Havanese pack a lot of personality into a tiny little body. They are spunky little dogs who enjoy being the center of attention, but they don't demand it like some other toy breeds. They'll simply do their best to charm and entertain a person in order to get a reaction. Havanese are good with children and are sturdy enough to withstand living with a clumsy toddler. They are easy to train and travel well, and they will want to come with you wherever you go, because they hate to be left alone. They were bred in Cuba to be companion animals and are just as well-suited for empty nesters as they are large families. As long as the Havanese has a loving family to call his own, he'll be a happy dog.
Though they have energy to spare, Havanese don't require too much exercise to maintain an even temperament. A couple of daily walks and time to play, either indoors or outdoors is good enough. This is not an outdoor dog – Havanese are inside dogs and you may have to pick them up to get them to go outdoors. Their size and low activity requirements make them ideal apartment dogs and they are better suited for city life than country living.
Havanese are highly trainable dogs and can often be found performing in the circus. They will do anything for attention, and when training is conducted with positive reinforcement and treats, a Havanese catches on quickly. Harsh discipline will get you nowhere – a Havanese will shut down completely if his trainer yells or pulls.
Early and frequent socialization is important. Though Havanese like attention and are generally good around new people, they can sometimes be overly protective and wary of strangers. Teaching them early on that new friends are good can save a lot of eardrums from a Havanese bark.
This breed is difficult to house train and requires up to a year of crate training. Some Havanese never quite catch on, so if possible, a doggy door may be necessary.
Barking is a common complaint of Havanese owners. Many report their dog's favorite spot to be a perch where they can look out the window and announce what is happening outside. Early training is important so that your Havanese obeys commands to cease barking.
Separation Anxiety is another common problem with Havanese. They are companion dogs who are highly dependent upon the people they love. People who are not home very often would be doing this breed a disservice. They are best suited for retirees or families with a stay at home parent.