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How to give a Havanese a haircut

Closely related to the Bichon Frise, the Havanese are a beautiful and playful little dog of the toy variety. These dogs have quickly gained in popularity at dog shows and competitions since the 1970s and the AKC has responded with a very specific set of guidelines relating to the way owners give their Havanese a haircut. Not only do these guidelines cover which hair should and should not be cut on your Havanese, but also how long the hair should be, as well as to what should be used to cut it with.  Havanese dogs are known for their soft, silky coats. However, their coats can quickly become matted and tangled if not groomed regularly. In this blog post, we will show you how to cut a Havanese dog's hair at home. 

havanese dogA Havanese haircut needs to be done with either a number 40 blade (in a pair of clipping shears), or a small pair of grooming scissors. Typically the only hair that should be cut is the hair around the paws; and even then, only just enough to give the paws a more circular shape. Depending on the show you are entering, you can also clip the hair around the rump area and even the hair inside the ears.

One of the first things you need to know about giving your Havanese a haircut is that you should only trim the hair on the paws (to give them a more circular appearance), and the rump and groin area. Trimming the hair on the face and ears is strictly forbidden if you want to enter your dog into champion competitions.

Havanese by their very nature do not shed, so brushing them daily is important to keep their coats free of any loose or damaged hair. Brushing daily as a part of your Havanese grooming routine will also help to keep their coats nice and shiny.

If you do decide to give your Havanese a haircut, it is important to remember to only use a number 40 blade in your clipping shears. This will help to prevent the fur around the paws from being clipped too short. If you do make a mistake, simply trim around the affected area carefully, to help restore the round, desired shape. A small pair of trimming scissors may be used to clip the rump and groin areas, but be sure that you adhere to the rules for length.

The most important part of giving your Havanese a haircut is that you remember to stay calm throughout the entire process. Toy dogs are by their very nature, much more playful and energetic than larger breeds of dogs and can therefore become quite rambunctious during the grooming process. Soothing them quietly with your hands and voice prior to attempting to give your Havanese a haircut, will help to ensure that the process goes much easier for you both.

Giving your Havanese a haircut doesn't have to be a difficult process. The most important part of grooming your Havanese - whether brushing, bathing, or giving your Havanese a haircut - is to go about it in a calm, and reserved manner.

This will help to give your dog more ease about the whole process, and help them to stand still during the clipping process. As long as you can remember to stay calm, giving your Havanese a haircut can be a relatively simple and easy process.

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How to Groom a Havanese at Home: The Step-by-Step Process

Grooming your Havanese at home doesn’t have to be a daunting task. This lovely breed, known for its long, silky hair and affectionate temperament, does require regular grooming to keep its coat and skin healthy. According to a survey by the American Pet Products Association, nearly 67% of U.S. households own a pet, and grooming is a major component of pet care expenses (American Pet Products Association, 2020). But what if you could bring the grooming salon to your home? Here’s how to groom a Havanese at home without breaking the bank.

Gathering the Tools

  1. Dog Shampoo and Conditioner: Opt for hypoallergenic and pH-balanced formulas.
  2. Grooming Brushes and Combs: A slicker brush and a steel comb are essentials.
  3. Dog Clippers: Invest in good-quality electric clippers.
  4. Scissors and Shears: For precision trimming.
  5. Towel and Hair Dryer: To dry your pet efficiently.

The Grooming Steps

  1. Preparation: Start by brushing your Havanese to remove any tangles and loose hair.
  2. Bathing: Use lukewarm water and a recommended dog shampoo. Apply conditioner if needed.
  3. Drying: Pat your dog dry with a towel before using a hair dryer on the lowest heat setting.
  4. Clipping and Trimming: Follow a clipper guide for the length and style you desire.
  5. Finishing Touches: Check ears, trim nails, and give your Havanese a final brush.

Engaging Example 1: When trimming around the eyes, I usually keep a few dog treats at hand. Every time my Havanese, Bella, stays still for a perfect trim, she gets a treat. It's positive reinforcement at its best!

Dealing with ChallengesHavanese puppy

  • Matting: Regular brushing is the best prevention. However, for stubborn mats, consider using a detangling spray or mat-splitter tool.
  • Anxiety: Some dogs are nervous about grooming. A gradual introduction to each grooming stage can help.

Engaging Example 2: I remember the first time I tried to clip Bella's nails. She was so anxious that she squirmed throughout the process. So, the next time, I spread the clipping over several days, doing just one nail per day, combined with lots of praise and treats. It worked wonders!

How to Make the Grooming Process More Enjoyable for Your Havanese Dog

Grooming your dog can be a bonding experience for both of you. Here are some strategies to make the process enjoyable and stress-free for your Havanese.

Create a Positive Environment

  • Play soothing music: Studies suggest that music can help calm dogs (Kogan, Schoenfeld-Tacher & Simon, 2012).
  • Use Treats and Toys: Reward good behavior generously.

Engaging Example 3: I once played a playlist of classical music during Bella’s bath time. The change in her demeanor was striking. She seemed much calmer and almost enjoyed her bath!

Introduce Grooming Games

  • Fetch and Brush: Throw a ball and then give your dog a quick brush when they return.
  • Treat Hunt: Hide treats in the grooming area for your Havanese to find.

Make it Routine

  • Consistency is key. Choose a specific day and time for grooming sessions to help your pet adjust.

Recommendation: For those struggling with keeping a regular grooming schedule, setting reminders on your phone or even scheduling it in your pet management app can be invaluable.

Consult Online Resources

Conclusion: Cutting a Havanese dog's hair at home can be a rewarding experience. By following the steps in this blog post, you can give your dog a perfect haircut that will keep them looking and feeling their best.


  • American Pet Products Association. (2020). National Pet Owners Survey.
  • Kogan, L., Schoenfeld-Tacher, R., & Simon, A. A. (2012). Behavioral effects of auditory stimulation on kenneled dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 7(5), 268-275.

Legal Disclaimer

The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional advice from a veterinarian or certified dog groomer. Always consult professionals for any serious grooming or health concerns involving your pet.

With proper techniques and a bit of patience, learning how to groom a Havanese at home can become a delightful experience for you and your furry friend. Happy grooming!

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Thursday, 11 April 2024

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