AKC HAVANESE STANDARD
The Havanese are a part of the Bichon family and earliest references extend back to
in the Mediterranean, quite possibly from the Island of Malta, known then as Melita. Also
known as the Havana Silk Dog, the Havanese came to The United States from Cuba at the
beginning of the Cuban revolution. Popular among wealthy Cubans, the breed is thought to have
had both Spain and Italy play an integral part in bringing the Havanese to the New World.
Today the Havanese is a happy, outgoing, sturdy, short-legged small dog. Combining the
outgoing temperament with their trainability, the Havanese are excellent candidates for
The Havanese is a sturdy, short-legged small dog with a soft profuse, untrimmed coat. His
plumed tail is carried curled over his back. He is an affectionate, happy dog with a lively,
Size, Proportion, Substance
The height ranges from 8½ to 11½ inches, the ideal being 9 to 10½ inches. The weight ranges
from 7 to 13 pounds, the ideal being 8 to 11 pounds. Any dog whose weight deviates greatly
from the stated range is a major fault. Any dog measuring under 8½ or over 11½ inches is a
disqualification. The body from the chest to the buttocks is longer than the height at the
shoulders and should not appear to be square. Forelegs and hindlegs are relatively short, but
with sufficient length to set the dog up so as not to be too close to the ground. The Havanese is
a sturdy dog, and while a small breed, is neither fragile nor overdone.
Medium length proportionate to the size of the body. Eyes are large, almond shaped and very
dark with a gentle expression. In the blue and silver coat shades, eyes may be a slightly lighter
color; in chocolate coat shades, the eyes may be a lighter color. However, the darker eye is
preferred. Eye rims are black for all colors except chocolate shaded coats, whose eye rims are
self-colored. Small or round eyes; broken or insufficient pigment on the eye rim(s) are faults.
Wild, bulging or protruding eyes a major fault. Total absence of pigment on one or both eye
rims is a disqualification. Ears are set neither too high nor too low and are dropped, forming a
gentle fold and covered with long feathering. They are slightly raised, moderately pointed,
neither fly-away nor framing the cheeks. Skull is broad and somewhat rounded with a moderate
stop. The cheeks are flat and the lips clean. The length of the muzzle is equal to the distance to
the stop to the back of the occiput. The muzzle is neither snipey nor blunt. Nose and lips are
solid black on all colors except the true chocolate dog, whose nose and lips are solid,
self-colored brown. Dudley nose, nose and lips other than black, except the solid, self-colored
brown on the true chocolate dog are disqualifications. Scissors bite preferred; a level bite is
permissible. Full dentition of incisors preferred for both upper and lower jaws. Crooked or
missing teeth are faults. Overshot or undershot bite, wry mouth are major faults.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck of moderate length, neither too long nor too short. Topline is straight with a very slight rise
over the croup. Flanks are well raised. Ribs well rounded. Tail is set high, carried curled over
the back and plumed with long silky hair. While standing, a dropped tail is permissible.
Forelegs are well boned and straight, the length from the elbow to the withers equal to the
distance from the foot to the elbow. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet are compact, well
arched, well padded. Any foot turning in or out is a fault.
Legs are relatively short, well boned and muscular with moderate angulation; straight when
viewed from the rear. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet are same as front feet. Fault is same as
the front feet.
The Havanese is a double-coated breed with soft hair, both in outer and undercoat. The hair is
very long and profuse, shown completely natural. The coat type ranges from straight to curly,
the wavy coat being preferred. The curly coat is allowed to cord. The adult coat reaches a
length of 6 to 8 inches. No preference shall be given to a dog with an excessively profuse or
long coat. Short hair on all but puppies is a fault. It is permissible to braid the hair on each side
of the head above the eyes, but the coat may not be parted down the middle of the back. No
scissoring of the hair on the top of the head is allowed, nor trimming or neatening of the coat of
any kind permitted except for the feet which may be neatened to avoid the appearance of "boat"
or "slipper" feet. Coat trimmed in any way except for neatening at the feet is a disqualification.
All colors, ranging from pure white to shades of cream, champagne, gold, black, blue, silver,
chocolate or any combination of these colors including parti and tri. No preference is given to
one color over another.
The gait is unique and "springy" which accentuates the happy character of the Havanese. The
forelegs reach straight and forward freely from the shoulder with the hind legs converging
toward a straight line. The tail is carried up over the back when gaiting. Hackney gait, paddling,
moving too close in the rear, and tail not carried over the back when gaiting are faults.
Any dog under 8½ or over 11½ inches.
Total absence of pigment on one or both eye rims.
Dudley nose, nose and lips other than black, except for the solid, self-colored
brown on the true chocolate dog.
Coat trimmed in any way except for neatening at the feet.
Approved: June 1995 Effective: February 1, 1996