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Life span: 13-15 Years

Height: 8 – 12 inches

Weight: 9 – 15 lbs.

As a breed from the toy group, Havanese are playful dogs of the Bichon type that were originally developed in Cuba. Havanese are known for their curled-tail, large, yearning brown eyes and soft, mellifluous coat of long hair, which can be groomed into a variety of styles. Havanese grow to be roughly 1 foot tall at the shoulders and weight just over 10 pounds.

This happy little dog is the perfect lap dog to have around. They can adjust themselves to your schedule, although they cannot be left alone for long, and get along well with children and other pets. They are easy to train and extremely fun to have around!


Physical Characteristics

Their ears are small and flop down, with a small tail that remains upright and usually curves over the body. Their eyes are brown with a black nose. This breed’s long double coat is made up of a wavy and slightly heavier outercoat that is soft to the touch, and a slightly lighter undercoat that is also soft to the touch and dense. Coat colors include black, light grey, blue, red, brown, light brown and cream colored. They can also have different colors in their skin and patterns in their coat, as well as be parti colored.


Their name is derived from Cuba’s capital, Havana, and it is believed they were brought into this area by Spanish settlers in the 18th century. The Havanese is part of the Bichons, and is believed to be the descendant of two breeds that are now extinct, the Blanquito de la Habana and the Bichon Tenerife. In 1959, during the Cuban Revolution, many Havanese dogs were brought into the United States, and in 1979 the Havanese Club of America was created, although it was conformed of only 9 members (now with over 400). In 1996, the Havanese was recognized as part of the Toy Group by the American Kennel Club.


This happy dog is loving with its family, and can adjust to your schedule without any trouble. They get along well with children and any other household pet that does not have an aggressive behavior. They cannot be left alone for long, however, given that if they lack attention or are bored they may resort to destructive behavior. This can also happen if they are not properly trained, although training them is quite easy, and they respond mostly to praise. They are quite smart and may attempt to manipulate their owner into thinking their bad behavior is not actually bad. Even though they are not usually loud dogs, they will bark if they sense someone within their territory, making them good watchdogs.


This breed can suffer from many diseases and conditions, including:

  • Cataracts, in which the lens of the eye clouds, causing partial or complete loss of vision.
  • Chondrodysplasia, in which the puppy is born with abnormal limbs regarding their shape and length. It is now possible to test your dog to be able to identify if they carry this gene.
  • Deafness, complete loss of hearing since birth.
  • Heart Murmurs, in which the heart has a malfunction that prevents it from providing enough blood for the body.
  • Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
  • Legg-Perthes is a disease caused by the lack of blood reaching the femur bone, causing the cartilage around it to crack and for the bone to eventually collapse, affecting the hip joint, and noticeable through the dog limping.
  • Luxating Patella, in which the kneecaps may dislocate or move from its proper place.
  • Mitral Valve Disease, which may be common in older dogs, but can happen in young dogs in rare cases. It consists of a heart murmur that increases until it provokes heart failure. It happens when the mitral valve begins to fail, preventing the blood flow into the left atrium.
  • Portosystemic Shunt, which is a congenital disease in which blood vessels let the blood bypass the liver, causing it to not be cleansed properly by the liver. It can be noticed through lack of appetite, hypoglycemia, urinary tract problems, etc. Surgery is recommended.


This breed needs to be brushed daily, even if their coats are kept short, although trimming their coats may lead to shorter brushing time required. Bathing should be done occasionally, and the corners of their eyes need to be cleaned regularly. Their ears should be checked for any dirt to prevent infections, as well as their teeth brushed and nails trimmed regularly. Although they do need exercise, it should be done with moderation, meaning a small walk will suffice. They are easy to train but respond only to positive reinforcement methods. Early socialization is a must for this breed.


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