Havanese Fanciers' History

EARLY DAYS – Hav a what? In the 1980’s, references to Havanese were scattered and scarce; just enough to capture the interest of dog lovers looking for a unique little dog. It was not long before the first Havanese arrived in Canada. A few of the new arrivals were to become the foundation of breeding programs in Canada, others to become devoted and beloved family companions. Sylvia Diko, Verna Backus (Belvern) Cathy Enns (Jomaran), Connie Jacobson and Anne Dixon-Zborowski (Sineade) were some of the first Canadian Havanese breeders.

Early image of a Havanese

Verna Backus, in 1994, was a leading force in advancing the interests of the Havanese in Canada. Thanks to her efforts, along with other dedicated breed fanciers, the Havanese were entered into the Canadian Club Miscellaneous class beginning in 1996 under the name of “Bichon Havanais”.

CLUB BEGINNINGS - In November of 1998, Verna’s daughter Wanda Backus-Kelly and other Canadian breeders joined to form Canada’s first Havanese breed Club, the “Havanese Fanciers of Canada” (HFC). Wanda Backus Kelly (the first HFC president) along with Sandra Addison, Lynda Altman, Cyndi Brown, Anne Dixon-Zborowski, Stan and Pat Parkhouse, Sylvia Redl, Grace Westerson, Margaret Wettlaufer and Penny Will were the founding members of the Havanese Fanciers of Canada.

CKC breed recognition – The Havanese breed was fully recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club and accepted into the Toy Group in January of 2000.

Club accreditation - In March 2003, the Havanese Fanciers of Canada received CKC accreditation as the official National Breed Club for the Havanese in Canada.


Specialty – In August 2005, the Havanese Fanciers of Canada hosted the very first National breed Specialty in Canada in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Our National Specialty has become an annual event.

Rescue – In 2004, our rescue benefit auction (now a regular event) began as a fundraiser to raise awareness and resources for caring for Havanese in need.

November 2008 – HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, It has been 10 years since the Havanese Fanciers of Canada began. Today we have a vibrant and active Havanese community which stretches from coast to coast.