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Havanese Dogs
Quite Rare Toy Dog Breeds

Havanese: The Essential Guide for the Havanese Lover Havanese breed lovers guide book

Havanese dogs, recognized as the National dog of Cuba in 1993, are of Spanish origin and believed to derive from Bichon and possibly Tenerife breed lines.

Although their numbers have dwindled dramatically in Cuba, the Havanese dog has now become very popular among the small dog breeds to own in the United States. Their popularity is most likley due in part to a certain trendiness, their reputation for being easy to train, and because they do very well in therapy settings or when assistance is required.

havanese toy dog breed

Historical information indicates that Havanese dogs arrived on Cuban shores during the period following the island's discovery by Christopher Columbus. During the early part of the 20th century, this attractive toy dog breed became favored by both the Cuban and European aristocracy, but subsequent wars in Europe as well as the Cuban revolution resulted in a considerable decline in their numbers.

Despite its small size, the Havanese also known as the Havana Silk dog, gives the general impression of substance. He has a squarely built frame supported by strong legs, a bushy tail that he carries very jauntily and soft expressive eyes which may be black or dark brown.

Adorned with a profuse amount of curly or wavy hair that has a shaggy and tousled appearance, the Havanese is not easily mistaken for any other breed.

During the height of his popularity he was once a beloved pet in Queen Victoria's household and also of Charles Dickens.

Personality and Traits:

A great little companion and family dog. This toy dog breed is considered easy to obedience train and learns quickly if the owners are committed and consistent.

Both intelligent and lively, it is an entertaining small dog with a delightful personality. Havanese dogs have protective instincts and being quite rugged and equally courageous, they can be good watchdogs

Havanese Health Concerns:

Some of the more common dog health problems related to Havanese dogs are: early cataracts that can lead to blindness, hearing problems to include genetic deafness, patella luxation, liver problems and heart abnormalities.

In light of this, it is a good idea to include regular attention to eye cleaning as a regular part of grooming sessions as well as provide support that is helpful to eye healtheye heal for dogs . One of my dogs lost her sight from diabetes so I know how heart wrenching it is to have a dog go blind!

Also, because this breed has the type of ears that are more prone to ear infections and mites, they should be inspected and cleaned routinely - being careful not to go beyond the area you can see. While a certain amount of ear wax is normal, regular inspection will alert you to any excessive amount and/or bad odor which could be indicative of an ear infection or actually cause one!

Another condition that is hereditary and seems to be linked with the common problems is Chondrodysplasia, or CD for short. CD, as it relates the Havanese dog, has to do with assymmetric or bowed legs caused by the growth plates closing too soon or closing unevenly. For some reason when this happens, more of the other diseases mentioned seem to affect the breed. Don't ask me why, this is a question to ask your vet, but it seems to me there must be a chemical imbalance that affects not only bone development, but perhaps development of other areas of the body as well.

The upshot of this is that when buying Havanese puppies, seek out a breeder that not only tests for CD but can also tell you about the health of the parents. In addition, conduct a careful inspection of the legs of the puppy you are considering.


The height range for this breed is from 8 1/2 to 11 1/2 inches, with the ideal being between 9 and 10 1/2 inches.

Coat colors: Quite a lot of acceptable colors to choose from including cream, gold, silver, blue, and black.

Coat and Care:

This breed has a soft double coat, without the difference in texture between the two coats, as is often seen in other breeds. The coat is silky in texture, quite long and abundant and has a very appealing appearance.

Havanese dogs may be a good choice for allergy sufferers as they do a lot of external shedding, but what that means is that the dead hair stays more within the coat and does have to be removed.

Regular brushing with a high quality Pin Brushchris christenen Oval Pin Brush, 20mm is necessary to maintain the coat in good condition. Other helpful products for grooming a Havanese include a butter comb and some brushing sprayChris Christensen Just Divine Brushing Spray to help with detangling when necessary.

Occasionally, a short coated dog may be produced in a litter, caused by a recessive gene, but this is a deviation from the standard.

Despite its appearance, the Havanese tolerates the heat very well, partly due to the insulating quality of its coat.

brushing spray for dogs

Activity Level:

Although fairly active indoors, the Havanese dog does welcome and need quite a bit of regular outdoor exercise.

Plus the fact that a daily walk maintains the mental and physical stimulation that every dog needs to be happy and balanced.

Space Needs:

Energetic and generally not a yappy dog, this breed is quite adaptable and well-suited to either apartment living or a house. Doesn't mind following you around all day providing he is taken out sufficiently.


From their early history the Havanese dog was employed as a playmate for children and to this day are considered a wonderful family dog, having an excellent reputation for getting along very well with children. But, because even the most tolerant dog can be unpredictable, the best practice still remains to have an adult supervise activites between pets and children.


The combination of intelligence, trainability and loyalty make Havanese dogs excellent companions for the elderly or more sedentary family. They are very affectionate and their use as therapy dogs has been well recognized, plus the excercise needs are easily managed.

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