Other names: Havanese Silk Dog
The national dog of Cuba, the Havanese is a small companion dog. Despite being classed as a toy breed, the Havanese is a strong little canine with a well-balanced frame. They're lively, loyal, and very affectionate, common traits in many companion breeds. The Havanese is a highly social animal, meaning they'll need plenty of human or doggy company. Their most distinctive feature is their long, silky coat. This will require regular grooming if kept at its natural length, although many owners prefer to trim it quite short. A short-haired Havanese bears a striking resemblance to its close relative, the Bolognese Bichon.
Key facts about the Havanese
Life expectancy :
Temperament :Affectionate Playful Calm
Origins and history
The origins of the Havanese began in Tenerife. These small, Bichon like dogs were then transported all over the world on passenger and merchant ships and became especially popular in Cuba. Then when they bred with members of the Bichon family, a crossbreeding which produced the modern Havanese (named after the Cuban capital, Havana.) After the communist revolution, a large number of middle-class Cubans fled to the United States and many of them took their Havanese dogs with them. The breed gained a small following among U.S. dog lovers and was first recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1996. Since then, its popularity has continued to grow; in 2013, the Havanese was named in a list of the 25 most popular breeds in the United States.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 9 - Companion and Toy Dogs
Section 1 : Bichons and related breeds
Physical characteristics of the Havanese
Female : Between 8 and 11 in
Male : Between 8 and 11 in
Female : Between 9 and 13 lb
Male : Between 9 and 13 lb
A Havanese coat can be white, cream, fawn, chocolate brown, black, or a bluish grey.
Type of coat
A short, fluffy undercoat. A long and wavy outer layer.
Double coated. Fluffy underlayer and soft, single outer coat.
Always dark brown or black.
The Havanese is a compact dog with a well-proportioned frame. They have large, almond-shaped eyes, giving them a soft and endearing expression that adds to their loving natures. The ears are set quite low and hang down past the muzzle, which is quite short, even for a dog of its size. They have a well-balanced gait with a slight bounce in their step.
Good to know
Although we love to praise and spoil our pets, it's important that they learn where they stand in the pecking order. Dogs are hierarchical animals; they need order and stability. Without it, they're unlikely to see you as the pack leader and will soon become aggressive, domineering, and unruly. This applies to the small dogs just as much as it does to the big dogs. So don't let them get away with too much. A Havanese with a bad case of ”small dog syndrome” will soon become a very big problem!
These little companion dogs are affectionate towards their owners.
These fun-loving dogs will play for hours at a time, especially during their puppy years. As with most breeds, this tends to fade as they start to mature, but an adult Havanese still has plenty of enthusiasm for playtime.
These high-energy dogs can sometimes get a bit overexcited. Despite their small size, this can be quite intimidating for people who aren't used to being around dogs.
While nowhere near as smart as the brainiest canine breeds, the Havanese has a high-level of intelligence when compared to other toy dogs. This makes them easier to train and interesting little pets. However, don't let their cute faces get the better of you. If you don't learn how to say no, they’ll soon figure out that they can get away with pretty much anything!
The Havanese will rarely display any of the behaviours associated with “hunting” breeds. This makes them ideal for families with cats or other domestic pets.
Fearful / wary of strangers
These social dogs are very friendly towards humans, although they can sometimes be a bit reserved when meeting them for the first time. They tend to keep their distance, but will rarely bark or become aggressive around strangers.
Companion dogs are highly social animals and shouldn't be left alone for long periods of time.
Behaviour of the Havanese
Extended periods of solitude will have a detrimental impact on this dogs mental health. If you’re thinking about adopting a Havanese, making sure it gers company is one of the first things you need to consider.
Easy to train / obedience
The Havanese is a “quiet” breed. Many toys dogs will start barking at “unexpected” guests, but the Havanese is far more reserved. They will rarely bark at other dogs and their low-prey drive means they remain pretty calm around cats, pigeons, and other small animals.
Tendency to run away
As long as you keep a close eye on them and make sure there are no easy escape routes, then your Havanese is very unlikely to run away.