Breed Spotlight: Havanese

4 min read
Jan 20, 2023

Havanese Quick Stats


14 – 16 years


7 – 13 lbs


8.5 – 11.5 inches




Intelligent, social, cheerful, watchdog

Common Health Problems:

Chondrodysplasia, deafness, Legg-Calve-Perthes, eye disorders

Havanese Dog: How Do I Look

The sturdy Havanese is notable for its silky coat of many colors. Their tail often comes up over their back in a cheerful curl.

Coat Type and Colors

Havanese dogs have a long, silken coat, as well as an undercoat. Soft and light, their luxurious fur grows in waves and comes in many colors officially recognized by the American Kennel Club:3

  • Black
  • Blue and silver
  • Black and tan
  • Chocolate
  • Cream
  • Fawn
  • Gold
  • Red
  • Red sable
  • Red brindle
  • Black brindle
  • Gold brindle
  • Gold sable
  • Silver brindle
  • White
  • Silver

Ears and Tails

Havanese ears are high-set and have a distinctive fold that remains present even when alert. Their ears will raise at the base but remain flopped over at the top. Like many floppy-eared dogs, your Havanese could be vulnerable to ear infections, so be sure to keep them cleaned.

Shedding and Grooming

The Havanese breed does shed, but not excessively. They are a high-maintenance dog when it comes to grooming requirements. If you do not brush your Havanese daily, their fur will begin to become matted.

Drooling Level

Havanese are not heavy droolers, and may in fact never drool at all.

Havanese: Personality Traits

What My Adoption Bio Would Say:

I’m as pretty on the inside as I am on the outside, the complete package! I love spending time with my people (and meeting new ones). But don’t let my luxurious coat fool you. If you’re looking for a protector, I’ve got the courage and bark to guard my family.


The Havanese temperament could best be described as sunny. They love to be loved and are often extremely bonded to their family. At the same time, the Havanese can be a social butterfly. They love meeting new folks and are a great companion for the outgoing.

Due to the strong attachment that Havanese dogs form with their family, they often experience separation anxiety if left alone for extended amounts of time. This can manifest as destructive behavior. Take steps to help your Havanese cope with separation to prevent them from chewing and tearing up the house.

Exercise Needs

Havanese dogs tend to walk with a spring in their step, but they only require a moderate amount of daily exercise. A walk in the park or romp around the house should suffice. As long as you’re involved, they’ll be happy.

Are Havanese Good With Other Pets?

A Havanese will get along with any friendly animal, be it cat, dog, or other pet.


Their intelligence and positivity means Havanese are up to any challenge. Positive training is key. Harsh scolding will clash with their sensitive nature. Be sure to socialize your Havanese as early as possible so they learn not to fear new situations.

Are Havanese Good With Kids?

Their playfulness, excitability, and innate sense of humor makes the Havanese perfect for a family with children. Be sure to supervise your pooch around young children to ensure no accidents happen.

Barking Level

They may not look it, but Havanese make excellent guard dogs. Despite this they’re not overly vocal. Most Havanese will keep their barking to a minimum.

Havanese Dogs History

Named for their region of origin, the Havanese is the only dog breed to be native to the island of Cuba.3 They are descended from the extinct Blanquito de la Habana — the “Little White Dog of Havana” — which in turn descended from the extinct Bichón Tenerife of the Canary Islands. The Havanese is believed to be the result of crossbreeding the Blanquito de la Habana with other bichon-type dogs, such as the poodle.3 They made their way to the United States in the late 1950s as a result of the Cuban upper crust fleeing the Revolución. In 1996, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Havanese breed, and as of 2021 they are ranked the 25th most popular dog in the States.4

Common Havanese Mixes

  • Havapoo: A Havanese/poodle mix
  • Havashu: A Havanese/shih tzu mix
  • Havamalt: A Havanese/Maltese mix
  • Havachon: A bichon/Havanese mix

5 Common Havanese Health Issues

If raised by a responsible breeder, most Havanese will live long and healthy lives.3 However, there are some complications that are more common among their breed than others:

  • Chondrodysplasia: This is a genetic health condition which is sometimes thought to be “dwarfism.” Due to changes in bone and cartilage structure, dogs with chondrodysplasia often have abnormally short limbs for their breed.5
  • Hip Dysplasia: Another genetic condition, hip dysplasia causes the “ball and socket” joint in a dog’s hip to separate.
  • Cataracts: Cataracts, which could cause blindness, are common in this breed.
  • Hypothyroidism: If your Havanese is experiencing a thyroid problem, symptoms may include obesity, hair loss, seizures, and/or lethargy.6
  • Patellar Luxation: Patellar luxation is the knee joint sliding in and out of place. This can be crippling to some dogs; however, most live a long, healthy life even with the condition.

Protect your Pets

Even the healthiest of pups can come with unexpected vet costs. Pet insurance can help keep your dog and your bank account happy.

How Pet Insurance Can Help Havanese

Getting your Havanese on a dog insurance plan as early as possible is one of the best ways to keep them healthy and safe. That way, conditions they may develop later in life won’t be considered preexisting.

Pet insurance can help cover the cost of routine care, like vaccination and required medications. But it’s also important in the event of an illness or injury, when the most expensive vet bills begin to pile up. If your Havanese were to develop hip dysplasia, they would likely require surgery or even a total hip replacement. This can cost as much as $7,000 per hip.7 With MetLife Pet Insurance, you could be reimbursed for some or all of the cost of the procedure.1,2 That’s a huge weight off your shoulders!

Get started with a free quote to see how much you could save with pet insurance.

Protect your Havanese with Pet Insurance

Enroll in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.


1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

3 “Havanese Dog Breed Information,” American Kennel Club

4 “Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2021,” American Kennel Club

5 “Canine Chondrodysplasia Caused by a Truncating Mutation in Collagen-Binding Integrin Alpha Subunit 10,” PubMed Central

6 “Hypothyroidism in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospital

7 “Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery – Costs and Other FAQs,” Tumwater Vet

L0922025892[exp0924][All States][DC,GU,MP,PR,VI]