Dog Breed Travel Profile: Havanese

One of America’s most popular dog breeds, the Havanese is an excellent life and travel companion. These dogs are smart, people-friendly, and not attention-seeking, making them nearly perfect pets. The breed’s size, temperament and health also make the Havanese a near perfect choice for travel. In most cases, this dog will fit easily under your seat while traveling via airplane, train, and bus. However, Havanese dogs are true companion animals and can become overly dependent. They do not do well when left alone for long periods of time, such as while traveling in the cargo hold of an airplane. If you plan to fly with a Havanese, ensure that your airline allows pets in the cabin. Otherwise, your Havanese may bark or exhibit destructive chewing while in cargo. However, with the correct training and preparation, a Havanese can be a great co-passenger on any trip.


Size and Travel Options: The Havanese is small enough to fit under a plane seat. Weighing between 7 and 13 pounds and growing to 8.5-11.5 inches, these small dogs will feel comfortable in the cabin of an aircraft. Similarly, the Havanese will ride comfortably on subways, trains, busses, and in cars. Both soft- and hard-sided carriers will work, but we recommend the softer option for increased comfort and room. If you plan to fly with a Havanese, ensure that the carrier’s lining is durable; when stressed, a Havanese may resort to destructive chewing, which can lead to injury or, in the most extreme cases, escape. Additionally, Separation Anxiety is common among Havanese. If possible, find a carrier with a see-through mesh or wire top so that you are in view throughout the flight.


Health and Physiology: Havanese are generally very healthy, suffering from only a handful of health conditions. They have no special exercise needs and can live between 14-16 years, but owners may want to consider frequent, professional grooming; this breed I known for its long, silky coat, which requires regular brushing and care. Additionally, as your dog ages, he may begin to exhibit signs of Hip Dysplasia, a degenerative disease in which the hip joint is weakened due to abnormal growth and development. Havanese are also known for developing elbow dysplasia, which affects the elbow joint, and patellar luxation, or a “trick knee”. As the dog ages, you may notice an increased reluctance or inability to stand up and/or jump. This will impact travel only in that you must ensure the animal can sit or lie down while in transit. Standing for long periods of time can cause both extreme pain and stress.


Personality as a Travel Companion: Havanese are curious, sociable, and intelligent dogs. They are incredibly eager to learn, making them very easy to train. Havanese are medium-energy dogs, but they require consistent affection from their owners. Though you can train them to perform most tricks and advanced tasks, owners may struggle to instill a sense of independence. As a result, in-cabin travel is the best and safest option for Havanese. Do your best to determine how your animal’s individual personality may affect his ability to fly, then prepare and train accordingly.


In sum, the Havanese can make an excellent travel companion, but owners will need to do their best to ensure they are not left alone. Cargo transport is rarely necessary for these small, lovable dogs, but check with your airline to see if there are any limitations on pet transit. Be prepared to accommodate your Havanese when creating a travel and vacation itinerary. If you prepare correctly, a Havanese can be the greatest vacation partner you’ll ever experience.