As the name would suggest, the Havanese is the National dog of Cuba and is in fact the only dog native to Cuba. This dog was originally bred to be a family companion to aristocratic families in Cuba. The Havanese is part of the AKC Toy Group, and is a small but sturdy dog that weighs between 7 to 15 pounds and measuring 8 to 12 inches in height. This breed has a characteristic, springy gait because its rear legs are longer than its front legs.
This breed is hypoallergenic as the long, silky fur is virtually non-shedding. The fur, which may be straight or wavy, comes in a variety of colors. While the coat can grow 6 to 8 inches long, it is lightweight and provides protection and insulation from the tropical heat. The coat may be kept long, or clipped for easy maintenance. If the Havanese coat is kept long, the fur will require regular grooming to prevent tangles in the silky fur.
The Havanese is a friendly and intelligent breed that loves to play and entertain. This energetic dog requires regular exercise, but is easy to train, and makes an ideal family pet. Havanese are very affectionate and tend to become quite attached to their families, earning the nickname “Velcro” dogs. Because the Havanese is so trainable, it is idea as a therapy dog, and does well at dog agility.
The Havanese is a healthy breed in general, although they may be prone to cataracts and orthopedic issues such as hip dysplasia and patellar luxation.