What is a Havapoo? Size, Care, Diet, Temperament & Grooming

If you have landed here, then you probably know a little about Havapoos already. We are here to fill in those gaps, to answer those extra questions you may have about this breed. From their history through to their grooming requirements, we will answer those questions for you. These floppy-eared small dogs are steadily growing in popularity so let’s look at what a Havapoo is and what to expect when bringing one into your family.

A Havapoo is a cross between two purebred dogs. The Havanese and the Miniature or Toy Poodle. Low risk for those with allergies, they are a super sociable and intelligent dog. Typically great with children, they are both a fabulous family pet and a loyal companion.

The Havapoo is a Doodle breed which is quickly gaining in popularity. However, at the time of writing, information on the breed is limited. We hope you enjoy our guide which includes all you need to know about the Havapoo.

Havapoo Breed History

We know that a Havapoo brings together the Poodle and the Havanese. Poodles come in Standard, Toy, and Miniature, and the Havanese are most commonly bred with the Miniature Poodle to achieve the Havapoo. You can learn more about the Poodle history in our full Poodle guide.

The Havanese is a Bichon type breed who is believed to have descended from two now extinct dogs, the latter being the Blanquito de la Habana. Translating to ‘little white dog of Havana’ it is thought that they were bred with other Bichon breeds, including the Poodle, to bring us what we know as the Havanese today.

The national dog of Cuba, they found themselves on US soil along with the upper classes who were fleeing the Cuban Revolution of 1953. However, few were actually able to join their masters and when interest in the breed began to gain popularity in the 1970s there were only 11 in the country to work with. It wasn’t until 1996 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) finally recognized them.

Full of character the Havanese is curious and strong-willed. They make both a fantastic family pet and loyal companion dog, and they thrive in the company of their household. One notable feature is the bouncy manner in which they walk, a characteristic that sets them apart from all other breeds of dogs.

Generations of the Havapoo work in the same way as with all crossbred dogs and can be explained in our sister article Cavapoo generations explained.

Fun Fact: It’s boring to just have one name, right? Havapoos are also called Island Mini Doodles, Havanoodles, Havadoodles, Havanesepoos, and Poovaneses. I think we’ll stick with Havapoo!

How Big is the Havapoo

Havapoos are considered a small dog due to being crossed with a Toy or Miniature Poodle. They typically stand between 8 and 15 inches tall and weigh between 7 and 30 pounds. There will be some variations in the sizes of the Havapoo, even within the same litter of pups. This will be down to the lineage. Females are generally slightly smaller than males.

Due to their size they can suit apartments and smaller homes, and adapt well to their surroundings. For this reason, they make a great choice for families with limited space as long as their exercise requirements are met. They are great with children and other pets if they are trained and understand the boundaries from the offset. They are very much companion dogs – that is what they were originally bred for.

Appearance and Grooming Requirements

Their round heads, dark eyes, and floppy soft ears make for a very handsome dog who can maintain that puppy look throughout its life. They have a longish tail, but these are sometimes docked when they are young.

Havapoo coats are typically brown, grey, tan, red, cream, apricot, or white and black. These colorings can be solid or can be a mix of colors. Their coat can closely resemble that of the Havanese breed, the Poodle, or indeed a combination of both.

Havanese coats are typically thick but soft to the touch and they range from straight to curly. The Poodle coat is much coarser and they have just the single layer of fur, unlike lots of other breeds. Their coats can be medium to long, wavy to curly, and they are a low shedding dog. It can be a bit like Christmas waiting to see what you will get with a Havapoo due to this variance in color, coat and fur type.

Due to their typically non-shedding coats, they will need regular grooming to avoid nasty knots in their fur. Three or four times a week with the brush should be fine and getting them accustomed to the brush from a young age is wise. If they are kept clipped, then brushing can be less regular. They ideally should be clipped twice a year and bathed maybe once a month or every 6 weeks but you can gauge this yourself as it varies depending on where they walk etc.

