Please contact us if you have any questions:
Deborah Dahl, Havanese Breeder
Phone: 250.652.6310 Cell: 250.360.6324
Although the Havanese breed has a long history in Cuba, it is still relatively new to North America. It is widely believed that its origins date back to the days when the Spanish first settled in the new world in the 16th century and brought with them their beloved "spaniel type" dogs. When the settlers first went to Cuba from Spain, they brought with them their working dogs to hunt and protect, but they also brought a smaller, companion dog. It is said that the ships' captains bred small dogs on board that were often sold, given as gifts, or exchanged as favours along their trade routes. An early 16th century ship's log tells of dogs brought along on these trips and describes what was likely an early ancestor to all the Bichon family. As there were strict trade restrictions imposed by Spain, Tenerife was one of the only ports open to Cuba for trade, and it appears that the little dogs soon found their way into the homes of the Spanish aristocracy.
Vacationing aristocracy took the dogs back home with them and, as a result, these little dogs could be found in the courts of Spain, France, and England. In England, they were called "Blanquito de la Habana", meaning white Cuban. Queen Victoria owned two, and Charles Dickens had one named Tim. As times changed with modernization, the Havanese became the playmates of children, were used as dancing dogs in circus acts, and fully endeared themselves to all who came to know them. Their main function has been as a loyal and loving companion, but they were also known to be herders of chickens and geese.
The advent of the Cuban revolution found most of these dogs abandoned to the streets, but a few families managed to bring their beloved pets with them to the United States and the breed was saved. Dorothy Goodale succeeded in acquiring six, and later five more, from three different breed lines, and with the breed standard published by the "Federation Cynologique Internationale, the first Havanese lines appeared in 1974. In 1991, the UKC (United Kennel Club) recognized the breed, and in 1996 the AKC (American Kennel Club) moved them out of the Miscellaneous Class and into the Toy Group, officially recognizing it as a registered breed.
In 1983, the first Havanese were shown in an exhibition in Holland.
It was in late 1988 that the Havanese first made their appearance in Canada, but it was not until 1996 that they were able to be shown in the CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) Miscellaneous class.
In 1988, Cuba began the process of repatriating the breed to its home country, and by 1991 a Havanese Club was established. In 1992, the Cuban postal service produced a Havanese postage stamp.
History of the Breed