The relationship between dogs and humans goes a long way back. During the prehistoric ages, humans domesticated dogs, or another theory dogs domesticated themselves. Over thousands of years, this bond between dogs and humans has only gotten stronger.
Previously dogs were bred as a working companion of humans. But with the changing times, their responsibilities changed as well. Now, people are more interested in having a friend and a companion in their pets. That is one reason why the demand for friendly and loving dogs soared in the last few years.
Being one of the most friendly dogs, the Havanese has also gained significant popularity among modern men. If you are thinking about adopting a dog of this breed as a pet, read the Havanese dog’s history first. In the following section of this article, we will talk all about it in detail. So. please give it a thorough read to know more.
Recognising Havanese Dogs
The Havanese is the national dog of Cuba. These cute as button dogs are small in size. However, that does not mean they are frail. On the contrary, the Havanese has a strong structure and a tail that carries over its back. The ears of the Havanese are droopy and fold by the side of the head.
The coat is silky, abundant, and comes in different colours. The Havanese breed is noted for its curiousness and springy gait. The spirited personality of the dogs made them delightful companion.
The Havanese are responsive, mindful and alert. The best thing about these dogs is that they are friendly to everyone. These dogs get along with people of every age. So even if you have other dogs or other pets, you don’t have to worry before getting a Havanese.
The history of the Havanese Dog indicates that they can get along with other pets as well. Intelligent and outgoing, the Havanese are good watchdogs. They will bark to make you aware of any unusual activity. But that does not mean these dogs are prone to nervousness or excessive barking.
All of the qualities of this dog breed makes it one of the most trusted companions of humans. As the Havanese are very social dog breeds, they do not thrive in an environment where they have to stay alone for hours every day. To know this breed better, you have to read the long history of the Havanese Dog. The journey of the breed will help you to understand how this breed has accompanied us for centuries.
Even though the American Kennel Club has recently accepted the breed, the Havanese has been here for a long time. The Havanese variety is one of the oldest breeds with a fascinating history. Purebred Havanese are one of the esteemed members of the Bichon family. For quite some time, these dogs have been bred as lapdogs for the wealthy and socially influential.
As we have mentioned earlier, the Havanese are the national dog of Cuba. It is, in fact, the only native breed of the country. Even though there is ample written evidence of the breed’s history, it almost burst upon the American show scene twenty years ago. One of the biggest problems of tracing the history of the Havanese is the numerous names that the breed has had for centuries. Despite all the difficulties, we have tried our best to track down the Havanese breed history. Check the following detailed history if you want to know more about these dogs.
600 B.C.- 300 B.C.
The first representation of the Havanese breed is found on a vase that belongs to 500 B.C. A Havanese, a dog, featured on the Greek vases is found that belongs to this era. Not only that, a statue of a Maltese type little dog is excavated in Cairo, Egypt. The mention of a Havanese type small dog is found in the writings of different ancient writers.
Timon and Aristotle wrote numerous flowery lines in different verses and prose about the little white dog that came from Malta.
15th Century and 16th Century
Cristopher Colombus hoisted the flag of Spain in Cuba in 1492. Right after that, the Spanish immigrants started to arrive on the island along with their pets. It is said that the first wave of settlers came from two distinct classes of people. One section belonged to the farmers who came from the island Tenerife. The second section of people belonged to the family of the aristocrats.
From the ships’ logs, it is found that the settlers also brought their dogs in the colonial voyages. Canine researchers think that these were the dogs of Tenerife. It is this breed that is considered the common ancestor of the Bichon family. As we mentioned earlier, the Havanese breed has descended from the Bichon family of dogs.
Later, there was a trade restriction imposed on Cuba. During that time, only the port of Tenerife was open. It is one of the reasons that helped these little dogs to breed without facing much outside interference. The weather of the island, however, impacted the development of the breed.
As the Havanese breed was developed in response to the tropical climate, these dogs are heat tolerant. The long coat of the dogs controls body temperature and protects the dogs from the harsh sun rays. That is why the natives of the land never clip the coat or tie the hair into a top knot.
These small dogs’ cute aesthetics and friendly disposition also helped them trace a path to the Spanish aristocrats’ homes living on the islands.
Despite the trade restrictions imposed by the Spanish authorities, over the centuries, Colonial Cuba developed and flourished. During the 18th Century, Havana was considered one of the most happening cultural centres of the new world. The aristocrats of different European nations tend to visit Havana during this time to enjoy the Palacios, theatres and opera. While returning to their home countries, these aristocrats took the little lapdogs from Cuba.
Soon, the little dog from Cuba won the hearts of the royals of England, France and Spain. In the Spanish courts and Louis XVI court, Havanese dogs were admired by people for their small size and friendly manner. In fact, in these two courts, these dogs were groomed just like the poodles. The English, on the other hand, chose to leave the dogs in their natural form.
During the mid-eighteenth century, having a Havanese dog in the household had turned into a trend. Queen Victoria had two Havanese dogs, and even Charles Dickens Owned one. The name of his dog was Tim. The Havanese breed was also exhibited in different dog shows, and their type was well established among dog lovers.
In Cuba, time’s was changing. With the changing time, the place of the Havanese dogs also altered. Instead of being the lapdog of the aristocrats, the Havanese dogs slowly turned into family dog. But, for the next 150 years, the dog retained its place.
Like other dog breeds, the popularity of the Havanese dogs slowly diminished over the years. As the number of these dogs hit rock bottom, the Havanese got almost extinct worldwide, even in their native land Cuba.
The Cuban revolution in 1959 almost destroyed the breed in the country. As people were fleeing in a hurry, most of them left their beloved pets in the hands of their servants. Since the Havanese breed was primarily associated with society’s wealthier section, these dogs were actively or passively eliminated.
There were only three families that took their dogs while fleeing Cuba. These Havanese and perhaps a couple of others Havanese dogs persevered for a couple of decades to ensure that their breed continues.
In 1970, Dorothy and Bert Goodale started looking for a small breed of intelligent dog with a calm disposition. After years of trying to find the right dog, they heard elusive tales of the Havanese breed. The problem was, no one was sure how to obtain one. Dorothy published an advertisement in the newspaper, which helped them to acquire six pedigrees. Later, they were able to get five Havanese dogs with two different bloodlines. It was Dorothy who took up the breeding program to prevent the possible extinction.
The American Kennel Club recognised the breed this year.
2012 and 2013
With the help of dedicated breeding, the Havanese were able to make a huge comeback. As a result, it has become one of the fastest-growing breeds of the AKC.
In 2012, the Havanese were the 28th most popular dog breed, which increased significantly in 2013. In this year, the Havanese secured the 25th ranking.
All in all, the cute little intelligent Havanese dog breed can be one of the best companions you can have at your home. If the Havanese dog’s history is of any indication, do not write off these dogs as mere lapdogs. With proper training, the Havanese can excel in becoming a circus performer or an assistant dog for disabled people. You have to make sure that your dog enjoys constant companionship. That is enough to win your Havanese pet over. Just open your heart to them and see the magic happen.
About the Author
Teresa has been a pet lover since she was little. She currently lives with two dogs and two cats, and a hamster. Teresa is a qualified dog groomer and canine behaviourist; these days, she spends her time studying canine nutrition. Teresa is the founder of the Dog Friendly Scene and loves sharing her knowledge on pets.