The Havanese itself developed uniquely in Cuba, either as the result of said Spanish sailors, or as is often believed by native Cubans, as gifts from Italian traders to open the doors of wealthy houses to their goods. The "Little Dog from Havana" even traveled back to Europe where it found brief favor in the late 19th century as a circus and trick dog and a court companion. As part of the Cuban Revolution, many trappings of aristocracy were culled, including the pretty but useless fluffy family dogs of the wealthy land owners of Cuba. Even though many upper class Cubans fled to the United States, few were able to bring their dogs, nor did they have the inclination to breed them. Indeed, when Americans became interested in this rare and charming dog in the 1970s, the gene pool available in the US was only 11 animals. With dedicated breeding, as well as the acquisition of some new dogs of type internationally, the Havanese has made a huge comeback, with recognition by many major kennel clubs and one of the fastest growing registration of new dogs in the American Kennel Club (AKC) (+42% in 2004). They have also acquired a certain level of trendiness due to rarity, good temperament, and publicity by such famous owners as Barbara Walters.

The Havanese is a member of the Bichon family of dogs, which do not shed. It also includes the Bichon Frise, the Bichon Bolognese, Maltese, Coton De Tulear, Tsvetnaya Bolonka, Franzuskaya Bolonka and possibly the L÷wchen breeds. These dogs were developed from the now extinct Mediterranean Bichon Tenerife, which was introduced to the Canary Islands by the Spanish and later to other islands and colonies of Spain by sailors. They are very playful dogs and good with older more considerate children.


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Havanese".