The Havanese is the national dog breed of Cuba, more specifically of Havana, where they were historically found.
The Havanese is a member of the Bichon family of breeds, which also includes the Bichon Frisé, the Bolognese, the Coton de Tulear, the Maltese and the Löwchen. Whilst they have some similar characteristics, they are quite distinct breeds, with their own breed standards.
Provided the Havanese is well socialised and treated with love and care, it is a happy, friendly, playful and affectionate small dog with a great temperament and full of mischief. It is very suited to be a family dog, but will adapt easily to different living environments. The Havanese can be a great companion for an elderly person or couple, does well in adult only households, and blossoms in families with children. Being very intelligent, the Havanese is easily trainable, and enjoys stimulating activities such as agility.
This dog was bred to be a human companion, it has no other purpose or function. Havanese will often prefer human company to that of other dogs- they crave and NEED human contact. This also means that the dog must not be isolated or deprived of human company. For this reason Havanese do very badly in kennels; they need to be in the family home with their owners, and must not be left alone for long periods of time.
As a long-coated breed, the Havanese requires a lot of grooming. Whilst the coat is developing and maturing, they require daily brushing and combing to prevent matting of the coat. Any prospective owners must take this into account. Many opt to keep their Havanese in a teddy-bear or puppy cut, but even then regular brushing and combing is necessary, alongside regular eye, ear and paw care.