Meet the Breed: The Havanese
This little entertainer loves to soak up the sun and keep you laughing. What more could you ask for?
Kim Campbell Thornton
If the Havanese were human, he’d be dressed to the nines, strutting proudly on the Sunday promenade and puffing on a fine Cuban cigar. Fun-loving, cheerful and good-humored, his idea of the perfect day is spending it with his people and going someplace fun, ideally where other people will see and appreciate him for his entertaining demeanor.
Veterinarian Joanne Baldwin of Richmond, Va., says her seven dogs enjoy visiting her veterinary hospital and helping the receptionist greet clients, taking a ride to a shopping center or pet-supply store, and going for therapy-dog visits.
“They like to work where there’s positive attention and something different,” she says. “They like novelty, and they’re adaptable.”
The Havanese is a member of the widely traveled Bichon family, which includes the Bichon Frisé, Maltese, Coton de Tulear and Bolognese. It shares those breeds’ typically happy, friendly temperament and soft, abundant coat. The Bichon breeds originated in the Mediterranean and from there made their way around the world, bringing smiles wherever they went.
The Havanese landed on the Caribbean island of Cuba, brought by Spanish settlers, probably in the 18th century. There the little dogs developed their own distinctive Cuban style, with a silky, insulating coat and a tolerance for heat. Unlike many of the Bichon breeds, which are known for their white coats, the Havanese may be any color or combination of colors.
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