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Standard for the Havana Silk Dog

General Appearance:

The Havana Silk Dog is a purely Cuban invention and is a reflection of the culture of 18th Century La Habana and its people - attractive and fun-loving, brave and resourceful, and highly adaptable to any situation.  He is a small, elegant, but athletic dog with strong herding instincts, rectangular in form with long, silky hair of various colors.  His charming temperament is reflected in his typically high head and tail carriage, and his lively, elastic gait.

Size, Proportion, Substance:

  • Size - 9 to 11 inches.  8 to 13.5 lbs, in proportion to height.
  • Proportion - height at top of shoulder equals the distance from top of shoulder to set-on of tail, 
    creating a rectangular outline rather than a square one.  A well-balanced dog is approximately
    one-third head and neck, one-third body, and one-third leg.
  • Substance - medium bone throughout, neither coarse nor fine. Not to exceed 13.5 pounds.


  • Length of head - measured from tip of the nose to occiput, is about 50% of the height at top
    of shoulder.
  • Muzzle - Rather refined, the cheeks very flat.  Length of muzzle in relation to skull is ideally 3 to 4. 
    Mandible flat and firm.  Jaws align in a scissors bite.
  • Nose -  Broad, square, and always black.  (Noses on light-colored animals may fade with age and weather and does not disqualify as long as the pigment on the lips and eyerims are black.)   
    Blue or chocolate nose disqualifies.
  • Stop - Moderate
  • Planes - Parallel
  • Eyes - Set well apart, rather large, very dark.  Eyelids rather almond-shaped. Blue eyes disqualify
  • Pigmentation of eye rims and lips is ideally black.  
    Any deviation from the ideal to be penalized to the extent of the deviation.   
    A halo of dark pigmentation surrounding the eyes is very desirable.
    Chocolate or dilute blue pigment disqualifies
  • Ears - Set high on skull, broad based, with a distinct fold at the line of the skull.  Triangular in shape
    with fine leather, the ears reach the outer corner of the eye.  Carried neither folded along the neck nor
    framing the cheeks.  When alert, ears lift at the base, producing an unbroken line across the top of
    the skull.
  • Skull - Broad and slightly rounded.  Its width, measured between the ears, approximates the length of
    the muzzle.

Neck, Topline, and Body:

  • Neck -   Moderately long, allowing for high head carriage.  Length of neck approximately 50% of
    the length of body measured from top of shoulder to set-on of tail.  Carries a slight arch and blends
    smoothly with the shoulders.
  • Topline -  Straight but not level, rising slightly to point of hip.  Length of croup measured from point of
    hip to base of tail approximates the distance between the eyes. (1.5 inches)
  • Body - The body is a little longer than the height, allowing for greater reach and drive, with a clearly  
    defined tuck-up.  Ribcage is oval in shape, with ribs well-sprung off the spine.  Chest reaches the elbows. Loin
    is short, broad, and well-muscled.  Length of ribcage is approximately twice the length of the loin.
  • Tail - Set on so that it is naturally carried raised in the shape of a crozier (inverted J ) over the back
    while moving.  The vertebrae of the tail should not touch the back.  In repose the tail can be dropped
    and should extend slightly past the hock.


  • Shoulders - Laid on well, muscular, strong, and well laid back.  Angle at point of shoulder
    approximates 100 degrees.
  • Upper arm - Relatively short and well-angled, with forelegs set well under body.  Upper arm is shorter
    than forearm from elbow to pastern.
  • Forechest - is pronounced.
  • Forelegs - lean, straight and parallel when viewed from any angle.  Distance from floor to elbow is
    equal to the distance from elbow to top of shoulder.  Bowing of the forelegs or valgus deviation of the
    carpus disqualifies.
  • Pasterns - upright.
  • Feet - round and compact.


  • Legs -  strong and muscular, with moderate angulation.  When stacked, hind foot falls slightly behind
    a vertical line dropped from the ischium.  Legs straight and parallel when viewed from the rear.
  • Pelvis - Angle from point of hip to ischium is ideally 30 degrees off the horizontal.
  • Hocks - short and straight, parallel when viewed from the rear, not exceeding 30% of the height at
    the point of hip.
  • Hind Feet - slightly longer than forefeet.


  • The hair is quite flat, rather soft, forming light wispy waves at the ends of each strand. 
    There are two coat patterns.
  • Silk: a typical drop coat, with long silky hair entirely covering the dog.  A curtain of hair falls
    forward from the occiput, covering the eyes.
  • Satin:  Hair on head, feet, and front of legs is short and fine.  Body coat of moderate length, with longer, 
    silky furnishings on ears, chest, backs of legs and tail.


  • Any color or combination of colors, with the exception of merle, is equally acceptable as long as the nose is black. Merle pattern disqualifies.


  • Lively, elegant, and elastic.  Movement is sound, with free reach and good extension.  Head and tail are carried high while moving.  Topline may level out as speed increases but does not slope toward the rear.


  • Lively, playful, curious, and intelligent.  Very outgoing and self-confident.
Standard Adopted May 16, 2011.