I want you to be confident that there is a perfect fit between you and your new puppy. What are some things for you to expect while enjoying life with a Havanese? For starters, here’s a cute video overview of the breed.

Their hypo-allergenic coat is one thing to expect, which is super soft and silky, yet has little to no shedding, ideal for owners with pet allergies. Their coat comes in many shades and patterns for a variety of beautiful dogs. Because their hair doesn’t shed, it does need to be groomed on a regular basis. Don’t be intimidated. I groom mine and it isn’t bad at all, I actually think it’s fun. It is sweet bonding time between you and your dog. There are many choices of brushes and combs at any pet store, experiment and see which ones work best for you and your Havanese. You can always take him to a professional as well, if that is more your comfort level. The shorter you keep their coat the lower maintenance it will be. If the long hair is too much for you to maintain, just keep it on the short side. Since I live on a ranch and my dogs have plenty of outdoor playtime, I have chosen not to keep it as long as if I were showing them; just at a medium length “puppy cut”. (Adorable, let me tell you!)

Their size, which ranges from 9-13 lbs. Small, but not too delicate. They are a perfect indoor companion dog.

Their energy level is moderate. They will run around like crazy if they get a chance to outdoors, (especially when they are young, like all puppies) but also are good city and apartment dogs. Mind, they are ‘people dogs’ and are bred for companionship, so keep that in mind if you work away from home for long hours at a time.

I love the trust and loyalty that Havanese have for their owners, and how sometimes they just seem to know what you are thinking. I love how each individual dog has an extremely distinct personality. I love it when they run… and hop and pop up in pure joy of my coming home. I also love how they jump on my lap and fall fast nuzzled in like the ideal little rag doll. All of these reasons and more are why I decided to become a breeder of purebred Havanese.

Although it is new to the AKC, the Havanese is quite an old breed in “dog years”. Its history is fascinating and important to defining type, as it is unique in many respects. The Havanese is the National dog of Cuba and its only native breed. The flag of Spain was first raised over Cuba by Christopher Columbus in November of 1492. In the ten years following, colonization was begun on the island by Spain, who owned it for the better part of the next four hundred years.

The first settlers came from two distinct classes- farmers primarily from the island of Tenerife, and the “segundos”, or second sons of the Spanish aristocracy. Ship’s logs of the early sixteenth century reveal that dogs were brought along on these early colonists’ voyages, and logic tells us they were most likely the dog of Tenerife, common ancestor to all the Bichon family. Because of the draconian trade restrictions imposed on its colonies by Spain, Tenerife remained one of the only ports open to Cuba for trade, and it would appear these little dogs, who soon found their way into the homes of the resident Spanish aristocracy, developed without much outside influence. They did, however, develop in response to the climate of this tropical island. The Havanese of today is still a remarkably heat-tolerant little dog, due in no small part to the unique coat. Once called the Havana Silk Dog, or the Spanish Silk Poodle, the coat is like raw silk floss, profuse, but extremely light and soft, and insulating against the tropical rays in much the same way that yards of silk sari protect the women of India. In its native country, the coat was never clipped for this reason, and the hair never tied into a topknot, as the Cubans believe it protects the eyes from the harsh sun.

In spite of the trade restrictions, Colonial Cuba developed and prospered. By the 18th Century, it was the cultural center of the New World, with an elegance that surpassed anything the British had managed in ITS colonies! The aristocracy of Europe found the city of Havana to be a great vacation spot, with its operas, theatres and palacios. On their return to Europe, they brought back the little Dog of Havannah, which found favor in the courts of Spain, France and England. In both Spain and in the court of Louis XVI, they were shorn in the manner of poodles, and were much admired for their diminutive size. The English, on the other hand, appeared to leave them au natural, and calledPortrait of Federico II Gonzaga by Titian.them the white Cuban, although they were as often found in parti-colors and shades of fawn.

By the mid-eighteenth century, they were downright trendy in Europe. Queen Victoria owned two and Charles Dickens had one, beloved of his seven children and named Tim. They were exhibited in the early European dog shows and type was well-established. In Cuba meanwhile, the times were changing. The aristocracy of the sugar barons was dying out and a new class was emerging, the bourgeoisie, and the little dog of Havana, adaptable as always, became a family dog extraordinaire. It is a position he has held there for the past hundred and fifty years.

With the advent of the Cuban revolution, the class of Cubans who owned Havanese was the first to leave. A handful of them found their way to this country, and by the end of the 70s a gene pool was being rebuilt. All the Havanese in the world today, save those from the “iron curtain” countries and those remaining in Cuba, stem from those 11 little immigrants. Remarkably, through all their travels, Havanese type has remained virtually unchanged from that of the dogs painted in the eighteenth century. To preserve it now and for the future is the challenge.

History post compliments of www.Havanese.org

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