The Havanese is a Bichon type dog developed in Cuba from an older breed, the Bichon Tenerife, which was introduced by Spanish sailors. It was briefly used as a circus dog, trick dog, and court companion in Europe during the 19th century. It is a very natural breed.

The Havanese is a sturdy dog for its small size and should never look fragile. It stands from 8.5 to 11.5 inches tall. Its rump is slightly higher than its withers, giving it an agile appearance as it moves. Its face is expressive and somewhat playful. It has almond eyes and medium-length hanging ears. The breed’s natural look leads to it having an uncropped tail and ears and a mostly untouched coat. The double coat of the breed is wavy, soft, and light and can be any color or pattern. It can be shown naturally or corded, a look reminiscent of dreadlocks on humans.

The breed is playful and active. It loves to run and show off for new people. It is a very people-oriented breed which can be very clingy toward its owner, even to a point of following it around the house and refusing to eat when the owner leaves its sight. The breed is always vying for attention. It loves children and is playful; it can even tolerate the clumsiness of kids. The breed has an excellent nose and loves to play hide and seek with treats. The breed is very highly trainable.

The breed is remarkably low maintenance. Careful consideration must be taken, however, of its body temperature. Despite the thick look of its coat, it is actually fairly thin; the breed does not do well outside in cold weather. Its coat sheds very little, if any, so it can make a good pet for allergy sufferers.

The Havanese is a somewhat healthy breed, but genetic problems may arise due to its small gene pool. These problems are constantly being worked on and eliminated by breeders. The breed typically has a lifespan of around 12 to 15 years.