The History of the Bichon Havanese

The Bichon Havanese is the National Dog of Cuba. It is a small, friendly dog ideal for families.

The Bichon Havanese is a descendent of breeds brought to Cuba from Spain. Once known as the Havana Silk Dog the Bichon Havanese evolved from its role as a pampered lap-dog into a family companion responsible for being a watchdog, child’s playmate and herder of the family’s poultry flock.

The breed almost became extinct after the 1959 Cuban revolution. A few families fled Cuba and came to the U.S. with their Havanese. Most present-day Havanese are descended from these eleven dogs.

The Havanese was recognized as a breed by the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1996, and is considered a companion toy dog.

Is the Bichon Havanese right for you?

The Havanese is easily trainable and intelligent. It has a naturally affectionate temperament, which makes the breed an ideal family pet. If given lots of love and attention this dog is the perfect pet. 


Although a toy dog, they remain energetic and require some form of daily exercise. The breed’s non-shedding coat makes it suitable for allergy sufferers, but regular grooming is necessary to keep the coat in top condition.


The breeds wavy, silky coat is abundant, but remains extremely light, insulating and protecting the breed against harsh tropical heat. Its coat comes in all colors including chocolate and golden brown.  Of course its kept long for shows, but may be cut short on a pet dog for easier care.

The temperament of the Bichon Havanese

Bichon Havanese are natural companion dogs: gentle and responsive. They become very attached to their human families and are excellent with children, under the right circumstances. They are affectionate and playful with a high degree of intelligence.


 These cheerful dogs are sociable and will get along with everyone including people, dogs, cats and other pets. They are easy to obedience train. This curious dog loves to observe what is going on. They will try to climb onto the back of your couch for the best view. 


They are sensitive to the tone of one's voice and will not listen if they sense that they are stronger minded than their owner, however they will also not respond well to harsh discipline. Owners need to be calm, yet possess an air of natural authority.  It is not their nature to bark a lot. It is best to teach them not to bark unnecessarily while they are still young to prevent it from becoming a habit. 


Havanese are good watch dogs - making sure to alert you when a visitor arrives, but will quickly welcome the guest  it sees you welcome them. 


Some dogs, who have not been properly socialized, may exhibit a degree of shyness around strangers, but this is not characteristic of the breed. Havanese live for your every word and gesture.