Pet Advisor Blog

Havanese – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Small
Weight: 7 - 13 pounds
Height: 8 - 11 inches
Longevity: 15
Bark Tendency: Low
Aggression: Low
Compatibility to other pets: High

Adopt a Havanese, Dog Breed Guide


The Havanese is Cuba’s bichon type of toy dog that has been companion pets for Spanish aristocrats and later for the Cuban middle class. They are one of the rarest dog breeds known today. They are among the rarest dog breeds and considered rare in their native country of Cuba. But these dogs show resilience, surviving the French, Russian and Cuban revolutions as well as the two World Wars. Currently, they are being preserved and their numbers are gradually on the rise.

Official Name

Other Name:
Bichon Havanais
Havana Silk Dog
Bichon Havanese


Date – 18th Century
Country – Cuban
Family / Group:

Recognized By

Canadian Kennel Club
Fédération Cynologique Internationale
American Kennel Club
United Kennel Club
Kennel Club of Great Britain
National Kennel Club
Continental Kennel Club
Australian National Kennel Club
American Pet Registry, Inc.
American Canine Registry
Dog Registry of America, Inc.
North American Purebred Registry, Inc.


Dog experts believed that Havanese dog breed can trace their ancestry from the Old World bichons. These are the Bolognese and Maltese dogs of European lineage. During the Spanish empire’s peak as a naval superpower, bichons were so popular and developments were made all over the port cities of the Spanish Empire. Havana was one of those ports and in the 18th century, Havanese was started to be bred as companion dogs for Spanish aristocrats. Then they were also fancied by the Cuban middle class and have been popular as companion pets since then. They reached the United States during the Cuban Revolution of ’59, brought by fleeing Cuban refugees fleeing Fidel Castro’s communist regime.


The Havanese is a small but very sturdy dog which is just perfect companion pets because of their ideal traits. They are very intelligent and always attentive to their masters, making them one of the highly trainable dog breed known today. They will show gentleness and a quiet disposition but will also show their playful side. When it comes to their owners, Havanese dogs are especially affectionate. When it comes to everyone else, these dogs will be friendly, may it be children, other dogs and animals, and even strangers.

Bred For

Developed as companion pets or lap dogs.


They are perfectly suited for apartment living. These dogs will do well in city living environments.


Regular grooming is required to have their coat manageable. They are a non-shedding, hypo-allergenic dog.


These dogs are easy to obedience train


Havanese are dogs that are one of the most long-lived among all the domesticated canines. Generally healthy and will live a long life. This is when health issues arise. Old aged Havanese often faces a variety of health issues. Eye problems from poodle eye diseases, to cataracts and even acquiring progressive retinal atrophy. Deafness can also occur, both unilateral and bilateral kinds. Old Havanese dogs are also prone to chondrodysplasia, dislocated kneecaps and leg-calve Perthes disease. They are also known to have heart, liver and kidney problems as these dogs ages.


This playful little dog has an average demand when it comes to their activity needs. For Havanese to stay mentally and physically fit, exercise sessions like taking them on daily walks are highly recommended.