Havanese Shih Tzu Mix: The Havashu Breed Guide

Both breeds have a cuteness that can make any dog lover want to pick them up and bring them home. A mix between these two can produce something almost unreasonably cute – the Havanese Shih Tzu mix! A designer breed that’s steadily growing more popular, this dog has made quite the impression in a lot of social circles. Let’s take a look at how this particular crossbreed came to be.

Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Key Characteristics

  • Adaptability: 60%
  • Affection Level: 80%
  • Apartment Friendly: 100%
  • Barking Tendencies: 60%
  • Cat Friendly: 60%
  • Child Friendly: 100%
  • Dog Friendly: 100%
  • Exercise Need: 60%
  • Grooming Needs: 40%
  • Health Issues: 60%
  • Intelligence: 60%
  • Playfulness: 60%


havanese shih tzu mix staring at ball

havanese shih tzu mix sleeping

havashu staring 

Havanese and Shih Tzu Mix Highlights

  • It is bred from the Shih Tzu and the Havanese toy dogs, which means it will be tiny. It will stand only a full 12 inches once it’s fully-grown.
  • A Havashu can only weigh up to 15 pounds.
  • There are many possible color combinations for the coat to take. The only time their actual coat color is determined is when they are born.
  • One of its parent breeds – the Havanese – is of Spanish origin. It enjoyed popularity in the 1800s, but at the end of that century, it slowly disappeared until it reemerged in recent years.
  • On the other hand, the Shih Tzu started off as a favorite of Chinese and Tibetan officials centuries ago. It went to Europe in 1928 and was recognized in the US in 1965.
  • They bear recognition from five designer breed organizations.
  • This mix breed dog is highly energetic and requires multiple walks per day. It can also benefit from playing indoors, as it is a small dog.
  • They also have a stubborn streak, which curiously offsets their affectionate and “eager to please” temperaments.
  • Their hind legs are naturally lower in height than their front legs. This gives them a different stance.
  • They have a very long life expectancy – it can be anywhere between 12 to 16 years.
  • If you choose to grow the coat long and flowing, you’ll need to brush it every day with tender loving care to control its shedding.
  • It actually needs to have its coat blow dried after every bath time to keep them from matting and becoming rough.


Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Appearance

Because of its parents, the Havanese Shih Tzu mix is a small dog. The heaviest they can get to is only 15 pounds. They can only grow up to a foot or 12 inches tall (and that’s their standing height.)

The Havashu (as it is called in the breeding circles) has a curious stance. It looks hunched because their front legs are shorter than its rear legs. Its tail can also curl.

This crossbreed often has black for the color of its eyes. Like the Shih Tzu, it can have rims around it, which are also black in color. Its ears can also flop and droop a little bit towards its face.

Mixing a puppy from Havanese and Shih Tzu parents gives it two possibilities for the consistency of its coat. It can be long and fine like its Shih Tzu parent, or wavy and curly from the Havanese side of the pool.

Many possible colors can be inherited from its purebred parents. These colors include:

  • Cream
  • Golden
  • Black
  • Gray
  • Brown
  • Chocolate
  • White
  • Tan

There isn’t any fixed possibility on a mixed breed dog’s final appearance before it is born, so getting yourself a Havashu puppy while the breeder is still crossing its parents can be very exciting!


Like most designer dogs, the havanese and shih tzu mix has come into existence as a mixed breed quite recently. However, there is no data yet to determine when the first litter of Havanese and Shih Tzu parents was born.

Of course, its parent breeds have their histories more established. The Havanese is a Spanish breed and was developed beginning in the 15th century from dogs brought by Spanish settlers and the local dogs they encountered.

From the onset, the Havanese was meant to be a companion dog, not working dogs like the European breeds that were created sometime in the 19th century. They enjoyed popularity in Europe and Cuba in the 1800s, but soon faded into obscurity. Recently, the breed has made a surprise recovery and has risen into prominence. This is mostly due to the efforts of breeders around the world to preserve and reestablish Havanese populations.

