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Sophie
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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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Sophie
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1,048 Posts
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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