The Havapoo is a hybrid dog breed — a cross between the Havanese and Poodle (usually, a Miniature or Toy Poodle). Affectionate, intelligent, and gentle, these small dogs are versatile for many types of families.
Havapoos are also known as Poovanese, Havadoodles, and Havanoodles. They are considered “designer dogs,” bred on purpose to emphasize desirable characteristics from each breed.
As always, please adopt whenever possible if you’re looking to add a Havapoo to your life. In addition to shelters, you may find these dogs at Havanese and Poodle breed specific rescues. Remember, when you adopt, you save two lives: the one you bring home and the one you make room for at the rescue.
Havapoos are lovers, not fighters, so they’re much more prone to want to cuddle than to be guard dogs. While they may bark an alert, they’re generally very affectionate to all. Although Havapoos generally do very well with other animals and small children, interactions are best supervised, as these dogs are small and could easily be hurt by a child playing too roughly.
These pups are a great option for apartment dwellers, as their small size makes them a good fit, and their moderate exercise needs are easily met.
Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn’t necessarily an apartment dog make. Plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog.
Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.
Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
All Around Friendliness
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with wagging tails and nuzzles; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was socialized and exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Remember that even friendly dogs should stay on a good, strong leash like this one in public!
Health And Grooming Needs
If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool here!
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.
If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!
Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.
Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.
Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.
Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Dog Breed Group:Mixed Breed DogsHeight:8 to 15 inchesWeight:7 to 30 poundsLife Span:10 to 14 years
More About This Breed
- Havapoos come in many different colors and combinations and can be solid, two colors, or three colors. These colors include black, white, brown, tan, grey, silver, apricot, “blue” (dark in the hair shaft, like black or brown, but a mix of colors at the root).
- This hybrid is considered “hypoallergenic” and may be a good choice for allergy sufferers; however, no dog is completely allergen free.
- Havapoos have medium energy, and due to their small size, it is pretty easy to manage their exercise needs.
- Havapoos are smart, but their intelligence can also be used for mischievous ends if your dog feels bored or neglected. Be sure to provide them with lots of stimulation in the form of affection, play, and toys.
- Havapoos aren’t “yappy,” per se, but they will often bark to alert you of strangers or to make exclamations while playing with you.
- Because Havapoos are small dogs, it’s important that children know how to be gentle with them. However, the natural playfulness of the Havapoo makes them a great childhood playmate or adult companion.
- Havapoos also tend to get along well with other animals. However, they are small and docile. Some more aggressive or rowdy animals in the house may not treat Havapoos gently enough.
The exact history of the Havapoo is a bit of a mystery, but it’s clear they were part of the worldwide popular trend of the 1980s to create Poodle mixes — an effort to emphasize the intelligent, affectionate traits of the Poodle, as well as their hypoallergenic curly fur. This particular mix likely started in the USA.
As for the Havapoo’s parent breeds, the Poodle is one of the most ancient breeds in the world, originating in Germany, but becoming the Poodle breed we know and love now in France. The Miniature and Toy sizes, however, only came about in the 19th and 20th century, respectively.
The Havanese has been around for over 300 years, coming from, as the name suggests, Havana, Cuba. According to the American Kennel Club, this is the only dog breed native to Cuba. They were originally bred as lap dogs for nobles. The Havanese is a member of the Bichon family (along with the Bichon Frise and Maltese). They are a direct descendent of the now-extinct Blanquito de la Habana, which was a descendent of the now-extinct Bichon Ternerife. It is believed that the Blanquito was crossed with the Poodle, and possibly with other Bichon breeds (Maltese and Bichon Frise) to create the Havanese we know and love today. It’s interesting, then, that modern Havapoos have Poodle on both sides of their mixed breeding if you go back far enough.
“Designer dogs,” with these intentional mixes, are still in high demand, meaning they are also available to adopt from shelters, as not everyone who brings home a Havapoo — or any dog — ends up keeping them, unfortunately. If you want to make a Havapoo part of your life, please opt to adopt!
The Havapoo’s size can actually vary a lot, based on the size of Poodle parent (Standard, Miniature, or Toy) used in the cross. Typically, miniature or toy is used, so you will likely have a small dog, as Havanese parents are also very small. Their height is typically eight to 15 inches, and they can weigh between seven and 30 pounds.
The first thing you’ll usually notice about the Havapoos’ personality is their sharp intelligence. They are very easy to train, quick to learn commands, and pretty good decision-makers.
That being said, that intelligence can also be used for mischievous ends if your dog feels bored or neglected. Be sure to provide them with lots of stimulation in the form of affection, play, and toys.
