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Bichon Havanais

Bichon Havanais

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Bichon Havanais
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Breed Organization
Havanese Club of America
Website: http://www.havanese.org
Native Country
Western Mediterranean Basin - Cuba
Other Names
Havana Silk Dog (Havanese), Havanese, Bichon Havanese
Life Expectancy
Approximately 13-15 Years
Litter Size
Average 1-9 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC Toy
Breed Appearance
The Havanese is a small sturdy dog of immense charm. He is slightly longer than tall, and covered with a profuse mantle of untrimmed long, silky, wavy hair. His plumed tail is carried loosely curled over his rump. A native of Cuba, he has evolved over the centuries from the pampered lap-dog of the aristocracy into what he is today - the quintessential family pet of a people living on a small tropical island. His duties traditionally have been those of companion, watchdog, child's playmate and herder of the family poultry flock. His presentation in the show ring should reflect his function - always in excellent condition but never so elaborately coifed as to preclude an impromptu romp in the leaves, as his character is essentially playful rather than decorative.

While historically always a toy dog and therefore never overly large or coarse, he does not appear so fragile as to make him unsuitable as a child's pet. His unique coat reflects centuries in the tropics, and protects against heat. It is remarkably soft and light in texture, profuse without being harsh or woolly. Likewise, the furnishings of the head are believed to protect the eyes from the harsh tropical sun, and have traditionally never been gathered in a topknot for this reason. In both structure and gait, the Havanese is not easily mistaken for any other breed. His characteristic topline, rising slightly from withers to rump is a result of moderate angulation both fore and aft combined with a typically short upper arm. The resulting springy gait is flashy rather than far-reaching and unique to the breed. The overall impression of the dog on the move is one of agility rather than excessive ability to cover ground. These characteristics of temperament, structure and gait contribute in large part to the character of the breed, and are essential to type.


Breed Description
Size, Proportion and Substance: The height range is from 8" to 11" inches, with the ideal being between 9 and 10" inches, measured at the withers, and is slightly less than the length from point of shoulder to point of buttocks, creating a rectangular outline rather than a square one. The Havanese is a sturdy little dog, and should never appear fragile. A coarse dog with excessive bone is likewise contrary to type and therefore equally undesirable. The minimum height ranges set forth in the description above shall not apply to dogs and bitches under twelve months of age. Disqualification: Height at withers under 8" inches or over 11" inches, except that the minimum height ranges set forth in the description above shall not apply to dogs or bitches under twelve months of age.
Head: The expression is soft and intelligent, mischievous rather than cute. The eyes are dark brown, large, almond-shaped, and set rather widely apart. Dark eyes are preferred irrespective of coat color, although the chocolate colored dog may have somewhat lighter eyes. The pigment on the eyerims is complete, solid black for all colors except for the chocolate dog which has complete solid, dark chocolate pigment. No other dilution of pigment is acceptable. Ears are of medium length; the leather, when extended, reaches halfway to the nose. They are set high on the skull, slightly above the endpoint of the zygomatic arch, and are broad at the base, showing a distinct fold. When the dog is alert, the ears lift at the base, producing an unbroken shallow arc from the outer edge of each ear across the backskull. The backskull is broad and slightly rounded. The stop is moderate. Length of muzzle is slightly less than length of back skull measured from stop to point of occiput and the planes are level. The nose is broad and squarish, fitting a full and rectangular muzzle, with no indication of snipiness. The pigment on the nose and lips is complete, solid black for all colors except for the chocolate dog which has complete solid, dark chocolate brown pigment. No other dilution of pigment is acceptable. A scissors bite is ideal. Full complement of incisors preferred.
Disqualifications: Complete absence of black (or chocolate in the chocolate dog) pigmentation on the eyerims, nose or lips.
Neck, Topline, and Body: The neck is of moderate length, in balance with the height and length of the dog. It carries a slight arch and blends smoothly into the shoulders. The topline is straight but not level, rising slightly from withers to rump. There is no indication of a roach back. The body, measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks, is slightly longer than the height at the withers. This length comes from the ribcage and not from the short, well-muscled loin. The chest is deep, rather broad in front, and reaches the elbow. The ribs are well sprung. There is a moderate tuck-up. The tail is high-set and plumed with long, silky hair. It arcs forward over the back, but neither lies flat on the back nor is tightly curled. On the move the tail is carried loosely curled over the rump. The long plume of the hair may fall straight forward or to either side of the body. The tail may not be docked.
Forequarters: Shoulder layback is moderate, lying not more than 40 degrees off vertical. Extreme shoulder layback will negatively affect proper gait, and should be faulted. The tops of the shoulder blades lie in at the withers, allowing the neck to merge smoothly into the back. The upper arm is relatively short, but there is sufficient angle between the shoulder and upper arm to set the legs well under the body with a pronounced forechest. The elbows turn neither in nor out, and are tight to the body. Forelegs are well-boned and straight when viewed from any angle. The distance from the foot to the elbow is equal to the distance from elbow to withers. The pasterns are short, strong and flexible, very slightly sloping. Dewclaws may be removed. The feet are round, with well arched toes, and turn neither in nor out. Pads and nails may be black, white, pink, or a combination of these colors. Chocolate dogs may also have brown pads and nails.
Hindquarters: The hind legs are well-boned and muscular through the thigh, with moderate angulation. The hocks are short and turn neither in nor out. In normal stance, the hind legs are parallel to each other from hock to heel and all the joints are in line when viewed from the rear. The rear assembly, in which the rump is slightly higher than the withers, contributes to the breed's unique, springy gait. Dewclaws should be removed. The hind feet fall slightly behind a perpendicular line from point of buttock when viewed from the side. Hind feet have well arched toes and turn neither in nor out. Pads and nails may be black, white, pink or a combination of these colors. Chocolate dogs may also have brown pads and nails.
Coat: The coat is double, but without the harsh standoff guard hair and woolly undercoat usually associated with double coats. Rather, it is soft and light in texture throughout, though the outer coat carries slightly more weight. The long hair is abundant and, ideally, wavy. An ideal coat will not be so profuse nor overly long as to obscure the natural lines of the dog. Puppies may have a shorter coat. A single, flat coat or an excessively curly coat are equally contrary to type and should be faulted.
Color: All colors are acceptable, singly or in any combination. No preference is given to one color over another. The skin may be freckled or parti-colored.
Gait: The Havanese gait is lively, elegant, resilient, and unique, contributing greatly to the breed's overall essential typiness. The characteristic "spring" is caused by the strong rear drive combined with a "flashy" front action effected by the short upper arm. While a truly typey dog is incapable of exaggerated reach and drive, the action does not appear stilted or hackneyed. The slightly higher rear may cause a correctly built specimen to show a flash of pad coming and going. The front legs reach forwardfreely. There is good extension in the rear and no tendency toward sickle hocks. The topline holds under movement, neither flattening nor roaching. Head carriage is typically high, even on the move.
Size: 21 to 29 cm.
Weight: No more than 6 kg.
Temperament: Playful and alert. The Havanese is both trainable and intelligent with a sweet, non-quarrelsome disposition.


