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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 04:51 AM Thread Starter
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the Havanese tail

I frequently see people position their dog on the ground or on a table by grabbing their tail and pulling up on their hind quarters, especially at competitions. I especially notice it being done to Havanese. What's that all about? I have NEVER done that to Ricky! Even if it doesn't hurt, it seems very impolite, rude, and disrespectful.

On the other hand, when Ricky and CoCo play together, she will often grab his tail in her mouth and pull him backwards (CoCo is bigger than Ricky). Ricky doesn't complain or protest and appears to be enjoying it. it is just all play to him.


What am I missing here? Somebody enlighten me.

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 07:47 AM
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Not quite sure what you mean. In terriers, small terriers are often picked up by the chest and tail when placed on the table, then back on the floor. Terriers are bred to have a thick, heavily muscled tail, specifically so they can be pulled back out of a hole when hunting vermin. Havanese do NOT Have this type of tail musculature, and handling them this way could be very harmful. (And painful). What is done with Havanese in the show ring is very different, though I can see how it might be confusing if you see it in a still photo, or if you can’t see the hands under the hair.

Havanese are considered an “Outline breed”. A dog without its tail up, in correct position, is not going to win. Period. (Even though our standard only calls for the tail remaining up while the dog is gaiting ) For this reason, with a young dog who is not used to the show ring, or a shyer dog who may not keep its tail up (or simply a less correct one ) the handler will often HOLD the tail in the correct position either on the floor and even more commonly, on the table, for the judge to be able to see that “outline” when the dog is at rest. Since it is not against the rules for the dog NOT to carry its tail when at rest, this is considered fine. This is done simply by gently placing the flat hand behind the dog’s rear with the thumb on the base of the tail or just to use the fingers on tge tail to keep it in an upright position. There is no force applied, and it is not uncomfortable for the dog.

A good show Havanese usually starts to enjoy his or her time in the ring and the handler can keep their tail up without this. As an adult, Panda “self stacks” which means that she positions herself correctly without a human putting her in position, and keeps her tail up without the handler needing to get on the floor and hold her tail. Even so, in the hustle and bustle of the the show photographer’s area, where everything has to get done fast and move on to the next dog, her handler had to “help” her keep her tail up in this photo. It’s completely expected, and done very gently.
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Last edited by krandall; 03-08-2020 at 07:51 AM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 10:50 AM
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I get what you’re saying because even when I’m just grooming around his tail, I feel like I get “the eye” sometimes from my Hav. It just feels like it’s a vulnerable area and I’m expected to be respectful.

Just the other day I was waiting in the car for DS with my Havanese. I knew we might have to wait a few minutes because he needed to talk to a teacher, so Sundance was free, roaming around the car and watching kids out the window. I didn’t see DS walk up and open the door, and he made a beeline for it! It would be his dream come true to escape at a middle school, and the parking lot was still busy from carpool. I reached to grab him but he was too quick and all I caught was the base of his tail sticking up in the air as he was leaning down to jump out of the car. I was SHOCKED! I couldn’t believe I actually caught any part of him because he was so quick and it felt like I was flailing desperately, but even more shocking is that he stopped in his tracks. It happened so fast, but in the instant I had hold of his tail I thought, “Don’t jump!” I was so afraid he would keep going and I’d be left holding him in the air by the tail.

He wasn’t hurt, he didn’t jump out of the car, and he wasn’t even upset with me, but something about grabbing his tail made me feel like I had violated him terribly! I don’t think he’d give it a second thought if I was like, “Here, tail up,” and gently directed it up, it would probably take me longer to get used to!

Last edited by EvaE1izabeth; 03-08-2020 at 10:52 AM.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 12:31 PM
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Popi - I thought you were on your way to Scotland. I see you are either up early, or late getting to bed! 1:51 a.m.! You are a night owl!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by EvaE1izabeth View Post
I get what you’re saying because even when I’m just grooming around his tail, I feel like I get “the eye” sometimes from my Hav. It just feels like it’s a vulnerable area and I’m expected to be respectful.

Just the other day I was waiting in the car for DS with my Havanese. I knew we might have to wait a few minutes because he needed to talk to a teacher, so Sundance was free, roaming around the car and watching kids out the window. I didn’t see DS walk up and open the door, and he made a beeline for it! It would be his dream come true to escape at a middle school, and the parking lot was still busy from carpool. I reached to grab him but he was too quick and all I caught was the base of his tail sticking up in the air as he was leaning down to jump out of the car. I was SHOCKED! I couldn’t believe I actually caught any part of him because he was so quick and it felt like I was flailing desperately, but even more shocking is that he stopped in his tracks. It happened so fast, but in the instant I had hold of his tail I thought, “Don’t jump!” I was so afraid he would keep going and I’d be left holding him in the air by the tail.

He wasn’t hurt, he didn’t jump out of the car, and he wasn’t even upset with me, but something about grabbing his tail made me feel like I had violated him terribly! I don’t think he’d give it a second thought if I was like, “Here, tail up,” and gently directed it up, it would probably take me longer to get used to!
Actually, you have to be pretty careful with a dog without a lot of "meat" on their tail, like a Havanese. If there is a lot of force applied backwards to their tail ( I know there WASN'T in your case!) you can actually have a "degloving" accident, where all the hair and skin peels off the bone... then the tail must, unfortunately, be amputated. That happened to my brother's Sheltie, much to his dismay, when he stepped on his tail in the woods, the Sheltie pulled away very quickly in pain, and the last 5" of his tail peeled right off! My poor brother was horrified!!! Sammy is absolutely fine now, with his "modified" tail.

With show dogs, you spend quite a bit of time working with them (with LOTS of good treats!!!) getting them used to being stood in a specific way, being handled all over, (males have to accept having their genitals handled) having their mouths opened to show their bite, and learning to have their tails handled (and gently held up) is just part of that.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 04:49 PM
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I've seen a lot of this in dog shows, too, Popi. Picking up a Havanese, (along with many other breeds,) by having one hand between the front legs under the chest, and the other using the base of the tail as a handle! It has always bothered me!

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Popi - I thought you were on your way to Scotland. I see you are either up early, or late getting to bed! 1:51 a.m.! You are a night owl!
JET LAG! Yup, I'm in cold, rainy, windy Edinburgh, Scotland. I had a first time, deep fried Mars bar for desert tonight. One is enough to last me a lifetime! But................I put in 12,000 steps (5 miles) of walking today.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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In terriers, small terriers are often picked up by the chest and tail when placed on the table, then back on the floor.
That's exactly what I am talking about with Havanese - all four paws off the ground! Front paws supported by hand under the chest and rear paws picked by the tail. I have seen this done to Havanese at local conformation shows and I have seen it done twice to Havanese at Westminster. What's the deal?

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-09-2020, 04:45 AM
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If there is a lot of force applied backwards to their tail ( I know there WASN'T in your case!) you can actually have a "degloving" accident, where all the hair and skin peels off the bone... then the tail must, unfortunately, be amputated.
That is terrifying, I had no idea! I was imaging broken tailbones and unforgivable trauma.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-09-2020, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Ricky Ricardo View Post
That's exactly what I am talking about with Havanese - all four paws off the ground! Front paws supported by hand under the chest and rear paws picked by the tail. I have seen this done to Havanese at local conformation shows and I have seen it done twice to Havanese at Westminster. What's the deal?

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