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You will definitely love the puppy regardless! And I promise you, even a Havanese w an underbite won’t look like a shit tzu (nothing against them, but I’m not a huge fan of that look either) because they have the same gene as bulldogs and pugs etc that makes them ‘short faced.’ My puppy’s face is on the small side for a Havanese as far as I can tell (her facial features are very petite) and doesn’t have quite the same soulful look of my older guy because of it, but I think they’re both adorable!
We have many ST in our neighborhood. Shadow with his underbite does NOT resemble these dogs at all. Nor does he have the temperment thankfully. He does not have a pushed in face at all.
I totally agree with your remarks.
 

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If you are buying a purebred Havanese, it should meet the standard. Especially if you are paying thousands of dollars for the pup. But this is not happening, which makes me sad.
Couldn’t agree more… sadly, it seems like the some of the worst breeders (even some mills/brokers) are charging the MOST to try to give the impression of ‘quality.’ It is So challenging to find a great breeder, especially since so many ppl don’t know what to look for, and even then, most puppies will have some kind of ‘fault.’ What we can hope for is that at least with an ethical breeder those faults are minor and don’t at all impact the dog living a long, healthy, happy life! Like Tere said… it happens! Both my dogs are from good breeders and have many generations of fully health tested champions in their lines, but neither is perfect. And Karen makes the good point that even those champions aren’t perfect! Hopefully they are at least sound and healthy and that the puppies we’re buying are as well!
 

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If you are buying a purebred Havanese, it should meet the standard. Especially if you are paying thousands of dollars for the pup. But this is not happening, which makes me sad.
I think we have to differentiate a little between "meets the standard" and "perfect". There's definitely a difference! I would assume every show dog "meets the standard" but not all are perfect - slight leg turns, etc. and pet dogs are the ones who are still very good dogs but might not reach the show dog level, so still meet the standards but are also not perfect.
 

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I agree. A small imperfection is not a deal breaker. But a pup should look like a Havanese. My deceased dog, Pablo, was a great example of the breed. He was kind of like a Havanese ambassador, people would constantly ask 'what breed is that' because he looked so striking. I hope he helped popularize the breed, which was nearly at the point of extinction. But since I got Pablo about 16 years ago, the breeding of Havanese has gone haywire. Breeders are breeding Havanese that should not be bred. I saw photos of my new pup's parents. They looked acceptable in the photos. But without being able to scrutinize the parents, I am worried that my new pup may have problems. Picking out pups by photo is not a great way to go, worse yet if the breeder "selects" a dog for you.
And when I selected a pup by photo from a couple of "reputable" breeders, I was told that the breeder wanted to keep that specific pup. That's because they adhered to the standard and seemed otherwise good candidates for breeding. So I'm wondering, why my little guy was not selected as a good candidate to breed.
Pet owners should not be limited to dogs that can't be shown.
 

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I agree. A small imperfection is not a deal breaker. But a pup should look like a Havanese. My deceased dog, Pablo, was a great example of the breed. He was kind of like a Havanese ambassador, people would constantly ask 'what breed is that' because he looked so striking. I hope he helped popularize the breed, which was nearly at the point of extinction. But since I got Pablo about 16 years ago, the breeding of Havanese has gone haywire. Breeders are breeding Havanese that should not be bred. I saw photos of my new pup's parents. They looked acceptable in the photos. But without being able to scrutinize the parents, I am worried that my new pup may have problems. Picking out pups by photo is not a great way to go, worse yet if the breeder "selects" a dog for you.
And when I selected a pup by photo from a couple of "reputable" breeders, I was told that the breeder wanted to keep that specific pup. That's because they adhered to the standard and seemed otherwise good candidates for breeding. So I'm wondering, why my little guy was not selected as a good candidate to breed.
Pet owners should not be limited to dogs that can't be shown.
That’s an interesting point. I know Karen has referenced that one of the puppies from her litter that went to a pet home definitely could have been shown, but she chose to keep/show Ducky. Im guessing it probably just depends how many ‘show quality’ puppies are in a litter? If theres only one, thr breeder is probably going to want to keep it, which makes sense to me when you have breeders that are all about improving the breed— they want the best pups possible to breed in the future. But I’d be curious to hear from breeders how many of the pups in their litters are typically pups they think would do well were they shown, even if they ultimately go to pet homes and are spayed/neutered.
 

