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Havanese Dogs Make Great Family Pets

Updated on April 22, 2014
Rufus. Havanese dogs are very family friendly and get along wonderfully with other pets and children.
Rufus. Havanese dogs are very family friendly and get along wonderfully with other pets and children. | Source

The Havanese is a great family dog

When my brother needed to go away on business for several weeks, the duty of dog sitting his Havanese, Rufus, was charged to me. I instantly fell in love with Rufus, as did the rest of my family.

We have a young child in the family who is Autistic and does not do very well with loud noises, so there was a concern that having Rufus stay with us might be stressful. Thankfully, as we soon learned, the Havanese breed of dog is a relatively quiet one and does need much coaxing to stop barking.They are also extremely good with kids and are just as happy to sit and observe as much as they are to get in on the playful action.

After a few weeks with us, Rufus went home and I've been missing him ever since. I had never heard of the Havanese breed before meeting Rufus, but I am looking forward to one day having a little Havanese puppy of my own.

If you are currently trying to decide which breed of dog might be best suited for your family, are looking for a dog that will be a faithful companion or you're simply interested in learning more about this once rare breed, then you've come to the right place. Here we'll examine some of the history of the Havanese breed and take a look at some of the reasons why this breed of dog might just be the perfect fit for your family.

The Havanese breed of dog is the National Dog of Cub.
The Havanese breed of dog is the National Dog of Cub. | Source

A Breed Brought Back From Near Extinction

The Havanese dog (pronounced Have-UH-Neeze) is the national dog of Cuba. This breed was developed from an earlier breed known as the Blanquito De La Habana ("Little White Dog of Havana") which is now an extinct breed. They were brought to Cuba from Europe during the 17th century and enjoyed immense popularity during the 18th and 19th centuries amongst aristocratic families in Cuba. After the French, Cuban and Russian revolutions, the Havanese breed was teetering on the brink of extinction.

Breeding for this family friendly dog didn't begin in North America until the 1970s. The Havanese was the preferred dog for many Cuban families. During the 1960s when people began immigrating to the United States from Cuba, several families brought their Havanese dogs with them. A U.S breeder posted an ad in a Florida newspaper in hopes of finding Cuban families that had brought their dogs with them from Cuba. From that ad she found three families and 10 dogs. It is widely accepted that the origins of all Havanese dogs in North America can be traced back to those first ten dogs.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1996 and the Canadian Club followed suit in 2001. They placed this breed of dog in the "Toy" category.

Considered a Toy breed by the American & Canadian Kennel Associations. When full grown, the Havanese dog doesn't have the typical "small dog" appearance.
Considered a Toy breed by the American & Canadian Kennel Associations. When full grown, the Havanese dog doesn't have the typical "small dog" appearance. | Source
The fur of Havanese dogs can be kept in a variety of styles. You can let their fur grow out, and allow it to become curly, or you can brush it out for a long coat of silky fur, as seen here.
The fur of Havanese dogs can be kept in a variety of styles. You can let their fur grow out, and allow it to become curly, or you can brush it out for a long coat of silky fur, as seen here. | Source

Are Havanese Dogs Hypo-Allergenic?

It is widely believed that Havanese dogs are considered "Hypo-Allergenic" dogs. This means that they are safe dogs to own for those who have animal related allergies.

The Havanese is a popular choice for people who have allergies to dogs. Havanese dogs produce lower levels of dander and shed less frequently than other breeds. It is important to note however, that there is no such thing as a completely hypo-allergenic dog. All dogs produce some levels of dander. Dog related allergic reactions can also occur when a person who is allergic comes into contact with a dog's saliva. Havanese dogs become especially attached the their human families and are very affectionate animals. If you have a severe allergy to dogs, it is best to visit a reputable Havanese breeder and spend some time with this breed to see if an allergic reaction occurs before bringing one home with you.


