Havanese Breed Magazine - Showsight

Havanese Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners..


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard of the Havanese General Appearance: The Havanese is a small, sturdy dog of immense charm. The native dog of Cuba, he is beloved as a friendly, intelligent and playful companion. He is slightly longer than tall, with a long, untrimmed, double coat. The Havanese has a short upper arm with moderate shoulder layback and a straight topline that rises slightly from the withers to the croup. The plumed tail is carried arched forward up over the back. The unique springy gait is a result of the breed's structure and playful, spirited personality. These characteristics of temperament, coat, structure and gait are essential to type. Size, Proportion, and Substance: The ideal height is between 9 and 10½ inches, with an acceptable height range from 8½ to 11½ inches. Height at withers under 8½ inches or over 11½ inches is a disqualification, except that the minimum height shall not apply to dogs or bitches under twelve months of age. The height is slightly less than the length from the point of shoulder to point of buttocks, creating a rectangular outline. The Havanese is moderately boned and should never appear coarse or fragile. Head: The expression is soft, intelligent and mischievous. Eyes are large, dark brown and almond-shaped. Chocolate dogs may have somewhat lighter brown eyes. Eye rims are solid black for all colors except for chocolate dogs which have solid brown eye rims. Incomplete or total lack of pigmentation of the eye rims is a disqualification . Ears are broad at the base, dropped, and have a distinct fold. They are set high on the skull, slightly above the endpoint of the zygomatic arch. When alert, the ears lift at the base but always remain folded. Ear leather, when extended, reaches halfway to the nose. The skull is broad and slightly rounded. The stop is moderate and the planes of the head are level. The cheeks are flat. Length of muzzle is slightly less than length of skull measured from stop to point of occiput. The muzzle is full and rectangular with a broad nose. The nose and lips are solid black for all colors except for chocolate dogs which have solid brown pigment. Incomplete or total lack of pigmentation of the nose or lips is a disqualification. Any color pigmentation other than black or brown on the eye rims, nose or lips is a disqualification. Small depigmented areas on lips due to rubbing against canine teeth will not disqualify. A scissors bite is ideal and a full complement of incisors is preferred. Neck, Topline and Body: The neck is slightly arched, of moderate length, blends smoothly into the shoulders and is in balance with the height and length of the dog. The prosternum is evident but not prominent. The chest is deep, well developed, and reaches the elbow. The straight topline rises slightly from the withers to the croup. Measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks, the body is slightly longer than the height at the withers. This length comes from the ribcage. Ribs are well sprung. The loin is short and well muscled. There is a moderate tuck-up. The tail is high-set and arches forward up over the back. It is plumed with long, silky hair. The tail plume may fall straight forward or to either side of the body. While standing, a dropped tail is permissible. The tail may not be docked.

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Forequarters: The tops of the shoulder blades lie in at the withers, allowing the neck to blend smoothly into the back. Moderate shoulder layback is sufficient to carry the head and neck high. The upper arm is short. Elbows are tight to the body and forelegs are straight when viewed from any angle. The length from the foot to the elbow is equal to the length from elbow to withers. Pasterns are short, strong and flexible, very slightly sloping. Dewclaws may be removed. The feet have arched toes and point straight ahead. Pads and nails may be any color . Hindquarters: The hind legs are muscular with moderate angulation. Hocks are well let down; pasterns are parallel from hock to foot. The croup is slightly higher than the withers. Dewclaws may be removed. The feet have arched toes and point straight ahead. Pads and nails may be any color. Coat: Silky to the touch, the coat is soft and light in texture in both outer and undercoat, although the outer coat carries slightly more weight. The coat is long, abundant and wavy. It stands off the body slightly, but flows with movement. An ideal coat will permit the natural lines of the dog to be seen. Puppy coat may be shorter and have a softer texture than adult coat. A single, flat, frizzy or curly coat should be faulted. A coarse, wiry coat is a disqualification. A short, smooth coat with or without furnishings is a disqualification. The coat may be corded. Corded coats will naturally separate into wavy sections in young dogs and will in time develop into cords. Adult corded dogs will be completely covered with a full coat of tassel-like cords. Color: All colors and marking patterns are permissible and are of equal merit. The skin may be any color. Gait: The Havanese gait is springy. The characteristic spring is the result of the short upper arm combined with the rear drive. Front legs reach forward freely matching the moderate extension in the rear. On the move, the pads may be visible coming or going. The head is carried high and the slight rise in the topline holds under movement. Temperament: The Havanese is friendly, playful, alert and intelligent with a sweet, non- quarrelsome disposition. Aggression or shyness should be faulted. Presentation: Havanese should be shown as naturally as is consistent with good grooming. They may be shown either brushed or corded. The coat should be clean and well conditioned. In mature dogs, the length of the coat may cause it to fall to either side down the back but it should not be deliberately parted. Head furnishings are long and untrimmed, and may fall forward over the eyes or to both sides of the head; they may also be held in two small braids secured with plain elastic bands. The braids start above the inside corner of each eye and extend at least to the outside corner, forming the appearance of eyebrows. No other hair accessories are permitted. Minimal trimming of the anal and genital area is permissible but should not be noticeable on presentation. Hair on the feet and between the pads should be neatly trimmed. No other trimming or sculpting of the coat is permitted and is to be so severely penalized as to preclude placement. Havanese should be presented at a natural speed on a loose lead to properly assess the characteristic springy gait.

