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Havanese Are Cheerful Toy Dogs From Cuba

Where Do Havanese Come From

The Havanese is a toy dog breed developed in Cuba and named after its capital city of Havana. It is the national dog of Cuba and the only dog breed developed solely on the island. It is a cheerful, and friendly companion dog suited for city life but willing to fit in anywhere.

The Havanese is part of the bichon family of dogs. Other bichons include the Bichon Friese, Bolognese, Bolonka, Coton de Tulear, Löwchen, and Maltese.

Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise
Bolognese Dog
Coton de Tulear
Coton de Tulear

Bichon type dogs are likely descendants of the Barbet (from the French word barbe or beard), a medium-size but now rare French dog breed. Bichons were transported to the Canary Islands via Spanish ships during the 16th century and eventually from the Canaries to Cuba.

The Havanese was almost unknown in the United States until Cuban refugees fleeing the Cuban revolution immigrated to Florida. From only 11 dogs in the 1950s, the Havanese has become on of the more popular dog breeds in the US and in 2019 ranked as number 24 on the AKC popularity list. Nearly all Havanese in the United States are descendants of those 11 dogs.

The Havanese is a toy dog breed that ranges from from 8.5 to 12.5 inches tall and weighs 7 to 13 pounds. They are companion dogs and bond closely with their family and may become firmly attached to an individual whom they will follow whenever possible. They are happy, cheerful, affectionate little souls and do not want to be left alone.

Do Havanese Shed?

Havanese a have long silky hair coat that they do not shed. Some owners prefer to keep their pets hair cut short in order to reduce the amount of brushing required for a longer coat. Without frequent brushing, long hair will develop tangles which is very uncomfortable for the dog and makes subsequent brushing very difficult.

The Havanese is a hypoallergenic dog breed which means it may be tolerated by people who suffer from dog allergies. Not dog, however, is completely hypoallergenic.

Do Havanese Bark a Lot?

The Havanese will bark at a stranger or passersby but they do not bark constantly. They are not as “yappy” as some smaller breeds tend to be. They make good little watchdogs.

Are Havanese Smart Dogs?

Havanese are ranked number 47 in Stanley Coren’s book, “The Intelligence of Dogs,” which puts it in the category of average intelligence for dogs. When most prospective dog owner as how smart a dog is, they really are asking if the dog is easily house trained. Small or toy dogs are notoriously more difficult to housetrain than larger dogs. However, the Havanese is not as difficult to train as some other toy breeds may be.

Are Havanese Good Family Dogs?

The Havanese is an excellent family dog. They are affectionate, friendly, and playful dogs and were bred only with companionship in mind. Toddlers and young children should be taught to treat a small dog with care since it is a real creature and not a toy to be mistreated.

How Much Do Havanese Dogs Cost?

The average cost of a Havanese puppy is somewhere between $1,000 to $1,500 which most people will find a bit on the expensive side. You may be able to find Havanese through a rescue organization such as Havanese Rescue Inc. However, rescue dogs tend to be older dogs that may need expensive medical care. Providing a home and care for an older, needy dog is, in my opinion, one of the kindest and most generous things you can possibly do.

Are Havanese Healthy Dogs?

The Havanese is a sturdy and generally healthy dog breed with only a few serious genetic issues that may affect some of them. Among the more common health concerns are eye problems, deafness, knee problems, liver and heart disease. The Havanese Club of America, Inc. has a list of recommended tests that owners and particularly breeders of Havanese should consider. Dogs testing positive for genetic defects should not be bred.

Famous Owners Of Havanese

Havanese have been pets of many famous people including Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens, Barbara Walters, and Ernest Hemingway. For more information about the Havanese, visit the website of the Havanese Club of America, Inc.


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