Havanese dog

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(Redirected from Bichon Havanais)

Other namesHavanese Cuban Bichon
Bichón Havanés
Bichon Habanero
OriginCuba[1] (AKC) / Western Mediterranean region[2] (FCI)
Height 9 in (23 cm)
Weight 7–14 lb (3–6 kg)
Coat soft
Color All colors
Kennel club standards
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Havanese, a bichon-type dog, is the national dog of Cuba, developed from the now extinct Blanquito de la Habana ("little white dog of Havana").[3] The Blanquito descended from the also now-extinct Bichón Tenerife. It is believed that the Blanquito was eventually cross-bred with other bichon types, including the poodle, to create what is now known as the Havanese. They are sometimes referred to as "Havana Silk Dogs", but this is a separate breed, which has been bred to meet the original Cuban standards.[citation needed]


Havanese in the "Puppy Cut" which is favored by some non-show dog owners


The Havanese is a toy dog with a silky coat. The height of the Havanese ranges from 8+12 to 11+12 in (22 to 29 cm) at the withers with 9 to 10+12 in (23 to 27 cm) being the ideal height. The body, measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks, is slightly longer than the height at the withers, giving the dog the appearance of being slightly longer than tall.[4]

A unique aspect of the breed is the topline, which rises just slightly from withers to the croup, creating a topline that is straight but not level. Renowned for their flashy, lively gait, their strong rear drive and slightly shorter upper arm produce a springy motion rather than a far-reaching one. The angle of the topline does not change while moving at a natural gait.[4]

The muzzle is full and tapers slightly at the nose. It does not have the appearance of being short or snipy. Length of skull measured from stop to point of occiput is equal to the length of muzzle. The top of the skull is rather flat and the back skull is rounded.[4]

The length from foot to elbow is equal to the length from elbow to withers. The fore chest is pronounced. When in a standing position, the sternum lines up with the elbows, creating a deep chest. Ribs are well-sprung and the abdomen is moderately tucked up.[4]

The Havanese has solid black eyes — except for the chocolate colored dogs which may have brown eyes — and almond-shaped lids surrounded by black pigment. The ears, when extended, reach half way to the nose. They arc slightly upward at the base and hang down on the sides of the head without touching the face. The tail is carried arched forward up over the back. While the tail's long plume of hair falls on the body, the tail itself never touches the back.[4]

Brindle and white Havanese and red and white Havanese

Coat and color[edit]

Havanese have a long and furnished double coat.[5] The coat is long, soft, lightweight, and silky.[6] The Havanese coat is slightly wavy, profuse, and undulating. Unlike other double-coated breeds, the Havanese outer coat is neither coarse nor overly dense, but rather soft and light.[citation needed] The undercoat is sometimes completely absent.[citation needed] The Havanese coat should be very soft, almost cool to the touch, like silk.[4]

The coat is shown naturally brushed out or corded,[4] a technique which turns the long coat into cords of hair, similar to dreadlocks in humans.[citation needed]

Although there are a few arguments on whether the original Havanese were all white or of different colors[citation needed] , modern Havanese are acceptable in all coat colors and patterns.[4] All colored dogs should have a black nose and black pigment around the eyes, with the exception of chocolate (brown) dogs, which may have dark brown pigment on their nose instead.[4]

Trimmed Havanese

A show winning Havanese.
The Havanese is a member of the Bichon family of dogs.


Havanese suffer primarily from luxating patella, liver disease, heart disease, cataracts and retinal dysplasia.[7]

The Havanese is predisposed to sebaceous adenitis.[8]

A study of over 90,000 dogs attending the University of California-Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital found the Havanese to be predisposed to portosystemic shunt: 4.35% of Havanese had the condition compared to 0.35% for mixed-breed dogs[9]


