Deciding between Havanese or Miniature Poodle - which to get?!?

(11 Posts)
Dappled Mon 07-Sep-20 18:10:53

If you've got, or ever had, havanese or miniature poodles - please tell me what they're like to own!
We've been thinking about adding a dog to our family for several years and I've been actively researching it for the last 18 months or so.
We wanted to wait until our children were old enough that we felt they would be sensible around a dog and also until our beloved and very sensitive, nervous elderly cat was no longer with us. Children are now 10 and 7. My daughter (10) has been desperate for a dog since the age of 5 or 6 and I think it would be really good for her - she is very emotional and dogs really seem to calm her, she always has a good bond with them and loves playing with them. She's really keen to help with training and is keen on the idea of possibly teaching tricks or doing dog agility. My son is also into the idea of having a dog, but a little more cautious around dogs than my daughter. We spent a few months last year walking a dog from Borrow My Doggy to get them used to having closer contact with a dog. We do still have one other elderly cat, but he's a pretty calm confident soul and I think he could cope with a puppy, albeit probably grumpily. We also adopted a 2 year old Maine Coon girl this year who is skittish and with a big mad, friendly slightly nervy personality and desperate for a playmate (elderly grumpy cat not cutting it for her) - so I really want a dog who I can trust around cats, not too high prey drive, good with children. I generally believe in adopting where possible but we had a terrible experience with a "cat friendly" rescue dog who came to us for a trial, which nearly resulted in us being one cat down. I spoke to several dog behaviourists at that time, all of whom advised me that, with cats and young children, it would be wiser to get a well-socialised puppy from a reputable breeder....and also advised against many of the breeds we were considering due to their in bred hound/hunting/chase instincts. I spent months researching, going round in circles,... and came up with havanese and miniature poodles as the shortlist. Both being generally considered playful, "people" dogs, very trainable, not too big, good with children, generally ok with cats. Non-shedding a bonus. I'm happy to do grooming and pay for groomers. Obviously there's a size difference between the breeds, havanese are at the smaller end of what we'd consider, miniature poodles at the bigger. I think one of the biggest differences may be the exercise requirements - it would be really good to know from anyone who has had either breed how much exercise in a day they need to be happy. I'm wondering whether a poodle would be too energetic for us. We could comfortably do 30-45 minutes in the morning and 20-30 in the afternoon. We often go for longer countryside walks at weekends and when on holiday and I'd like a dog who could "keep up" and be ok with a country ramble (not massive hikes but we're likely to want to go a bit further as the children get older). So I'm also wondering whether a havanese with its little legs wouldn't manage that...?
I work from home most of the time and my DH could easily take a dog to work so potential separation anxiety not a problem. (I know that can be an issue with both, particularly havanese I think).
I'd prefer a breed not known for barking a great deal (obviously I understand the need for training an individual dog, but a breed that's not known for being huge barkers would be preferable). There are a number of dogs in the houses around us who trigger each other with their barking and one in particular who I think is left for periods and barks which has resulted in anonymous letters through our door from a disgruntled neighbour who couldn't figure out which house the dog lived at - I found this really stressful even when the dog wasn't mine!
Any thoughts at all on these breeds would be really helpful and good to hear. Thanks!

OP’s posts: |
StillMedusa Mon 07-Sep-20 20:09:14

My brother has a havanese and he is adorable! They live in london and walk everywhere and he does miles and miles with them, no problem. He's lovely natured (much nicer than my own dog!).
They did introduce him to a dog walker/ home boarder early on so that he would not pine if they went away and that has worked well.. currently they are on holiday and he's at home with the live in boarder

My SIL has a poodle and he is also adorable, but dare I say, more work because he is more intelligent! Also needs a lot of exercise and barks (but that may be him..he;s just a vocal dog) The havanese isn't particularly barky (except one Xmas eve when he came to us, and was all excited and frankly I was ready to stuff him with the turkey by morning grin)

My brother's dog does need regular clipping but that's about it.
I wouldn't worry about the cat.. we have a very stroppy Maine Coon and our puppy has a high prey drive, but we used stair gates and now, a year on, they lie side by side on the floor. Ophelia (cat) does give Orla (dog) a swipe on the nose if Orla licks her face but otherwise it's harmonious... I can't imagine a Havanese would be a match for a Maine Coon smile

MissShapesMissStakes Mon 07-Sep-20 20:40:56

I have a mini poodle. He's lovely. He's two now and has been much easier than I expected (he's our first dog).