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That’s an interesting point. I know Karen has referenced that one of the puppies from her litter that went to a pet home definitely could have been shown, but she chose to keep/show Ducky. Im guessing it probably just depends how many ‘show quality’ puppies are in a litter? If theres only one, thr breeder is probably going to want to keep it, which makes sense to me when you have breeders that are all about improving the breed— they want the best pups possible to breed in the future. But I’d be curious to hear from breeders how many of the pups in their litters are typically pups they think would do well were they shown, even if they ultimately go to pet homes and are spayed/neutered.
I agree, would love to know the ratio of puppies that are kept, versus puppies that are thought to be "pet quality" which I think is an insult to a buyer. But I don't think there are enough breeders that care about improving the breed. Just look at how many chocolate Havanese there are out there. They used to be very rare, because we're talking about a recessive gene. People wanted them because they thought they were special. And now we have a lot of them, so many some nations have changed the Havanese standard to accept chocolates as a breed standard.
 

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Thanks for the responses. I believe my first Havanese, Pablo, was show dog material--- and headed there but for a quirk of history. Pablo was perfect in the sense he fit the standard to a T. His good looks were not the reason I loved him so. Yet I was proud of his beauty. Call me superficial and vain. I am Cuban and want the breed to be perfect. It's a matter of pride. And I don't think a pet should be second class to a show dog. I also don't think my new pup will match Pablo in the looks department, but I hope he does not have a health issue or anything that deviates from the Havanese standard. I've seen too many deviations in the breed.
No show dog is "perfect" either. ;) That's why one wins one day, and another wins another day. One judge values some characteristics more, and penalizes slight flaws are heavily than the judge the day before. Ever breeder and show owner knows this! :) Even the remarkable Bono did not win every show! ;)

We all think our dogs are wonderful, and they SHOULD be "perfect" in our eyes!!!
 

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We have many ST in our neighborhood. Shadow with his underbite does NOT resemble these dogs at all. Nor does he have the temperment thankfully. He does not have a pushed in face at all.
I totally agree with your remarks.
You are correct. A HAvanese head is not at all the shape of a Shih Tzu head, EVEN with a SEVERE underbite. with a mild underbite, you won't see it at all unless you open the dog's mouth.
 

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No show dog is "perfect" either. ;) That's why one wins one day, and another wins another day. One judge values some characteristics more, and penalizes slight flaws are heavily than the judge the day before. Ever breeder and show owner knows this! :) Even the remarkable Bono did not win every show! ;)

We all think our dogs are wonderful, and they SHOULD be "perfect" in our eyes!!!
Bono is perfect to me! And he did wonders for the breed - Best in Show in Westminster-- wow! That's quite an accomplishment for a breed that was almost extinct. And all due to very good, conscientious, breeders who not only produced Bono, but kept the breed alive. I just wish there were more good breeders like that and that prospective buyers demand more from a breeder, that they do their homework. It seems the market for pet parents is Caveat Emptor. And to the original question posed in this thread -- I would run away hard from a breeder that said there might be an underbite in your puppy. You don't know how bad it could be and may be an indication that the breeder bred dogs that were not supposed to be bred.
 

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I think we have to differentiate a little between "meets the standard" and "perfect". There's definitely a difference! I would assume every show dog "meets the standard" but not all are perfect - slight leg turns, etc. and pet dogs are the ones who are still very good dogs but might not reach the show dog level, so still meet the standards but are also not perfect.
EXACTLY!!!

FIRST of all, ALL of my puppies are sold at the same, "pet price". I had another puppy besides Ducky that was CLEARLY "show quality", and he was sold to a "pet home", because that is the kind of home I wanted for him. I know the Kings feel the same way.

NOW, I am going to pick on one of my own puppies. I really am assuming that those of you who are saying that you want "dog that meets standard" really don't understand quite what you are talking about. Here is the one female puppy from my litter. She is a darling, and I REALLY DID want to keep a girl! But she was a little longer backed than I wanted. (though there are longer Havanese than this in the show ring) More important for me, she was long in the loin. (the space between her last rib and the hip bone) This is getting technical, but this stuff matters when you are assessing conformation. Not just a bite and straight legs! She is certainly not "bad", but not as good as Ducky, nor the other boy that I didn't keep. And when you are breeding, you keep the best in the litter. (and disregard the slight arch in her back... Almost ALL puppies do this when stacked wet, just from being cold... Soaping is best for assessing legs and angles, NOT topline)
Dog Vertebrate Dog breed Carnivore Companion dog


These photos posted out of order and the forum is not letting me re-order them. This is her face, dry. She is a real cutie, and her bite is perfect. I would prefer her ears to be set a bit higher. (remember, I am PICKING HER APART here! Would you, as a pet person, notice this? Would you care? This matters in the ring.)
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Sleeve Working animal


Here she is dry... again, out of order, sorry! But she has a nice outline and a lovely coat. (nicer than Ducky at that age)
Glasses Dog Dog breed Carnivore Chair


She is lovely and straight behind, with well let-down hocks and nice width.
Hand Dog Carnivore Dog breed Wood


Same in front, straight, nice bone, and a nice chest.
Wood Flooring Floor Wrist Hardwood


But I WOULD NOT SHOW THIS DOG in conformation. To me, this is a lovely, SOUNDLY CONFORMED dog, with a fantastic temperament, who will be able to hike all day (which is what her owners want) could also do agility, (which they would like to play with) or any other sport they chose. But is there ANY reason that I would not sell her for full price? Of course not! NO breeder in their right mind would sell her for less. Some people might show her. In the hands of a Pro handler, as Tom has mentioned, she probably COULD be "finished" without much trouble.

