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Havatese: Meet a Hybrid Breed

It's no surprise that a cross between the Havanese and the Maltese makes a perfect teddy-bear pooch, but it's also a super companion dog.

Kelly Pulley  |  Jul 19th 2012


If the trend toward small hybrid dogs that resemble a teddy bear is not one that strikes your fancy, then the Havatese, a cross between a Havanese and a Maltese, may make you give up stuffed animals altogether. The words “adorable” and “cute” and “fluffy” have met their match in this mix-up pup, which, if stationary for long enough (and wearing the typical short haircut), could easily be mistaken for something from Build-A-Bear.

But even skeptics will be hard-pressed to ignore a Havatese if they ever meet one. The Havatese dogs we’ve met thus far have been lovely companion animals.

DOGSTER WARNING: If you are in the market for a Havatese, please be forewarned that this is not an established breed, and the chances that you will encounter backyard breeders or puppy millers trying to capitalize on this fancy mutt’s popularity are pretty high. As with any breed, please DO YOUR HOMEWORK and resist the urge to implulse buy. If you see “buy it now” PayPal buttons on websites hawking these dogs, this is a huge red flag and we implore you to run screaming in the opposite direction.

We are also huge fans of adoption here at Dogster, and urge you to look at local shelters and rescues for lovable pups that might just – gasp – be the offspring of a Havanese and a Maltese. It’s really not too far-fetched. But anyway, onto the profile…

What Havatese Are Like to Live With

The Havatese is an affectionate, friendly mixed breed who bonds with his family and is comfortable with strangers. This is an easy dog to live with — he is as equally happy in an apartment as he is in the country. He is good with children and other pets, as long as the pets are introduced slowly.

However, if you don’t like brushing a dog, don’t get a Havatese. In those whose hair is kept long, daily brushing is necessary, and sometimes more often. Even when the coat is kept short, mats can develop, so brushing is also needed.

Things You Should Know About the Havatese

The Havatese has a wealth of energy, indoors and out. Daily walking for your Havatese is essential, of course, but even with sufficient exercise, a Havatese tends to be very energetic inside the house. He’s always ready to chase a ball or bombard the cat, and he rarely sacks out on the couch for long. An interactive owner is best, and patience may be needed when you’ve thrown the squeaky toy for the 30th time that day.

The Havatese can inherit health problems from either parent. These include congenital deafness, patellar luxation and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (interruption of the blood supply to hip joint).

Havatese History: Fast Facts

  • The Havatese has ridden on the coattails of the Poodle crosses, which started the hybrid craze in the 1980s.
  • The Havanese has a history that ties in with Christopher Columbus, who brought a similar dog to Cuba in 1492.
  • The Maltese is an even older breed, coming from Malta.
  • Both parents were bred as companion dogs, which explains the great companionship that a Havatese provides.

The Look of the Havatese

We’ve already established that the Havatese often closely resembles a very fluffy teddy bear, but they do have more distinguishing canine characteristics. Some are white like their Maltese parent, but they can be several different colors: tan, black and white, tri-color, or white with tan markings. The Havatese inherits his long, silky coat from both parents.

The average weight of the Havatese is 7 to 11 pounds with a height of 8 to 11 inches. They are small, purse-sized if you’re so inclined, and the round black eyes that peer at you from the round head (made even rounder by the typical Havatese haircut) make even the hardcore dog “un-enthusiast” want to pet them.

10 Cool Things You Might Not Know About the Havatese

  1. The Havatese is of the Bichon type.
  2. The Havatese has Latin blood in him — his parent, the Havanese, is the national dog of Cuba.
  3. The Havanese is also known as the little white dog of Havana.
  4. Havatese are generally non-shedding dogs, inheriting that quality from both the Havanese and the Maltese.
  5. Havatese are generally good dogs for allergy sufferers.
  6. Because Havatese cannot be shown in the ring, unlike their purebred parents, their coat is usually cut for convenience.
  7. Some Havatese have a “cotton coat,” which is super fine and mats very easily.
  8. The Maltese has been around for about 28 centuries
  9. Some Havatese owners borrow a nickname for the Maltese from the 1960s for their hybrid: “Cokie”
  10. The Havatese popularity is growing quickly and, especially in the U.S., they are very trendy.

Havatese and Maltese puppies playing (see if you can tell them apart):

See our profiles of other popular mix-up pups: Morkie, Puggle, Labradoodle, Cockapoo, and Goldendoodle.