Photo: tCuban Havanese is one of many breeds presented at Cuba's dog shows
Over the last few years, an event not often seen in communist countries has grown in popularity, dog shows.
In Cuba, much like in Hollywood and New York, it seems the new status symbol is owning a purebred dog, making dog shows increasingly popular. More popular, in fact, than they have been since Fidel Castro came into power in 1959.
In the 1980s, Cuba created a Cuban Canine Breeders Federation, which now covers about 50 different breeds. Included in the federation is the Bichon Havanese, which has been developed from the Cuban breed, Blanquito de la Habana or “little white dog of Havana”, which is now extinct.
While average pet owners in the U.S. can often struggle to care for their dogs, many in Cuba are scrapping together everything they have to purchase what they believe to be a symbol of wealth and status.
While the average monthly incomes for a Cuban in $25 US, large bags of imported dog food can cost nearly 4 months of income. Still, dog shows in Cuba are gaining momentum.