The Differences Between a Havanese & a Tibetan Terrier

Who can resist that Havanese face?
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Deciding between a Havanese and a Tibetan terrier might come down to the size of dog you prefer. The two breeds -- one hailing from Cuba, the other from Tibet -- have a lot in common, although they aren't related to each another. One's a lap dog, the other a lapdog wannabe.

Size Differences

The Havanese is a much smaller dog than the Tibetan terrier. At maturity, the Havanese stands between 8.5 and 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder, while the Tibetan terrier ranges in height between 17 and 14 inches. The Havanese weighs between 7 and 13 pounds, while the Tibetan terrier weighs between 20 and 24 pounds on average, with some dogs weighing up to 30 pounds. The American Kennel Club classifies the Havanese as a toy dog, while the Tibetan terrier falls into the non-sporting group.

Coat Differences

The breed standard for the Havanese allows all colors and patterns. The Havanese sports a long, silky, wavy coat. In some specimens, the coat develops into cords that completely cover the animal. The Tibetan terrier breed standard also allows any color or pattern. The breed sports a double coat, with a thick top coat and a soft undercoat. While the coat -- either straight or wavy -- is long, it shouldn't touch the ground.

Temperament Differences

The Tibetan terrier isn't actually a terrier, so don't worry about yours exhibiting the excessive digging, barking and hunting behavior so typical of "earth dogs." Both breeds are friendly and want to please their people. They also generally get along well with other canines, cats and kids. The Havanese likely welcomes strangers more readily than the Tibetan terrier, but both breeds make good watchdogs. The Tibetan Terrier Club of America refers to the breed as a "large dog in a small dog's body," with the type of personality more often found in bigger canines. That's because they're not yappy or hyper, like certain smaller breeds, and can happily roughhouse with owners and kids.

Exercise and Training

Both Tibetan terriers and Havanese require a fair amount of exercise. If you like jogging with your dog, the Tibetan terrier is more likely to keep up. A walk around the block once or twice daily is sufficient for the Havanese, who characteristically moves with a springy gait. Both breeds do well in canine sports such as obedience and agility, and respond well to training. With their cheerful, engaging personalities, both make natural therapy dogs. Like many other toy dog breeds, Havanese require some patience during housebreaking. It can take time for him to consistently "do his business" outside, so avoid giving him the run of the house too soon. Keep him on a consistent schedule and he'll eventually become housebroken.