Dorothy Goodale — Outstanding Contribution to Havanese and the HCA
Dec. 6, 1923 — Dec. 28, 2008

“It is with our sincere respect and appreciation that we take this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to Dorothy Goodale for her unwavering dedication to preserving and restoring the once rare and near-extinct little Cuban dog that we so cherish today—the Havanese.” -HCA

On December 28, 2008, we lost one of the founders of the Havanese Club of America, Dorothy Goodale, she was 85 years old and spent more than five decades tending to the stewardship of purebred dogs.

To fully appreciate the significance of the contributions Dorothy and Bert Goodale made to preserving the Havanese, one needs to look back 40+ years before her passing.

Prior to her Havanese-journey, Dorothy and her husband, Bert, bred and showed Irish Wolfhounds, Soft-Coated Irish Wheaten Terriers, and Löwchens, and they held a special interest in rare breeds. The Goodales established the Berdot Kennels of Delta, CO, which later was renamed Havana Doll House and Berdot Kennels.

Her passion—understanding pedigrees and perfecting a standard of definable characteristics in a dog breed—influenced her earlier breeds, but Dorothy didn’t stop there. She began a search to find a small dog with intelligence and a quiet temperament similar to that of her bigger dogs.

In the late ‘60s, the Goodales became aware of the Havanese, but without any breeder connections, they could only commit in their hearts to bringing these charming toy dogs to the U.S. It wasn’t until 1974 when they unearthed what would be the most important mission in their 30+ year career in dogs—they resolved to restore the Havanais Bichon (Havanese) to the former genetic purity achieved by the originators of the breed.

Finally, a break; intrigued by a handful of references to the “Havanese”, their first clue came from a chance reference in a Spanish magazine. Through contact with the editor, the Goodales were able to purchase six pedigreed Havanese from two displaced Cuban families. This purchase included an adult female, four daughters, and an unrelated male. Following a year-long advertisement in a Miami newspaper, the Goodales discovered six more dogs— unrelated to the ones they obtained earlier—from an elderly Cuban gentleman living in Costa Rica. These Havanese established a gene pool that Dorothy and Bert used to begin their breeding program and to prevent the extinction of the Havanese as we know them today. Although some Havanese are recorded as attending European events around 1900-1910, all of the known Havanese in Europe now are descended from Dorothy’s foundation stock.

By 1974 Dorothy still needed an official breed standard. As a guide, she had a written pedigree and substantial knowledge. She followed the only standard available she could find – the 1963 FCI standard. (The FCI is the European international federation for canine registration, Federation Cynologique Internationale) in Belgium. It is similar to our standard. Accepting the breed standard as written by Dorothy Goodale, the Havanese was recognized by the FCI in 1963, and put in the Canadian Miscellaneous Class in 1989. The AKC recognized Havanese as a breed in 1996, 17 years after Dorothy began a purebred Havanese registry and became one of the founders of The Havanese Club of America (HCA).

Growth, differing viewpoints, and goals for the HCA resulted in a fracturing of the club in 1991 when The United Kennel Club announced its recognition of the Havanese breed by accepting the Goodale’s Registry with more than 1200 North American dogs. At this time Dorothy Goodale and Donna Kelly resigned from the HCA Board, splintering the HCA by forming The Original Havanese Club of America.

It was Dorothy’s passion and vision that the HCA be solely devoted to the preservation of the Havanese as stated in the breed standard. Her position of oversite and strict enforcement of certified health testing, planned and approved breeding choices, and the guarded management of breed registrations was not aligned with the majority of the club who were seeking recognition by the AKC.

Dorothy and Donna proceeded to pursue their OHCA as the national Havanese breed club for The UKC. The Havanese Club of America HCA (founded in 1979 by the Goodales) proceeded with the plan of their members and requested AKC recognition.

Dorothy remained a member of the HCA, competing in the Rare Breed group, where her dogs were recognized with high placements in the breed ring.

Gone, but not forgotten, Dorothy left not only a rich legacy of canine knowledge and respect for intentional and strategic breeding practices designed to define and preserve, but she left us with a working breed-standard for our beloved dogs.

Dorothy was respected internationally as a breeder, educator, canine authority, and author.
To quote Dorothy from her book Havanese, A Complete and Reliable Handbook, it was her “…dream to restore this rare breed to the former glory that it enjoyed in its native land of Cuba.”

In 1989, a special award was given to Dorothy and Bert Goodale for their contributions to the HCA as founders – an engraved Chippendale-style stainless steel serving tray.

The HCA 2009 National Specialty was dedicated to the memory of Dorothy Goodale.

Dorothy’s obituary published on January 9, 2009, can still be seen in the Montrose Press.