Havanese Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Havanese Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Havanese dogs are overly attached to their owner families, often bonding with young children and older adults alike. The Havanese dogs originated in Cuba in the 1500s. With their petite and sturdy build, they are affectionate and playful. The Havanese have a list of alternate names, including, Havanese Cuban Bichon, Havanese, Havana Silk Dogs, Havanesers, and Havs for short.

Families welcome them for their soft fur, intelligence, and desire to please their loving owners. The Havanese’s lack of shedding and clever mind has earned it a place as an excellent therapy dog in hospitals, bringing joy to patients who need their spirits lifted. Their mental focus and agile bodies also make it easy to teach tricks, though they are sometimes bred with other dogs for mixed-bred toy dogs.

Havanese dogs are overly attached to their owner families, often bonding with young children and older adults alike. These dogs are highly trainable, and it is not usually difficult to train them, thanks to their acute intelligence.

There is no doubt that these dogs are high maintenance. Frequent bathing and daily brushing are required to keep the Havanese’s luscious coat free from tangles. However, Havs don’t shed much because, unlike many furry breeds, they have hair instead of fur.  

Havanese males and females do not differ much in size or stature. Their average weight is 9 pounds, and their average height is 9 inches. Their expected lifespan is 14 to 16 years, and the females have one to nine puppies per litter once a year.

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Havanese?

Your Havanese will teach you that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet. Taking your social butterfly canine companion on a three-block walk will earn you at least 10 new friends. Havanese are energetic and fun, with magnetic personalities that attract people.

Their big personalities belie their small stature, and Havs give affection in leaps and bounds. They may look dainty with that silky hair and wagging tail, but the small, solidly built Havanese dog keeps up easily when out making the neighborhood rounds. Carrying a spare hostess gift with you at all times may be a good idea, as Havanese like to go back to visit with the people they met while out walking. 

Havanese Breed Traits

Havanese Information


Males 9 to 11 inches

Females 8 to 10 inches


Males 6 to 14 pounds

Females 4 to 12 pounds

Relation with family

Affectionate, Loyal, Energetic, Intelligent, Active, Sweet-tempered 

Relation with children

Happy, Affectionate, Gentle, and Playful 

Relation with other dogs


Shedding level


Drooling level


Coat type 

Double layer, silky coat

Coat length

The coat length varies according to owner’s choice of trim style

Coat grooming frequency

Daily brushing, monthly bathing, quarterly trimming

Dogs Reaction/Openness to Strangers


Playfulness level


Adaptability level


Trainability level


Energy level


Barking level


Mental stimulation needs level



14 to 16 years 

How Does the Havanese Interact with Family?

The small, spunky Havanese is known for retaining his puppy-like attitude throughout his life. The Havanese is one of a handful of similar breeds whose primary job has always been to be companions of humans, and they are specifically designed to love and be loved.

Havanese pack a lot of love into their tiny bodies and are never happier than when cuddling in their owners’ laps. That doesn’t mean these dogs don’t need exercise and training. Resist the impulse to carry your Havanese puppy everywhere to protect it because they will develop into nervous, fearful adult dogs. Let your dog be a dog and share its affectionate personality with others.  

Havanese excel at learning tricks and love to show off, and their happy, courageous natures make them excellent pets for many. However, Havanese are tiny and can easily be injured if play is too rough, or they may snap at a child in self-defense if frightened or hurt. Therefore, early socialization for both Havanese and young children is essential.   

How Does the Havanese Interact with Other Dogs?

The Havanese may show aggression toward other dogs of the same gender. Aside from that, though, they are of the “more the merrier” school of thought. However, the Havanese often overestimate their size and powers. They suffer from the typical Small-Dog Syndrome or Napoleon Syndrome. They will not hesitate to make dogs much larger than themselves understand that they are overstepping their boundaries when they come too close.

Havanese are typically good with other pets, and they usually love to play with cats if adequately socialized or raised together. Any other animal is acceptable; however, Havanese love chasing cats and other small furry things like Hamsters, Gerbils, Rats, or Guinea Pigs, merely for the fun of it. 

As with any pet introduction, be sure to do it slowly and in a controlled environment to make sure they like each other. If you are a multi-pet household, make sure you know that all the animals get along well before you commit to the Havanese. As long as the Havanese is socialized as a pup, he will get along with most other pets. 

How are Havanese with Older People?

Havanese are small dogs that are an excellent fit for the elderly. The average weight of males and females is only about 7 pounds, which is not too large and heavy for most seniors to handle. They need weekly grooming, as they have fast-growing hair. A Havanese is highly energetic and will deal with boredom or restlessness by running indoors and playing with toys. However, their favorite way to pass the time is to curl up on their owners’ laps and, if allowed, spend the entire day there.

Older adults who can cope with the grooming and daily walks can make no better choice for a canine companion. Despite their small size, Havanese’s love and loyalty make them protective of their family and property. They will bark to warn their owners of anyone who dares to come too close before proper introductions. 

They are also easily trained to be care dogs for any humans who show affection in return. Older people who cannot take their Havanese for walks can reach out to dog walking services to ensure their canine companions get adequate exercise.

How are Havanese with Children?

