The Havanese is a Bichon type breed of dog named after its place of origin, the Cuban capital of Havana.
Small in size with a sturdy structure the Havanese carries its tail over its back and has ears that drop and fold, it has a long silky coat that comes in a variety of colours. The Havanese has a spirited personality and a curious disposition, and is notable for its springy gait, a characteristic that sets it apart from all other dog breeds.
A perfect family or companion dog, the Havanese is at home on almost any environment, but because of its strong social needs it will not be happy in an environment where it is left alone and isolated for several hours at a time.
Classed as a toy dog the Havanese are sturdy and not overly delicate, usually weighing 4.5 to 7.5 kg they stand between 8.5 to 11.5 inches at the withers. The length of the dog, from shoulder to buttocks is slightly higher than the height at the withers, giving it the appearance of being longer than it is tall, this is down to it having a long rib cage.The length from foot to elbow is equal to the length from elbow to withers.
Renowned for their lively gait when on the move, their strong rear drive and slightly shorter upper arm produce a springy motion rather than a far-reaching one. Unique to the Havanese is the top line, which rises just slightly from the withers to croup, creating a top line that is straight but not level, the angle of the top line does not change when moving in its natural gait.
The top of the skull is rather flat, while the back skull is rounded, the muzzle is full and tapers slightly at the nose. The Havanese have dark brown eyes with almond shaped lids surrounded by black pigment, the ears hang down on the sides of the head without touching the face, when extended they reach half-way to the nose.
Although the Havanese is an active, lively dog, they are small enough that many of their exercise needs can be met in the house or yard, therefore they may not need as much rigouress exercise assume other breeds. They are a loyal dog, which is happy when its owner is happy, they also love to be the centre of attention.
The Havanese is generally healthy with relatively few serious health issues, they typically live between 12 and 16 years.
A member of the Bichon family of dogs, the ancestors of the breed are believed to have come from Tenerife, ship manifest from Tenerife bound for Cuba list dogs as passengers on board, some believe the entire Bichon family of dogs can be traced back to Tenerife. They soon became devoted companion dogs to Spanish colonists in Cuba and were highly admired by the nobility.
During the Cuban revolution, upper class Cubans fled to the U.S, unfortunately most were unable to take their dogs with them, when U. S breeders became interested in this charming dog in the 1970s, the U.S gene pool consisted of just 11 dogs. The American Kennel club (AKC) finally recognised the breed in 1996, with dedicated breeding, the Havanese as made a strong comeback and is one of the fastest growing breeds in the AKC. The Havanese is currently in the top 25 most popular pure breeds in the U. S and its popularity worldwide continues to increase.