The Havanese Breed – Gentle & Affectionate



The Havanese is a silky little dog who gets his name from the town in which he was bred: Havana, Cuba.

If you’re looking for a dog who will stick close to your side with only moderate needs for exercise, consider the Havanese.

Breed History

Originally bred as a companion dog to the aristocracy in Cuba, they are part of the Bichon family of dogs. Their thick coat helped protect them from the hot sun in Cuba and, by the 1800s, they were a favorite lap dog.

As time went by, the Havanese breed started to decline and nearly became extinct. Thankfully, a few families in Cuba continued to breed the dog and the Havanese were brought to the U.S. following the Cuban revolution of 1959.

In 1995, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Havanese as a breed.


These dogs are the very definition of compact. Both males and females stand less than a foot tall and weigh between seven and 13 pounds. The perfect lap dog.


Known for being gentle and very affectionate, the Havanese thrives on companionship. Nicknamed “Velcro dog” they contend to become anxious when separated.

Early socialization is recommended to expose your Havanese to sights, smells and sounds of your family. Puppy class is a great start to help her get to know other dogs.

Health Concerns

Typical of most breeds, any dog can be susceptible to genetic abnormalities. Even with their small size, the Havanese can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia and have been known to have heart murmurs.

Havanese Puppies


Because they just want to make you happy, the Havanese is easily trainable. The important part in training is to praise with treats and affection. Never be harsh with your puppy.

Consistency is also key with this breed. As part of her training and sociability, make sure to take her to different places in your town. Take her to the park, stores that allow dogs and even ask your neighbors if you can bring her over to help in her training.

Grooming Requirements

The Havanese have a very thick coat but it’s very soft and light and does shed easily. Coat color ranges from white to black to black and tan and even gray. In keeping her coat clipped will be easier for you but if you plan to show her, you’ll have to keep it long.

If you keep the coat long, you’ll need to brush her daily to prevent mats from forming in that silky fur. Bathing often will also help keep her clean. This is one breed where you will want to keep her hair above her eyes up in a small ponytail. It reduces the risk of eye irritation.

Professional grooming will be helpful and take the strain off of you.

Regular tooth brushing is recommended as well as trimming the nails once or twice a month.


A Havanese may be just the right dog to add to your family.




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WagBrag’s co-founder, Russ Boles, has a deep history in animal rescue and welfare. For the past 12 years, Russ has served in various roles with Atlanta-based animal advocacy organizations focused on rescue, training and education. In addition, Russ led a local rescue volunteer team into New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina, assisting in efforts to rescue and care for stranded animals. This experience changed his life, and animal rescue and advocacy will always be a part of everything he does.