Havanese – Smart Talisman on Four Paws

At first glance, the Havanese, with its silky soft coat, looks like a somewhat boring couch dog. However, a second look reveals a robust little dog that captivates with its intelligent, playful, and alert nature. Long walks, fun plays, and clever dog training challenge the Cuban to match the look. Havanese love their couch, but they are not homebodies!

Havanese Breed: Cute Dog Power from Cuba

In fact, the only recognized dog breed in Cuba does not come from the Caribbean at all: the Havanese breed originates in the western Mediterranean and officially belongs to the Bichon group. To this day, there is controversy as to who was the ancestor of the Havana Bolognese, the Maltese, or the now-extinct Tenerife Bichon. But perhaps in the 16th century in Cuba, there was even a Cuban breed of dog named Blanchito de la Havana, which was later crossed with Poodles.

In any case, one thing is for sure: there would be no more Havanese today if breed lovers had not smuggled a few breeding animals from the Sahara Island. Because instead of Cuba, breeding took place mainly in the USA for a long time. Today, the small dog breed is distributed throughout the world.


The Havanese bring with them a deep-seated enthusiasm for their people. He has a happy, friendly, and affectionate nature, hugs are the elixir of life for a small fluffy dog. Many dogs of this breed do not like to be left alone: ​​persistent barking, uncleanliness and chewed objects can be the result if you do not train your dog to be left alone.

Havanese are very active, intelligent dogs that enjoy physical and mental challenges. They are vigilant and reliably report visitors. With a clairvoyant rented house or a bored Havanese, vigilance can be exhausting. Attentive dogs hear and report everything, including the visit of a neighbor across the street. Their willingness to bark sometimes leads to discussions and should therefore be addressed early in training.

Aggressiveness is far from cute gnomes – on the contrary: they tend to offer a game when they are not sure. This behavior, known as “violin playing”, is a pass and does not indicate genuine enthusiasm for the game. Here it is up to you to save the little dog from unpleasant encounters.

Havanese have guarding instincts, but almost no hunting or defensive instincts. However, in some breeding lines, dwarfs show herding qualities. Since this must be taken into account when training, it is better to talk with the breeder before buying.

Upbringing & Attitude

No matter how small and cute the Havanese may be, he needs a clear, consistent upbringing. These intelligent dogs take advantage of any negligence and shape their world however they please. This also applies to walking recall. It’s best to use the towline first so that the curious dwarf doesn’t go on an adventure alone and put his ears to the draft. As a first-time dog owner, you should familiarize yourself with the breed before you buy one and then head straight to a kennel school for professional training. There you will learn how to control barking, how to behave properly when meeting an unfamiliar dog and how to teach it to be alone.

A long walk in addition to short walks is a must. Dogs are also diligent about running on camping trips, on bicycles, or on horseback. However, regular breaks and a bike basket while cycling are desirable so as not to overwhelm small four-legged friends.

The Havanese loves to be the center of attention: obedient and always eager to please his people, the little nerd is always ready to learn something new. Whether it’s basic commands or doggy tricks, the main thing is that there is a lot of praise! Tasks that combine movement and mental work are ideal: dog dances, i.e. dancing with a dog, search games, and a mannequin for them is a great pleasure. In the mini-agility class, the Havanese shine with their joy of movement and a talent for quick reaction.

Havanese Care

You shouldn’t underestimate the amount of grooming a Havanese needs: it’s best to brush the silky coat every day. Because the Havana Lapdog’s fur grows quickly, nasty knots quickly form. They are mainly located behind the elbows and around the ears: you should check them as part of your daily care, as well as the eyes, teeth, and claws.

Depending on the season, the length of the walk, and the amount of dirt, Havana’s silky fur may need to be bathed. Due to its origins in the Caribbean, the small dog is perfectly adapted to high temperatures and also copes well with hot summer weather. On the other hand, in winter, many Havanese freeze quickly, despite their apparent thick coat. Therefore, in wet and cold weather, a suitable, well-fitting, and warm winter jacket is indispensable.

Characteristics & Health

The Havanese is considered to be a fairly robust breed in terms of health. There are some hereditary diseases that are rare in this dog breed. These include retinal dysplasia (RD), heart and liver disease, cataracts (cataracts), and patellar luxation. You can reduce your puppy’s disease risk by selecting a breed through health tests. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the breeding requirements when choosing a breeder.

With good care, age-appropriate exercise, and proper feeding, Havanese typically live up to 16 years of age. When feeding, pay special attention to the slenderness of fluffy dwarfs: they tend to be overweight if they are fed too well and exercised little.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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