The Havanese may be a toy breed, but he's sturdy in structure. Slightly longer than he is tall, adult dogs stand at 23-28cm and weigh approximately 3-6kg. He has an abundant, soft, silky coat, with the tail carried over the back in a plume. The coat can be any colour or combination of colours.
The Havanese dog breed belongs to the Bichon family, which includes the Bichon Frise, Bolognese, Coton de Tulear, Lowchen and Maltese. A small white dog found originally in the Mediterranean area, it accompanied traders across the globe, where the dog developed into different breeds. When it landed in Cuba it developed into the Havanese, and became the lapdog of the aristocracy before being taken to the hearts of ordinary Cubans.
The Havanese is a lively, outgoing dog who is friendly and affectionate. As you'd expect of a toy breed, he loves people – including children – and thrives in company. He will suffer if left regularly or for too long. A playful little dog, he isn't just a pretty face and enjoys training and learning new things.
Like many small breeds, the Havenese can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place (luxating patellas). As with many breeds there are some hereditary eye problems that can arise and so breeding dogs should be regularly eye tested.
A small breed, the Havanese needs only about half an hour's daily exercise. A playful dog, he can expend energy playing in the garden with his human family, as well as out on walks. His main pleasure is in accompanying his owner wherever they go.
Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
The Havanese coat is soft and silky in texture. Wavy or with a light curl, the topcoat is profuse, with an undercoat beneath. Daily brushing is needed to keep the coat tangle-free.