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26 July 2023

Let's talk about... Havanese: what are they?

  • The Havanese is a charming and affectionate small dog breed with a lively and friendly personality.
  • Originating from Cuba, they were beloved companions of the Cuban aristocracy.
  • They are even the national dog of Cuba!
  • They have a distinctive long and silky coat.
  • Havanese dogs have an average height of 23 to 28 cm and weigh between 3.5 and 6.8 kg.
  • They have an average lifespan of 14 to 16 years.
Havanese  Exercise Needs 2/5 Grooming Ease 2/5 Trainability 4/5

What is the temperament of Havanese like?

  • Havanese dogs have a delightful temperament that makes them excellent family pets and therapy dogs.
  • They are known for their playful and gentle nature, always eager to please their loved ones.
  • Havanese dogs are highly sociable and get along well with children, other dogs, and even cats.
  • They thrive on human companionship and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods.
  • Early socialisation is important to help them become well-rounded and confident dogs.
  • They are intelligent and trainable, making them suitable for various activities such as obedience, agility, and even tricks.
Gizmo, the Havanese

How much exercise do Havanese need?

  • Havanese dogs have low/moderate exercise needs and require around 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise each day.
  • They enjoy both indoor and outdoor activities and adapt well to different living environments, including apartments.
  • Regular walks, interactive play sessions, and mentally stimulating games will help keep them physically and mentally fit.
  • Havanese dogs also love to learn new tricks and participate in activities that engage their minds.
  • However, it's important not to overexert them, as they are a small breed with delicate bones and joints.
  • Puppies have special exercise requirements to support their growth and development.
  • While they are young, their exercise sessions should be shorter and more frequent to prevent fatigue and stress on their growing bodies.
  • Aim for several short play sessions throughout the day, gradually increasing the duration and intensity as they grow older.
  • As a very general guideline, provide 5 minutes of exercise per month of age, up to three times a day. For example, a 3-month-old Havanese puppy should have three 15-minute exercise sessions per day.
  • Always supervise their playtime and ensure they have a safe and secure environment.
  • Your vet can advise on the exercise needs of your individual pooch.
Mabelle, the Havanese

Do Havanese dogs need a lot of grooming?

  • Havanese dogs have a luxurious coat that requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best.
  • Their long, silky hair is prone to matting and tangling, so daily brushing is recommended to prevent mats from forming.
  • Regular bathing every three to four weeks will help keep their coat clean and free of debris.
  • Havanese dogs may also require professional grooming every few months or more frequently to maintain the health and appearance of their coat, your groomer can advise.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Milo, the Havanese

Are Havanese dogs easy to train?

  • Havanese dogs are known for their intelligence and eagerness to please, making them relatively easy to train.
  • They respond well to positive reinforcement methods such as praise, treats, and rewards.
  • Their affectionate and sensitive nature makes them highly attuned to their owners' emotions, so it's important to use gentle and patient training techniques.
  • Start training from an early age and be consistent with your expectations.
  • Havanese dogs are quick learners and enjoy the mental stimulation that training provides.
  • Keep training sessions fun, engaging, and short to maintain their focus and prevent boredom.
Popcorn, the Havanese

What do Havanese dogs eat?

  • A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for the health and well-being of Havanese dogs.
  • Feed them high-quality dog food that is specifically formulated for small breeds.
  • The amount of food will depend on their age, size, activity level, and metabolism.
  • Puppies require a diet that supports their growth, so they should be fed puppy-specific food until they reach around 12 months of age.
  • Puppies should be fed 3-4 times daily until they are 6 months old when this is reduced to twice daily. As adults they tend to do well being fed twice daily.
  • Consult with your vet for specific feeding recommendations.
  • Avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity, as Havanese dogs can be prone to weight gain.

Are Havanese dogs healthy?

Havanese dogs are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they may be susceptible to certain health conditions. Some common health concerns in Havanese dogs include:

Bones and Joints

  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: a hip condition that affects the blood supply to the head of the femur bone, leading to breakdown of the bone, pain and lameness.
  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye
  • Cherry eye - this is when there is popping out of the third eyelid gland
  • Distichiasis - when extra hairs grow on the inside of the eyelid and rub on the surface of the eye


  • Porto-systemic shunt (PSS) - when the blood circulation bypasses the normal cleaning processes of the liver resulting in signs like stunted growth and abnormal behaviours

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Havanese is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Havanese

BorrowMyDoggy has 568 Havanese members.

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog's health, contact your local vet.

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