Harper Jefcoat
Harper Jefcoat

Havanese: Full Dog Breed Profile, Origin & Traits

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12 min read

Havanese Dog

On This Page

  • Havanese Dog History
  • Havanese Dog Overview
  • Havanese Dog Appearance
  • Havanese Dog Personality
  • Havanese Dog Health Problems
  • Havanese Dog Care & Grooming
  • Havanese Dog Diet and Nutrition
  • Havanese Dog for Emotional Support

Low shedding level, easy to train, and a sparkling personality is what make Havanese a great addition to your family. Havanese is a great companion and a dedicated companion dog.

This dog breed has captured the attention of many because of its cute looks and bubbly personality. These little cute balls of furs seem to make friends with everyone they meet. They can also get along well with children and other pets.

You might have seen a Havanese before or know something about this dog breed - thanks to their cute personality. But did you know from where this dog breed came from? There is much more to know about this dog breed other than cute looks. Know about the origin of the Havanese dog breed and some other interesting facts in this blog.

Havanese Dog History

The Havanese is the native dog of Cuba and once referred to as ‘Blanquito de la Habana’ (Havana silk dog). It is an old breed that was developed in Cuba when its ancestors came from Spain by way of Tenerife in the Canary Islands known as the ‘Islands of dogs’.

The Havanese is the Bichon family (formerly known as Barbichon) of the small dogs that originated in the Mediterranean in ancient times. It was famous that Spanish traders brought these dogs as gifts for Spanish women. It allowed them to start a trading relationship.

In Cuba, these little dogs were treated as the special pets of the wealthy. Afterward, they became popular as the Habeneros, and their way back was found in Europe where they were called ‘White Cuban’.

The Havanese breed became popular not only as pets of the wealthy but also as performing dogs. They became very popular as pets but their stronghold remained in the circus where they performed as trick dogs. These dogs were declined in numbers and were almost extinct only in Europe and native Cuba.

A few in numbers remained in Cuba. However, three families with their Havanese dogs left for the United States during the 1950s and 1960s.

Present-day Havanese are descended from these dogs. It has gradually captured the attention of pet owners and dog fanciers. In 1996, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) It was accepted for regular recognition and as a member of the toy group.

Havanese Dog Overview

Once nearly extinct, this little bubbly dog has become very popular and its popularity is still growing day by day. He comes in various colors and patterns. His long coat can be fluffy or silky and all he wants is your company and to make you laugh.

He is also good with children and gets along well with cats and other dogs. He is fairly a quiet dog unless he wants something. Just don’t let him alone for a long period of time. This is a type of dog that needs company all the time.

The Havanese can be an excellent family dog due to the fact that these dogs do not require much care as they only weigh 10 to 15 pounds. They are famous for their loving and playful nature.

Eager to please, Havanese attach strongly to their family and make a great companion. Because they are small and do not bark a lot, Havanese makes a great choice of pet for families with or without children.

Havanese Dog Appearance

The Havanese is a small fluffy, native dog of Cuba. He is a bit tall with a long heavy double coat. He has a shorter upper arm with shoulder layback.

The tail is slightly arched forwarded up over the back. The stretchy gait is the result of the overall structure of the breed.

Below you can find the overall physical appearance of the Havanese dog breed.

  • Head, Eyes, & Ears

Large, almond-shaped eyes with dark brown color. Chocolate color dogs may have slightly lighter color brown eyes. Solid black color eye rims for all color dogs except for chocolate brown. Chocolate brown Havanese have solid brown color eye rims.

Lack of eye rims is not a breed standard. Eyes are broad at the base. They have a distinct fold set high on the skull.

The ears lift at the base when alert. Ear leather when extended reaches halfway to the nose.

  • Body

The slightly arched neck of medium size length smoothly bends into the shoulder area. The prosternum is a bit prominent.

The chest is slightly deep and well-muscled. Well sprung ribs and the tail set high. The tail is plumed with long and silky hair.

  • Coat

The coat is soft, silky, and light in texture. The inner coat is lighter than the outer coat. The coat is long and wavy. An ideal coat will allow the natural lines to be seen.

A puppy coat may have a softer texture than a full-grown dog coat. Havanese may have corded coats, corded coats naturally separate into wavy sections and develop into cords in young dogs. Adult dogs are completely covered with tassel-like cords.

  • Forequarters

The top of the shoulders lies at the withers allowing the next to bend smoothly into the back. Shoulder layback to hold the neck and head high.

The upper arm is slightly short in size. Forelegs seem straight when viewed from any angle. Foot to the elbow length is the same as the length from the elbow to the withers. The feet have arched toes.

  • Hindquarters

The hind legs are well muscled with moderate angulation. The croup is higher than the withers. Pads and nails can be of any color.

Havanese Dog Personality

The Havanese is a cute, gentle, and one of the most affectionate dog breeds that can become great companions for humans. He will follow you throughout the day and can become very anxious if left alone.

He is smart as well and will make you laugh with his cute actions. The temperament of Havanese may vary depending on heredity, training, and where the dog was kept.

Puppies with a good temperament are very curious and playful. They love to approach people and feel good when they are held by them. Avoid choosing the puppy who is hiding in the corner or beating up his other littermates.

When deciding to own a Havanese, it is better to meet one of the parents to ensure that they have a good temperament. Meeting other family members of the parents is a good idea to evaluate what the puppy will be when he grows up.

You need to socialize your dog early in order to make him friendly and trustworthy around people. Exposure to light, different people, sounds, and experiences is very important when they are young. Early socialization will help your dog grow up to be a well-behaved dog. Enrolling your puppy in a dog training class can also be of great help.

Havanese Dog Health Problems

Like other dogs, the Havanese are also prone to certain health conditions. If you are planning to own a Havanese, you need to be well aware of these diseases.

