Observe the Speed Limit!

By Jessica Freni

In the land of more is more, more hair, more wrinkles, more grooming, more flash, sometimes it seems the emphasis is more on the show portion of the dog show than the dog portion. Breeding focused more on the Group wins than the whelping box. Standards are not built for simply style, however, they’re filled with nuances and subtleties that are often overlooked for the wow factors.

Movement is one of the areas most impacted by desire for “showy”.

“Do not let judges, field reps, handlers, etc. Intimidate you into falling into a trend of style that ultimately threatens the integrity of the breed. Functional soundness is paramount to the breed. ” – Georjean Hertzwig

Consider form and function. Each breed should be exhibited at the correct speed to reflect its purpose and origins. A Bracco Italiano has a large ground sweeping extended working trot suitable to all day field work, but it is not appropriate for a toy breed, whose purpose would have been to accompany a lady in full petticoats in a turn around the gardens, to be racing around strung up. Dogs must move in a manner and at a speed correct for the breed, not forgiving of unsoundness (not even in “head breeds”) and not with a bias for rewarding flashy, but incorrect.

Think on this comment by Judge Desmond Murphy,  “All breeds are moved too fast.” What is the correct movement for your breed, is it reflected by yourself as an exhibitor? Is it well represented by your breed ring?

Debbi Foust, Wysteria Havanese, recently wrote the below for sharing, could it apply to your breed?

Bad Rating for those Judges that are ignoring a very specific trait of our breed type & important part of what makes up a Havanese!



Why are we as breeders, Owners & protectors of our breed allowing this?

CORRECT MOVEMENT  is clearly stated in all 3  FCI , CKC & the AKC Standard

When Havanese are ran with around the ring they loose their lively, elastic springy gait.. which is part of the structure & playful, spirited personality…. HAVANESE ARE TO BE  presented at a NATURAL SPEED on a LOOSE LEAD to properly assess the characteristic springy gait….

These characteristics of temperament, coat,structure and GAIT are essential to type


General Appearance=The Havanese is a sturdy little dog, low on his legs, with long abundant hair, soft and preferably wavy. His movement is lively and elastic.


General Appearance=The Havanese is a small, sturdy dog of immense charm. The native dog of Cuba, he is beloved as a friendly, intelligent and playful companion. He is slightly longer than

tall, with a long, untrimmed, double coat. The Havanese has a short upper arm with moderate shoulder layback and a straight topline that rises slightly from the withers to the croup. The plumed tail is carried arched forward up over the back. The unique springy gait is a result of the breed’s structure and playful, spirited personality. These characteristics of temperament, coat,

structure and gait are essential to type.


General Appearance=

Sturdy, well balanced, small drop-eared dog, rectangular in outline,

slightly longer than tall, with long abundant, soft and wavy hair in a

variety of colours and patterns. Casual and carefree, unaffected in both manner and appearance. Movement lively and elastic, plumed tail carried over the back.