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A photo collage of a white Havanese

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Havanese dog breed profile

The Havanese has long, silky fur that requires regular brushing.

Whether your dog is a purebred Havanese or a Havanese mix, learning about the breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt a Havanese and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.

Havanese were originally bred as companion dogs, and they’ve continued to play the part well. Compact and expressive, this small breed originally hails from Cuba but is now found in homes everywhere, thanks to its reputation as a great family dog eager for human interaction.

We spoke with Fetch by The Dodo’s in-house veterinarian, Dr. Aliya McCullough, who shared some valuable information about the Havanese breed and their care needs, health issues and overall temperament.

What do Havanese look like?

Havanese are a relatively small breed, standing between 8 to 11 inches tall and weighing an average of 7 to 13 pounds when they’re full-grown, Dr. McCullough says.

Their silky coat comes in various colors, including cream, tan, sable and white. And despite being a particularly fluffy-looking breed, Havanese are great pets for people who don’t want to deal with constant dog hair cleanup as they aren’t prone to much shedding, Dr. McCullough says. But, on the flip side, their non-shedding coat might warrant more care than other breeds.

“Havanese have a long and silky coat that requires regular grooming to keep it from becoming matted and tangled,” she shares. “Frequent bathing and brushing are best for these dogs’ fur.”

Low to the ground and with short legs, Havanese have a pep in their step that adds to their cuteness and a bouncy, curled tail often hidden in a spray of fur.

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Havanese common temperament

Havanese love to be part of a family and are considered intelligent. “In general, these dogs are moderately high energy, eager to please, happy and affectionate,” Dr. McCullough says.

Their small stature means that, although they're active and happy to play or go for a walk, they don’t require excessive exercise and are well suited for smaller spaces.

Because of their reputation as companion dogs, Havanese are happiest around their pet parents and can sometimes have separation anxiety if left without human interaction for long periods.

What health issues do Havanese face?

If you’re welcoming a Havanese into your family, it’s important to know what health issues your four-legged family member may encounter as they age so you can be proactive about them.

According to Dr. McCullough, Havanese are prone to a few joint disorders, including patella luxation (kneecap movement out of its normal position) and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (a hip joint disorder). Your pet’s veterinarian will likely watch for heart murmurs and chondrodysplasia, aka abnormal cartilage development.

Schedule regular visits with your vet to ensure your Havanese is on the right track for many happy years with your family. 

Adopting a Havanese

Are you interested in adopting a Havanese, Havanese mix, or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend. 

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

Photo by Dieny Portinanni on Unsplash

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