any color, including gold, cream, white, silver, blue and black
8 1/2-11 1/2 inches tall
7 -13 pounds
8 1/2-11 1/2 inches tall
The Havanese is well suited to living indoors.
The Havanese is a small and sturdy dog, and part of the Bichon family of breeds. This family also includes the Bichon Frise and the Maltese. They are just slightly longer than tall with untrimmed wavy hair. The Havanese has traditionally been a family pet in their native country of Cuba. In fact, for many years, the Havanese was the traditional lap dog of Cuban aristocracy. Throughout the years, this breed has also been used to herd poultry. They are recognizable for their especially springy gait in walking. This gait is caused by the fact that their front legs are slightly shorter than their hind legs.
The Havanese is a toy dog, so they are quite small, though they don't appear fragile or delicate. Their eyes are set high on their heads and are dark brown and almond shaped. Their ears are of medium length and when extended, reach halfway to the nose. They are set high up and are folded and broad at the base. The rims around their eyes and lips should be black, except in a true chocolate dog. Their muzzles are fairly short and their noses are broad with a square shape. They typically have a scissors bite.
Their necks are moderately long and arch slightly. They have a deep chest and a high set tail with a plume of long hair that arcs forward over their backs. The tail does not curl completely around, but rests naturally above and slightly over the back.
The Havanese has very well boned and muscular legs with round feet. These dogs have a double coat that is designed to protect them from the tropical heat. It is light and soft in texture, and should never be wiry. They have long hair over their eyes, and unlike other toy dogs this hair is never gathered up in a topknot, as it is also part of their unique heat fighting design.
Havanese come in three coat types-smooth, curly and wavy, which is the preferred type. Their coat grows to about 6-8 inches in length and has a pearly sheen. Their coat is thick, but light since it is designed to act as a sunshade. It is not protective from the cold. The hair has a very silky feel and hardly sheds. Hair should never be coarse. The Havanese requires regular brushing to prevent tangling, unless you decide to keep it short. While the Havanese hardly sheds, they do collect dander in their fur. For this reason, even though they are considered hypoallergenic, some people with severe allergies can still react to the Havanese coat. The short coated Havanese is considered a mutation, and is not recognized by any breed registries. These cannot be shown or bred, but are perfectly healthy for house pets. Havanese with these short coats, however, do shed, and are not considered hypoallergenic.
The original Havanese Silk dogs were all white, but today's Havanese can be found in any color, including gold, cream, white, silver, blue and black. Some dogs are tri or parti-colored, as well. A preferred color in North America is chocolate. In order to qualify as a chocolate Havanese, the dog must have at least a one inch patch of chocolate colored hair. For years, chocolate and black Havanese were not recognized in Europe, but today all colors are recognized all over the world.
The Havanese breed originated in Cuba, and is part of the Bichon group of breeds. The breed was created from the Bichon lapdogs brought to Cuba from Europe during the 17th century. The original Bichons that came from Europe were not suited to the Cuban climate, and over the years, the dogs adapted, eventually giving way to an entirely new breed, the Blanquito de la Habana, also known as the Havanese Silk Dog. These dogs were smaller than the original Bichons and entirely white, with a silkier coat. During the 19th century, French and German poodles began coming to Cuba from Europe and the Cubans began to cross them with the Blanquito de la Habana, creating today's Havanese. The Havanese was the preferred pet of Cuban aristocracy during the 18th and 19th centuries. Their unique coats survived the intense tropical heat of Cuba quite well. Cubans bred the dogs throughout the 20th century.
Breeding began in the US in the 1970s, using Havanese dogs brought with Cuban families that immigrated to the US. Somewhere along the way, some German breeders began to have some litters that included puppies with shorter coats that were close lying on the body, but with some feathering on the skirts, tail, ears and legs. It has now been discovered that there is a short haired recessive gene carried by some Havanese dogs. If two Havanese with this recessive gene are bred together, some of the puppies will have these smooth coats. These odd coated Havanese are now called Smooth Coated Havanese or Shavanese.
This short coated variety of Havanese cannot be shown or bred, but they make very healthy house pets. Today, the Havanese is still fairly rare in the US, and they are quite expensive. Because of the rarity and expense of this breed in the US, it has been found that many people try and pass off mixed breeds as purebred Havanese. If you're considering purchasing a Havanese it's important to use a reputable breeder and to have a good understanding of the lineage of your puppy. These dogs often sell for $2000 each, and good breeders often have a waiting list for their puppies.
