One of the brightest and sturdiest of the toys, the Havanese is happy and playful and enjoys clever games of dexterity such as “pull the hidden toy from under the cabinet with your paw.”
Havanese are very people-oriented dogs, love snuggling in laps, and can be overly dependent — they don’t do well at all when left for long periods of time without companionship. “Not doing well” means unhappiness and boredom, which they may try to vent through barking and destructive chewing.
Though peaceful and gentle with everyone (humans and other pets), the Havanese can be conservative with strangers. Socialization is important to build a confident, outgoing temperament, as there is a potential for excessive caution/timidity.
Havanese do have an independent streak, but they are not a dominant breed. They respond well to training that includes food rewards and they especially love learning tricks. Many individuals excel in competitive obedience and agility.
The most problematic training issue is housebreaking — Havanese are slow to housetrain. Barking needs to be curtailed, as well. Many Havanese like to perch on the high back of a sofa or chair, looking out the window so they can announce visitors.
If you want a dog who…
- Is small, yet sturdier (and healthier) than his tiny Maltese cousin
- Doesn’t need much outdoor exercise
- Is playful and entertaining
- Makes a good watchdog, but is not aggressive
- Has a long coat that can be clipped short so he looks like a cute perpetual puppy
- Doesn’t shed much (one of the best breeds for allergy sufferers)
- Is good with other pets
A Havanese may be right for you.
If you don’t want to deal with…
- “Separation anxiety” (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much
- Shyness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
- Frequent brushing (unless regularly clipped short)
- Mild stubbornness
- Housebreaking difficulties
A Havanese may not be right for you.