As its name suggests, the Shih Tzu is an East Asian companion dog. It is thought to be highly sought after in China and Tibet. The Chinese refer to them as “little lion dog” because of its appearance and loyal temperament. The Shih Tzu found its way to Europe when a pair was imported to England in 1928. Years later, the Shih Tzu was entered into the list of recognized pure breeds by the American Kennel Club.

Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Trainability

Both the Shih Tzu and the Havanese are known to respond positively to training. They display extraordinary intelligence, and they are considered moderately easy to train. Also, they are always looking out to please their owners.

Take note that the havanese and shih tzu mix is very touchy and sensitive. You will need to be firm, but also gentle in the conduct of your training. Reward-based training (in other words, treats) will be adequate for this bright but stubborn designer dog.

Of course, one secret to success in training any dog is consistency. As dogs can be hard-headed sometimes, they require a lot of love and patience in training, especially when it comes to housebreaking them.

Be sure to start socializing your Havashu with your family and your other pets as soon as it steps into your home. Otherwise, it will identify only with you and become fiercely territorial. We all know how high-pitched a Shih Tzu’s bark is, so you’d want to avoid that with early socialization!

Havashu Temperament

One characteristic that has endeared the Shih Tzu and the Havanese to their owners and fans like is their cheerfulness. It is evident from the moment they start walking around at 4 weeks of age. They’re willing to play around with both their siblings and their owners, to whom they are very affectionate towards.

They’re also very energetic but tend to mellow out as they mature. Some people who misunderstand the breed or who are not experienced in taking care of either a Shih Tzu and a Havanese will find them a handful, but this can be addressed with proper and consistent training.

Children are exceptionally fond of these dogs, as their small size makes them ideal as companions for young children growing up. And as a mixed breed coming from Shih Tzu and Havanese parents, the Havashu can most likely inherit this lovable temperament.

Despite being small, they can also become very protective of its human family. If a person is not appropriately introduced to the dog, it will consider him or her an intruder and will bark accordingly. This breed inherited the high-pitched bark of its parents, so expect a protective Havanese Shih Tzu Mix to make a lot of noise!


The Havanese and Shih Tzu are both small breeds and have similar nutritional needs. The mix breed follows the same dietary requirements.

Pet Care RX recommends that, based on the Shih Tzu diet, they need to have a balanced diet of protein, essential oils, fats, and carbohydrates. When planning your dog’s diet, care should be taken to avoid obesity. Limit your dog’s feeding times to 2 to 3 times a day, for a total of 1/2 to a full cup only.

When choosing dog food for your Havashu, make sure that it has 50% high-quality protein content. The protein should come from muscle meat, egg sources, oily fish, beef, lamb and chicken. You can sometimes feed it meat from internal organs, but be warned: they have more fats than protein content.

Fresh fruit and vegetables should be added, as well as carbohydrate sources, to balance out the high protein content of the Havashu’s diet. However, you should avoid non-digestible foods like corn, raisins, avocados, grapes, and nuts as they can result in an upset stomach.

Carbohydrates can come from cooked brown rice, mashed sweet potato or brown bread. Apples and carrots can also be ideal sources. Just like humans, the havanese and shih tzu mix needs a lot of vitamins and minerals. You can purchase dog-friendly food supplements. Always consult your dog’s veterinarian before buying any supplements.

Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Health and Care

Exercise is essential for every dog’s health and care routine. Because both its parent breeds are known to be excitable and energetic, you should take your havanese and shih tzu mix out for a walk several times a day.

Allow it to play and exercise inside your apartment as well. A medium-sized apartment with lots of places to run and hide is precisely the right abode. Spend time with it too to play; if not, give it lots of dog toys to chew and play with.

Like all dogs, if not exercised properly, they’ll become bored and exhibit destructive behavior.

