Havanese Grooming

Gateway Havanese - How to Groom a Havaense Dog

Welcome to Gateway Havanese Grooming Guide

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.

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

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

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

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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.

Gateway Havanese - How to Groom a Havaense Dog (1)

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, we’ve listed some below that we use. 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 shampoo before drying, otherwise the dog’s skin could be irritated and itchy afterwards. After their bath, be sure to blow dry them at low heat and to comb out their tail as it can get easily matted after a bath.

Gateway Havanese - Havanese Grooming

Products we love and use:

TropiClean SPA Shampoo

This lightly foaming facial cleanser soothes and balances the skin and is a game changer for us when it comes to cleaning our Havanese’s face. It is a gentle soap free shampoo that has natural exfoliating activity and gently hydrates. The refreshing blend of vanilla and blueberry effectively removes dirt and tear stains, and will not irritate eyes.

TropiClean SPA Shampoo Tear Stain Remover for Dogs | Oatmeal & Blueberry Scented Facial Cleanser for Dogs | Ideal for White Dogs & All Other Coats | Cat Friendly | Made in the USA | 8 Oz
  • TEAR STAIN REMOVER – With regular use of our tearless dog shampoo facial treatment you’ll see tear stains fade and white fur brightened.
  • SWEET BLUEBERRY & VANILLA – SPA’s blueberry face wash for dogs is a luxurious soap free formula with a rich vanilla scent that will leave your pet pampered and smelling irresistible.
Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

Another shampoo we love to use is the Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo. This formula is free of fragrances, sulfates, colorants, and harsh chemicals and includes ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, honey, and beeswax for sensitive skin. It also comes in a variety of sizes.

Burt's Bees for Pets Oatmeal Dog Shampoo - With Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey - Moisturizing & Nourishing, Cruelty Free, Formulated without Sulfates and Parabens, Made in USA, 16 Oz
17,649 Reviews
Burt’s Bees for Pets Oatmeal Dog Shampoo – With Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey – Moisturizing & Nourishing, Cruelty Free, Formulated without Sulfates and Parabens, Made in USA, 16 Oz
  • PET GROOMING BRAND IN THE USA – Join the millions of pet parents who can t get enough of Burts Bees for Pets by using Americas pet grooming brand
  • SOOTHES AND SOFTENS – Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo cleans, soothes, softens, and conditions your dog’s dry skin and coat
  • MADE WITH THE HIGHEST QUALITY INGREDIENTS – This gentle formula includes ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, honey, and beeswax for sensitive skin


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.

You can also use an electric hair trimmer like the one linked below to trim the hairs around their pads. If your dog is comfortable with a vibration and low buzzing sound, it is a lot quicker to use this technique and quite safe as well.

oneisall Dog Shaver Clippers Low Noise Rechargeable Cordless Electric Quiet Hair Clippers Set for Dogs Cats Pets
88,496 Reviews
oneisall Dog Shaver Clippers Low Noise Rechargeable Cordless Electric Quiet Hair Clippers Set for Dogs Cats Pets
  • Built-in Batttery. Rechargeable dog trimmer with built-in battery is good for exceptional flexibility. It can also be used when charging so you don’t have to worry that it will stop working and have half groomed dog.
  • Safe and Sharp Blade. Upgrade stainless steel fixed blade and ceramic moving blade can provide excellent cutting performance. The blade sharp enough for a long time using. Detachable blades,easy to change and clean.
  • Low vibration and ultra quiet design.The noise when working is only about 55 db, to help the pet feel at ease, not afraid cut hair any more.

Products we love and use:

This is the perfect grooming kit as it comes with a variety of tools including thinning shears great for trimming around the mouth and beard, curved and straight round tip scissors a pet comb and cleaning cloth. All of these tools will be useful in trimming and tidying up areas on your Havanese. Ignore that they say for cats, as it’s actually best used for dogs.