What Havanese Dogs Look Like

Considered a "Toy" breed by the American and Canadian Kennel Association. Though it is a moderately sized dog (average weight 7-13 pounds and height of 8-11 inches) it doesn't have the "small dog" appearance that other breeds in the toy category does.

The tail of the Havanese dog arches up over it's back, but doesn't quite touch the back. I liked to refer to Rufus's tail as "Happy Tail" as it's almost always wagging side to side in a happy playful manner.

The Havanese Coat

  • The Havanese fur is double-coated. The top coat of their fur is long, wavy and extremely soft. Though their fur appears to be very thick and warm, it is actually the opposite. Because Havanese dogs originate from the warm climates of Cuba their fur is very lightweight, which was meant to help keep them cool. Their undercoat is also very lightweight and sometimes completely non-existent. For this reason, Havanese dogs become cold very easily and need to be protected during winter playtime activities. Though they become cold easily, they are not stuffy dogs who hate the outdoors. I live in Canada and Rufus loves to run around outside in the snow.

  • The fur of Havanese dogs is typically longer. Because of the length and lightweight nature of their fur, Havanese dogs need to be groomed regularly. Brushing your Havanese at least twice a week will help to prevent their fur from becoming too matted.

  • Some Havanese owners prefer to keep their dogs fur in a style known as "corded" This gives the dog a look almost like dreadlocks. This look is difficult to achieve and should be done only by a professional groomer with experience cording Havanese fur.

Havanese Colours & Markings

  • Dog Breeders disagree as to whether original Havanese dogs were all white or multi-coloured breeds. Today Havanese dogs come in a wide array of colours and markings.
  • Fur colours for Havanese dogs include: white, sable, brown, black, red and beige. They can either have a solid coat in one colour, or a mixture of several colours. See below for photos of the variety of colours and markings of Havanese dogs.

  • Havanese dogs have dark brown, almost almond shaped eyes that are lined with either black or brown pigment. This almost gives them the appearance that they're wearing eye liner.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Havanese puppies typically grow up 11 inches in height with an average weight between 7-13 pounds.Havanese dogs are especially playful and easy to obedience train. For this reason, they have a long history of being circus dogs.Havanese dogs come in a wide variety of colours with fur ranging from long and shaggy to short and curly.My brother's dog, Rufus. Havanese dogs love to play outdoors, however if you take them on an outdoor adventure you will definitely need to take them to the groomer's afterwards. Their fur is a magnet for sticks, leaves and burrs.
Havanese puppies typically grow up 11 inches in height with an average weight between 7-13 pounds.
Havanese puppies typically grow up 11 inches in height with an average weight between 7-13 pounds. | Source
Havanese dogs are especially playful and easy to obedience train. For this reason, they have a long history of being circus dogs.
Havanese dogs are especially playful and easy to obedience train. For this reason, they have a long history of being circus dogs. | Source
Havanese dogs come in a wide variety of colours with fur ranging from long and shaggy to short and curly.
Havanese dogs come in a wide variety of colours with fur ranging from long and shaggy to short and curly. | Source
My brother's dog, Rufus. Havanese dogs love to play outdoors, however if you take them on an outdoor adventure you will definitely need to take them to the groomer's afterwards. Their fur is a magnet for sticks, leaves and burrs.
My brother's dog, Rufus. Havanese dogs love to play outdoors, however if you take them on an outdoor adventure you will definitely need to take them to the groomer's afterwards. Their fur is a magnet for sticks, leaves and burrs. | Source

Quick Facts About Havanese Dogs

Size
Health
Temperment
Average Height: 8-11 inches
Life Expectancy: Average 14-15 years.
Gentle & responsive. Very good with children.
Average Weight: 7-13 pounds
Common issues: Liver & kidney problems.
Easy to obedience train, but won't respond to harsh discipline.
Typical litter size: 1-9 puppies (average of 4)
Needs regular grooming. Ears need to be checked regularly. Prone to ear infections if not kept clean.
Not in their nature to bark a lot.
Rufus. Havanese dogs are very curious breeds and love to observe what is going on around them.
Rufus. Havanese dogs are very curious breeds and love to observe what is going on around them. | Source

Havanese Dogs Are Very Sociable

Havanese dogs get a long very well with children and other animals. While dog sitting my brother's Havanese, Rufus we took him to meet some new friends. The above video is Rufus (the bigger white dog) playing with my sister in law's dog, Jasper.

