Havanese Dog Breeds Profile And Care Guide

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The Havanese is a small Cuban toy dog breed with a rounded face, floppy ears, and long hair that can be wavy or straight. They have a cheerful, affectionate, and playful personality. These dogs are highly clever, easily trained, and have a low prey drive. 

Havanese dog breeds originated in Cuba years ago. Spanish colonists introduced the Bichon Tenerife to Cuba in the 1500s, and the Havanese are said to be descended from this breed.

They became popular pets among Cuba's upper class and were frequently presented as gifts to visiting guests. This breed remains Cuba's national dog.

Breed Overview

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Here's an overview of the Havanese dog breed:

Attribute: Description

Origin: Cuba

Size: Small

Coat: Long, silky, hypoallergenic

Colors: Various, including cream, white, black, silver, chocolate

Temperament: Affectionate, playful, intelligent

Lifespan: 14-16 years

Hypoallergenic: Yes

Trainability: Easy to train, excels in obedience

Socialization: Highly social, loves human companionship

Activity Level: Moderately active, enjoys playtime

Watchdog Ability: Alert, will bark to alert owners

Popularity: Increasingly popular as family pets

Characteristics Of The Havanese

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The characteristics of the Havanese breed are:

  • Temperament: Affectionate, gentle, and playful. They are known for their friendly disposition and love to be around people, making them excellent family pets.

  • Intelligence: Havanese breed of dogs are highly intelligent and eager to please. They pick up commands quickly and excel in obedience training.

  • Socialization: They are very social animals and thrive on human companionship. They get along well with children, other dogs, and even cats if properly introduced.

  • Activity Level: While they enjoy playtime and walks, they don't have extremely high exercise needs. Regular walks and some playtime indoors are usually sufficient to keep them happy and healthy.

  • Watchdog Ability: They are alert and will bark to alert their owners of any unusual activity. However, they are not aggressive and typically make poor guard dogs.

  • Adaptability: They can adapt well to various living situations, including apartments, as long as they receive enough attention and exercise.

  • Versatility: Havanese Cuban Bichon excels in various dog sports and activities, including obedience, agility, therapy work, and even as circus performers, showcasing their versatility and intelligence.

History Of The Havanese

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The dogs Havanese breed originated in Cuba, where they were treasured by nobility and served as loyal companions for decades. Spanish settlers descended from the now-extinct Mediterranean Bichon Tenerife and brought their forefathers to Cuba in the 1500s.

Over time, they evolved into the Havanese we know today, with their attractive appearance and playful personality. They immediately gained popularity among Cuba's upper elite, who admired their kind demeanor and intelligence.

They are known as Cuba's National Dog after being frequently given as gifts to visiting dignitaries.

Despite being nearly extinct during Cuba's political turmoil, committed breed aficionados saved the Havanese, allowing them to thrive globally as beloved family pets.

Size And Appearance

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The breed of dog Havanese is a small, sturdy dog with a lively and charming appearance. Here are its details:

Size: Height typically ranges from 8.5 to 11.5 inches (21.5 to 29 cm) at the shoulder.

Build: Despite their small size, Havanese are solidly built with a well-balanced body and strong legs, giving them an agile and sturdy appearance.

Head: The head is proportional to the body, with a slightly rounded skull and a moderate-length muzzle. They have dark, expressive eyes and a black nose, though it can be brown or pink in some individuals.

Ears: The breed Havanese have medium-sized drop ears, set high on the head, and covered with long, silky hair.

Tail: The tail is plumed and carried loosely curled over the back. It is covered in long, silky hair that matches the coat, and it is often carried high, especially when the dog is alert or excited.

Long Lifespan

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The Havanese dog breed is known for its prolonged lifetime, which can reach 14 to 16 years or even longer with good care. A variety of variables contribute to this longevity.

First and foremost, they are generally healthy dogs with few breed-specific health difficulties. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine veterinarian treatment all help to improve their overall health.

Furthermore, their small stature means they often have fewer joint and mobility concerns than larger breeds. Plus, their friendly nature and flexibility to different living circumstances assist in relieving stress, which can increase their lives.

With love, care, and attention, the Cuban dog breed Havanese can bring years of delight to their families.

