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Do Havanese Dogs Like To Cuddle? Fully Explained

With Havanese dogs being so cute and adorable, who doesn’t want to hold and cuddle them? Whether or not Havanese like to be held is a surprisingly common question from owners and prospective owners. So let’s find out!


Do Havanese Like To Be Held?

Yes! Havanese dogs love to be held and are actually one of the most affectionate breeds out there. How accepting your Havanese is of being held will come down to how often he was handled as a puppy.

The majority of Havanese will have a high desire to give and receive affection. Whether this is in the form of being held, cuddled, or laying next to you on the couch, it’s all good for a Havanese.

It must be said, however, it’s not guaranteed that every Havanese will be as tolerable to your hugs and affection as others are. Affection among Havanese can vary and I’ll explain more about this further below.

Why Do Havanese Like To Be Cuddled So Much

So why are Havanese a breed that likes to be held and cuddled so much?

The incredible amounts of affection coming from Havanese dogs can be explained with just a short history lesson… I’ll keep it short! lol

Havanese were originally brought to Cuba from Tenerife in the 1500s, before quickly becoming Cuba’s national dog. They were primarily used as a family pet and were effectively developed into lapdogs.

It didn’t take long before they caught the eye of wealthy vacationers and then became used by the Spanish, French, and British nobility as companion dogs. History lesson over! Phew!

So, from this, we know that It’s practically in their DNA to act as a companion dog and are therefore naturally affectionate and attached to their owners. They were never used as working dogs, and so this kind of lovey-dovey life is all they know.

Recommended Read: Do Havanese bark a lot? What owners should know

Why Doesn’t My Havanese Like To Be Held or Cuddled?

Given that Havanese have an overall reputation of being very affectionate and cuddle, it can come as shock to some owners when their Havanese refuses to be held… So why does this happen?

5 Reasons why some Havanese will refuse to be held:

Was raised with a low level of affection in general. Havanese dogs that were raised with a low level of affection during puppyhood are more likely to reflect that when they’re older. Being less affectionate and unwilling to receive affection would be appropriate if they didn’t receive it themselves when young.

Was raised with low physicality. Perhaps the biggest factor will be actual physicality and how frequently the Havanese was handled when a puppy. Puppies that are constantly picked up, touched, and held will become very accustomed to this level of physical interaction and will therefore have no issues with it when they are older.

Has had a bad experience when being held. Additionally, if your Havanese once has a bad experience when being held (like being dropped) this would again, cause them to be overly cautious and even refuse to be held in the future.

The time is not appropriate to be held. Or, it could just be that the timing is not appropriate for your Havanese to be held still. She might be excited and wants to play, or she’s getting anxious because it’s near to dinner time. Moments like this will make it virtually impossible for your Havanese to enjoy a nice calm cuddle.

The Havanese is a rescue. Anxiety, stress, and past experiences can really change the stability and personality of any dog. This doesn’t mean to say all rescued Havanese are not affectionate, but it opens up a wide range of reasons as to why that particular Havanese might not like to be held. This mostly depends on why and how they ended up in a shelter in the first place.

Do Havanese get cold easily? Cold weather tolerance

Havanese Personalities Can Change With Age

Another factor that changes how affectionate Havanese can be is their age.

It can go either way, but in most cases, owners report their Havanese to become more cuddly, calmer, and affectionate with age.

This is likely due to their natural energy levels getting lower, as well as the fact that your bond and relationship will only improve with time.

Having a calmer demeanor and a better relationship with you will likely lead to more downtime and cuddles on the couch.

Then again, one owner reported to me that the opposite had happened and that their Havanese became more “grouchy and unapproachable,” I quote. But I think this may have been an exception.

Trending Article: Are Havanese suitable for first-time dog owners?

Tips To Keep Your Havanese Affectionate

To keep your Havanese receptive to your hugs, cuddles, and affection there are some valuable tips to know.

Some of these tips will also benefit those owners who have puppies. Some of the advice below can be implemented from a young age to ensure she grows up to be as cuddly and huggy as you hope for. Let’s run through them.

1. Daily brushing can double up as affection

Havanese need a good amount of brushing in order to keep their coat tangle-free and healthy. The best kind of brushing routine is one that’s short in duration yet done every day (compared to a grueling hour-long brush once per week).

Fortunately, this can double as a time to pamper your Havanese with love. Don’t just brush away, be sure to stroke her, give her a massage and be sure to provide some tasty treats at the end. The more physical contact you can get your Havanese accustomed to, the better.

2. Don’t try cuddling her too much (when she doesn’t want it)

If you’re trying to make your Havanese more affectionate, then it’s imperative to avoid creating bad associations.

So if your Havanese doesn’t want to cuddle, or it’s an inappropriate time for her to remain still, then don’t try to hold or cuddle her. This will only frustrate her and she’ll remember this experience for the next time!

3. Be as physical as possible without annoying

This is almost the opposite of what I said above. lol. However, the thing is, the more familiar your Havanese is with your physical touch, the less it will bother her in the future.

Not that it bothers her now… but it’s all about familiarity and getting her increasingly comfortable with physical contact in general.

4. Positive reinforcement will work

Positive reinforcement is a term thrown around every 10 seconds in the dog community. And there’s a good reason for that, it works.

If you make a conscious effort to reward (treat) and let your Havanese know she’s been a really “good girl” (praise) after every cuddle and moment of affection, she will quickly learn that this is good behavior and something that you want.

And once that is understood, there’s no stopping the amount of affection from here on out.

5. Improve her daily routine

Lastly, focus on your Havanese’s daily routine, and see if there are any areas that could be improved.

Ensure she receives enough exercise, training, playtime, socialization with other dogs, and general interaction.

If you can improve any area of her daily routine, it will only improve the bond you both have. And if your bond is improved, this will only increase her levels of affection.

Interesting Read: Why Havanese Make Excellent Service/Therapy Dogs

Be sure to check out more of our Havanese articles on The Puppy Mag


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.