The Havanese Club of America, Inc.

The members of the Havanese Club of America (HCA) serve as the guardians of the breed. To fulfill that role, we take pride in proactive health testing to monitor and maintain the health of the breed.  

The HCA participates in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) program through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).  CHIC is a centralized canine health database which promotes health testing and reporting of results for all purebred dogs. In order for a dog to receive a CHIC number it must have breed specific health tests performed.  The HCA has decided that for a Havanese to receive a CHIC certificate, the owner must provide results for four distinct tests:  OFA hearing (BAER), hips, patellas and an annual eye exam(CAER).

Since the original intent with the CHIC program was to simply encourage widespread testing and the open disclosure of results through the OFA database, dogs do not have to pass the required testing in order to obtain a CHIC number.  

In 2007, the HCA Health Committee (HC) developed the Top Paw Health Awards in order to further encourage maintaining the health of the breed.  For the HCA Top Paw Health Awards, the club elected to set the bar higher, and require that dogs must pass all tests in order to qualify.  In addition, higher award  levels were added to the Top Paw Awards to recognize those breeders who went above and beyond the minimum health testing requirements recommended by the HCA.

  • A brief description of the history and current award levels

    • The TOP PAW Awards were first put in place in 2007 and serve to encourage health testing by HCA members.

    • The revision effective Jan 1, 2016 simplifies the structure while reinforcing the intention of the award.

    • Health test results must be submitted to the public OFA database.    

    • The first level or GOLD Award is for those dogs that pass the HCA’s current CHIC requirements. 

      • The four CHIC requirements are:  OFA-BAER, OFA-CAER, OFA-Hip,  and OFA-Patella.  

    • The second, or Platinum level is for passing and recording one or more of other OFA supported health tests  beyond the current CHIC requirements. Additional OFA testing for the Platinum award may include Cardiac (congenital, and/or adult onset), LCP, Elbows, CD, and Thyroid

    • The third or Titanium award is for older dogs that have passed and recorded the CHIC required testing at age 7 years or older. 

    • The stud dog, brood bitch and breeder awards have been eliminated in the revision of 2016.

    • Paper certificates will be available at the HCA National Specialty to the owner of each dog who has qualified and applied for the award. Owners will also be recognized as the annual awards will appear prominently on the HCA HC webpages and will receive a graphic file version of the award logo which may be displayed on the webpage of the dog who won the award. This online award logo links back to the Health section of the HCA website.  

  • Havanese must be owned or co-owned by HCA members in good standing during the award year. The HCA member must complete the award submission form if the co-owner is not an HCA member. It is not necessary to be an HCA member when testing is performed.

  • Passing results are required on all tests (ie: a dog is issued an OFA certificate for each test).

  • All tests must be submitted to OFA and be available as part of their public database and in particular
    the CAER number must be current (exam must be performed in the award year).

  • Before testing, check with your veterinarian to determine the correct age for testing and for any special requirements.  In general:  

    • Congenital Cardiac -- Dogs must be 12 months or older to the day, at the time of examination.  Adult Onset Cardiac tests performed thereafter are only valid for 1 year.

    • BAER test can be performed as early as 6 weeks.

    • Patellas – Dogs must be 12 months of age or older.

    • Hips, Elbows, LCP -- Dogs must be 24 months of age or older at the time of the radiography.

    • Thyroid testing  is typically performed annually after one year of age, and every 2 yrs after 4 to 5 yrs.

    • Dogs over age 7, the CAER exam must be performed once on or after their 7th birthday.

  • The Titanium Award is a one time non-recurring award for each recipient.  All other awards may be earned annually.

  • The Health Committee will review and confirm the information on the Top Paw Application forms.

The Gold and Platinum awards may be earned annually.

The GOLD Paw award now consists of passing of the four tests required for CHIC (BAER, CAER, Hips and Patella). Passing of CHIC by both parents at the time of breeding is required for listing in the HCA Breeder Referral List.

  • OFA Cardiac:  The Health Committee (HC) recognizes that cardiac is relatively rare in the breed;  we wish nevertheless to monitor the incidence  by encouraging the broadest base of knowledge through testing and reporting to the OFA. Tests now include both Congenital Cardiac and Adult Onset Cardiac. The former is performed once after a dog has reached one yr. of age.  Adult Onset has been added in 2016, and  is performed annually. OFA Congenital  Cardiac currently may be performed by a veterinary cardiologist, other specialist or general practitioner. OFA  Adult Onset Cardiac must be performed by a ACVIM/ECVIM Cardiology Diplomate

  • OFA Orthopedic testing: The occurrence of Elbow Dysplasia and OFA Legg-Calve-Perthes (LCP)  are both  fairly rare in the breed but testing and reporting will provide a useful means of monitoring.   OFA Elbow can be performed at the same time as OFA Hips, required for the CHIC.  OFA-LCP certification is available at no cost if a dog has received a passing hip grade and the owner sends in the appropriate form to OFA after receiving that passing hip certificate

  • OFA Thyroid:  while non-life threatening, auto-immune hypothyroidism is believed to be a heritable condition and the HC encourages its monitoring through periodic testing and submission of results to the OFA.

The Platinum award is given to dogs passing CHIC who have also passed and had recorded any of the additional approved health tests conducted in the same year for which the CHIC is awarded. For first time Platinum award applicants, in addition to CHIC, we will accept any of the additional approved health tests conducted in previous years, that have been passed and recorded, to qualify for a first Platinum Award.

The Titanium Award is a one-time non-recurring award for each living recipient.  It may be applied for following the dog’s 7th birthday.  To qualify for the Titanium award we will accept testing conducted in any previous years after the recipients 7th birthday, provided it has been passed and recorded.