Thanks for responding! Yes I will be working with a breeder. I just wanted to have a little knowledge going into it. I’m meeting with a few breeders to decide and one of them mentioned that the show world can be quite competitive and some unethical breeders actually sell you a “show pup” that they know is not going it win anything, so that they can put their real show pups against you and win. After hearing that I want to have a little background knowledge so I can hopefully tell if I am being duped! Also it would just be nice to have. How did you pick Panda? What was it that drew you to her?
I was asked to temperament test the litter for a friend. I was NOT looking for a puppy... I already had an 8 month old puppy. When you do temperament testing, you have never seen the puppies before, and they are sent into the room to you one at a time. Panda was the first puppy sent in. The first test requires the tester to be quiet and not engage with the puppy for two minutes while the puppy explores the space. You are looking to see how the puppy "settles" in a strange space, whether they fairly quickly become comfortable and start to explore, etc. Then after scoring that segment, you start to interact with the puppy and continue to other testing.
Well. Panda was completely unscorable on THAT segment of the test. She walked into the room on her hind legs, spotted me and the person scribing for me (we both tried not to giggle and avoided eye contact) and spent the ENTIRE two minutes doing her absolute BEST to get our attention!!! I have NEVER seen a puppy do that, before or since! Otherwise, she aced the rest of the temperament testing.
She was bold, people-oriented, food and toy motivated, recovered appropriately from startle responses. She also was beautifully balanced, (she stacked naturally) with nice, straight legs, what you could see of her bite at that age (7 weeks) looked good, and she had a beautiful head and (although this is not strictly necessary, it was a plus for me) very nice markings.
I was NOT looking for a puppy, though. When we got done testing all the puppies, I told her breeder that IMO she was the "pick" puppy in the litter. She said that she was sending the puppy to a show home across the country. I was shocked! I asked why she wasn't keeping her for herself, and she said that with two intact males in the house, she just didn't want to keep a bitch. I could understand that, so let it go. She was keeping two boys, one which I liked, and did go on to become a champion, and another who is a nice performance boy, as she planned. Then two days later, she called me to say she had talked to the people she had originally planned to send Panda to (that was not her litter name) and told them that she had changed her mind, and decided to keep her. "No pressure", she said, "But if you want her, you can have her."
So we co-owned her for the first year, and now she is mine.
But as I said in my previous post MANY things could have gone wrong along the way. I worked hard on her training, and on her coat and keeping he in good physical shape, but there was a lot of luck involved too.
She has a number of perfomance titles, and finished her championship last weekend with a second 5 point major.
If you are not already involved with Havanese, I advise you to go slowly and carefully. Get involved with your local breed group. GO to meetings. Get to know people. Get to know who you feel comfortable with. Ask the local people you come to trust to teach you about conformation. Put you hands on a lot of adult dogs and a lot of puppies. This is NOT something you can learn from a forum, or even a book It takes a lot of study, and a lot of hands-on learning.
I would NOT feel confident going out and picking a show prospect puppy with any certainty, even with 10 years of Havanese and one champion behind me. IF I were going to look SPECIFICALLY for a show prospect, I would still do EXACTLY what I am advising you to do. I would use my own knowledge, yes, but I would also be working with a breeder I really trusted, and listening to their input too. I would probably also be asking for the input of a couple of other trusted breeder friends for their input on any puppy I was really interested in.
You should also understand that you can finish a dog even WITH faults if you put them with the right handler and they are groomed and presented properly, and shown strategically, to the right judges against the right competition. A lot of AKC showing is a big "game". It can be fun and kind of a rush to dabble in it, but you should go into it with your eyes wide open.