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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Havanese: Breed Personality, Fitness & Care

Group: AKC Toy; KCGB Toy
AKC Ranking: 38
Also Known As: Bichon Havanais, Havana Silk Dog, Spanish Silk Poodle, “Circus Dog”

Appearance of the Dog

The Havanese breed is a deceptively light and frivolous looking dog that is assuredly sound of mind and agile in movement. Its long, fluffy coat gives no indication of the “trooper” in this tried and true companion.

The breed is longer in leg than its cousin the Bichon and less dense in coat.

The Havanese’s expression is soft and intelligent, mischievous rather than cute. The eyes are dark brown, large, almond-shaped, and set rather widely apart. Ears are of medium length with long hair and hang down.

The Havanese has a long tail that is covered with long silky hair. The profuse coat varies from wavy to curly. The Havanese is a double-coated breed with soft hair, both on outer and undercoat. Adult coat reaches 6 to 8 inches, and has a pearly sheen.

Coat Color

The Havanese comes in an array of colors that include black, silver, cream, champagne, tan, blue, chocolate, fawn, gold and white.

All colors are acceptable, singly or in any combination and may be brindled, with the exception of white. No preference is given to one color over another. The skin may be freckled or parti-colored.

Coat Type

The Havenese coat is unique and reflects centuries of living in the tropics. It consists of a double coat that may reach 6-8” in length and is remarkably soft and light in texture. While it appears dense, the coat is actually a profusion of raw silk-like floss that has an insulating, protective quality against the harsh tropical sun. The coat of the Havanese should never be rough or wooly. Their coat may be straight, wavy or even curly, but usually is a result of a mix of one or more textures.

Males: 9-10 inches
Females: 8-9 inches

Males: 9-11 lbs.
Females: 7-10 lbs.

Temperament of the Dog

Havanese are very sociable and happy dogs who are easy to obedience train. This makes then good, portable traveling companions as they are quite adaptable. Long absences from family are not tolerated by the Havanese breed so should be considered when choosing one as a pet.

They do best in pairs or at least with other another canine in the family. Havanese get along well with other family pets.

This clever little acrobat was known as the “circus dog “for many years because of its ability to quickly learn and execute tricks.

Anxious to please, Havanese is a lively, loving breed that adores children and adults alike. Havanese are natural companion dogs: gentle and responsive, with a high degree of intelligence.

Because of their good nature they will not make much of a protective watchdog, but will alert you to strangers. Barking is one of their fondest pastimes so they should be taught early to quit barking on command so that their barking does not become a nuisance.

This curious dog loves to sit up high on a chair to observe what is going on. It is very sensitive to the tone of your voice. Harsh words will only upset the dog and will achieve very little.

Better suited to an indoor or outdoor lifestyle?

Great for apartment living, Havanese will usually find indoor play plenty of exercise and when finished locate a seat by a window to observe the outside.

Since they are so social, a walk on lead with opportunity to meet others will never be dismissed.

The Havanese is a breed meant to live in your home, and never outside or in a kennel.

Are they suited to homes with kids?

Families with children were made for the Havanese. Their extreme need for companionship and closeness are in complete harmony with children’s play and cuddle time.


The look of the Havanese is natural and unkempt; however this is not achieved by neglect.

The soft, double coat of the Havanese will require frequent care and should be considered when choosing this breed. Daily brushing of the coat is necessary if it is to be kept long. While brushing always look for any small mats forming. A trip outdoors for a morning duty in wet grass can be just the situation for mats to start.

Many pet owners opt to have their Havanese professionally groomed 3-4 times a year and kept in a short, easily maintained cut.

Nails should be clipped regularly and eyes should be kept free from hair. The feet also may need to be trimmed neatly.

This breed is great for those with allergies and does not shed. Some divisions of the breed are said to be hypo-allergenic but check with your breeder to see which one is best suited to your needs.

Health and Care

Genetic Problems

The Havanese is a very healthy long-lived breed however; some are prone to cataracts, luxating patellas, poodle eye and dry skin.

With proper breeding by a reputable breeder, you should eliminate or reduce any of these inherent problems.

Breeding the Dog and any Cautions

Havanese have no serious issues concerning breeding but only your breeder should be consulted when choosing a proper mate for your pet.

Litter Size: Average litter 4 puppies
Life Span: 14-15 years.

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