The Havanese is a small and sturdy dog with a wavy and silky coat. The coat comes in all colors and protects the breed against the harsh heat of its native Cuba. Havanese puppies typically have shorter and softer coats than adults. These dogs have large, almond shaped, dark brown eyes and a springy gait. They range in size from 8.5 to 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 7 to 13 pounds.
Also, Havanese dogs are prone to tear stains. These can be improved by cleaning the eye area with a wet cotton ball. Supplements are also available to minimize tear staining.
In general, the Havanese breed is intelligent and very trainable. These dogs are naturally affectionate, making them ideal family pets, but they do require some type of daily exercise to manage their high energy. The breed has a non-shedding coat, making it preferable for some with allergies to dogs, but even non-shedding breeds can still trigger allergic reactions. This is because it is a dog's dander and saliva, not its hair, that causes an allergic response.
The Havanese is the National Dog of Cuba and the only breed native to that country. These dogs are descended from the Blanquito de la Habana, which is now extinct.
Intelligent, playful, friendly, and curious, the Havanese makes a great family pet. These dogs have easy-going temperaments and a lot of energy, making them perfect choices for active families with children. They are happiest when they have their human family's full attention, but they are also content playing and spending time with other dogs and pets.
These dogs form strong bonds with their families and are sweet and eager to please. They are also highly adaptable, but they tend to be vocal and require daily exercise. This may make them unsuitable for apartment living unless they've been trained to prevent excessive barking. While they enjoy time outdoors and benefit from play sessions in a yard and walks on a leash, the Havanese is not a dog that can live outside full time.
These playful little dogs need a lot of time and attention from their caregivers, and some like to follow their family around the house, sleep in bed with them, and watch television with them. Anyone who desires a more independent dog should consider all of this before purchasing or adopting a Havanese.
The Havanese is a fairly healthy breed, but these dogs are known to suffer from certain disabling or potentially fatal health conditions. Patellar luxation, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and osteochondrodysplasia, a skeletal defect, are all known to affect this breed. Additionally, various eye disorders, including progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts, otitis externa, dry skin, deafness, and hypothyroidism are other concerns.
More serious health problems known to occur in Havanese dogs include heart murmurs and other cardiac problems, liver shunts, and missing incisors. Routine veterinary care can help detect potentially serious problems early to improve prognosis.
With proper nutrition, regular exercise, timely vaccination, and routine health care, Havanese dogs can live a long and active life of up to 15 years.
The Havanese is bright, willing to please, and easy to train. These dogs perform well in obedience competitions and agility trials. The breed's cheerful and easy temperament means it is simple to work with and makes it a wonderful therapy dog.
Because these dogs are normally well behaved, some people erroneously think training will be of no benefit. That is simply not true. Early training and socialization ensure these dogs become tolerant and patient and help prevent digging, obnoxious barking, and other undesirable behaviors. When Havanese dogs become bored or lonely, they tend to turn destructive, digging up gardens, chewing furniture, and otherwise acting out. Training will help with this issue.
The Havanese needs supervision when outdoors, especially during early life, and should not be left alone for long periods. If someone cannot be home most of the time with these dogs, a canine companion should be chosen to keep the Havanese company. A dog sitter is another possibility.
Grooming the Havanese can be a bit time consuming, even though the breed's coat is non-shedding. The coat's loose hairs tend to become caught in its outer hairs, where they tangle together and form mats if not removed. Brushing every day or every couple of days will remove loose hairs and keep the coat healthy and shiny. To minimize grooming requirements, the coat can be cut to a shorter length.
A weekly bath is usually necessary to keep these dogs clean and to keep their coats manageable. A pH-balanced canine shampoo prevents skin irritation while improving the overall look, feel, and health of the coat. Additionally, bathing may be necessary to remove harmful or stinky substances from the coat. Also, Havanese dogs are prone to tear stains. These can be improved by cleaning the eye area with a wet cotton ball. Supplements are also available to minimize tear staining.
The breed's nails should be trimmed every week or two, and regular tooth brushing is important to prevent tooth decay and protect against gum disease. Ear cleaning should be done once weekly to remove excess ear wax, and the ears should be examined for redness, odor, discharge, or other signs of infection.
The Havanese is an old breed named after Havana, the capital city of Cuba. The breed probably made its way to Cuba via trade ships hundreds of years ago. These dogs were once known as Spanish Silk Poodles and Havana Silk Dogs. The Havanese is the only dog breed native to Cuba.
During the late 17th and early 18th century, Havanese dogs were mostly pampered lap dogs for aristocratic women in Cuba. Over time, the breed evolved into a beloved family companion and child's playmate, and these dogs were also used as watchdogs and herders of poultry. Following the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the breed's numbers died down in its home country. However, many wealthy Cubans carried the dogs to the United States.
These transplanted canines helped prevent extinction of the breed, and the breed's numbers have since growth. In American, the Havanese is primarily a family pet.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Havanese in 1996.