Why do Havanese hop ?7 important facts you should know

Why do Havanese hop ?7 important facts you should know

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In this article, you will learn all about the reasons why your Havanese is Hopping and Pouncing often.

Some Havanese puppies show abnormal hindleg movement as soon as they start walking. 

Some young or adult Havanese dogs show abnormal gaits all their lives. 

The lameness may be intermittent or constant.  Older Havanese dogs may show sudden signs of lameness as tissues break down over time. 

If you’re a dog owner with a toy or miniature breed dog like Havanese day you’ll probably have to deal with Hopping which could be due to Heredity Knee Problems. Should your Havanese have a luxating patella it may show signs of lameness or refuse to bear weight on his/her knee. This may happen only occasionally or frequently depending on the severity of the patella luxation and also the activity(ies) your Havanese is doing at the time

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For your convenience, I spent a significant amount of time researching and compiling all of the necessary information.

Why do Havanese hop ?

My Friend Havanese started limping and Hopping intermittently. They indeed took him to the vet who diagnosed him with both back knees having patella luxation, grade 2. The vet could feel the kneecaps slip out of the proper place.  

If your Havanese hops and Pounces often, it is better to take to your local vet and further Investigation for the major issues.

The few main possible reasons why your Havanese is Hopping are listed below.

Knee Problems

 You might notice that your Havanese is running along and then suddenly picks up a back leg and skips or hops for a few strides before continuing.

At times, your Havanese’s kneecap (patella) may become dislocated (called patellar luxation). You may note that he runs and then picks up one of his back legs and skips or hops for a few strides. Then he kicks his leg out sideways to reposition the kneecap, and he’s back to normal.

If your  Havanese’s issue is minor and affects only one leg, he or she may not require much treatment beyond anti-inflammatory medication. When symptoms are severe, surgery to realign the kneecap may be required to prevent it from popping out of position.

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Patella luxation 

Patella luxation  is a relatively common orthopedic condition in dogs including Havanese and is the medical term for dislocation of the kneecap.

The patella, or kneecap bone, is normally located in a groove at the end of the femur and slides up and down in that groove when the knee bends. 

In some dogs, various abnormalities of the leg will cause the kneecap to be dislocated from its groove, preventing the knee joint from bending appropriately. If the knee cannot bend correctly, it can cause pain, difficulty walking and even leg deformities.

Luxating patellas have a wide range of severity, and therefore have a wide range of treatment needs. Work with your veterinarian to find the right treatment for your individual pup.

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Havanese are renowned for is their love of being up high. This is common among cats but unusual in dogs. The favourite resting spot of most Havanese is a high place, like the tops of chairs or the sofa. As young puppies even, they may climb to the back of the sofa where they rest their little head on your shoulder and fall asleep with their paws on your arm

Signs and Symptoms of a Luxating Patella

When your dog is standing, look at him from behind. Is he assuming a bow-legged stance? This could indicate that he is at risk of developing luxating patella.

The most frequently observed symptom of luxating patella, particularly in tiny breeds, is skipping Or Hopping. You may notice your dog hopping along for a few steps before returning to its normal gait. As the kneecap pops out of position, you may even hear a clicking sound.

Additionally, you may notice your dog sitting with his knee pointed outward.

If your dog has both knees luxated, you may notice him walking stiffly or awkwardly. His knees may not fully stretch.

Certain dogs develop the ability to kick their leg to the side in order to reposition the kneecap in its groove.

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Clicking Sound In the Joints

When your dog straightens and bends its leg, the slippage of the knee will produce a clicking sound. This is frequently heard as your dog climbs from a sit to a stand. It has the same effect as a person cracking their knuckles.

Resistance to Leg Manipulation

Dogs with luxations may experience discomfort when their legs are stretched out, which may become obvious during grooming or when you stretch your dog before engaging in activities such as agility.

The dog’s leg may stiffen, he may whimper, scream out, or he may even snap.


