Havanese vs Bichon Frise: What’s The Difference?

By helloBARK!
Updated on 20 September 2022

Havanese and Bichon Frise are two popular companion dogs.

If you live in an apartment or small home in a city, you may be looking for a dog that will do well in urban spaces.

Both of these breeds have earned reputations for being affectionate and loving canine companions.

They’re relatively docile dogs that like to be in the company of humans, while they do well around other pooches.

Having said that, there are some subtle differences between the Havanese and Bichon Frise breeds.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at Havanese vs Bichon Frise, examining the similarities and differences between their size, appearance, temperament and more.

We’ll break the article into the following sections:

What is a Havanese?

Havanese enjoying some play time (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Havanese enjoying some play time (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Havanese are the national dogs of Cuba. These Cuban dogs are described as intelligent, outgoing and funny.

They’re small dogs with big personalities and even bigger hearts. They’re considered quintessential companion pets.

The Havanese are a member of the American Kennel Club’s Toy Group.

The organization rank the Havanese as the 24th most popular breed in the United States of America.

What is a Bichon Frise?

Bichon Frise lying down on the grass (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Bichon Frise lying down on the grass (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Bichon Frise are little white dogs are thought to have originated in Spain’s Canary Islands off the coast of western Africa.

They’re usually playful, curious and upbeat, all qualities which make them much-loved pets around the world.

Small but resilient, the Bichon Frise are a member of the AKC’s Non-Sporting Group but the Kennel Club in the United Kingdom list these sturdy dogs in their Toy Group.

According to the AKC, the Bichon Frise is the 46th most popular dog in USA.

Where do Havanese come from?

Havanese are thought to be related to Bichon Frise given their roots can also be traced back to the Canary Islands despite being Cuba’s national dog.

They were thought to have been brought to Cuba by Italian and Spanish explorers in the 1600s as Europeans colonized the New World.

The Havanese breed was developed by breeding these dogs with Poodle mixes. They were previously called Blanquito de la Habana (Havana Silk Dog).

The American Kennel Club describe the Communist takeover of Cuba in 1959 as the “pivotal” moment in the breed’s history. Cuban refugees brought their dogs to the USA where the Havanese became extremely popular.

Their popularity has continued to rise into the 21st century, highlighted by their status as the 24th most popular breed in the USA.

Where do Bichon Frise come from?

Bichon Frise soaks up the sun (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Bichon Frise soaks up the sun (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Bichon Frise are thought to be related to other small dogs such as the Havanese, the Bolognese and the Maltese.

Their origins can be traced back to Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. Their ancestors were often found with Spanish sailors who called the dogs, Bichon Tenerife.

They proved a big hit with the nobility in Spain, Italy and France, especially during the Renaissance. However, the French revolution saw these Bichons fall from grace.

After being deserted by the French nobility, the Bichon Frise became popular dogs with entertainers due to their ability to learn new tricks and follow commands.

In the 20th century, the Societe Centrale Canine were responsible for protecting the breed. They gave these dogs the name Bichon a Poil Frise, which translates to the “Bichon of the curly hair”.

The Bichon Frise Club of America was founded in San Diego in 1964. The American Kennel Club granted the Bichon Frise full recognition in the Non-Sporting Group came two years later.

Havanese vs Bichon Frise: size

Havanese usually grow to a height range between 8.5 and 11.5 inches. These Cuban dogs tend to weigh between 7 and 13 pounds.

Bichon Frise are between 9.5 and 11.5 inches tall, so they can be marginally taller than their Havanese counterparts. They’re a little bit heavier with an average weight of 12 to 18 pounds.

Havanese vs Bichon Frise: appearance

The Havanese is longer rather than taller, with a long, untrimmed double coat. They’ve to a plummed tail with arches over onto their back. Their coat should be silky to touch, with a soft and light in texture. The AKC warns that a coarse, wiry coat is a disqualification. Their coat can be completely covered with tassel-like cords. Any colors are permissible.

The Bichon Frise are a white powder puff of a dog. The breed should be compact and of medium bone throughout. They’ve got a double coat: the undercoat is soft and dense and the outer coat is coarse and curly in texture. With regards to color, Bichon Frise should be white with shadings of buff, cream or apricot.