The Havanese is a member of the bichon family of dogs. The progenitors of the breed are believed to have come from Tenerife.[1] Ship manifests from Tenerife bound for Cuba list dogs as passengers brought aboard, and these dogs were most probably the dog of Tenerife. Some believe the entire bichon family of dogs can be traced back to the Tenerife dog, while others theorize that the origins are in Malta, citing the writings of Aristotle, and other historical evidence of the early presence of such dogs in Malta. Whatever the actual origins of bichon dogs, these little dogs soon became devoted companions to the Spanish colonists in Cuba and were highly admired by the nobility.[1][10]

As part of the Cuban Revolution, upper-class Cubans and others marked out for annihilation by the communists fled to the United States, but few were able to bring their dogs. When American breeders became interested in this rare and charming dog in the 1970s, the US gene pool was only 11 dogs.[11] The American Kennel Club (AKC) only officially recognized the Havanese breed in 1996.[1]

With dedicated breeding, and the acquisition of some new dogs internationally, the Havanese has made a huge comeback and is one of the fastest growing breeds of dogs in the AKC.[citation needed] The 2013 AKC statistics rank the Havanese as the 25th most popular pure-breed in the United States, a rise in popularity from 28th place in 2012.[12]


Because of the Havanese's friendly and readily trained nature, it is used for a variety of jobs involving the public, including therapy dogs, assistance dogs, such as signal dogs for the hearing impaired, performing dogs, mold and termite detection, and tracking.[citation needed]

Havanese also compete in a variety of dog sports, such as dog agility, flyball, musical canine freestyle, and obedience training.[citation needed]

As show dogs[edit]

The breed standard notes that except for slight trimming around the feet to allow for a tidy foot, they are to be shown untrimmed;[1] any further trimming, back-combing, or other fussing is against type and will not be allowed to the point of precluding placement in dog shows. The breed standard specifies that the tail may not be docked. The American Kennel Club Standard allows head furnishings above each eye to be held in two small braids secured with plain elastic bands.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Get to Know the Havanese", American Kennel Club; retrieved 14 May 2014
  2. ^ Standard Now mood 250 Archived 27 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Fédération Cynologique Internationale, 4 November 2008; retrieved 5 August 2011
  3. ^ Portuondo, Zoila (26 August 2023). "Bichón habanero, el carismático faldero nacido en Cuba". OnCubaNews. Retrieved 28 February 2024.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Havanese Standard" (PDF). American Kennel Club. Retrieved 24 February 2024.
  5. ^ Bellamy, Kim K. L.; Lingaas, Frode; Madsen, Per (16 November 2021). "Heritability of distichiasis in Havanese dogs in Norway". Canine Medicine and Genetics. 8 (1): 11. doi:10.1186/s40575-021-00110-5. ISSN 2662-9380. PMC 8594152. PMID 34784963.
  6. ^ Frazer, Megan M.; Schick, Anthea E.; Lewis, Thomas P.; Jazic, Edward (June 2011). "Sebaceous adenitis in Havanese dogs: a retrospective study of the clinical presentation and incidence". Veterinary Dermatology. 22 (3): 267–274. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3164.2010.00942.x. ISSN 0959-4493. PMID 21210878.
  7. ^ "Havanese". Canine Inherited Disorders Database. 2 January 2004. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  8. ^ Hnilica, Keith A.; Patterson, Adam P. (19 September 2016). Small Animal Dermatology. St. Louis (Miss.): Saunders. ISBN 978-0-323-37651-8.
  9. ^ Bellumori, Thomas P.; Famula, Thomas R.; Bannasch, Danika L.; Belanger, Janelle M.; Oberbauer, Anita M. (1 June 2013). "Prevalence of inherited disorders among mixed-breed and purebred dogs: 27,254 cases (1995–2010)". Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 242 (11). American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): 1549–1555. doi:10.2460/javma.242.11.1549. ISSN 0003-1488. PMID 23683021.
  10. ^ "Havanese". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 24 February 2024.
  11. ^ Klumb, Diane; Baldwin, Joanne (10 July 2006). "Chapter 1: History of the Havanese: In Cuba and Beyond". The Havanese. BookSurge Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4196-4280-7.
  12. ^ American Kennel Club 2013 Dog Registration Statistics Historical Comparisons & Notable Trends, The American Kennel Club, Retrieved 14 May 2014

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