A first look of the Havanese is a rugged little dog. It has strong legs that allow for easy and free movement. The dog has dark eyes whose shade may vary depending on the color of the coat, with green to amber eyes being reported. The tail is curled over the back.
There are three varieties that have been recognized. These varieties include a curly hair coat, a corded one and a wavy hair coat. The Havanese has a double coat where the underlying coat is double coated which one is an outer coat and the other an undercoat. The adult coat can be as long as 6 – 8 inches long. A recessive gene may cause the Havanese to bear puppies that are of a short and smooth coat. The eye rims and nose are of solid black color. The most common color coats is wide including cream white, blue, silver, gold or even black. It is also not uncommon to get a partially colored Havanese that has a mixture of several other colors rather than a single solid coat. The height of the dog ranges between 8 – 11 inches while the weight ranges between 7 – 13 pounds.
The Havanese is a naturally calm and responsive dog. They are very attached to their families and do very well with children. These dogs are playful and they also possess a very high level of intelligence. It is very easy to train this dog and it is for that reason that the Havanese has been used in so many circuses across the world. As the dog is extremely intelligent, it will make up its mind when it gets a whiff of poor leadership from its owner. Being harsh when disciplining the dog is not necessary, as it has been retrogressive and will make the dog become timid. Disciplining should only be done in a firm and authoritative voice which the dog associates with the pack leader. One of the common behavior problems between the Havanese is excessive barking, though it can learn not to do this. Regular exercise is good to ensure the dog’s mental and physical muscles are exercised.
The health problems seen for this breed include Progressive Renal Atrophy PRA, eye problems, liver disease, heart disease, kidney failure, seizures and deafness. Dry skin is also common in the dog.
Though the dog has been shown to live for about 14 – 15 years, the life expectancy is reduced at the onset of any health problems.
For easier care the coat can be clipped. Regular brushing of the coat is needed if the coat is kept long. Excess hair from the feet and ears should also be clipped. Teeth cleaning is also recommended to be done once a week.
This dog is native to Cuba where it came from in the early 1900’s. The closest relatives of the Havanese are the Bichons. It was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club AKC in 9996.