A Havanese:

just... AMAZING!


Smallhaven Harlequin and Smallhaven Montezuma, photo courtesy of Sandy Twiss of Kachina's Havanese.

Fine with novice owners.

Good for older, considerate children. 

Little in size.

Long coat.



Energy level

Exercise requirements


Affection level

Friendliness towards other dogs

Friendliness towards other pets

Friendliness towards strangers



Good with kids

Watchdog ability

Protection ability

Ease of training


Cold tolerance

Heat Tolerance





Name:  Bichón Habanero, Bichon Havanais, Havanese, Havana Silky Dog.

Family:  Bichon, companion, water dog

Area of Origin:  Mediterranean region

Evolution: Cuba

Date of origin: Ancient Times

Original function: Lap dog, performer

Today's function: Companion dog

Registered:  AKC (American Kennel Club),  FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale), ARBA (Association of Rare Breed of America),  CKC (Canadian Kennel Club),  UK Kennel Club (United Kingdom Kennel Club).

Temperament and personality:  This is a busy, curious dog; it is the happiest when it is the center of attention. It loves to play and clown and its affectionate to its family, children, strangers, other dogs, and pets –basically everyone! The Havanese is willing to please and learn easily, but tends to be vocal.

One of the brightest and sturdiest of the toys, the Havanese is happy and playful and enjoys clever games of dexterity. This curious, quick moving sprite with the springy gait is a busy little dog who enjoys dashing around in the yard and the house and playing with other pets.

Very people-oriented and a bit of a ham, he will seek attention by clowning around and showing off. He is peaceful and gentle with everyone, though he likes to sit perched on the back of a sofa or a chair, looking out the window so he can announce visitors. The breed is attentive and responsive to non-forceful training, and many individuals excel in competitive obedience and agility. Some even have herding instincts. Housebreaking may take a while with some individuals.

Color: All colors are acceptable, singly or in any combination. No preference is given to one color over another. The skin may be freckled or parti-colored.

Coat: The coat is double, but without the harsh standoff guard hair and woolly undercoat usually associated with double coats. Rather, it is soft and light in texture throughout, though the outer coat carries slightly more weight. The long hair is abundant and, ideally, wavy. An ideal coat will not be so profuse nor overly long as to obscure the natural lines of the dog. The dog should be shown as naturally as is consistent with good grooming.

Size: The height range is from 8 ½ to 11 ½ inches, with the ideal being between 9 and 10 ½ inches, measured at the withers, and is slightly less than the length from point of shoulder to point of buttocks, creating a rectangular outline rather than a square one. The Havanese is a sturdy little dog, and should never appear fragile.

Gait: The Havanese gait is exceptionally lively, elegant, resilient, and unique, contributing greatly to the breed’s overall essential typiness. The characteristic "spring" is caused by the strong rear drive combined with a "flashy" front action effected by the short upper arm and it accentuates the dog´s happy nature.

Related breeds: Maltese, Bichon Frisé, Bolognese, Lowchen and the Coton de Tulear.

Health Concerns: Both parents should have yearly eye exams (CERF certifications in the US) for congenital cataracts, and be screened for luxating patella. Also, ask about low thyroid, allergies, and skin conditions in the lines.
Please do read the section on
Health and the links provided on this subject.

Lifespan: 13 – 15 years

Cautions when buying: Larger and sturdier than his Maltese cousin, the Havanese is easier to raise and care for, though his coat –if kept natural as the standard calls for- requires the same commitment to grooming. Because they are less popular and has not been exploited by unknowledgeable breeders, the Havanese is a safer bet in the genetic health and temperament departments.



Bibliography: Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds; the Complete Dog Book (AKC); Your Purebred Puppy, a Buyer´s guide, Michele Welton; the book of The Bichón Habanero, Zoila Portuondo-Guerra; and the “Havanese, the complete and reliable handbook”, Dorothy Goodale, amongst others.