The Characteristics of the Havanese Dog Breed

The Havanese, a dog breed that is the national dog of the island nation of Cuba, are popular pets in cities across the United States. These small dogs are known as active and affectionate, which accounts for their popularity.

Physical Appearance, Size, and Origins

The Havanese is a member of the Bichon family of toy dogs, and has its origins on Tenerife, an island in the Canary Islands archipelago. The Canary Islands are a Spanish possession located off the west coast of Africa. The Havanese originally came to the New World, and specifically the island of Cuba, in the 16th century, when Cuba was also a Spanish possession. The dogs were the companions of Spanish farmers and aristocrats that emigrated to Cuba to take advantage of the economic opportunities there.

Two centuries later, the Havanese was discovered by other European visitors, including French and English tourists, who fell in love with the breed and brought them back home to Europe.

Havanese are small dogs, with a height of between 8½ and 11½ inches tall. They weigh only around 7 to 16 pounds. They are slightly longer than they are tall. Their long fluffy coats give them the appearance of being larger. Havanese come in many colors, most notably black and white. They may change color at around a year old, so the exact color they wind up with as adults cannot be accurately told when looking at Havanese puppies. They shed at a lower level than average, and rarely drool. Havanese live for between 14 and 16 years.

Havanese have a distinct bouncing step that they learn as puppies and continue to use throughout their lives. Combined with their small size this gives the Havanese the appearance of being a child’s toy. They are a very robust and sturdy family, however, despite their more fragile appearance. Their long coats are rather light, as befitting a dog used to the heat of the Canary Islands and Cuba. Havanese are thus not as well-protected against the cold as they might first seem, and care must be taken when they are exposed to a cold climate.

Personality and Nature

Havanese are very active dogs. They enjoy running and playing and are not suited to being kept cooped up for long periods of time. They require a lot of social interaction. They are happiest when around people and even other pets. This makes them ideal for people who work from home, which in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is a growing group. They are very intelligent and will learn tricks quickly.

It is recommended that owners begin to expose Havanese to other people and pets while they are still young. This allows the dog to become used to lots of different companions and enhances their generally friendly nature. They have a sensitive mien and respond best to positive training methods. They are always eager to please their owners.

Havanese like to go for walks and play fetch with their owners, but they do not require a large amount of space to run in. This is why they are very popular with people living in large cities, where apartments can be smaller and yards are sometimes non-existent. Their energy level is high, but not so high that they are likely to continually wear their owners out. If they are left alone for longer periods of time when they are young, Havanese will tend to bark excessively.

Their long, soft coats do require frequent grooming, but they do not need trimming. Daily brushing or combing is recommended due to the length of their coat and the tendency for it to become matted up and entangled.

Effective Watchdog

A Havanese can be a very effective watchdog. They tend to bark when people come near them to alert their owners to the presence of someone new. They are not as effective as guard dogs, however, as their small stature is somewhat less than intimidating and they are generally too friendly to want to hurt anyone. In fact, their jovial manner and attachment to their owners make Havanese excellent therapy or emotional support animals. They are highly entertaining and their antics will put a smile on anyone’s face.

Havanese are a great pet for anyone looking for a fun-loving, loyal, and loving animal. Because they don’t require large yards to exercise they are ideal for anyone living in a city, especially in a studio-style apartment. Their need for attention and companionship makes them a poor choice for anyone whose work takes them away from home for long periods of time, but any person or family that spends a considerable amount of time at home will benefit from a charming Havanese.


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