The Havanese is the national dog of Cuba.
It is developed from the now extinct Blanquito de la Habana – “little white dog of Havana”.
It is believed that the Blanquito was eventually cross-bred with other bichon types, including the poodle, to create what is now known as the Havanese.
The Havanese is the only native breed that was developed in Cuba when its canine ancestors came to Cuba from Spain in the early 1500s by way of Tenerife in the Canary Islands — the “islands of the dogs.”
Some believe the entire bichon family of dogs can be traced back to the Tenerife dog, while others theorize that the origins are in Malta, citing the writings of Aristotle, and other historical evidence of the early presence of such dogs in Malta.
By the 18th century, Europeans vacationing in Havana discovered the Havanese. The little dog quickly became a hit among Spanish, French and British nobility.
The Havanese was a beloved pet of Cuban aristocrats and later became popular among wealthy Europeans, including Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens.
As part of the Cuban Revolution, upper-class Cubans fled to the United States, but few were able to bring their dogs. When American breeders became interested in this rare and charming dog in the 1970s, the US
gene pool was only 11 dogs. The American Kennel Club (AKC) only officially recognized the Havanese breed in 1996.
With dedicated breeding, and the acquisition of some new dogs internationally, the Havanese has made a huge comeback and is one of the fastest growing breeds of dogs in the AKC.
However, this purebred dog is rare to find in Cuba now as the island is overrun with mixed-breed strays.
The average lifespan of the Havanese is about 14 to 16 years.
Though it is a toy dog, Havanese are sturdy and not overly delicate. They are from 22 to 29 cm (8.5 to 11.5 in) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 4.5 to 7.5 kg (10 to 16.5 lb).
The coat is long, soft, lightweight, and silky. The Havanese coat is slightly wavy, profuse, and undulating. Unlike other double-coated breeds, the Havanese outer coat is neither coarse nor overly dense, but rather soft and light.The Havanese has dark brown eyes and almond-shaped lids surrounded by black pigment.
Although there are a few arguments on whether the original Havanese were all white or of different colors, modern Havanese are acceptable in all coat colors and patterns. All colored dogs should have a black nose and black pigment around the eyes, with the exception of chocolate (brown) dogs, which may have dark brown pigment on their nose instead.
Examples of coat colors are white, cream, fawn, red, chocolate brown, beige, gold, silver, blue, and black. The coat may be one solid color or have markings in one or more other colors. For example, sable, brindle, black & tan, tri-color, Irish pied, parti colored, belton, or piebald, black and white, beige black, and white.
Overall, these smart dogs are good-natured and make great family dogs.
They are highly trainable and can learn tricks and perform in agility and obedience competitions.
This clever dog will also make up its own games and train you to play them with him. The Havanese may also be used as a visiting therapy dog, especially if the dog has been well-socialized to not be timid with strangers.
As a moderately active little dog, the Havanese should get daily exercise but does not need a lot of it. With the proper outlets for their energy, these dogs are content to cuddle on your lap or play indoors. In fact, they can be great for city and apartment living.
The Havanese is one of the most expensive breeds of small dog breeds. Usually, the average cost of purchasing a pet quality puppy from a reputable breeder is about $1,500 to $2,500. However, for a Havanese puppy with top breed lines and a superior pedigree, you may need to pay between $3,000 and $5,000.
A Havana Silk Dog is a type of dog from Cuba. The modern Havana Silk Dog is derived solely from recent Havanese dogs. Breeders have sought to re-create older depictions of the breed based on paintings, sculptures, and written descriptions. Compared to some Havanese, breeders seek to give the Havana Silk longer, straighter forelegs, a flatter, silkier coat, a longer muzzle, and smaller ears.