Havanese Breed

Narrator: The Havanese this tiny canine with a big heart has a taste for the good life and it's no wonder for centuries these pampered pooches have adorned the laps of the rich and famous. Queen Victoria owned two of the toy dogs and Charles Dickens had one he affectionately call Tim but Barbara Walters swears her Havanese is really something special.

Dr Karen: Her dog's name is cha cha and she said that it told her I love you [unclear 00:30] so maybe it can talk.

Narrator: There's no doubt that what the Havanese lacks in size it makes up for in personality

Dr. Cherise: It is a very lively dog, it is a very affectionate dog and it is a very people loving dog and it is bred solely for companionship

Dr Karen: The other thing that's good about the Havanese is they're not Yappy and Snappy like a lot of the toy breeds.

Narrator: The Havanese is an ancient breed whose origins can be traced to the Mediterranean as far back as the first century A.D. These charming pets are believed to be members of the [unclear 01:09] family and to have travelled aboard Spanish trade ships to Cuba in the early sixteen century. When the Cuban revolution broke out, eleven of the dogs fled to the United States with their well to do owners. That means all the Havanese in the U.S. today can be traced to eleven Havanese immigrants. While they're still considered rare, their popularity is growing.

Andrea Arden: The Havanese is definitely in the top five breeds of dogs in New York City right now.

Narrator: In Cuba the Havanese is the National Dog and the country's only native breed hence the name Havanese. Personable as well as pretty, Havanese come in a rainbow of colors everything from black to white to chocolate to silver and any combination in between but their most unique physical characteristic is their beautiful silky coat. Described as raw silk floss, the Havanese coat is wavy, soft and bountiful insulating the dog from the harsh tropical rays of its native land.

Joey Villani: It's a dog that should look like it should look messy, it should look muffy, that's the characteristic.

Narrator: But some Havanese owners prefer to keep their dogs in shorter coats, necessitating even more trips to the groomer. Short coated or long, the Havanese will bounce its way into your heart with its distinctive gait. This spring in the Havanese step is a result of having slightly shorter front legs than rear legs that's all part of the charm. Just like the breed’s arched tail which curls over its back. Havanese are best suited to indoor living.

Dr. Cherise: These are perfect city and apartment dogs.

Narrator: They need a moderate amount of daily exercise but can adapt to most environments.

Andrea Arden: If you want to have it in the country and take it for long walks in the woods, keep in mind that that coat is ideal for picking up debris which means when you get home you’ll need to thoroughly brush them out.

Narrator: You can say that again if you own a Havanese, you better become good friends with a brush and use it several times each week.

Joey Villani: You don't want to brush your dog, this is not the dog for you.

Narrator: As for their health, the breed is prone to developing cataracts. They may suffer from progressive retinal atrophy, a genetic condition that can cause blindness but training them shouldn't be too tough as long as you provide them with lots of positive reinforcement.

Dr Karen: What's nice about the Havanese is they can be house trained which is huge for a toy breed of dog.

Narrator: That means no surprises inside the house. They blend into family life well but younger children may require supervision. The long and the short of it is that the Havanese is an ideal apartment dog. They may suffer from some eye problems like cataracts they require frequent grooming they're trainable but prefer a gentle hand and as long as small children are supervised, their mild manner makes them a good family dog. It seems that this little dog from Havana is destined to keep winding its way into people's hearts.