Havanese are excellent with kids. They come highly recommended as good canine buddies for children, given their size and very affectionate nature. Their outgoing personality and good looks make them fit for this role. They are kind, playful, loving, and enjoy children. The affectionate Havanese temperament means he loves playing with kids and adults, and they make for the perfect playmate for your child.

Although Havanese are rarely aggressive towards kids, they might not tolerate rough play. Children who are too young to learn how to play with dogs must not be left with the Havanese without adult supervision, regardless of how well you know your dog. The only way your pup has to defend itself against little hands grabbing its hair is to snap and maybe nip the child. 

How are Havanese with Neighbors or Guests?

Havanese are excellent watchdogs, and nobody will come to your door unannounced. Your alert canine fluff ball will let you know before they reach your front door. However, Havanese love people and will join you in welcoming guests who pose no danger. It won’t be long before your Havanese regard neighbors and frequent guests as family members who have the same cuddle duties as the rest of the family.

What are the Physical Traits of the Havanese? 

The Havanese is a member of the toy group. They weigh no more than 14 pounds, and their sturdy little bodies are longer than they are tall. The breed has a unique topline that is not level but straight. His front legs are longer than his hind legs producing the lively gait everyone is used to seeing with a Havanese. 

The Havanese does not seem short with its full muzzle that tapers to the nose. The skull’s length is the same as the muzzle’s. The head of the Havanese is round in the back and flat in the front. They have a deep chest, dark brown almond-shaped eyes, and their ears are about halfway down the nose. The long ears hang down the side of the face. They have a long plumed tail that is held high and upward.

Havanese Physical Traits

Physical Traits Description




Males 9 to 11 inches

Females 8 to 10 inches


Males 6 to 14 pounds

Females 4 to 12 pounds



Flat on top and rounded at the sides 

The skull is slightly rounded, with a moderate stop.


Rather large and oval-shaped, deep-set and dark. Eye rims must be fully pigmented


Broader at the base and set high on the head. They remain folded over, lifting them briefly to listen to sounds.


The muzzle is balanced above and below the stop; tapering, with flat cheeks.


Their broad nose is solid black for all but those Havanese with chocolate-colored coats, where it is solid brown.


A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite

Exercise Needs



14 to 16 years


Silky soft profuse double coat. 

Coat color

A variety of coat colors and marking patterns, including black, black and silver, brown, silver, fawn, red brindle (subtle tiger stripes), black brindle, and white.


Their long silky tail curls jauntily over the back and wags with ease.


Front legs are relatively short and light-boned, but not fragile.

Back legs are straight, moderately angulated, normally flexible, and deliver strong drive.

What does a Havanese Dog Look Like?

Havanese are the Cuban representatives of the Bichon family of breeds, all small, long-coated, and drop-eared, prized as devoted companion dogs. Havanese coat colors are incredibly varied. The soft, wavy coat is sometimes “corded” or formed into dreadlocks. 

Havanese appear rectangular from the side, being much longer from front to rear than they are tall. Havanese are light framed but sturdy dogs that convey a sense of refinement without appearing fragile. Males are slightly more muscular than females.

How Big do Havanese Get?

Havanese dogs’ long, fluffy coats tend to hide just how small Havanese puppies are. Under that luxurious mane, the breed stands at just 8 to 11 inches high at the shoulder and weighs 4 to 14 pounds. His body is a bit longer than it is tall, and the tail is set high and arches over his back.

How Much do Havanese Weigh?

Adult Havanesers weigh between 4 and 14 pounds. Unlike large breed dogs that take 12 to 18 months to be fully grown, Havs are fully grown by the time they reach 6 to 8 months. Therefore, ensuring your puppy’s diet supports its rapid growth is crucial.

How to Feed a Havanese? 

Your Havanese’s life stage determines its dietary needs. Toy-sized dogs have different dietary needs for each life stage. Thus, base your Hav’s diet on a toy breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages. Several dog food manufacturers include breed-specific, or, at least size-specific formulas in their dry dog foods ranges. 

Havanese Life Stage

Havanese Age


Under 9-12 months


Over 9-12 months


11+ years

 It is always good to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as your Havanese grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies, and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some of the essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Havanese from the table; all it does is add weight. Instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health. Havs are expert beggars, but be strong.

Despite the Havanese’s small size, it is an agile, athletic breed that needs food containing animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A Havanese is not very active, which means it needs less food than highly active breeds. Still, your furry friend will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

However, your Havanese’s daily portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and the brand and formula of food it eats. Feed your Havanese a food formulated for a small breed and appropriate for its life stage. Most manufacturers develop recipes for puppies, adults, and seniors, or look for a brand formulated for all life stages.

In general, adult Havanesers should eat somewhere between ¼ and ¾ cups of food each day. This food should be divided into two or three meals. Feeding your Havanese several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend.

Since Havanesers can have problems with obesity, it will be essential to make sure you are feeding your dog the proper amount of food, and don’t forget to add the treats to the daily caloric intake. Calculate 35 calories for every pound of your Hav’s adult body weight for its daily calories. Treats should never exceed 10% of the pup’s daily calories.  