I suspect a lot of people (probably some in this thread) would have looked at these photos, and until I picked them apart, would have wondered why she COULDN'T be a "show dog". As I said, some people MIGHT show her, and she probably could finish. (We certainly see longer dogs finishing these days!!!) I picked this girl to "pick apart" because she was mine and it was my right to do so. She's a very nice dog and I'm proud to have produced her. I am proud of every one of the puppies I produced, whether they were "show quality" or not.

Now, if someone produces a puppy missing a foot, (as has happened here on the forum, though not a forum breeder) A puppy like that should be placed very carefully, either free or heavily discounted, in a "special needs" home. That is something very different. If someone has a breeding dog who is regularly producing bad mouths, they need to take a hard look at that and consider removing that dog from their program. The same with a dog that regularly produces pups with undescended testicles or hernias. That is COMPLETELY different from these things showing up as a "one off" Sometimes these things happen. A SLIGHT underbite is so minor a problem as to be considered "cosmetic", not only in the breed, but pretty much in the whole toy dog world. Same with missing incisors. Toy dogs have small mouths. I don't know of ANY breeder who will discount for that. Even an undescended testicle or an umbilical hernia, it is something that you will need to discuss with the breeder how they handle it. Many will give a slight discount to cover the slight extra cost of repair at the time of spay/neuter. I think that's fair. You would never get more than that. You would know before you took your puppy home about either a hernia or an undescended testicle. Sometimes an undescended testicle will drop later, (and you got lucky!) They don't go away later! A good breeder SHOULD disclose this to you!

The same with with an underbite; it should be disclosed, though this sometimes can change quickly in a puppy with a very close-to-level bite! So you should have the right to pass on the puppy if that is your choice. BAD bite problems need to be discussed on an individual basis with your breeder. But saying the breeder is a "bad breeder" to have produced it, assuming that both parents have good mouths, is just unfair! (unless you have PROOF that this is a common problem that the breeder produces)

Here is a hint, though... If you want to try to avoid mouth problems, look for Havanese with faces like those of my dogs or the Kings dogs (or LOOK AT THE STANDARD) AVOID breeders who are producing Havanese with shorter muzzles, round eyes, and "cute" faces. Those are the faces that are much more likely to have mouth problems, cherry eyes and tear staining. They sell, because they are adorable puppies. They EVEN get put up in the conformation ring by a lot of "Toy Breed" judges who are not well versed in our standard. But it is not correct for our breed. And it is not without problems.
 

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I agree, would love to know the ratio of puppies that are kept, versus puppies that are thought to be "pet quality" which I think is an insult to a buyer. But I don't think there are enough breeders that care about improving the breed. Just look at how many chocolate Havanese there are out there. They used to be very rare, because we're talking about a recessive gene. People wanted them because they thought they were special. And now we have a lot of them, so many some nations have changed the Havanese standard to accept chocolates as a breed standard.
I think ALL Havanese, including EVERY show dog, SHOULD be "pet quality", first and foremost. If they are not, there is no reason for them to exist, as far as I am concerned. I know Tom King agrees! ;) So I think that any buyer who is insulted by that idea is buying the wrong breed. ;)

The problem with chocolates is twofold. They are overly popular with pet people, so people who just want to make money on breeding Havanese like toured them. Breed a chocolate to a chocolate, and you will ALWAYS get chocolate. HOWEVER, breed chocolate to chocolate repeatedly, and you get worse and worse pigment and eye color. (as seen by all the pet quality chocolate Havanese with poor eye color and pigment) The OTHER problem is that even if you TRY to produce GOOD quality chocolates, it is HARD to get really good, deep pigment and eye color, and you don't really know until the dog is mature, whether it will hold. (you have to keep breeding out to black to get the good dark pigment, and then you get a lot of black puppies along with your chocolates, have to run on the chocolates until they are older to see how the pigment and eye color will hold up... and you have those factors to get right on TOP of good conformation, temperament and coat. A lot of people (including me!) don't want to bother with adding all those extra factors, so purposely avoid breeding chocolates, since it's easy to avoid with color testing.

Here is Ducky's chocolate grandmother. This is the kind of chocolate that can win in the show ring, but you hardly ever see. (she was a Grand Champion) Look at the depth of the pigment on her nose, and although you can't see her eyes in this photo, take my word for it, the irises were almost black, they were so dark brown. I am not a fan of chocolates, but this dog was STUNNING!