The most common health conditions include:

Hip Dysplasia

It is the medical term used for a hip socket. This condition involves the partial or complete dislocation of the hip joint. This disease is found in many dog breeds. Although it is a genetic disease, it can be found in puppies born to parents with no history of Hip Dysplasia.

Elbow Dysplasia

It is a common condition that different dog breeds suffer from. Abnormal growth and development is the main cause that weakens the elbow. The severity of this disease differs in dogs of different ages. Surgery, medication, and weight management are effective for treating Elbow Dysplasia.


A common genetic condition that is mislabeled as ‘dwarfism’. Dogs with this condition have abnormal short limbs. The severity of this condition is from normal to crippling. Any dog suffering from this condition should not be bred.

Legg-Perthes Disease

A condition that deforms the hip joint ball. It usually begins with the decrease in the blood supply to the femur bone until the bone deforms, collapses, or dies off. The result is the inflammation of arthritis. It is still not clear what is the main cause of Legg-Perthes disease but it is believed that this condition is due to genetics or the result of the injury.


An inherited disease that mostly occurs in old dogs. A cataract is an eye condition that can be the reason for vision loss. The puffiness can be seen on the affected eyes. Cataracts can be treated by surgery.


Deafness can be very challenging for the dog and for the owner as well. Some minor deafness issues can be treated with medications and surgery but usually, they cannot be cured.

Patellar Luxation

A common health condition that usually occurs in small dogs. It is usually caused when the Patellia, which has three layers is not properly lined up. The treatment for Patellar Luxation is surgery.

Portosystemic Shunt

A condition that involves abnormal blood flow to the systemic venous circulation. This condition can lead to other diseases such as Hepatic encephalopathy. An improved diet and surgery can help in treating the condition.

Heart Murmur

Heart murmurs are usually caused by disturbed and unusual blood flow. Treatment is necessary for this disease that usually involves a special diet, medication, exercise restrictions.

Mitral Valve Insufficiency

This condition is most commonly observed in older dogs when the mitral valve begins to fail. This can lead to heart failure. The most common symptoms of Mitral Valve Insufficiency include hypertension, low strength of heart muscle, and fluid in the lungs. Treatment includes improved diet, medication, and exercise restrictions.

Havanese Dog Care & Grooming

The Havanese has a double coat that can be fluffy or silky. It can grow up to 7 to 8 inches if it is not cut. The amount of grooming the Havanese dog requires depends on your choice of the short or long coat as well as on the type of coat.

A Havanese with a full coat needs regular brushing and a bath once or twice a week. If you have a long coat puppy and you don’t know how to groom a dog, you might need professional grooming sessions. Between grooming sessions, the coat still needed to be brushed regularly to remove tangles. With different dog shampoos available, you can bathe your dog once a week without damaging his coat.

Clean the corner of his eyes and ears with a wet cotton cloth. Brush his teeth regularly with vet-recommended toothpaste.

Havanese Dog Diet and Nutrition

You can give your Havanese two meals in a day. Take out the leftover food if you don’t want your dog to gain extra weight. Obesity can decrease the lifespan of the dog and also be the reason for other weight-related issues. Consult with your veterinarian about the best dog food that you can give your puppy for optimum nutrition.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Havanese Dog



The shedding level is low.

Cannot be left alone for too long.

Gentle and playful.

High grooming needs.

Great with children and other dogs.

Expensive breed.

If you want to adopt a Havanese, the following are a number of rescue groups that you start your search with.

  • Havanese Rescue
  • The Havanese Club of America
  • Havanese Angel League Organization for Rescue

If you are interested in Havanese, you might also like Maltese, Bichon Frise, and Papillon. There are various dog breeds that you can choose from. All you need is a little research to bring home the one that matches your lifestyle.

Havanese Dog for Emotional Support

If you are looking for a small dog breed as an emotional support animal, Havanese is the best option. They work as great companion dogs and are friendly around people.

They are considered to be one of the best companion dogs. All they need is lots of love, care, and affection. Due to their funny and playful nature, they are great pets for emotional support.

Havanese dogs can make great emotional support pets. Funny, outgoing, and intelligent are the words used by the American Kennel Club to describe the Havanese.

These small and fluffy dogs can brighten up your day with their cute actions. If you are getting yourself a Havanese dog, that is a smart decision. You might also need an ESA letter for having your pet all the rights that emotional support animals have.

You can contact RealESALetter.com and see if you can qualify for an ESA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Havanese dog bark a lot?

FAQ Icon

Havanese are very quiet dogs. They hardly bark, whine, grumble, or speak. But they will make their presence noticeable with their cute movements.

Do Havanese dogs smell?

FAQ Icon

All dogs smell but some worse than others. Fortunately, Havanese dogs are one of the non-smelling dog breeds. They are best known for low shedding levels and not causing allergic reactions. Not being smelling, they are very easy to keep.

Are Havanese herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

FAQ Icon

Havanese are Omnivores. They have the ability to survive on both plants and other animals.

How much should I expect to pay for a Havanese dog?

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Typically you can expect to pay around $1000 to $1500 for a purebred Havanese puppy. Although Havanese dogs are very expensive. Since there are many factors that affect the cost such as the age of the dog, experience of the breeder, and location bought from.

What is the scientific name for the Havanese?

FAQ Icon

Canis lupus is the scientific name for the Havanese.


Harper Jefcoat


Harper Jefcoat

Harper Jefcoat is a dedicated pet enthusiast and expert author at the RealESALetter.com. With a deep-seated passion for animals, Harper brings a wealth of knowledge and personal experience to his writings. Specializing in canine behavior and wellness, he aims to help pet owners understand and care for their furry friends better.

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