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Is the Havanese the Right Dog Breed for You?

Is the Havanese the Right Dog Breed for You?

The national dog of Cuba, the Havanese has come to be adored all over the world. This toy dog is a highly social and loveable companion dog that thrives on attention. 

Breed Snapshot:

  • Size: Weight: 3-6kg. Height: 23cm
  • Coat: Non-shedding long, silky coat in all canine hues
  • Energy: Medium energy. They require about 30 minutes of exercise per day
  • Lifespan: 14-16 years
  • Country of Origin: Cuba
  • Breed Type: Bichon family of dogs
  • Other Names: Havana Silk Dog
  • Great Breed for: Owners who can give it lots of attention. Fine for apartment living and does well in families with children

What Is a Havanese Dog?

The Havanese is derived from the bichon family of toy dogs. These non-shedding dogs were bred specifically from the now extinct blanquito de la Habana which was bred from the also extinct bichon Tenerife. During the 1800s, the Havanese became a favorite companion dog of the Cuban aristocracy. These dogs love attention and thrive in family settings.

The Havanese is not merely a lapdog, however. It is agile, lively, quick, and enjoys performing tricks. Some of these dogs have even made their way into circuses. The dogs will maintain their cheerful disposition provided they aren’t left alone for long periods of time. They stick to their human companions like glue and become anxious without their company.

What Do Havanese Dogs Look Like?

Havanese dogs are small toy dogs that feature a long silky double coat. However, the top coat isn’t rough, as it is with many other double-coated dogs. The coat can appear white, off-white, or any other canine hue. The Havanese has a sturdy compact body that isn’t too delicate. These dogs have a full muzzle and dark, expressive eyes. They have a long fluffy tail and floppy ears. Their adorable appearance makes them popular with children as well as adults.

What Makes the Havanese Dog Special?

The Havanese, like other bichon dogs, is a character. It’s lively, sweet, and given to people pleasing. It enjoys performing tricks when trained to do so, and loves to cuddle with its companions. Because of its size and moderately low exercise needs, it makes a great pet for apartment living. It’s also good with children. The only con for this dog is its need for attention and dislike of being left alone. It may develop anxiety and nervous habits if no one is around to keep it company during the day. Also, as a non-shedding dog, the Havanese is hypoallergenic and may be the ideal pet for people with allergies or asthma.

How Often Do I Need to Groom My Havanese Dog?

The Havanese has a long silky coat that requires routine daily brushing to maintain its cleanliness and softness. It may be prone to tangles and matting when left unmaintained. Many owners who want to forgo the daily brushing opt to have their Havanese dogs clipped. 

How Often Should I Walk My Havanese Dog?

One 20-minute walk per day and some outdoor time to relieve itself should satisfy this breed’s outdoor exercise needs. It does like to play at times indoors, which will also help owners keep it trim and fit. 

How Do I Train My Havanese?

Havanese dogs respond well to consistent positive reinforcement training and enjoy performing tricks. Pet Cloud features dog training classes in blocks of six-week, one-hour sessions with registered trainers. An experienced trainer will visit your house or apartment and use positive reinforcement techniques as recommended by the RSPCA to teach your Havanese puppy. 

Quickfire Havanese Questions:

Can I leave my Havanese during the day?

No. The Havanese needs near-perpetual attention–or at least needs to be in close proximity to its human companion. It does not do well alone for long periods of time and is prone to anxiety if it is left without company.

Are Havanese dogs barkers?

Usually barking isn’t an issue for the Havanese unless it’s not getting attention or is left alone. If your Havanese is forming a barking habit, be sure to employ silence commands or provide it with some extra activity to curb this noisy habit.

Are Havanese Dogs prone to health risks I should know about?

Like many other breeds, the Havanese is more vulnerable to certain conditions. These include: heart murmurs, patellar luxation, cataracts, and deafness. Be sure to obtain your purebred dog from a reputable breeder to reduce the risk for congenital defects.

Where can I get a Havanese Dog?

If you want to rescue or adopt a Havanese dog, check with your local rescue agencies. You may be able to find a dog who simply needs the right companion and living situation. Sometimes these purebred dogs are turned into rescue organizations when the owners cannot meet their needs. With the right setting and owners, this breed is likely to do well. Check out the RSPCA’s adoption guide to see if this is the ideal solution for you. If you want to purchase your Havanese dog from a reputable breeder, use this helpful guide for finding the right breeder from the RSPCA.


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