"Cuban Cutie"

Photo of Havanese


Hailing back to old Bichon breeds, the Havanese stemmed from European breeds accompanying sailors on their journeys to Cuba. The well-heeled fell for them instantly. This connection to wealth almost spelled the death knell of the breed during the Cuban revolution. Fortunately some were secretly brought to the United States during the upheaval, and they've enjoyed the same delighted reception wherever their paws have landed.


The breed is sweet, playful and sensitive – yet will bark a greeting or an alarm. They enjoy other animals and welcome visiting playmates or new roommates. Their sensitivity means that they should never be treated roughly. Yelling is not necessary, as they're willing to please – although they are normal dogs that sometimes like to test you before acquiescing to your wishes.


Fuzzy, wuzzy and, oh, so cute. The coat can be curly or wavy. A long tail curls over the back. They are born with many different colors and patterns, each an individual.


Havanese are so happy, they are not only willing but eager to do almost anything - from formal agility or obedience to just playing fetch or tag with the kids. They make wonderful therapy dogs, delighted to curl up on a lap and settle in for a long petting session.

Grooming & Care

The Havanese might look sweet enough to eat, but grooming is no piece of cake. The corner of the eyes should be cleaned with a soft, moist cloth. The coat sheds within itself so there is minimal shedding. Unless the coat is corded, however, brushing should happen consistently every other day or mats will occur. A corded coat is similar to that of a Komondor or Puli , albeit smaller scale. These coats take dedicated separation into attractive cords when the coat begins knotting at six to eight months. After this is completed, care is almost nonexistent except for regular bathing and drying, which takes longer than with an uncorded coat. All this care means that some owners elect to clip a pet, particularly after struggling with the teenage shed when mats seem to occur hourly.

Health Concerns

The breed is remarkably healthy, but occasionally heart or liver abnormalities can occur. Parents should be CERF tested particularly for cataracts. Veterinarians should palpate knees of pups to make sure there are no slipped patellas or bone deformities.

Famous Havanese

Barbara Walters has Havanese dogs.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 4
Schedule 6
Home 44
Children 50
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 56
Exercise 61
Challenges Lots of grooming, barks often.
Height 8.5 to 11.5 inches
Weight 7 to 13 pounds
Life 12 to 15 years
Home Alone 82
With Kids 86
With Strangers 91
Availability 23

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

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