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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! As I've stated at some point before, I have a growing interest in showing with Enzo. His breeder is willing to change him from limited to full registration if we decide it is worth it, but she doesn't want me to waste too much money on showing if Enzo ends up not being a good fit for the ring. I know understanding the standard is key, but beyond that is there a way to learn more hands on how to evaluate the structure of a dog/havanese? I don't know when I'll be able to have a kindly havanese handler or judge to get their hands on Enzo to see if he's got decent show quality, including seeing his breeder because we are in different states. Any insight is appreciated! I'm sure soaped pics would help but I need to find the time to do that.

Also! If i do get the chance to attend a show and happen to run into a havanese person, is it OK to ask them to look at Enzo? Are pet dogs allowed to attend shows???

I also would appreciate tips on stacking! I don't want to spend too much on supplies so if anyone has any DIY hacks that would be appreciated too.

Here's some pics of the boy from this weekend.
Dog Dog breed Vertebrate Carnivore Mammal

Dog Dog breed Carnivore Liver Companion dog
 

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Pet dogs are allowed on show grounds, but just because a person is showing doesn't mean that they are experts on conformation, or even what is considered ideal. You should be able to get lots of opinions though. I would guess the average person showing hasn't really had their hands on that many different Havanese.

When we evaluate conformation, we have 40 different points we look at, but there is no time for that in the ring. A lot can be hidden under a long coat, and even a Judge spends very little time on any dog. Most Judges judge many different breeds with only the Standard as their guide. They are required to attend Judges Education seminars to learn about a breed, but these days they're mostly just read the Standard. When Pam taught those seminars the first seven years after Havanese went AKC, they were a Lot more detailed, and at the National there would be a good number of dogs on tables for the Judges to put their hands on in the Seminar and discuss each dog.

Also, there is a lot more to showing than simply having good conformation. The dog has to show well, and be presented well. The best dog won't get put up if he doesn't also show the best, or is poorly handled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I see, that makes sense! I definitely would want to take handling classes with Enzo before we stepped foot in a ring. I think his temperament is an excellent example for the breed BUT I think he has a bit of maturing to do before he would be able to patiently parade around the ring. (he's got a good heel inside of our house with minimal distractions but really, really likes other dogs, and struggles to focus on me in group classes right now) He's friendly, confident, smart, and quite charming. I also know I need to continue working on his skills with being touched and handled by strangers. I handle and reward him daily but I know since he was little he has always been a bit squirmy when he is examined. I want to train him regardless of showing (we are working on cooperative care). I think he would be furthet along with a more experienced puppy owner/trainer but he is my first so we are learning a lot together. I'm in no rush to show him but I still want to someday.

In that regard, I know dogs can be shown at 6 months, but is there value for waiting until maturity?
 

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In order to take a standard and judge a dog against it, there are certain pieces of dog anatomy that one needs to know. It isn't essential to know all of that in depth to show a dog, especially if just getting your feet wet, but it certainly does help immensely, including when it comes to how you present your dog! Though they are not breed specific, the books 'An Eye for a Dog' and 'Structure in Action' were both written by highly respected AKC judges and can really be helpful in learning about general canine structure, which you can in turn apply to the Havanese standard.

At the 2021 national specialty, the updated judge's education seminar was shown and livestreamed. It looks like there is webinar access at the breed club's judge's ed page on the website, but that may be accessible only to judges at this point - I'm not sure, but if you're able to watch that, it is certainly helpful when it comes to evaluating your own dog! I've been lucky enough to have a bit more insight to the judge's ed process than many get as my dog has been used as a hands on example dog previously, and while it's intended for those that already have extensive knowledge on dogs in general, I can see the lecture portion definitely being helpful for someone "new" as well - it's very easy to follow.

I'd think it would certainly be worth reaching out to your breeder to see if there's anyone in your general area that she'd trust the opinion of to go over Enzo with you. As Tom kind of indicated, merely having a Havanese at the end of one's lead doesn't mean they know the standard well ;) It wouldn't hurt to have him gone over, but take any opinions of those un-vouched for with a grain of salt. Also worth noting that many shows do not allow unentered dogs, with varying degrees of how strictly they enforce that policy (if the event is ticketed, definitely check ahead of time that he'd be allowed).

