Photo by Martin Taylor

Havanese - Breed Profile:

Origin: Western Mediterranean Region
Size: Small
Type of Owner:
Exercise: Little
Grooming: Regular
Trainability: Very easy to train
Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
Dominance: Low
Noise: Average barker

The Havanese is native of Cuba and belongs to the family of dogs called Bichons and are great for families with children.

Phyiscal characteristics

The Havanese is a small (toy) sturdy dog. They generally weigh between 7 and 13 pounds and the height can go up to 11.5 inches. When they are not altered in any way, primped, clipped etc, they can give a rugged impression. What is unique about this breed is it's toppling. It rises slightly from withers to croup, creating a straight back but not levelled. The forechest is pronounced and when in a standing position, the sternum lines up with the elbows which creates a deep chest.


This breed is great for families with children. The dogs become very attached to their owners and are gentle and responsive. They are very intelligent and cheerful and generally get along with everyone and everything (other pets). They are easy to train and enjoy feeding their curiosity. They are playful, friendly, clever and active. This breed is sensitive to the tone of your voice and will quickly calm down when you tell it to, usually. If it doesn't happen, you'll need to work on becoming a more authoritative pack leader.
Havanese will do well in apartments, but need plenty of exercise! They need daily walks where you need to make sure the dog is heeled on the lead to show that you are the leader leading the way. This will ensure that your dog grows up balanced.

Coat and grooming

The coat is long, wavy, silky and soft. There are no common colors or markings. Like other Bichons and related dogs like Poodles, their coat catches hair and dander internally so it needs to be groomed on a regular basis, at least twice a week. Since this breed barely sheds, brushing is needed to help get rid of the dead hair. Clipping the excess hair between the pads of the feet and around the feet will allow for a circular foot appearance. Teeth should be brushed weekly and nail clipping is something the dog should get accustomed to from puppy age.


Havanese dogs are generally healthy and can live up to 16 years. With age, Havanese may suffer from luxating patella (dislocated kneecap), liver disease, cataracts and retinal dysplasia.