How Havanese Dogs Behave

Havanese dogs are extremely smart and naturally curious.This breed has a long history of being a circus dog, due to their high level of intelligence and the ease in which they get along with people and other animals.

  • Havanese dogs make great family pets. They become very attached to their human families and have an eagerness to please.

  • They don't naturally have the "Small Dog Syndrome" of other breeds in the toy group, which usually makes for a jealous or moody animal. Havanese dogs are very sociable and get along well with people, as well as other animals.

  • Havanese dogs are very easy to obedience train. However, they are very sensitive to the tone of voice in which they are spoken to. They will not respond well to harsh discipline. They can also tend to be a bit stubborn if they sense that they are stronger minded than their owners. When training a Havanese you will have the most success if you start their training when they are puppies and use a calm, authoritative voice.


Havanese dogs are perfect for apartment living. They are smaller in size and can be trained not to bark too often. Their exercise requirements are relatively low in comparison to larger breeds.
Havanese dogs are perfect for apartment living. They are smaller in size and can be trained not to bark too often. Their exercise requirements are relatively low in comparison to larger breeds. | Source
Havanese dogs have an average demand for physical activity. Though their need for social activities can be higher than other breeds.
Havanese dogs have an average demand for physical activity. Though their need for social activities can be higher than other breeds. | Source

Do You Own A Havanese?

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If you live in a colder climate, consider getting a jacket for your Havanese dog. Their fur is very lightweight and they get cold very easily.

The Best Homes for Havanese Dogs

Because Havanese dogs become very attached to their families, it is not ideal to bring a Havanese into your family if they will be left alone for extended periods of time. These dogs have a very high need for social activity.

  • Havanese dogs will require daily walks. Two walks a day, in the morning and in the evening is plenty physical exercise for a Havanese dog. The Havanese was originally bred as a "lap dog" so their requirement for physical exercise isn't as a demanding as that of other dog breeds.

  • Though their need for physical exercise is lower compared to some other breeds, their need for social activity is higher. A Havanese dog will require more play time than some other breeds. This means Havanese dogs are ideal if you have active children or other pets in the home.

  • Havanese dogs are ideal for apartment dwelling. They are naturally a quieter dog and tend not to bark a lot. The Havanese dog is one of the easiest dogs to train not to bark.

  • Though they do well in smaller homes, Havanese dogs can be equally happy in a larger or country home. This breed of dog is very adaptable. When playing outside, if your Havanese will be allowed off leash, they do love to run. They tend to dart around a lot and be very playful. Because of their smaller size, it's important to ensure your Havanese stays within your sights, so as not to be preyed upon by larger predators.

  • Havanese dogs were originally bred for warmer climates. They can do very well in colder climates as well, with the proper care. They should never be left outdoors for extended periods of time, as their fur is very thin. If you live in a colder climate, it would be ideal to consider investing in a jacket or booties to help shelter your Havanese from the cold.

Havanese dogs make faithful and loving companions. Above is myself and Rufus enjoying a day out on the water in Algonquin Provincial Park.
Havanese dogs make faithful and loving companions. Above is myself and Rufus enjoying a day out on the water in Algonquin Provincial Park. | Source

The Perfect Companion

The Havanese dog will prove to be a faithful and loving companion to you and your family. If you would like to find more information about the Havanese Breed check out The Havanese Fanciers of Canada web-site. If you have any furthers questions, comments or stories about your Havanese to share, please post in the comments section below!