Regarding the other things you mentioned... While soaped pictures can definitely be useful in evaluating the straightness of the forearms, I don't love them for conformation assessment as a whole as oftentimes the dog ends up expressing some sort of discomfort through their posture, whether it be from being wet in general OR cold. It's case by case, of course, but I prefer a thorough hands on exam wherever possible. When it comes to age to show a dog, there are benefits to waiting and to starting right away. I put my puppies out pretty close to 6 months - it's a breed puppies can do well in while other breeds may tend to favor a more physically matured dog. Puppy antics are also very much expected in the Havanese ring. While some judges run a tighter ship, most can appreciate the exuberance our breed can show in their baby days!

I could write an entire essay on stacking a dog, but I'll try to keep things succinct. I do firmly believe that a well built, balanced dog will fall into a correct stack naturally, and my training tends to consist of mainly rewarding that. With puppies, it often involves a LOT of just walking around until they hold something pretty for more than a moment and giving them cookies and play time when they do. No supplies needed! It's not a breed you see the use of stacking blocks in much (at least I haven't in my area). While I do hand stack my dog in the ring with some frequency, a nice, active, and zippy stack that the dog has found themselves suits this breed very well in my opinion - they have a natural TA DAAA, and I like to use that to my advantage where I can!

Last thing I'll mention (I promise) is that I think it would also be a good idea to see if any UKC shows are happening in your area. While it isn't my preference compared to AKC, it does tend to be more relaxed. I have a number of friends who use it as a lower stress, quieter environment arena to get some show ring experience.

Feel free to PM me at any point! I'm not here much these days, but I try to be helpful when I am haha
 

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I agree with most of what both Tom and KarMar have both said! I also prefer, in a show dog, one who will “self stack” naturally. I would never use stacking blocks. But there are times when with some dogs, you may need to move a foot or two, either by hand or with your leash. I found Jane Lindquist’s (Puppy Culture) videos REALLY helpful to me as a novice dog show handler to learning to stack and gait a dog properly, and prepare them to be examined on the table.

BTW, even if it turns out that Enzo is not a good candidate for showing, you can learn a lot buy teaching him these things that can help YOU with your next show prospect. So it is not wasted time! I have a friend who has spent the last 6 months doing exactly that with her young absolutely NOT “show prospect” (but otherwise lovely) Havanese, knowing that she was going to be getting a show prospect. She just picked up her show prospect last week and feels much more confident in teaching her!

Here is a link to the Puppy Culture “show” videos. You can buy them one at a time, or as a “bundle” for a discount. I bought them one at a time, not knowing if I’d like them and that was a mistake, because I ended up buying all anyway! LOL! (I gave you a link to the bundle, if you buy them separately, they range from $21.95 - $29.95, so they are very affordable):


You also want to be careful of the idea of “heeling”, because that is not the same as “gaiting”. A dog who is heeling is tight against your side, preferrably, looking up at you. A dog who is gaiting is further away from you, either beside or slightly ahead of you, and (importantly!) looking straight ahead so thst they move straight. They are taught differently. A dog CAN learn to do both, but it’s hard if you are not VERY clear in you own mind what the differences are, and how to teach both. For someone who is not experienced in EITHER, I strongly suggest choosing to teach one or the other first. Then later, with the help of a trainer, you can add the second.

While I agree with KarMar that this is a breed where people often dhow their dogs as puppies and they do well, if you choose to wait, that can also work fine. Panda got a few points as a puppy, and then we got busy with obedience and rally, and the show ring went on the back burner. She nor I really had a clue what we were doing when we won our first few points. She won because she was cute! Whn she went back into the ring as a mature 3 year old, she was a dream to show. She knew her job, there was no fooling around, and she finished very quickly. So it can work either way!

You just have to keep their coat up for longer… which I think is the BIGGEST reason most dogs in our breed are shown young… They show them young then cut them down so they don’t have to deal with the coat any more! ;)
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In order to take a standard and judge a dog against it, there are certain pieces of dog anatomy that one needs to know. It isn't essential to know all of that in depth to show a dog, especially if just getting your feet wet, but it certainly does help immensely, including when it comes to how you present your dog! Though they are not breed specific, the books 'An Eye for a Dog' and 'Structure in Action' were both written by highly respected AKC judges and can really be helpful in learning about general canine structure, which you can in turn apply to the Havanese standard.

At the 2021 national specialty, the updated judge's education seminar was shown and livestreamed. It looks like there is webinar access at the breed club's judge's ed page on the website, but that may be accessible only to judges at this point - I'm not sure, but if you're able to watch that, it is certainly helpful when it comes to evaluating your own dog! I've been lucky enough to have a bit more insight to the judge's ed process than many get as my dog has been used as a hands on example dog previously, and while it's intended for those that already have extensive knowledge on dogs in general, I can see the lecture portion definitely being helpful for someone "new" as well - it's very easy to follow.