You’ll want to choose high-quality food from a trusted manufacturer for adult and senior dogs. Whichever option you choose, you’ll want to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that the food you are feeding your dog meets their nutritional needs.

An example of premium food specially formulated for Havanese and its benefits is listed below:

The best dry dog food for your Adult Havanese is Nutro Ultra Toy Breed Adult Dry Dog Food.

Nutro Ultra Toy Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is specially formulated for toy breed adult dogs. These tasty, dry recipes start with real chicken as the main ingredient and are free of chicken by-product meal. Add lamb, salmon, and a blend of 15 superfoods, and you have a mouthwatering, healthy meal.

The best dry dog food for your Senior Havanese is Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Senior Dry Dog Food.

Give your Senior Havanese a hefty dose of natural nutrition with Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Senior Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Kibble. This dry dog food is designed with the needs of small breed senior dogs of 8 years and older in mind. It is made with essential antioxidants to support your dog’s immune system, and this recipe is made with chicken, providing a high-quality source of protein. It’s also formulated with calcium to support strong bones and joints and natural fiber for healthy digestion.

How Much Should a Havanese Puppy Eat? 

Havanese puppies need high-quality puppy food formulated for a small breed dog. It is essential not to feed puppies all their food at once, and they should have it spread over the day. When Havanese puppies become three months old, owners can provide them with three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to 2 meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable.

The best dry dog food for your Havanese Puppy is Royal Canin X-Small Puppy Dry Dog Food.

Royal Canin X-Small Puppy Dry Dog Food is tailor-made for your toy breed’s healthy growth and development. It has all the proteins, minerals, and vitamins your extra small puppy dog needs to sustain the intense growth period over the first 10 months of your dog’s life. 

An exclusive mix of antioxidants and minerals supports the healthy development of immune systems and keeps small dog bodies growing strong. Small and tasty kibble is designed for your picky eater’s smaller teeth and also reduces the formation of tartar. And a tailored blend of fiber promotes healthy digestion and optimal stool quality.

Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • Havanese puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems in their Golden Years, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for medium-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Havanese should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow free feeding throughout the day.
  • The exceptions are Havanese with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule because Havanese are prone to obesity.

What are the Health Tests that Havanese Should Take?

The Havanese is a healthy, sturdy, and well-muscled dog that will live a long, healthy life given proper care and nourishment. The average Havanese lifespan is 14 to 16 years, and some live even longer. However, it is essential to know that all dog breeds are susceptible to certain diseases, and the Havanese is no exception.

Havanese Health Problems is a list so long that you might think that the breed is doomed.  

Not so.  All dogs get sick from time to time. To make it easy to understand, there are only two types of health problems in dogs:

  • Genetic: Problems we see in dogs related to their genetic makeup.  Many breeds are prone to similar diseases, but when it is your dog, you want to know what diseases are most likely to occur. 
  • Common: Those health issues that are common to all breeds, and include infectious diseases, parasites, allergies to environmental toxins, food indiscretions, etc.

Although Havanese are predisposed to some hereditary health conditions, the Havanese Club of America Board of Directors, requires only the following health testing be performed on all intact Havanese in order for that Havanese to obtain an OFA CHIC number: 

  • BAER Hips after 2 years of age
  • Patella after 1 year of age 
  • Eye exam annually
  • BAER Hearing Test

Other optional tests and Xrays: Additional General Health Check, including Heart, Vaccines, Musculoskeletal, Dental, Fleas, and Worms.

What are the common health problems of Havanese? 

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Havanese has some health conditions that can be a concern. Although it is a long list of ailments, it does not mean your Havanese will develop any of these health conditions. However, even healthy Havanese should have regular veterinarian checkups. Owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

  • Portosystemic Shunt: A shunt is formed when blood vessels bypass the liver. A birth defect often causes it. Symptoms include poor muscle development, abnormal behaviors, and stunted growth. Treatments include diet changes and medications.
  • Patellar luxation: It is a condition where the kneecap (in the rear legs) slips out of place and may not be present at birth. Still, the anatomical deformities that cause luxation are present at that time and are responsible for subsequent recurrent patellar luxation.
  • Cherry eye: Could be hereditary, It is bright red, swollen, painful-looking eye caused by a prolapsed gland of the nictitans. It occurs after a tear gland in a dog’s third eyelid becomes inflamed.
  • Juvenile Cataracts: This condition can be a problem for some relatively young (less than six years old) Havanese. This is thought to be hereditary. When buying a Havanese puppy, be sure to ask the breeder if her stock is certified by the Canine Eye Registration Foundation, and ask to see the certificates.
  • Periodontal Disease in dogs is caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, leading to gum infections, bone loss, loss of teeth, and other serious health problems.
  • Hip dysplasia: This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don’t display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. 
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes: It occurs in young dogs and is a hereditary condition of small breeds, such as Chihuahuas, Bichon Frises, Poodles, Pomeranians, and terriers. It is also common after trauma or injury to the leg or hip.  The most common clinical signs are slowly progressing hind limb lameness, with resulting inability to bear weight on the affected limb or both hind limbs. It may begin in one leg and progress to both legs, especially in young pets. 
  • Chondrodysplasia: More common in breeds that have been deliberately bred down from a larger size, it is being seen in the Havanese breed. Affected dogs will have short limbs that appear to stick out to the side and can range in severity from nearly normal to lameness to crippling. Dogs with this condition should not be bred.
  • Deafness: It can either be a temporary, partial, or total loss of hearing, due to a wax build-up in the ear canals, or permanent hearing loss due to a host of causes such as severe, untreated ear infections, congenital defects, old age, and injuries.