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Faults: The foregoing description is that of the ideal Havanese. Any deviation from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Disqualifications: Height at withers under 8½ or over 11½ inches except that the minimum height shall not apply to dogs or bitches under twelve months of age. Incomplete or total lack of pigmentation of the eye rims. Incomplete or total lack of pigmentation of the nose or lips. Any color pigmentation other than black or brown on the eye rims, nose or lips. A coarse, wiry coat. A short, smooth coat with or without furnishings.

Approved August 9, 2011 Effective September 28, 2011

JUDGING THE HAVANESE by CandaCe Mogavero Havanese Club of America Judges Education Committee

W hat is the first thing you do when you walk in the ring to judge the Havanese? In a class of two or more Havanese do you walk to the center of the ring and look at the outline of the dogs in the class? Are you looking for the length of neck, and topline rising to the rear with correct tail set, all of which are necessary for a Havanese to exhibit correct breed type? As you are examining a Havanese on the table, are you looking for a scis- sors bite with the correct number of incisors (6/6), and the correct length of top skull with a slightly shorter muzzle? Th e key word here is slightly; not a muzzle so short it looks like a di ff erent breed. We do have a problem with large round eyes. Th e reason for calling for an almond shaped eye is they are not

as easy to damage as a large round eye. Are the eyes large, dark brown and almond shaped? Is the pigmentation around the eyes black, as it should be in all colors other than chocolate? A chocolate Havanese nose and eye rim have pigmenta- tion which is brown they should not have a pink nose; this is incorrect for a Havanese. Remember, the Havanese you are examining is an athletic little dog, who loves to do obedience, agility and free style dancing, among its many talents. We want a sturdy, healthy, robust little dog. Are you feeling for the topline that rises to the rear? If you are, you can actually feel where the rise begins. Is the tail set high in a fl at croup? Does the dog you are examining have a mod- erately laid back shoulder with a short

upper arm? Is the dog slightly longer than tall when measured from the point of shoulder to the point of rump? Th e key word again is slightly. Our standard calls for a dog slightly longer than tall, not a long backed dog. Th e length should come from the rib cage and not the loin, in order to keep the back strong. Does the tail go up from the root of the tail and over the back or is the tail so tightly curled it lies fl at on the back? Th e Havanese standard states (the tail is high-set and arches forward up over the back. It is plumed with long, silky hair. Th e tail plume may fall straight forward or to either side of the body. When standing the tail may be dropped.) It should be noted that when a Havanese moves, the tail is carried up and over the back and should not be dropped. Does the coat of the Havanese

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6 CritiCal ElEmEnts of HavanEsE BrEEd typE:

1. Topline-Straight but not level, rising slightly from withers to rump…the result of moderate angulation | fore and aft combined with a typically short upper arm.

2. Outline-Slightly longer than tall, with head carried high and tail arched over back.

3. Gait-Springy, with moderate reach and drive, show- ing free reach and good extension. Not stilted. May show flash of pad coming and going

4. Coat-Soft, silky, wavy, abundant. May be corded.

5. Broad backskull and large, dark, almond eyes: cor- rect ear set follows line of skull; full rectangular muz- zle is slightly shorter than backskull. The expression is soft and intelligent, mischievous rather than cute.