I'd think it would certainly be worth reaching out to your breeder to see if there's anyone in your general area that she'd trust the opinion of to go over Enzo with you. As Tom kind of indicated, merely having a Havanese at the end of one's lead doesn't mean they know the standard well ;) It wouldn't hurt to have him gone over, but take any opinions of those un-vouched for with a grain of salt. Also worth noting that many shows do not allow unentered dogs, with varying degrees of how strictly they enforce that policy (if the event is ticketed, definitely check ahead of time that he'd be allowed).

Regarding the other things you mentioned... While soaped pictures can definitely be useful in evaluating the straightness of the forearms, I don't love them for conformation assessment as a whole as oftentimes the dog ends up expressing some sort of discomfort through their posture, whether it be from being wet in general OR cold. It's case by case, of course, but I prefer a thorough hands on exam wherever possible. When it comes to age to show a dog, there are benefits to waiting and to starting right away. I put my puppies out pretty close to 6 months - it's a breed puppies can do well in while other breeds may tend to favor a more physically matured dog. Puppy antics are also very much expected in the Havanese ring. While some judges run a tighter ship, most can appreciate the exuberance our breed can show in their baby days!

I could write an entire essay on stacking a dog, but I'll try to keep things succinct. I do firmly believe that a well built, balanced dog will fall into a correct stack naturally, and my training tends to consist of mainly rewarding that. With puppies, it often involves a LOT of just walking around until they hold something pretty for more than a moment and giving them cookies and play time when they do. No supplies needed! It's not a breed you see the use of stacking blocks in much (at least I haven't in my area). While I do hand stack my dog in the ring with some frequency, a nice, active, and zippy stack that the dog has found themselves suits this breed very well in my opinion - they have a natural TA DAAA, and I like to use that to my advantage where I can!

Last thing I'll mention (I promise) is that I think it would also be a good idea to see if any UKC shows are happening in your area. While it isn't my preference compared to AKC, it does tend to be more relaxed. I have a number of friends who use it as a lower stress, quieter environment arena to get some show ring experience.

Feel free to PM me at any point! I'm not here much these days, but I try to be helpful when I am haha
First of all, thank you for such a thoughtful and well written response! I appreciate all the resources you've listed. I will check them out!

It's good to hear that puppy antics are allowed. I mostly worry that Enzo is so dog social he may lose focus in the ring and try to play/engage with everyone! We are still working on leash manners and never intentionally greet dogs on leash (I do have a cue "go say hi" intended for greeting both dogs and people but he is still learning!) I know that dogs can understand some context tho and I have not yet introduced a slip lead to him, so I'm hoping with some handling classes we can both learn appropriate ring manners.

Enzo I think tends to throw himself in stack pretty naturally, though his feet sometimes aren't quite in the right position. (also I dont always trust my judgment since I'm a newbie) I've also never gotten a good picture of it. I will try to capture/reward him from now on! He's pretty smart about most things when he's not being a goofy goober. If I can get a picture or two of what I think is a decent self stack I will post in replies.

I've definitely noticed when I do try to evaluate his structure when hes wet or soaped he tends to hunch his back, lol. I'm guessing from being cold.

I will definitely check out if there are any UKC events near me. That's a great tip!

I am probably going to pester you thru PMs at some point. I am a question asker by nature. 😅 Let me know if there's anywhere that's best to reach you at!

P.S. I love Beef and Nino's videos on tiktok. They are adorable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree with most of what both Tom and KarMar have both said! I also prefer, in a show dog, one who will “self stack” naturally. I would never use stacking blocks. But there are times when with some dogs, you may need to move a foot or two, either by hand or with your leash. I found Jane Lindquist’s (Puppy Culture) videos REALLY helpful to me as a novice dog show handler to learning to stack and gait a dog properly, and prepare them to be examined on the table.

BTW, even if it turns out that Enzo is not a good candidate for showing, you can learn a lot buy teaching him these things that can help YOU with your next show prospect. So it is not wasted time! I have a friend who has spent the last 6 months doing exactly that with her young absolutely NOT “show prospect” (but otherwise lovely) Havanese, knowing that she was going to be getting a show prospect. She just picked up her show prospect last week and feels much more confident in teaching her!

