Havanese | Dog Breed Guide

Havanese | Dog Breed Guide

by Scritch

The Havanese is a cheerful little dog with a luxurious, silky coat, who loves people and does well in apartments.

Weight: 7-13 pounds

Height: 8.5-11.5 inches

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

Group: Toy group

Temperament: intelligent, friendly, active

Energy Level:

Ease of Training:

Grooming Requirements:

History and Personality

The Havanese, which originated in Cuba, are named for the city of Havana, and were brought to the U.S. after the Communist takeover of Cuba in 1959. Many Cubans fled their country and a handful of them brought their beloved dogs with them. The Havanese is still the national dog of Cuba. Celebrated writers Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway were Havanese fanciers.

Affectionate and easygoing, Havanese are popular for their long coats, which, though double-coated, feel like silk. The adult coat reaches up to 8 inches long and comes in a variety of colors, including gold, black, silver, cream and chocolate as well as a combination of these colors.

The Havanese, with their bouncy gait and cheerful disposition, love to spend time with their people. They are easy to please and they learn quickly. They are good with children and other pets. Havanese can be sensitive, so socialization from puppyhood is important. They are good in apartments because they don’t bark much, but they don’t like being left alone for long periods of time. They are quite content to settle in on your lap and enjoy a nap.

The long, silky coat of the Havanese may look too warm for summer heat, but it serves as insulation and protection from the sun and overheating.


The coat of the Havanese can be kept long or it may be clipped. He doesn’t shed much, but daily brushing is required for long-haired Havanese to prevent tangles and painful mats. Frequent bathing, nail clipping and teeth cleaning is also important. The corners of the eyes should be cleaned to prevent staining from tears.

Energy Level

The Havanese doesn’t need strenuous exercise. He enjoys a nice morning and evening walk or a good game in the house. He is easily trained, so he can learn tricks and is a good candidate for agility training.

Health Concerns

  • Deafness
  • Patellar luxation
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Collapsing trachea

One health problem to be aware of among Havanese is congenital deafness. They are also susceptible to patellar luxation, like a “trick knee” in humans. They may also suffer from hypothyroidism (low thyroid), or hip or elbow dysplasia. Symptoms of collapsing trachea include honking or cough-like sounds.