6. Intelligent, playful, sweet and non-quarrelsome.

you are examining have a soft, light, silky feel? I have asked Alice Lawrence to explain how to judge a corded Havanese. Alice has had BIS corded dogs in three di ff erent breeds over the years and is our expert in corded Havanese. Judging corded Havanese, for the most part, is an easier task than judging brushed dogs. Th e outline, so important to this breed, is right there. No masking it with artful brushing is possible with a corded dog; the slight rise to the topline

can be spotted (or not) in an instant. Th e neck, tail-set and tail carriage is clearly visible in a corded exhibit: what you see is what you get. As with all corded breeds, the dif- fi cult part is assessing expression and eye shape. Cords naturally fall forward over the face, veiling the eyes. So walk- ing past a corded Havanese, you may look for head tilt but fi nding expres- sion can be very di ffi cult. Even on the exam table, if you pull the cords back to look for eye shape, the glare of the sun

or overhead lights may cause the eyes to close. (Imagine whisking o ff someone’s sunglasses—the reaction is to squint! Be patient with that phenomenon.) To examine a corded Havanese, it is important to assess the actual struc- ture of the dog, not the outer surface of the cords. Stand at the front of the dog and insert each hand under the cords to examine the chest, short upper arm, spring of rib, length of loin and angula- tion. You can feel the topline accurately where the cords fall to either side; the slight rise in topline should be readily apparent. Both the topline and tail set should be easier to fi nd on a corded Havanese than on a brushed dog, as the cords lie relatively close to the body. Cording is a natural coat pre- sentation and must be evaluated without prejudice. We have fi nished the dog and have put it on the ground, let’s watch it move. As the dog moves away from you are you watching where it is placing its rear feet? It is hard to see how the Havanese moves in the rear due to the hair on the dog’s legs but if you look at the rear pads you can get a good idea of where the feet are being placed. As the dog returns to you on the down and back, where are the front feet being placed? Remember, some Havanese will show a fl ash of pad when coming toward you. Th is is caused by the moderate

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angulation in the front coupled with a short upper arm and topline rising to the rear. Th e Havanese may or may not show a “ fl ash of pad” and should not be penalized either way. When looking at side gait, the dog should move freely with a springy gait, not with extreme reach and drive. Th e gait of a Havanese was best described by a renowned judge, at our National Specialty a few years ago, as he awarded Best of Breed. He said the dog’s movement was “jaunty”. Th e description of jaunty is airy, breezy, buoyant, carefree, gay, high-spirited, lively, perky, self-con fi dent, showy, sparky, sprightly, all adjectives that describe Havanese movement. We must also judge the temperament of the Havanese we are examining. Is the dog con fi dent; is he comfortable with a stranger examining him? Th is is a toy dog who has been bred to be a companion to humans; it should not be resentful or afraid to be examined. Before we make our fi nal selections we need to judge one more aspect of the Havanese, and that is grooming. Note: Havanese may have the hair over their eye braided; braids are acceptable in the ring. Are the dogs we are going to place shown in a well-groomed but natural condition? If not, the dog should not be placed. Over-grooming has become a major problem in many breeds. Th e Havanese Club of America has always stated that the Havanese should remain

a natural dog without extensive groom- ing or sculpting. We, as judges, need to honor the wishes of the National Parent Club and the breeders of the Havanese. Th is statement by the Judges Educa- tion committee was printed in the judge’s magazine Th e Standard two years ago. Th e Havanese club of America’s stand on over grooming stands today. Th e Havanese Club of America would like to remind judges that the Havanese is a breed which should be presented naturally. Havanese should not have their coats ironed, bleached or colored in an e ff ort to change the natural characteristics of the coat. Th ey should NOT be trimmed anywhere other than the genital area or around the feet for neatness. Th ey should not be sculpted by trimming the edges of the coat nor should coat be removed to enhance or change the lines of the dog.

Th e coat should never be deliberately parted down the back; a natural part due to the length of the hair is acceptable. Teasing the coat or brushing it into a “comb-over,” to create an illusion of a rising topline, is becoming more com- monplace and should be discouraged even to the point of withholding place- ment. Brushed and corded coats are equally acceptable. Th e hair on top of the head may fall forward over the eyes or may be brushed back from the face and allowed to fall NATURALLY to both sides of the head. Two small braids, one on each side of the head, are allowed. A Havanese should not be shown with the fall on its head groomed in any other manner. Dogs shown in any man- ner other than described above should be penalized to the point of withholding placement.

