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Ancestry  | The Havanese dogs as we know them today, developed from the small companion dogs brought to Cuba by Spanish settlers around the 1490s. These dogs, after separated from other breeds by a restricted island life would soon develop into the Havanese breed. Their thick silky coats shield them from the tropical heat. By the early 1800s, the Havanese had become a popular dog among the aristocratic class in Cuba. European travelers would carry the breed with them back to England, Spain, and France. Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens owned a Havanese.

Recent Developments  | Just like most dog breeds this breed nearly went extinct even in its native Cuba. During the Cuban revolution of 1959, 11 families would arrive on the US soil with their Havanese dogs.  The population would begin to grow again in the 1970s when a few American families began to grow their breed from the 11 refugee dogs. Most of the breeders were drawn to the dog’s intelligence and affectionate nature. Most of the Havanese breed outside the Island can trace their gene pool to the 11 dogs.

Traits  | This is a Bichon-type of breed that is considered the national dog of Cuba. It was specifically developed from the now extinct Blancquito de la Habana which had descended from the Bichon Tenerife. This hypoallergenic breed has a lifespan of between 13 and 15 years. They measure about 23 to 37cm at the withers and weigh between 4.5 and 7.3kgs at adulthood. The Havanese have six notable coat colors: Tobacco, Mahogany, Black, Havana Brown, White, and fawn.

Personality  | This affectionate breed thrives off human companionship. This dog will follow you everywhere you go and quickly develops separation anxiety if left alone. They are amusing and goofy though they can act reticent at times. Given the limited gene pool, these dogs are harder to transform their personality once they are grown. That’s why you ought to train and socialize them while they are still young.

Care  | These dogs are small but have a fair amount of energy to expend. That’s why an active game or a lengthy walk each day will help keep him happy and healthy. This breed is very adaptable and can do well in a number of homes. They aren’t suited for life in the backyard, though. Their eagerness to please makes them easily trainable, and the best means is through house training. Always make sure he stays occupied with toys if you are to leave him alone.

Adult Size

  • Small

Amount of Shedding

  • Sheds Nearly Not at All

Appropriate Environment

  • Apartment
  • Fenced In Yard
  • House
  • Invisible Fenced Yard

Behavior if Left Alone

  • Can Be Left Alone

Breed Group

  • Toy Group

Coat Length

  • Long Coat

Coat Quality

  • Soft Coat


  • Black
  • Black & Silver
  • Black & Tan
  • Black Brindle
  • Chocolate
  • Cream
  • Fawn
  • Gold
  • Gold Brindle
  • Gold Sable
  • Red
  • Red Brindle
  • Red Sable
  • Silver
  • Silver Brindle
  • White


  • Doesn’t Really Drool

Energy Level

  • Energetic
  • Very Energetic

Exercise Needs

  • Needs Occasional Exercise
  • Needs Regular Exercise

Full Grown Height

  • 10-13″
  • 4-9″

Full Grown Weight

  • 06-10lbs
  • 11-15lbs
  • 16-20lbs

General Health

  • Healthy Breed
  • Pretty Healthy Breed

Good Choice for New Dog Owners

  • Good Dog for Your First Dog
  • Great First Dog!
  • Very Good for Your First Dog!

Good Dog for Cold Weather?

  • Doesn’t Do Well in Cold Weather

Good Dog for Hot Weather?

  • Can Manage in Hot Weather
  • Does Well in Hot Weather
  • Tolerates Hot Weather Well

Good With Children?

  • Good with Kids
  • Great With Kids
  • Very Good With Kids


  • Requires Regular Brushing
  • Requires Regular Grooming


  • Genius
  • Smart
  • Very Intelligent


  • Affectionate
  • Very Affectionate


  • Playful
  • Very Playful

Recommended OFA Tests

  • Congenital Deafness – OFA
  • Eye Examination by ACVO Ophthalmologist
  • Hip Dysplasia OFA/OVC Evaluation or PennHIP
  • Patellar Luxation – OFA Evaluation

Social Behavior with Dogs

  • Socializes Well with Other Dogs

Top Life Expectancy

  • 12 years
  • 13 years
  • 14 years
  • 15 years

Training Tendencies

  • Easy to Train
  • Very Easy to Train

Vocalization Tendencies

  • Almost Never Barks or Howls