• The Havanese is a descendent of the barbichon family of dogs, which in turn descend from the barbet, a large water dog behind the Poodle. The barbichon family was centered around the Mediterranean.
  • Spanish traders brought some of these dogs with them when they traveled, giving them to Cuban women.
  • The dogs became pampered pets in Cuba, especially favored with the upper class. They became known as the Habenero.
  • Eventually some of these dogs were brought back to Europe, where they were called white Cubans. Here they became popular both as pets and as performing dogs.
  • Their popularity as pets waned, and their numbers dwindled, but they remained popular as trick performers in the circus.
  • In the 1950s and 60s, three families left Cuba for the United States, bringing their dogs with them. Most present-day Havanese descend from these dogs, with some input from later imports.
  • The AKC recognized the Havanese in 1999.
Havanese Behavior Concerns
  • Makes an affectionate and exuberant companion.
  • Playful, gentle and very good with children.
  • Very friendly to strangers, other dogs and other pets.
  • Does best with reward-based training involving food or games.
  • Eager to please, bright and responsive.
Havanese Suggested Exercises
  • Makes a lively and alert housedog.
  • A walk around the block once or twice daily, plus a vigorous game, will meet its exercise needs, not counting bathroom breaks.
  • Many Havanese have been trained to use indoor potty systems.
  • Dog parks can work out well as long as Havanese are not expected to mingle with much larger dogs.
  • Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
  • Its thick coat provides some protection against cold weather, but its fairly small body size nonetheless makes it vulnerable to the cold.
Havanese Grooming
  • Coat is long, and ranges from straight to curly, with wavy preferred.
  • Brushing and combing two to four times a week is necessary to prevent matting.
  • Shedding is below average.
  • No breed is actually non-allergenic, but Havanese may cause fewer allergies compared to most other breeds.
Suggested Havanese Nutritional Needs
  • Havanese tend to stay in good weight. The thick coat can sometimes obscure weight problems, so be sure to use your hands to feel.
  • Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.


Havanese dog breed picture
12 - 14 years
9 - 12 inches
7 - 13 pounds
Havanese Traits
  • Jogging Partner
    2 out of 5
  • Lap Dog
    5 out of 5
  • Good With Children
    5 out of 5
  • Warm Weather
    3 out of 5
  • Cold Weather
    2 out of 5
  • Grooming Requirements
    4 out of 5
  • Shedding
    1 out of 5
  • Barking
    3 out of 5
  • Ease Of Training
    4 out of 5