Country of Origin: Cuba
Height: 8.5–11.5 inches
Weight: 7–14 pounds
Coat: Double coat with long, soft, abundant, flat, wavy, or curly outercoat and woolly, not well-developed undercoat
Colors: All colors
Registries (with Group): AKC (Toy); UKC (Companion)
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
The Havanese is certainly a descendant of the Old World Bichon-type dog, but which type specifically is still a matter of speculation. Cubans believe that the dog originally came to their island with Italian sea captains, which would point to Malta or Bologna as the source. Others claim they came with the Spanish as they colonized the West Indies, which would indicate Tenerife or the Bichon Frise as the original ancestors. What is known is that the little white dogs were brought to Cuba from Europe in the 17th century. They adapted to the climate and customs of the island and produced a smaller dog with a silkier coat, called the Blanquito de la Habana, or Havanese Silk Dog. This dog was a favorite of the Cuban aristocracy during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Havanese Silk Dogs were eventually crossed with French and German Poodles, which had become increasingly popular, and named Bichon Havanese, as they are sometimes still called.
The Havanese is a delightful companion—responsive, alert, mindful, and fond of everyone. He gets along with people of all ages, as well as all kinds of other pets. Outgoing yet intelligent, he is a good watchdog, as he will alert to unusual activity, yet he is not prone to excessive barking or nervousness. His long association as a cherished companion continues to this day.
- Exercise: The Havanese is a curious and delightful dog who enjoys getting out and about to exercise and socialize. He will gladly accompany his family wherever they go, whether it’s around the house, around the block, or around the world.
- Grooming: Pet owners typically keep their Havanese in a short, clipped coat, as the long hair needs a great deal of attention. Because the dead hair rarely sheds, it needs to be removed by brushing, which should be done several times a week.
- Life Span: 13 to 15 years.
- Training: A dog who thrives on the attention of his family, the Havanese is an eager and quick learner. A natural clown, the breed has been trained for the circus. He learns all kinds of tricks and requests with pleasure, as long as he is taught with positive, reward-based methods.
Excerpted from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Used by Permission.