(aka: Bichon Havanais, Havanese Cubon Bichon, Havana Silk Dog, Havaneser, Bichon Habanero)
The Havanese is a small, very sweet looking dog, and is compact yet sturdy. The coat of the Havanese is long, soft, and flat, and can be straight, wavy, or curly. The coloring can vary and includes gold, chocolate, white cream, champagne, blue, black, and silver. The Havanese weighs in at around 7-13 pounds, and the height of these small dogs is around 7-12 inches.
The Havanese is a toy dog with a big personality, and has bags of character and an outgoing, friendly disposition. The national dog of Cuba, the Havanese is a dog that loves to play, loves the company of his owners, and is sweet natured and mild mannered. An intelligent and spirited dog, the Havanese is suitable for both experienced and inexperienced dog owners, and can be a very entertaining of somewhat demanding companion. These are not dogs that like to be neglected, and are suited to those with the time and affection to commit to their pet. Known for their agility and obedience, the Havanese makes a great family pet or companion dog.
The Havanese gets along well with children although he is a small dog and is best suited to families with older, more considerate children. He will also get along well with other pets and mot will be friendly with strangers too. A happy go lucky little dog, the Havanese is a quick learner and is eager to please. He is keen, enthusiastic, and sweet, although he can be something of an attention seeker. Some Havanese may be difficult to housebreak. These dogs can also be very sensitive, but for the right family they have bags of charm, affection, and love to offer.
When it comes to grooming you will need to put in a moderate amount of work in order to keep the coat of the Havanese in good condition. You should brush the coat of the Havanese every other day, and he may need to have his coat clipped every six weeks or so. You should also trim the hair around the bottom for hygiene reasons, and check the ears are dry and clean to reduce the chances of infection.
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 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.
The life expectancy of the Havanese is around 12-15 years, and there are a number of health problems linked to the breed, although this is generally a fairly health and hardy breed. Some of the health issues to look out for include thyroid problems, luxating patella, and cataracts. The parents of the Havanese puppy should have CERF certificated, and screening should also be carried out for luxating patella.