Havanese Dog: Breed Facts, Temperament & Lifespan

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Native to Cuba and the country's national dog, the Havanese dog is the ultimate cheerful lapdog. They were companions to the aristocrats and wealthy citizens of Cuba and share an ancestry with the bichon frise and Maltese dogs. This breed brings joy to the household and is a great option for those that live in cities and apartments.


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Havanese dog characteristics

The small Havanese dog breed is a member of the American Kennel Club's toy group. These dogs grow to be 8.5 to 11.5 inches tall and the standard Havanese weight is 7 to 13 pounds.


The Havanese boasts a beautiful silky coat that grows long and wavy, and that comes in a variety of colors and markings. No coat colors are prohibited in the breed standard. The dog's body is a bit longer than tall and she can be identified by her tail that curls up over her back.


Havanese dogs may be bred with other breeds to create popular hybrids. For example, the havachon dog is a cross between a Havanese and a bichon frise dog. Havachon dogs rarely shed and typically weigh less than 15 pounds.

Havanese temperament & training

Breed is not a reliable indicator of personality, however, the Havanese is commonly described as outgoing and funny. They are intelligent and enjoy learning tricks and showing off. Despite their small size, the breed also enjoys being a watchdog.


Their intelligent mind and friendly and eager to please personalities make these dogs a pleasure to train. Only use positive reinforcement to teach these sensitive pups. Socialize puppies at a young age so that they will get along with dogs and people when they grow older. Consider hiring a professional trainer to help you teach your Havenese more advanced commands and fun tricks.


Havanese dog grooming

The breed has a double coat and long hair. The dogs need to be bathed as needed and brushed daily to keep their coats free of tangles and mats. You don't need to trim the dog's hair or hire a professional groomer, although some people opt to do so to make grooming easier. Havanese shedding is only occasionally a problem.


Havanese dogs may develop stains on their hair from tears, so be sure to wipe their eyes daily to prevent this. Keep their nails trimmed and clean their ears regularly.

Havanese exercise & health

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The Havanese dog needs daily exercise. A daily walk or play session in the backyard or at the park is usually sufficient. Avoid walks that are too long as the dog may have trouble keeping up with her short legs. If you notice she is panting a lot, be sure to take a rest and end the exercise session for the day.


The breed typically enjoys a long life of 14 to 16 years but is susceptible to some genetic conditions. Responsible breeders will complete the recommended health testing on the parents and puppies.

Patella luxation and hip dysplasia are a concern. Other problems the breed may have include deafness, heart murmurs, and chondrodysplasia which is a disorder that affects the development of bone and cartilage. Havanese dogs may also develop Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a condition that causes degeneration of the femoral head in the hip joint. It usually only affects one leg and can be diagnosed with x-rays. Some dogs can live with the condition with the help of pain medication, but surgery may be required.


Havanese puppies

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Havanese puppies grow quickly during the first year of life, reaching their full height when they are eight to 10 months old. They continue to fill out and reach their adult weight when they are 12 to 16 months old.

At eight weeks of age, puppies are about a quarter of their adult size and weigh about 3 pounds. They grow to half of their adult size when they are 16 weeks of age and typically weigh 4 to 5.5 pounds.



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