You can minimize the chances of serious health concerns in Havanese by purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices and screening for common diseases and conditions.

What is the Exercise Need of a Havanese? 

You’ll soon learn that your new Havanese pup doesn’t care about hiking, running, or anything that involves breaking a sweat. However, don’t give in; your furry friend will try to exchange exercise time for TLC time on your lap instead. A Havanese’s energy level is high, but they don’t need as much activity as larger dogs because of this breed’s smaller size. They do, however, need about 45 to 60 minutes of exercise every day. If you don’t have a fenced yard, a good long walk on a leash will meet your pup’s daily energy requirements.

What are the Nutritional Needs of Havanese? 

The nutritional needs of a Havanese include high levels of specific nutrients as listed below.

  • Protein: Havanese need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for their health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Havanese’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Havanese need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving your Havanese sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, that too many carbohydrates can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: It is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Havanese puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Havanese by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Havanese.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Havanese are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for a Havanese’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Havanese. 

What is the Shedding Level of Havanese? 

The Havanese does not shed, so they can be enjoyed by people who are allergic to other breeds of dogs. In return, it is your responsibility to keep them groomed regularly to maintain their handsome appearance.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of Havanese? 

The glamorous Havanese is a high-maintenance dog with a silky double coat, and daily brushing is necessary if you leave it long. A dog with a double coat has two layers of coats: The undercoat is typically dense and more “wooly” and regulates body temperature, and the outer coat is longer and repels dirt and water.

Known for their silky locks, rocking the high ponytail keeps that glorious coat out of their eyes. A pin brush works best for longer hair, and it’s recommended you use a moisturizing spray when brushing. If your dog ends up with tangles, a detangling brush and spray might save you from an emergency trip to the groomer.

You can clip Havanese’s fur short and give regular haircuts if you prefer to prevent matting. Bathe your Havanese whenever his coat starts to look dingy. You can bathe him weekly without harming his coat with the gentle pet shampoos available. If all of this sounds like too much work, take your Havanese to a professional groomer who can give the coat the care it needs or trim it into an easy-care puppy style that you can manage at home.

Other essential grooming your Havanese needs include:

  • Trimming his nails every week or two.
  • Making them short enough that they don’t click on the floor.
  • Brushing his teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall dental health and fresh breath.

What is the Drooling Level of Havanese? 

If you’re a new Havanese owner, you’d be happy to find your furry puppy’s drooling is minimal. However, drooling is a natural process, and like your mouth waters by the thought or aroma of a favorite dish, your little Hav’s built-in drool producer will respond to specific triggers. Even low-drooling dogs will drool under certain circumstances. The primary triggers of drooling are listed below, some are natural, and some are red flags to indicate potential health concerns, in which cases you should reach out to your vet. 

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat – even seeing you handle the kibble container can trigger drooling.
  • Excitement – some dogs will drool more heavily when they become excited. That is why guests are frequently slathered in slobber when greeting your dog.
  • Sexual excitement, when a male Havanese spots a female Hav in heat, it will trigger drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.
  • Dental issues – an abscessed tooth or accumulation of plaque and tartar
  • Ingesting poison – extreme amounts of foamy, frothy drool are often the first indication that a dog has ingested a poisonous substance. Seek emergency help immediately.
  • A foreign object – small pieces of bone, wood splinters, shards of a destroyed plastic toy, etc. can become lodged between a dog’s teeth or throat.
  • Anxiety – any situation, like heading to the vet for shots, that causes a dog to become nervous
  • Overheating and heavy panting is a dog’s natural way of cooling off, but if an increased amount of drool accompanies it, there might be cause for concern.
  • Growths- Both harmless lumps and more serious, cancerous growths in a dog’s oral cavity
  • Internal Conditions or infections – kidney or liver issues, transmittable diseases like rabies, upper respiratory infections, seizures, strokes, and other internal conditions could all trigger excessive drooling.
  • Nausea – change in diet, motion sickness, overeating, etc

You know your Havanese better than anyone else does. Any drastic or sudden change in your dog’s drooling habits may warrant a trip to the veterinarian as a deviance from the norm may indicate an underlying issue.

What is the Coat Type of the Havanese? 

The Havanese breed is double-coated with a thick furry undercoat and a longer silky-soft outer coat.

What is the Coat Length of the Havanese?

The length of the Havanese dog’s hair is as long as the owner prefers. Show dogs typically have long, flowing hair, but families with pet Havs might choose to keep those silky locks short. Unlike dogs with fur coats, Havanese coats are hair that does not shed but continues to grow until cut.

The silky, straight, flat coat hangs long over the sides of the body from a center part almost, if not entirely, to the ground, and it should not impede movement. The long hair on the head may be tied up to keep it out of the Hav’s eyes. If your Havanese is only a companion and not a show dog, you might prefer to keep its hair trimmed.

