Havanese are mischievous, playful little dogs and considered native to Cuba. They take
their name from the city of Havana. It's believed that the Havanese were originally brought
to Cuba during colonial times from the Spanish island of Tenerife. seem to have been
popular with the Cuban aristocracy which developed them.
Cuba's tropical climate played an important role in the development of Havanese dogs.
Their coat, in particular, is unique to the breed. It is lightweight and protects him from the
heat, but the texture is never wooly or harsh. The Havanese coat has been compared to
raw silk. Havanese dogs have been called the Havana Silk Dog and even the Spanish Silk
Poodle. The coat is profuse but light and soft. The Havanese dog's head furnishings also
protect his eyes from the tropical sun.
The Havanese dog has for centuries been the pampered lapdog of Cuba's aristocracy but
these are hardy little dogs which also make wonderful family pets. Besides their natural
role of companion, Havanese have also been watchdogs, playmates for children and even
herded their families' small poultry flocks. Above all, Havanese dogs make a great family
dog, a toy dog but sturdy and never fragile.
The popularity of Havanese dogs grew as Cuba prospered. The sweet, intelligent little dogs
became trendy in Europe in the 18th century and were later exhibited at dogs shows.
Following the Cuban revolution many people who owned Havanese left Cuba. Some of
these dogs ended up in the United States. Almost all Havanese dogs in the world today
descend from 11 dogs who were brought out of Cuba following the revolution.
Physically, this dog doesn't look like any other dog. Havanese dogs are between 8 1/2 to
11 1/2 inches tall at the withers with the ideal being between 9 and 10 1/2 inches. Havanese
weigh between seven and 13 pounds. These dogs are rectangular in outline rather than
A Havanese dog's expression should be soft and intelligent. Havanese dogs should appear
more mischievous than cute. They have dark brown, large, almond-shaped eyes that are
set rather widely apart. Havanese dogs should have good dark pigment on their nose, lips
and eye rims. A scissors bite is ideal.
Havanese dogs should have straight top line with no dips but their top line is distinctive
because it slopes upward toward their rear. Their tail is set high and plumed with long,
silky hair. The tail is carried arched over the back but not tightly curled.
Moreover, they should have a double coat but there is no harsh guard hair or wooly
undercoat. The coat is soft and light in texture all over. The long hair is abundant and may
be wavy. All colors are acceptable alone or in combination.
On the move, Havanese dogs is lively and elegant. There is a characteristic "spring" in
their gait because of strong rear drive and flashy front action. Head carriage is typically
high even on the move.
The Havanese breed standard calls for the Havanese to be playful and alert. These dogs
are trainable, intelligent and have a sweet, non-quarrelsome disposition.
For grooming purposes the Havanese coat may be grown out and "corded" - allowed to
grow naturally into long cords. There is often minimal trimming done on a Havanese coat
or the owner may choose to have a pet haircut done. Most often the coat is simply allowed
to grow long and left natural.
The sturdy, playful little Havanese has been a popular dog for centuries. Havanese have
been pampered by aristocrats and beloved as a family dog and children's playmate. Today
the Havanese remains a popular dog for his charming personality and mischievous ways. A
Cuban expatriot now, the Havanese is beloved everywhere.