Dogs 101: Havanese – The Cuban Bichon
A charming companion and loving lap dog, the Havanese has won many a heart! This lovable little ball of fur makes friends with everyone he meets, whether human or animal. Thanks to his bubbly personality and hypoallergenic coat, you’ll undoubtedly fall in love with this quick-learning family extension. Hi, welcome to Animal Facts, today we look at the Havana Silk Dog, better known as the Havanese.
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10. The Havanese is a member of the Bichon family, which includes the Bichon Frise, Maltese, and Bolognese. He shares their typically playful, friendly temperament and soft, plentiful coat. The well-traveled Bichon breeds dawned in the Mediterranean. From there they made their way around the world, bringing smiles along with them.
9. In the 18th century, the Bichons landed on the Caribbean island of Cuba with the Spanish settlers. There the Havanese formed his own distinctive Cuban style, with a silky, insulating coat and a tolerance for heat, along with a combination of colors, rather than the standard white of other Bichon breeds. He is the only breed of dog considered native to Cuba.
8. With the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the breed fell on hard times, and some fled the country with Cuban refugees. Eleven of them came to the United States and in 1979 the Havanese Club of America was formed. The Havanese was admitted to the American Kennel Club’s Toy Group in 1999. It is said that all Havanese in the US are direct descendants of those 11 dogs that fled Communist Cuba. With the reopening of Cuban relations, we look forward to seeing what is in store for the Havanese.
7. Bred as a companion dog for the wealthy families of Cuba, he’s definitely a house dog and he’s said to have a velcro personality. The Havanese shares his affection with everyone, including strangers, children, other dogs, and even cats. But his family will get the lion’s share of his love. The potential downside to all this devotion is that, when left alone, the Havanese is not a happy dog. He’s definitely not a backyard dog.
6. The Havanese does well in all types of housing, from apartments to homes with large yards. But he’ll probably bark when he sees someone passing by the house or when he hears a strange noise. The good news is that he doesn’t bark just for the sake of hearing his own voice. Yeah, we fully expect disagreement on this fact. Many Havanese like to perch on the back of a sofa or chair, looking out the window so they can announce visitors.
5. It’s only natural for a dog bred to be with the elite would find himself with the elite. Famous pet parents of Havanese pooches include Barbara Walters, Venus Williams, Joan Rivers, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway.
4. The Havanese does have an independent streak, being at least mildly stubborn, but they are not a dominant breed. They respond well to training that includes food rewards and they especially love learning tricks. Many individuals excel in competitive obedience and agility. The most problematic training issue is housebreaking — The Havanese is slow to housetrain.
3. His coat is beautiful, but without frequent brushing and combing, the Havanese becomes a matted mess. If you can’t commit to all this brushing, commit to frequent clipping to keep his coat short, neat, and healthy, called a puppy cut. I mean, who doesn’t want a permanent puppy?
2. Although they are small, they do require some exercise. This should include a daily walk of 30 minutes or so and several outdoor playtime activities during the week. Many enjoy running free, although this should be only allowed in a fenced in secure area with supervision.
1. Once introduced to Europe, the breed was referred to as Habeñeros or White Cubans. He gained the attention of fanciers as a popular performing dog and as a pet of influential people. His popularity as a pet, however, declined, and many owners began using him as a circus or trick dog all over Europe.
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