Dog Breed Profile

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• High energy level
• Medium exercise needs
• Very playful
• Very Affectionate
• Very friendly towards other dogs
• Very friendly around other pets
• Very friendly around strangers
• Difficult to train
• Great watchdogs
• Not very protective
• Moderate grooming requirements
• Medium tolerance to heat
• Low tolerance to cold


Allergy sufferers who don’t want to sacrifice a beautiful-coated companion may want to consider this toy dog breed as he doesn’t shed. The Havanese still requires regular brushing however to keep his luxurious coat healthy. He’s small, with short legs but is a very busy and curious dog that thoroughly enjoys romping around. His affectionate nature makes him a great family pet and playmate for children, other pets and even other dogs.

Although the Havanese can be a barker, he is eager to please and is a quick learner, and although he requires proper training to ensure his obedience, he’s also very capable of performing tricks and loves to be the center of attention.

  • Cannot be expected to live outdoors
  • Health conditions that need to be tested for are his knees and eyes
  • Grooming needs include brushing every other day at least
  • The Havanese is a very affectionate and friendly, playful animal that is trainable
  • Has a great relationship with family members, young and old, not very protective but do make great watchdogs
  • The average size of a male is 7 to 13lbs and 8.5 to 11.5 inches tall
  • The average size of a female is 7 to 13lbs and 8.5 to 11.5 inches tall

Care & Health:

Although he can’t live outside, the Havanese enjoys going for a walk or playing outside with his family. His energy level is high, but he is a busy dog and will likely be moving about enough to keep fit regardless of whether he’s playing inside or going for a walk.

Although he doesn’t shed, his long coat should be brushed at least every other day to ensure that loose hairs do not become tangled.

Major Health Concerns:

– none

Minor Health Concerns:

– patellar luxation and occasionally PRA, otitis externa, cataract

Test for:

– knees and eyes

Life Span:

– 12 to 14 years

Breed History:

Thought to be related to the bichon breeds, the Havanese was brought to Cuba by Spanish traders, and they soon became pampered pets and lap dogs of the wealthy. Once some of these dogs were brought to Europe they were known as the ‘white Cubans’ and quickly gained a high level of popularity, not only as a companion to the wealthy but also a performer.

Eventually the breed almost became extinct in Cuba and Europe, aside from their use in the circus. When three families left Cuba for the US in the 50s and 60s, they brought their companions with them. The AKC recognized the Havanese in 1996 and the CKC in 2001.

  • Family history is bichon, companion, water dog
  • Originally from Cuba
  • First bred in ancient times
  • Original purpose was lapdog, performer
  • Today they are used for companions
  • Also known as bichon Havanais