Havanese vs. Yorkshire Terrier: Which Breed to Get?

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Havanese vs. Yorkshire TerrierHavenese and Yorkshire Terriers are both incredibly sweet and incredibly adorable toy breeds that are well-beloved by many across the world. They have made great pets for centuries, and are still rising in popularity today.

But whilst the two breeds are very similar, there are distinct differences that might make one breed more suitable for some families than others.

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Havanese vs. Yorkshire Terrier: A Detailed Comparison

Let’s start by comparing the two based on a number of different factors.


Both Havanese and Yorkshire Terriers have been around for quite a while. They’re much older than other small breeds like Pugs. The Havanese has been a registered Kennel Club breed since 1996, but it is likely that variations of the breed have been around much longer.

The breed can be traced back through its roots to Cuba in the 1500s, where it developed from the Tenerife dogs that were transported into the country. It quickly evolved to what we know now as Havanese, and became instant family favorites among those in Cuba, particularly those in Havana. In fact, the breed is now the Cuban national dog.

The breed, part of the bichon family of breeds, later spread up into the United States and over to Europe, with European royalty finding and loving the small dogs in the 18th century, and those escaping Castro’s revolution in Cuba taking Havanese dogs with them to the US in the 1970s.

Yorkshire Terriers haven’t been around for quite as long. Historical estimates trace their origins to around the 1800s in Yorkshire, England. There are theories that the breed was developed by Scottish weavers, but this is uncertain. What is known, however, is that Yorkshire Terriers were a firm favorite among working-class families and were often put to work themselves.

The dogs would often find work in factories, warehouses, and even in coal mines, squeezing through small cracks and holes in order to hunt vermin. Whilst they might not have a long history like the Havanese, the Yorkshire Terrier was acknowledged as a breed much earlier. The English Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1886, and the American Kennel Club in 1885.


Both breeds are well known for their small size and their cuteness. They’re both toy breeds, and so are often bred and bought for their size. But aside from that, the two breeds do look reasonably different from one another.

To start with, whilst both are small breeds, Yorkshire Terriers are substantially smaller, measuring in at 6 to 7 inches tall and weighing anywhere between 2 to 7 pounds. Alternatively, Havanese dogs tend to be between 8 and 12 inches tall and can weigh anywhere between 7 and 13 pounds.

Coat-wise, Havanese come in a few different colors, including black, silvering, merle, gray, chocolate, and agouti. Their coats are thick and silky, and very soft, and they have dropped ears and a tail with an upwards spiral.

Yorkshire Terriers are predominantly black and tan, although blue and gold and black and gold terriers do also exist at lower rates. Yorkshire Terriers have very silky, soft fur that can be left to grow quite long.

Aging Profile

Typically speaking, larger dogs tend to have a lower life expectancy, and that can be seen here with Havenese and Yorkshire Terriers.

Havanese have an average life expectancy of around 12 to 14 years, and reach fully grown at 1 year old, where they also reach full maturity. Yorkshire Terriers, on the other hand, live to between 13 to 16 years, and whilst they are fully grown after 1 year, they are still classed as a ‘young adult’ from ages 1 to 4, reaching full adulthood at 4 years old instead of 1 year old.


Both breeds of dogs have been used as family pets for a long time, and this is in part down to their temperaments. They are both affectionate dogs, and often make for great lap dogs, but are also both quite playful.

Havanese are a little bit more gentle than Yorkshire Terriers who have quite a feisty, yappy side to their temperament, and are a little bit less dependent. Yorkshire Terriers are very confident, despite their size, and can come across as quite independent at times.


Intelligence is an important factor to consider when choosing a breed of dog, especially if you expect to be able to train your new pet. For those looking for an obedient pet, you want an easy-to-train and intelligent breed that will be more able to understand and follow commands and prompts.

Between Havanese and Yorkshire Terriers, Havanese are the more intelligent breed. They are also easier to train than Yorkshire Terriers, whose independent and feisty nature often causes issues when it comes to training.

Yorkshire Terriers are still relatively intelligent dogs, however, and will learn commands and tricks if given the right amount of time and patience.


Many people overlook grooming considerations when getting a new dog, but the amount of grooming required for a breed can add a lot of cost to your monthly budget, and if not done, can cause health issues for the pet.

Havanese require brushing 2 or 3 times a week, with more regular brushing needed if their coat appears tangled or if their coat is getting a little bit long. They also require a bath every 1 to 2 weeks. Make sure, when brushing a Havanese, that their coat is sprayed damp first.

For Yorkshire Terriers, a trim is essential every 4 to 6 weeks. Their coat grows differently to most dogs, and they do not have an undercoat, so correct grooming is essential to keep their coat glossy and their skin clean. Daily brushing is a must and helps to clean the skin and keep the coat knot-free.


Since both breeds are popular in households across the world, they’re both relatively pricey breeds to buy. You can, of course, always adopt a Havanese or a Yorkshire Terrier to reduce the costs and do something good at the same time!

If you are looking to purchase a puppy, you are looking at an average cost of $1,000 to $1,500 for Havanese puppies (this can be significantly more if they are registered Pedigree) and $1,200 to $1,500 for Yorkshire Terrier puppies.


Different dog breeds are susceptible to different health conditions due to their genealogy and general biology. Some breeds are prone to conditions that are more severe than others, and some breeds may be prone to a condition but never actually develop it. But it is still worth considering when comparing breeds in order to estimate insurance and possible vet bills down the line.

Havanese are prone to a few conditions such as:

  • Portosystemic shunt
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Luxating patellas
  • Eye conditions (such as distichiasis)
  • Deafness
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Heart conditions

Yorkshire Terriers are prone to:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Periodontal disease
  • Legg-Calves-Perthes disease
  • Retinal dysplasia
  • Luxating patella
  • Pancreatitis

Often, these can be pre-empted and your vet will help you to give your pet the best care in order to avoid the risk of these conditions developing.

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

Whilst it is important to know all of this information about your potential pet, there are also other factors that you should consider. These include your living situation, personal preferences, and health requirements.

If you are living with children, it is crucial that you know your dog will behave gently with your children and not cause them distress.

Some breeds are more suited to this than others; Yorkshire Terriers are great family pets that will get on with children of any age and will be playful and affectionate to everyone. Havanese are good family pets for older children, but may well be fearful or unsure around younger children. They are also incredibly sensitive, so are likely to feel overlooked if you’re spending a lot of time doting on a young baby.

The size of the space you have available is also an important consideration. Both Havanese and Yorkshire Terriers’ small size makes them incredibly versatile pets, so long as you take them on enough walks, both breeds will adapt well.

The only concern you might have is with the Yorkshire Terrier’s yappy nature. They are known to be quite vocal dogs, so if you’re unsure that you’d be able to train this out of them, perhaps reconsider before moving them into an apartment block.

How much time you spend at home is also important. Havanese are related to Bichons, a family of breeds well known for their sensitivity. If you leave a Havanese alone, it is likely to feel lonely and may well develop separation anxiety. Alternatively, Yorkshire Terriers are often completely fine to be left alone for around 4 to 6 hours and will likely sleep during this time.


These two breeds are very similar in some aspects, but their personalities differ greatly in some of the most important areas.

For busy family households, a Yorkshire Terrier is likely the best of the two, but for a friend and companion for a single person, a Havanese is a great breed.

Considering Other Breeds Too?

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

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