Dog Dog breed Carnivore Liver Companion dog


Oh, and as far as the ratio of show/breeding animals in a litter? Maybe Tom and Pam can answer that more fully. I think that, to some extent, depends on HOW you count that. "Show dog" as in "can you finish this dog" Three out of the puppies in my 5 puppy litter, the first litter I ever bred, could have been finished. A fourth has BEAUTIFUL conformation, but is almost solid black (WOULD be solid black in a grown-out show coat) and at the top of the standard size-wise. That combination would have made it hard to finish him.

Ducky is not only "finishable", but so far, has only been beaten in the ring ONCE, which is pretty amazing, considering that he has been completely owner-handled. So you could count 80% of my puppies in that litter as "show quality", the 5th was 100% "performance quality, straight legs (I've posted them here) and within standard" all with excellent temperaments. Or you could count 40% absolutely 100% show quality, and the other 60% "performance/pet quality, straight legs (I've posted them here) excellent temperaments and within standard" (since you are set on that term ;) )
 
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EXACTLY!!!

FIRST of all, ALL of my puppies are sold at the same, "pet price". I had another puppy besides Ducky that was CLEARLY "show quality", and he was sold to a "pet home", because that is the kind of home I wanted for him. I know the Kings feel the same way.

NOW, I am going to pick on one of my own puppies. I really am assuming that those of you who are saying that you want "dog that meets standard" really don't understand quite what you are talking about. Here is the one female puppy from my litter. She is a darling, and I REALLY DID want to keep a girl! But she was a little longer backed than I wanted. (though there are longer Havanese than this in the show ring) More important for me, she was long in the loin. (the space between her last rib and the hip bone) This is getting technical, but this stuff matters when you are assessing conformation. Not just a bite and straight legs! She is certainly not "bad", but not as good as Ducky, nor the other boy that I didn't keep. And when you are breeding, you keep the best in the litter. (and disregard the slight arch in her back... Almost ALL puppies do this when stacked wet, just from being cold... Soaping is best for assessing legs and angles, NOT topline)
View attachment 177797

These photos posted out of order and the forum is not letting me re-order them. This is her face, dry. She is a real cutie, and her bite is perfect. I would prefer her ears to be set a bit higher. (remember, I am PICKING HER APART here! Would you, as a pet person, notice this? Would you care? This matters in the ring.)
View attachment 177798

Here she is dry... again, out of order, sorry! But she has a nice outline and a lovely coat. (nicer than Ducky at that age)
View attachment 177799

She is lovely and straight behind, with well let-down hocks and nice width.
View attachment 177796

Same in front, straight, nice bone, and a nice chest.
View attachment 177794

But I WOULD NOT SHOW THIS DOG in conformation. To me, this is a lovely, SOUNDLY CONFORMED dog, with a fantastic temperament, who will be able to hike all day (which is what her owners want) could also do agility, (which they would like to play with) or any other sport they chose. But is there ANY reason that I would not sell her for full price? Of course not! NO breeder in their right mind would sell her for less. Some people might show her. In the hands of a Pro handler, as Tom has mentioned, she probably COULD be "finished" without much trouble.

I suspect a lot of people (probably some in this thread) would have looked at these photos, and until I picked them apart, would have wondered why she COULDN'T be a "show dog". As I said, some people MIGHT show her, and she probably could finish. (We certainly see longer dogs finishing these days!!!) I picked this girl to "pick apart" because she was mine and it was my right to do so. She's a very nice dog and I'm proud to have produced her. I am proud of every one of the puppies I produced, whether they were "show quality" or not.

Now, if someone produces a puppy missing a foot, (as has happened here on the forum, though not a forum breeder) A puppy like that should be placed very carefully, either free or heavily discounted, in a "special needs" home. That is something very different. If someone has a breeding dog who is regularly producing bad mouths, they need to take a hard look at that and consider removing that dog from their program. The same with a dog that regularly produces pups with undescended testicles or hernias. That is COMPLETELY different from these things showing up as a "one off" Sometimes these things happen. A SLIGHT underbite is so minor a problem as to be considered "cosmetic", not only in the breed, but pretty much in the whole toy dog world. Same with missing incisors. Toy dogs have small mouths. I don't know of ANY breeder who will discount for that. Even an undescended testicle or an umbilical hernia, it is something that you will need to discuss with the breeder how they handle it. Many will give a slight discount to cover the slight extra cost of repair at the time of spay/neuter. I think that's fair. You would never get more than that. You would know before you took your puppy home about either a hernia or an undescended testicle. Sometimes an undescended testicle will drop later, (and you got lucky!) They don't go away later! A good breeder SHOULD disclose this to you!

