Havanese vs. Poodle: Which Breed to Get?

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Havanese vs. PoodleFor those looking for a pet that is a truly great addition to their home, a Poodle or a Havanese would both be a great choice. They’re great breeds, and with Poodles, there is even the option of opting for a smaller size in order to best suit your space and lifestyle without sacrificing any of the temperament or style.

With that said, this article will help you figure out which of the two breeds is the right choice for you.

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Havanese vs. Poodle: A Detailed Comparison

Let’s start by looking at the Havanese and the Poodle side-by-side.


Both the Havanese and the Poodle have extensive histories.

The Poodle has been traced back as early as the 14th century, with historians believing they may well have been around prior to this. The breed originated in Germany, where they were bred to hunt waterfowl. Poodles were then taken to France, where they were popularized.

It was in France in the 1400s that breeders bred smaller Poodles with one another in order to create the Toy Poodle and Miniature Poodle. The Toy Poodle quickly became a companion of royalty and the rich, and the Miniature Poodle was used to hunt truffles, whilst their larger counterpart, the Standard Poodle, was used for duck hunting.

There is not a specific date to mark when Poodles appeared in the United States, but they were recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club in 1886.

The Havanese, on the other hand, can be traced back to the 1500s in Cuba. It is assumed that they developed from the Tenerife dogs that had previously been taken into the country. The Havanese breed was incredibly popular in cities such as Havana, and then when European travelers visited, they too fell for the breed, taking it back to Europe.

The Havanese breed first appeared in the US when Cuban natives fled the country during Castro’s revolution in the 1970s, leading to the recognition of the breed by the American Kennel Club in 1996.


The Havanese breed is referred to as a “toy dog” due to its small size. It is typically between 8 and 12 inches tall, weighing only 7 to 13 lbs. The breed is recognizable from its dropped ears, wavy coat, and curled tail, and can come in a range of colors, including black, white, tobacco, fawn, and mahogany.

The Poodle’s appearance remains consistent across the three sizes, with a thick and curly dense coat that can be blue, black, white, gray, silver, brown, apricot, or cream.

Toy Poodles, the smallest of the three, tend to be around 10 inches tall and will weigh between 6 and 9 pounds, making them smaller than the Havanese. The Miniature Poodle and will usually measure somewhere between 11 and 15 inches and will weigh between 15 and 17 pounds. Lastly, the Standard Poodle is anything bigger than the Miniature, usually sitting at around 20 inches tall and weighing anywhere between 45 and 70 pounds.

Aging Profile

Havanese will reach full size by one year old, and have a life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years. A Toy Poodle and the Miniature Poodle have an average life expectancy of 14 to 16 years and will reach full size within 6 or 7 months.

Standard Poodles have a life expectancy of 11 to 13 years and will be fully grown within two years. The difference in life expectancy between the different types of Poodle can be put down to their difference in size.


Havanese are known for being playful, affectionate, and energetic, and make great family pets. They often seek to be the center of attention, and this can make them very eager to please. However, the breed is also known to be incredibly sensitive and emotional, which can often lead to behavioral issues if not handled correctly.

Poodles are also incredibly loving and playful and are known for their loyalty. But they have also often been described as mischievous and many owners will discuss their pet’s “regal” attitude. Nonetheless, they have a very goofy side and are incredibly fun pets to have around the house.


Havanese are reasonably intelligent and can be easily trained so long as they are not disciplined harshly. They respond best to positive reinforcement due to their heightened sensitivity, and without this, they can appear stubborn or unintelligent.

Poodles are often considered one of the most intelligent breeds out there. Since their origin, they’ve been used for tracking, hunting, and chasing, and they are very easy to train because of this. Their intelligence makes them perfect for show dogs, but it also makes them great pets for those who have the time to train them properly.


Despite having a wavy coat, the Havanese breed is a relatively low-maintenance one. They require a brush every 2 to 3 weeks and should be bathed every week. They must only be brushed when their coat is damp, and may occasionally need more regular cleaning or brushing if they appear knotty or dirty.

On the other hand, the Poodle (all three sizes) is a very high-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming. The coat is very dense and tightly curled and will need cutting, brushing, and trimming every 3 to 6 weeks in order to keep it from tangling or becoming unruly and dirty.


Since both breeds are recognized by the Kennel Club and have been around for such a long time, breeders can get away with charging a fair amount for these dogs. The prices will be even higher for pedigree puppies or dogs with a traceable lineage.

Typically, Havanese will cost anywhere between $1,000 and $1,500. A Toy Poodle or Miniature Poodle will cost between $1,000 and $1,200, and a Standard Poodle will cost between $700 and $1,500.


Even with purebred dogs, there are always some health conditions that breeds are more susceptible to. These should be considered prior to buying or adopting a dog, however, it is important to note that with the right care and veterinary support, many of the conditions can be avoided or treated.

Havanese are particularly prone to Leggs-Calves-Perthes disease, luxating patellas, distichiasis, deafness, hypothyroidism, eye conditions, and heart problems. Poodles are prone to Addison’s disease, gastric dilation volvulus, Cushing’s disease, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and eye problems.

The smaller breeds of Poodle will be more prone to patellar luxation and Leggs-Calves-Perthes, as these are conditions that typically affect smaller breeds more.

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

Both breeds make great pets, but each is more suited to a particular lifestyle and person or family.

The Havanese is definitely more suited to smaller families or older families, and those who will definitely have the time to train them and socialize them.

The breed is closely related to the Bichon family, and like many of those breeds, struggles intensely with being left alone. Havanese often develop separation anxiety if left alone often, meaning they are not suitable for anyone who intends to leave their pet at home all day whilst they go off to work. Leaving them alone can result in a change in personality and even antisocial behavior.

Havanese’s sensitivity also means that they are not suitable to have around small children. They will notice and be unhappy if their owners are giving more attention to a child than to them, and this could result in behavioral problems.

Poodles are more suited to a busier lifestyle and would make brilliant family pets. They are high energy, and will love the attention from children, whilst also being happy to chill out when their owners are busy with the kids.

They are much more resilient in terms of sensitivity, and so can handle being left on their own for a few hours at a time, so long as they have enough food, and toys, and routinely get enough exercise. For smaller homes, especially if owners intend to leave their Poodle alone, Toy or Minature Poodles may be the best choice as they will have enough room in the home to run off any excess energy without causing damage.

Poodles are also great pets for those who wish to take their dog out to socialize with them. Since they are easy to train, they can be kept on a leash in a park, on a picnic, or in a restaurant garden without too much stress.


Whilst both breeds are great dogs, for older families, or elderly couples and singles, the Havanese is an ideal breed. They will provide constant companionship and love and will be loyal friends to their owners. They do not require extensive effort, and only need around 30 minutes of exercise per day.

For those busier, larger families, a Poodle is the better choice. The size of the Poodle depends on the amount of space available, as each size shares the same temperament and intelligence that make them ideal for fun family life.

Considering Other Breeds Too?

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

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