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T he Havanese is a small, stur- dy dog of immense charm. The native dog of Cuba, he is beloved as a friendly, intel- ligent and playful companion. The Havanese is a joy to have as confor- mation dog, performance dog, or as a beloved companion to enrich our life. This dog with many talents has a won- derful, playful, loving temperament, suited for all walks of life. JUDGING: HOW TO APPROACH A HAVANESE ON THE TABLE As you approach a Havanese on the table for individual exam, keep in mind that although they are adorable, they will do best if you don’t start by baby- talking them. Observe them in profile on the table to get a picture of their out- line and then proceed to the front of the table. Place the palm of one hand under the dog’s chin to calm him and to help him feel certain that you are there. Many Havanese have hair over their eyes and need to be reassured that you are there and are about to examine them, temper- ament can be assessed at this point to be certain they are friendly and happy to greet you. With one hand under the lower jaw, the other hand can move the hair to see their eyes, feel the length of muzzle and structure of head. Ask to have the exhibitor show you the bite and check only for full complement of incisors and correct bite. It is not neces- sary to ask to see the side teeth, as molar and premolars are not discussed in the Standard.

Check the front legs for straight- ness, don’t let growth plates in pup- pies fool you, young dogs often have a bump in their front legs until growth is complete. Move to the long side of the table to feel texture of the coat. Remember to determine that the dog has a short upper arm. The length from the foot to the elbow, elbow to withers and with- ers to the top of the head are equal. Havanese are suppose to have some length of neck and look “balanced” when observing their profile. Measure the length of the dog by placing your hands underneath the coat as follows: Slide your hands under the coat so that the palm of one hand is under the coat and pressing against the point of shoulder and the other hand is pressing against the buttock, observe your two hands to determine that the measurement between your hands is “slightly longer” than the dog is tall. Check to see if the length is coming for the ribcage or loin, if you have any questions that the height of the adult dog on the table is not between 8 ½ and 11 ½ inches, request a wicket and mea- sure the dog. The ideal height is 9 to 10 ½ to the withers although 8 ½ to 11 ½ is acceptable. (The minimum height shall not apply to dogs or bitches under twelve months of age.) Assess the topline moving the palm of your hand over the length of the topline to feel the straight but not lev- el topline called for in the Standard, without a roach. A flat topline is quite evident if you slide your fingers over the length of the topline. A flat topline

(horizontal) and a topline that slopes downward should be faulted; the slight rise of topline is a hallmark of the breed. Please be sure to feel the structure of the rear legs to be sure the hocks are well let down, short and parallel. This is a very hairy breed and unless you are willing to get under the coat to feel the structure, relying solely on a visual evaluation will deceive you. Don’t worry about the messing up of coats! A trimmed dog, trimmed other than its paws and around the anal/geni- tal areas should be so severely penal- ized as to preclude placement. When your table exam is concluded and you observe the dog doing his indi- vidual movement, be sure to look for the unique springy gait and rise of the topline, head carriage is high, Havanese should always be presented at a natural step on a loose lead. CRITICAL ELEMENTS OF HAVANESE BREED TYPE What make the Havanese unique among Toys? 1. Topline - Straight, but not level, rising slightly from withers to rump. The result of moderate angulation fore and aft combined with a typically short upper arm. 2. Outline - Slightly longer than tall, with head carried high and tail arched over back. 3. Gait - Springy, with moderate reach and drive, showing moderate reach and moderate extension, not stilt- ed, may show flash of pad com- ing and going. The topline holds





