Havanese Grooming

Lila (Fawn Brindle Havanese Dog)

The Havanese dog has a double coat, long silky outer coat with a soft fluffier undercoat. If left untrimmed it will grow as long as 6-8 inches. This undercoat actually sheds, it just doesn't fall out. Thorough brushing is needed at least 3 times a week to remove this dead undercoat otherwise it will form mats which could be painful if too close to the skin. This could happen even if you keep the coat short in a puppy cut.

 Up until about 6 month old your puppy will not need to be brushed very often, but it is important to do regular grooming to get the puppy used to it.

The following is recommended routine grooming to help keep your Havanese's coat, eyes, ears, paws and teeth in good condition. See Your New Havanese Puppy page for list of grooming supplies needed. 

Bath Time:

Havanese only need to be bathed about once a month. Unless they are really dirty avoid over-bathing to prevent drying out the coat. Puppies should be washed more frequently so they can get used to the routine.
  • I use the kitchen sink, it is the perfect height and the spray gun is helpful wetting down and rinsing..
  • Place cotton balls in the ears to prevent water from entering the ear canal. 
  • Use no tear shampoo and conditioner to prevent irritation. 
  • After the bath I put towels down on the floor and tell them to "Get Dry" and they rub all around on the towels, this is their favorite part of getting a bath) then I blow dry while brushing with the pin brush. Then I finish off with the fine comb. Please note: this method is only if there are no mats.

Dry Coat Care:

I like to put them on my lap and brush them while watching T.V., they will usually fall asleep before I am done. You can have the dog stand on on table, just put down a towel or something to prevent him from sliding around.

Small puppies can be taught to stand for you by placing your hand on his belly and giving the cue "stand up" as you raise him up - this can be frustrating at first because he will keep sitting down but if you stick with it he will get the idea you want him to stand. 

  • First spray the coat with detangler/ conditioner and work it in until the entire body is damp. Be sure to saturate any matting. Let set for a few minutes.
  • Smooth out any mats with the slicker brush
  • Then use the combination comb to loosen the hair up
  • Then brush the entire coat thoroughly with the pin brush, don't forget the ears
  • Finish off with the fine comb
  • Holding down the hair near the root will help lesson any pain due to pulling.
  • When finished give the dog a treat. Havanese will do practically anything for a treat, be consistent, and your dog will associate the two things and actually look forward to being groomed.


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The area around the eyes should be gently wiped clean with a dampened cloth or cotton ball daily.

  • Havanese develop tear staining under the eye which can be quite unsightly especially on a white dogs. There are soothing eye lotions that can help lesson irritation and discoloration, ask your Vet or pet supply store.
  • If tearing and the staining that comes with it are excessive, try switching to filtered or bottled water, this may take up to 6 moths to work, but people have reported a dramatic difference.
  • Stay away from product that bleach the hair or camoflage the stains, these products are harsh and could injure your dogs eyes if not used properly. Natural food suppliments are safest to use and usually get better results.
  • Daily cleaning is essential.

Havanese Ears:

Dogs with long floppy ears like the Havanese are more prone to ear infections because the ear flap blocks air from entering and drying any moisture which creates a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Ear wash shot directly into the ear should only be used for heavily soiled ears.

Cleaning the ears:

Pluck any hairs growing from inside the ears a few at a time with your fingers or tweezers.

Slightly moisten a cotton ball with ear wash and gently wipe out the ears and the ear flap. Alway wipe away from the inner part of the ear. The cotton ball should not be dripping wet just moistened enough to do the job.

You can use a cotton swab for smaller areas where the cotton ball cannot reach. Remember to be gentle, wipe away from the inner ear and NEVER PROBE down into the canal. A good rule is to only clean what you can see.

If you think there is a lot of debris down deep in the ear use ear wash to flush out. Follow instructions on the bottle.

Signs you need to see your Vet:
  • Excessive head shaking and ear scratching.
  • Ears sensitive to touch.
  • Discharges and powerful odors.
  • Hematomas (blood blisters) on the ear flap.Swelling and skin redness.
  • Melanomas (tumors).


The following are some tips to keeping your dog's paws pain free in a well groomed state
  • Regularly check between the paw pads for debris. 
  • Hair grows from between the pads and down around the paw which covers the pads and makes the dog slide around, this hair should be trimmed with a round tip scissors. Cut straight across, don't put scissors down inside between the pads just snip what is sticking out. 
  • When the dog is standing trim the hair around the feet even with the floor.
  • The toe nails should be trimmed every 4-6 weeks. Nails that are left to over-grow can cause painful ingrown nails and overall discomfort when walking. 

See below for tips on trimming your Havanese dog's nails. If you have trouble trimming the nails yourself, it is best to let a professional groomer or your Vet take care of it.

Nail trimming: 

Havanese nails are black, this makes clipping them somewhat difficult because the quick isn't visible. The quick is the part of the nail where the blood and nerve endings begin. Nails should be clipped or filed up to the quick.

To clip black nails feel for a ridge under the nail, don't clip past this ridge. If the dogs nails are overgrown the quick could be past the ridge, in this case you should clip a little of the nail at a time, working your way towards the quick. Unfortunately the nails will probably bleed, if this happens you need to apply Styptic powder to stop the bleeding. With regular clipping or filing you will be able to recede the quick back to where it should be.


Like people, dogs teeth accumulate plaque which can harden into tartar. Regular brushing can help to maintain a dogs teeth and gums.

  • You should brush teeth 2-3 times a week with canine toothpaste found at your Vet's office or pet supply store. the tooth paste comes in yummy flavors like chicken or liver.
  • The younger the dog is the easier it will be for him to accept you brushing is teeth. First get him used to you touching his mouth and rubbing your finger on his gums before you begin a brushing regiment
  • There a few different types of canine tooth brushes, I like the one where you stick your finger in the end, it is easier to control. Be sure to get the proper size tooth brush for your dogs mouth.

Lila Female Havanese