Havanese Dog Breed Facts & Information

If you want a happy, lovable small dog that you can spoil a little, then a Havanese might be the perfect breed for you. These petite little fluffballs are smart and only require medium amounts of exercise, so they're great city dogs for those who don't have as much outdoor space as they like. They also love being around their people, so they make a great buddy to take with you everywhere. If this sounds like the dog for you, keep reading for all the details you need to know about Havanese dogs.

Playful havanese puppy running with his ball
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The Basics

Havanese are small, happy dogs that make great buddies. Havanese are a toy breed, who only grow to about 8-11 pounds. They are a member of the Bichon family, which includes breeds like Bichon Frise and Maltese. These little love bugs make excellent companion dogs, because they love being with their people.

Havanese usually live 14-16 years. Common health problems that run in the breed include heart problems, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, eye problems, and hypothyroidism. But for Havanese, as for many toy breeds, one of the best ways to keep them healthy and happy is to keep them at the proper weight. Because obesity can lead to many health problems.

This is a dog breed that has survived a number of trials, but their adorable spirit kept them going in their humans' hearts.

White havanese sitting, isolated on white
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The History

Havanese dogs originated in Cuba, and they get their name from Havana, the largest city in Cuba. They are a descendant of the "Blanquito de la Havana" (the little white dog of Havana), a now-extinct descendant of the Bichon Tenerife. In the mid 19th century, Havanese were so popular that they were owned by major celebrities of the time, like Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens.

Havanese actually fell on hard times when the Cuban revolution hit in 1959, but it survived because enough migrated with their refugee families to the United States. They were admitted into the America Kennel Club in 1999, and since then, they've become very popular. Havanese are now the 31st most popular dog breed in the U.S., according to the AKC.

The Personality

Cute sitting havanese puppy dog
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What probably attracts most people to Havanese is their adorable loving personality. Havanese are happy, well-adjusted dogs that love to have fun. They can be goofy and even a little mischievous (many of them LOVE to shred paper). But they're so loving that they're GREAT around children, which is a huge plus for those of us with families. Havanese also do well around other pets, as long as they are socialized early. But Havanese love companionship, so they don't like being left alone.

Havanese do best if they start training early. But if you put in the time, Havanese are very intelligent and take to training well.

The Appearance

Beautiful young havanese dog sitting on a gravel forest road
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Havanese are beautiful, fluffy, long-haired dogs, but that means they do require some grooming.

Havanese are slightly shorter than they are long, giving them an adorable look with a springy step. They have a long double coat, and if it isn't cut, it grows to 6-8 inches. While they rarely shed, that doesn't mean that Havanese are hypoallergenic. Some owners choose to let the coat grow long and flowing, while others keep it trimmed. Regardless, Havanese require weekly brushing and maintenance, and regular professional grooming.

Havanese are also prone to tear staining, so to prevent that, you'll need to clean their eye area. And their nails grow quickly, so they require regular trims.

Havanese essential facts:

  • Personality: Friendly, funny, smart
  • Energy Level: Somewhat active, they love to play but don't need tons of extra exercise
  • Barking Level: Moderate
  • Shedding: Infrequently
  • Grooming: Weekly
  • Good with Children: Yes
  • Trainability: Very good, eager to please
  • Height: 8.5-11.5 inches
  • Weight: 8-11 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14-16 years