“He will dance for me, talk to me, be my most enthusiastic traveling companion with the most exemplary of manners. What more can I say? He is a Havanese!” – Dorothy Goodale
Popular theory states that the Havanese came to Cuba with the Spaniards who were exploring the Caribbean. They developed from the now extinct Blanquito de la Habana or “little white dog of Havana”. The Blanquito in turn descended from the Bichon Tenerife, itself now extinct. Once called the “Havana Silk Dog”, the little dogs thrived in Cuba and the breed became established. For hundreds of years the Cuban upper classes prized these dogs as companions and playmates for their children.
During the Cuban revolution of the late 1950’s, the breed was nearly extinguished as members of the upper classes fled their homeland but through the efforts of breeders the lovable little dog has made a comeback and is now one of the fastest growing breeds.
Also known as the Bichon Havanais, this cuddly little dog is related to the Bichon Frise and the Maltese. Bred to be companions and pets and beloved now by all Cubans, the Havanese has become the national dog of Cuba.
Photos displayed courtesy of Heather Warnock, Los Campanero, Saskatchewan
Mature dogs stand up to 11.4 inches (29 cm) high at the shoulder. They have large dark brown eyes and long, soft, wavy coats that comes in a great variety of colours or combination of colours. Any colour, markings, or pattern may be seen. His hair is long but does not reach the ground and his tail curls up over his back.
Surprisingly, he doesn’t shed, a boon for the allergy prone, but he does need regular brushing to keep his abundant coat tangle-free.
This sweet little dog is agile, affectionate and very sociable. A happy, friendly, and outgoing creature, his temperament is ideally suited to be a pet and child’s companion. He has the energy and playfulness to keep up with active children.The Havanese loves human companionship and is devoted to his family. Because of his people-loving nature, this breed will not be happy if he spends a lot of time alone.
This happy-go-lucky charmer is playful and clownish. Eager, attentive, and smart he is easily trained. He has filled the roles of therapy dog, assistance dog, performance player, and tracker. He has also been used in mold and termite detection.
For a small dog, he is very muscular and possesses great stamina. These qualities combined with his love of people and desire to please make him an excellent candidate for competing in dog sports such as agility, obedience, flyball, or canine freestyle.
Unlike many of the smaller breeds, the Havanese is not a yappy dog, but he will announce the approach of strangers. His size fits well in a variety of accommodation including spaces that are not typically dog friendly. Although he should receive outside play and exercise, most of his exercise needs can be satisfied by running around the house or in the garden.