The same with with an underbite; it should be disclosed, though this sometimes can change quickly in a puppy with a very close-to-level bite! So you should have the right to pass on the puppy if that is your choice. BAD bite problems need to be discussed on an individual basis with your breeder. But saying the breeder is a "bad breeder" to have produced it, assuming that both parents have good mouths, is just unfair! (unless you have PROOF that this is a common problem that the breeder produces)

Here is a hint, though... If you want to try to avoid mouth problems, look for Havanese with faces like those of my dogs or the Kings dogs (or LOOK AT THE STANDARD) AVOID breeders who are producing Havanese with shorter muzzles, round eyes, and "cute" faces. Those are the faces that are much more likely to have mouth problems, cherry eyes and tear staining. They sell, because they are adorable puppies. They EVEN get put up in the conformation ring by a lot of "Toy Breed" judges who are not well versed in our standard. But it is not correct for our breed. And it is not without problems.
This is a beautiful dog, although I can see she's a little long in the body. I would now have a problem at all with your girl and be proud to own her. I'm not talking about minor deviations, but think Havanese breeders should do everything to lean into the standard and avoid deviations, which I know are probably unavoidable. You are a good breeder and know your stuff (for instance, how do you know that the length problem won't sort itself out on your pup as it reaches adulthood, is there no chance of change?) The underbite situation is worrisome to me because the breeder seemed to indicate it is a problem with her dogs and that would scare me. Altlhough an underbite is not a disqualifier (AKC standard says:"A scissors bite is ideal and a full complement of incisors is preferred.") it may be an indication of not too careful breeding that could result in other problems.
 

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I think ALL Havanese, including EVERY show dog, SHOULD be "pet quality", first and foremost. If they are not, there is no reason for them to exist, as far as I am concerned. I know Tom King agrees! ;) So I think that any buyer who is insulted by that idea is buying the wrong breed. ;)

The problem with chocolates is twofold. They are overly popular with pet people, so people who just want to make money on breeding Havanese like toured them. Breed a chocolate to a chocolate, and you will ALWAYS get chocolate. HOWEVER, breed chocolate to chocolate repeatedly, and you get worse and worse pigment and eye color. (as seen by all the pet quality chocolate Havanese with poor eye color and pigment) The OTHER problem is that even if you TRY to produce GOOD quality chocolates, it is HARD to get really good, deep pigment and eye color, and you don't really know until the dog is mature, whether it will hold. (you have to keep breeding out to black to get the good dark pigment, and then you get a lot of black puppies along with your chocolates, have to run on the chocolates until they are older to see how the pigment and eye color will hold up... and you have those factors to get right on TOP of good conformation, temperament and coat. A lot of people (including me!) don't want to bother with adding all those extra factors, so purposely avoid breeding chocolates, since it's easy to avoid with color testing.

Here is Ducky's chocolate grandmother. This is the kind of chocolate that can win in the show ring, but you hardly ever see. (she was a Grand Champion) Look at the depth of the pigment on her nose, and although you can't see her eyes in this photo, take my word for it, the irises were almost black, they were so dark brown. I am not a fan of chocolates, but this dog was STUNNING!

View attachment 177804

Oh, and as far as the ratio of show/breeding animals in a litter? Maybe Tom and Pam can answer that more fully. I think that, to some extent, depends on HOW you count that. "Show dog" as in "can you finish this dog" Three out of the puppies in my 5 puppy litter, the first litter I ever bred, could have been finished. A fourth has BEAUTIFUL conformation, but is almost solid black (WOULD be solid black in a grown-out show coat) and at the top of the standard size-wise. That combination would have made it hard to finish him.

Ducky is not only "finishable", but so far, has only been beaten in the ring ONCE, which is pretty amazing, considering that he has been completely owner-handled. So you could count 80% of my puppies in that litter as "show quality", the 5th was 100% "performance quality, straight legs (I've posted them here) and within standard" all with excellent temperaments. Or you could count 40% absolutely 100% show quality, and the other 60% "performance/pet quality, straight legs (I've posted them here) excellent temperaments and within standard" (since you are set on that term ;) )
This dog has an amazing coat, and looks to have a champion's gait. But I agree with you on the hazards of breeding chocolates. Why don't people like dark eyes and dark noses, what was once called "good leather?" What I object to is that I see too many Havanese that are FAR, FAR from the Havanese standard, incomplete pigmentation, poor coats, bad legs, WAY too big, WAY too small (my good they are breeding 'teacup Havanese'! and a lot of other problems. You as a breeder certainly know what I'm talking about.
 

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Bono is perfect to me! And he did wonders for the breed - Best in Show in Westminster-- wow! That's quite an accomplishment for a breed that was almost extinct. And all due to very good, conscientious, breeders who not only produced Bono, but kept the breed alive.
Bono's breeders are only a TINY part of the MANY, MANY good breeders who have kept the breed alive. Don't kid yourself.

