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Adopting a puppy is one of the most exciting yet challenging moments in our life. We are preparing to welcome into our hearts and homes a furry friend that will be a part of our life for many years to come.
If you like the Havanese but you want to explore more options, check the sections below to find out more about alternatives to this wonderful breed.
The Six Other Bichon-Type Breeds
The Havanese breed belongs to the same family as the bichon frise, Maltese, Bolognese, Cotton de Tulear, Lowchen, and Bolonka.
It is easy to mistake one for another, but one way to differentiate between them is the coat color and texture. For instance, bichons are always white, while Havanese’s coat is usually darker, ranging from black to chocolate and cream.
Some common characteristics include the big, dark eyes, the small size, and the luxurious coat, although this has a different texture depending on the breed. For instance, Havanese and Maltese both have fine, silky coats, but Maltese is usually white. Bichons and Coton de Tulear are low-shedders with coats similar to cotton, making them look like puff balls.
Lowchen, translated to “little lion dog”, is easy to distinguish because it is often clipped to resemble a lion’s mane. It was once considered the rarest dog in the world.
The Bolognese is a wooly dog with a single coat, and the pure breed is only white, just like bichons frises. The Bolonka, or “Tsvetnaya Bolonka” is a Russian breed that can be translated as “colored Bolognese.”
6 Best Non-Bichon-Type Alternatives to the Havanese
While the other bichon-type breeds are great alternatives to the Havanese, there are some other, unrelated ones to consider too. Here are six of those.
Shih Tzu and Havanese are about the same size, but Shih Tzus are a bit heavier. In terms of appearance, they have multi-colored coats, but the Shih Tzu has a denser coat than the Havanese.
They are equally affectionate and friendly with other humans and pets, and both do well with kids, too. One major difference between the breeds is that the Havanese is easier to housebreak than a Shih Tzu, which tends to be quite stubborn.
Poodle comes in many sizes, such as toy, miniature, and standard. Their temperament is essentially the same, just like other traits, so only the size differs.
The toy poodle is most similar to the Havanese regarding size (no more than 10 inches). These companion dogs do not shed much, they are not very vocal, and are friendly with both humans and other pets. The poodle’s coat is usually dense, thick, and curly, unlike the Havanese’s soft and long hair.
Both breeds love fun, want to be in the center of your world all the time, and they are both ideal companions for any household. They are both suited for apartment living.
The Yorkshire terrier is smaller than the Havanese (7-8 inches and only 7 pounds). Nonetheless, its personality is unmatched – it is brave, has a big attitude, and is even bossy at times. Yorkies are also hypoallergenic and are good watchdogs. Their coat is longer and softer and this pup is more alert and energetic than the Havanese.
While Yorkies are a bit more difficult to train compared to Havanese, their intelligence is above average. Also, Havanese are more adaptable to new people and visitors, while Yorkies are more sensitive and are best for a quiet household with a regular daily routine.
Unlike the Havanese, the Japanese Spitz has a thick, white coat and sheds moderately. It is loving and loyal, and its intelligence is similar to the Havanese, which means they are smart and relatively easy to train.
One main difference is that the Japanese Spitz tends to be quite vocal sometimes, while the Havanese is more suitable for apartment living. While protective, the Spitz is not a very skilled watchdog.
Overall, the Japanese Spitz is a house-friendly dog and may suit any type of household (if you don’t mind the occasional barking). Just like Havanese, these dogs do not enjoy being alone and may develop separation anxiety.
The Pomeranian is slightly smaller than the Havanese, reaching between 3 to 7 pounds and up to 12 inches in height. It has a fluffy, white coat, but may also be found in gray, red, or tan, among other colors. Unlike Havanese, Pomeranians are moderate shedders, so they may not be suitable for people with allergies.
In terms of temperament, Pomeranians are more active than Havanese, but both breeds are intelligent and playful. Pomeranians are loyal and gentle, so they would be suitable for any type of household. However, just like bichon-type breeds, they need a lot of interaction and tend to bark more than the Havanese.
Toy American Eskimo
The toy American Eskimo is quite similar to the Havanese, apart from their looks: the Toy American Eskimo is white and has wavy hair, and sheds more than a Havanese. Apart from this, both breeds are friendly, love to be around their human friends, and are affectionate towards strangers and other pets, too.
Thanks to the small size, both breeds adapt well to apartment living.
Havanese Mixed Breeds
The Havanese breed is beloved by many people around the world, so it’s not surprising that there are more and more breeders that combine the Havanese’s traits with other small, adorable breeds, resulting in an unexpectedly adorable puppy with traits from both parents.
These mixed breeds are great alternatives to the purebred Havanese too. Below are a few examples.
Havashu is the mix between the Shih Tzu and the Havanese. These breeds are often confused due to their similar appearances. The hybrids are energetic, friendly with kids, and love getting your attention.
Next, the Cheenese is the lovely mix between Chihuahua and Havanese. It is essentially the best purse dog, with a weight between 4 and 16 pounds, depending on which parent it takes after. Thus, Cheeneses can turn out quite differently at maturity. This pup may not be the best choice for households with children due to its tendency to yip and bite (playfully!). Nonetheless, they will shower you with affection and loyalty.
Another favorite is the Poovanese, or the mix between a Poodle and Havanese. The actual appearance depends on its parents, especially as Poodles come in different sizes. The resulting hybrid is hypoallergenic because both of its parents are. The coat may be black, brown, or golden. Its temperament combines the best of both worlds, resulting in a highly trainable, smart pup that loves to protect its loved ones.
The Havapeke is the combination between a Pekingese and a Havanese. Out of all the mixed breeds mentioned here, the Havapeke is perhaps the most introverted one, so it’s a good option for a quiet family, rather than one with kids. The Havapeke may be more difficult to train, so first-time owners may need some professional help. With a relatively flat face, the hybrid is not very active and may have trouble breathing if exposed to high-intensity activities. It is a small pup, weighing between 7 and 13 pounds and being about 12 inches tall.
Whether you want a gregarious buddy or a lap dog ready to nap all day, there are many breeds and hybrids to choose from. All of these pups are similar to the Havanese in one way or another and are loving and loyal, but they need extensive care to stay happy and healthy.
Based on the hybrid or pure breed you choose, you need to do your research to find out how to care for them, what the recommended grooming routines are, and what other considerations you need to keep in mind.
Whether you live in a small apartment by yourself, or a large country house with multiple family members, the list above surely includes options that will suit your needs and preferences.