They Were Given As Gifts

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Havanese dogs were often given as gifts, particularly in Cuba where they were cherished companions among the upper class. Wealthy families in Cuba would present Havanese puppies as tokens of esteem to visiting dignitaries, friends, or family members.

These charming dogs, with their delightful personalities and luxurious coats, became not only symbols of status and hospitality but also beloved members of households both in Cuba and around the world.

Their reputation as affectionate and playful companions made them ideal gifts, spreading their popularity and endearing them to people from all walks of life.

National Dog Of Cuba

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The dog Havana enjoys the prestigious title of Cuba's National Dog. This breed has roots in Cuba, where it was appreciated by both aristocrats and commoners.

The Havanese dog breed has played an important role in Cuban culture and society, gaining their place as a symbol of national pride.

The Havanese, known for their lovely personalities, intelligence, and unusual appearance, were inextricably linked to Cuban culture. Its designation as the National Dog of Cuba emphasizes its significance in the country's history and cultural identity.

Developed From An Extinct Dog Species

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Havanese dogs have a fascinating pedigree, descended from the now-extinct "Blanquito de la Habana" and the "Bichón Tenerife," both treasured for their tiny, charming size.

Originally known as the "small white dog of Havana," the Havanese Cuban dog can be traced back to the Blanquito, Cuba's national dog, which descended from the extinct Bichon Tenerife.

Through careful breeding and adaptation, the current Havanese arose as a lovely combination of the Blanquito and the poodle, combining the best characteristics of its forefathers.

Because of its diverse background, the Havanese breed of dog has a genealogy that can be traced back to both Tenerife and Cuba, resulting in one of the most appealing and social toy breeds known today.

Havanese Care

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Taking care of a Havanese encompasses several factors crucial for their overall health, contentment, and well-being:


Their lengthy, silky coats require regular grooming. Brushing multiple times per week helps to reduce matting and tangling. Professional grooming, such as clipping and bathing, may be required every 4-6 weeks.


Considering their small size, Havanese are active dogs who require daily exercise to maintain mental and physical fitness. Play sessions, walks, and interactive toys are all useful.


The Cuban dog Havanese are smart and trainable. Regular, positive reinforcement-based training approaches are more effective for teaching orders and the right behavior.

Common Health Problems

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Some frequently observed health issues in Havanese comprise:

  1. Deafness
  2. Luxating Patella
  3. Portosystemic Shunt
  4. Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
  5. Hypothyroidism
  6. Allergies
  7. Chondrodysplasia

Consistent veterinary examinations and proactive healthcare measures aid in identifying and addressing these health concerns promptly, promoting the well-being and vitality of your beloved Havanese companion.

Diet And Nutrition

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When it comes to feeding your Havanese, it's essential to stick to a routine. Offer them two meals a day, totaling around half to one cup of dry dog food.

Avoid leaving food out all day for free feeding, as this can quickly lead to weight gain. Just like in humans, obesity in dogs can reduce their lifespan and pave the way for various health issues.

If you notice your Havanese putting on weight, it's crucial to discuss this with your veterinarian. They can help tailor a feeding and exercise plan suited to your dog's age, weight, and activity level.

It's always tempting to share our food with our furry friends, but it's best to resist this urge, especially with Havanese dogs. They're notorious tricksters and might try to "train" you into sharing human foods.

Try to stay consistent and ensure everyone in the household understands that Havanese should stick to their designated dog food. This helps maintain their health and prevents unwanted weight gain.

Adopting Or Buying A Havanese

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If you're looking to add a Havanese dog puppy to your family, there are numerous adoption and purchase options to consider. Checking with your local animal shelters and rescue groups is an ideal place to start.

These organizations can help you find many Havanese dogs who need loving homes. National rescue organizations dedicated to the breed, such as Havanese Dogs Rescue and the Havanese Angel League Organization for Rescue, are also valuable resources.

If you want to adopt a Havanese puppy, you can find trustworthy breeders. Havanese puppies are normally priced between $1,500 and $3,000, yet they might cost more based on criteria such as pedigree and availability in your location.

When selecting a breeder, it is critical to conduct extensive research to verify they offer suitable care for their dogs and disclose their medical history. 

To begin your search, contact breed-specific rescues, national breed clubs (such as The Havanese Club of America), and the American Kennel Club (AKC) for reliable breeders. These resources might help you select the ideal Havanese companion for your family.

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