Natural Rearing at Highland Glenn

Natural Rearing at Highland Glenn Havanese includes, but is not limited to, a raw diet, chemical, and toxin-free environment:  

DIET Science supports the fact that like their wild cousins, dogs are carnivores thus we feed our Havanese exclusively a Prey Model-style Species Appropriate Raw Food diet (SARF). The meat is whole (as opposed to ground), medication/hormone-free/grass-fed as much as possible; supplements as needed. Along with their ancestral raw diet, our dogs enjoy spring water, clean mountain air, sunshine, and lots of love. They have healthy teeth and gums, energy and stamina for any activity, and beautiful muscle tone. The satisfaction in seeing the bright eyes of our dogs eagerly anticipating their raw meaty meal is priceless! There are no picky eaters here! Our dogs rarely go to the veterinarian, further proof that Natural Rearing suits them well.

CHEMICAL-FREE ENVIRONMENT We use no chemical products of any kind in our home or on ourselves, nor are synthetics, fertilizers, or chemical 'cides' used anywhere on the Ranch. This is beneficial for the environment and wildlife, too.

We do not use flea/tick insecticides, heartworm medications, deworming drugs, etc. Chemical products are simply not used in, on, or around our dogs! Animals with a strong immune system rarely have parasite overloads. If there is a concern, there are many natural therapies at our disposal.


Our evidence-based choice is that our dogs be vaccine-free, allowing their bodies to build true immunity naturally through normal, mild exposure. There is no sound medical evidence that multiple vaccines as youngsters and then annual booster shots for life are necessary. On the contrary, research has revealed that they are quite harmful.

This is a decision each companion animal guardian must face and make for themselves, carefully weighing the risks of all options to find where one is comfortable. Nature knows what to do and how. After all, the immune system was marvelously designed! A strong, healthy system is infinitely more resistant to all diseases than one that has been repeatedly compromised by toxins.

HEALTH TESTING Healthy dogs and puppies are the primary goals at Highland Glenn, with temperament a close second and correct type according to the Breed Standard. The Havanese is mainly a healthy breed. Here are some conditions that do occur: Heritable Cataracts- the most common problem seen in the breed; Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)- not a widespread issue; Cardiac- heart murmurs are reported, but understated; Patellar Luxation- patellas (kneecaps) slipping out of place, common in most small breeds.

You have our promise that only the healthiest dogs exhibiting no known hereditary disorders are used in our select breeding program. Our dogs have been cleared of 250+ known hereditary diseases/disorders through the Canine HealthCheck DNA panel through Paw Print Genetics. And they have generations of health-tested dogs behind them.

It is essential to understand that there are limitations to health tests with respect to genetics.  Some health problems known in the Havanese breed are known to be influenced by genetics, but researchers do not yet know how many or which genes are involved. Proper joint formation of hips and knees, for example, is affected by several factors, from the nutrition of the mother to whelping box surfaces to available hormones in a growing pup. Instead of exposing our dogs’ reproductive organs to x-ray radiation, we support every aspect of canine development through Natural Rearing.


Lifestyle, environment, and diet combined play the largest role in health. This field is called “epigenetics” and has shown that the expression of genes can actually be turned ‘off’ or ‘on’. Diet is the foundation that largely determines a dog’s state of health, in this case, a biologically appropriate raw diet meant for carnivores, along with the avoidance of chemicals and toxins. Health certifications cannot predict the health of a particular dog’s offspring. 

The up-and-coming “Gold Standard” in dog breeding is that of utilizing the science of DNA testing. These panels look for the known genetic markers of hereditary canine diseases. A dog with clear health certifications as outlined above can still be a carrier of hereditary disease.

In any case, no human can guarantee perfectly healthy dogs. Barbara J. Andrews in her article at stated: “Until we have solid statistical data to back up rhetoric, and until we can be assured that a test is definitive and not interpretive, we can only regard health certifications as a professional but personal opinion, not a scientific fact.  Health certifications should be encouraged but duly noted and weighed as just one factor relating to overall health, temperament, and quality when breeding decisions are made.”

The health tests we perform on our Havanese are:

  • DNA Panel- Canine HealthCheck from Paw Print Genetics; this is done once at any age and tests for over 250+ canine genetic markers.

  • PATELLAS- This test is done once after reaching 1 year of age. Hips are examined at this time.

  • HEART- Done once in their lifetime at 1 year old.

  • CERF- Performed by a canine ophthalmologist, this eye test is done annually beginning at 1 year old, until the dog reaches 7 years old.

** Results are not required to be posted on our website to be valid. You can verify test results at; all you need is a dog’s registered name. You can also research CERF results at  


Visit the Havanese Club of America (HCA) website for general health information on Havanese.