About the Havanese
Distinctive features of the Havanese include a curled-over tail and a gorgeous silky coat, which comes in a variety of colors. Some owners enjoy cording the coat, in the manner of a Puli, and others clip it short to reduce grooming time. Happily, Havenese are just as cute no matter what hairdo you give them.
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Their small but sturdy bodies, adaptable nature, and social skills make Havanese an ideal city dog, but they are content to be anywhere that they can command the attention of admirers young and old alike. Havanese, smart and trainable extroverts with the comic instincts of a born clown, are natural trick dogs. Havanese are also excellent watchdogs and take the job seriously, but will usually keep the barking to a minimum.
- AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 24 of 195
- Height: 8.5-11.5 inches
- Weight: 7-13 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 14-16 years
- Group: Toy Group
The Havanese (singular or plural, the name’s the same) is from the ancient Bichon family of little white dogs and claims such breeds as the Bichon Frise and Maltese as probable common ancestors. Since the earliest days of human civilization, lively lapdogs of this type were bartered around the world by seafaring merchants. In all times and places, small, clever dogs that did no useful work were among the possessions that set royals and aristocrats apart from lower social classes.
The native lapdog of Cuba’s aristocrats and wealthy planters was the Havanese, named for the capital city of Havana, where the breed gained greatest favor. Depending on the source, the breed’s forerunners were said to be brought to the island nation by Italian sea captains or by the Spaniards charged with colonizing the New World in the 1600s.
During its approximately 300 years in the lap of Cuban luxury, the breed was refined, perhaps with Poodle crosses, into today’s Havanese, once called the Blanquito de la Habana (Havana Silk Dog). The pivotal event in the breed’s history came in 1959, with the Communist takeover of Cuba. Many well-heeled Cubans fleeing Fidel Castro’s revolution brought their little dogs with them to America. With the help of American fanciers, the refugees preserved and perpetuated the Havanese. The breed is now a popular choice for discerning pet owners around the world.
Among celebrity Havanese owners were two of the world’s most celebrated writers. Ernest Hemingway fell under the Havanese spell during his 20 years in Cuba. About a hundred years earlier, Charles Dickens owned a tiny Havanese named Tim.
Care and Training
The Havanese should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to his age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some Havanese can be prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. If you choose to give your dog treats, do so in moderation. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.Distinctive features of the Havanese include a curled-over tail and a gorgeous silky coat, which comes in a variety of colors. Click To Tweet
The long, soft, and silky coat of the Havanese needs to be groomed daily to be kept free of mats and tangles. This can be done by gently running a comb or soft brush over the dog while he is on your lap. Pet owners often choose to have their dog’s coat clipped to a short trim to reduce grooming time. The Havanese should also be bathed occasionally as needed. The corners of the eyes should be gently cleaned daily to prevent tear-stain of the lighter-colored hair in the area. Check the ears often to remove excess wax or accumulated debris, and wipe out the inside of the ear-flap with a slightly moistened gauze or paper towel.