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Your Pet, Our Passion.


The Havanese is a lively, affectionate and friendly toy breed. With a sturdy structure and slightly longer than tall, they have a long, soft, silky coat, waved or slightly curled. Their plumed tail carried over the back is part of the signature look for this fun-loving and loyal dog.

  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking half an hour a day
  • Little toy dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • Great with other pets
  • Great family dog

Key Facts

Lifespan: 13-15 years
Weight:  3-6kg
Height:  23-28cm tall
Colours:  Any colour or combination of colours is accepted, except merles
Size:  Small
UK Kennel Club Groups: Toy


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 3/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 3/5
Grooming needs: 2/5
Shedding: 2/5
Dog standing in the middle of forest


The Havanese is an affectionate, intelligent little dog, ideally suited to the role of family companion. They are described as friendly and outgoing, with a cheerful nature and attractive appearance.

Dog standing in the park

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Cuba

The Havanese is a member of the Bichon family, which includes the Bichon FriseBologneseCoton De TulearLowchen and Maltese

Their ancestors from the Mediterranean area accompanied traders across the globe and were sold and gifted to those who valued small, luxuriously coated, companion dogs as a symbol of wealth and status. Such was true of the Havanese who was very popular in Cuba with high-status families, right up until Castro’s Communist regime in 1959 when such trappings of wealth of any kind fell out of favour. 

Saved by the efforts of Cuban refugees living in the US, American breeders founded the Havanese Club of America to protect the future of the breed.

Health and Common Issues

Like many small breeds, the Havenese can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place (luxating patellas). As with many breeds there are some hereditary eye problems that can arise and so breeding dogs should be regularly eye tested.

Exercise Needs

The Havanese will need about half an hour of dog exercise daily, and whilst that can be provided on occasion with games and training indoors and in the garden, a variety of interesting daily walks will satisfy the mind as well as the body. A companion breed, the Havanese will enjoy spending time with their owner no matter what they are doing, or where they are going.

Space Requirements

As long as you have space to groom a Havanese, and a garden to play and train in safely, they do not need a huge or expansive home. Access to a variety of interesting walks will make keeping a Havanese happy and fulfilled relatively easy. Suitable for all locations. 

Nutrition and Feeding

Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion. Discover more about how to offer your dog a balanced diet with our easy-to-follow guide.

Grooming Havanese

The Havanese coat is soft and silky in texture. Wavy or with a light curl, the topcoat is profuse, with an undercoat beneath. Daily brushing is needed to keep the coat tangle-free.  

This is a breed who will need regular dog bathing and full brush-outs so get them used to spending time on a grooming table and in the bath from puppyhood. Professional grooming may be needed from time to time but this breed’s coat needs such regular attention that it won’t be practical for a professional to do all of the work. Check paws and ears daily for grass seeds and other foreign bodies. 

You can find out more about dog grooming and daily care with our article. 

Training Havanese

The Havanese is small, but mighty – perfectly capable of high levels of dog training and taking part in a variety of dog sports and competitions! Exercise their minds as well as their brains for a happy, satisfied Havanese. They will do well in mini agility, trick training competitions, heelwork to music, anything you can think of really. This is a lapdog with ambition and ability to do much much more. This, however, is breed that does not like to be left alone. 

Best Family Dog Breeds

The Havanese is an excellent family dog – as long as their appealing looks do not lead to them being thought of as a ‘toy’ or plaything. Also ensure that you have the time to attend to their exercise, training and grooming needs alongside family commitments. Older children and teenagers may enjoy taking part in walking and training the Havanese and their cheerful nature makes them an excellent friend. 

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with each other and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • Havanese have long been popular with the rich and famous, from Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens, to Venus Williams, Susan Sarandon, Jane Fonda and Jennifer Love Hewitt. The popularity of this still relatively rare breed cannot be called a modern trend!

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