The Havanese may look cuddly, but this petite dog can be one heck of a watchdog. Known for being protective and alert, the Havanese will readily bark to alert its family of strangers, but will quickly calm down after it realizes there is no danger. It’s good sense of restraint, paired with its small size, make the Havanese a superb dog for apartment dwellers.
The Havanese is a type of Bichon breed, and is the national dog of Cuba, being the country’s only native dog. It’s believed that the breed’s ancestors originated from Tenerife, carried aboard ships bound for Cuba, where they eventually proliferated. As early as the 18th century, the Havanese became a fixture in the homes of wealthy Cubans, who brought the breed to the United States.
The Havanese also stands out for being one of the healthiest dog breeds around. Living up to as much as 15 years—not surprising for toy dogs—the Havanese can still suffer from a few minor issues, such as eye problems and dry skin. With its long gorgeous coat, the Havanese requires frequent grooming and brushing. You also have to make it a habit to check its eyes and ears to keep infections at bay.