Havanese Dog Breed
A relative newcomer to the United States, the Havanese is the national dog of Cuba. A breed of the Bichon type, Havanese are believed to be descended from the Blanquito de la Habana which means “little white dog of Havana.” Crossbreeding of the Blanquito with Bichons eventually gave rise to the Havanese. By the mid-eighteenth century the Havanese had become a favorite companion dog amongst affluent Cuban sugar barons, and the breed’s popularity soon spread across the Atlantic. Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens were among the English aristocracy to own Havanese. Havanese were introduced to the U.S. in the 1960s by Cuban nationals fleeing the communist revolution in their homeland. The Havanese breed was not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1996, but by 2015 it was ranked as the 24th most popular pure-breed in the U.S. Havanese are small, study dogs with an excellent temperament, and their long, silky coats are hypoallergenic which makes them ideal pet for allergy sufferers. Havanese are spirited, inquisitive, and highly social dogs which makes them very adaptable for most environments. A distinctive characteristic of the Havanese breed is the lively, springy gait which results from the overall body structure and playful disposition. Adult Havanese grow to an average weight of between 10 to 16 pounds, and coat colors include solid black, white, chocolate, silver, red, and cream, as well as bi- and tri-colored mixes. The coat is dense and lightweight, which makes Havanese well adapted to warmer climates. When left long, the coat requires frequent brushing to prevent matting. Many Havanese owners opt for a 1-2-inch-long “puppy cut” to reduce the amount of grooming required. Havanese are very intelligent and easily trained, and behavioral issues are relatively uncommon among the breed. Adult Havanese typically live to between 14 and 16 years, and are less prone to some congenital conditions that commonly affect some other toy breeds. Havanese make good family pets for those with small children and other pets. Because of their calm, affectionate temperament they’re also good companions for empty-nesters and elderly individuals.