The Lovable Havanese

The Havanese dog breed is a wonderful companion and dedicated lap dog which has captured the hearts of many. They seem to make friends with everyone they meet, whether they are human or animals. But aside from being a lapdog, Havanese dogs are also trainable and they are surprisingly energetic as well. In fact, they have excelled in dog sports and canine careers such as circus performers and handicapped assistants. Let us know more about the history and characteristics of the Havanese dog breed.


The Havanese is quite new to the AKC but it is an old breed in “dog years”. It is the National dog of Cuba and the only native breed there. After Cuba was claimed by Columbus for Spain in 1942, Spanish settlers began coming on the island. Together with them were small companion dogs which are now the Bichon family of dogs.  

The dogs brought by the Spanish settlers interbred and they were isolated from other dogs by island life. Later on, by trade restrictions imposed by Spain on Cuba, they began to develop into the Havanese dog breed we know today. By the early 1800s, these dogs were gracing the laps of many aristocratic families in Cuba. There were also European travelers who fell in love with the breed and they brought them back to England, Spain, and France. During the mid-1800s, the Havanese dog breed became trendy in Europe. Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens were some of the well-known fans of the dog breed during those times.

The Havanese dog breed also became almost extinct, even in its native Cuba. There were a few Cuban families who still bred and kept the dogs, however, during the Cuban Revolution in 1959, eleven Havanese dogs were brought to the United States in the arms of their owners. These dog refugees were the ancestors of majority of the Havanese outside of Cuba in the present time.

In the 1970s, the renaissance of the Havanese breed began when an American couple who bred dogs found some descendants of the eleven dogs brought from Cuba. The couple were charmed by the dog’s intelligence and affectionate nature that they began to track down other Havanese and worked to reestablish the breed.

Breeders are working to widen the gene pools of the American-bred Havanese because most of the Havanese outside of Cuba in the present time can trace their ancestry to only eleven dogs. In 1995, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Havanese dog breed.


Characteristics of the Havanese

Average height: 8 inches – 11 inches tall

Average weight: 7 -13 pounds

Hypoallergenic: Yes

The Havanese belongs to the companion dogs breed group and they are able to live up from 12 to 15 years. Both males and females can grow from 8 inches to 11 inches tall and can weigh from 7 to 13 pounds. They have thick but silky, soft, and light coat that does not shed easily. Their coats are long and can range from straight to curly, but wavy is considered ideal when it comes to the show ring. They come in colors white, sable, gray, black, black and tan, and a lot of other colors and markings.

Havanese dogs are gentle and affectionate and they thrive on human companionship. They will often follow you from room to room the whole day and they can become very anxious when left alone. It is also an intelligent dog breed and they can make you laugh with some goofy antics. They also enjoy sitting on laps watching the world go by.

They are excellent family dogs because they are affectionate with everyone, even with kids of all ages and as well as with other dogs and pets. And in spite of their mini size, they are easily trainable and are often used as service dogs. In fact, they were even accepted in Great Britain as a trained service dog for the hearing impaired in the Hearing Ear Program.

Havanese 2

Caring for Havanese Dogs

Even though Havanese dogs are a small breed, they have a fair amount of energy to burn that’s why it’s important for them to have a lengthy walk or an active game of fetch every day. They can live well in different homes, from apartments to big houses with yards as long as you keep them indoors. They are not suited for the backyard life because they are happier with family.

One of the serious concern for the Havanese and its owner is separation anxiety. To deal with this problem or prevent it, make sure to avoid leaving them alone for long periods of time. If you need to leave them for a while, make sure that you put them in a crate with lots of toys to keep them entertained.

When it comes to grooming, a lot of Havanese owners clip their coats short to make it easier to maintain. But if you want to show them, you will need to keep their coats long and expect to do a lot of grooming. Their long coats need daily brushing to prevent mats. They also need frequent baths to stay clean. You might want to take them to a professional groomer, unless you are highly motivated and skilled to groom them. It’s also important to brush their teeth at least two or three times a week to prevent gum disease and bad breath. Also, trim their nails once or twice a month or if you can hear them clicking on the floor.

When feeding Havanese dogs, the recommended daily amount is ½ to 1 cup of high quality dry food divided into two meals each day. The amount of food depends on your Havenese’s size, age, metabolism, and activity level.

If you’re looking for a great companion dog for your whole family, you might want to consider getting a Havanese. This lovable little fur ball will definitely become your best friend in an instant.