Havanese Breed Characteristics & Traits

Havanese – This little guy is a real charmer and takes the hearts of dog lovers by storm. Even those who prefer larger dog breeds often fall in love with the little bundle of energy

History & Origin

The history of the Havanese begins with the Bichon. The word comes from French and bichon simply means lap dog. As the name suggests, bichons sat on the laps of distinguished ladies from French, Spanish and Italian society. They slept in the same bed, had their hair done, perfumed, cuddled, and spoiled. It is believed that either Spanish or Italian merchant ship captains brought the small dogs to Cuba. They served them as a kind of “door opener” for the fine Cuban society because their wives had just as much fun with the cute little dogs as their European sisters.

After the white bichons had been crossed again and again with a small Cuban dog, the Blanquito de la Habana, and variously with small poodles, the Havanese breed was created, which was also called the Havana Silk Dog or Habana Bichon. Until the middle of the 20th century, it was a symbol of luxury and decadence on the Caribbean island. That almost ended the pretty little dogs, because when the revolution was victorious and Fidel Castro came to power, the breed that the revolutionaries represented for capitalism and the exploitation of the population was no longer bred and was close to the Die out. Some Cuban exiles who had fled to the USA had taken their Havanese with them, so fortunately breeding could continue there. In 1981 a breeder brought the first two Havanese to Germany.

Numbers, Data, Facts

  • Country of origin: Cuba (Havana)
  • Life expectancy: 13 – 15 years
  • Weight males: 5 – 7.5 kg
  • Bitch weight: 4.5 – 6 kg
  • Males: 24-29 cm
  • Females: 21-25 cm


Today, the Havanese are mostly no longer lap dogs, but they are still family dogs with the potential to be spoiled. Nevertheless, they are not toys but, despite their small size, real dogs, brave and self-confident. They are also very intelligent and are often used as therapy dogs and even as diabetic alert dogs.

Classification, breed standard & breed standard

  • Group 9: Companion and companion dogs
  • Section 1: Bichons and related breeds
  • 1.1 Bichons
  • Without work test

The Character & Essence of the Havanese

The Havanese is a very lively, lively, and intelligent dog. He is very adaptable and affectionate, as well as curious and willing to learn. In the past, the dogs often appeared in animal shows in circuses and variety shows, where they performed all sorts of tricks, rode on small wheels, balanced or jumped over obstacles.

Dealing with family & children

The cute little four-legged friend is particularly suitable as a family dog ​​and can also be kept in a smaller apartment without any problems. Havanese are very child-friendly and love to romp and play. Not only do they learn the commands necessary for humans and dogs to live together very quickly, but also all sorts of tricks. They are also cuddly and love to be as close to their human kin as possible.

But they also demand a lot of attention and affection. Therefore, they are also an ideal dog for single people and for sprightly seniors. The Havanese is not suitable for people who have little time to spend with a dog. If he is bored and not sufficiently in the center of the action, then he can keep barking or do all kinds of stupid things out of frustration. Being alone for hours is pure stress for him.

In dealing with strangers

Of course, the little Havanese isn’t exactly what you might think of as a guard dog. Because of its size and appearance alone, it will not scare anyone away or even make them flee. He’s way too nice for that. But he can make a racket and can be trained to sound the alarm when strangers approach.

When dealing with other dogs

When dealing with other dogs, the Havanese is generally very social. Every dog, whether dachshund or St. Bernard, is greeted in a friendly manner and with a wagging tail. Nevertheless, the small dogs are also quite self-confident and not at all afraid.

When dealing with other pets

Havanese also get along very well with cats, guinea pigs, birds, and other pets. They have neither hunting instinct nor the potential for aggression, which is why every new animal in the house is looked at and sniffed at with curiosity but is never in danger.

Urge to move & hunting instinct

Like all dogs, the Havanese loves long walks, although two or three kilometers are quite extensive for him. Such a small dog shouldn’t run on a bike. On the way, he romps around with children and other dogs. He has no hunting instinct and can therefore be unleashed in suitable places without any problems, as long as he reliably listens to the commands of his owner and that is relatively easy to teach him. In principle, this dog breed is not stubborn at all. It is only when the Havanese is yelled at or treated with a great deal of severity that he can react with stubbornness and refuse to obey. Here he reacts in the same way as all other sensitive dogs, where positive confirmation works much better than harshness.

Optics and Fur

The Havanese is a very small dog and is one of the dwarf dogs. Adult animals weigh between 3.5 and a maximum of 6 kg and their height at the withers is between 23 and 27 cm. They are strong and short-legged, with a broad head and an inconspicuous stop. Her ears droop and the luxuriantly hairy tail is carried high. The Havanese’s coat is long and silky and curled at the tips. There is hardly any undercoat. Brown, black, gray, and beige in all shades and with large markings of different colors are the most common coat colors. Pure white is also possible, but very rare. With the large black beady eyes and black nose, the Havanese is a strikingly handsome dog.

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