WOW! It seems there is always a new tool to find out all about! LOL! I had to look up "guide combs". Looks like something that will be beyond me for awhile. I have never groomed a dog, but am committed to learn. I like the longer look; I've read that 3" is a nice length to keep them at. Definitely the face, ears and mustache will be kept long. I am looking forward to playing with different hair designs to keep the hair out of the eyes. I have ordered the book "From Nose to Tail" and plan to get the Jodi Murphy video. I wish there was a groomer nearby who would teach me, rather than me learning from my mistakes (the typical way I learn).
Thank you, again, for your input.
If you are going to play with clippers (beyond the little trimmers for sani trims) you absolutely HAVE to have guide combs (they aren't expensive) on the clipper blades. Otherwise, you will basically shave the dog.
A 3" clip, on most Havanese, is not going to save you from matting. And it depends how much undercoat the dog has. A dog like Tux has enough undercoat that he looks adorable and fluffy at 3-4". For dogs with less undercoat, like mine, a 3" clip would not stand up and look fluffy... it would just part down the middle of their backs and make a funny line between clipped and unclipped on their sides. Pixel gets clipped to about 2", and at that length, it can puff up and make her look "fluffy". By 6 weeks after, she's definitely looking in need of a trim. I think 2-2 1/2" is as long as can be done with clippers. longer than that, and they need to be scissored. Scissor cuts are a LOT more work if you do it yourself (and take a lot more practice!) and are also quite a bit more expensive if you have it done professionally because it's a lot more time consuming for the groomer.
I've attached some photos of Pixel, at 2", so you can see what a smaller, lighter undercoat Havanese looks like at 2". If she gets to 3", she's starting to get mats, and needs a lot more grooming. at 2 - 2 1/2", she's pretty much wash and wear. I comb her out before she goes to lessons, and after a bath. That's it. But, you can see in the last photo, when she wasn't freshly washed and fluffed, (and probably several weeks since a haircut) that her coat flattens out.
My full coat ones with the light undercoats need to be combed out at 2-3 times per week now that they are in their adult coats. But on that schedule, those with the heavier undercoats would get mats... mine don't. I guess my point is that what length you clip, and how hard the coat is to maintain depends a LOT on the individual coat. I am drawn to the silkier coats without a ton of undercoat, partly because I LOVE having them in full coat. But those that HAVE the thick undercoat are the ones who maintain that adorable "puppy" look, even if they are cut short, as adults.