GLADOG Professional 5 in 1 Dog Grooming Scissors Set with Safety Round Tips, Sharp and Heavy-duty Pet Grooming Shears for Cats
  • ★Professional Pet Grooming Scissors Kit★-The kit includes 1 × 6.5-inch thinning shear, 1 × 6.5-inch curved scissor, 1 × 6.5-inch straight scissor, 1 × pet comb, 1 × cleaning cloth, 1 × black leather case
  • ★Round-end Tips for Maximum Safety★-Never need to worry about poking your pet’s skin, because all dog scissors for grooming have rounded end tips, especially when trimming sensitive areas (such as face, ears, eyes, nose, paws)
  • ★Extremely High Quality Stainless Steel★-The round tips of pet scissors are made of 4CR Titanium Coated Stainless Steel, which is sharp and heavy-duty without pulling pet’s hair
Gimars Titanium Coated Professional 6 in 1 4CR Stainless Steel Dog Grooming Scissors with Safety Round Tip, Heavy Duty Pet Grooming Scissor for Dogs, Cats and Other Animals
  • 【Professional Dog & Cat Grooming Essential Tool for Groomers】Gimars dog grooming scissors are made of 4CR stainless steel materials, dipped in a ceramic coating and suffer 60 process carefully polishing and grinding, which makes blades will not rust, cleaned easily and keep the blades sharp for a longer time than stainless steel without this sheath


Between getting your Havanese professionally groomed, keeping their face tidy is something you will have to maintain. Havanese dogs often have long hair around their mouth, resembling a beard and moustache. By using thinning shears to shape and trim the hair, will help ensure it’s well-maintained and doesn’t interfere with eating or drinking. Thinning shears are easy to use and don’t leave start straight lines, so you don’t have to be an expert when trimming hair.

It’s best to clean your dogs face and eyes regularly. Use dog-safe wipes or a damp cloth to gently clean your Havanese’s face. Pay attention to the tear stains that can accumulate under their eyes and wipe them away carefully. Be gentle around the sensitive eye area.

Earth Rated Hypoallergenic Dog Wipes, Cleaning and Odor-Controlling Grooming Wipes for Paws, Body, and Butt, Perfect for Puppy and Adult Dogs, Lavender Scent, 400 Count
  • HIGH-QUALITY DOG WIPES: These textured wipes are the perfect everyday cleaning solution for your dog’s paws, body, and butt. With their delightful lavender scent, they keep your dog smelling fresh and clean.
  • GENTLE INGREDIENTS: These dog wipes contain high-quality ingredients like soothing aloe, shea butter, chamomile, and cucumber. They are perfect for cleaning your dog after walks, hikes, or in between baths.
  • USER FRIENDLY: Made of thick, durable, USDA Certified 99% Biobased material, our plant-based dog wipes have just the right amount of moisture for an effective clean every time.


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.

Products we love and use:

These clippers are perfect for cutting Havanese nails. This pair also comes with a hidden nail file should you need to file them down.

gonicc Dog & Cat Pets Nail Clippers and Trimmers – with Safety Guard to Avoid Overcutting, Free Nail File, Razor Sharp Blade – Professional Grooming Tool for Pets
  • Ergonomically designed non-slip handles are strong,lightweight,and comfortable.
  • Sharp blades are made of high quality stainless. Unlock protection prevent children from using it.
  • Free Hidden Nail File conveniently stored in handle will allow you to polish sharp nails to perfection.
  • Safety stop blade greatly reduces the risk of trimming nails too short.


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 using a tear stain shampoo as it’s gentle and the ingredients won’t burn their eyes.

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.

This breed is known for their long, silky hair, and the hair around their eyes can often become wet or discolored due to tear production or eye discharge. This can result in tear stains or dark staining under the eyes, which is more noticeable on light-colored fur.

Tear staining is generally harmless and primarily a cosmetic issue. However, it’s important to regularly clean the area around the eyes to prevent any potential skin irritation or infection.

There are a few strategies you can try to minimize tear staining in Havanese dogs:

  1. Keep the face clean: Regularly clean the area under the eyes with a gentle dog-safe wipe or damp cloth to remove any tear stains or discharge. Be gentle and avoid getting anything into the eyes.
  2. Manage tear production: Ensure your Havanese has a healthy diet and provide them with clean, fresh water. Excessive tear production can be related to allergies or certain health issues, so consult with your veterinarian if you notice persistent tearing.
  3. Trim the hair around the eyes: Consider trimming the hair around your Havanese’s eyes to help keep the area clean and reduce the chances of staining. Be cautious while trimming to avoid any accidents or discomfort.
  4. Consult a veterinarian: If tear staining is excessive, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms like redness, irritation, or discomfort, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian. They can assess your Havanese and determine if there are any underlying health issues contributing to the tear staining.

Remember that tear staining is a common occurrence in Havanese dogs and is generally harmless. However, if you have any concerns or if the tear staining is causing discomfort or affecting your dog’s well-being, it’s best to seek professional advice from a veterinarian.

