A cuddly adorable size, long silky hair, beautifully expressive eyes...those are just some of the characters that have made the "Cuban dog" a favorite dog breed for many across the globe. Indeed, the Cuban dog or the Havanese dog breed has long been a cherished member of aristocratic families in Cuba since the 1800s. Lovingly referred to as the "Velcro dog," the Havanese tends to stick by his/her owner's side at all, well, almost all times.
The Cuban dog is a companion dog that is loyal, non-shedding, and is extremely active with a love for learning new tricks. These dogs belong to the "Bichon family of dogs," a family that includes the Maltese, Bichon Frise, Bolognese, and Coton de Tulear. Apart from being massively adorable and having a rich, aristocratic history, here are a few other interesting facts about the Cuban dog that you may love to know:
1. The Havanese Dog is the Only Dog Native to Cuba
Known by a few other names such as the Bichon Havanais and the Havana Silk Dog, the Havanese is the only dog that are descendants of dogs that were found in Cuba. The name "Havanese Dog" comes from the name Havana, Cuba's capital city.
A few centuries back, when Spanish settlers claimed Cuba, they began arriving with their companion dogs in tow. Thanks to the isolation of island life, these dogs were crossed with Poodles and other Bichon dogs to give us the current breed of Cuban dogs that we have today.
2. Their Long Silky Coats have a Purpose
The Cuban dog has a long, silky coat that may, to the naked eye, seem quite warm and rather unnecessary considering the warm tropical climate that Cuba enjoys. The fact is, however, that the long, silky coat of the Havanese dog isn't warm at all and isn't there to keep it warm. The dog's coat serves as a protective cover from the sun without which the dog would overheat.
3. They are the True Definition of "Companion Dogs"
Havanese dogs have gained the nickname "Velcro dogs" because they tend to stick by their owner's side. That is perhaps one of the main reasons why Cuban aristocrats so loved them during the 1800s. They are small, furry, adorable, and the gentlest and most reliable of lap warmers.
4. They Have a Particularly Long Lifespan
Compared to most other dogs, Havanese dogs have a somewhat long lifespan. On average, a typical Cuban dog could live up to 10 to 15 years. This is in keeping with most small dog breeds that tend to live longer than their big dog breed counterparts by at least a couple of years. There have been reports of the longest living Havanese dog dying at an impressive age of 18 years.
5. They Learn New Tricks Rather Quickly
Havanese dogs have this uncanny ability to pick up new tricks very quickly. That makes this dog breed very easy to train and perhaps is yet another reason why they are a favorite for many families as pets.
6. They Might Have Been Circus Dogs
According to their history, the Havanese might have been a circus dog. This is probably thanks to the fact that the dog has that strange ability to learn tricks rather quickly and loves doing things for people. Even though they are generally very friendly, these dogs are reasonable watchdogs even though they won't bark much. They will, however, make sure to let you know when someone enters your "territory."
7. They Hardly Ever Shed
Although they have long, silky hair, the Havanese dog doesn't shed as much as you would expect. At least not when compared to other dog breeds. This makes the Cuban dog very easy to clean after and care for in general.
8. The Cuban Dog is a Wonderful Family Dog
You have probably figured this out by now, but it still has to be said - the Havanese is a wonderful family dog for several very endearing reasons. For starters, it has a joyful, playful temperament that makes it an absolute joy for children and around the house. The fact that it learns new tricks quickly makes this dog one of the best companions for kids and adults as well.
Furthermore, they are very people-oriented and are almost always at their happiest when they are snuggled up against your lap, which makes them perfect companion dogs for people who love pets. Finally, the fact that they aren't naturally aggressive dogs makes them delightful pets to have around the house and kids.
9. The Havanese Dog is as Hypoallergenic as It Gets
Since the Havanese dog doesn't shed much hair, it means that they don't produce that much pet dander either. Although no dog can indeed be said to be completely hypoallergenic, the Cuban dog is as close as it gets. That makes it a perfect breed for people allergies or respiratory issues.
10. They Hardly Ever Grow Past 11 ½ inches Tall
There is no denying it, Cuban dogs are rather tiny. That is one of the main reasons why they make such wonderful lap dogs (their adorably petit size, fluffy hair, and expressive eyes). Scientifically speaking, a Havanese dog will be as tall as it is going to be by the time it reaches its 12th or 18th month of living.
There are, however, a few things that contribute to the actual maturity of the dog. Some of the most influential factors, as you would expect, are the dog's bloodline as well as diet. The simplest way to know how big your dog is going to get is to look at the parents. On average, however, they hardly ever go past 8 ½ to 11 ½ inches tall.
It should be stated that the Cuban dog almost went extinct a few years back. The breed was only saved by a few Cuban who fled the country with their dogs during the revolution in 1959. The Havanese dogs we have now are descendants of about fifty dogs to have made it through that trying time. This intelligent and most adorable breed has, however, bounced back, and the species is now very secure.