Eyes and ears need to be checked regularly and a careful wipe with a clean, damp cloth is enough if any cleaning is necessary. However, do be careful as you can do more harm than good. Keep an eye on their teeth, brushing is recommended and make sure they get the once over at their regular vet checkup.

What Should I Feed my Havapoo?

Choosing high-quality dog food is always best for your pooch and there are some at very affordable prices. Always refer to the weight and amount recommendations on the back of the packet. Puppies are fed more frequently but once a puppy is old enough two meals a day are normal.

A good rule of thumb as an adult dog is to allow 40 calories per pound of body weight. You can buy food adapted for your dog’s particular time in life, whether that’s a puppy, adult, or senior. It is important to factor in how active your dog’s lifestyle is when considering food amounts. Like humans every dog is different, and some will need less food than others.

How much Exercise does a Havapoo Need?

Havapoos are described as having moderate exercise needs. They will enjoy walks of around 60 minutes a day as adults (less as a puppy, the general rule for puppies is 5 minutes walking per month of age). Walks can be once a day, or perhaps more ideally split into two shorter ones.

They thoroughly enjoy fetch games and generally running themselves ragged. They are very sociable which can sometimes lead them to become distracted so make sure that recall is perfected before any off-leash walks are considered. Exercise can include training and playtime as well. These all keep your pooch happy and healthy.

The Temperament of the Havapoo

Havapoos are loyal, friendly, cuddly, smart, and patient around children. They can be a bit too enthusiastic at times when socializing so this may need reining in from time to time. They are equally happy bouncing around in the great outdoors as they are cuddled up on your lap on the couch.

They are generally not known to bark a lot, but any signs of this can be nipped in the bud with consistent training. Havapoos were bred as companions so have never had the working dog ethos instilled. This means they are usually laid back and gentle in their approach to life.

Training Your Havapoo

Loyal and smart are both qualities which make training that much easier. They have a willingness to learn and please which can help the whole process. Consistency is the key, and teaching commands from early on will help instill good behavior. Combine treats with positive reinforcement to bring some fun and motivation into the equation.

Socialization is perhaps the most important element of any training because what they learn (or don’t learn) will set them up for life around other people and dogs. A dog who is not well socialized can be nervous and reactive around other more confident dogs.

Life Expectancy and Known Health Problems of the Havapoo

Havapoos live to between 12 and 15 years old. Hybrid vigor should play some part in them being less prone to inherited health conditions. However, this doesn’t mean that they may not happen at all. Some issues that the Havanese and the Poodle are predisposed to are:

  • Cataracts: This is a problem with the eye lens. If untreated it can potentially lead to blindness. Regular check-ups can help prevent this
  • Hip dysplasia: A condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop as it should. Medication or perhaps surgery in more extreme cases can be considered
  • Patellar Luxation: Kneecap dislocation can occur with this breed. Sometimes surgery may be required
  • Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid problem which can be common in this breed. There is medication available to treat this condition
  • Dental issues: Regularly brushing teeth and check-ups at the vets should help keep these problems at bay.

What is the Cost of a Havapoo?

Be prepared to dig a little deeper into your savings when selecting your Havapoo. Cost can be affected by many factors including location, reputation, demand and supply, litter size, and lineage of the puppies.

Whilst this makes it impossible to advise how much you can expect to initially pay for your pooch we can advise on other annual costs associated with taking on a dog:

  • Insurance
  • Dog food
  • Vet treatments/visits including vaccinations, spay/neutering
  • Leashes, feeding bowls, toys
  • Any dog classes
  • Dog walker if needed
  • Doggy daycare
  • Kennel costs if and when required
  • Flea and worming treatment

Is the Havapoo a Recognized Breed?

Being a hybrid means they are not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club but they do belong to others including Dog Registry of America Inc, International Designer Canine Registry, and American Canine Hybrid Club.

It’s always a good idea to see Mother and Father dogs when you are considering a puppy, not forgetting to look at any relevant paperwork. Not being a recognized breed shouldn’t deter you from welcoming a new dog into your home. All dogs need a forever home, maybe yours is the perfect one for a Havapoo.