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What is a Havanese?

What is a Havanese?
 
Havanese come in Every Color,
Color Combination
and Markings!
 



The Charm of the Havanese


Living with a Havanese will bring you daily entertainment, joy and dedicated companionship.  His goal in life is to please you.  You are his BFF, and his happiness is to be with you (his family), to accompany you everywhere, to cuddle with you, to share in your TV and popcorn, and to make you happy.  His favorite things are children and other Havanese, as he will recognize his own kind.  Never want for a ready playmate.  Never want for a kiss or a hug.  No more looking for love in all the wrong places. Never have a cold lap. Never need to go out for entertainment. Never need to buy a shredder. Always have a buddy at your side no matter what you want to do.

Although a small dog classified as a "Toy" breed, this is a very healthy, sturdy little dog with plenty of stamina and speed.  The average height and weight is 10" and 10 pounds.  However, muscle will cause them to weigh more.  He loves agility and is excellent in this sport because he is very athletic and fast.   His springing step, sparkling eyes, and mischievous expression are evidence of his playful and happy nature.  These qualities, together with his innate gentleness, make him an absolutely excellent friend for children of any age.  The average life-span is 15 years making it possible to give your 5 year old a furry friend that will be with them through high school and longer.

The Havanese is a very sociable dog and is not usually shy or nervous around people he does not know.  Although he is a quiet dog, he will alert you to visitors by barking before he runs to meet and greet them with the utmost happy exuberance.  This friendliness endears him to all, and his cheerful greeting and gentle nature have served him well as an excellent therapy dog.  From somewhere comes the additional instincts and talents for herding, scent discrimination and swimming - a very versatile and tough 'toy.'  They are also the best paper shredders money can buy!

Affectionate and loyal, happy and extroverted, very intelligent and responsive, this is a real charmer of a dog who, in a heartbeat, will enchant almost everyone he encounters....  He will enjoy being taught and performing tricks, competing in agility, flyball, obedience, rally, tracking and freestyle (dancing) - all of which will exercise both his mind and body.  A Havanese is truly happy and loving at will.....

Barbara Walters, John O'Hurley and Jack Lemon, Jr. are all owned by a Havanese.


Havanese Coats and Hypoallergenic Qualities


Havanese are a double-coated dog with varying coat textures and are considered "non-shedding."  My grandson is extremely allergic to almost everything and has lived with 2 Havanese for 10 years without a problem.  Some can be so curly that, left unbrushed for a day or two, the hair will cord (Photo above).  Most have soft, silky coats, although some can have a cottony texture and mat easily.  Any coat issue is easily solved by keeping them in a 'puppy cut,' which they like better and is truly adorable.

They are as colorful as they are loving, happy and intelligent.  Havanese come in every color and color combination, so they are as interesting and beautiful outside as they are inside.  The rarity of the color will add to the initial cost because there is no way for a breeder to ensure they will get these colors, and not many of us are blessed with them very often, if at all.  These would be Chocolate, Red and Blue.  Blue Havanese are the most rare with only a handful of breeders in the world with these special lines.  This color is so rare that it is not yet recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club or the American Kennel Club.  AKC will register them and their offspring, but does not recognize the color in the show ring, so they cannot be shown in the US, except with UKC.  UKC uses the European standard for the Havanese, which recognizes the Blues.  Europe recognized the chocolates long before the US as well.


History of the Havanese


It is speculated that these appealing little dogs were used as gifts by seafaring traders to gain favor with wealthy and influential Cuban families.  This ploy, if true, certainly worked.  The Havanese quickly became treasured companions of the elite, serving as lap-warmers for the ladies.  Havanese puppies were precious and never sold; only given as priceless gifts of esteem and gratitude to others of social standing.  Consequently, the Havanese is the National Dog of Cuba.

This association with the upper classes almost spelled the demise of the Havanese in the wake of the 1959 Cuban revolution.  Only a few Havanese escaped with their fleeing owners, and the breed was on the brink of extinction by 1970.  Fortunately, Dorothy Goodale (author of a book about the breed*) managed to trace 11 Havanese living with Cuban exiles and was able to start a program to re-establish the breed.  Although these 11 Havanese are the foundation of the breed in America, the US gene pool has been vastly expanded through bringing Havanese to the US from Europe and Canada.

As more and more Cubans were able to obtain the Havanese, they were used as chicken herders.  This instinct has remained in the breed, so don't be surprised if your little guy taps each heel as you walk.  

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*  Havanese:  A Complete and Reliable Handbook, by Dorothy Goodale, Dec., 2000


 
 
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