Welcome to Elfin Havana Silk Dogs. Each of our adult dogs is a Certified Havana Silk Dog™. So, you ask, just What is a Certified Havana Silk Dog™?? The Havana Silk Dog is a re-creation of the original dog of Cuba, developed through careful selection, of dogs that are phenotypically correct and who have passed all required health-testing and evaluations. These dogs are delightful by design...the true designer dog!
Havana Silk Puppies
A Certified Havana Silk Dog™ is small, hypoallergenic, drop or spaniel coated, minimally shedding companion dog that has met the requirements for full registration with the Havana Silk Dog Association of America; a younger dog can receive provisional certification after passing preliminary requirements. To be eligible, dogs must pass all health testing required to receive a CHIC number (visit Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for more information on CHIC) and, in addition, must pass a conformation evaluation by an evaluator certified by the HSDAA, have DNA on file, and be certified chondrodysplasia-free by soaped pictures. For breed history and details, please visit the Havana Silk Dog Association of America.
We are proud founding members of the Havana Silk Dog Association of America.
We have been involved in breeding and showing sound, healthy, top winning show dogs and well loved pets since 1992. With our Elfin Havana Silk Dogs we are committed to continue breeding dogs that conform to original Cuban type, with soft, silky coats and free from chondrodysplasia. For more information on the Havana Silk Dog Association and our mission, please visit the HSDAA website.
Who's There?? The Elfin Silks greet visitors!
Why Havana Silk Dogs...
There's a fair amount of discussion on the internet about Havana Silk Dogs lately, and many puppy buyers are understandably confused. There has been a concerted effort by Havanese breeders to co-opt the Havana Silk Dog name by asserting that the Havanese and Havana Silk Dog is the same breed. This is simply not so. The original Havana Silk Dog was part of the heritage of the modern Havanese but they were never the 'same' dog. Even Cuba's resident expert on the Havanese, Zoila Portuondo Guerra, states in her book Bichon Havanese, that the Silk Dog was a progenitor and not the same as the Havanese. It's important to understand that "Havana Silk Dog" is merely one of many old names used in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe to describe the little dog of Cuba, and probably the most descriptive, which is why the HSDAA chose to use it. The Havana Silk Dog and Havanese standards describe entirely different dogs, from coat to outline.
A Certified Havana Silk Dog™ is a rare breed which has been registered with the Havana Silk Dog Association of America, a voluntary and independent group of breeders and owners dedicated to preserving the original looks, robust health, and temperament of the breed for the future.
In order to be certified with HSDAA, a dog must provide documentation (through OFA) that it is free of congenital deafness, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and heritable eye disease, as well as a DNA profile to guarantee parentage, all of which simply represents good animal husbandry and should intelligently be expected of all responsible breeders. In addition, all new certifications will require DNA to be banked with CHIC OFA so assure a store of DNA for research material that may be used by scientists working to understand and improve the health of dogs. This dedication to health is one of the hallmarks of Havana Silk Dog breeders and fanciers. In this world of Designer Dogs (all 'breeds' are designer dogs, if you think about it...they have all been modified from the monomorphic dog by man's hand), our dogs are designed for Health, rather than for extremes of conformation that are not always in the best interest of the dogs (think of breeds with such flat faces they cannot breathe normally or with short legs and long backs predisposting to orthopedic ills.) But more importantly, to obtain certification, a dog must pass a physical examination to determine that it displays physical soundness and acceptable breed type,as well as freedom from osteochondrodysplasia, a form of skeletal abnormality common in the Havanese breed and shown to be associated with cataracts, heart problems, and liver abnormalities in the breed. (To read more about this research conducted over several years by the Murphy lab at TAMU, and results of which were published in the Journal of Heredity in August 2007, please click here: Hereditary Evaluation of Multiple Developmental Abnormalities in the Havanese Dog Breed
The ability of breeders to utilize cutting-edge scientific research to make decisions in their own breeding programs which will ultimately result in healthier purebred pets is increasing daily, and is surely the best argument breeders have in the battle against the Animal Rights Movement's campaign to end the deliberate breeding of dogs. Those breeders who refuse to take advantage of it, for whatever reason, ultimately imperil the future rights of all of us to own and breed dogs.
Rather than be part of the problem, the members of HSDAA have chosen to be at the forefront of the solution.
In a climate where PETA has publicly stated that there "are no responsible breeders" and that purebred dogs are often selected for a certain "look" which predisposes them to serious health problems, the HSDAA has taken the opposite approach - breeders can, if they are willing, select for a physical type which predisposes the dog to a longer and healthier life.
Along with their HSDAA registration application, the owners must also submit soaped photos of their dog demonstrating soundness and proper proportion.
Dogs displaying bowed or abnormally short forelegs would be ineligible for HSDAA certification, as organization is dedicated to rigid selection away from the osteochondrodysplasia.
It is important to understand that a dog with a short or bowed front can have a current CERF and OFA-certified hips and patellas and, unfortunately, many do!
Only straight/equal front legs are acceptable in HSDAA.
If a breeder refuses to provide soaped photographs of a puppy or its parents, the prospective buyer might intelligently wonder why. They cannot afford to waste the shampoo, perhaps? Their camera is broken? Or... just maybe... they don't want the puppy buyer to see what is really under the coat????
An AKC championship unfortunately affords no guarantee that a dog is free from osteochondrodysplasia or its associated problems. The pretty Havanese bitch pictured below easily achieved an AKC championship, and subsequently developed cataracts before the age of three.
And by AKC's rules, had this bitch been bred to an AKC registered Havanese male, the resulting offspring would have been automatically eligible for AKC registration. (Unlike the HSDAA, the American Kennel Club has never required proof of health-screening as a condition of registration.)
Used with permission by Diane Klumb
Click image to go to the Honest Kitchen
You may have heard that Silk Dogs are picky eaters. Well, that is not the case with the Elfin dogs! All my dogs are members of the 'clean plate' club. Maybe it's because I enjoy feeding my dogs high quality food that they LIKE. And they love The Honest Kitchen foods. Embark (turkey), Force (chicken) and Zeal (whitefish) are regular entrees here. I rotate through these three so that my dogs are not eating the same protein for long periods of time (which I believe can lead to sensitivities.) I use a variety of foods (all grain free and all either organic or close to it) and add fresh meat, eggs and several supplements. Two of my favorite supplements also come from The Honest Kitchen. Sparkle, for coats and Perfect From for digestion are entirely natural herbal supplements. So, if your dog is a picky eater, maybe you just haven't picked the right food yet!