Havanese Grooming

Gateway Havanese Nessie

Havanese Grooming

Havanese are not wash and go type dogs. They usually require more maintenance and grooming than many other breeds.

At Gateway havanese we have a whole section of the website to help you with all of your Havanese grooming needs.

Welcome to Gateway Havanese Grooming

We are full-time Havanese owners and love sharing tips and tricks to a healthy happy pup.

The Havanese is an amazing little dog and is one of the best family dogs available and continues to grow in popularity. At Gateway Havanese we have a number of articles and guides to grooming and looking after a Havanese Dog.

Hopefully, you will find this resource valuable along your Havanese Journey.

Guide to Havanese Grooming – The 101

Havanese dogs are lovable and friendly, and one of the greatest companions a person can have. But they are also a lot of work. If you do not properly groom and maintain your Havanese dog to keep them healthy, then quite frankly you would be better off with a turtle. 

Taking proper care of your Havanese friend means proper grooming, frequent haircuts, sufficient bathing, and all the attention you can muster. If you groom and maintain your Havanese dog from baby to senior, your dog will live a very healthy and happy life. There is nothing better then having a well-groomed and happy dog companion.

In this guide I will go over all of the crucial things you need to know about caring for your beloved Havanese dog. Let’s start with some frequently asked questions.

How to Care for Your Havanese Dog

Follow these critical steps to keep your Havanese dog healthy and happy for the entirety of its long life.

Brushing and Combing

Brushing and combing are the most important things you need to do for your Havanese dog every day. That’s right, you need to brush your dog’s hair every day. While you can do this leisurely on the couch with a brush while watching television, there is a more effective way to do it. 

This is called line brushing. Before you start, spray your dog’s coat with a mist sprayer that contains a small amount of conditioner. Roughly one tablespoon of conditioner will do, mixed with ordinary tap water. This is because brushing dry can break your dog’s coat.

After you lightly mist your dog, start the brushing. First you want to separate the hairline. You should make a line with the dog’s hair going horizontally from nose to tail, which will allow you to see the skin. Now brush their hair up and then down. You want to start at the feet and then move up to the middle of the back. Hold the brush completely flat and brush gently.

It is ideal if your dog will lie on their side while being brushed, as this will make the whole process easier for everybody. In fact, your dog will be so comfortable getting brushed that they will probably start to fall asleep after so many sessions. This should not take more than 5 or 10 minutes.

Bathing Your Havanese Dog

Everyone needs a bath, even your dog. Unsurprisingly, Havanese dogs do not enjoy being bathed all that much. While there is obviously no danger in bathing your dog frequently, it still may make a pretty big fuss about it. Professional groomers everywhere agree that your Havanese dog should be bathed at least once a week. 

Weekly bathing provides a shinier coat and cleaner skin, which means a healthier dog. Some professional handlers even bathe their dog two times a week to get maximum shine out of their coat. 

Be sure that you brush your dog before the bath. You want them to be free of knots and matts. Use a quality shampoo with a quality conditioner. You may have to experiment with different brands until you find the one that both you and your dog enjoy. 

Remember not to spray your dog in the face if using a sprayer for their bath. A plastic bottle is better for rinsing. Ensure you clear away all of the soap before drying, otherwise the dog’s skin could be irritated and itchy afterwards.


Taking care of your Havanese dog’s feet can be stressful. Their feet are extremely small and difficult to properly maintain, but it can be done. In order to take care of your Havanese dog in full, you must take care of their feet. Not only will they appreciate feeling clean and comfortable, but so too will you enjoy having a well-maintained puppy dog. 

Start by using scissors to trim the hair that grows between the soft pads of their feet. This will help keep their foot hair neat and reduce the amount of debris and garbage they track into the house with them. The reason so much outdoor garbage gets brought inside by a dog is almost always because of too much hair around their feet. 

To do this, simply stand your dog on a flat surface and then trim the hair around their feet. Let your dog lie down, then extend their legs and brush the hair down around each foot. Any hair that hangs down beyond the bottom of their feet needs to be trimmed. The rest can stay as it is. Even if your dog makes a big fuss about their foot haircut, it will be worth it for everyone in the end.


The toenails are arguably the most painstaking task of taking care of any dog. Just like a Chihuahua or a rottweiler, your Havanese dog is not going to like being held down while you clip their toenails. That said, time can work in your favor as the dog gets used to this activity. Because of this, it is highly recommended that you start cutting your dog’s toenails from a very young age. They must get used to it. 

For a beginner, the toenails are a nightmare. While there are a lot of different tools for cutting toenails, you want to get the special clippers that look a little like a wire cutter. And while some people use a special sanding tool to grind the nails down instead of cutting them, I don’t recommend it for Havanese dogs. If there are any stray hairs left when you are using the sanding tool, and the tool touches one of the hairs, it is going to painfully rip that hair out. 

Also, to grind your dog’s toenails generally involves your dog being wrapped in a towel and held down by someone else while you pull one foot at a time and grind down the nails. You generally have to do this anyway for particularly cranky mutts, but I find it much easier to use the clippers. 

