Havanese Grooming

The Havanese's long, silky coat is one of its signature features. But with that gorgeous coat comes quite a bit of maintenance, including frequent brushing and bathing--which is why some owners prefer to clip their Havanese's coats shorter to make them lower-maintenance.

Here you'll find plenty of details on caring for the Havanese coat, including info on brushing, bathing, and various hairstyles. You'll also read about other Havanese grooming needs: teeth, ears, paws, and more. For answers to your questions about Havanese grooming, keep reading!

Havanese Coat Care

Overall Havanese grooming can take a good bit of time--and much of the grooming for Havanese dogs will consist of maintaining their long, silky coats. Some owners prefer to shave their Havanese's coat short to make it lower maintenance, but if you prefer it long (and if you show the dog, a long coat is required), be prepared to invest a good bit of time (or money for a professional groomer) to fulfill your Havanese grooming needs.

Havanese dogs' coats shed little, but will need frequent brushing (3-4 times per week, if not daily) to avoid mats and tangles. Baths will be necessary every 3-4 weeks. And with this breed's long coat--which can range from straight to wavy to curly--numerous hairstyles are possible.

A lot of owners rely on professionals when it comes to grooming a Havanese puppy or adult, especially with major tasks like bathing and haircuts. Even those who learn all the Havanese grooming needs themselves will do well to take their dogs to a pro at least once. The groomer can give the dog a nice makeover, provide various Havanese grooming tips, and teach owners how to groom a Havanese dog at home.

Caring for these dogs' coats will also require the use of some Havanese grooming tools: a pin brush, a greyhound comb, scissors, canine shampoo and conditioner, and a hair dryer will all be useful.


Your Havanese brush needs to happen at least three times per week. These dogs' long coats tend to mat up quickly, and consistent Havanese brushing will minimize that tendency.

The best brush for Havanese dogs is a pin brush, as it glides through the long hair the easiest. A greyhound comb will also be good to have, to help work out any mats or tangles.

How to brush a Havanese: first get the coat wet with mist from a spray bottle. Then starting at the shoulders, use a hair dryer on its lowest heat setting to dry the coat, while at the same time brushing in the direction of hair growth with the pin brush. Go through the entire coat section by section in this manner. If you encounter a mat or tangle, first try working it out with your fingers, then continue working through it with the comb.


Do Havanese smell bad? Overall, they usually don't, unless they're overdue for a bath! Your Havanese will need a bath at least once per month, if not more frequently--unless, of course, the dog spends a lot of time outside, where it's more likely to get dirty and stinky.

It's especially important when bathing a Havanese to use canine shampoo and conditioner. Human hair products have different pH levels, and can irritate a dog's skin. With the Havanese's silky coat, using conditioner will help the hair stay smooth and shiny. The best shampoo for Havanese dogs includes brands like Earthbath, Biosilk, and 4-Legger, all of which carry canine conditioners as well.

How to bathe a Havanese: first give the coat a good brushing to make sure it's mat-free (the mats will tighten and become very difficult to untangle if they get wet). Your Havanese might be small enough to bathe in the kitchen sink; otherwise, a bathtub (hopefully with a spray nozzle attachment) or an outdoor plastic pool using a garden hose will work. Wet the coat thoroughly, then apply a small amount of shampoo to the dog's back. Lather well, working downward and outward as you go. (And don't forget the legs, underbelly, and tail!) Clean the face, head, and ears with a washcloth, then rinse the coat completely. Repeat the process with conditioner.

Towel-dry the coat, then continue with a hair dryer on its lowest heat setting, brushing the hair out with the pin brush as you dry. Once the coat is completely dry, give the coat another quick brush-through to make it look clean and neat.

Havanese Styling & Haircuts

Whather full-length or shaved, Havanese haircuts accentuate these dogs' already attractive coats! Since the coats tend to mat easily, many owners prefer their Havanese cuts to be on the shorter side--plus, short Havanese dog haircuts are much easier to care for. And though some of the following Havanese hairstyles can be done at home, it's best to let a groomer do it at least once.

Some of the most popular Havanese grooming styles:

  • Puppy Cut: A Havanese with a Puppy Cut makes the little dog's coat low-maintenance. The hair is clipped short (to 1-2 inches) all over. Some like to leave the hair on the face, head, and legs a bit longer. Can be done at home with some practice.
  • Natural Cut: This style leaves the coat at most of its full length, and consists of trimming all the hair by only a bit to even it out. Depending on whether the coat is straight or curly, some groomers like to use thinning shears to shape the coat. Best done by a groomer.
  • Teddy Bear Cut: Similar to the Puppy Cut, but the hair on the legs and face is left a bit longer, and is carefully "rounded" to make the dog resemble a stuffed animal. Best done by a groomer.
  • 3-Layer: Also called a 3-Stack. This exotic, artistic style has the hair on the face, head, and ears cut to a line about shoulder length; the hair on the body is cut to a line 2-3 inches above the ground; and the leg hair is cut to a line just above the ground. The overall look gives the impression of three distinct "levels" or layers. Will definitely need to be done by a groomer.

Other Care

Besides its coat, your Havanese will need regular maintenance in the following areas:

  • Teeth: Just like a human's, Havanese teeth need regular brushing to avoid the buildup of plaque and tartar, and to minimize that Havanese bad breath! Brush the dog's teeth 2-3 times per week using a regular toothbrush--but be sure to use canine toothpaste, as the kind made for humans can make dogs sick if they swallow it.
  • Ears: If your Havanese's ears aren't cleaned periodically, they can collect dirt and debris, and might even get infected--which could lead to hearing loss. Clean the dog's ears monthly with canine ear cleaning solution. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, and only use cotton balls (never a Q-Tip!) to wipe out the ears.
  • Tear Stains: On lighter-colored dogs, Havanese tear stains can be a common issue. Havanese eye stains are naturally occurring and painless, and are caused by liquid discharge (which contains a lot of iron) from the eyes drying on the hair around it. And though an Internet search for "Havanese tear staining" will produce a multitude of potential fixes, vets say the best way is to clean the area with a solution containing boric acid (such as contact lens cleaner). Use the solution to clean the areas daily until the stains are gone.
  • Nails: If Havanese nails click on hard surfaces, it's time for a trim. Use regular scissors to cut the nails as close to the toes as possible. Make sure not to cut into the nail's "quick," as doing so can make the nail bleed and be painful.
  • Toe Hair: If the hair between your Havanese's toes gets too long, it'll collect dirt and debris and might even get infected. Use scissors to trim the hair short if needed.
  • Paw Pads: A dog's paw pads can get dry and cracked, especially if the dog walks a lot on hot asphalt or snow and ice. Apply commercial paw pad moisturizer to your Havanese's pads weekly to keep them soft and moist.
Havanese Care

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Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:March 17, 2020