THE FUN of Havanese colours

We are often asked about a wide array of colors in the Havanese.  They are both intriguing and fun to explore, ever changing as they grow.  Predicting these colors takes a little bit of genetic understanding, and a lot of guess work too.  We hope you will find the following information helpful in understanding the colors of this amazing breed.

HAVANESE COLORS- According to the American Kennel Club's standard, all colors are acceptable, singly or in any combination.  There is no preference given to one color over another.  We have listed below the standard color options found with AKC registrations.
BLACK [007]
- A solid colored dark black, with a glossy appearance, and without reddish or brown tones.  This color does not lighten.

BLACK & SILVER [016] or BLACK & TAN [018]
- A primarily black coat, with points of tan or silver laid out in the type of pattern that would appear on a Doberman or Rottweiler. These colored points are found on the eyebrows, muzzle, underside of the ears, cheeks, legs, chest and vent.

- Puppies are born chocolate. True chocolate dogs will have self-colored pigment; they cannot have anything black. They usually also have lighter colored eyes in warm brown, amber or golden shades. Chocolate coats may vary from very light Cafe au Lait to Milk Chocolate to a darker Chocolate color. Some chocolate dogs may turn silver. Chocolate refers to the pigment color and not only the coat color. Eye color is the most reliable indicator of whether a dog is actually chocolate or if it just has poor pigmentation. On a true chocolate, in addition to the liver pigment, the eye color will be a soft amber color. If your dog’s eyes are black with a lighter brownish nose then what you have is poor pigmentation and not a chocolate.

CREAM [076]
- Ivory or creamy yellowish white, the color of dairy cream or almonds.  Pale tawny yellow, the color of champagne. Yellow undertones. Cream coats can be beige from light to deep intensity, often with a slightly darker coloring on the ears.

FAWN  [082]
- Fawn is a cool color ranging from tan and buff to light brown shades. 

GOLD [091]
- This is a rich warm color in various shades of medium gold from honey to apricot. There are very definite reddish highlights to the coat. True Gold dogs retain much of their color throughout their lifetime, though the color may soften with age. 

RED [140]
- Red is also a rich warm color, similar to Gold with deeper and more intense color, ranging from to Orangey Red to deep Mahogany.

SILVER [176]
- Puppies are born black and start to lighten at about 4-6 weeks of age. As the dog matures, the coat will lighten to varying shades of silver from pale platinum, sterling and pewter to deep grey. The coat change is complete at approximately 12-15 months of age. 

WHITE  [199]
- Pure snow white, with no color allowed on any part of the coat including the ears.

- Sable coats are distinguished by darker tipping on a lighter colored underfur. The amount of tipping may be very heavy or very light. The underfur can be gold, red, fawn, chocolate or silver. Tipping is generally black but may also be darker shades of brown, gold or silver. Each hair will be variegated from root to tip. Sable coats often lighten or progressively silver as the dog matures. Some Sable dogs lighten dramatically almost all the way to a pale Ivory or Off-white leaving just subtle shadings and highlights of color. A true Sable will always retain the dark tipping on the ears and tail (even if its just a few hairs). Sable is the most changeable of all the Havanese colors.

- Much confusion surrounds brindle markings. Brindle is one of the more complex coat colors. The classic brindle combination gives dark bands, more or less regular tiger striped on a lighter background any shade from cream, champagne, tan, gold or silver. (ie. Similar to brindle coats of the Boxer or Dane). Tiger stripes are apparent at birth and run all over the body in streaks or stripes of black or brown. Not all Brindles have this classic striped look. Brindle may also appear more subtly as a combination coat where two or more different color hairs are mixed throughout. Black, brown and auburn hairs intermixed may make a dog appear a tobacco color all over. This combination is often called Havana Brown. In Brindle coats, the color of each hair must go from root to tip. The base color may lighten as the dog matures but the overall pattern will remain. Brindle dogs often have a dark mask on the face. Brindle is not the same as Sable where the coat is only tipped in color.

PARTI-COLORED (also referred to as PIEBALD) [038]
- A two color coat with 50% or more of the coat being white, with the colors laid out in NO particular pattern.  There are often irregular patches or spots of any second color.

- A two color coat with 50% or more of the coat being any color other than white, with the colors laid out in the following SPECIFIC pattern:  The underbelly and lower legs are white. There is also white on the chest up to the bottom of the chin, as well as a full or partial white collar or shawl around the neck. The tip of the tail is always white. There may be a colored mask on the face. The coloring on the back is solid and appears as a large saddle or cape covering the shoulders, back and sides. Topline is colored while the underline is always white.