When using the clippers, you must look out for the quick, which is the part of the nail that will bleed when you cut it. It would be like cutting your own fingernail and a little bit of your finger with it. Suffice to say, it is a painful experience for your dog. 

The quick is easily identifiable because it is a different colour than the normal toenail. The part of the toenail you want to cut will appear light and translucent, while the quick will be darker. You will see the difference when you start cutting.


Everyone is familiar with the staining that grows around a dog’s eyes, commonly known as tear staining. This is especially prevalent in Havanese dogs. It sometimes looks like mascara exploded underneath their eyes and stained the fur of their cheeks. So, how do you get rid of it? 

There are a few ways to cure tear staining. One of my favorite ways is by using a special whitening toothpaste. You want to use the whitening toothpaste on the tear staining and on the areas that have been stained around your dog’s mouth. Let the toothpaste sit for an entire night, then wash it out the next day when you give your dog a bath. This will clear up the ugly stains in your dog’s fur.

It is important not to let the toothpaste get directly in your dog’s eyes. It will definitely burn. For this reason, you may want to use a cotton ball dampened with a special eyewash to wipe underneath their eyes. For prevention of tear staining, try using an old toothbrush dipped in water to clean under the eyes every single day. Do this gently, but aggressively enough that you can forever keep your dog’s fur clean. 

As a general rule with any dog, always clean the gunk out of the corners of their eyes. Do this every day so that they get used to it and so that there is no buildup. If there is excessive staining around your dog’s eyes, I highly recommend a visit to your veterinarian. Especially if you are maintaining your dog properly. There could be a problem.


I brush my teeth, you brush your teeth, and your dog needs to brush their teeth. You want to do this every day to avoid the loss of teeth during old age. If you brush your puppy’s teeth every day and continue into adulthood, then your senior dog is going to have all their teeth still in their mouth, and they will be clean and white. It’s not as if your dog is going to pick up smoking and coffee.

To properly brush your dog’s teeth, use a flavoured toothpaste that your dog will love, something that tastes like tuna or poultry. There are special dog toothbrushes that you can buy, or you can just use one of your own worn-out toothbrushes. Some specialized brushes come with an extra-long handle that works a little better to get inside a small dog’s mouth.

Like Chihuahuas, Havanese are prone to dental issues. But if you brush their teeth from day one onwards, you can basically avoid any dental problems. It is the exact same for humans. Don’t brush your teeth and they are going to fall out!



All the tools and products for the Havanese owner. These are things that we have tested and feel confident recommending



You will need some shampoo and conditioned for your dog.

havanese dog nessie grooming

Nails and Nail Clippers

Clipping your dogs nails can be a trouble spot for many dog owners. Get the tips and tricks here.


External Resources

If you are looking for more resources like books and training check out these additional resources.

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How often do Havanese Need to be Groomed?

The short answer to this question is all the time. Between brushing and combing, teeth cleaning, nail cutting, and bathing, your Havanese dog is a full-time position.

You want to try brushing your dog every single day. This does not mean a full head-to-toe makeover, but you definitely want to sit down for five minutes with a brush and do some light grooming once a day. This will keep your dog’s hair free of tangles and mats while gifting you and your dog some quality time together. 

As these dogs are considered hypoallergenic because they don’t shed very much, brushing daily is critical for anyone who suffers from dog allergies. This is an excellent way to keep the dander from ever bothering your nose. 

Are Havanese High Maintenance?

The degree to which Havanese dogs need maintenance depends greatly on which style of hair cut you choose to give your dog. Havanese dogs are absolutely high maintenance. Considering their hair grows a full 8 inches, they need to be groomed daily. If you choose to shave your Havanese dog, obviously you do not need to groom them as much. 

Asides from grooming, it is highly recommended that you give your Havanese dog a bath once a week. This is regardless of whether their hair is long or short. A weekly bath will guarantee your dog looks adorable and healthy while keeping them free of dirt, grime, and fur stains that can accumulate over time. 

When talking about the Havanese dog’s temperament, it is also extremely high maintenance. You must be available for this dog every day. If you work 8 hours a day and plan to keep a Havanese dog alone inside the house, you are going to cause it serious mental agony. A Havanese dog needs attention and it needs a human present most of the time for it to stay happy. 

Should Havanese be shaved?

Dogs have hair for a reason. Shaving a dog in the summer to keep them cooler is a completely ridiculous notion that has been debunked over and over again. By shaving your dog, whether Havanese or husky, you are causing them more harm than anything else.

Of course, you can trim their hair to give them a nice short coat, but to shave them is actually harmful. Remember that the Havanese dog was originally a native of Cuba, which is a hot and tropical place. When you shave too much hair, your Havanese dog may be bitten by insects and burned by the sun. 

Not only that, but you may find your Havanese dog loses its hair, get bald spots, and develops other skin problems. This is especially dangerous for Havanese because they are predisposed to skin conditions, just like poodles.

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