History
The flag of Spain was first raised over Cuba by Christopher Columbus in November of 1492. In the ten years following, colonization was begun on the island by Spain, who owned it for the better part of the next four hundred years.

The first settlers came from two distinct classes- farmers primarily from the island of Tenerife, and the "segundos", or second sons of the Spanish aristocracy. Ship's logs of the early sixteenth century reveal that dogs were brought along on these early colonists' voyages, and logic tells us they were most likely the dog of Tenerife, common ancestor to all the Bichon family. Because of the draconian trade restrictions imposed on its colonies by Spain, Tenerife remained one of the only ports open to Cuba for trade, and it would appear these little dogs, who soon found their way into the homes of the resident Spanish aristocracy, developed without much outside influence. They did, however, develop in response to the climate of this tropical island.

The Havanese of today is still a remarkably heat-tolerant little dog, due in no small part to the unique coat. Once called the Havana Silk Dog, or the Spanish Silk Poodle, the coat is like raw silk floss, profuse, but extremely light and soft, and insulating against the tropical rays in much the same way that yards of silk sari protect the women of India. In its native country, the coat was never clipped for this reason, and the hair never tied into a topknot, as the Cubans believe it protects the eyes from the harsh sun.

In spite of the trade restrictions, Colonial Cuba developed and prospered. By the 18th Century, it was the cultural center of the New World, with an elegance that surpassed anything the British had managed in ITS colonies! The aristocracy of Europe found the city of Havana to be a great vacation spot, with its operas, theatres and palacios. On their return to Europe, they brought back the little Dog of Havannah, which found favor in the courts of Spain, France and England. In both Spain and in the court of Louis XVI, they were shorn in the manner of poodles, and were much admired for their diminutive size. The English, on the other hand, appeared to leave them au natural, and called them the white Cuban, although they were as often found in parti-colors and shades of fawn.

By the mid-eighteenth century, they were downright trendy in Europe. Queen Victoria owned two and Charles Dickens had one, beloved of his seven children and named Tim. They were exhibited in the early European dog shows and type was well-established. In Cuba meanwhile, the times were changing. The aristocracy of the sugar barons was dying out and a new class was emerging, the bourgeoisie, and the little dog of Havana, adaptable as always, became a family dog extraordinaire, playmate of children, watchdog, and herder of the family poultry flock. It is a position he has held there for the past hundred and fifty years.

With the advent of the Cuban revolution, the class of Cubans who owned Havanese was the first to leave. A handful of them found their way to this country, and by the end of the 70s a gene pool was being rebuilt. All the Havanese in the world today, save those from the "iron curtain" countries and those remaining in Cuba, stem from those 11 little immigrants. Remarkably, through all their travels, Havanese type has remained virtually unchanged.


Behavior
Intelligent, extremely affectionate, and gentle with children, the Havanese is a charming pet. Very alert, he makes a good watchdog. He needs firm training.

Health
Juvenile cataracts. Other health concerns include PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), chondrodysplasia, deafness, hip dysplasia, liver shunts, luxating patellas, and skin conditions.

Advice
This apartment dog does not need much exercise. He requires daily brushing and combing. Any kind of grooming, trimming, or stripping is not allowed.

Function
Pet.


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