If you're looking to add a new pet to your family, consider a Havanese dog. They are very family friendly and great with kids and other pets.
If you're looking to add a new pet to your family, consider a Havanese dog. They are very family friendly and great with kids and other pets. | Source

© 2014 JessBraz

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    • profile image

      ShanaD 11 months ago

      Absolutely love my havanese "Trippy" :)

    • profile image

      Paula 14 months ago

      Jess....Congrats on your HOTD! What precious babies. This is a new breed to me. I SWEAR over & over when my Cocker Spaniel goes to Doggy Heaven, NO MORE DOGS! Then I see pictures like this and read about what a wonderful dog they are and......oh well, you know!

      Really interesting and definitely tempting ! Peace. Paula

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 15 months ago from the short journey

      Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for this post highlighting such a cute little creature! They definitely are smile-makers. Thanks for an interesting read with details about this toy dog.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 15 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Jess, Rufus is an adorable dog. Congrats on HOTD. Thanks for sharing this information on Havanese dogs. It's quite interesting and informational to know.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 15 months ago from Arkansas USA

      Rufus is adorable! I wasn't familiar with the Havanese breed, so this was eye-opening to me and a very interesting read. Thanks for the education, and congratulations on today's Hub of the Day honors!

    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      He seem like such a cute little thing. I've never heard of that breed before and most people I know that have small dogs get terriers or poodles.

      So it is nice to find out there are other adorable breeds of dogs out there.

    • ravi1991 profile image

      Ashutosh Tiwari 3 years ago from Lucknow, India

      @JessBraz Hey! Jess , I saw you in the list of winners in the Hub Pot challenge.

      If it does not add to your discomfort, can you tell me how the winners are selected and what is the relevant criteria ?

      Thanks in Advance..

    • JessBraz profile image
      Author

      JessBraz 3 years ago from Canada

      @FaithReaper- Thank you so much for stopping by the read my hub! Your support is much appreciated! :D

      @DrMark- Tica sounds like a lovely dog! I love pitbulls as well. I know at one point the breeding of pittbulls was illegal here in Ontario. I'm not sure if it's still illegal to own one.. Which is so sad. I think pitbulls get a really bad rap. I'm a firm believe that if a dog is mistreated or trained to be aggressive than it will be. From what I have read about pitbulls, they're actually very kind animals. :)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Her name is Tica (pronounced Chi-ca) which is the Portuguese spelling for the Cuban Spanish word for a cute girl. I know what you mean about the leaves!!!!

      My older Pitbull does not like other dogs much but she puts up with Tica and even gets jealous of other dogs around her. Tica is able to make friends with every dog she meets when we are out walking on the beach, so if your dog is anything like her Baby will be charmed.

      The only animal Tica does not seem to like are sparrows, but I am not sure about that since she has never caught one. She chases them every chance she gets though.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Aw, what a great hub! Congrats on the top ten choice for this hub on day three! Great photos too.

      Up and more and sharing

      Have a great day,

      Faith Reaper

    • JessBraz profile image
      Author

      JessBraz 3 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for reading DrMark!

      I'm hoping Rufus will come back and stay with me again in the future. :) He's such a lovely, friendly dog! I took him camping with me this past summer and I swear every leaf in the forest came back with us in his fur. :)

      What is your dog's name? I'm hoping to get a Havanese of my own in the future. I have a dog of my own (a Peke-Hound), Baby. She's on the older side, so I'm reluctant to bring in a new puppy. She tends to be a bit moody. Thankfully she didn't seem to mind Rufus too much. Havanese dogs thankfully get along rather well with other animals, so that helped a great deal. :)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Great photos of Rufus!

      I live in a warm climate, so of course my Havanese loves it, and every evening she brings home several kilos of sand from the beach and leaves it scattered over my bedroom floor.

      She is a very special dog. Nice article.

    • JessBraz profile image
      Author

      JessBraz 3 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Everyday Miracles! I appreciate you stopping by and posting a comment. :) Glad you enjoyed it. :)

    • Everyday Miracles profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 3 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Such cute pictures! I love hubs about dog breeds. Great job!

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