What temperament problems are Havanese known for? Or is it that these can show up in badly bred Havanese? From what I learned when doing research, no well-bred dog (which should include breeding for temperament) should have serious behavior issues.
Well, behavior issues is very different from inherited temperament issues. Any dog, if it is not trained properly (and that STARTS with the breeder, but is MOSTLY the responsibility of the new owner) can develop behavior issues.
My lab is from a backyard breeder, who was a friend of mine. We have had absolutely no behavior problems from him. But I think little dogs are different, and perhaps more prone to behavior problems because people don't take them as seriously in a small dog?
Not sure about that... I've known plenty of big dogs with behavior issues too. Certainly in the "reactive dog" classes at our training center, most of the dogs are mid-sized or larger. I guess a really nasty little dog is less likely to be euthanized because it can do less damage than its larger cousin. The interesting thing, too, about that reactive dog class is that MOST of the dogs are mixed breeds, where in-breeding certainly isn't the problem. But I bet MOST of those dogs come from shelters, and probably didn't have the best start in life. (which goes more to nurture than nature)
Last night I took Jasmine to a play date, and there were a couple Yorkie-Chi mixes who were absolutely shaking with anxiety the whole time. Astounding. They looked miserable, and yet this kind of thing was obviously considered normal and perhaps even desirable by the owners.
There again, Yorkie-Chis are mutts, so you wouldn't think in-breeding would cause the problem. With the REALLY small dogs, what I've seen at our training center is that people shelter them too much and don't socialize them, because they are afraid they will get hurt. The result is that they never learn proper social skills, and they don't learn to relax.
I guess my question is, is it possible for a well-bred dog to have behavior problems? And by well-bred, I mean bred for health and temperament, not just champion lines. It could be I have a different definition of "well-bred" than those just concerned with champion lines.
Again, even the best breeder in the world can't guard against the life experiences a puppy has when they leave the breeder, so, yes, it is possible for a really well bred dog (in your terms, not just "show dog" terms) to develop behavior problems. But I think if you purchase your puppy from a breeder who takes the job of producing well-balanced healthy companions seriously, you should not have to worry about an inherently bad temperament. The best way to guard against this is to VISIT the breeder and MEET their breeding stock, especially the parents of the puppy you are considering. Sweet, friendly, well balanced parents, in general produce (and raise) sweet friendly puppies.
The good thing is that in this breed, anyway, the GOOD breeders realize that EVERY ONE of the puppies they produce, whether it is destined for the show ring or not, needs to be, first and foremost, a family pet.