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The Havanese is originally from Cuba, having originated somewhere in the 19th Century. They are in fact the countryís only native breed and this is probably reason why they are the national dog of Cuba. The breed descends from the Bichon family, more specifically the extinct Tenerife breed. Through their history they have gone through numerous name changes as well and have also been known as the Havana Silk Dog and Spanish Silk Poodle. They certainly arenít one of the most popular breeds and having only been introduced into the AKC in 1996, itís no surprise there have been times where extinction has appeared a real possibility. In fact, itís only since 1970 that they have actually been bred in the USA, after a lot of Cubanís brought their dogs over when they migrated. However, in recent times there has been a surge in popularity and now more and more people are acquiring a Havanese as a companion pet.
The Havanese is a very small breed, standing no taller than eleven inches and weighing between seven and thirteen pounds. Despite their tininess, they possess very strong legs and this allows them to move around freely. While a select few Havanese's have a smooth coat, the standard is for the breed to have a double-coat that's soft on both sides. The breed can come in any color although nowadays chocolate, black and white are seemingly the most common. With the breed originating from highly tropical countries, the coat looks to protect the Havanese's features from heat and this is evident through it's style and unique texture. The tail is actually quite long in comparison to the general size of the breed although seeing as this is carried up over the back, this cannot be noticed. The eyes of this breed can really stand out if a white coat is present, with the Havenese possessing large, dark brown eyes. All in all the breed contains a mix of everything, with a cute expression coupled with a small, yet strong and sturdy frame.
The Havanese's temperament makes them an absolutely perfect pet for children. While small, their sturdy frame makes them good to play with and their gentle but playful nature compliments this. They are regarded as loyal and as well as children, they will get on very well with any human, other dogs or any other pet for that matter. Their high level intelligence means that they can pick things up very easily and this means that training can be a relatively straight forward process if structured sensibly. Their easy-going nature means that they are certainly not equipped to being a guard dog, although some owners tend to use them as a watch dog. However, once a stranger approaches, the Havanese is likely to welcome them or some may even act shyly. Generally, Havanese's don't possess any aggression whatsoever and are a warm, loving pet that is perfect for any loving family.
Like most breeds, the Havanese requires some exercise everyday although a daily walk will usually be sufficient. Overall though, their exercise demands are not excessive and the breed is more than suited to apartment life. As for health problems, the Havanese is generally very healthy and this is evident through their high life expectancy of around fourteen to fifteen years. However, certain problems can arise with cataracts, luxating patellas, dry skin and hip dysplasia being some of the most common issues.
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