Dog Breeds


Havanese is a small companion dog covered with wavy long hair, which can occur in a wide variety of colors. Cheerful and joyful, affectionate to the owners. It is not intrusive or hyperactive. His owner should, however, be quite an active person.


Havanese are extremely cheerful, friendly, smart and playful dogs. They strongly attach to the owners and when they are at home, they constantly accompany them and require them to be interested, in particular, caresses. When the owner rests, they also rest, when there is time for activity, they play.

They like children very much and are tireless in playing with them. They are usually open and friendly towards strangers, although there are more shy animals. They can signal the appearance of an intruder with barking, but guests are welcomed. Being free from aggression towards both people and kinsmen, they will easily accept other animals at home.


These temperamental and intelligent dogs learn quickly and willingly. They treat training and rewarding as fun, which makes it easy for them. They were once used in circuses for a reason. They like to show off tricks and often do them themselves without a command to attract attention.

They work very well in sports such as agility or flyball, as well as therapy dogs. Some work as assistants for deaf people.

Training and education

Havanese can live in a block of flats and in a house with a garden, but of course, they must sleep under a roof, not in a garden pen. They tolerate leaving them alone in the apartment. As a race, they are not noisy and do not cause conflicts with their neighbors. And if we provide them with toys or teethers, they won’t destroy the apartment.

Who is this race for?

The nature and ease of training mean that you can recommend the Havanese to people for whom it will be the first dog in their life. It is suitable for families with children, childless couples and lonely people. The age and physical strength of the future owner do not matter. There is only one requirement: activity, because representatives of this breed are fond of walking and playing.

However, you can not demand from such a small dog with relatively short legs, for example, to accompany in multi-kilometer bicycle trips (unless in a basket or trailer) or in horse riding.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • requires time-consuming care
  • it requires so much attention from the owner that it can become intrusive


  • is a long-lived race
  • gets along well with other dogs
  • will easily accept cats and other pets
  • not barking too much


Havanese is considered a healthy and long-lived breed. Nevertheless, eye diseases (including cataracts), heart disease and knee patella prolapse typical for miniature breeds occur. No research is required for this breed, but responsible breeders subject their dogs to control for these diseases. When buying a puppy, it is worth asking if his parents were tested in this respect.


Havanese are not fussy dogs, so there is no problem with their feeding. However, if we allow them to whine, they will quickly use it and start choosing only the better – in their opinion – morsels. Therefore, it’s best to get the Havanese to get used to eating wholesome, dry (or wet) food and not succumb to the urging of the environment to regularly diversify meals with treats.

Many Havanese breeders feed them a raw diet and praise it very much.


As a long-haired Havanese dog requires thorough combing at least twice a week. How often you do this for a particular dog depends on the type of coat. The denser, more woolly and curly, the more the owner will have to devote time to his pet. The dog should be thoroughly dried after each bath. So that the hair does not get into the eyes, they can be tied every day, and those under the eyes are better not to cut too short. Ears require regular checking, especially after bathing.

Havanese shows in natural, uncut hair. Of course, the dog must be bathed and combed. Only the hair on the paws and possibly the eyes can be trimmed. Pet care requires cosmetics, but due to the small size of the dog, their cost is not high. If the dog does not participate in exhibitions, it can be cut.

Due to the type of coat, Havanese is one of the breeds recommended for allergy sufferers. However, you should always check the person’s reaction to the dog, because it is a very individual matter, both in terms of man and animal (even within one breed there are more and less allergic dogs).


The beginnings of the breed date back to the period of Spanish rule in Cuba. The history of these dogs was studied by Zoila Portuendo, the founder of the Cuban Havana club. According to her, one can speak of two breeds of Cuban biszons.

It began with the now non-existent blankito de la Havana (“whitefish from Havana”), which appeared during the Spanish colonization of the island in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His ancestors were pickles and other small dogs imported by colonizers, merchants and pirates. It was a small (1.5-3 kg) quadruped with a pure white, long, silky coat.

Many of these dogs later returned to their homeland with the Spaniards. In Cuba, they were called “Maltese”, the British gave them the title “white Cubans”, and on the European continent, the term “Havanese” was attached to them. Later they were known in Europe as “Havanese silky-haired dogs”.

At the beginning of the 19th century, many immigrants from Europe settled in Cuba. They brought dogs with them, mainly small poodles of various colors. They were crossed with a blankito and in this way, a new breed began to form, whose representatives were slightly larger and presented a wide range of colors. This is how a modern Havanese was born in the 19th century.

He became a popular companion of wealthy Cubans. At the end of the nineteenth century, an insurrection broke out in Cuba, followed by a US-Spanish maritime war, which ended with the intervention of the United States and the capture of the island. Then an independent republic was proclaimed in Paris, which was still overseen by the United States. After World War I, Cuba became a tourist attraction for rich and famous people.

However, economic hardship caused more and more social unrest that led to the outbreak of the 1959 revolution and the takeover of power by Fidel Castro. Over the years, many wealthy residents have left the island. They left the dogs under the care of friends or trusted servants, without suspecting that they would never see them again.

Catalina Lasa (1875-1930) is considered one of the most distinguished people to save the race – a woman not only of great beauty (winner of several beauty contests), but also of a strong personality. One of her passions was breeding Havanese, which among others thanks to her survived the years of chaos.

The FCI recognized the Havanese in 1963. In 1979, a Havana club was established in America, where for some time the breed was bred based on dogs brought by refugees from Cuba. In 1987, the FCI recognized the Cuban cynological federation, but it wasn’t until 1991 that the official Havanese Cuban club was formed, which a year later became a member of the Cuban cynological federation. He dealt with the reconstruction of the breed based on a dozen or so surviving dogs. In 1992, Kuba issued a stamp with the breed. In 1996, the Havanese was recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Outside Europe, the breed is popular in the United States and Canada. In Europe, it is most popular in Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands. The popularity of the Havanese in Cuba has increased since the early 1990s, where he was recognized as a national race.


Havanese – group IX FCI, section 1, reference number 250

  • Origin:  Western Mediterranean; breed development country: Kuba
  • Character:  cheerful, bright, lively, playful, gentle and kind towards people and other animals; alert, can warn of intruders
  • Size:  23-27 cm (tolerance: 21-29 cm)
  • Weight:  dogs approx. 6 kg, bitches approx. 5 kg
  • Coat:  long, soft, straight or wavy, it can form curls; in an adult dog, the hair is 12-18 cm long; woolly undercoat, underdeveloped, sometimes completely missing
  • Color:  fawn in various shades, with or without a dark coating, black, Havana color (brown-red cigar color), tobacco color, reddish-brown, also white with patches in the mentioned colors; pure white ointment is rare
  • Lifespan:  14-15 years
  • Vulnerability to training:  high
  • Activity:  likes movement and fun, but can also lead a quiet lifestyle
  • Resistance/susceptibility to diseases:  very resistant; there are problems with the eyes (PRA, cataract), heart and knee patella
  • Possibility to buy a puppy:  no problem, although sometimes you have to wait for the puppy

Interesting facts

Havanese belongs to the family of bishops, is closely related to bichon frizeBolognese , coton de Tulearlion dog and Maltese . The ancestor of all of them was, among others, barbet, from which poodles also originate.

Small, long-haired dogs were known in the Mediterranean basin in ancient times. This is evidenced even by a figurine found in the vicinity of Cairo depicting such a quadruped (600-300 BC). For centuries, similar quadrupeds have spread among rich people and have become the favorite companions of well-born ladies. Many images of these animals come from the 15th-17th centuries.

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