What are the Social Traits of the Havanese Breed?

The social traits of the Havanese include affection, playfulness, and friendly nature. Havanese are intelligent and learn fast, but they can be bored with long training sessions. Havanese are fun-loving and have the charm to lighten you up when you are not in a happy mood. Other social traits of Havanese are listed below.

  • Elderly-friendly: Havanese love interacting with their family, from children to grandparents. They are the perfect companions for seniors in apartments because they require only food and affection. Havanesers are perfectly happy to spend many hours on their owners’ laps. Cuddles and kisses are the food for their souls. Their grooming might be a bit overwhelming, but that is why there are doggy parlors and walkers to ensure your puppy gets adequate exercise. 
  • Children-friendly: Havanese enjoy running around or chasing after children, and playing catch is one of their favorite games. Havanese are sensible enough to take care when young children are part of the play. However, supervision is essential in such circumstances because these dogs are small and easily hurt. Socialization is crucial for kids and dogs.
  • Family-friendly: Havanese are the perfect canine companions for families, and life with one of these tiny creatures is a special treat. Expect to find yourself accompanied at all times by a funny, friendly, smart best friend who adapts to your lifestyle and schedule. Often mischievous, occasionally naughty. However, once you’ve got your little Havanese exhausted from play, it will gladly curl up on your lap for cuddles.
  • Pet-friendly: Havanese get on well with other pets, and they typically have a particular fondness for cats; after all, they are of similar size. To ensure all the family pets get along, it would be wise to socialize them early.

How Do Havanese Interact with Strangers?

Havanese love people, but they are wary of strangers. Your Havanese will likely bark when a stranger approaches the front door to warn you. However, Havanesers typically take their cues from their owners. Welcome a stranger into the house, and your protective canine companion will do the same. Before long, your furry friend will likely approach the stranger for some petting or a cuddle.

Is the Havanese Playful?

The Havanese temperament traits make him a faithful, playful dog who is everyone’s friend, including children of all ages. They never grow up. Like a puppy, the playful Hav temperament means your Havanese will want to kiss, cuddle, and play with you all day long. If your kids want a happy-go-lucky companion to wrestle and romp with, the Havanese is a perfect choice. They love learning tricks and then entertain their family with a show, often adding a few silly tricks to get a laugh.

Are Havanesers Protective?

Havanese love their owners so much that they will protect them against any harm that comes their way. Despite their small size, they see themselves as large protectors of their human families and property. Although no Havaneser’s growling and barking will cause an intruder to flee in fear, your tiny watchdog will make sure you know of the threat.

What is the Adaptability Level of Havanese?

Havanese are as much at home in the city with moderate exercise as they are in the country, where they appear tireless. They adapt easily to any change of condition or climate. They need to live as a part of their family, going where they go, doing what they do. Sleeping on your bed or on its own, being near their people is their greatest joy. If Havs are not separated from their families they can adapt to any circumstances.

What are the Personality Traits of Havanese? 

The Havanese has a sense of humor and loves the attention he gets when he does funny things. He is a clown and performs all the time.

His willingness to please, ease of training, and a quick wit make the Havanese a joyful companion. The only thing he’s not too excited about is being alone. Sturdier than most toy breeds, the Havanese also has a deeper voice. His bark is not yappy but sounds like it’s from a bigger dog. Always alert, he makes a good watchdog.

Thanks to his cheerful and loving temperament, he’s terrific with children and is good at obedience and agility. The Havanese makes an excellent therapy dog because of his easy character, not to mention he fits onto any size lap.

A wonderfully happy breed, the Havanese has a unique gait, referred to as springy, that announces his cheerful temperament. He springs along and makes you laugh. He’s easygoing, easy to train, and quick-witted. Between his sturdiness, his willingness to please, and his spinning and jumping habits, it’s no wonder that he excels at tricks and was a circus dog.

Watching Havanese play is a giggle. They like to tear around the house or yard and play for hours with anyone who has the patience and stamina to keep up with them. Even though they’re small in stature, they’re very sturdy and agile. They are also happy to settle on a lap — anything is okay with a Havanese as long as it involves attention.

Can Havanese be Dangerous?

Havanese are not considered dangerous dogs; however, the importance of training cannot be overstated. Like any other animal, Havanese may become dangerous if they are scared or have to defend themselves. Their small size takes nothing away from the sharpness of their teeth.

Fear is generally why most dogs act aggressively towards other dogs and sometimes humans, especially if they have a history of past abuse from a previous owner. Fear-based behavior is due to a lack of adequate socialization and being in an unfamiliar situation, context, environment, or experience with many dogs.

Do Havanese Ever Attack?

Havanese are generally friendly with strangers and other animals. However, if they sense a threat they will instinctively attack. Not that they could cause a whole lot of harm, but they will die trying to defend their precious family members. Your Hav’s reaction could include barking, growling, stiffening of the body, lunging, snapping, and as a last resort, biting. Havanese put themselves at risk because they see themselves as large, dangerous canines and attack dogs double their size. 

Can Havanese Kill Humans?

