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I'm confused. The Breed Standard says Havanese are supposed to have wavy coats. But, the top dogs I've seen (Bono, and Royce my dog's older brother, for example), have their hair blown out straight.

My girl has naturally wavy hair, which I have not tried to hide for her dog shows. Should I blow it out straight in the future?
 

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Metrowest, MA
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Well… There are a range of coats. To some extent, when you bathe and blow dry most Havanese coats, you pull out a lot of the wave. Ducky looks much straighter right after he has been blow dried than a couple of days later. So it IS true that MOST of them look straight-ER in the show ring than be-bopping around at home.

Here is Ducky after a show in the rain, and although he has a straighter coat (he carries no copies of the curly gene) and you can see a distinct crimp to his coat.
Dog Wood Rectangle Dog breed Liver


Here is Ducky’s coat right after it was blow dried on a show morning. It was windy, and on Cape Cod, so there was a bit of humidity in the air, but it was a nice day. His hair was (naturally) much straighter. One day of the show was SO windy that most of us were joking that our friend who shows her bitch corded was the only one who had a chance!!! (And it’s true… in high wind or the rain, a corded coat has a distinct advantage! :LOL:
Dog Carnivore Dog breed Grass Fawn

I do not ever straighten his coat, it‘s just what happens in the process of getting him clean and ready to show.

When you are asking whether you should “blow your girl out straight” to show, how do you prepare her to show? You certainly want her to look her best. It does take some time to learn how to present your dog to his or her best. While I use a condtioner on Ducky’s coat for “every day baths”, I do not for “show day baths” because it is too heavy for his very light weight coat, and weighs it down. So I JUST use a shampoo with no conditioner. I also have to use a clarifying shampoo on his ears or they end up looking greasy. A TOUCH of Ice on Ice as I comb and blow him dry him out is all the “conditioning his coat needs for the show ring. But every Havanese coat is different. I have a friend whose boy exactly Ducky’s age has a HUGE, crimpier coat. She bathes him the day before… ALWAYS, to give the hair time to lay down, and uses a rather heavy conditioner to give it shine and get it to lay rather than “pouf”. You just have to try different things (NOT right before a show!!!) until you find what makes your dog look best!

There is a wide amount of variation in Havanese coats, and if you are just looking to “finish” your dog (achieve their championship) I wouldn’t worry about it as long it is not truly curly. A truly curly coat is not correct. But a wavy or crimpy coat is just fine, even if it is not as popular in the “special” ring.

NOW… let’s talk about those highly campaigned “special’s”. And I am not talking about any particular one, especially the ones you named, because I have not seen those particular dogs being groomed. i HAVE seen many others being groomed, and I know what goes on. A LOT of specials have their coats flat ironed, and trimmed for that sweeping, floor length look. It depends on the judge whether that will impress them… or not. Recently at a show here in NE, two well known, big time special competitors were not placed, and were pulled aside by the judge and told it was because their dogs were “over groomed”. It doesn’t happen very often, but SOME judges are listening.

Our standard states:

“Presentation: Havanese should be shown as naturally as is consistent with good grooming. They may be shown either brushed or corded. The coat should be clean and well conditioned. In mature dogs, the length of the coat may cause it to fall to either side down the back but it should not be deliberately parted. Head furnishings are long and untrimmed, and may fall forward over the eyes or to both sides of the head; they may also be held in two small braids secured with plain elastic bands. The braids start above the inside corner of each eye and extend at least to the outside corner, forming the appearance of eyebrows. No other hair accessories are permitted. Minimal trimming of the anal and genital area is permissible but should not be noticeable on presentation. Hair on the feet and between the pads should be neatly trimmed. No other trimming or sculpting of the coat is permitted and is to be so severely penalized as to preclude placement.”

So it doesn’t actually SAY that you cannot use products on the coat, not that you cannot use a flat iron. People talk about each other for doing these things… but then they seem to do them too, if they need to, from what I see! LOL! I happen to have a dog who clearly doesn’t need it!

Have you talked to your breeder about your puppy’s coat and asked for advice about what products might be best in preparing her for the ring?

Finally, remember that as long as your god is presented NICELY, her coat is the icing on the cake. Her structure, movement and attitude are much more important. Ducky’s mom, my Panda, is the opposite of your girl, and has a VERY light coat. We had to “fluff her up” for all she was worth just before she went in the ring. She never had as much coat as the other dogs. BUT she had good structure and is a beautiful mover. She finished fast, with two 5 point majors. When I was getting her champion phot taken with the judge, I was chatting with the judge, he said to me, “I didn’t choose your girl for her coat, I chose her for her beautiful movement!“ So don’t get overly caught up in your girl’s coat if she’s got other excellent qualities!
Smile Dog Plant Carnivore Tie
 

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Metrowest, MA
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I am the last person to give advice about show dogs, but I couldn’t imagine using a flat iron on my dog. It seems risky in terms of the potential to damage the coat.
Well, since many show people use it regularly, I am sure it can be done without damaging the coat. The last thing they would want to do is damage the coat, whne they need to have the dog in the ring, looking beautiful, day after day, week after week. I am also sure that it takes practice to do it well. Not for me! (And I am VERY happy to have a dog with a coat that doesn’t need it!!! :)
 

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I personally like to see a clean, natural coat and a happy, great mover. I am truly hoping this will be the case with Dooley. Although it is still too soon to know how his big boy coat will look. He will be 4 months this week and his puppy coat is extremely thick. I’m hoping his adult coat will be thick also, but who knows?
Dog Eye Dog breed Carnivore Companion dog

Dog Carnivore Dog breed Companion dog Toy dog

Dog Dog breed Carnivore Companion dog Toy dog
 

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He’s s cutie!
 
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