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Are Havanese Good with Kids? What Parents Need to Know

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Are Havanese Good with Kids? What Parents Need to Know

When parents are ready to bring a dog into the family, they first need to research the best breeds for kids. Some dog breeds are better with children than others. Breeds that are easily agitated or have aggressive tendencies aren’t ideal for a family with kids. Further, large dogs that need a lot of space and exercise may not be good for a family in an apartment. Along with breeds, parents should look at their family’s lifestyle to determine the best type of dog for them.

One of the best dog breeds for children is a Havanese dog. They are the perfect dog for kids. They are small and cute, with plenty of energy for walks and games of fetch. Plus, Havanese dogs are smart and easy to train.

What Are Havanese?

Havanese dog on grass
Havanese dogs are small in stature but big in personality.

©Dorottya Mathe/Shutterstock.com

Havanese dogs are dogs with a long and exciting history, and at one time, they were almost extinct. These cute little dogs are considered the national dog of Cuba and are part of the bichon family of dogs. This breed came from the Canary Islands and eventually made its way to Cuba via Spain and the Spanish conquistadors. They were popular in Europe and Cuba as little companion dogs. Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens both had Havanese dogs. After a while, they fell out of favor in Europe, and they weren't being bred. Thanks to a few Cuban breeders that came to the U.S. in the late 1950s, though, the dog made a comeback and is considered a popular breed today.

Havanese made the Forbes list of top ten dog breeds for seniors, and they made the Reader’s Digest list of top dogs for kids. Their cheerful personalities make them excellent companions for dog lovers of all ages.

Key Characteristics of Havanese

Havanese dogs are a toy breed that is not as fragile as other toy breeds of a similar size. They are usually between 8.5 and 11.5 inches in height and weigh between 7 and 13 pounds. These dogs are an interesting mix of small toy dogs. They have large personalities, though, and will be wary of new people, alerting their owners to any perceived danger like a knock at the door or an unknown person approaching.

  • Active and energetic
  • Happy and affectionate
  • Intelligent and easy to train
  • Social

Are Havanese Dogs Good with Kids?

Havanese running
Havanese dogs are active and playful.

©Sandra Huber/Shutterstock.com

Havanese dogs are great with kids and make excellent family dogs. Their small size makes them safe dogs for small children. They won't pull on the leash and drag a child like some larger, more excitable breeds. As long as both the dog is trained and the child is taught not to pull on the dog’s tail and to respect the dog, they will get along well. Plus, their loving, affectionate personalities make them great companions. Havanese are known to be quite playful and learn tricks easily. Children will have fun spending time with these dogs. 

Since they are toy dogs, children must understand that they can't play rough with this type of dog. Havanese are small and lightweight and must be handled with care. For families of hyper and active children prone to roughhouse-type play, other dog breeds are more suitable than a Havanese. Havanese are playful but small, so they could get injured by rough play.

Havanese dogs will let you know when they have had enough and may growl or become assertive when they need a break. Pet parents should always supervise young children around a dog of any breed, even toy breeds. 

Temperament and Maintenance

Havanese dogs have a lifespan of 12-15 years. They need a nutritious diet with a regular feeding schedule. The biggest issue with these dogs is they can become overweight. Following an appropriate meal schedule and giving them the right amount of food is key to keeping their weight in check. It is difficult to get a dog to lose weight, and it's best to keep them from getting overweight in the first place. 

Havanese dogs are active and need to run around a lot to burn energy. Luckily, because they are so small, they can usually do this inside the home or apartment. Pet parents, though, should try and get them outside as much as they can. Because they are toy breeds, pet parents should be with the dog outside because they can be susceptible to predatory birds, larger dogs, and coyotes.

Havanese dogs have two coats of hair and need to be brushed regularly. Havanese don't shed as much as some other breeds, but they do shed. If anyone in the family has allergies, it is a good idea to spend time around a dog before adopting them to gauge the allergic reaction.

Havanese dogs need regular nail trimming, haircuts, and baths. Getting a dog groomer and building a relationship with one is a good idea because these dogs need to visit a groomer once a month for regular care. In addition, they need regular dental care. Pet parents should start brushing their dog's teeth when they are a puppy so they become accustomed to it and can do it at home a few times a week.

Training and Socializing a Havanese

Two Havanese dogs outside
Havanese are social and friendly dogs.

©Peter Mayer 67/Shutterstock.com

Havanese dogs are intelligent and easy to train. Training them as soon as they come into the household is important. Often small dogs don't get properly trained, and they get spoiled by their families. These dogs don't bark as much as other toy breeds, but they do bark when they are in a new situation.

These Cuban canines can learn tricks too. After they have been trained to follow commands and walk on a leash, pet parents can train Havanese dogs to do tricks and entertain the family. These little dogs love to be the center of attention, and their playful nature loves to learn new things.

While these dogs are easy to train with commands and tricks, they take longer to become housetrained. Many small dogs have a similar issue that they take longer than other breeds to learn to alert their pet parents when they need to go outside. So, accidents are inevitable with this breed, especially when they are young.

Socializing a Havanese is essential to their temperament and personality. They adore being around people and playing. They are good family dogs and can easily coexist with other pets as long as proper boundaries have been established through training.

Preparing Your Havanese for a Baby

Havanese with its tongue out
Havanese are good with kids.


If you already have a Havanese in the family and are pregnant, then you must ensure the dog is trained before the baby’s arrival. Havanese dogs need a lot of attention, and you will need to prepare the dog for the baby. Let the dog become accustomed to baby items in the house. You can play recordings of a baby crying so they learn the sound. Before the baby comes home from the hospital, bring an item home with the baby’s smell, like a blanket or burp cloth. The more you prepare the dog, the easier the transition will be for the dog and the family.

Pros of Havanese as a Family Dog

  • Small and only need a little space. Perfect for an apartment pet.
  • Intelligent and easy to train commands or to walk on a leash.
  • Affectionate and playful with kids.

Cons of Havanese a Family Dog

  • Regular visits to a groomer.
  • Take extra time to housetrain.
  • Need a lot of attention.

Overall Havanese dogs are excellent family dogs and great with children of all ages. Be sure to train a Havanese immediately, so it doesn’t learn bad habits like excessive barking. These small toy dogs will alert owners to new people and noises, making them effective, albeit small, guard dogs. Bringing a Havanese into the family is a great way to teach your children about the responsibilities of dog ownership and how to treat a pet. Plus, they will have a longtime best friend in a Havanese dog.

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