The Havanese is an adorable Cuban breed created from the Bichon style dogs of Europe. As the breed adapted to the changing climate, they became slightly smaller in size, and got a silkier coat, similar to that of a Shih Tzu. The breed was also crossed with Poodles and other similar breeds to create the playful, popular Havanese of today.
The breed features a long, silky coat and perky ears along with a tail that curls over its back. The breed comes in several colors and may be kept in the traditional long show coat, or an easier to manage puppy cut. The breed is becoming more and more popular throughout the world due to its friendliness and ease to care for.
They are playful dogs and very friendly. They do well with people of all ages, including children, and even other pets. They will act as watchdogs and alert owners to odd occurrences but are not overly barky or nervous compared to some other toy breeds.
This dog lives on average 13 to 15 years, typical for a small sized dog. They do have a few breed specific health issues include hip dysplasia, juvenile cataracts, luxating patellas, hip dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy. Some are also prone to deafness (linked to the white coat color) and ear infections.
The coat of the Havanese can be kept in one of two styles, the natural, long show-style, or a trimmed and groomed puppy-cut. Both should be brushed regularly, as they are a hair rather than fur breed. Brushing allows the hair to be removed as it does not naturally shed like other furred dogs.
A lover of attention and pleasing his owner, this breed is quick to pick up tricks and obedience skills. They do well learning tricks, and thrive on positive reinforcement, especially if it looks like they are pleasing their owner. Socialization is beneficial, however, their natural curiosity and playful nature make them easy going around others.
Exercise and socializing will make the Havanese a happy, balanced dog. They love going wherever their owners go, whether it is on a walk about town, or just visiting friends and family. Keeping this dog engaged and included in activities will keep him happy and less prone to anxiety and destructive behaviors.