Playful, clever, and usually friendly dogs. Usually good with children. Havanese learn well with reward-based training using treats or favorite toys. Havanese seem to enjoy dog sports such as agility, flyball, tracking, musical canine freestyle, rally and competitive obedience.
Havanese, a member of the Bichon family, means "Little Dog from Havana" although the dog is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean. The Havanese was introduced to Cuba during the 16th century by Spanish traders, who made gifts of the little dogs as a means of smoothing trade between the two countries. The Havanese faced extinction during the Cuban Revolution as the majority were left behind when their wealthy owners fled the country. Two families, the Perez and the Fantasio families, did manage to smuggle their Havanese with them and they are the first of their breed recorded in the United States. In the 1970's only 11 dogs brought to the United States were used to help the Havanese make a strong comeback and is now cited as being one of the fastest-growing registrations in the American Kennel Club. The breed was recognized by the UKC in 1991 and the American Kennel Club in 1996.