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Havanese Dog Breed Information

Size 9-11 inches (23-27 cm)
Weight 6.6-15 lbs (3-7 kg)
Origin Cuba
Color White, brown, red, gray, dun, black; multi-colored
Lifespan 12-14 years
Suitable As Family dogs
Personality Sunny disposition, docile, affectionate, curious, always busy

Havanese Photo: Sandra Huber/Shutterstock

Breed Characteristics

These sociable dogs love being around people, children, other dogs and pets (even cats!). Its boundless love is so great that it follows its owners wherever they go and sticks to them like glue or a Velcro. This is why the dog is also called „Velcro dog“. Havenese feel best when they’re the center of attention. But don't worry, it is a good-natured, happy dog, whose antics are guaranteed to make you smile. Please note: The fact that Havanese like to spend their whole time with its people is also a downside, because it tends to suffer from anxiety, when it is left alone for too long.

Discipline and Training

Even though the Havanese is incredibly cute and charming, this dog should never be reduced to just looks. It’s very intelligent and enjoys intellectual challenges. One of its greatest passions is finding things and proudly bringing them to its owner. It also likes to sniff out hidden treats with boundless enthusiasm.


Cute Havanese Photo: Florida Chuck/Shutterstock

Exercise Needs

Although the Havanese is small, it is not a lap dog. It has as much energy as a large dog and needs just as much exercise. By the way, did you know that Havanese have a particularly light-footed, elastic, bouncy gait? When they "gallop" they look a bit like a bunny hopping. That looks pretty cute.

Nevertheless, the dog is not always active, but enjoys relaxing with its owner on the sofa. Havanese are not only popular family dogs, but can also be trained to be therapy dogs or learn dog sports such as agility or obedience.

Top Activities

Trick Training, Nature Walk

Havanese Photo: Dorottya Mathe/Shutterstock


Pros and Cons


  • Suitable for beginners
  • Sheds very little
  • Gets on well with other dogs
  • Gets on well with other pets
  • Easy to pick up and carry
  • Can come with you on trips


  • Lots of grooming required
  • Tends to bark a lot
  • Gets scared when left alone for too long

Cute Havanese Photo: Sandra Huber/Shutterstock

Health and Care

The Havanese has a long coat that needs daily brushing so it does not get matted. It also needs to be bathed frequently. Many owners clip the coat regularly or let a hairdresser clip it. This way it is easier to care for.


Special highlights of this small dog are its expressive eyes and its absolutely charming long and silky coat. Its seems to be heavy and warm, but it is light and actually serves as a sunscreen. By the way, if your unsure how to tell the difference between a Havanese from a Maltese, Bolognese or Bichon frisé, then look at the color of its coat. While the other mentioned dogs always have white fur, the Havanese can have a brown, red, gray or multicolored coat, too.

Havanese Photo: Dorottya Mathe/Shutterstock

History and Origin

The facts are yet to be established but it is believed that the Bichon Tenerife came to Europe and then to Cuba via the Canary Islands (more precisely Tenerife). In Cuba the Bichon Tenerife developed into the „Blanquito de la Habana“, which means "little white dog from Havana". The dog was then cross-bred with other breeds, which finally resulted in the Havanese. The Havanese is named after the city Havana, the capital of the Caribbean island of Cuba.

Fun Facts

Havanese love paper. You better keep an eye on loose paper and secure the toilet paper in the bathroom cabinet ;) Havanese dogs also like to eat at the same time as their humans. So they will only begin once their human starts to eat. Isn’t that cute?

Comparable Breeds

Havanese Photo: Dorottya Mathe/Shutterstock


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