He's very people centred. He much prefers us to other dogs. He's not aggressive with other dogs but he's slightly unsure how to be with them (he was attacked as a pup). My daughter can also be emotional and quite loud with it. He is amazing with her. He will rush over to her and lick her face or feet. Sometimes he even brings her his favourite ball to cheer her up.

He is quite tall for a miniature poodle. He's as tall as my in-laws' lab (she's quite small for a lab) but not as long. He curls up in a little ball to sleep. He never seems to take up lots of room so he doesn't feel big.

He does have a high prey drive and is very 'keen' to search for cars to chase in the garden if anyone mentions the c word. However, he will come in and watch us feed the Guinea pigs and sit nicely. Though I do think his interest isn't healthy! hmmI'm sure that's something that can be trained properly if a pup meets cats early on.

The walks you suggest seem fine to me. We do about 30-60 mins in a morning and don't always go out apart from that. Though he will have some ball games in the garden too.

He has been quick to train but I wouldn't say he's 'highly intelligent'. He's walked into his fair share of glass doors! He has never destroyed anything. He's not a chewer at all. In fact I bought him some special stinky chews recently and he just isn't interested.

Oh plus - he doesn't shed at all. It's great!
We pay £35 every five weeks. I get him cut short all over and grooming is no big deal then.

A lot of a dog's characteristics come from their parents so make sure you meet them/know what they are like.

Havenese are lovely looking. Never met one though. I wouldn't get any other dog now I've had a poodle though.

MissShapesMissStakes Mon 07-Sep-20 20:43:28

Here he is - no reason.

StillMedusa Mon 07-Sep-20 22:00:46

This is my brother's Havanese. He's dinky (runt of the litter) and likes to be cuddled like a baby!

Dappled Mon 07-Sep-20 22:55:06

@StillMedusa, thanks for your thoughts. I did think that poodles might be a bit harder work being more intelligent, especially in terms of them not getting bored/destructive. I think my Maine Coon might be bigger than a Havanese smile In my optimist moments I hope that dog and cat might become best friends. But I'd be content with just tolerating each other! Your brother's Havanese is gorgeous!

@MissShapesMissStakes No reason - except he's lovely!! smile Loads of useful thoughts and advice there, thank you. Relieved about the walking, wasn't sure how much it would take to satisfy them/wear them out.

I'm under the impression that pedigree havanese are a fair bit more expensive than pedigree poodles, but that feels like one of those questions you can't ask breeders straight off the bat. I'm not sure whether it would affect our decision but it might affect how soon we do it.

OP’s posts: |
Dappled Thu 10-Sep-20 11:02:52

Anyone else got any thoughts on these two breeds? Or alternatively - feel free to suggest another small/medium size breed that is child friendly and has the potential to be cat friendly!

OP’s posts: |


Munkeyface Thu 10-Sep-20 14:50:32

I have a 14 week old Havanese.
First dog so I have struggled with puppy life but things are starting to get better.

Dappled Thu 10-Sep-20 22:14:34

@Munkeyface, what's been the hardest thing? Or what do you wish you'd known beforehand?!? I think Havanese may have won my heart, I'm definitely leaning strongly that way. (Just need to persuade DH who I suspect may really prefer something a bit bigger).

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Munkeyface Thu 10-Sep-20 22:19:06

Currently asleep next to me on the sofa!

Puppy life in general has nearly broken me..
It has been much harder than I imagined. He is just a normal puppy biting weeing etc.
I have just found it very hard with the children and trying to carry on with family life.
80% of the time he is adorable though.

Dappled Fri 11-Sep-20 12:43:27

@Munkeyface, oh he's gorgeous! I'm trying to read as much as possible so that I can be prepared, or at least aware of, the hard bits beforehand, but I'm sure nothing can really prepare you for it !

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