What Is a Havanese Dog?

The national dog of Cuba was once known as the Blanquito de la Habana (“little white dog of Havana”) or the Havana Silk Dog for his soft, flowing locks. Now known simply as the Havanese, this toy breed is smart, affectionate, and loves to clown around. The Havanese doesn’t need much space and he doesn’t require a lot of exercise; he’s a portable lapdog that fits well into the lives of people living in cities and apartments.

intelligenceshedding amountexercise needsenergy levelbarking leveldrool amountbreed groupcoat length/texturecolors black gray red blue cream white fawn gold / yellow brown / chocolate / liver other traits easy to train requires lots of grooming low prey drive high potential for weight gain apartment-friendly good for first-time pet owners strong loyalty tendencies

Under that luxurious mane, the breed stands at just 8.511 inches high at the shoulder and weighs 713 pounds. His body is a bit longer than it is tall, and the tail is set high and arches over his back. A Havanese‘s large, dark brown eyes seem to glint with a hint of mischief, cluing passersby in to his playful, intelligent nature .

The walk of the Havanese is distinctive in its bounciness; that spring in the step first manifests in puppies and doesn’t disappear with age. This smart, sweet, eager-to-please, and easy-to-train dog is a natural extrovert that loves entertaining. They don’t care so much about where they livemostly, these sociable animals want to have others by their side and prefer being in a lap to pretty much any other place.

Left: Havanese dogs don’t need a ton of exercise, but these sociable pups will never turn down an adventure with their owners. If left alone for long periods of time, a Havanese pup can get bored and barking can become an issue. The breed is an excellent choice for seniors, families, and anyone looking for a constant companion.

Owners looking for canine camaraderie while hiking , backpacking, camping , and other outdoor endeavors may want to consider other options. He should be brushed a few times a week so his fur stays free of mats and tangles. To save time and effort, some Havanese owners opt to get the hair trimmed or corded .

Though his coat is high-maintenance, Havanese shedding is low , so you won’t have to worry about flying fur. It’s an excuse to spend time withand pleasetheir owners, and positive reinforcement ( with treats , head pats, and an enthusiastic “good boy!”) Neabore adds that smaller breeds are naturally more fragile; if a Havanese dog is stepped on or dropped, injury may easily occur.

If a Havanese lives with small kiddos, always supervise their playtime and teach children to properly interact with pets . In addition, as a small breed, Havanese can be susceptible to dental issues, says Neabore, and regular teeth-cleaning at the vet’s office or brushing teeth at home can help. They get a lot of plaque and tartar between the teeth, so they get dental disease really easily,” Neabore says.

This smart, sweet, eager-to-please, and easy-to-train dog is a natural extrovert that loves entertaining. Named for the capital city of CubaHavanathe Havanese dog was once commonly found in the laps of Cuban aristocrats and wealthy residents. It’s thought that this small, entertaining breed was brought to Cuba by Spanish seafarers, according to the HCA .

In fact, according to the HCA, all Havanese dogs today (aside from the ones still in Cuba) can trace their lineage back to 11 pups who emigrated with their owners. Two famous authors who have fallen for the Havanese are Ernest Hemingway and Charles Dickens. Other famous owners include Barbara Walters, Jane Fonda, and Venus Williams.

Thanks to their trainability, Havanese dogs have been used in jobs such as sniffing out mold and termites, and they can even herd chickens and ducks.

What's bad about Havanese?

Most Havanese are long-lived. But they are very prone to allergies that can disrupt their quality of life. Havanese can be allergic to fleas, grass, pollen, and so on. Allergies cause a dog to scratch and chew himself into horrendous skin conditions.

Is a Havanese a good family dog?

Children And Other Pets. The Havanese is an excellent family dog who’s affectionate with everyone, including kids of all ages and other dogs and pets. But because he’s so small, he could easily get hurt by accident, so it’s especially important to teach kids how to treat the dog.

What are Havanese dogs known for?

Havanese are affectionate and happy dogs. They do not make good kennel dogs and prefer being with their owners. They are active dogs and enjoy learning tricks and playing games with their owners. Havanese are intelligent and trainable.

Do Havanese dogs shed?

These dogs rarely shed. When they do lose hair, it is typically caught by the outer coat instead of falling straight to the ground. While a dog that doesn’t shed may sound like music to your ears, this does not mean that Havanese don’t require much grooming.

Finding a good breeder is a great way to find the right puppy. 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 is possible. He or she is more interested in placing pups in the right homes than in making big bucks.

Often mischievous, occasionally naughty shredding paper is a favorite pastime the little dogs from Cuba will fly across your furniture, take over the couch and bed, alert you to visitors or intruders, and interpret and adjust to your every mood. And like many toy breeds, especially those in the Bichon family, Havanese arent always easy to housetrain, but consistency and strict supervision will win the day.

