Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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A charming mix of the good-natured Bichon Frise and the sociable Havanese, the Havachon makes a wonderful companion for children and adults alike. They learn quickly and their curiosity means that they are always eager to participate in any training session. Alert at all times, they make fantastic watch dogs and will bark loudly at any new arrival.

Small yet sturdy, the Havachon has a well-muscled body and typically has a medium-length, wavy coat that can be a number of different colours. Their coat is not too high maintenance and a few brushing sessions a week should keep it in good shape.

About & History

Hair styles aside, the Havanese and Bichon Frise are not too dissimilar when it comes to their their general appearance. Experts are unsure as to when these pedigrees were first bred together but it was likely within the last few decades. Since the 1970s, it has been very trendy to breed two purebred dogs together and create a new hybrid designer dog. Though the Havachon is a new creation with only a short history, we know plenty about each of its parent breeds.

The Havanese

The Havanese is from Cuba, hence its name, which is in reference to the capital city of Havana. It is widely accepted that the ancestors of the Havanese were brought over in ships in the 1500s from the island of Tenerife and would have included the likes of the Bichon Frise and the Maltese. It did not take too long for the Havanese to develop into its own breed once on the island of Cuba, as the canine population would have been isolated and relatively small.

By the 19th century, the higher classes were enamoured with this small, friendly dog and many would keep them as family pets. So popular did they become, that wealthy tourists would bring them back from Cuba when they went travelling. Sadly, at the time of the Cuban revolution in 1959, breed numbers were at an all-time low and the Havanese almost became extinct. Thankfully, several Cubans who relocated to America brought a number of Havanese dogs with them, ensuring they lived on.

The Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise has been around since at least the middle ages, occupying the region of the Mediterranean. Most agree that they were originally brought from the island of Tenerife to mainland Spain, where they were a popular choice of pet amongst nobility. Interest in the breed declined in the 19th century and many Bichons lived on the street and earned their keep by performing as circus dogs.

Of course, it wouldn’t be long before their sweet natures and charm won the public over and they were once again looked upon as desirable pets by the 1930s. Most agree that the first Bichon was introduced to America in the 1950s and the breed were recognised by the American Kennel Club within their Non-Sporting Group in 1973.


The Havachon is a small but robust dog with dark brown, intelligent eyes and a kind face. They have a round skull and furry ears that hang to the side of their head. They have a small, black nose that is typically quite shiny. Their body is rectangular in shape and their limbs are fairly short. The tail of the Havachon curls elegantly above their back and is densely furred. The average, fully-grown dog will measure from 23cm to 36cm and will weigh between 4kg and 7kg.

The coat of the Havachon varies from dog to dog and may be composed of the characteristic curls of their Bichon parent or may more closely resemble the long and wavy coat of the Havanese. While the Bichon will only ever be white, the Havachon takes after their Havanese parent when it comes to coat colouring and can have many different fur colours, including black, grey, cream and white. It is also not unusual for a dog to have more than one colour.

Character & Temperament

One of the best features of the Havachon is their docile and playful personality. This characteristic has ensured that their popularity is steadily growing, particularly with families who have young children. They will bask in the attention of just about anyone and are happiest when being fussed over and cuddled. They seem to rely on human companionship for much of their happiness and make incredibly loyal pets. Of course, this can sometimes cause an issue, as these dogs really hate being left alone. Separation anxiety is not uncommon and it would not be wise to choose a Havachon unless able to spend a good amount of time with it each day.

Curious and always up for a game, the Havachon makes a fun addition to the family and will make sure everyone is entertained. Silly yet smart, they will keep owners on their toes and love to goof around. The Havachon is too good-natured to ever pose enough of a threat to make a believable guard dog but they certainly have the ability to make a good watch dog and will bark as soon as a new person arrives at the home.

Very adaptable, one of the perks of owning a Havachon is that they do not need much space at all. Suited to urban life, this breed can be comfortable in even a small apartment.


Training a Havachon is far from a chore and they will take to basic commands impressively quickly. They love nothing more than pleasing their master and will work hard to make a good student. Many Havachons will learn impressive tricks and are more than happy to perform them to any audience that cares to watch.


There are a handful of conditions that we see in the Havachon breed that should be monitored for. This is especially crucial in a newly established breed to ensure that future generations are fit and healthy.

Mitral Valve Disease

A heart condition that will get progressively worse with time, Mitral Valve Disease is normally first suspected when a low-grade heart murmur is picked up on a routine physical exam by a veterinarian. Diagnostic tests, such as chest X-rays and echocardiograms, can confirm the diagnosis and most dogs will benefit from medication to slow down the progression of the disease and control the symptoms.

Porto-Systemic Shunt

A shunt that is present from birth, affected dogs will normally be stunted and may also exhibit neurological and gastrointestinal signs. A specialised ultrasound scan may be able to detect the issue and sometimes a special dye will be used to highlight the problem area. While medication can help to control symptoms, a surgery is usually needed to fix the problem.

Patellar Luxation

Many small dogs are prone to patellar luxation, which can affect one or both knees. Owners may first notice that their dog seems to skip for a step or two before returning to walking as normal. This orthopaedic condition is graded from one to four, with four being the most severe.

Regardless of the grade, most affected dogs will go on to develop local osteoarthritis in their knee that tends to progress with age. For some, a surgery will be advised in order to correct the luxation.

Exercise and Activity Levels

A small dog with moderate exercise requirements, owners should be careful to not completely neglect the physical needs of the Havachon. A couple of good 30-minute walks each day should keep them happy and this should ideally be supplemented with plenty of play time, training sessions and other activities.

As they are so smart, they can become easily bored so like to have different things to do to keep them occupied. It is not necessary for a Havachon to have lots of space or access to a garden, making them the ideal city dweller.


Many appreciate the fact that the Havachon does not shed a lot and most breed members will be hypoallergenic, making them the ideal choice for humans with allergies. Their fur will need to be brushed two to three times a week and this is a routine that dogs should be introduced to from puppyhood.

The pendulous ears of the Havachon should be checked regularly and those prone to waxy build-ups may need to have their ears cleaned every few weeks or so. Brushing the teeth of the Havachon on a daily basis is a great idea as their small jaws make them prone to periodontal disease.

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