What is the Havana Silk Dog Association of America and do they have a new breed?

A new organization has recently surfaced.  It is called The Havana Silk Dog Association of America (HSDAA).  This group claims
that dogs registered to the HSDAA are an "elite" registry of Havanese dogs who are appropriately health-screened, free of
chondrodyplasia (a condition which causes bowing of the legs and is sometimes associated with other serious health issues), and
who display "true Cuban breed type."  The goal of this organization is to gain recognition for the "Havana Silk Dog" as a breed that is
separate and distinct from the "American Havanese."  I would like to help clear up any confusion which this new organization may
have created for people new to the Havanese breed or those people who are considering buying their first Havanese puppy.  Please
understand that this organization's use of Havana Silk Dog to describe their "distinct breed" is very misleading.   The term Havana
Silk Dog is a historical name for the Havanese.  The Havanese is the native dog of Cuba and today there are many reputable Havanese
breeders here in the United States.  We are talking about the same breed, not a new, distinct, or designer breed!

Unfortunately, the creation of the HSDAA is a political movement within our breed which has had a divisive impact on our
long-established national breed organization, The Havanese Club of America (HCA).  I am disappointed that some individuals have
decided to segregate because I feel that it is in the best interests of the Havanese breed for reputable breeders to work together.  
There are many good breeders who are not members of HSDAA.  They do the recommended health testing,  they breed away from
chondrodysplasia and the other prevalent health issues in our breed, and they also select dogs for their breeding programs that are
true to the AKC breed standard.  The pedigree lines which are registered to the HSDAA are not exclusive to the HSDAA registry
since there are many non-HSDAA members who have the same lines.  Also, there are breeders of dogs that are registered to the
HSDAA who are not in agreement with the creation of this new registry.

I am not a member of the Havana Silk Dog Association of America and I view their objectives as being destructive to the common
good of our breed.  I will continue my association with the Havanese Club of America (HCA), will continue to work with the HCA
and I will continue to follow my current practices of health testing for healthy eyes, hearing, hips, patellas, and heart. I only breed
dogs with straight legs, therefore breeding away from chondrodysplasia.  I work with other breeders who health test their dogs and
have the same goals I have for breeding healthy puppies that exemplify the Havanese breed standard.

My caution to you is to not assume that you will be getting a healthier puppy, a better socialized puppy, or a puppy truer to the breed
standard if you adopt a HSDAA puppy.   The truth is that a puppy, whether called a Havanese or a Havana Silk dog, is produced
from the available gene pool.   There are health issues in the Havanese breed just as there are in every breed.  The conformation and
health of a puppy is in part due to the skill of the breeder, but it is also dependent on the way genes come together when two dogs
with a different set of genes are bred.  It is not an exact science and genes do not line up according to membership in one club or
another club.  It is a fact that two straight-legged, non-CD dogs, bred together can produce a puppy with CD. This is due to the
influence of hidden, recessive genes which are not expressed in the parents of the puppy. If you adopt a puppy and it develops a
health issue, then you should expect the breeder to stand behind their health guarantee to you, irregardless of their club affiliation.  
DO NOT assume that membership in a club guarantees the integrity of a breeder or their skill in the art of breeding.  What it comes
down to is that YOU must take responsibility for asking the right questions when selecting a breeder.  

Finding a reputable Havanese breeder

My best advice to you, a person who may be seeking to adopt a new Havanese puppy, is to do your homework!  Read about the
breed and the health issues.  Interview prospective breeders and ask to see proof of current health tests on their foundation dogs.  
Ask about how their puppies are socialized, about their health warranty, and go visit the breeder to see the environment where the
puppies are raised.  Beware of a breeder who has many unkept, poorly socialized dogs.  Under no circumstances should you
consider buying a Havanese puppy from a pet store or a puppy broker.  Your best source for healthy puppies is the hobby breeder
who shows their dogs in conformation events, health tests their foundation stock, belongs to breed organizations, and works with
other reputable breeders towards the goal of breeding healthy Havanese puppies bred to the AKC Havanese standard.  Additionally, a
reputable breeder will have a health warranty on their puppies which will tell you, the buyer, what they will do if your puppy develops
a serious health issue.  Good breeders do not want their puppies to end up in shelters and they require you to give them first option
for taking the puppy back if you can no longer care for it.  A good breeder's commitment to you to take a puppy back should be for
the life of the dog!  Credit for this page goes to Karen. Thank you for letting me borrow and revise it.
The Havana Silk Dog
Native Breed of Cuba - Known Today as The Havanese

Although it is new to the AKC, the Havanese is quite an old breed in "dog years". Its history is fascinating and important to defining
type, as it is unique in many respects. The Havanese is the National dog of Cuba and its only native breed
If you would like to read more about this subject, you can find an excellent write-up about the history of the Havanese breed on the
Havanese Club of America website
Havanese Roots is an important read. Please take the time to click
on the page and read it if you're thinking about a Havanese puppy.
Buyer Beware!!