Typically, Hopping off of the rear leg is the first sign of a luxating patella. Your Havanese may be trotting or even running when he loses pace with his hind leg. 

This may seem self-evident. The dog will deliberately take up one of its hind legs, hop a few yards without putting it down, and then resume using it.

This is a typical occurrence in terriers and is frequently misdiagnosed as a breed characteristic when it is actually an indication of a slipping knee.

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“Sitting Down” or “Puppy Sitting”

A telltale clue that your dog is having a problem is if they frequently flop into a “lazy sit” or “puppy sit.” This is an extremely relaxed sit with the hind paws rolled beneath the torso or with the legs flopped out and the back paws touching.

A regular sit should be performed with the dog square on its haunches, paws tucked under and knees stacked over them. A sluggish site shows dissatisfaction. For more information, see my article about lazy sits.

Pain in the Neck and Back

As the dog’s knee problems grow, he or she will seek to compensate by avoiding use of the injured leg. 

This implies they will either carry their entire weight on their front end when sprinting or jumping, or they may abuse the injured hind leg.

Muscular stresses occur as a result of carrying their weight in an uneven manner. These are typically located in the lower back, rear legs, neck, shoulders, and pectoral muscles.

If the problem persists, the dog may develop what is known as a “dead tail,” in which the tail hangs down and cannot be wagging. Alternatively, patients may get sciatica pain. 

All of these symptoms will improve with correction of the luxation.

What Factors Contribute to a Luxating Patella?

The patellar luxation might be congenital, hereditary, or the result of a severe injury.

The majority of luxating patellas are caused by hereditary abnormalities. Often, the femoral groove through which the kneecap goes is too shallow. Luxating patellas can also be caused by a skeletal abnormality, such as…

  • Hip dysplasia is an abnormal hip joint.
  • A femur that is angled and rotated abnormally
    A tibia that is deformed
    Quadriceps muscles that are too tight or atrophied (that pull the patella out of its groove).
  • A patellar ligament that is either overly long or too loose

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a condition that affects the hip joint. dysplasia is a medical term that literally translates as “abnormal development of the hip joint.” 

The hip joint is a “ball and socket” joint, which means that the “ball” (the top part of the thigh bone or femur) fits into a “socket” produced by the pelvis and that the “socket” is formed by the femur.

If there is a loose fit between these bones, as well as if the ligaments that serve to hold them together are loose, the ball may move out of the socket partially or completely (subluxate). 

Hip dysplasia can manifest as either clinically or non-clinically. Affected dogs are typically lame on one or both of their hind limbs when they show clinical indications of this condition.(Source)

Severe arthritis can develop as a result of a deformity of the hip joint, and as the disease progresses, the patient will experience increasing discomfort.

Many young Havanese dogs have discomfort during or shortly after the growing period, and this is typically the main reason your Havanese is Hopping and Pouncing while walking.


Legg-Calve-Perthes (LCP) disease of the hip joints is another condition that affects petite dog breeds like Havanese, Maltipoo and so on.

Due to a lack of blood supply, the ball component of the hip is injured, resulting in hip dysplasia.Leg limping, hoping discomfort, and finally, arthritis is common symptoms that emerge between the ages of 5 and 12 months old in pups.

X-rays are typically used to confirm the presence of LCP. The severity of the signs and symptoms of this disorder determines the course of treatment.

It is not uncommon for the muscles in the affected leg to begin to atrophy. If the atrophy is severe, it can significantly lengthen the recovery period and make medical therapy less likely to be effective.

A “false joint” is formed by the muscles after the head of the femur is removed, and this is how it is normally treated medically. The majority of the time, dogs recover nicely from surgery.

The exact causes of LCP are unknown; however, it is speculated that there may be a hereditary component to the condition as well. For further information, please see the Canine Inherited Disorders Database website. In recent years, the OFA has established a database for LCP.

