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The Official CKC Breed Standard for Havanese

Effective January 2011



Originating in the Western Mediterranean region, Havanese are descended from old world Bichon types. Early sea merchants brought these small dogs to Cuba where the breed was further developed and refined; for centuries prized by upper social classes as children's' playmates and loving companions. Though numbers were severely decimated by the late 1950s Cuban revolution, the breed has regrown from surviving descendants. No longer a token of high society; the Havanese today is a companion dog to be enjoyed by all.



Sturdy, well balanced, small drop-eared dog, rectangular in outline, slightly longer than tall, with long abundant, soft and wavy hair in a variety of colours and patterns. Casual and carefree, unaffected in both manner and appearance. Movement lively and elastic, plumed tail carried over the back.



Exceptionally bright and attentive, easily trained in many capacities. Affectionate, happy natured, amiable, a charmer, playful and even a bit of a clown. An eager, lively, devoted family companion, typically good with children.



Ideal height at withers 23-27cm (9.0-10.6 inches). Tolerance from 21-29cm (8.3-11.4 inches). Proportion and Substance: Small dog with a sense of refinement yet also sturdy; weight proportionate to height and bone, maintaining a balanced moderate build without exaggeration towards either fragility or coarseness.



Hair: Well suited to a breed developed in the tropics, the abundant, silken double coat is fine, soft and lightweight throughout, with a subtle airiness, less substantial at the touch than appearance suggests. Undercoat light and may not be very developed. The topcoat, very long (12-18cm in adults) does not hang to the ground, allowing light under the dog when standing on a solid surface; it enhances and reflects the lines of the body. No preference given for extreme length or profuseness. Puppy coats shorter, softer, less full than adults. Hair ideally wavy; any degree of wave permissible. Single, perfectly straight or tightly curled coats undesirable; wooly, harsh or wiry textures incorrect. Natural coat separation is acceptable, deliberate parting is not. Head furnishings simply brushed back or allowed to fall naturally. Scissoring and all trimming forbidden. Exceptions: tidying the base of the feet and minimal hygienic trimming unnoticeable on presentation. Thorough hands-on examination helps evaluate faults and qualities concealed by coat.




Wide colour diversity; all colours, markings and patterns equally acceptable.




Medium length, balanced in proportion to body.

  • Skull: Flat to very slightly rounded, broad, forehead rising; seen from above, rounded at the back and almost straight and square on other three sides. Stop: moderate.

  • Nose: Fully pigmented, colour undiluted. Black; Liver/Brown on chocolate dogs. Muzzle: level; narrowing slightly towards the nose but neither snipey nor truncated.

  • Muzzle length equals skull length from stop to occiput.

  • Lips: fine, lean, tight. Black; Liver/Brown on chocolate dogs.

  • Jaws/Teeth: Scissors bite. Complete dentition desirable, absence of premolars (PM1) and molars (M3) tolerated.

  • Cheeks: flat.

  • Eyes: Bright, gentle, intelligent and expressive. Quite big, wide set, almond shaped. Dark brown; lighter brown on chocolate dogs.

  • Eyerims: Fully pigmented. Dark brown/black; Liver/Brown on chocolate dogs.

  • Ears: Well feathered, set relatively high; falling along the cheeks forming a discreet fold which raises them slightly. Ear leathers extend halfway to the nose, ending with a lightly rounded point. Neither propeller ears (sticking sideways) nor stuck to the cheeks.



Medium length, proportionately balanced, blending smoothly into the shoulders.



Forelegs straight and parallel, lean; good bone structure; moderate angulations. Distance from ground to elbow equals that from elbow to withers. Elbows close to body. Feet: pointing straight forward; slightly elongated shape; small; tight toes. Dewclaws may be removed.



Slightly longer than tall, creating a rectangular outline, never square. Length measured point-of-shoulder to point-of-buttocks; height measured at withers. Topline is straight, slightly arched over the muscular loin, presenting a gentle, gradual rise from withers to rear with smooth transition to natural lines of the rump. Forefront prominent; ribs well sprung; chest reaching the elbow. Belly well tucked up.



Good bone structure; straight and parallel; moderate angulations in balance with forequarters. Rear and buttocks well developed. Feet: same as front.



Plumed tail, moderately high set, furnished with long silky feathering falling over the back or to either side. Loosely curled over the back while gaiting, may drop at rest.



The Havanese has a strikingly light-footed and elastic gait which contributes greatly to breed type. Movement is lively and springy, forelegs free striding and pointing straight forward; hindlegs giving the impulsion and moving in a straight line. Topline steady in motion; head naturally carried high. Movement best evaluated at the trot with dog moving freely on loose lead. Show of pads permissible.



Any departure from foregoing points to be considered a fault and penalized in proportion to degree of deviation.

  • General appearance lacking in type Excessive shyness or aggression

  • Fragility or coarseness

  • Muzzle truncated or snipey, shorter/longer than skull length

  • Bird of Prey eyes, eyes too deep set or prominent

  • Nose or eye rim(s) partially depigmented

  • Body too long/short; roached back; exaggerated rise

  • Straight or tightly curled tail; incorrect tail carriage

  • French front; leg(s) bowed/curved; deformed feet

  • Coat harsh, not abundant; hair short except on puppies, trimmed or sculpted coat

  • Overgroomed or neglected coat




  • Depigmented nose

  • Overshot or undershot

  • Ectropion, Entropion; one or both eye rims totally depigmented

  • Height: under 21cm or over 29cm (minimum not applicable to puppies under 12 months)

  • N.B.: Males must have two apparently normal testicles fully descended

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