- The Havanese is a descendent of the barbichon family of dogs, which in turn descend from the barbet, a large water dog behind the Poodle. The barbichon family was centered around the Mediterranean.
- Spanish traders brought some of these dogs with them when they traveled, giving them to Cuban women.
- The dogs became pampered pets in Cuba, especially favored with the upper class. They became known as the Habenero.
- Eventually some of these dogs were brought back to Europe, where they were called white Cubans. Here they became popular both as pets and as performing dogs.
- Their popularity as pets waned, and their numbers dwindled, but they remained popular as trick performers in the circus.
- In the 1950s and 60s, three families left Cuba for the United States, bringing their dogs with them. Most present-day Havanese descend from these dogs, with some input from later imports.
- The AKC recognized the Havanese in 1999.
Havanese Behavior Concerns
- Makes an affectionate and exuberant companion.
- Playful, gentle and very good with children.
- Very friendly to strangers, other dogs and other pets.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food or games.
- Eager to please, bright and responsive.
Havanese Suggested Exercises
- Makes a lively and alert housedog.
- A walk around the block once or twice daily, plus a vigorous game, will meet its exercise needs, not counting bathroom breaks.
- Many Havanese have been trained to use indoor potty systems.
- Dog parks can work out well as long as Havanese are not expected to mingle with much larger dogs.
- Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
- Its thick coat provides some protection against cold weather, but its fairly small body size nonetheless makes it vulnerable to the cold.
- Coat is long, and ranges from straight to curly, with wavy preferred.
- Brushing and combing two to four times a week is necessary to prevent matting.
- Shedding is below average.
- No breed is actually non-allergenic, but Havanese may cause fewer allergies compared to most other breeds.
Suggested Havanese Nutritional Needs
- Havanese tend to stay in good weight. The thick coat can sometimes obscure weight problems, so be sure to use your hands to feel.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.