Havanese vs. Miniature Schnauzer: Which Breed to Get?

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Havanese vs. Miniature SchnauzerSmaller dog breeds have always been popular. They were often kept by royals in Europe, and have also been used historically for hunting. More recently, however, they have become favorites among busy city workers. Two popular small breeds, the Havanese and the Miniature Schnauzer are particularly great for modern homes.

This article will help you decide which of the two – if either – is the right one to get for you.

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Havanese vs. Miniature Schnauzer: A Detailed Comparison

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


The Havanese can be traced back as far as the 1500s, when it appears that they originated in Cuba. It is assumed that the Havanese directly descended from the Tenerife dogs of Cuba that were transported to the country by Mediterranean travelers. Havanese quickly became a popular breed in Cuba, with many households falling in love with the small breed, ultimately landing it a spot as the national dog.

The breed then traveled to Europe when French visitors to Cuba encountered it and took dogs home with them, from there it spread across the continent. The Havanese did not end up in America, however, until the 1970s, when people fled Cuba due to Castro’s Revolution, and took their dogs with them.

From there, the breed became more popular, until it was officially recognized in 1996. The Havanese is a bichon-type dog related to bichon frise among others.

The Miniature Schnauzer has a slightly shorter history.

They can be traced back to the late 19th century in Germany, where they were bred to be ratters on farms. The breed is descended from Standard Schnauzers and Affenpinschers, both of which were also working dogs.

In 1933, the American Kennel Club named the Miniature Schnauzer a separate breed from the Standard Schnauzer, and they have continued to rise in popularity since then.


The Havanese is classified as a “toy dog”, owing to its incredibly small size. They tend to measure around 8 to 12 inches tall, and will usually weigh between 7 and 13 pounds. They are recognizable not only for their size but for their dropped ears and wavy coat. Their tails curl upwards and over their back, and they tend to be longer than they are tall.

Miniature Schnauzers, whilst a small breed, are bigger than the Havanese. They measure in at around 11 to 14 inches and tend to weigh between 11 and 22 pounds. They usually have semi-upright ears that occur naturally, and their medium coat can be either salt and pepper colored, black and silver, or solid black.

Aging Profile

Small dogs typically live longer than larger dogs, and that is the case with both of these breeds.

The Miniature Schnauzer and the Havanese have an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. Their maturity and growth rate are also relatively fast, with them both reaching full size by 12 months old.


Small breeds, especially those that are classified as terriers, like the Miniature Schnauzer, often get a bad reputation for their feisty temperaments. However, with both of these breeds, there is much more to them than many would assume.

The Havanese is an incredibly playful and affectionate breed. They are energetic, sweet, and very sensitive. They love nothing more than to be the center of attention and to be your lapdog. Likewise, the Minature Schnauzer is playful and courageous, and will always have the energy to entertain.

The Miniature Schnauzer is a little bit hardy and feisty at times, but if trained well, this can be handled.


When it comes to comparing these two breeds’ intelligence, the Miniature Schnauzer definitely comes out on top. The breed descends from two incredibly intelligent breeds and was bred to be a working dog. They are responsive, quick to learn and eager to please, and show very little sensitivity.

Alternatively, the Havanese is an intelligent breed but isn’t the most receptive. They respond very well to positive reinforcement, but respond awfully to any discipline and can be prone to acting out if upset.


It is incredibly important to ensure that grooming requirements are considered before purchasing or adopting a dog. Not doing so can result in a number of unexpected costs for the owner, and a lot of unexpected hassle.

The Havanese is the higher maintenance of these two breeds. Their wavy coat needs brushing every 2 to 3 weeks and they should be bathed every other week. They can only be brushed when damp, and may also require eye and ear cleaning regularly.

The Miniature Schnauzer on the other hand simply requires regular brushing (once a week or when their coat looks knotted) and a full groom every 8 to 9 weeks.


For those looking to buy either breed, the cost is of course an essential factor to consider. Since both of these breeds are popular, and they can both be pedigree and kennel club registered, buyers are looking at anywhere between $1,000 and $1,500 for a Havanese and $1,200 to $2,000 for a Miniature Schnauzer.


Most dogs have a few health conditions that they are predisposed to, usually due to the way in which they have been bred over time. These conditions are often treatable or avoidable, but owners will need to cooperate with a veterinary expert in order to do so.

The Havanese is prone to Legg-Calves-Perthes disease, luxating patellas, distichiasis, deafness, hypothyroidism, eye conditions, and heart problems. Miniature Schnauzers are prone to dental disease, obesity, anal sac impaction, and ear infections.

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

Whilst both breeds are great options for pets, they differ on a few key traits that might make them more or less suitable for your home and lifestyle.

One trait that both breeds share is that their size makes them very well suited to small living. This means that they are absolutely fine living in an apartment, a static home, or even in a van on the road so long as they get adequate exercise.

Additionally, both breeds are hypoallergenic, so they work great for households wherein someone has a dander allergy, but aside from that, they are quite different.

For example, where the Havanese cannot be left alone for any great amount of time due to their sensitive temperaments and a tendency to develop separation anxiety, the Miniature Schnauzer is completely happy to be left to its own devices and will be able to happily sit alone (so long as there is sufficient water and food) for up to 8 hours.

That means that for those who need to leave the house or apartment regularly for work or anything else, a Havanese would not be suitable. When Havanese are left alone, they may develop both separation anxiety and depression, and this can manifest as poor behavior, acting out, and the reversal of potty training. They may get destructive, loud, and feisty.

Likewise, the Miniature Schnauzer is perfectly happy to be in a household with children, and will thoroughly enjoy the attention and play they get from having children of all ages around. They are high-energy and playful dogs, so this is a suitable environment for them.

On the other hand, Havanese are not suitable to have around young children. Their sensitivity may lead to them not understanding the lack of attention being given to them, and they may begin to act out.


For those after a needy and affectionate companion dog, the Havanese is the breed to choose. However, for those wanting a playful family dog, it might be wiser to opt for the Miniature Schnauzer.

Considering Other Breeds Too?

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

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