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 lapdog 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 the 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.
The height range is from 8 1/2 to 11 1/2 inches, with the ideal
being between 9 and 10 1/2 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 or bitches under twelve months of age.
Height at withers under 8 1/2 inches or over 11 1/2 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.
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 brown 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 backskull 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.
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 hair may fall straight
forward or to either side of the body. The tail may not be docked.
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.
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 the 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
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.
Disqualifications: A coarse, wiry coat. An atypical short coat on an adult dog (atypical
would be a smooth, flat coat with, or without furnishings.)
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.
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 forward freely. 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.
Playful and alert. The Havanese is both trainable and intelligent with a sweet, non-quarrelsome
The dog should be shown as naturally as is consistent with good grooming. He may be
shown either brushed or corded. His coat should be clean and well conditioned. In mature specimens, the length of the coat
may cause it to fall to either side down the back but it should not appear to be artificially parted. The long, untrimmed
head furnishings may fall forward over the eyes, naturally and gracefully to either side of the skull, or held in two small
braids beginning above the eyes, secured with plain elastic bands. (No ribbons or bows are permitted.) Corded coats will naturally
separate into wavy sections in young dogs and will in time develop into cords. Adult corded dogs will be completely covered
with a full coat of tassle-like cords. In either coat, minimal trimming of the hair at the inside corner of the eye is allowed
for hygienic purposes only, not in an attempt to resculpt the planes of the head. Minimal trimming around the anal and genital
areas, for hygienic purposes only, is permissible but should not be noticeable on presentation. The hair on the feet and between
the pads should be neatly trimmed for the express purpose of a tidy presentation. Any other trimming or sculpting of the coat
is to be so severely penalized as to preclude placement. Because correct gait is essential to breed type, the Havanese should
be presented at natural speed on a loose lead.
The foregoing description is that of the ideal Havanese. Any deviation from the above described
dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation keeping in mind the importance of the contribution of the various features
toward the "original purpose of the breed."
Height at withers under 8 ½ or over 11 ½ inches except that the minimum height
range shall not apply to dogs or bitches under twelve months of age.
Complete absence of black (or chocolate in the
chocolate dog) pigmentation on the eyerims, nose or lips.
Coarse, wiry coat.
An atypical short coat on an adult.
(Atypical refers to a smooth, flat coat with, or without furnishings).