The Havanese Puppy – Where did it all Start? Part 1

The Havanese Puppy – Where did it all Start? Part 1

by Fiona Kelly

The Havanese puppy is a loveable dog that unknown to many is a member of the Bichon breed family. What does Bichon mean? “Bichon” is a French word that means “fleecy dog”. The Bichon breed is often related to the Barbet. The Barbet is the French name for a poodle like water spaniel that is thought to be an ancient ancestor of the current day Bichon breed varieties.

Of course there are several different types of Bichon dogs that include: the Maltese, Bichon Frise, Bichon Bolognese, Lowchen, Coton de Tulear, and the Havanese. These Bichon breed varieties have various geographic origins.

Most of these breeds were around in ancient Greece. When the Spanish Empire swept across the world in the 1500’s, so did the Bichon breeds as well. The Bichon breeds were known to be perfect companions for long voyages on maritime ships.

Originally the Bichon breeds were developed in the Canary Islands, France, and as well as Cuba. Now of these breeds can you guess which Bichon breed came from Cuba? That’s right, it was the Havanese!

Like so many dog breeds the Havanese breed was named after the world famous seaport in Havana, Cuba. It’s not surprising then that the Havanese is the national dog of Cuba. In Cuba, the Havanese dogs descended from a dog breed called “Blanquito de la Habana”!.

So what is the best way to describe the Havanese? The Havanese breed is a small, white fluffy dog that has a well defined face. The Havanese breed is very affectionate, loyal and a special companion that just loves to sit on your lap. They not only want your love and attention but they will give their admiration in return. Their attentiveness paired with their beautiful coat and features made the Havanese a well sought after breed.

Although the aristocratic society of Cuba embraced the Havanese the turn of the century into the 1900’s brought a change in the interests of the social elite. The upper crust of society no longer favored the Havanese breed!

Why did this happen? Especially after 200 years how could such a high demand for the Havanese breed diminish? We part of the reason is due to the influence of North America. Prior to 1900, Cuba was dominated by European, and in particular Spanish, influences. The Cubans as a result conducted the majority of their business with Spain. Therefore this European influence created the prevalence of the European Bichon Frise lapdogs.

Around 1900 North America then began to conduct more business with Cuba. As a result of this new business partnership it also introduced different types of dog breeds to the wealthy Cubans. The wealthy Cubans soon wanted to be on par with North Americans regarding the latest trends and this included the current “it” dog breeds.

So this desire to keep up with the North American “Jones'” lead to the Havanese breed to be overlooked in the wealthy Cuban households as they searched for a new breed to adore. This transition left the Havanese to become a house pet in common households. In effect, the Havanese garnered a wider audience of admirers and owners.

If you would like to learn more about the Havanese Breed, visit



About the Author

Fiona Kelly is a passionate Havanese owner that has devoted countless hours sharing her secrets on how to have the perfect, happy, healthy and best behaved Havanese. If you’re interested in the Havanese then you can check out her web site at The Author grants you permission to re-print or re-publish this article so long as it remains unchanged and all links remain present and active

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