Havanese have never and will likely never kill a human. While Havanese may growl and show teeth when provoked or maltreated, killing a person would be entirely out of character and likely impossible for a Havanese. 

Do Havanese cope with being left alone?

Generally speaking, you can leave your Havanese alone for relatively short periods if he is trained well. Depending on your Havanese’s temperament, he might start getting into mischief if left alone for too long. Remember that Havanese are very extroverted animals who thrive on company, so being alone is counter to their preferences. They are prone to separation anxiety.

Potty issues and any destructive tendencies should also factor into your decision. To get your Havaneser to understand that you will always come home, start with leaving through the front door for brief periods with small increments and increase over time to see how your Hav handles being alone. If you need to go somewhere for more than an hour or two each day, you might want to consider the services of a dog sitter or doggy daycare.

An interesting idea is to record family conversations and interaction and then play it back when you have to leave your furry friend alone for short periods. Havanesers love other pets and fluffy toys that might keep them busy for an hour or two.

Can I leave my Havanese at home?

Havanese tend to become anxious and withdrawn when left alone. Havs left in isolation display signs of separation anxiety. They form strong bonds with all the family members. So, when some of them have somewhere to go, the Havanese will be OK if the rest of the family or even just one family member remains at home.

Can Havanese be left alone for 8 hours?

Havanese need company, and they do not enjoy spending time alone for many hours because they are predisposed to anxiety. Isolation for more than a couple of hours could cause separation anxiety. Don’t get a Havanese if you must leave him on his own for hours on end. You can, however, leave him alone for short periods.

Leaving your Havanese alone for more than four hours at a time is not recommended. If there is no other way, getting a dog walker or a sitter for a part of the day could prevent separation anxiety. Once they become anxious, Havanese tend to chew whatever they can find and dig holes wherever they can. Frequent episodes of anxiety could cause your friendly Havanese to withdraw and become depressed. 

How to Train a Havanese? 

Positive reinforcement training for Havanese sets the foundation early on to ensure they know the family rules and structure. Positive reinforcement rewards dogs with treats, praise, and toys for doing a good job. Teach your puppy the basics of obedience with commands like sit, stay, and come, and how to walk nicely on a leash. Havanese will need continued training and frequent mental stimulation throughout their lives to remain content. Fortunately, the Havanese are intelligent and eager to please.

Start socializing your puppy while they’re young to help them get used to interactions with other dogs and people outside their family. Take them on walks to let them meet (and sniff!) neighbors and other dogs, and enroll in puppy school. At puppy school, they’ll learn how to play nicely with other puppies, and they get to mix and mingle with other adults, all under one roof. Below is a list of ideas to make training your Havanese easier.

  • Praise good behavior by making a fuss. Your Havanese will know if you fake it.
  • Time commands wisely because corrections after the fact will confuse your Havanese.
  • Be consistent and persistent. Never let it slip because your Havanese will learn to obey only sometimes.
  • Be the pack leader and show happiness while training your Havanese.
  • Making your Havanese sit and wait for your command to start eating will confirm your status as pack leader.
  • Training your Havanese with love in your heart will avoid Havanese seeing training as punishment.

Don’t forget you’ll need to give your Havanese fair, consistent training, or you’re likely to end up with a badly-behaved dog whose favorite hobbies are escaping from the backyard and jumping on everyone who comes into the house.

How Frequently Does a Havanese Bark?

If you value your peace and quiet, you’re in luck. Havanese bark only when they feel a warning is needed or when playing a rousing game of fetch. They aren’t known for biting or showing aggressive tendencies, so inviting friends over isn’t a problem. Havanese are known to bark to alert their owners and sometimes express their excitement because they are having fun. They may bark more if they are distressed, suffering from separation anxiety, or need your help or attention. Remember that barking is the only way your canine companion can have his say.

Your family dog will bark mostly for territorial reasons and attention-seeking. Havanese can be clingy towards family members in the home and may bark or cry when their favorite person ignores them. Havanese do not bark without reason, but their reason could be as insignificant as an unfamiliar sound. Training and socialization can control excessive barking, but Havanese will always bark when necessary.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • Havanese hate being left alone, and one way of coping with loneliness is barking. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Havanese barks to alert you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, Havanese may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger. 
  • Another type of barking is demand barking, where a Havanese feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights. This type can be lowered through proper training and ignoring the barking.
  • The Havanese uses arousal barking to show their frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Havanese is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercises. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Havanese? 

Constant stimulation throughout the day is required to keep your Havanese happy. Brain games are a great and easy way to stimulate his mind, so be sure to rotate a few of these games throughout the week to keep your Havanese occupied.

Havanese are smart and learn fast, and they need regular mental stimulation. Havaneser’s playful and intelligent nature further calls for frequent mental activity. There are different ways of mentally stimulating your Havanese, and some of them are listed below.

  • Playing with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Havanese who are six to 10 years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation and cognitive decline are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety
  • Frequent accidents
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns
  • Low interest in physical activities
  • Poor social skills

What are the Breed Standards of Havanese? 

Havanese are the Cuban representatives of the Bichon family of breeds, (all small, long-coated, and drop-eared), which are prized as devoted companion dogs. Havanese coat colors are extremely varied.

