Havanese vs. Poochon: Which Breed to Get?

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Havanese vs. PoochonThe Havanese and the Poochon are visually very similar breeds, yet they have different personalities, histories, and lineages that inevitably make them different from one another. These differences can really change how suitable each breed is for different living situations, and it is important that potential owners of both breeds pay attention to those details.

In this article, I’ll help you decide between the two.

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Havanese vs. Poochon: A Detailed Comparison

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


The Havanese has an incredibly extensive history that dates back as early as the 16th century. Historians have traced the breed’s origins back to Cuba in the 1500s, where it is thought that the breed is likely to have descended from the Tenerife dogs that were taken into the country by travelers from around the Mediterranean.

Within Cuba, the dogs became very popular very quickly and became favorites among those living in cities such as Havana, hence the breed’s name. They were even popular with foreign visitors, who took Havanese dogs with them when they returned to mainland Europe. It was not until the late 20th century, however, that the breed found its way to the USA.

In the 1970s, many Cubans fled Castro’s revolution and took their beloved Havanese puppies with them. By 1996, the USA had enough of the breed for the American Kennel Club to recognize it as an official breed.

Alternatively, the Poochon has a much less exciting history.

Bred in the late 1990s in Australia and then shortly in the UK and in the USA, the breed was a designer breed created with the hopes of mixing the proud intelligence of the Toy Poodle with the playfulness and affectionate Bichon Frise, whilst also minimizing both breeds’ health concerns.

Both of the breeds are in one way or another part of the bichon family of dogs.


Both the Havanese and the Poochon are small dog breeds. However, the Havanese is the smaller of the two, officially taking the “toy dog” title. The Havanese typically measure at around 8 to 12 inches tall and weigh anywhere between 7 and 13 pounds.  Alternatively, the slightly bigger Poochon will measure in at 9 to 15 inches and will weigh between 6 and 17 pounds.

Both breeds, despite the small size difference, are well suited for lapdog status.

Aging Profile

Small dog breeds such as the Havanese and the Poochon tend to live longer than their larger counterparts. This is evident with both breeds, as the Havanese has a life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years, and the Poochon has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

This longer life expectancy is due to the different growth and maturity rate in smaller dog breeds, which is also the reason that many of them reach full size quicker than larger breeds. The Havanese, for example, is fully grown after only 12 months. The Poochon, likewise, becomes full size after 18 months.


Temperament is, of course, an essential factor to consider when looking at adopting or buying a dog. And whilst each independent dog will have a slightly different temperament and personality – especially if you are adopting or fostering an adult dog – the breed will have a general temperament that will usually be evident across the whole breed.

Typically, Havanese are playful and energetic and are always desperate to be the center of attention. They are incredibly loyal and loving, but can also be a little bit overbearing and needy, and are known to be an incredibly sensitive dog breed.

On the other hand, Poochons are cuddly and playful and are well known for their active social lives. They love other dogs and their family and are always up to play. They’re charming and affectionate, but they can also be quite feisty and vocal.


For those interested in training their dogs, the intelligence of the breed is very important. Both of these breeds are relatively intelligent, however, the Poochon does trump the Havanese. The Havanese can be easily trained, especially when met with positive reinforcement, but the breed’s sensitivity can mean that they react very poorly to negative reinforcement.

The Poochon benefits from the intelligence of its parent breed, the Poodle. It is an intelligent dog breed that will require much mental stimulation but will also be easy to train. Owners of a Poochon will not struggle to train their pet except perhaps when it comes to the breed’s vocal tendencies.


The grooming requirements of a breed can quite easily break the bank. It is crucial to know what will be required of you prior to choosing a breed as a pet. Both the Havanese and the Poochon are relatively high maintenance and will require regular attention when it comes to grooming.

The Havanese should be brushed every 2 to 3 weeks, and only ever when damp. They should also be given a bath every other week and will require eye and ear cleaning in between baths to help prevent infections.

Similarly, the Poochon will need regular baths to help avoid a build-up of dirt and grime in the fur from causing skin irritation. They should have a trim every 6 to 8 weeks and should be brushed every other day. In between washes, owners should be sure to wash the eyes and ears of their pets to avoid any infection occurring,


Most dog breeds will inevitably have health conditions that they are prone to. These can usually be handled with the right veterinary care and support, and with the right treatment and lifestyle, most health conditions will not drastically limit either breed’s life.

The Havanese is particularly susceptible to Legg-Calves-Perthes disease, luxating patellas, distichiasis, deafness, hypothyroidism, eye conditions, and heart problems. The Poochon also struggles with luxating patellas and is prone to retinal atrophy, allergies, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, and bladder issues.


Neither breed is cheap due to their popularity.

Generally, you will be looking at paying between $1,000 and $1,500 for a Havanese and between $1,000 and $3,000 for the Poochon, since they are designer dogs. The exact number will depend on the breeder, the stock, and the market.

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

Both the Havanese and the Poochon are incredible breeds that are sweet, adorable, and will make great pets given the opportunity, however, the two do differ on some fundamental points. As well as differing slightly in cost, intelligence, health, and temperament, there are some other key differences between the breeds.

For example, the Havanese is a great dog to have if you are allergic to dander as they are hypoallergenic. This means that they do not shed much, and so will be unlikely to set off your allergies. The Poochon, however, is a minimal shed breed. So whilst they are better for allergies than say a Husky, they are not entirely hypoallergenic and so those with sensitive allergies should avoid them.

The other difference between the breeds is that the Poochon is great with children. This makes them incredibly well suited to homes with families or busy homes with lots of visitors. Whether the child is young or older, a Poochon will be grateful for the attention and the playtime. Alternatively, the Havanese’s sensitivity makes them a bad match for families with young children, as they may get jealous or upset if not given equal treatment.


For anyone looking for a small dog breed that will adapt well to any size living space, both of these breeds are good fits. However, if you need to work away from home a lot, then it is wise to look elsewhere as both the Havanese and the Poochon have a tendency to form separation anxiety when left alone.

The Poochon makes a perfectly happy, fun, and playful lapdog for families, and the Havanese is a great companion and long-term friend for couples or singles looking to expand their families. Whilst both breeds do have issues in terms of their temperaments (such as the Poochon’s vocalness and the Havanese’s sensitivity) these can often be worked on with sufficient training.

Considering Other Breeds Too?

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

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