If you REALLY think that Bono's breeders have never bred a puppy with any sort of deviation from standard... you really do NOT understand breeding at all. I suggest that you call them and have a conversation with them. ;) And I mean that in the most RESPECTFUL of ways! I think Bono is pretty wonderful too. But I don't believe that ANY animal is perfect! And I happen to have seen a NUMBER of puppies that have been sired by Bono. Are they nice puppies? Many of them are, some of them are pets. Are they PERFECT puppies? NO. They are dogs. Like many others. What should happen to these less than perfect puppies? And again, we are NOT taking about puppies with horrendous defects here. We are talking about small deviations from "perfect" that in NO WAY interfere with them being a perfectly healthy, happy, loving, long-lived pet. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong or disparaging about a dog being "pet quality"! The majority of almost every litter ends up in pet homes!

I just wish there were more good breeders like that and that prospective buyers demand more from a breeder, that they do their homework. It seems the market for pet parents is Caveat Emptor.
We are in complete agreement there. I and many others have talked over and over about how to evaluate a good breeder, and what to look for in breeding dogs.

And Bono's breeders are not producing puppies for pet people either. Only the very WORST puppies out of that line are going to get into the hands of pet people, believe me! They are show breeders! I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, but it is a different world, and their goals are not the same.

And to the original question posed in this thread -- I would run away hard from a breeder that said there might be an underbite in your puppy. You don't know how bad it could be and may be an indication that the breeder bred dogs that were not supposed to be bred.
This is absolutely NOT true!!! That puppy that I said is the "other" show quality puppy in Ducky's litter had a level bite at about 6 weeks. I was concerned about it. I was completely open about it with the people who had deposits on the litter. This was a DYNAMITE puppy in every other way! I wanted that puppy!!! Bottom jaws often grow for a longer time than upper jaws. So the fact that his bite was level at that time had me worried. (he was also the last to get his teeth, so it was hard to tell what was going on for sure) Up though his SEVENTH week, we were on the fence what was happening with his bite, including the breeder of the sire, who is a veterinarian. I was biting my nails. After the temperament evaluations at 7 weeks, I had pretty much decided I was going to go with Ducky, mostly because of the mouth issue on the other puppy. The were neck and neck in all other ways. By 8 weeks, he had a scissor bite, and the family who ended up with him, would have taken him (and been HAPPY with him) EVEN if he had had an underbite. As it turned out, he did not. He has a lovely scissor bite to this day.

If YOU don't want that animal, fine. Don't agree to commit to a puppy at 3-4 weeks old. Only commit after structural (and, IMO, MORE IMPORTANTLY, temperament evaluations) at 7-8 weeks. And at that point, if the breeder does not have the puppy you want, say thank you anyway, and walk away. But to call a breeder who is doing everything right, and happens to produce an occasional puppy with an underbite, or a turned-out foot, or over or under size a bad breeder is only showing a total lack of understanding of the entire process.

I think expecting every dog a breeder produces to be "show quality" or near it, is ridiculous. I think it is important to look at what your goals are for your dog, and what is important to you. If you are looking for a show dog, by all means, you need to have that written into the contract. But that will be a different kind of contract, and you will find fewer breeders who will even sell you that dog. I won't. The King's won't. Most show breeders won't unless it is on a very strict co-owned contract. (I don't want to get into that, so I don't want to do it at all) If you won't accept a dog with a minor cosmetic defect (like a MILD underbite, or a break in pigment) it might be good to discuss this with the breeder up-front. That way they will not even suggest such a puppy to you. (although DO understand that occasionally, underbites don't show up until puppies are older, because of the fact that the lower jaw does sometimes grow longer than the top jaw)

Do expect a breeder to be honest with you about any minor defects, and to discuss them with you, and allow you to make a decision about the puppy in such a case. You might want to ask if your deposit is refundable in such a situation. I would hope so. But again, these are biological entities and "stuff happens". To assume that there is something wrong with a breeding program because something happens, is not fair to the breeder. It is how the breeder deals with you as the client that matters.

Also, think for a minute about these puppies that ARE born to GOOD breeders, but have a defect of some sort. I'm not talking about the backyard breeders churning out tons of crooked legend puppies. I wish we could get people to avoid them. Unfortunately, it's hard. All you need to do is read through the forum to see HOW hard! But I'm talking about the perfectly serviceably sound pet puppies with lovely dispositions, that will make GREAT pets, but DO have a "wonky leg", or no pigment around an eye, or... or... Are you suggesting that these puppies are less deserving of a good home? If I were looking for a "strictly pet puppy", I would MUCH rather have a puppy like this from an excellent breeder, than I would want to "take my chances" from a poor breeder and buy a pig in a poke! If you are not sure how something my affect a puppy's long-term health or soundness, you can always discuss it with your vet. If the puppy is not close, you can ask if your vet can talk to the breeder's vet about the puppy in question. AND... you can ALWAYS pass. But do NOT call the breeder a "bad breeder", if they are dealing with you in good faith, please!
 