“D og People” come in three main categories; breeders, exhibitors, and judges. All three seem to have opinions about the ailments of the Havanese. Each blames the other for the prob- lems that the breed is experiencing in the ring: It is the breeder’s fault for breeding this style; it is the exhibitor’s fault (exhibitor being professional hander, breeder/handler or owner-handler) for showing this style or for grooming the dog in this fashion; or it is the judge’s fault for rewarding these particular styles. I am using the term “style” verses “type” because I was told, a long time ago, there is only one type that is the Havanese, but styles may vary. So, whose fault is this controversy? Do we blame the breeder? This is the person who bred the dog for the ring in the first place. Obviously, the breeder has in her/his mind’s eye the ideal picture of what a Havanese should look like, move like and, in general, be like. This person must have a love for the breed to have devoted the time and energy to have studied pedigrees, completed the neces- sary health testing, bred, socialized, and trained this puppy. Breed- ing is not an easy process if it is done right, and I am assuming that a person who is devoting the time, energy, and money to have a dog shown is attempting to be an ethical breeder and to have the correct breed type in mind. But is this enough? Will this particular style win? The bottom line is that if the other dogs in the ring are of a different style and winning, the breeder will eventually alter the style they produce in order to exit the ring with ribbons, rosettes, and points. Now we start to hear some blaming; blame the other exhibitors (handlers) or the judge.

Should we blame the professional handler? According to Wiki- pedia, “A professional handler, sometimes called a professional dog handler, is a person that trains, conditions, and shows dogs in confor- mation shows for a fee. Handlers are hired by dog owners or breeders to finish their dog’s championship, or if finished, to be shown in the Best of Breed class as a ‘special.’” This person is a paid professional. His/her job is to complete a dog’s conformation title or, better yet, receive breed placements and national rankings. A handler has a winning reputation to maintain as well as keeping his/her clients contented and satisfied. A handler’s duty (professional or owner) is to present the dog to its fullest potential. It must be well-trained, well-fed, bathed/dried and groomed to the specifications of the standard, and be ready to dazzle the judge in the ring. If Winners Dog, Winners Bitch or Best of Breed are a different style than the one that the handler is showing, then the handler might change the grooming or style of the dogs they are showing. Once again, we start to hear blaming; blame the breeder or the judge. Or should we blame the judge? According to Wikipedia, “ A dog show judge, sometimes dog judge, is a person that is qualified to evalu- ate dogs at a conformation show. ” Becoming a judge is not an easy task. A judge must have bred and exhibited dogs for several years, gained experience with show ring procedures (including steward- ing) and completed training (including, but not limited to, judges’ education seminars, ringside mentoring, attending national spe- cialties, and being mentored as well as having to go through an interview process that includes written/oral evaluations as well as ringside observations by AKC field reps). Prospective judges are



“Is anyone at fault—or are we all at fault? In my opinion, we are all at fault.... THEREFORE, BREEDERS, EXHIBITORS, AND JUDGES ALL HAVE AN EQUAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE PRESERVATION OF OUR BREED.”

1. Topline: Straight, but not level, rising slightly from the withers to rump… the result of moderate angulation fore and aft com- bined with a typically short upper arm. 2. Outline: Slightly longer than tall, with head carried high, and tail arched over back. 3. Gait: Springy, with moderate reach and drive, showing free reach and good extension; not stilted. May show flash of pad coming and going. The topline holds under movement, neither flattening nor roaching. 4. Coat : Soft, silky, wavy, and abundant. May be corded. 5. Expression: Broad backskull and large, dark almond eyes; correct ear set follows line of skull; full rectangular muzzle is slightly shorter than backskull. The expression is soft and intel- ligent, mischievous rather than cute. 6. Temperament: Intelligent, playful, sweet, and non-quarrelsome. Important Note: The six critical elements of breed type listed above are in judging order, not in order of importance. All should be given equal weight in judging, regardless of whether they are visible on the go-around or only on the table. “Dog People” come in three main categories; breeders, exhibitors, and judges. All three seem to have opinions about the ailments of the breed. Instead of playing the “Blame Game,” I believe—from my point of view as an experienced breeder and handler—that we each have a responsibility to ensure that we take an active role in correcting and preserving the breed we love. Breeders, breed the best Havanese possible, following the guidelines set in the breed standard. Exhibi- tors, present the best example of the breed, keeping true to the prop- er grooming and handling procedures when presenting in the ring. Judges, award the best examples of the standard in the ring, at times making difficult decisions. Breeders, exhibitors, and judges working together in tandem as partners is the solution to what ails our breed.

