14 to 16 years
14 to 16 years
7 - 13 pounds
The Havanese is quite the comical pup, with a big personality and sweet disposition. They’re a playful, curious, sturdy toy breed that loves to be with their people. Most often they are quite outgoing unless they missed out on early socialization as a puppy, which can make them more cautious around new people.
Similar dog breeds to the Havanese include:
The Havanese breed was developed in Cuba and is the only native dog breed to the island. In the 1500s, small companion dogs were favorites of aristocrats all around the world, and merchants routinely brought these lapdogs to the new world. The Havanese’s predecessor is believed to have made its way from the Mediterranean through Tenerife, an island full of dogs (and also believed to be the birthplace of the related Bichon Frise breed). Originally called the ‘Blanquito de la Habana’, or Havana Silk Dog, they quickly became popular with the wealthy families of Havana. And the breed was slowly refined into what we know today as the Havanese.
When the Communist government took over Cuba in 1959, the breed was brought to the United States with fleeing refugees. The Havanese almost went extinct after the revolution, with only 11 purebred Havanese left at the time. Luckily, their popularity grew in both the United States and Europe. They were officially recognized by the AKC in 1996 and currently rank as the 24th most popular breed based on registrations.
Bred as companion dogs, the Havanese is quite the character and love to spend time with their people. Always willing to tag along or learn new things, this breed is lots of fun to train and provides endless comic relief.
Exercise and mental enrichment
They may be small, but don’t be fooled, the Havanese has a good amount of energy. Luckily, their daily exercise requirements are easily met with regular walks and short bouts of play.
Havanese are quite intelligent. They enjoy having puzzles to solve and exploring the world through smell during their walks. Daily training for obedience and tricks is a great way to provide enrichment and keep a Havanese’s brain sharp while building the human-canine bond. Mental enrichment also provides an outlet for all that Havanese puppy energy.
Since they love being with their humans so much, a Havanese might develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. If taught from puppyhood that some alone time is okay, separation anxiety can be avoided.
Havanese puppies sometimes have trouble with housebreaking and might take longer than other breeds to fully learn how to “hold it.” But with consistency and patience, they can get there.
Havanese enjoy activities that keep them close to their human and put their problem-solving skills to the test:
Havanese have a double coat that naturally grows long and wavy. The undercoat is soft, while the outer coat is a bit heavier, often described as an unrefined silky texture. Their coats may look nice and warm, but remember, they were developed for the hot environment of Cuba. Their long and lightweight coats actually help to keep them cool and protected them from sunburn.
You’ll find Havanese in a range of different colors, from black to gray, silver, cream, red, and white, or a combination of these colors.
The Havanese coat requires daily brushing to keep it free from tangles, especially if left to grow long. Many owners either have the coat trimmed short to make maintenance easier or allow the coat to be corded (twisted into dreadlocks) as it grows out. Bathing is needed on occasion when their coat gets dirty. But care should be taken to not over wash their delicate fur. Practicing basic grooming with your Havanese puppy will help them learn that it is a positive and relaxing experience.
Best brush for a Havanese: Pin comb, Slicker Brush, Pin brush
The Havanese has long been a sought-after pet among famous figures.
Pip Close, Glenn Close’s pup, who famously went as her date to the 2019 Spirit Awards and came up to the podium with her to accept her award.