An all-around A+ companion, Havanese are warm, gregarious, and always ready to accompany you on an adventure (even if it’s just a trip to cuddle on the couch). Originally brought over from Cuba, these dogs are small in stature, but big in personality and heart. They’re also one of the most popular dog breeds in the US.
Is a Havanese the right kind of dog for you? There are a lot of things to consider when adding a dog to your life, so we’ve covered just about everything you’ll need to know in this in-depth breed profile.
- Origin: Cuba
- Weight: 7-13 pounds
- Activity level:
- Barking/howling level:
- Good with dogs: yes
- Good with kids: yes
- Good with cats:
- Grooming level:
- Training level:
Havanese hair is hard to ignore, considering how long, thick, and silky those locks are. Though abundant, it doesn’t actually shed that much, and comes in shades of white, black, black and tan, sable, gray, and more. It also ranges from straight to curly, although many have coats that are wavy, and somewhere in-between. Oh, and we can’t forget the curled-over tail that adds a little extra sparkle to their look.
Since their hair grows everywhere you’re going to want to trim up their faces (or put their hair in a high pony) so you can admire their adorable faces. And those sure are adorable mugs—with a teddy bear-like resemblance that is going to make you constantly want to give them a cuddle.
Havanese Personality: Humorous, Loving and Affectionate
These social dogs are truly considered human companions, with the general consensus being that it’s difficult to find a more amicable or humorous pup to spend time with.
They are affectionate, loving, and gentle (ideal family dogs!), and are happiest when they’re spending time with their people, being silly, and even doing tricks. This love of family means that they don’t like to be left alone at home for long periods of time though, since they’d always prefer to be stuck like glue to the person, or persons, they love.
They also have a good amount of energy, so they’re happy to take strolls around the neighborhood, participate in sports, or spend time doing other activities that challenge them physically and mentally.
Ideal Environment for a Havanese
Havanese don’t really care where they live, so long as they’re with their people. This means that you can happily have this breed in an apartment in the city, or in a house with a huge backyard in the suburbs. So long as you have somewhere comfy for them to lounge, that’s filled with their favorite people, they’ll be happy wherever you decide to keep them.
Ideal Human for a Havanese
The ideal human for this breed is someone who is looking for a loving companion, and an addition to the family that will be part of their everyday life. This means that they’re an excellent fit for everyone from retired couples, to families with children, to active, single folks. What’s most important is that their owner have a lot of time to spend with them, plenty of energy for walks and games, and an abundance of love for their new best friend.
Tips for Training a Smart Dog Breed
Considering how bright these pups are, it should come as no surprise that they’re generally a cinch to train. Havanese are often trained as therapy dogs thanks to their sweet and social personalities, and the goofball in them loves to learn tricks that’ll entertain the family. Start early with puppy training to get your dog off on the right paw.
When working with this breed, you’ll also want to focus on separation anxiety training early. Havanese breeds are known to get clingy and anxious when left alone.
And since they’ll need a lot of maintenance, you’ll want to introduce grooming to them early on as well. Make sure they aren’t scared of their coat, paws, or ears being touched. Experts recommend trying puzzle toys as a way to help alleviate separation anxiety.
It’s also imperative to socialize this breed early on by introducing them to a variety of situations, people, animals, and locations. By showing them the world around them, and making them feel comfortable and safe with you as they explore it, they’ll gain the confidence to be the well-adjusted, well-behaved pup you know that they can be. Above all this breed really just wants to please their loved ones, and their smarts and charm mean that any effort you put into training them will be well worth it.
Havanese are known for their bountiful, flowing locks, so it comes as no surprise that they do require a bit of grooming to keep themselves looking in tip-top shape. Since they have the kind of hair that continues to grow, it’s generally a good idea to take them to a professional groomer to get a trim, and it’s best to keep their hair clipped above their eyes (so they can see!).
Spend some time brushing your Havanese as well, since this is the best way to keep their coat matte-free and looking gorgeous.
Though Havanese are generally healthy dogs, they are prone to certain health issues like deafness, cataracts, luxating patellas, hip and elbow dysplasia, and heart murmurs.
Havanese generally live from 12 to 15 years, and with the proper exercise, food, and regular trips to the vet, your pup will have a good chance at a long and happy life.
Havanese Breed History
Havanese were bred as a companion dog for the Cuban aristocracy in the 1800’s, which explains why they’ve always been such social, family-focused canines. This also explains their thick coat, which helped protect them from the tropical sun.
Travelers eventually brought the dog back to England, Spain, and France, but then later the breed almost became extinct. However, with the Cuban revolution, eleven dogs were brought to the United States, and from just those eleven dogs the Havanese breed took root in the US—with most modern day pups tracing their genealogy back to those initial dogs.
Welcoming This Breed Into Your Family
It’s always a good idea to meet the parents of your puppy, and to see how the litter interacts with each other. A good, trustworthy breeder should have records of the parents’ lineage, too and should be able to tell you more about the specific litter.
Finding a Havanese puppy or adult dog can be as easy as an internet search, but make sure you wise up on puppy mills and internet scams—following some simple steps can help avoid further funding of this terrible practice, and help you end up with a pet whose breeding and early-life experience will more reliably result in a well-adjusted dog. There are many ways to find a reputable breeder, and it’s good to ask around, visit before committing to payment, and trust your gut.
Adopting a Havanese
As with many highly popular breeds, Havanese often find their way to rescue centers for a variety of reasons, including dogs being rescued from puppy mills, but often it’s the simple fact that their previous owners simply felt unable to care for them any longer, perhaps due to a change in lifestyle or health. Despite being a pure breed it’s not impossible to find one in a shelter, or you can also look at Havanese specific rescue organizations.
A surrendered dog will often already be well trained and simply in need of a new, loving home. You can find rescue centers local to you with a quick internet search. A Havanese can make for a wonderful friend and they’re sure to be a source of joy, with plenty of laughs and perhaps a little bit of mischief along the way. So whether you’re planning on adopting or finding a breeder to find a puppy, prepare yourself, your home and your heart to welcome a dog with plenty of personality and energy
Whether you’re planning on adopting or finding a breeder to find a puppy, prepare yourself, your home and your heart to welcome a dog with plenty of personality and energy.
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