Havanese vs. Cavachon: Which Breed to Get?

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Havanese vs. CavachonTrying to decide which breed of dog to bring home as a new member of your family can be incredibly difficult. Many of them are so closely related that at first glance it can be really hard to notice the differences between the two breeds; just like with the Havanese and the Cavachon.

But there are some really key differences that could make or break your relationship with the pup! This article will take you through those and help you make the right decision.

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Havanese vs. Cavachon: A Detailed Comparison

Let’s start by looking at the two breeds side-by-side.


The Havanese is a timeless breed of dog that originated from Cuba. They were first seen in Havana and cities like it in around the 1500s, and it is likely that they developed from the Tenerife dogs that sailors and travelers bought over from islands around the Mediterranean.

They spread to Europe when visitors encountered them in Havana and fell in love, taking their own pets back with them – this was particularly common among royalty. They then spread to the US in the 1970s, when people fled from Cuba during Castro’s revolution. In 1996, they were officially registered as a breed with the American Kennel Club.

The Cavachon breed is a mix of two other timeless breeds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise. Both the parent breeds have been around for a long time, however, the Cavachon itself originated in North America around 1996. Its parent breeds come from the Mediterranean and the UK, and it is likely that the two were bred together to meet a demand for a fun, happy, small dog with fewer health concerns.

With that, both the Havanese and the Cavachon are in one way or another part of the bichon family of dogs.


Due to its small size, the Havanese is referred to as a “toy dog.” They measure between 8 and 12 inches on average and weigh as little as 7 to 12 pounds. They have characteristic drooped ears and a wavy coat as well as a tail that curls over their back. Havanese are often longer than they are tall.

Slightly bigger, the Cavachon measures between 9 and 13 inches and can weigh between 9 and 18 pounds. Their coat is slightly wavy and silky, and they have recognizable floppy ears. Their color is often indeterminable until the dog is fully grown, but could be black and tan, ruby, Blenheim, tricolor, or white.

Aging Profile

Smaller dogs typically live longer than large breeds, and that is definitely the case with both of these breeds. Havanese have an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, and this can be longer if they live healthy lives and they successfully avoid the health conditions that many small breeds are predisposed to.

Likewise, Cavachons have an average life expectancy of 11 to 13 years but have been known to live longer if cared for very well and with regular veterinary checkups, particularly as they begin to get older.

Both breeds will be fully grown at 10 to 12 months but may fill out slightly after that point. However, it is important to ensure that they are simply filling out and not gaining unnecessary weight, as being overweight can lead to health conditions in dogs.


The appeal of both of these dog breeds is their temperaments. They are both playful and affectionate breeds. In fact, the Cavachon was bred largely for its affectionate and fun attitude. Both breeds are playful and will be happy to cuddle up to their owners on occasion.

However, that is where the similarities stop.

The Havanese, whilst playful, is incredibly sensitive. They do not cope well with a lack of attention, changes in the household, or scolding. This can prove difficult in certain living situations, and can often make the Havanese feel very high maintenance.

On the other hand, the Cavachon is incredibly laid back – so long as it gets enough exercise. Cavachons are happy to play, eager to be the center of attention and so long as they are socialized correctly when young, will get on well with other dogs and strangers, but they might yap at them first!


The Havanese and Cavachon are both intelligent breeds and can be trained to do general obedience tasks as well as more elaborate show tricks. They do require a bit of effort to teach, however.

The Havanese, whilst intelligent, do not handle discipline and will only really respond to positive reinforcement. The Cavachon is very intelligent and is eager to please, but they do suffer from incredibly short attention spans, so trying to maintain their interest whilst training might prove difficult.


Far too many people overlook required grooming when they are trying to choose a dog breed. But grooming can incur a large cost, and it is important that you know what is expected of you before you bring home a dog that you cannot adequately care for.

Havanese will require brushing every 2 to 3 weeks, and their coat must be damp when brushed. They will also need a bath every other week, but if they look knotted or dirty in between, brushing and bathing them at that point is advised.

A Cavachon will need to be brushed multiple times a week and should only need to be bathed once a month, but again, this depends on whether the dog has been swimming or rolling in mud on walks.


The cost of dogs largely depends on the reputation of the breeder, the lineage the dog is coming from, and whether that breed is particularly popular at the time of purchase. However, typically, Havanese puppies will sell for between $1,000 and $1,500, and Cavachons sell for between $700 and $6,000 due to their nature as designer breeds.


Cavachons were bred to eliminate some of the health issues of their parent breeds, but that doesn’t mean that they are without their own conditions. They are prone to atopic dermatitis, cataracts, Cushing’s, mitral endocarditis, patellar luxation, syringomyelia, and liver failure.

Havanese are prone to Legg-Calves-Perthes disease, luxating patellas, distichiasis, deafness, hypothyroidism, eye conditions, and heart problems.

These conditions can be avoided and treated with the right lifestyle and care, though, so it should not put you off either breed. It is just a consideration to make.

Havanese vs. Cavachon: Which Should You Get as a Pet?

Whilst both breeds are quite similar, there are some key differences to take note of. If, for example, you are likely to be out at work a lot or there are lots of small children around, then a Cavachon is the best breed for you to get as a pet.

Havanese are prone to separation anxiety and sensitivities that can lead to behavioral problems should they be left alone too often, and they often cannot handle young children getting the majority of the attention. Cavachons have been known to suffer from separation anxiety too, but this can be trained away.

Both breeds are well suited to small flats and homes, and so long as they get enough exercise there shouldn’t be any destructive behavior, so they are perfect dogs for the city or the countryside. Likewise, both breeds are hypoallergenic and suited to living around those with allergies.

The decision of which breed to get is a deeply personal one, and it does largely depend on whether you’d like a constant companion or a dog with a bit more of an independent streak.


Both Cavachons and Havanese are incredibly playful and fun-loving dogs with a happy temperament and reasonable intelligence. They make great additions to most families, but the Havanese is definitely much more suited to a childless home or a home with older children, or an elderly household.

The Cavachon, on the other hand, will thrive with young children and the constant attention that they bring. They are largely attention-seeking dogs and will wear themselves out playing with the little ones before napping on your lap.

The two breeds are well suited for modern living, be it an apartment, a van, or a house, but it is worth considering that they may well yap if left unattended at home, often making them a nuisance in large apartment blocks or in terraced housing.

Considering Other Breeds Too?

Make sure to read how the Havanese compares with other breeds too:

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