Havanese are the national dogs of Cuba.
These companion-sized canines are popular throughout the world thanks to their small size, friendly personalities and moderate exercise needs.
Perhaps their biggest appeal to dog owners is their hypoallergenic coats.
Although there’s no guarantee Havanese won’t trigger dog allergies, the Kennel Club in the UK recognise them as a hypoallergenic toy breed.
Their popularity has soared in the 20th and 21st centuries as Cuban refugees brought their Havanese dogs to the United States.
The American Kennel Club rank the Havanese as the 24th most popular breed in the USA.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the Havanese dog breed, whether they shed a lot and what grooming needs they have.
We’ll break this article into the following sections:
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What are Havanese?
Havanese are the only dog breed native to Cuba.
The American Kennel Club describe the Havanese as intelligent, outgoing and funny.
You’ll often encounter these dogs in cities given their small size, which makes them ideal for apartment life.
Havanese grow to a height range between 8.5 inches and 11.5 inches, while they can weigh between 7 and 13 pounds.
These sociable canines have an average lifespan of 14 to 16 years, so they could be with you for a good portion of your life.
Where do Havanese come from?
Havanese come from Cuba but there is much more to the story.
The breed are thought to be related to the Bichon Frise and Maltese. You’ll often see Havanese mixed with either Bichon Frise to create a Havachon or Maltese to create a Havamalt.
The Havanese are thought to be related to dogs that originated in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa.
Centuries ago, their ancestors were usually with explorers and merchants from Italy, Portugal and Spain.
According to the AKC, the breed’s ancestors were brought to the New World by Italian and Spanish explorers in the 1600s.
Described as the native lapdogs of Cuba’s aristocrats and wealthy planters, these dogs are named after the country’s capital city Havana.
They were mixed with Poodles crosses during the next 300 years to create the Havanese breed that we know today. They were formerly called the Blanquito de la Habana (Havana Silk Dog).
Havanese started to arrive in their droves in the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s following the Cuban revolution. The refugees brought their little dogs to the USA where breeders started to grow their numbers in the country.
Havanese are white dogs with a fluffy appearance. Here’s the American Kennel Club’s breed standard for the Havanese’s appearance:
The Havanese is slightly longer than tall, with a long, untrimmed, double coat. The Havanese has a short upper arm with moderate shoulder layback and a straight topline that rises slightly from the withers to the croup. The plumed tail is carried arched forward up over the back. The unique springy gait is a result of the breed’s structure and playful, spirited personality. These characteristics of temperament, coat, structure and gait are essential to type.
Their coat should be silky to touch while being soft and light in texture. Havanese have a long and wavy coat. They’ve got a double coat: a soft undercoat and a resilient outer coat. However, a coarse or wiry outer coat is not acceptable.
Do Havanese shed?
Havanese may have a lot of hair, but they’re considered hypoallergenic.
For those who haven’t heard of this term before, there are some hypoallergenic breeds that are generally low shedders. The American Kennel Club outline that there’s no breed that is completely, 100 per cent hypoallergenic. However, there are some breeds that are more hypoallergenic than other types of dogs.
The Kennel Club in the UK list the Havanese as one of the breeds that don’t shed a lot.
It’s important to note that Havanese will shed a little but most of their loose hair will remain trapped in their double coat. Hence, Havanese owners will need to regularly brush their dogs to ensure their coat doesn’t become matted and tangled.
The AKC recommends brushing a Havanese dog on a daily basis to ensure their coat stays in top shape. By doing so, you’ll prevent unwanted mats and tangles.
You can use a comb or a soft brush over the dog while he’s sat on your lap or sitting at your feet. Making grooming time a fun or rewarding experience will help your Havanese become more relaxed and more willing to sit still to be groomed.
Some Havanese owners like to clip their dog’s coat so it’s short. This is sometimes called a puppy cut or teddy bear cut. Their coat is trimmed all over so the length of the coat is just one to three inches.
Alternatively, other Havanese will have corded coats. The corded coats will naturally separate into wavy sections as young dogs before they develop into cords. By the time they reach adulthood, corded Havanese will be completely covered in these dreadlock-like cords.
Other Havanese care needs
Havanese have other grooming requirements than just brushing.
These companion-sized dogs will need to be bathed on a monthly basis.
Havanese owners will need to check their dog’s eyes to make sure there’s no debris around the hair near the eye as well as tear staining.
If you’re concerned about their eyes, you should speak to a vet immediately.
Their ears are another area that will need some care. Havanese can be prone to ear infections so it’s a good idea to regularly check their ears for any signings of problems.
As with all dogs, it’s a good idea to brush your dog’s teeth a few times a week to make sure they’re teeth look healthy.
You can also clip their nails but some dog owners may prefer to ask the vet or go to a professional groomer.
Anything else to consider?
Havanese are sometimes mixed with other breeds to create a hypoallergenic mix. A common Havanese cross is the Havapoo. This is a mix between a Havanese and a Poodle. Given both parents have a hypoallergenic coat, Havapoo will usually have hypoallergenic coats – too. Another Havanese mix that is usually hypoallergenic is Schnese.
If you want to learn more about Havanese and whether they shed a lot, you could always contact some owners of the breed on Instagram. In our experience, they’re usually more than happy to give advice and information about their dogs.
So there we have it, the Havanese are Cuban dogs that don’t shed a lot.
If you don’t like the idea of dog hair around your home on furniture and on the floor, or you don’t want to hoover your house or apartment every day, Havanese could be the breed for you.
However, while you won’t have to worry about the neverending battle against dog hair, they require a lot of grooming. You’ll need to be prepared to brush a Havanese every day to ensure their coats don’t become matted or tangled.