highly trained to evaluate the dogs that will be presented to them. Outside the ring, we often scratch our heads and ask how or why the judge put up one dog versus another. From outside the ring, the onlooker cannot see the dog’s bite, determine by feeling if the dog has the proper rise, shoulder layback, correct front, and so on. Other times, a ringside observer will feel that the dog receiving an award did not show the proper elements of breed type. Judges might say that the dog they awarded the points to was the best they had to work with. Back to the blame game; breeders and exhibitors are not showing the best examples of the breed. So, what can we do as breeders, exhibitors or judges? Is any- one at fault—or are we all at fault? In my opinion, we are all at fault. I like to compare this situation to an equilateral triangle; in geometry, an equilateral triangle is a triangle in which all three sides are equal. Therefore, breeders, exhibitors, and judges all have an equal responsibility in the preservation of our breed. Breeders need to stay true to the breed, breeding the best possible Havanese according to “the breed standard.” There will always be room (within reason) for interpretation of the standard. Exhibitors need to show the best example of the Havanese according to “the breed standard.” Show the dog to its fullest extent, make it shine in the ring, and limit grooming to meet the set guidelines of the Havanese standard. Judges need to award dogs that are the best examples of the breed type as they understand it, encourage new breeders and exhibitors when possible, and withhold ribbons, if and when necessary. Havanese Judges’ Education has an excellent guide: Havanese Breed Type at a Glance . This guide outlines the six critical elements of the Havanese Breed Type (i.e., What makes a Havanese unique among Toys?):



ALICE & STEVE LAWRENCE We live in north central Connecticut, on the Massachu- setts border. Now that Steve has retired from his practice as a clinical Psychologist and I am now a retired Financial Planner, we spend a lot of time and energy in political activ- ism, seeing movies with our Senior discount and generally having a great time. FREDITH HOLT I live in Rancho Palos Verdes, in Southern California. I have a very active life outside my interest in dogs. I love to write poetry and articles especially about dog related activities. I enjoy tending to my garden that has an exten- sive array of succulents. My husband and I attend all of our grandson’s tennis matches at the University of South- ern California and also travel when he plays out of town. KATHY AMBLER My name is Kathy Ambler and my Breed is Havanese. I have been breeding and showing dogs as a breeder/owner/ handler for almost 20 years. I have been somewhat successful and I am quite proud not only of my finished champions, but the wonderful family pets and service dogs I have produced. I love showing dogs and hope to be able to continue until I die! I live in Michigan in the Thumb, just three miles off Lake Huron. I call it the boonies because every dog show is at least 90 minutes away (and that one is only once a year, the rest are at least two and a half hours each way) and the nearest Wal Mart is 30! Outside of dogs I am a Registered Nurse, but have not actually had a paying position in about five years. My husband has some health issues and is on Dialysis three times a week. So between him and dog shows and spending time with my family, I don’t have a lot of down time! KATHY PATRICK I live in Northern California, work part-time and enjoy being with my family.

1. Your opinion of the current quality of purebred dogs in general, and your breed in particular. A&SL: Dogs are probably getting healthier, in general, due to better nutrition, veterinary skills and more refined health testing. With that said, the dogs shown are not necessarily better than in the past. A lot of the elite breeders don’t even bother showing their dogs any more. Why pay money (and devote so much time and energy) to get an opinion from some- one who barely knows the essentials of the breed? There are many great dogs who are not shown, so what you see in the ring is often far from the best. Havanese have improved dramatically since they first entered the show ring 19 years ago, but there is still a long way to go before we consistently see a ring full of quality Havanese of consistent type. FH: I think the quality of the current purebred dogs is impressive. For the most part, they follow the breed standards, are well conditioned and are presented in a manner appreciated by judges and the pubic as well. Although our breed has made great strides in improv- ing the quality of our dogs, I think we still have a long way to go in gaining the confidence of the dog fancy in general. Grooming is an area that we continue to work on as a breed. I think we still have too much diversity in our dogs both in the whelping box and in the ring. We have significant size differences as well as differ- ences in coat and structure. There are differing per- ceptions of what a typey Havanese should look like in the relationship of length to height, topline, springy gait, head type and expression. I think as a breed, we have not yet established a broad impression of that “perfect” Havanese! KA: I think the dog fancy is making incredible leaps and bounds in breeding healthier dogs. Of course, there are some that seem to be moving away from their original standards and grooming has started to be used to hide structural faults, but overall, thanks to health testing and careful breeding, I think we are getting better. When I first got involved in Havanese, it was known that juvenile cataracts were an issue. Through careful screening, they show up few and far between. Another issue was Chondrodysplasia. With an increase in the amount of dogs across the world, we have been able to move away from using those dogs in breeding programs and IMHO, we are breed- ing much more structurally sound dogs with much