Exercises To Help Luxating Patella for your Havanese

Dr Julie Mayer, a canine rehabilitation veterinarian, offers the following exercises to help with luxating patella.

They’ll assist in strengthening the muscles and enhancing knee stability. A strong quadriceps muscle coupled with a taut tendon reduces the likelihood of the patella slipping out of position.

Several times in a row, have your dog move from a sit to a stand.
If you have stairs (ideally carpeted), encourage your dog to walk up and down them three to five times daily. Additionally, you can choose a steep slope and have him stroll up and down it, zig-zagging across its face.

Instruct your dog in army crawling. Assemble him in a supine position and gradually entice him forwards with some food. Encourage him to maintain a low profile.

Walking over cavalettis (a row of raised bars) promotes stifle flexion and extension.

You can use leg weights above the hock to generate resistance and help your dog’s muscle strength by taking him on a walk or performing his activities with them on.

Swimming or using an underwater treadmill can also help strengthen the surrounding knee structures. The resistance provided by the water helps increase muscle strength, and the buoyancy makes it a safer workout.

Why Should No Dog Should Live
with  A Luxating Patella?

Any dog with a luxating patella should ALWAYS be treated. If left untreated, the patella’s back and forth movement in and out of the patellar groove wears down the cartilage in the knee, eventually resulting in bone-on-bone contact, which can be exceedingly painful and result in irreversible joint damage.

Early detection and treatment of luxating patella can help avoid arthritis and loss of mobility in dogs, as well as significantly enhance their quality of life.

If you feel your dog may have Luxating patella, make an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. Your dog will be eternally grateful!

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Have you ever owned a dog that suffered from luxating patella? Kindly inform us about it in the comments section below!

Suggestions for Avoiding the Condition

If you already have a puppy or a rescue dog with an unknown medical history, the most effective strategy to prevent knee problems is to treat them as if they have a grade 1 luxation. Perform muscle workouts, such as encouraging them to rise from a sitting position to a standing position. 

Bring them swimming and provide them with adequate joint supplements. Additionally, maintain a healthy weight for them.

While patellar luxations are uncomfortable and inconvenient, they are not life-threatening. With the proper care, your dog will live happily and comfortably for many years. 

The majority of dogs do not require surgery, and if abnormalities are identified early enough, efforts can be done to prevent the disease from worsening or developing into arthritis. 

Therefore, do not despair if your dog has been diagnosed with the disease; there is much you can do to keep them pain-free and able to run and play for the remainder of their lives.

Which Breeds Have a High Risk of Luxating Patellas?

Patellar luxations occur in all breeds of dogs but are most frequently seen in smaller breeds. Certain breeds are thought to be prone to developing the disease. This issue is most frequently found in labradors in larger breeds and may be related to the breed’s high rate of hip dysplasia.

Small Breeds that have a high risk to Patellar luxation 


Maltese Terriers

Jack Russells





Yorkshire Terriers


Toy and Miniature Poodles

Boston Terriers

Cocker Spaniels

( OOdles like Cavapoo)


If a Luxation Is Left Untreated, It Can Develop Into Arthritis.

Even with grade 1 locations, if nothing is done to prevent the knee from slipping, arthritis in the knees will develop eventually. 

Arthritis is incurable and requires lifelong pain management. With all grades, there is a possibility of experiencing lower back or leg muscle pain, as well as a condition akin to sciatica in humans as a result of the abnormal strain exerted on the joints.


My Family vet :


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area.

Even though this content may have been reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. For the FULL disclaimer Visit Here

Why do Havanese hop ?7 important facts you should know

About the Author: Ash loves Pets! Ash is an animal lover. She loves caring for and sharing her knowledge of all kinds of pets.

Ash is a long-time pet lover. There has always been a soft spot in her heart for dogs. Although she has owned many dog breeds in her lifetime, Cavoodles has become her favourite.

Her Love for pets made her Join the pet paws hub Team, to share knowledge with the world.

Ash Vohra-Pet Lifestyle Blogger

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