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Metrowest, MA
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This is a beautiful dog, although I can see she's a little long in the body. I would now have a problem at all with your girl and be proud to own her. I'm not talking about minor deviations, but think Havanese breeders should do everything to lean into the standard and avoid deviations, which I know are probably unavoidable. You are a good breeder and know your stuff (for instance, how do you know that the length problem won't sort itself out on your pup as it reaches adulthood, is there no chance of change?) The underbite situation is worrisome to me because the breeder seemed to indicate it is a problem with her dogs and that would scare me. Altlhough an underbite is not a disqualifier (AKC standard says:"A scissors bite is ideal and a full complement of incisors is preferred.") it may be an indication of not too careful breeding that could result in other problems.
OK, but you are the one who was talking about "breeding to standard". And going from saying that a dog you've only seen on TV, or perhaps at a show (Bono) is "perfect", and then saying that an underbite is not a DQ. True, if your dog has an underbite, and is the only dog in the ring, you will get first place by default. NO JUDGE will put up a Havanese with an underbite. Level bite, maybe. Not an underbite.

And as far as my girl's length "sorting itself out"? That is possible, but you can't keep them all. You have to make informed decisions, both because you CAN'T keep them all, and in fairness to the puppies. That's what temperament testing and structural evaluations are all about, and why placing puppies at 3-4 weeks makes no sense. I had several very knowledgeable people urging me to keep both Ducky and the other boy. (Here he is... SUPER nice boy!):

Glasses Dog Dog breed Carnivore Companion dog


To "run on". Many show breeders do that, to let them mature before making a decision. But I had put a tremendous amount of work into these puppies, and I really felt that it was best for THEM for them to be in their "forever" homes. I look at this boy now, and I would LOVE to see him in the show ring. He is STUNNING. But I am also SO happy that he is with a family that absolutely loves him to pieces. That is more important to me than the show career the he missed.

The girl has matured into a lovely young lady, but is still not as good as either of these boys. And you don't breed your "second best". Or you shouldn't.
 
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Bono's breeders are only a TINY part of the MANY, MANY good breeders who have kept the breed alive. Don't kid yourself.

If you REALLY think that Bono's breeders have never bred a puppy with any sort of deviation from standard... you really do NOT understand breeding at all. I suggest that you call them and have a conversation with them. ;) And I mean that in the most RESPECTFUL of ways! I think Bono is pretty wonderful too. But I don't believe that ANY animal is perfect! And I happen to have seen a NUMBER of puppies that have been sired by Bono. Are they nice puppies? Many of them are, some of them are pets. Are they PERFECT puppies? NO. They are dogs. Like many others. What should happen to these less than perfect puppies? And again, we are NOT taking about puppies with horrendous defects here. We are talking about small deviations from "perfect" that in NO WAY interfere with them being a perfectly healthy, happy, loving, long-lived pet. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong or disparaging about a dog being "pet quality"! The majority of almost every litter ends up in pet homes!



We are in complete agreement there. I and many others have talked over and over about how to evaluate a good breeder, and what to look for in breeding dogs.

And Bono's breeders are not producing puppies for pet people either. Only the very WORST puppies out of that line are going to get into the hands of pet people, believe me! They are show breeders! I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, but it is a different world, and their goals are not the same.



This is absolutely NOT true!!! That puppy that I said is the "other" show quality puppy in Ducky's litter had a level bite at about 6 weeks. I was concerned about it. I was completely open about it with the people who had deposits on the litter. This was a DYNAMITE puppy in every other way! I wanted that puppy!!! Bottom jaws often grow for a longer time than upper jaws. So the fact that his bite was level at that time had me worried. (he was also the last to get his teeth, so it was hard to tell what was going on for sure) Up though his SEVENTH week, we were on the fence what was happening with his bite, including the breeder of the sire, who is a veterinarian. I was biting my nails. After the temperament evaluations at 7 weeks, I had pretty much decided I was going to go with Ducky, mostly because of the mouth issue on the other puppy. The were neck and neck in all other ways. By 8 weeks, he had a scissor bite, and the family who ended up with him, would have taken him (and been HAPPY with him) EVEN if he had had an underbite. As it turned out, he did not. He has a lovely scissor bite to this day.

If YOU don't want that animal, fine. Don't agree to commit to a puppy at 3-4 weeks old. Only commit after structural (and, IMO, MORE IMPORTANTLY, temperament evaluations) at 7-8 weeks. And at that point, if the breeder does not have the puppy you want, say thank you anyway, and walk away. But to call a breeder who is doing everything right, and happens to produce an occasional puppy with an underbite, or a turned-out foot, or over or under size a bad breeder is only showing a total lack of understanding of the entire process.