straighter front legs. It is rare that I see a “fiddle front” in the ring anymore. KP: The overall quality of Havanese has improved in the last 10 years, yet there is always room for improvement. 2. The biggest concern you have about your breed, be it medical, structural, temperament-wise, or what. A&SL: Our biggest concern for the Havanese breed in the show ring is the totally incorrect coat presentation with complete disregard for the description in the Standard for the breed. The double coat should be shown naturally. If the coat is so long as to obscure the natural outline of the dog, that is incorrect. Flat ironing coats to make them look more glamourous, like Maltese or Yorkshire Terriers, is destroying the look of the breed. It is heart breaking for us to see this. More and more judges are rewarding this coat presentation which only further encourages it. FH: Assuming good health practices and testing, I have concerns about our breed’s consistency and adher- ence to breed standards. That is the thread that should drive our breeding program. They are in the toy group so should not be overly large. They were bred for companions, so should be congenial. The unique topline and movement separates the Havanese from other breeds, so should be preserved and so forth. KA: I think we have a breed-wide problem with auto immune issues. UC Davis is now doing a genetic diversity study and while I do not understand it com- pletely, I hope to understand it better in the near future. Since we started with such a small gene pool in the Havanese, some of our dogs, that by pedigree are not related at all, actually are quite related when you compare their DNA! So, by using this as a breed- ing tool, maybe in the future we will have a bit more diversity in the breed and thus decrease the amount of AI problems. Wouldn’t that be awesome? As far as the show ring goes, the judges still seem to be rewarding level top lines (some masked by ratting up the coat, others not hidden by grooming at all) and some also don’t seem to understand the spring of gait. Frequently I see dogs being rewarded with Min Pin like movement in the front, or criss cross- ing, or even worse “egg beating”. None of these are correct! The movement and outline of the Havanese are two of the critical elements of breed type. Very often judges tell me, “You are losing your short upper arm and top lines.” Yes, I agree. So, breeders and judges and even handlers, need to really open their eyes and have a good look at their dogs. KP: My pet peeve with Havanese I see in the conforma- tion ring is no neck, which should be seen as part of

the overall outline of the dog. The proper shoulder structure controls, in part the length of neck and learning shoulder structure in canines is not easy and took me several years to “get it”! Havanese, per the Standard, are to have some length of neck when the dog is stacked, after all, we are an outline breed. 3. The biggest problem facing you as a breeder. A&SL: As breeders who produce one or two litters a year, at most, it is discouraging to see how many lit- ters some breeders are producing without regard to keeping their health testing current. Having a dog’s eyes or heart tested five years ago is worthless if those tests are not maintained annually and the dog is still being used for breeding. FH: My biggest problem facing me as a breeder is that I am getting too old to follow through with all my ideas and ideals! KP: Finding nice studs. 4. Advice to a new breeder? A&SL: Our advice to a new breeder is to never use a dog in your breeding program who has not been tested for everything appropriate for your breed. Don’t breed to a dog just because it is conveniently located or worse, because it belongs to your friend. Don’t make breeding dogs the sole source of your income. Screen carefully where you place your puppies. We strongly recommend puppies being placed on a man- datory spay/neuter contract unless they are going to be shown. Cherish your breeding lines and don’t scatter them recklessly. Exhibitors need to see their dogs on video to see what others are seeing. Judges are not reading and understanding the nuances of the Standards. They get hung up on superficial quali- ties and forget to judge soundness. We cringe when we see a dog with a bad front and/or rear rewarded for a pretty coat. Soundness is essential in every breed, large or small. FH: My advice to a new breeder is study and memorize the standard. Then start with the best Havanese you can afford. Surround yourself with the best men- tor/mentors you can find and learn as much as you possibly can. Ask lots of questions and learn, learn, learn! Expect hurdles and if you’re successful, you will be the object of everyone else’s frustrations. Appreciate and emulate the skills of the profession- al handlers. Set goals for yourself. Why are you a breeder? What do you hope to achieve as a breeder? How can you go about achieving that goal? Finally, assume the fact that being a breeder is a responsi- bility—to the breed, to the puppies you produce, to the families in whose homes they reside and to yourself in making a difference in the world of dogs!