Havanese vs Bichon Frise: temperament

Pablo the Havanese (Photo: @havaneser_pablo / Instagram)

Pablo the Havanese (Photo: @havaneser_pablo / Instagram)

The Havanese are described as friendly dogs that enjoy human company. Here is how the AKC’s breed standard for Havanese describe their temperament:

The Havanese is friendly, playful, alert and intelligent with a sweet, nonquarrelsome disposition. Aggression or shyness should be faulted.

Similarly, the Bichon Frise is a sociable canine that are thrive on human companionship. Let’s take a look at how the AKC defines their temperament:

Gentle mannered, sensitive, playful and affectionate. A cheerful attitude is the hallmark of the breed and one should settle for nothing less.

The Bichon Frise and the Havanese have a lot in common with regard to their temperaments. They’re both well-mannered dogs that tend to get along with everyone. They’ve got playful and upbeat personalities.

Havanese vs Bichon Frise: exercise

Both the Havanese and the Bichon Frise have moderate exercise requirements. Regardless of which breed you own, you’re furry friend will need a brisk daily walk or some play time with their owner to keep these dogs stimulated. Neither Havanese or Bichon Frise should be over exercised.

They’ll excel where obedience, agility and rally competitions are concerned.

However, a word of warning with regards to the Bichon Frise. These curly-haired white dogs have rapid acceleration, so you’ll want to ensure doors and gates are closed to prevent your dog darting for freedom.

Havanese vs Bichon Frise: hypoallergenic

The American Kennel Club states that there’s no such thing as a 100 per cent hypoallergenic dog breed. However, some canines are more hypoallergenic than other types of dogs.

The Kennel Club in the UK list both the Bichon Frise and the Havanese as dog breeds that don’t shed and could be suitable choice for those looking for canines that don’t shed.

Indeed, the Bichon Frise and Havanese are considered hypoallergenic dog breeds.

Havanese vs Bichon Frise: shedding

As we’ve just mentioned, neither Bichon Frise nor the Havanese shed. So they’re a good fit if you’re looking for a dog that won’t leave fur around your home. Both breeds have double coats that don’t shed a lot.

Havanese vs Bichon Frise: grooming

Bichon Frise lying down on the floor of her home, alone, waiting for her owner (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Bichon Frise lying down on the floor of her home, alone, waiting for her owner (Photo: Adobe Stock)

While neither Havanese nor Bichon Frise shed a lot, both breeds require substantial grooming.

It’s recommended that Havanese owners brush their companion pets on a daily basis to ensure their coats don’t become matted or tangled. The AKC suggest a monthly bath.

Similarly, Bichon Frise will benefit from a grooming on a daily basis. Again, they’ll need to be brushed to remove dead hair caught in their undercoat.

Havanese vs Bichon Frise: price

The Havanese Club of America suggest the average price of a Havanese puppy ranges between $1,400 and $2,000. It’s a good indication that you’re buying from a reputable breeder if you’re charged a fee within that range.

We were unable to find a price guideline on the Bichon Frise Club of America. However, upon our research, the average price of a Bichon Frise appears to be between $800 and $1,000.

Havanese and Bichon Frise to follow on Instagram

If you want to learn more about Havanese or Bichon Frise dogs, you could always contact dog owners on social media to learn more.

In our experience, pet parents on Instagram will usually be more than forthcoming with regards to helpful advice and information about their dogs.

• Einstein (@einstein_panda)

• Pablo (@havaneser_pablo)

• Bella (@bella.bichonfrise)

• Nelle (@nelle_bichonfrise)

In conclusion

So we’ve reached the end of our feature on Havanese vs Bichon Frise.

As you’ll have learned already, there’s more similarities than differences between these two dogs.

It’s hardly a surprise given they’re thought to be related.

If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic, low-shedding dog breed, you won’t go too far wrong with a Havanese or a Bichon Frise. Neither breed requires a lot of exercise.

The Bichon Frise is slightly bigger than the Havanese.

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