A skeletal defect called osteochondrodysplasia can occur, as well as progressive retinal atrophy, liver shunts, heart murmurs and missing incisors. Before individual Havanese can be included in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database, the Havanese Club of America requires them to have a clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation; hip and patella evaluations from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals , PennHIP or OVC ; and an OFA or GDC clearance for congenital deafness (BAER). The Havanese Club of America and the Havana Silk Dog Association of America recommend purchasing puppies from breeders who provide the following documentation for both parents: a BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response) test for hearing; current certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF); and hip and patella (knee) certifications from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isnt exactly what you expected. And dont forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies. The cost of a Havanese puppy varies depending on his place of origin, whether he is male or female, what titles his parents have, and whether he is best suited for the show ring or a pet home.

Havanese, the only dog breed native to Cuba, are cheerful little dogs with a spring in their step and a gleam in their big, brown eyes. These vivacious and sociable companions are becoming especially popular with American city dwellers.

The Havanese dog breed has won many admirers with their long, silky hair, expressive eyes, and cuddly size. Bred as a companion dog to the Cuban aristocracy in the 1800s, theyve earned the nickname Velcro dog because they stick so closely to their owners side.

Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.

These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. Companion Dogs8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder The Havanese shines his affectionate personality on everyone, including strangers, children, other dogs, and even cats. They’ve also got a surprising amount of energy for their size, and for the family looking to compete, the Havanese will happily tackle such sports as agility , freestyle, obedience, and flyball.

Many owners prefer to clip it short, but if you want to show your dog, you’ll have to let it grow long and invest a good amount of time in grooming , or money in paying a groomer . Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.

In Havanese, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. It is caused when the patellia, which has three parts the femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and tibia (calf) is not properly lined up. Portosystemic shunts usually occur in conjunction with another disease and symptoms include poor balance, loss of appetite, lethargy, blindness, depression, weakness, seizures, disorientation, and coma.

Short, neatly trimmed nails keep the feet in good condition and prevent your legs from getting scratched when your Havanese enthusiastically jumps up to greet you. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he’s an adult.

Havanese

The national dog of Cuba was once known as the”The Havanese is very popular,” says Scott Neabore, DVM, who owns Neabore Veterinary Clinic in Haddonfield, N.J. “I often see Havanese mixed with other things, like poodles and Cavaliers. It’s a nice little small-breed dog.” Common Havanese hybrids include the Havachon (Havanese plus bichon frise), Hava-Apso (Havanese plus Lhasa apso), Havapoo (poodle plus Havanese), and many others.

Appearance

Their long, fluffy coats tend to hide just how small Havanese dogs—and Havanese puppies—are. Under that luxurious mane, the breed stands at just 8.5–11 inches high at the shoulder and weighs 7–13 pounds. His body is a bit longer than it is tall, and the tail is set high and arches over his back. The soft, wavy coat, which comes in many different colors, is sometimes “corded,” or formed into dreadlocks.A Havanese‘s large, dark brown eyes seem to glint with a hint of mischief, cluing passersby in to his playful, intelligent nature. The walk of the Havanese is distinctive in its bounciness; that spring in the step first manifests in puppies and doesn’t disappear with age.Havanese puppies have a tendency to change colors, with their coats darkening, lightening, or changing hue entirely around 1 year old. Because of that, it’s not always possible to predict what a puppy might look like as an adult.

Temperament

Charming is an understatement when it comes to the Havanese. This smart, sweet, eager-to-please, and easy-to-train dog is a natural extrovert that loves entertaining.He’s an excellent addition to a family and gets along well with children and pets of all sizes, including family cats. This dog‘s loving nature also makes him popular as a therapy dog and emotional support animal.Despite his diminutive size, a Havanese has a confident bark and often alerts his family to anything he deems scary—including the mailman. Socializing a Havanese puppy early, plus lots of positive reinforcement training, will help him be comfortable around new people, animals, and in new situations.

Living Needs

Havanese dogs will be happy in a studio apartment, a sprawling mansion, or anywhere in-between. They don’t care so much aboutIf left alone for long periods of time, a Havanese pup can get bored and barking can become an issue. (Although, Neabore says this breed does tend to bark less than many other small dog breeds). The breed is an excellent choice for seniors, families, and anyone looking for a constant companion.While the Havanese is energetic, he’s not especially active—he generally gets the workout he needs just by bouncing around the house. Owners looking for canine camaraderie while hiking, backpacking, camping, and other outdoor endeavors may want to consider other options. But these pups will like to stretch their legs on a daily 30-minute walk or playtime in a fenced-in yard.

Care

Daily grooming is critical when it comes to the Havanese—that flowing coat isn’t going to brush itself! He should be brushed a few times a week so his fur stays free of mats and tangles. To save time and effort, some Havanese owners opt to get the hair trimmed or corded. Though his coat is high-maintenance, Havanese shedding is low, so you won’t have to worry about flying fur.Along with caring for his long locks, Havanese owners need to trim his nails regularly, give him occasional baths, check and clean his ears, and wipe his eyes to prevent tear staining.Havanese dogs respond well to training. It’s an excuse to spend time with—and please—their owners, and positive reinforcement (with treats, head pats, and an enthusiastic “good boy!”) works well with this sensitive breed. But Neabore warns not to overdo it with treats. With small dogs, a little indulgence goes a long way, and as such a Havanese can easily become obese. “People tend to feed them a lot of treats, and they don’t realize that giving a 12-pound dog a potato chip is like you eating a whole bag of potato chips,” he says. “They tend to get overweight more easily than … a large-breed dog.”Neabore adds that smaller breeds are naturally more fragile; if a Havanese dog is stepped on or dropped, injury may easily occur. So owners need to be especially careful when handling them and even when walking around the house. If a Havanese lives with small kiddos, always supervise their playtime and teach children to properly interact with pets.

