Characteristics of Havanese Dogs

Havanese characteristics make these sweet, playful, little dogs everyone’s favorite. They are considered native to Cuba. They take their name from the city of Havana. It’s believed that the dogs were originally brought to Cuba during colonial times from the Spanish island of Tenerife. Trading ships sailing from the Canary Islands brought small dogs to Cuba as early as the 16th century. The little dogs 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. These dogs have been called the Havana Silk Dog and even the Spanish Silk Poodle. The coat is profuse but light and soft. The 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.

As you can see… quite a heavenly breed!

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. 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. They weigh between seven and 13 pounds. These dogs are rectangular in outline rather than square.

A Havanese dog’s expression should be soft and intelligent. They should appear more playful than cute. They have dark brown, large, almond-shaped eyes that are set rather widely apart. Dogs should have good dark pigment on their nose, lips and eye rims. A scissors bite is ideal.

Havanese dogs should have straight topline with no dips but their topline 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 woolly 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, fun little Havanese has been a popular dog for centuries. He has been pampered by aristocrats and beloved as a family dog and children’s playmate. Today he remains a popular dog for his charming personality and mischievous ways. A Cuban expatriot now, the Havanese is beloved everywhere… and it’s why you Hafta Hava Hava!

…But especially here at www.heavenlyhavanese.NET

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