Havanese appear rectangular from the side, being much longer from front to rear than they are tall. Havanese are light framed but sturdy dogs that convey a sense of refinement without appearing fragile. Males are slightly more muscular than females.

Some of the breed standards of Havanese are given in the table below.

Havanese Breed Standard

Maltese Breed Information


All colors are acceptable; single or in any combination. In fact, a great diversity of coloring is this breed’s heritage. 


Toy Breed

Eye Color 

Rather large and oval-shaped, deep-set and dark. Eye rims must be fully pigmented.


Weight is 4 to 14 pounds.


Height 8 to 10 inches at the withers

Average lifespan 

Havanese have a lifespan of 14 to 16 years

What is the General Information about Havanese? 

Havanese have been named the best therapy dogs because they are loyal, loving, and have a lot of energy. They are also very patient and easy to train, which makes them great for working with people who have autism or other mental health issues. The Havanese is a natural choice for a therapy dog because of its outgoing personality and ability to bond with people. Havanese are also typically gentle and easy to train.

Another reason the Havanese is a good therapy dog breed because they are small and non-intimidating. They are perfect for when someone needs a dog to curl up with on the couch or take a walk with them. They are also very active and playful, making them great for interacting with children.

 Lastly, the Havanese are an intelligent breed, and they are easy to train and quick to learn new commands. This makes them excellent therapy dogs because they can be taught how to perform specific tasks, like providing comfort and support to people who are grieving.

Where to Buy or Adopt a Havanese? 

A purebred Havanese’s price can range between $1000 and $3,000. Lower prices are generally available within shelters and rescues, but puppies from well-known breeders can cost as much as $5,000 from top breeders. 

If you want to bring a Havanese home, you should not rush. If you respond to an advertisement for “purebreds” available immediately upon request, be prepared to be scammed. Reputable breeders typically have waiting lists for each litter born under their supervision. Being on a waiting list allows prospective Havanese owners the time to learn all about the special little puppy they will bring home soon. 

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks.

You could expect a responsible breeder to advise you to have the puppy checked by a veterinarian within 2 days (48 hours) of sale, with additional time allowed if the puppy is sold on a Saturday or Sunday, and provide a written agreement to refund the purchase price or take the puppy back and replace it if it is found to be unfit by a veterinarian. 

You could expect a responsible breeder to advise you to have the puppy checked by a veterinarian within 2 days (48 hours) of sale, with additional time allowed if the puppy is sold on a Saturday or Sunday, and provide a written agreement to refund the purchase price or take the puppy back and replace it if it is found to be unfit by a veterinarian.

Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or make irrational promises to promote their puppies. Be especially suspicious when you are offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. 

Havanese puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, making Havanese a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying one of these little dogs, and you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful companion dog.

The best way to ensure you get a healthy Havanese puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed. The Havanese is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential Havanese owners in touch with reputable breeders. Note that the American Havanese Club has a listing of members-in-good standing and has done the recommended health testing on the sire and dam of the litter they have listed. This listing should be used for reference only and due diligence is your responsibility. Below are additional kennel clubs and breeders who might bring you and your special Havanese together.

  •  American Havanese Club 
  • American Kennel Club Marketplace
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • National Kennel Club
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • United Kennel Club
  • Europetnet
  • Florida Jangle Havanese Lehigh Acres, Florida
  • Wild Rose Havanese Lewisville, Texas 
  • Hola Havanese Lecanto, Florida 
  • Coco Cabana Havanese Saint Petersburg, Florida 
  • Havacasa Havanese Gilbert, Arizona
  • Dreamworks Havanese Sunnyside, Washington

If you manage to track down Havanese breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. Havanese puppies are often peppy and playful, all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. 

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

You might find a Havanese puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, but not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Havanese may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Havanese is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Havanese? 

There are millions of homeless dogs worldwide; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Havanese can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopter. If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder in the U.S., then your first stop should be the HRI. The Havanese Rescue Inc. is the only Havanese Rescue that the Havanese Club of America supports. Reach out to the HCI for assistance in finding the Havanese meant for you. A Havanese rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Havanese mix. Similar sources are listed below for Canada, the UK, and Europe.

The adoption fee for a Havanese from a rescue group or animal shelter will probably be between $300 and $400. Most dogs from rescue groups and shelters will be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered, and vetted before adoption.

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any Havanese or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call.

Below is a list of registered rescue centers and kennel clubs to reach out to for guidance.

  • Havanese Club of America Placement and Rescue Service Committee
  • Havanese Fanciers of Canada Rescue
  • United Kingdom Havanese Rescue – ADOPTIONS
  • Havanese Club of Great Britain Rescue
  • Denise Clark Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • 2 Cute Havanese, Richardson, Texas
  • HavaDoggie, Tucson, Arizona
  • Mt. Top Havanese, Deer Park, Washington
  • Sandia Havanese, New York
  • Last Creek Havanese, Woodbury, Tennessee 

Wherever you acquire your Havanese, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Facebook is another resource for pet adoption. You can search for Havanese rescue groups in your region.