Here is the link to the Tear Stain Shampoo we use and love:

TropiClean SPA Shampoo Tear Stain Remover for Dogs | Oatmeal & Blueberry Scented Facial Cleanser for Dogs | Ideal for White Dogs & All Other Coats | Cat Friendly | Made in the USA | 8 Oz
  • TEAR STAIN REMOVER – With regular use of our tearless dog shampoo facial treatment you’ll see tear stains fade and white fur brightened.


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!

Products we love and use:

Our Havanese runs to get her teeth brushed when we use Petrodex Toothpaste. She loves the taste and it makes it a much easier process to brush her teeth.

Petrodex Toothpaste for Dogs and Puppies, Cleans Teeth and Fights Bad Breath, Reduces Plaque and Tartar Formation, Enzymatic Toothpaste, Poultry Flavor, 6.2oz
  • DOG TOOTHPASTE: Petrodex Advanced Dental Care Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste helps reduce Plaque and Tartar formation.
  • PATENTED ENZYMES: With patented enzymes, this non-foaming formula of dog toothpaste does not require rinsing.
  • FIGHTS BAD BREATH: With regular use, Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs helps reduce Plaque and fights bad breath.
  • POULTRY FLAVOR: Dog toothpaste comes in a delicious poultry flavor that dogs love.
  • RECOMMENDED USE: For best results, brush using enzymatic toothpaste for dogs at least 2-3 times per week. Use a Soft-bristled Petrodex toothbrush designed for pets.

I like using a soft toothbrush with a small head, being that the Havanese has a smaller mouth. The bristles on this toothbrush are very soft and safe to use on your dog.

KnocKconK Extra Soft Small Dog Toothbrush, Cat Dental Toothbrush Silicone, Easy to Handle Teeth Cleaning Head, Pet Deep Clean Dense Brush, Safe and Effective Oral Care, Brush Away Bad Breath, 2 Pack
  • ❶‹Mini Soft Head for Cats and Small Dogs›: Small soft brush head help you to brush your pets’ teeth is easier. The toothbrush can easily reach the teeth because of the right size.
  • ❷‹Proper Size›: Toothbursh handle: 5.70inch/14.5cm; Toothbrush head:0.59inch/1.5cm×0.41inch/1.1cm.
  • ❸‹Deap Clean with 10000 Teeth Villil›: More than 10000 teeth villil can better clean the teeth.

I also like to give our Havanese dental sticks from time to time, to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup during chewing. They come in a small and large size, but the small size is perfect for our Havanese. Each type of dental stick serves a different function. I’ve linked each kind below

Get Naked Grain Free 1 Pouch 6.2 Oz Weight Management Dental Chew Sticks, Small
  • Added L-Carnitine Helps Boost Metabolism Fortified With Dietary Fiber To Promote A “Full” Feeling
  • Grain Free, Natural With Added Vitamins, Fat And Low Calorie
  • Made In Usa
  • Helps Reduce Plaque And Tartar During Chewing
  • No Wheat, Corn, Or Soy
Get Naked Grain Free 1 Pouch 6.2 Oz Digestive Health Dental Chew Sticks, Small
1,961 Reviews
Get Naked Grain Free 1 Pouch 6.2 Oz Digestive Health Dental Chew Sticks, Small
  • Added Ganeden Bc30 Probiotics Support Healthy Digestion Enhanced With Fos (A Prebiotic) From Chicory Root High In Dietary Fiber
  • Grain Free, Natural With Added Vitamins, Fat And Low Calorie
  • Made In Usa
  • Helps Reduce Plaque And Tartar During Chewing
  • No Wheat, Corn, Or Soy
Get Naked Grain Free 1 Pouch 6.2 Oz Super Antioxidant Dental Chew Sticks, Small
  • Enhanced With Vitamins And Minerals, Fortified With Omega 3 And 6 Fatty Acids, Supports Healthy Immune System
  • Grain Free, Natural With Added Vitamins, Fat And Low Calorie
  • Made In Usa
  • Helps Reduce Plaque And Tartar During Chewing
  • No Wheat, Corn, Or Soy
Get Naked Grain Free 1 Pouch 6.2 Oz Skin & Coat Dental Chew Sticks, Small
1,218 Reviews
Get Naked Grain Free 1 Pouch 6.2 Oz Skin & Coat Dental Chew Sticks, Small
  • Fortified With Omega 3 And 6 Fatty Acids From Fish Oil And Algae
  • Grain Free, Natural With Added Vitamins, Fat And Low Calorie
  • Made In Usa
  • Helps Reduce Plaque And Tartar During Chewing
  • No Wheat, Corn, Or Soy

Recent Posts


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.

Best Colour for your Tools and Toys

Check out our article on colour and dogs eyes