I think expecting every dog a breeder produces to be "show quality" or near it, is ridiculous. I think it is important to look at what your goals are for your dog, and what is important to you. If you are looking for a show dog, by all means, you need to have that written into the contract. But that will be a different kind of contract, and you will find fewer breeders who will even sell you that dog. I won't. The King's won't. Most show breeders won't unless it is on a very strict co-owned contract. (I don't want to get into that, so I don't want to do it at all) If you won't accept a dog with a minor cosmetic defect (like a MILD underbite, or a break in pigment) it might be good to discuss this with the breeder up-front. That way they will not even suggest such a puppy to you. (although DO understand that occasionally, underbites don't show up until puppies are older, because of the fact that the lower jaw does sometimes grow longer than the top jaw)

Do expect a breeder to be honest with you about any minor defects, and to discuss them with you, and allow you to make a decision about the puppy in such a case. You might want to ask if your deposit is refundable in such a situation. I would hope so. But again, these are biological entities and "stuff happens". To assume that there is something wrong with a breeding program because something happens, is not fair to the breeder. It is how the breeder deals with you as the client that matters.

Also, think for a minute about these puppies that ARE born to GOOD breeders, but have a defect of some sort. I'm not talking about the backyard breeders churning out tons of crooked legend puppies. I wish we could get people to avoid them. Unfortunately, it's hard. All you need to do is read through the forum to see HOW hard! But I'm talking about the perfectly serviceably sound pet puppies with lovely dispositions, that will make GREAT pets, but DO have a "wonky leg", or no pigment around an eye, or... or... Are you suggesting that these puppies are less deserving of a good home? If I were looking for a "strictly pet puppy", I would MUCH rather have a puppy like this from an excellent breeder, than I would want to "take my chances" from a poor breeder and buy a pig in a poke! If you are not sure how something my affect a puppy's long-term health or soundness, you can always discuss it with your vet. If the puppy is not close, you can ask if your vet can talk to the breeder's vet about the puppy in question. AND... you can ALWAYS pass. But do NOT call the breeder a "bad breeder", if they are dealing with you in good faith, please!
I would never call a breeder a bad breeder if he or she was dealing with me in good faith. (Alhough I've had a breeder try to sell me a "teacup Havanese" as a standard dog, one swearing a puppy was black and white with dark pigmentation when it was clearly a chocolate, and other disappointing encounters.) I was responding to the initial post, which said this.
"Our breeder said underbites in Havanese are very common. Is that true? I felt like she was trying to warn me that ours might develop one (too soon to tell as they are only a couple weeks old) or if maybe they are common in her lines. I expressed that we really don’t want an underbite. She said her health guarantee does not cover underbites."
As far as I know, Havanese underbites are NOT common and I'd be wary of a breeder who said this.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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This dog has an amazing coat, and looks to have a champion's gait. But I agree with you on the hazards of breeding chocolates. Why don't people like dark eyes and dark noses, what was once called "good leather?"
It's not that people don't LIKE dark eyes and dark pigment. They are very hard to PRODUCE in chocolates. And when you re trying to produce:

Good conformation
Good health
Good temperament
Good coat
The right size
Good teeth

NOW add:
Good coat COLOR
Good pigment
Good EYE COLOR

That's a lot of balls to keep in the air if you are doing it right. A lot more puppies automatically go into the "pet puppy pile". If you are just breeding "rare chocolates" for the pet trade, most of them look pretty chocolate as little puppies, and you just don't tell people that they are probably going to fade to light tan by the time they are adults, or that they aren't SUPPOSED to have those "pretty sea green eyes".

What I object to is that I see too many Havanese that are FAR, FAR from the Havanese standard, incomplete pigmentation, poor coats, bad legs, WAY too big, WAY too small (my good they are breeding 'teacup Havanese'! and a lot of other problems. You as a breeder certainly know what I'm talking about.
Part of it is that it's a LOT harder than you seem to think it is. ;)

Part of it, when people are producing nothing BUT (or large percentages) of these poor quality dogs, is that they re only doing it to make money. Because the breed is popular. And there are a few things that are guaranteed to sell Havanese "faster:

Small size
"Cutsie" faces, with short noses and round eyes
Dense, curly puppy coats (that often turn into incorrect adult coats)
Chocolate
Red (more recently) ...

And I did NOT keep Ducky BECAUSE he is red... I kept him in SPITE of him being red ;) Not that I have anything against red, I don't. But I am not big on "fads" and I knew that people would want to breed to him just because of his color.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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This dog has an amazing coat, and looks to have a champion's gait.
BTW, I think Ducky got his movement from his mother, who is an excellent mover, and from this dog. Look at him, even as a tiny baby (I think about 6 weeks old):
Dog Working animal Carnivore Dog breed Fawn
 
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