You can also search for adoptable Havanese online the reliable websites such as

  • Petfinder.com
  • Adoptapet.com
  • Getyourpet.com
  • AnimalShelter 

Havanese mixes may be available for adoption in shelters and rescues. If you want to adopt an AKC registered or a mixed breed Havanese, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know you’re interested.

Havanese mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, but their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog’s personality through a series of evaluations; even if the dog’s temperament does not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home. It is also worth noting that mixed breeds are predisposed to the typical health problems of both breeds.

 Below is a list of several Havanese mixes.

  • Havanese & Poodle mix = Havapoo
  • Havanese & Shih Tzu mix = Havashu
  • Havanese & Maltese mix = Havamalt
  • Havanese & Yorkie mix = Havashire
  • Havanese & Chihuahua mix = Cheenese
  • Havanese & Schnauzer mix = Schnese

What is the History of the Havanese? 

For hundreds of centuries, this breed of dog has adorned the laps of the wealthy and famous. The Havanese is an ancient breed whose origins can be traced to the Mediterranean from the first century A.D. They are said to be members of the Bichon family, including dogs such as the Maltese, Bolognese, and Coton de Tulear.

Soon After Christopher Columbus arrived in Cuba, Spanish colonization began on the island. Some of these dogs were brought along on these early voyages and were most likely ancestors of the Bichon family. The Spanish aristocracy loved these dogs, and there was little mixing of the dogs of Cuba with the outside world due to trade restrictions. Those living there seemed to have developed a tolerance for heat.

Wealthy Europeans in the 18th century seemed to enjoy vacationing in Cuba and brought back some of these small dogs admiring their coat and small size. They soon became favorites in France, Spain, and England. During the Cuban Revolution, the upper class of Cubans fled the country with their Havana-bred dogs.

The entire breed population was rebuilt from the 11 Havanese that made it to the United States. Today, the breed remains unchanged from the dogs in the eighteenth-century painting, Portrait of Federico II Gonzaga by Titian. The Havanese is the national dog of Cuba and the country’s only native breed. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1996, and it has already achieved a spot in the 25th most popular breeds in the United States.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Havanese? 

The prices of Havanese range between $1,000 and $3,000. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary, depending on the status of the breeder you select, the location, the sex of the puppy, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will not be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, and when you do, the price could be $300 to $400, based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Havanese and extras like vaccinations and sterilizations. 

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Havanese and its wellbeing before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, sterilization, licensing, etc. You can expect to spend about $6,900 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down significantly, but it’s best to be prepared that a Havanese will be a significant amount to a family’s monthly expenses.

Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $850. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Havanese are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would likely add a significant amount to the maintenance costs of Havanese because they need frequent professional grooming to trim and bathe the Havanese’s silken coat.

How to Name a Havanese? 

Choosing a name for your Havanese involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Havanese’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but for your canine companion, only the sound matters.

Havanese respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and, “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new Havanese pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. Call out any name ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Havanese will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds.

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction, yelling, or calling your Havanese. Below is a list of suggestions of names for your Havanese.

Havanese Breed Names

Honoring their size, color, spunkiness, etc.

Havanese Boy Names

Havanese Girl Names


Male term of endearment


Extraordinary and radiant


Small gremlin


Petite and captivating


A miniature tree


Lover- for Havs craving cuddles


Cunning or smart


A short person


Mischievous or cheeky


Good friend


Spanish for puppy


Sweet and funny

What are the Different Types of Havanese? 

There is only one Havanese breed. However, Havs are descendants of the Bichon, a distinct type of toy dog; it is typically kept as a companion dog. The Bichon is believed to be the offspring of the Barbet. It is suggested that the bichon-type dates to at least the 11th century; it was relatively common in 14th-century France, where they were kept as pets of the royalty and aristocracy. 

From France, these dogs spread throughout the courts of Europe, with dogs of very similar form being seen in several portraits of the upper classes of Germany, Portugal, and Spain; from Europe, the type also spread to colonies in Africa and South America. The name “bichon” is believed to be a contraction of “barbichon,” which means “little barbet.” Below is a list of the different Bichon breed types that resulted from breeding in other countries.

  • Bichon Frise
  • Bolognese
  • Bolonka
  • Coton de Tulear
  • Havanese
  • Löwchen
  • Maltese

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Havanese? 

Havanese may not be too difficult to find, but purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding a Havanese at a rescue center might be equally challenging because they are so popular. However, as wonderful of a dog as the Havanese may be, they aren’t for everyone. Here are some dogs that are similar to the Havanese. 

Below is a list of similar breeds that might be a good match for your family.

  • Maltese: Much like the Havanese dogs, Maltese are also minimal shedders. However, they are not friendly with overly hyper children, so this dog is a better match for a household with only adults. know more about Maltese Dog Breed Social life care & diet information.
  • Bichon Frise: These dogs are also happy-go-lucky, much like Havanese dogs. They are close to Havanese dogs in terms of size – they are usually 9.5 to 11.5 inches, while Havanese dogs are about 8 to 11 inches. They are fun to groom, though they may need professional groomers to handle their fluffy fur.
  • Bolognese: The Bolognese dogs are hypoallergenic. They are also calm and loyal, though they may not enjoy being around more excitable families, as easy-going as they may be.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.