Be careful not to overfeed your dog. It is basically a small-sized dog, and its calorie requirements are significantly smaller than medium-sized and large dogs. It’ll thrive with 1 cup of dry dog food for an entire day, distributed into two separate meals throughout the day.

As for health concerns, there are quite that this Havanese Shih Tzu mix dog can inherit from its parents. These include:

  • Retina problems
  • Umbilical hernias
  • Chondrodysplasia
  • Cardiovascular complications
  • Allergies
  • Dental complications
  • Various infections, including skin infections and allergies
  • Deafness
  • Patellar luxation

Knowing the breeder and the quality of his or her care for the parent breeds will minimize the chances of your Havashu puppy getting any one of these conditions. However, you also have a responsibility to bring in your dog for medical checkup and shots regularly.

With proper care and nutrition, you can expect them to live a very long life. Its average life expectancy is between 12 to 16 years. You can, for instance, watch it grow up together with your children!


The grooming needs would depend on the length of its coat. If you regularly trim your Havashu’s coat to maintain a short length, brushing 2 to 3 times a week will take care of its shedding.

On the other hand, if you prefer to keep it long like the Princess-style of Shih Tzus, you’d have to set aside time every day for brushing its long and beautiful coat.

Bathing the puppy every few weeks is an excellent grooming habit. Their coats (especially the long ones) will need to be shampooed and conditioned to keep clean. Keep it smooth by blow drying the coat after every bath.

Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Puppies

Havashu puppies are tiny, but you can discern their coat colors right away the moment that they are born. These will then turn into their adult coats, which they will grow into by four weeks of age.

The first three weeks of a Havashu puppy’s life is spent in close company with its mother, who will be very protective. It’s part of their instinct, and it’s best to stay away from the mother and pup except to feed them occasionally.

They also don’t have their senses fully developed until about three weeks of age. They’ll spend most of their time sleeping to accumulate energy and promote their growth spurt.

Things change by the time they turn four weeks of age. They are now keen to get up and walk about, although their movements will be awkward in the first few days. They’ll still go back to the mother’s fold to feed, but she will be slowly weaning them off their milk.

At four weeks of age, it’s time for you to start practicing caring for your puppy. You can begin to socialize them with other pets but don’t get them too far from their mother. You can also introduce solid food sparingly to their daily diet.

By 8 weeks of age, they are already strong enough to move about on their own. They’ll also be less dependent on their mother for nourishment. She’ll even be letting them go about and be independent as well.

If you’re buying from a breeder, you should get your puppy at about 8 weeks of age. However, some breeders choose to keep them for four more weeks to allow the puppies to socialize with their siblings.

Havashu Price

If you’re looking to purchase a Havashu puppy, you’d better be ready to pay anywhere between $300 to $1200.

The dog will require lots of health care and maintenance, including regular medical testing and vaccinations, as well as neutering and spaying.

Other non-medical concerns will cost you as well. These would be the dog accessories that you will want to purchase for your havanese and shih tzu mix, like leashes, carrier bags, toys, treats, licenses, and registrations, plus frequent grooming and trimming of its coat.

Breed Organizations

The following five registries or organizations have given recognition to the Havashu:

  • Designer Breed Registry
  • Designer Dogs Kennel Club
  • International Designer Canine Registry
  • American Canine Hybrid Club
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.

Recognition by these organizations means that orders and breeders can register their litters with these groups’ databases. It becomes easier to archive and trace each pup’s bloodline with these registers.

Take note that the Havashu is not recognized as a purebred, but rather under the “designer dog” category or a mixed breed.

Now that you know most of what it takes to take care of a Havanese Shih Tzu Mix, you are finally prepared to give them the best care possible with these health, care, and training tips. Just remember that no matter what the breed, all dogs just want a companion who is as loyal as they are. That’s where we come in.

About the author

Sarah Andrews

Hi I'm Sarah, dog lover and blogger. I was born into a dog-loving family and have been a proud doggy mommy ever since I can remember. I love sharing my dog knowledge and love being an active part of the dog-loving community.