Labayamesa & Flordecuba


Brushing Technique

Never brush a completely dry coat, it will break. Use a light misting of a good quality grooming spray on every section of coat.

It is not sufficient to just go over the puppy  with a brush. You will miss mats. You will need to go over the puppy systematically, using the line brushing technique, and you will need to comb through every brushed section all the way down to the skin.

You can see the line brushing technique in this video:

Don't forget to comb through the beard, ears including feathering, and to brush the underside, too, including armpits and inside of the thighs.

Eyes and Ears

Eye care is particularly important. Debris and eye secretions can collect in the coat around the eye and lead to problems, including unsightly tear staining.
Comb around the eyes with a fine comb (face or flea comb), taking care not to injure the eye. Then moisten a cotton pad with an eye cleaning solution, and gently wipe round the area. Use a new pad for each eye. Blot dry with another cotton pad.

Havanese have a lot of hair growing inside their ear canals. This hair may need to be plucked, to reduce the risk of infection, particularly if it is dense. The best way to do this is little and often. Grasp a few hairs inside the ear canal with your fingertips and pull them out swiftly.
Wipe the inside of the ear flap with an ear cleaning pad. The fringing/feathering on the ears can get matted- you should invert the ear and comb all the way around the ear flap to insure you capture all problem areas.

Dental hygiene

Brush your dog's teeth regularly, daily if you can, or three times a week as a minimum. This will prevent tartar formation and periodontal disease setting in.
You can use a child's tooth brush, but you must have a specific toothpaste for dogs.  Some ingredients in human toothpaste can be toxic to dogs.


Your dog's nails need to be clipped regularly. You may be advised by various sources, including vets, that if your dog is walked daily, the nails will be taken care of. That is, unfortunately, not the case. The Havanese is a small dog, and its body weight does not exert sufficient pressure on the nails to get them ground down just through walking.
You may take your dog to the groomer or the vet for nail care on a regular basis. If you are happy to clip the nails yourself, get a pet nail clipper.

There is a blood vessel running through the nail- the quick. When you are clipping your dog's nails, you must take care not to injure the quick. Firstly, it hurts the dog, but it also bleeds.  
In light coloured nails the quick is easily seen. It is more difficult with dark nails. take a small amount off at the time, and look at the clipped area- if it appears 'chalky', you can take another small bit off.
Be sure to have styptic powder on hand, it's a procoagulant and will help stop any bleeding if you do happen to cut too far.

Video on nail clipping:

You need to establish a GROOMING ROUTINE with your puppy. Grooming time should be quality time spent together, with the puppy having your undivided attention.

Designate a space that will be your grooming area- this could be a grooming table, or simply a table with a soft blanket or towel placed on top. Get the puppy used to that area, place the puppy on that surface and reward.

Get the puppy used to lying on its side for grooming. Place it on its side and stroke. If the puppy gets up straight away, place it on its side again. And again. And again. Remain firm but gentle, reward if the puppy stays on its side even for just a few seconds. Repeat this exercise several times a day, only for a short period of time. The puppy will eventually realise that staying on its side attracts treats, cuddles and rewards.

Start out with a few gentle brushes, handling paws, looking at teeth and inside ears, again rewarding frequently in the early days. Once the puppy is habituated to this, you can start with line brushing.

Blow Drying your Havanese puppy.

Video courtesy of Frøydis Monsen, of Lekkerbisken Havanese.

How to bathe your Havanese puppy.

Video courtesy of Frøydis Monsen, of Lekkerbisken Havanese.

Havanese are a low shedding breed. They are double coated; the hair does shed to a certain degree, but a lot of the loose hairs remain trapped in the depths of the coat and if they are not brushed out on a regular basis, they can lead to matting.

To maintain your dog's coat in optimum condition, you will need to brush daily, at least until the coat has matured and stabilised. It is also worth considering that different Havanese can have different grooming needs, depending on lifestyle, nutrition and, most importantly, on coat quality.

We have one Havanese, for example,  that needs daily brushing to prevent matts, and another that will be fine if brushed a couple of times a week.

Your puppy' s coat will be fairly easy, until approximately 8 months. Then the 'blowing coat' phase kicks in, when the dogs are prone to significant and extensive matting. This can go on for several months. The coat can go through these phases several times until the dog is around two years of age.

You can find further information on 'blowing coat' here:

Grooming your havanese