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History of the Havanese Breed

The Havanese originated in Cuba from an earlier breed known as the Blanquito de la Habana. This white dog with a ‘geographic’ last name which undoubtedly came from the famous Cuban port that was visited over the centuries by ships and crews from all parts of the world, including those bringing Spanish products, people and customs. All of them were welcomed by the warmth of Havana.

Because of the French, Cuban and Russian revolutions, the Havanese became nearly extinct. Their population in Cuba has been on the rise most recently because of increased popularity and Havanese lovers who actively campaign for its preservation in the USA. The Havanese was a common sight in the homes of aristocratic Cubans during the 18th & 19th centuries. In the development of the Havanese, the Blanquito was much more dominant than the poodle. The Bichon Havanese originated in the 19th century (1800-1900). It was continually bred in Cuba all through the 20th century (1900-2000) and was the preferred pet/dog of the Cuban families.

The Havanese have only been bred in the United States starting around the 1970’s. Cubans who were migrating to the U.S. in the 1960’s brought their beloved Havanese with them. Most Cuban refugees settled in Florida with a few of these Havanese puppies. One of people accredited for saving the Havanese breed from extinction is Mrs. Goodale. After she was introduced to the Havanese breed she advertised in the Florida paper, and found two or three immigrant families who had brought their Havanese from Cuba with pedigree papers. Mrs. Goodale was an experienced dog breeder and worked with 11 havanese dogs she had saved. Her first lines appeared in 1974. The UKC recognized them in 1991. The AKC recognized them in 1996. The CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) recognized them in 2001.

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