July 15, 2013 PetGuide
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Havana Brown

  • Height: 11 inches
  • Weight: 8-10 lb
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Physique: Firm, muscular
  • Best Suited For: The elderly, families with older children, singles who stay home
  • Temperament: Interested, involved companions with an inquisitive streak
  • Comparable Breeds: Abyssinian, Siamese

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The Havana Brown breed was created by a group of British enthusiasts in the 1950s when domestic black cats were crossed with Siamese in a planned breeding program. Early on there were some Russian Blue genes in the pool, but they are no longer present. These cats are the only breed that must have brown whiskers to qualify for a Kennel Club Pedigree. The British variation is called the Chestnut Brown Oriental and are more Siamese in conformation, while the American variant is known as the Havana Brown. The Havana name may be a reference either to Havana cigars or to the Havana rabbit. The breeding pool in both the U.S. and Britain is extremely small, making the breed endangered. They are bred at only a dozen or so catteries.

Havana Browns are unusually expressive with their paws, using them to examine things they find interesting and to communicate with their owners.

havana-brown-1Havana Browns are unusually expressive with their paws, using them to examine things they find interesting and to communicate with their owners. These cats crave interaction and companionship, and do not do well when left on their own. They get along well in family situations and with other animals, including dogs. Although individuals may have a tendency toward reserve, most Havana Browns are playful and talkative, making sure they are part of any and everything going on around them. Supervisors by nature, a Havana Brown is sure you want his opinion, and offers it generously. They love to rocket around the house for no reason, and will play “tag” with other cats, which may explain why these beautiful browns crash hard at night – usually right in the middle of their human’s pillow.

Still vaguely Oriental in appearance, the American Havana Brown is a firm, muscular cat with a powerful, elegant demeanor. Medium in size, they have well-defined muzzles and large ears that tilt forward inquisitively. The ears have few hairs on the inside or to the front, which only make them seem larger. This cat’s green eyes are widely set in his head, which is mildly elongated. Generous pads set with brown whiskers flank the slightly pointed nose, which, like the Havana Brown’s toes, are rosy toned. The lip hair is very sparse, giving the Havana Brown a little chin “patch.”

havana-brown-2The Havana Brown’s unique coloration is a lovely deep brown. This velvety look, paired with the breed’s vivid green eyes make for a handsome cat often called the “Chocolate Delight.” Thanks to the uniform coat and strong musculature, the Havana Brown literally gleams.

Havana Browns don’t require a lot of grooming, but they do benefit from regular brushing and baths. If this routine is established early, these happy attention hounds will submit to everything from claw clipping to ear cleaning without complaint. In general, loose hair can be removed from their coat with a good rub down with your hands followed by buffing with a chamois. Follow this routine, and shedding will be kept at a minimum.

Photo credit: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock

Comparable Breeds

Go to Abyssinian


  • Height: 8-10 inches
  • Weight: 8-12 lb
  • Lifespan: 9-13 years
  • Physique: Muscular, alert ears
  • Best Suited For: Families with older children. Not apartment cats. Enjoy room.
  • Temperament: Active, intelligent, curious, affectionate, playful
  • Comparable Breeds: Nebelung, Javanese
Go to Siamese


  • Height: 8-10 inches
  • Weight: 8-10 lb
  • Lifespan: 11-15 years
  • Physique: Slim muscled body
  • Best Suited For: Families with children but often bonds with one person.
  • Temperament: Intelligent and affectionate. Playful and talkative. Extroverts
  • Comparable Breeds: Devonshire Rex, Havana Brown