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Home > Dogs > 12 Fascinating Facts About the Havanese Dog Breed (With Pictures)

12 Fascinating Facts About the Havanese Dog Breed (With Pictures)

havanese on grass

The Havanese is an enchanting breed that took America and the world by storm when it made its way from exotic lands. The breed is as popular as it is fluffy, with its signature trot and flowing locks making it one of the most distinct dogs. There is much more to this intriguing canine than first meets the eye; keep reading for 12 fascinating facts about the Havanese dog breed.

divider-pawThe 12 Facts About Havanese Dogs

1.  Havanese Dogs Are the National Dog of Cuba

The Havanese dog is the only dog originating in Cuba. Havanas were originally developed from the Blanquito de la Habana dog or “little white dogs of Havana.” The extinct breed is derived from the Bichon Tenerife, another extinct predecessor of the Havana. Upper-class Cubans brought their dogs by boat to America from Tenerife.

Male Havanese
Image By: JACLOU-DL, Pixabay

2. Only 11 Dogs Founded the Havanese Dog in the US

When traveling Cuban dogs were first brought over on ships from Tenerife, only 11 were identified as Havana dogs in the 1970s. The breed quickly gained acceptance and increased from the 11 original dogs. Havana dogs were officially recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1996.

3. They’re Very Popular Pets

Havanese dogs had a meteoric rise in popularity among the people of the US when they saw how enchanting they were. Dedicated breeders honed the breed from the first dogs introduced in the 1970s, turning them into one of the fastest-growing breeds in the AKC. In 2013, the Havanese ranked as the 25th most popular breed, jumping from the 28th position in 2012. They’ve stayed in the 25th space ever since, as of 2021.

Female havanese
Image Credit: Jai79, Pixabay

4. Havanese Dogs Are Also Popular With the Famous and the Royal

Havanese dogs have been popular with royalty and famous figures in history due to their charm and good looks:

  • Ernest Hemingway: In addition to his love of multi-toed cats, Ernest Hemingway kept a Havanese dog on his farm near Havana.
  • Queen Victoria of England: The royal family has a long history of dog ownership, particularly for Corgis. However, Queen Victoria also owned a Havanese.
  • Charles Dickens: Writer Charles Dickens owned a beloved Havanese named Timberdoodle, who inspired some of his works.
  • Barbara Walters: Barbara Walters owns a Havanese named Cha Cha.

5. They Are Dogs With Jobs

Havanese dogs are highly intelligent and easily trained. This, combined with their friendly nature, means that Havanese dogs are often involved in public services. The jobs that they are often involved in include therapy, assistance (such as hearing dogs), detection, and tracking. They’re also good at competing in agility and obedience events due to these traits.

Image Credit: sweetle1, Pixabay

6. The Havanese Silk Dog Is a Subspecies

Havanese Silk Dogs were established by a group who wanted to breed Havanese more faithful to their original look and breed out Osteochondrodysplasia, which is common in the breed. This classic look includes longer legs, longer silky hair, and a longer muzzle.

7. They Make Good Watch Dogs

Havanese dogs aren’t known to bark a lot or for no reason. However, they are vigilant and will protect their families. The Havanese dogs aren’t aggressive but take their guard dog job seriously. They will bark to alert their owners and are watchful and always alert.

Havanese dog_ralfdeon, Pixaba
Image Credit: ralfdeon, Pixabay

8. Havanese Are Known as Velcro Dogs

They are very much “people” dogs and don’t like to be alone. The Havanese will follow their owners everywhere, like their shadow, and lament time spent apart from them. Training can improve this, but the Havanese will always want to be around their owners.

9. They Have Many Names

Because the breed is so popular worldwide, they have different names attributed to them. Alongside references to the old type Havanese (the Havanese Silk Dog), the Havanese can also be known as:

  • Havanese Cuban Bichon
  • Bichon Habanero
  • Bichon Havanes
  • Havaneser
White Female Havanese Dog In Marigold Flowerbed
Image Credit: R. L. Coleman, Shutterstock

10. Havanese Are a Part of the Toy Dog Group

Toy breeds are the smallest dogs, and that includes the little Havanese. These dogs are small, only reaching 9–10 inches tall as adults, though they often seem bigger due to their silky coats.

11. They Have a Signature Walk

Havanese dogs have a walking style mentioned in the breed standard set out by the AKC, which is the signature, bouncing walk seen in the breed. This is as much an essential part of the Havanese as their long flowing coats are. Their walk is characterized by a spring in their step. This is caused by the Havanese having slightly shorter front legs and strong hind legs.

havanese dog
Image Credit: Ralf Bitzer, Pixabay

12. Havanese Can’t Live in the Cold

The Havanese dogs were bred and refined in a tropical climate and adapted to warmth and humidity. Their coats reflect this and are light and flowing, which keeps them cool and protects their skin from the sun. While they are double coated, it isn’t enough to properly insulate them from the cold. Havanese shouldn’t be out in the cold without additional protection and should never be shaved in the winter as they’re at risk of hypothermia.

divider-dog pawWhich Breeds Make the Havanese?

Historically, bichon-type dogs such as the Blanquito were cross-bred with similar breeds, such as the Poodle and other bichons, to produce Havanese dogs.


Havanese have an interesting and rich history and hail from a part of the world that no other dog can claim. They are still popular today in the US and worldwide; after reading these facts, it’s not difficult to see why! We hope you learned more about this little fluffy dog from our 12 fascinating Facts article and have become even more enamored with the Havanese breed!

See Also: Do Havanese Like Water? How to Teach Them to Swim

Featured Image Credit: Sandra Huber, Shutterstock

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