Dog Breeds: Havanese temperament and personality

Havanese dog

The Havenese Dog Breed

The Havanese dog is Cuba´s national dog.  He is affectionate with everyone and melts our hearts with his expressive eyes and silky coat.  The Havanese dog breed is a Bichon type.


When Cristopher Columbus set foot on Cuba in 1492, the Spanish settlers brought their small companions with them.  These were the ancestors of the Bichon family, from which the Havanese dog is a member.

By 1800, they became lap dogs of Cuba’s aristocrats, as they were highly admired by the nobles.  European visitors to Cuba took them back to Europe, namely Spain, England, and France.  The breed almost became extinct, even in Cuba.  After the Cuban revolution in 1959, eleven dogs from the few families that still had them were brought to America. These are the ancestors of most Havanese dogs outside of Cuba today.

Physical Characteristics

Despite their appearance, these dogs are not delicate but are rather sturdy. They are small-size dogs with a soft, long and silky coat.  The coat is accepted in any color and pattern.

They are 8.5 to 11.5 inches tall and weigh 10 to 16 pounds mostly.

Temperament and Personality

This toy dog is gentle and affectionate.  The Havanese breed enjoys human companionship.  He will be very dependable on you and follow you everywhere around the house.

He gets very anxious if left alone for too much time.  They are friendly dogs and usually nice with strangers.  They will get along with anyone and can adapt to a large house or a small apartment.

Caring for a Havanese Dog

The Havanese Dog has a lot of energy to burn.  To keep him happy, take him for a long walk or practice some exercises with him.  He is an indoor dog and is not suited to stay in a backyard.

They are not usually annoying but they do bark at bypassers.   The Havanese breed dogs are the happiest when they are close to their family.

Since they have a long hair, you will need to invest in their grooming.  Cutting his hair short might not be a good idea, especially if you live in a cold area.


The Havanese breed is fairly easy to train.  They are intelligent dogs and are always willing to please their owners.  Train them in basic obedience when they are puppies. Housetraining might be a bit challenging so you will need to be patient.

Fun facts about the Havanese Breed

  • It is believed that the Havanese breed was developed by crossing poodles (and other Bichon types) with the extinct Blanquito de la Habana.
  • It is common for the puppies to eat their own stool.  Remove your puppy’s poop right away to prevent this habit.
  • He enjoys sitting on top of seats and couches simply to watch the world pass by.
  • Favorite toy of a Havanese dog: paper.  Throw him a toilet paper roll and he will have a blast.  Not you, definitively.

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