Here is a link to the Puppy Culture “show” videos. You can buy them one at a time, or as a “bundle” for a discount. I bought them one at a time, not knowing if I’d like them and that was a mistake, because I ended up buying all anyway! LOL! (I gave you a link to the bundle, if you buy them separately, they range from $21.95 - $29.95, so they are very affordable):


You also want to be careful of the idea of “heeling”, because that is not the same as “gaiting”. A dog who is heeling is tight against your side, preferrably, looking up at you. A dog who is gaiting is further away from you, either beside or slightly ahead of you, and (importantly!) looking straight ahead so thst they move straight. They are taught differently. A dog CAN learn to do both, but it’s hard if you are not VERY clear in you own mind what the differences are, and how to teach both. For someone who is not experienced in EITHER, I strongly suggest choosing to teach one or the other first. Then later, with the help of a trainer, you can add the second.

While I agree with KarMar that this is a breed where people often dhow their dogs as puppies and they do well, if you choose to wait, that can also work fine. Panda got a few points as a puppy, and then we got busy with obedience and rally, and the show ring went on the back burner. She nor I really had a clue what we were doing when we won our first few points. She won because she was cute! Whn she went back into the ring as a mature 3 year old, she was a dream to show. She knew her job, there was no fooling around, and she finished very quickly. So it can work either way!

You just have to keep their coat up for longer… which I think is the BIGGEST reason most dogs in our breed are shown young… They show them young then cut them down so they don’t have to deal with the coat any more! ;)
Thank you Karen! As usual, your advice is much appreciated.

I think doing a handling class with Enzo is a good idea, even if we never head to a ring together. He loves training and I love training him. I will see if I can find any recommended classes in my area.

I've been meaning to check out the puppy culture videos, I did not know that there were videos about showing though! I thought it was mostly information on whelping/puppy developmental stages. I will definitely look into these!

Good to know about the difference between heeling and gaiting. We're nowhere near a decent heel, mostly we are trying to get to a decent loose leash walk at this point. He does ok most of the time but he is a very distractable puppy once we get outside. I am comfortable changing gears to gaiting since a perfect heel isn't that important to me at the moment. I just want him to have some manners on leash. He's not reactive or vocal at all and doesn't pull very hard, but I have trouble getting his attention when we venture out into the real world or if he sees another dog (instead of barking he stares longingly at them. he really, really likes dogs) It's something we are working on!

It's good to know that I can wait a little bit to show if Enzo ends up being a good fit. I don't mind keeping his hair long. I know it's work but I do like the natural look a lot. We've put a lot of work into cooperative care with brushing too so he is getting to a point where he is willing to sit for grooming (since he knows good treats will come). Still have a couple more areas to strengthen (teeth brushing/exams is one, and nail. trims.) I actually find the process of brushing pretty soothing, so there's that too.

Thank you again!
 

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Huh. I wonder why. That's good to know though.
Because they are cold and unhappy about being wet! LOL! You can tell a lot about legs. Less about other things. Soaping DEFINITELY has its place, but it is only PART of assess ing a dog. I like it a LOT for certain things, but once you HAVE the dog and are preparing for show... NO dog is perfect, and honestly, you want to emphasize the good and learn to show in a way that you de-emphasize the less than perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
He's sort of doing it here I think? usually when he self stacks his legs are a bit further back. Unfortunately when he notices I'm paying attention to him it activates his silly switch and he starts moving 🤦
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Water dog Companion dog
 

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Not bad at all!
 
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Not bad at all!
Thank you❤ I think he's a cutie. I will start rewarding him for holding this pose and try to adjust as needed.

I also talked to his breeder, unfortunately she doesn't know anyone in particular from TX where I live that would be able to look him over, but I may have a chance to visit her in January. Fingers crossed!

I also was wondering if anyone had a video of proper havanese movement. I know they need a nice springy gait. I have seen it a few times, but I like to see a variety when I can.
 

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Sophie
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I also was wondering if anyone had a video of proper havanese movement. I know they need a nice springy gait. I have seen it a few times, but I like to see a variety when I can.
This year's national was streamed and archived on AKC.TV. That will be a good place to see high quality video of a BUNCH of Havanese. As with any show, you will get varying levels of correctness, but I felt the quality of the BOB entry, especially those that made the cut, was pretty deep. A good way to kind of train your eye too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This year's national was streamed and archived on AKC.TV. That will be a good place to see high quality video of a BUNCH of Havanese. As with any show, you will get varying levels of correctness, but I felt the quality of the BOB entry, especially those that made the cut, was pretty deep. A good way to kind of train your eye too!
Thanks! I will check it out!
 
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