Dog Health & More
The Havanese dog breed has won many admirers with his long, silky hair, expressive eyes, and cuddly size. Bred as a companion dog to the Cuban aristocracy in the 1800s, he's earned the nickname "Velcro dog" because he sticks so closely to his owner's side. But don't write him off as just a lapdog; the Havanese is trainable and surprisingly energetic, and has excelled in dog sports and canine careers ranging from circus performer to assisting the handicapped.
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The Havanese shines his affectionate personality on everyone, including strangers, children, other dogs, and even cats. But his family will get the lion's share of his love; given the choice, he'll stick like glue to his owner's side. The potential downside to all this devotion is that, when left alone, the Havanese can become anxious. This is definitely a housedog, and a Havanese who's left in the backyard — or anywhere away from his family — is not a happy dog.
His Velcro personality isn't so surprising, considering he was bred to keep the wealthy families of his native island of Cuba company. Since then, however, the Havanese has proven that he's good for much more than warming laps. Havanese dogs are quite trainable, and they've worked as therapy and assistance dogs, sniffed out mold and termites, and shown off their clownish antics as performing dogs.
They've also got a surprising amount of energy for their size, and for the family looking to compete, the Havanese will happily tackle such sports as agility, freestyle, obedience, and flyball.
As with many small dogs, it's common for adoring owners to overindulge their Havanese. They'll probably regret it — bad habits, such as eating only people food, can form very quickly. This breed is a sharp con artist, and you may find that your Havanese is training you, rather than the other way around.
In spite of his quirks, or maybe even because of them, the Havanese is a wonderful and versatile pet.