The Havanese was brought to Cuba from Spain and today is the National Dog of Cuba. Nothing you do will go unnoticed with a Havanese. They are curious creatures who like to know what’s going on around them at all times.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 1 to 20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 6 to 15 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $1000 to $1000
  • Allergies: Moderate
  • Shedding: Severe
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

Human problems, rather than problems with the breed itself, are often the reason Havanese end up in rescues or shelters. Couples divorce, an individual becomes sick and can no longer care for his dog, or a family has lost their home. In many instances, people simply do not research the breed and have little idea what to expect when they bring their Havanese home. When the novelty of the new puppy or dog wears off, the owners give up and turn the dog in to a shelter. Many rescues and reputable breeders, however, have it written into contracts that those who adopt a dog must return him to the rescue or breeder should something go wrong.


A small breed that isn’t as delicate as many other small dogs, Havanese are typically a good family dog, provided the children are older and know how to respect the dog. You will quickly find your Havanese loves people, loves giving kisses, and has a knack for showmanship. Havanese love to clown around and entertain their humans with their antics. Most Havanese will happily perch themselves on the back of a sofa or a chair, just to be next to their owners.


Because they crave human companionship, Havanese don’t do well alone. In fact, if you’re gone for longer than six hours a day, a Havanese may not be the right breed for you. You’ll need to comb your Havanese daily and take him to the groomer every few months for a haircut, if you opt to keep his hair short.


Havanese are like kids. They like what they like and some can be pretty picky when it comes to meal and treat time. Due to the many pet food recalls in recent months, many people have opted to feed their Havanese raw diets or diets free from grain. If you don’t like the idea of a raw diet, opt for a premium dog food that is naturally persevered and contains meat rather than meat by-products. (For example, opt for an ingredient such as chicken rather than chicken by-product, the latter of which contains the less healthy and desirable parts of the chicken).


Havanese do not need a lot of exercise. A solid 30-minute to an hour walk daily will suffice in keeping your Havanese happy and fit.

Possible Health Issues

Generally a healthy breed, Havanese are prone to several health issues, including congenital deafness, luxating patellas, and cataracts.


Be prepared to spend time grooming on a daily basis. Even puppies need brushing daily. Havanese typically have what is called the “puppy cut.” The puppy cut requires the dog’s ears, face, and tails be combed a minimum of three times a week. A groomer can teach you how to do the puppy cut or, if you prefer, you can take your Havanese to the groomer every six to eight weeks to have him professionally cut.

Havanese must also have their teeth brushed every day due to their toy breed status. Once your Havanese is three years old, he will need to have his teeth professionally cleaned.


An intelligent breed that just wants to please their humans, Havanese learn very quickly, making training easy provided you keep training a positive experience. When your dog does something right, give him a treat or a reward and always shower him with praise. Havanese don’t do well with negativity.


Your Havanese will need physical and mental exercise. In addition to a daily walk, your Havanese will expend plenty of energy playing in the yard or at the park. Simply throw a ball, and he’ll have fun running after it. When the weather is uncooperative, throw a squeaky toy for your Havanese to chase after in the house. You may also want to offer a Kong, which allows your dog to figure out how to get the treat out and to teach him tricks, something most Havanese enjoy.

We want to thank Havanese Rescue, Inc. for help with this profile.

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