Havapoos are extremely loving little lap dogs, and they are happiest with their families. They’re not “work dogs.” Their job and life’s purpose is to cuddle with you, and who wouldn’t be happy to help them with that duty?
While Havapoos are playful, they also tend to be calm and gentle, not quite as hyperactive as some others of their size category. This makes them great, versatile companions for all ages. They aren’t “yappy,” per se, but they will often bark to alert you of strangers or to make exclamations while playing with you.
As with all dogs, early training and socialization will bring out their best qualities. These hybrids are typically friendly but can have some social anxiety if not properly socialized.
Havapoos are generally pretty healthy dogs. Mixed breeds have a tendency to “breed out” some of the prominent maladies in purebred lines, with genetics selecting the strongest from each side. Also, small dogs tend to live longer than large dogs.
However, there is a possibility of a Havapoo inheriting health issues from both Havanese and Poodles. The most common issues for Havapoos include:
- hip dysplasia
- patellar luxation
- eye issues
- thyroid issues
- Addison’s disease
As with all dogs, it’s a good idea to cut your Havapoo’s nails, or have your groomer cut them, about once a month, as well as to check their ears for redness or irritation about once a week. Brushing their teeth a few times a week is also a good idea to promote good dental health. You can ask your vet to show you how to do any of these tasks.
Havapoos have medium energy, and due to their small size, it is pretty easy to manage their exercise needs. If they are on the larger side, that means their Poodle parent was closer to Standard size, and they will need more exercise. It’s a good idea to take them on a couple of walks during the day, and they love having some additional play time outside, whether it’s playing fetch with you, running around in the backyard (under your supervision — remember how small they are), or doing agility training.
Outdoor exercise time will vary, based on the inherited tendencies of your dog, so you’re best off asking your vet for a personalized recommendation. They will also enjoy indoor playtime, so some interactive toys are a good idea.
An ideal Havapoo diet should be formulated for a small breed with medium energy. Dividing the food into two or three meals during the day, as opposed to unlimited access, will help your dog not to overeat.
This mixed breed is moderately prone to weight gain, so be sure to feed measured amounts of food and not overdo it on treats. Because of the Poodle parent’s tendency to develop bloat, it’s a good idea to keep exercise at least one hour apart from feeding, both before and after.
As with all dogs, the Havapoo’s dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your Havapoo’s diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs — including weight, energy, and health — to make a specific recommendation.
Coat Color And Grooming
Havapoos come in many different colors and combinations and can be solid, two colors, or three colors. These colors include black, white, brown, tan, grey, silver, apricot, “blue” (dark in the hair shaft, like black or brown, but a mix of colors at the root).
Depending on which breed your Havapoo favors in appearance, their coat can be dense and curly, like their Poodle parent, or long and silky, like their Havanese parent.
If the Havapoo inherits the Havanese coat, this can be styled naturally in two ways. To keep it long and silky, frequent brushing is needed. If you do not brush the Havanese-type coat regularly, it will develop natural felted cords. Havapoos should be brushed a few times a week and bathed every one to two months.
Poodles were bred to be water retriever dogs, so your Havapoo may do well in water, but always be sure to supervise. The Poodle-style fur naturally repels water. Your dog will still need wiping down if caught in the rain, but it will be quicker than other dogs. Havanese have about a medium tolerance to both hot and cold temperatures, so be sure to provide shelter and water in extreme weather.
As these dogs are smaller, they may need an extra winter jacket or sweater when it’s very cold, especially as they get older.
Children And Other Pets
Havapoos are very friendly dogs and are great with all types of families or as a companion to a single person.
Because Havapoos are small dogs, it’s especially important that children are shown how to be gentle and cautious around them, as small dogs can more easily be hurt. However, the natural playfulness of the Havapoo makes them a great childhood playmate or adult companion.
Havapoos also tend to get along well with other animals. Early socialization is a good idea, and supervision is again important, especially because Havapoos are small and docile. Some more aggressive or rowdy animals in the house may not treat Havapoos gently enough.
As with all dogs, Havapoos will do best if they have early socialization and training. This will emphasize the loving, playful, gentle, intelligent traits of your dog, and it can minimize the mischievousness that can occur from boredom.
Rescues specifically for Havapoos might be hard to come by, as this is a hybrid breed. However, you can always check with your local shelter, and you may want to try a breed specific rescue that caters to Havanese or Poodle mixes. You can take a look at the following:
- Havanese Rescue Inc.
- Carolina Poodle Rescue