The Havanese dog is the national dog of Cuba. It was developed from the “little white dog of Havana” which is now extinct. The little white dog of Cuba was descended from a Bichon-type dog from Tenerife.
This is an ancestry it shares with other dogs of the Bichon group of breeds.
It is ranked 23rd in the American Kennel Club list of most popular breeds.
At one time, the Havanese dog breed almost died out but has enjoyed a revival in popularity in recent years.
Origins Of The Havanese
The Havanese is related to other dogs in the Bichon Group. These include the Maltese Terrier, the Bichon Frise, the Bolognese and the Coton De Tulear.
They became very rare in Cuba. In the 1970s American Breeders became interested in the dog. At that time there were only 11 dogs of this breed in the United States. The modern dog has been developed from these dogs as well as some which were imported. Since then they have become hugely popular and has become one of the fastest growing breeds in the United States.
They were officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1996. They are classified in the toy group.
The Havanese is a short sturdy dog. He is slightly longer than tall. He is usually between eight and a half inches and eleven and a half inches at the withers. They weigh between 7 and 13 pounds.
They have a long silky coat which can range from straight to curly. The coat can be a range of colors including white, black, sable and gray. There are several marking patterns.
The coat is silky and soft and does require quite a lot of care. Many owners trim the hair quite short which makes it much easier to care for. Other owners love their long-haired appearance and are prepared to put in the work. If the dog is destined for the show ring it is essential the hair is kept long.
The tail is plumed and curls up over the back.
They have floppy ears with a distinct fold.
Their eyes are dark brown and almond-shaped.
The Havanese is willing to please and easier to train than most breeds. Although they are classified as toy dogs and don’t need a lot of vigorous exercise, they are still willing to take part in a daily walk and any other adventure that is going.
They don’t do well if they are left alone for long periods. They love their family and will often attach to one family member who they follow around constantly. Alone, they can become bored and destructive.
They enjoy playing with children, but the children have to be taught that, like all small dogs, they can get injured if the play gets too rough.
They have no problem living in an apartment and have become popular with city dwellers.
They sometimes bark when strangers approach but are not generally considered to be good house dogs. They are accepting of strangers. They take their lead from their owners and if their owner is happy, they are happy.
Start socializing and training your puppy as early as you can. They are quick learners and are able to pick things up really fast.
Havanese are generally sturdy little dogs with few health issues. Their average life span is between 14 and 16 years.
Breeder organizations, such as the Havanese Club of America, monitor potential genetic issues to prevent the spread of problems within the breed. They can suffer the same issues as other small dog breeds such luxating patella and you should have them evaluated for this problem before purchase.
A check-up by an ophthalmologist is also a good idea.
Grooming And Care
If you choose not to have your dog clipped, then you need to brush the coat regularly.
Their facial hair is prone to tear-staining and the corners of their eyes need to be cleaned on a daily basis
Clean the inside of the ear flap with a damp cloth and remove excess wax and debris. Check for infection.
Brush their teeth regularly and check the dog’s mouth for signs of gum disease.
Havaneses As Pets
The Havanese will make a delightful pet. They are happy little dogs with a sense of fun. They are agile and have plenty of stamina. They will play games for as long as someone is able to keep up with them.