Many people adore the Havanese dog breed for its long, silky hair, expressive eyes, and cuddling stature.

havanese dog breed
Havanese puppy – image by Jackie Loudl from pixabay

They were developed in the 1800s as companion dogs for the Cuban nobility. Since they cling steadfastly to their owner’s side, they have become known as “Velcro dogs.”

The Havanese are trainable and surprisingly lively. Also, they have thrived in dog sports and canine occupations. These activities range from circus performers to helping people with impairments. Don’t dismiss this small dog as just a lapdog.

They enjoy their humans and can’t stand being at home alone for extended periods. As long as your dog is constantly with you, it will be an intelligent, obedient furry family member.

Table of Contents

Breed Overview Of The Havanese Dog Breed

the havanese dog
Havanese in the fields – image by Alexas Fotos from pexels
Breed group Toy dogs
Height 8 – 11 inches
Weight 7 – 13 pounds
Size small
Life span 12 – 15 years
Coat Soft double coat
Coat colour White, black, fawn, mahogany, tobacco, Havana brown
Shedding Minimal, they are hypoallergenic dogs
Temperament Playful, intelligent, affectionate, gentle, alert,
Trainability Easy to train with positive reinforcement


History Of The Havanese Dog Breed

Spanish settlers started coming to Cuba after Columbus claimed it for Spain in 1492. Small companion dogs that later became members of the Bichon family of dogs travelled with them.

These dogs interbred, separated from other canines due to island life, and eventually evolved into the modern-day Havanese. The dog’s thick, silky coat serves as its trademark to protect it from the tropical sun.

Havanese were gracing the laps of many aristocratic families in Cuba by the early 1800s. Travellers from Europe who fell in love with the breed brought dogs back to France, Spain, and England.

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In the middle of the 1800s, the breed gained popularity in Europe. Some well-known early adopters included Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria.

Personality Of The Havanese Dog

The Havanese is a kind and friendly breed that enjoys spending time with people.

Your Havanese might become very uneasy when left alone and frequently follow you from room to room throughout the day.

It is also intelligent and will enjoy making you laugh with silly antics or just sitting on your lap and taking in the scenery.

Numerous elements, including training, socialization, and heredity, impact temperament. Puppies with good dispositions are interested, playful, approachable, and like cuddling.

The Havanese need early socialization, or exposure to various people, sights, sounds, and experiences, when they’re young, much like every other dog breeding. Socialization is essential to ensure your Havanese puppy develops into a well-rounded dog.

Health Issues Common Among The Havanese Dog Breed

Hip Dysplasia

A degenerative condition known as hip dysplasia weakens the hip joint due to improper growth and development. Many different dog breeds are affected by this condition.

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Elbow Dysplasia

This condition, which affects the elbow joint, is degenerative and results from aberrant growth and development, which weakens and malformed the joint.


It is a hereditary condition frequently called “dwarfism” in error. The limbs of affected dogs are unusually short for their breed, which might range from almost normal to devastating, and dogs can have healthy lives in less severe cases.

Legg-Perthes Disease

The hip joint ball deforms due to Legg-Perthes. The head of the femur bone first experiences a reduction in blood flow, progressing until the bone eventually dies, collapses, and develops deformities.

The hip joint becomes inflamed or develops arthritis as a result. Although the exact cause of Legg-Perthes is unknown, it may be hereditary or a result of trauma.


A cataract is an opacity on the eye’s lens that impairs vision, and the damaged eye appears to be hazy. It is an inherited condition that typically strikes people as they age but can strike anyone.

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Dogs who are deaf have a variety of difficulties, as do their owners. Deafness is typically incurable. However, you can manage some types of hearing loss and deafness medically and surgically.

Patellar luxation Is Common Among The Havanese Dog Breed.

Patellar luxation also called a “trick knee,” is common in tiny dogs. It occurs when the femur, patella, and tibia do not align properly. Your pet may have lameness or an unnatural gait due to this. Surgery is the main form of treatment for patellar luxation.

Portosystemic Shunt

In a portosystemic shunt, blood from the digestive tract bypasses the liver and flows straight to the systemic venous circulation. It causes the body to circulate the liver and typically removes poisons, which can cause other illnesses, including hepatic encephalopathy.

Heart Murmur

An obstruction in the blood flow brings on heart murmurs. Heart murmurs have five classes based on their audibility. Heart murmurs are a sign of disease. Thus, they must be treated with medication, a particular diet, and exercise restraints.

Mitral Valve Insufficiency

When the mitral valve between the left atrium and ventricle starts to fail, it is prevalent in older dogs. When this occurs, the mitral valve cannot stop blood from entering the left atrium, which might lead to cardiac failure.

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Care For The Breed

Despite being a small breed, the Havanese have plenty of energy to expend. A daily game of fetch or a long walk would make him happy.

As long as he is an indoor dog, the Havanese adapts well to many homes, including small apartments and big houses with yards. The backyard is not the right environment for this breed.

When he is around his family, he is happy. Although they don’t bark excessively, they do bark at passing people. If your house has noise restrictions, this breed might not be the right choice for you.

The Havanese is typically relatively simple to teach due to his enthusiasm to please his owners. It is advised to start with puppy classes for basic obedience.

Although, a Havanese is easy to train. However, you’ll need to exercise extra patience during this procedure. You will succeed, but crate training is essential.

The Havanese and his owner are pretty concerned about separation anxiety. Preventing this issue is the best solution. Avoid leaving the dog alone for extended periods; when you do, put him in a kennel with lots of toys to keep him entertained.

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A Havanese, although tiny and furry, is not a toy. Like other breeds, he must learn appropriate dog behaviour.

Feeding The Havanese Dog Breed

This dog’s recommended daily amount is 1/2 to 1 cup of high-quality dry food twice daily.

Grooming The Havanese Dog

The thick, silky, smooth, and light Havanese coat doesn’t shed quickly. The long coat can be straight, curly, or wavy; nevertheless, wavy is the best for the show ring.

To make the Havanese coat simpler to maintain, many owners shorten it. However, you should prepare to perform a lot of grooming if you keep it long.

To remove tartar buildup and the bacteria inside, brush your Havanese teeth at least twice or thrice weekly. Daily brushing is even better for preventing gum disease and bad breath.

If your dog doesn’t naturally wear down his nails, you should trim them once or twice a month. They are too lengthy if you can hear them clicking on the floor.

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When your Havanese jumps up to welcome you with enthusiasm, short, beautifully trimmed nails maintain the feet in good condition and prevent your legs from scratching.

Children And Other Pets

The Havanese is a wonderful family pet since it loves everyone, including children of all ages and other dogs and animals. But because he’s so tiny, teaching kids how to respect the dog is crucial because he may get wounded accidentally.

You should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs to avoid biting or ear or tail pulling on either party’s behalf. You should also always supervise any interactions between dogs and small children.

Teach your youngster never to steal a dog’s food or approach a dog when eating or resting. Regardless of how nice, a youngster should never leave a dog unattended.

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