The Havanese is a very playful dog that tends to be quite clever in getting attention. Havanese can often be seen performing tricks in order to get the attention of new guests in the home. In fact, because of their propensity to do tricks, this breed has long been used in the circus. This is a great family dog, because they are small enough to be easy to keep in the house, but they are not snappish or yappy like many other toy breeds. They love children and make very good playmates for them. Unlike other toy breeds, they can tolerate clumsy and sometimes rough play of children.
Havanese are intelligent and very playful. They want to be near their owners and they want attention and playtime. This dog is known to follow their owners around from room to room. They can be taught to do tricks and are eager to please their owners. However, as much as they love their owners, they are not possessive of them nor aggressive when their owners express affection for people or other animals. In fact, Havanese do quite well with other pets in the home and often make playmates of them.
Havanese are not prone to excessive barking, but they will bark to alert you to visitors and will be wary of strangers until you have welcomed them. Once the dog observes that you're comfortable with a visitor, however, he will be very friendly. These dogs are not prone to shyness. And, despite their size, they do not show any fear. Their combination of friendliness, eagerness to please and comfort will all kinds of people and animals makes this one of the best dogs, particularly for families with allergies or who need a small pet.
Havanese are prone to a variety of Health Problems. They are particularly prone to Cataracts, and these often develop before the dogs have reached a truly advanced age. They often have dry skin and can require treatment to prevent severe itching. They are also prone to patellar luxation and Progressive Retinal Atrophy. PRA is a genetic, inherited disease of the retina (the "film" in the camera), which occurs in both eyes simultaneously. The disease is not painful, and there is no cure for it. The eyes are genetically programmed to go blind. Most Havanese that develop PRA do so later in life, but it can be found at earlier ages as well. The first signs of PRA include poor vision at night or during low light conditions.
The Havanese has a fairly long coat that does not shed. However, it can become easily tangled and must be brushed daily to keep it from matting. If your Havanese is not to be shown, you can keep the coat clipped short to make grooming much easier. However, keep in mind that the Havanese's coat was designed to protect him from the heat, so you should not clip his coat very short if he is to be left outdoors during hot weather, as he will actually be hotter. Though the Havanese naturally has a long and wooly looking coat, it is designed to protect from heat, not from cold, so this dog is not designed to spend long periods of time out in the cold, either. However, since most Havanese dogs live primarily indoors with their families, a short coat is far more practical.
The Havanese is designed to have a natural appearance in his coat. Therefore, even for show dogs, back combing and fussing of the coat is not allowed. The dog's coat should be well groomed of course, but never "styled" in appearance nor clipped for showing. The very long hair around the feet, however, can be clipped.
The Havanese needs a moderate amount of exercise. They are quite energetic, but are small enough to be able to run off some of their energy in the house. They'll be quite happy with a small yard area where they can run around some each day. They can also get sufficient exercise from accompanying their owner on a daily walk.
The Havanese is well suited to living indoors, though they are a very active breed. They will be happiest indoors where they can be part of the family, but they will do best with an outdoor area where they can be allowed to run off some of their energy. This dog doesn't shed and tends to be hypoallergenic, so they make a great house pet, even for allergy sufferers. However, since some people with severe allergies can still have a reaction to the dander of the Havanese, it's wise to spend some time with one before you bring it into your home to live if you're an allergy sufferer.
The Havanese is very intelligent and eager to please. These two qualities make them quite easy to train. They are eager to do tricks to entertain you, so once you've completed the basics of training, they'll be eager to learn some fun tricks. They have an exceptionally good sense of smell and will love to play games of "find" where you hide an object and they hunt it down.
Your Havanese should be very easy to house train, as they will quickly understand your displeasure when they use the bathroom indoors. Because of their size and sensitivity to the cold, many owners choose to paper train their Havanese if they live in a very cold climate. This allows them to avoid sending the dog outside in cold weather and snow. Whichever method of house training you choose will work well with a Havanese.
Havanese are said to never eat alone. This is because they want to always be in the same room with their owners. So, if your Havanese is eating and you leave the room, you can expect him to follow you, likely with food in his mouth, which he will drop on the floor and eat. This can be a bit annoying, so many owners have a set feeding time for their Havanese, and only have food available at this time. Then, they either confine the dog to the room where the food is waiting, or stay in the room with the dog while he eats.
Whenever you're training a puppy, use a firm voice for commands and admonishments is important, as your dog will respond to the firmness in your voice. However, it is very important that you not be too harsh in speaking to your Havanese, as it will only frighten him and make it difficult to accomplish any training results.