Health

When you adopt this sprightly pup, you can expect him to be around for a long time—the Havanese lifespan is a lengthy 14–16 years. While this breed is known to be fairly healthy, they are prone to a few diseases, including deafness, eye disorders, heart disease, and bone and joint issues including hip dysplasia, according to the Havanese Club of America (HCA). Havanese owners should talk to their veterinarian about potential issues and how to minimize risks.Before bringing home a Havanese puppy, your breeder should conduct all health tests recommended by the OFA.In addition, as a small breed, Havanese can be susceptible to dental issues, says Neabore, and regular teeth-cleaning at the vet’s office—or brushing teeth at home—can help. “These small-breed dogs have the same number of teeth as any other dog, including those giant breeds, but they’re all smooshed into a tiny little mouth. They get a lot of plaque and tartar between the teeth, so they get dental disease really easily,” Neabore says. “That’s something people need to pay really close attention to.”

History

Named for the capital city of Cuba—Havana—the Havanese dog was once commonly found in the laps of Cuban aristocrats and wealthy residents.It’s thought that this small, entertaining breed was brought to Cuba by Spanish seafarers, according to the HCA. Ancestors of the Havanese hail from the Bichon family (he’s likely a cousin to the white bichon frise), while the Havanese itself has been further refined thanks to centuries of doting by the Cuban elite.Many Havanese arrived in the U.S. in the late 1950s, under the arms of those fleeing the Cuban Revolution. In fact, according to the HCA, all Havanese dogs today (aside from the ones still in Cuba) can trace their lineage back to 11 pups who emigrated with their owners. The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1996.

Finding a Havanese

Whether you want to go with a breeder or get your dog from a shelter or rescue, here are some things to keep in mind.

Choosing a Havanese Breeder

Finding a good breeder is a great way to find the right puppy. 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 is possible. He or she is more interested in placing pups in the right homes than in making big bucks.
Good breeders will welcome your questions about temperament, health clearances and what the dogs are like to live with and come right back at you with questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you can provide for him. A good breeder can tell you about the history of the breed, explain why one puppy is considered pet quality while another is not, and discuss what health problems affect the breed and the steps she takes take to avoid those problems.
Find a breeder who is a member in good standing of the Havanese Club of America and who has agreed to abide by its code of ethics, which include screening all dogs being bred for genetic diseases, selling only with a written contract and guaranteeing a home for any dog they breed if the owner becomes unable to keep him.
Choose a breeder who is not only willing but insists on being a resource in helping you train and care for your new dog. The HCA has guidelines on how to interview and select a Havanese breeder.
Ask to see the results of genetic screening tests for a pup’s parents. The Havanese Club of America and the Havana Silk Dog Association of America recommend purchasing puppies from breeders who provide the following documentation for both parents: a BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response) test for hearing; current certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF); and hip and patella (knee) certifications from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. According to the HCA website, breeders on the HCA Breeders List must provide proof that their dogs have passed the above tests, and many do additional testing such as SA320 liver shunt and cardiac exams.
Avoid breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. You should also remember that buying a puppy from one of those “instant pet” websites leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Many reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include puppies always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any puppy, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
The cost of a Havanese puppy varies depending on his place of origin, whether he is male or female, what titles his parents have, and whether he is best suited for the show ring or a pet home. The price range for pet Havanese ranges from $1,400 to $2,000. For that price, the puppy you buy should have been raised in a clean home environment, from parents with health clearances and conformation (show) titles to prove that they are good specimens of the breed.Puppies should be temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confidentstart in life.
Before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Havanese might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up to become the dog of your dreams. An adult Havanese may already have some training and will probably be less active, destructive and demanding than a puppy.
With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health and you can find adults through breeders or shelters. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through breeders, ask them about purchasing a retired show dog or if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home. If you want to adopt a dog, read the advice below on how to do that.

Havanese

The Havanese dog breed has won many admirers with their long, silky hair, expressive eyes, and cuddly size. Bred as a companion dog to the Cuban aristocracy in the 1800s, they’ve earned the nickname “Velcro dog” because they stick so closely to their owner’s side.Although these are purebred dogs, you may still find them in shelters and rescues. Remember toDon’t write this small pooch off as just a lapdog; the Havanese is trainable and surprisingly energetic, and they’ve excelled in dog sports and canine careers ranging from circus performer to assisting people with disabilities. They adore their humans and don’t handle long periods of time left alone at home. Make sure your pooch has constant companionship, and you’ll have an intelligent, furry family member who’s eager to please.See below for complete list of dog breed traits and facts about Havaneses!