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Guide to Havanese

Time to read: 8 mins

Key Stats

Life expectancy: 1315 years

Height: 23 – 28 cm

Weight: 3- 6 kg

About Havanese

Havanese have always been known as companion dogs ever since they were bred to keep Cuban aristocrat’s company in the early 1800s. Their link to Cuba has earned them the title of Cuba’s national dog breed. They are often known as ‘Velcro dogs’ due to their tendency to stick closely to their owner like Velcro. They are small and make for the great family pets.

What to consider when owning a Havanese

They are very needy and cannot be left alone for long periods of time. If you are thinking of getting a Havanese someone needs to be at home to keep them company. They are very clever and full of energy. They love playing games and are eager to please.


Shelters are full of pets waiting to be adopted, where possible, adopt rather than shop as Havanese can be found in shelters all across the UK. If buying is the intention then Havanese puppies can cost anywhere from £1,500 and upwards depending on the lineage of the puppy.

On top of the purchase price you’ll also need to consider initial costs of your pet such as vaccinations and neutering, as well as ongoing costs of food and preventative healthcare. Some of these extra charges include:


Havanese coats come in a range of different textures and colours. Many owners prefer to cut their coat short as it makes it easier to care for. When the coat is long it will require daily brushing and regular washing to avoid the coat matting. Short coats will still need to be brushed but not as regularly, they are a lot easier to look after than those with longer coats.


Havanese are small but very energetic and smart which makes them easy to train. They are small dogs, but they have a lot of energy. They need about an hour of exercise daily. A daily walk each an hour should tire them out. If that does not do the job you could always find fun games to play with them. These can be in the form of mental stimulation or an active game.

Havanese health concerns

In common with other breeds, Havanese can be born with genetic defects. Some to look out for include:

1. Hip

Legg-Perthes disease causes the ball of the hip to break down because of a defective blood supply. Dogs will be lame on their hind leg(s). Surgery to reshape the ball of the hip joint can allow dogs to walk well again within 4-6 weeks of surgery.

Many different breeds can suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, but it’s relatively common in the Havanese. It occurs when the hips, the joints don’t fit together perfectly. Signs include walking stiffly, hip pain and difficulty getting up from a sitting position. In the elbows, one or both elbows develop abnormally and may look bowed. Both conditions cause pain, swelling and eventually arthritis. Maintaining a heathy weight alongside a good quality diet and food supplements for joint health can help. Dysplasia can be screened for by reputable breeders who will have the parents’ joint alignment assessed and scored by vets before deciding to breed from them.

2. Knee

If the ligament holding the kneecap in place is not in normal alignment it can cause the kneecap to snap in and out of place (luxating patella).  Dogs may sometimes ‘leave out’ one of their back legs when walking or running or even not use that leg at all. Some dogs find this painful, plus it can put a strain on other parts of the knee and cause arthritis. Surgery can help to correct the problem. Maintaining a healthy body weight and using food supplements for joint health can help.

3. Heart

PSS (Porto-systemic shunt) is when part of the circulatory system doesn’t develop normally, affecting the liver, digestion and normal growth. Puppies can fail to thrive, although sometimes this condition is only picked up at 1-2 years old. An affected puppy or dog may not want to eat, could vomit, have fits or collapse. Surgery can correct the problem successfully.

Mitral Valve Insufficiency: Mitral valve insufficiency is more commonly seen in older dogs when the mitral valve, which is found between the left atrium and ventricle, begins to fail. When this happens, the mitral valve fails to prevent the flow of blood into the left atrium. This can cause heart failure. Symptoms include hypertension, fluid in the lungs and a decrease in strength of the heart muscle. Treatment includes medication, change of diet, and exercise restrictions.

4. Eyes

Havanese can be prone to inherited eye conditions including cataracts, that can be screened for by breeders (generalised progressive retinal atrophy). Dogs that do develop age-related or inherited cataracts should be monitored; vision can in some cases be restored by specialist surgery. For some dogs, the cataracts develop because of retinal dysplasia, where the retina at the back of the eye either doesn’t form properly and alters the dog’s vision or it detaches completely and causes blindness. You may see your Havanese being reluctant to jump down off steps or furniture or bumping into things. If so, you should consult your vet.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s health do not hesitate to get in touch with our Careline. They will be able to answer any questions that you may have.

Pet insurance for Havanese

Like most pure-bred dogs, Yorkshire Terriers have their accompanying health issues. You never know what might happen as they get older. Find out how we can cover your pet from accidents as well as illnesses they may suffer from.

It’s normally best to insure your dogs from a young age, before any conditions become an issue. Insuring your Yorkshire Terrier from when they are a puppy tends to be cheaper. Although you can get insurance for older dogs too.

See how we can help you by getting a quote today.

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