Havanese Dog 

Breed History

Havanese puppy

Havanese, or Havana Silk Dog, is a small lap dog that is from the Country of Cuba. National dog of Cuba is the only dog to be a native dog of the island.

Name comes from the city of Havana which is the capital of Cuba. Colonizers of Cuba, the Spanish, and Cubans were the only people who had assess to these dogs. Due to invasions that was the first introduction to the rest of the world.

Farmers from the island of Tenerife were the ones who are known to refine this breed. Bichon ancestors Tenerife dog is the dog this one comes from. Maltese and Bichon Frise have the same ancestor which is why these dogs look so similar in appearance.

Popular in Europe and Spain it is normal to see a lot of these dogs in those areas and around the world.

Elite members of society would possess these dogs. Class status that was unknown could be known by seeing one of these dogs because only the higher classes had them.

Recognition in American Kennel Club began in 1996 recent for such an older breed. Dogs made a strong entrance when people began to flee from Cuba during the mid-20th century.


Havanese are known all around the world and are a popular lap dog. Almost exclusively are known to be members of the toy group with few exceptions.

Fairly new member to the AKC and some of the other Kennel Clubs for unknown reasons. For example, the Maltese has had registration since 1888 and the Bichon Frise since 1972 and they come from the same ancestor.

Here are the Kennel Clubs around the world the recognize this breed.


Male Height: 8 ½ -11 ½ inches

Female Height: 8 ½ -11 ½ inches

Male Weight: 9-16 pounds

Female Weight: 9-13 pounds

Known for being short and sturdy this small dog can pact on some serious size. The males and females are around the same size and it is hard to tell if it is a boy or a female dog.

Litter Size

Average litter size is four puppies. They have been known to have more puppies up to six at times and as little as a few. Mothers don’t have any known health problems during pregnancy or while giving birth.


  • All colors
  • All markings
  • Any skin colors

Havanese Dog Price

Havanese dogs will cost around $1,000-$2,500 on average to buy a puppy. Different factors like country, demand, and supply will change the prices depending on the market of the dog.


High maintenance grooming will be the expectation with a dog that has a double coat that needs constant attention. Coat can mat and tangle if it is not given the attention that it needs.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brushing needs to happen multiple times per week with no alternative. Continuing to maintain the coat is the best decision you can make. From the skin until the end of the fur you want to brush everything.

Combing will need to happen multiple times per week, and you can do it at the same time as brushing. Failure to brush and comb can lead to incredibly painful grooming to stop the tangle and matting that will occur over time.

Bathe the dog when the dog gets dirty, but at least once every two weeks. You need to take care of the coat by keeping it nice and clean.

Ears will start a lot of vet trips unless you stop the ear infections by keeping them clean. Owners need to be aware and keep the ears free of dirt and debris.

Nails can be trim in a natural form like exercising from the ground trimming them. Other ways to trim the nails if you choose to not exercise, which we don’t recommend, is to cut them with clippers.

Professional help is a recommendation with this breed and taking them at least once a month with a proactive owner grooming them will work perfectly. Help from a professional standpoint will be of great assistance with this breed.

Life Span

Havanese dogs live a long time at 12-15 years old.

That is a long time for a dog to live and a long time for an owner to have this breed from puppy, adult, senior and passing away.

The kids can grow up with this dog and it can be a significant amount of time in your life when you are owning this dog.

Health Issues

Hips – an examination of the hips will help discover hip dysplasia in the early stages. Owners may experience a dog not willing to jump, run, or walk for long periods of time without displaying discomfort. Improper hip sockets and leg bone connection are the cause of this condition.

Patella – the knees are always a big issue with medium to small size dogs, but small dogs are more prone to the condition. Slipped knee will require surgery if it is too bad and you should be aware of this condition before you take the time to exercise and train the dog.

Eye Exam – Havanese have a lot of different eye issues they can develop at a young age and more when they become older. Cherry eye, glaucoma, cataracts are all conditions you have understand have a good chance of developing. Some are more serious than others, but blindness can be the result of some of them. Their Kennel Club also recommends that you get an eye exam early in the dog’s life.

Deafness – inheriting deafness from the parents is something that this breed is known for genetically. Testing the hearing of the dog at the local vet will do some justice to seeing if they will be deaf or are deaf at the time of the visit. Most people suspect this when the dog won’t respond unless they see the owner right in front of them.

Legg-calve-perthes – incomplete hip sockets are something that will cause both this condition and hip dysplasia. X-rays will determine if this is something the Havanese does have or if they don’t have it.

Breed Group

Havanese are members of the Toy Group. Excellent group of lap dogs that are popular all over the world for centuries. Royal members of society, kings, queens, presidents, and other elites’ members like celebrities frequently have dogs from the toy group in their large estates.

Recently the apartment populations in major cities have seen an explosion and smaller dogs are better for these renters. Their popularity is so apparent it is hard to find a dog park without any area for the little guys and girls.

Here are some of the dogs that make up the Toy Group

Exercise Needs

Victims of the often repeated but false narrative that small dogs don’t need that much exercise. Lack of exercise will lead to a dog conducting undesirable behavior.

Excessive barking, chewing up items, running around the house, running away off leash and many more issues will all be something you will deal with for not addressing daily exercise.

Size of a dog doesn’t determine how much exercise they need. Think about it like this if a small dog needs no exercise than the biggest dog in the world needs much more. The former and latter both sound silly.

Exercising is a behavior modification and should be in mind when the owner sees behavior that isn’t ideal. For example, the dog starts nipping you need to think about how much you been exercising recently.

That’s right! What have you done for me lately? Causes you to be in a constant cycle of getting them back in line when you get off track.

Here is what we recommend

Morning: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 min (run, walk, or treadmill)

You can try to avoid the running, but dogs need to run a lot when they are young. When dogs are young you will experience the highest exercise needs.

Three to five years old will be when you see the dog really decline in energy and exercise needs. One session per day will start during this phase because the dog will be behaved.

Senior dogs will need very few runs, if any at all, and will need short walks. You will notice when they need to get out more and when you need to scale back.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Any training program without exercise isn’t a training program it is a joke. A daily training regimen will be the best and twice a day will give you the best results. Starting here is the best idea for your Havanese and slowly working into other areas will be key. Think about it? What else can you do to make you dog listen to you for one to two hours per day besides exercise? Makes the other parts of training easier. You will spend most of your time in this area.

Commands will be a part of any program as well, but hopefully not the main course. Teaching them to sit for food, water, coming out of the cage, going in the cage, before the walk, after the walk, and to go through doors are all excellent times to get compliance when in the training phases. Remember, dogs learn body language first and voice second.

Socialization is important for any dog and the dog from this size will be in the small parts of the dog park. Another reason why you need to conduct the exercise portion to make sure your dog is in the correct state of mind. Dogs in the wild will be exercising all day long and will never get around each other just to exercise they exercise all day long.

Corrections are a part of training and can be done on or off leash. Get the dog’s attention by using verbal or leash corrections.

Additional Resources

2 thoughts on “Ultimate Havanese Dog Breed Information”

  1. Cindi

    Hello, I rescued a dog in February from a shelter. He is so adorable but have been unsure of his breed, until a lady stopped me and said he’s Havanese! I asked her again and she repeated herself. I looked it up and there was my dog!! One thing I have noticed is he runs funny. He keeps his hind legs together and hops. He’ never seems to be in pain and quite active. And advise?

    1. Train Your Own Dog

      I would have the vet take a look at him to be sure there are no problems.

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