About The Havanese Breed
The Havanese are members of the Bichon family, a large group of dogs that include the Coton De Tulear, Maltese, Bichon Frise and other less well-known breeds that all descend from the Mediterranean Bichon Tenerife which is now extinct. The Tenerife was introduced by Spanish sailors to not only the Canary Islands but also other Spanish islands and colonies including Cuba.
Other names for the Havanese are the Havana Silk Dog and the Spanish Silk Poodle. It was a pampered lapdog of the aristocracy and since then has always been considered a delightful companion, playmate for children and watchdog. They were also known to herd the family’s poultry flocks.
The “Little Dog from Havana” then made its way back to Europe from Cuba and was enjoyed in the late 19th century as a circus and trick dog.
With the Cuban Revolution these favorites of the aristocracy lost their popularity and many of the Cubans who fled to the United States were forced to leave their beloved pets behind. Still, Americans became interested in the breed in the 1970s and from a gene pool of less than a dozen dogs, the Havanese has made a huge comeback.
Is A Havanese Right For You?
Havanese are quite playful, trainable and intelligent. They possess a natural sweet disposition and affectionate temperament, which makes them ideal companions for families, especially those with children. They are a toy dog but do not lack for energy! Some form of daily exercise, even a romp in the back yard, is needed to keep up their energy levels and keep them from being bored.
Havanese have a non-shedding coat that produces almost no dander, which makes them very suitable for persons who suffer from allergies. Regular grooming is necessary, however, to keep the coat in good condition. Most owners avoid this rigorous routine by keeping their Havanese in a ‘puppy cut.’
Havanese range in size from 8 ½ to 11 ½ inches tall at the shoulder…just the right size for sitting on your lap or fitting under your airplane seat!
Other responsibilities of Havanese owners include patience with housebreaking (they have small bladders) though they respond quite well to ‘piddle pads.’ Give regular attention to their drop ears for cleanliness. They do not require long walks but will enjoy them if offered.
The Havanese are not yappy dogs but will often alert you to strange sounds and then quickly respond to your command that they shoosh.
Resources for Researching the Havanese Breed
1. AKC — http://www.akc.org/
2. Havanese Club of America — http://www.havanese.org/
3. Havanese Forum — http://www.havaneseforum.com/index.php