In addition to their expressive eyes and outgoing personalities, these toy dogs have long, silky hair and curly tail, making them fun, beautiful dogs. Havanese dogs are the only breed native to Cuba and named after the island’s largest city, Havana. These dogs are relatively small but do have high grooming needs and definitely need plenty of attention.
Initially bred to be herding dogs for poultry and to be companion dogs, Havanese dogs will love to do anything and everything with you. They’re exceptionally happy and lively dogs that are often called velcro dogs because of their intense desire to be right by your side. Unfortunately, because of that devotion, they’re prone to anxiety when left alone and won’t be great as solely outdoor dogs.
Despite their small stature, Havanese dogs will love any activity and love to be included. They’re also intelligent and easily trained, making activities like walks, agility courses, and other dog sports. Their goofy nature means they also love learning tricks but they’re also excellent watchdogs that don’t excessively bark. Havenese also love to be up high and will find their way up to the backs of sofas, tables, or other places to watch everything that’s going on.
As a breed, the Havanese dates back to 16th century Cuba and their ancestors came to the Caribbean island from Tenerife in the Canary Islands off of Spain. These dogs were well-loved by Cuban aristocrats before becoming popular with wealthy Europeans. Queen Victoria even had a Havenese at one point! The breed almost went extinct in 1959 when the Cuba Revolution started but less than a dozen managed to get to the United States and current Havanese dogs can trace their lineage back to those dogs. The AKC eventually recognized the breed in 1996.
While this breed has a silky, beautiful coat that doesn’t shed much, regular grooming is still very important, as it can help keep their fur untangled and can prevent matting. Semi-regular trips to a professional groomer will definitely help any Havanese owner! This breed is also prone to watery eyes and tearstains and while the cause is unknown, this usually isn’t a serious issue and the tearstains can often be wiped away with a damp cloth. These dogs also look great with their bangs tied up, which can help keep their eyes clear.
Havanese dogs are small, usually standing 8-11 inches at the shoulder and weighing 7-13 pounds. Because of their affectionate nature and lively spirit, these dogs are particularly great family dogs and do well with children (as long as the kids are gentle and understand boundaries!). Havanese also do great in any sort of housing and their small stature makes them particularly great for apartments. But don’t let their size fool you – these dogs have a surprising amount of energy! If you live in an apartment and would like a walking partner or are looking for a family pet, this breed would be great for you!