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Havanese

Tags: toy, Small-sized, Adaptable to apartment life, Kid-friendly, Calm temperament

The Spanish brought my ancestors to the Americas -- and Cuba in particular -- from the Mediterranean island of Tenerife -- also the home of the Bichon Frise ancestors. When Havana became a fashionable vacation spot for Europeans, we crossed the Atlantic in the other direction to become favorites of the well-to-do and royalty. Times changed, and back in Cuba we became family pets; one of our chores was guarding the family poultry flock. Today, we're the national dog of Cuba -- and an affectionate pet in many other places around the world. The AKC admitted the Havanese to the Toy Group in 1996. Besides white, we come in almost all colors including the cigar-like Havana Brown.

Rave review

  • Adaptable to apartment life -- with appropriate exercise
  • Affectionate family friend
  • Always alert
  • Calm as a clam
  • Classy canine
  • Energizer doggie
  • Even-tempered, good-natured

Report card

  • Intelligent and ready to learn
  • Loves kids and visa versa
  • Never aggressive
  • Outgoing extrovert
  • Playful pal
  • Pleased to please
  • Social butterfly
  • Sweet disposition
  • Takes to training

What to expect

Please resist the urge to trim my coat. Its remarkable, non-shedding nature is the reason why the Havanese is good for allergy sufferers. Don't worry we'll be too hot in the summer -- that fluffed-up silk is natural insulation and shade from the sun. Shearing and sculpting a Havanese isn't allowed in the show circuit -- except for hygienic trimming fore and aft. And certainly don't tie a topknot up in ribbons -- that's not allowed either and it makes me look silly.

Watch for

Possible cataracts, deafness, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, patellar luxation, (slipped kneecaps) and heart problems.

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