always results in belly rubs or attention. I invented it on my own one day. Juliet hasn’t quite mastered it yet—she has to hold on for support.
Juliet tends to communicate by scratching. If our water bowl is empty, she’ll scratch near it or let out a low growl to show we need water. She’ll also do this if she’s hungry or her ball has gone under a couch where she can’t get it. She scratches legs if she wants to be picked up, and she’ll scratch Mommy’s head if she wants an escort outside in the middle of the night. Mommy doesn’t like being woken up like that!
Juliet is more vocal than me. She always lets out happy barks when our people get home and runs to get them one of her toys. I tend to greet people by licking their face and jumping up on them—especially Mommy. She gets no less than 40 licks every time she gets home—even if she has only been gone for a few minutes.
Our Havanese similarities
Other similarities between us:
- We both prefer laying on soft things like pillows and fluffy blankets. Although I feel that I have the right to sleep at the top of the bed with my head on a pillow just like Mommy and Daddy.
- We both do the Havanese Snap Yawn—yawning and then closing our mouth suddenly.
- We lay and orient ourselves in the exact same positions but in different parts of the room.
- We make similar moaning sounds if you rub our ears or pet us in our preferred way.
- We are both terrified of thunder and fireworks.
- We don’t enjoy riding in the car, though I don’t freak out about it as much as Juliet.
- Although our breed is the national dog of Cuba, neither one of us enjoys hot weather. We actually prefer playing in the snow—even though it sticks to our fur and makes little snowballs. When we cut our walks short on a warm day, Daddy always says “It’s too hot for Havanese!”
As for differences, I’ve covered a few already—Juliet is more vocal and friendlier, and I’m more food-motivated and obsessed with Mommy. Other ways we are different include:
- Juliet is sensitive. If our people are yelling or upset at each other, she will run outside and sit on the deck—even in the rain. This usually ends the disagreement as everyone feels bad for Juliet.
- Juliet likes to cuddle more than I do. I want to be nearby but have my own space, but Juliet prefers to be held and cuddled.
- I watch TV whereas Juliet seems oblivious to it. I actually jump up and bark and jump around in a circle if I see any kind of animal on the TV—even if it is a drawing like Brian on Family Guy.
- Juliet is scared of her own toots whereas I just let them rip. Maybe that is a boy thing!
Let’s talk about grooming!
I have to end this article by talking about The Groomer as no decent article on Havanese can ignore our grooming needs. We need lots of grooming!
Havanese don’t shed like many other dogs, which is a big plus for housekeeping. Our hair grows like human hair—it is really soft and silky, but it needs lots of grooming to keep it from getting messy. If uncut, our hair can grow to 8 inches long! It also tends to pick up dirt, leaves, sticks, and burrs. In this sense, we are both Velcro dogs—stuff sticks to us and gets caught in our hair all the time!
Mommy keeps our hair cut short in a “puppy cut” so we don’t get as messy. We visit the groomer every 6 weeks to get a haircut.
We also get baths at home every week. I hate getting my head wet during bath time. I struggle so much that Mommy can’t bathe me by myself. Daddy helps by holding me down. The day they discovered that I can jump out of the bathtub by myself was quite the surprise!
Mommy also combs and brushes our hair frequently to keep it from getting mats and tangles. It can take a long time, and we don’t always enjoy it—especially Juliet. She will struggle and squeal—especially when Mommy is trying to get rid of a tangle. It can be exhausting for everyone!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Havanese dogs! We are smart, loving, friendly dogs but we crave the companionship of our human family. If you can’t be with us for most of the day, we’d be miserable! We also need lots of grooming to keep us looking our best. However, we’ll pay you back with lots of love, funny antics, and a zest for living that adds joy to the household.