Dog Breed Group: Companion Dog
Life Span: 10-12 years
Weight: Male: 4-6.5, Female: 3-6
Height: Male: 9-12, Female: 8-11
Origin of Name: The Havanese, a bichon type dog, is the national dog of Cuba.
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The Havanese (singular or plural, the name is the same) are from the ancient Bichon family of small white dogs and claim such breeds as potential racial ancestors such as Bichon frays and Maltese. Since the early days of human civilization, lively lapdogs of this type were intercepted worldwide by maritime traders. In all times and places, small, cunning dogs did no useful work, except among the lower social classes, among royals and aristocrats.
The Cuban nobles and wealthy planters originally had lapdog Havanese, named after the capital of Havana, where the breed benefited the most. Depending on the source, the pioneers of the breed were asked to be brought into the island nation by Italian sea captains or Spaniards accused of colonization of the New World in the 1600s.
Over the course of nearly 300 years in Cuba's lap of luxury, the breed was refined, perhaps with poodle crosses, in today's Havanese, once called Blancito de la Havana (Havana Silk Dog). The decisive event in the history of the breed coincided with the Communist takeover of Cuba in 1959. Many well-wounded Cubans who had fled Fidel Castro's revolution brought their small dogs with them to America. With the help of American radicals, the refugees patronized Haveni and maintained them. The breed is now a popular choice for discerning pet owners worldwide.
Two of the world's best-known authors were among the owners of Celebrity Havani. Ernest Hemingway fell under Haveni magic during his 20 years in Cuba. About a hundred years ago, Charles Dickens had a younger Havanese named Tim.