History and origin: the national dog of Cuba and only breed native to Cuba. Developed from crosses with Bichon types, Poodles, Maltese and possibly Lowchen. Christopher Columbus planted the Spanish flag on Cuba in 1492. Trading began and settlers arrived bringing little dogs from Tenerife, that were Bichon in type. The dogs were loved by the Spanish aristocracy and they developed unhindered. Colonial Cuba prospered until the Cuban revolution. A few dogs were transported to America. It is thought that most Havanese today are likely related to these few. Breed notably owned by Ernest Hemingway and Charles Dickens. Accepted by AKC in 1996.
General Appearance: Sturdy, well balanced, small, drop-eared dog, rectangular in outline, neither fragile nor coarse, long abundant, soft and wavy hair. Eyes dark and almond shaped. Plumed tail carried over the back. Topline straight with a slight arch over the loin, presenting a gentle gradual rise of the back towards the rear. In trotting motion,the Havanese has a lively, and elastic gait. Size: height ideally is 9 -10.6 inches.
Coat and Colour: developed in the tropics, the abundant, silken double coat is fine, soft and lightweight throughout, including on head, with a subtle airiness, less substantial at the touch than appearance suggests. Undercoat light and may not be very developed. The topcoat, very long (about 4-8 inches) does not hang to the ground, allowing light under the dog when standing on a solid surface…. Hair is ideally wavy. Pigment (nose lips etc) is always black except for brown dogs. A large variety of colours, markings, and patterns are acceptable. Must be brushed regularly to avoid matting. Hair on head and moustache may be banded for easy maintenance.
Feeding: quality kibble fed dry once or twice daily.
Training and obedience: easily trained in many competitive areas. Intelligent. Does well in many dog sports including obedience, rally and agility. A natural as a therapy dog and willing performer of circus tricks.
Activity: loves to run and be active. He will enjoy chasing a toy in the back yard. Equally comfortable in large home or apartment. A fun loving breed, always eager to play and go for walks.
Temperament: Exceptionally bright and attentive. A casual and carefree breed, Natural and unaffected in appearance. Affectionate, happy natured, amiable, a charmer, playful and even a bit of a clown. An eager, lively, devoted family companion, typically good with children and other dogs.