My advice to prospective judges is to devour the standard and find the dogs that you believe come closest to that standard. Be true to yourself and trust your instincts. That’s what got you to this place. KA: Breeder: Find a good mentor. Listen to everything you are told. Never get to the point that you think you know it all, because you never will. Be open to learn something new everyday. Remember you are only as good a breeder as how well you stand behind your puppies. Keep in mind that the longer you breed, the more apt you are to produce some- thing bad. This does not mean you are a bad breed- er, just like it does not mean your competitor is a bad breeder when they produce something bad. It happens! Judges: when judging, remember the six critical elements of breed type. Remember the top line rise should be slight but should be visible on the move. Handlers can hand stack a dog to increase a rise (so it looks correct) and even stretch them out to decrease a rise (making them look level or even reversed). The Havanese has a specific outline and you should be able to tell from across the room that it is a Havanese, no matter if it is eight and a half inches tall or 11 ½ . No Havanese should be shy or scared. A first or second time puppy may be appre- hensive, especially on the table but you have to judge the dog on the day. And a questionable temperament should not be rewarded. Remember, the Havanese is supposed to be a sturdy, happy family dog. KP: Hopefully you have a good mentor, someone that understands what it means to “improve the breed” and has been showing and breeding Havanese for a while. Judges: Contact the parent club for approved ringside mentors that can answer your questions. While the word “slight” might have a different meaning to many, when it’s used in our Standard, it doesn’t mean “extreme.” 5. Anything else you’d like to share—something you’ve learned as a breeder, exhibitor or judge or a particular point you’d like to make? FH: “Oh, the Places You’ll Go, and the People You’ll Meet!” Showing and breeding Havanese has been a most rewarding experience for me personally. I have met so many great people, many of whom have become my best friends. Many breeders have shared their expertise with me and I am grateful for the opportunity to pass it on. Being a Havanese breeder is a labor of love in many ways! KA: Please remember our standard says natural and natu- ral does not mean, flat ironed, hair sprayed, thinned, ratted top lines and head coats, or sculpted coats. If the dog has a correct coat, shampoo and condition- er and a good brushing should be adequate. That is

consistent with good grooming. Also, head coat is supposed to fall over the eyes. Plucking at the very corner is allowed, but I am seeing more and more plucking that goes lower on the nose and up over the brow to keep head coat back. And how about those bums! Some trimming around the bum is ok but up the tail and down between the hind legs is excessive. 6. And for a bit of humor, what’s the funniest thing that you ever experienced at a dog show? A&SL: During 48 years of showing dogs, we have cer- tainly witnessed many very funny things at dog shows. Alice writes: one thing that happened about ten years ago occurred when I was in the ring, show- ing to a very proper, conservative Canadian gentle- man. He told me to go ‘down and back’ with my dog. I did so. Coming back to the judge, the dog did a rather dramatic free stack—planting himself like a little statue. At that exact moment, the elastic waist- band on my slip gave way and my slip fell around my ankles. Cool as a cucumber (not!) I stepped out of the slip and flung it to my husband standing outside the ring. As I proceeded without hesitation to do the “go around,” everyone was convulsed with laughter. The judge turned beet red. But never said a word. Neither did I. FH: As a newbie owner handler I was showing my bitch, Tinker, at my first National Specialty in Houston in 2003. I kept her standing at full attention the entire two hours while my mentor, Jan Stark, kept franti- cally waving and signaling across the room to me. Though distracted, I stayed the course and did not allow Tinker to break attention. I later learned Jan was trying to motion for me to let the poor puppy relax. She won BOS anyway! KA: I was showing my boy in the group ring in Wash- ington State. The judge asked me to do a triangle. If you think of the show ring like a baseball diamond, I headed straight out towards second base. I could hear all the murmurs from out side the ring, “what is she doing? Where is she going?” I realized what I had done, but I kept going, trying to figure out in my head how I was going to turn that into a trian- gle. I got to second base and turned towards third. Unfortunately, there were big urns of huge flowers set up in the middle of the ring. Having to step over those flowers on my way to third base caused the crowd to lose it. Hysterical laughter was coming from all directions. Luckily, I can laugh at myself too but best of all was my dog never missing a step. He went around the urns, I went over and we turned left again and headed back to the judge. Luckily he was laughing too and believe me, I sure know how to do a triangle now!


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