The Pep Talk






Floor Stacking





A program specifically designed for the next generation of Havana Silk Dog breeders and handlers!!

We are excited to have a place where HSDAA youth can practice their skills with their dogs, learn new things and make friends.  Rising Stars classes are offered at every show, allowing these aspiring young handlers a chance to show off their dogs.  These classes are aimed at helping them develop handling skills and confidence in the ring.  Learning in a fun and friendly way, the Rising Stars are scored similar to the breed classes, except it is the youth (rather than the dog) who is being scored.  Each one is scored looking at Handler Presentation, Gaiting Circle, Set Up/Stack, Gaiting Patern, Handler Etiquette, and Final Posing and given a score card.  Rosettes  are given for Best Rising Star, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place.   Because of an emphasis on learning, rather than simply competition, educational seminars are available at National’s and at various other shows that allow each one to learn more about their dog.  Topics such as handling, grooming, understanding the Standard, canine anatomy, and basic training are discussed.   Championships can be earned in three age categories.  A Championship requires earning points, seminar attendance, and passing an age appropriate test to display basic knowledge of their dog.

Below is information to help parents and participants have an understanding of how the program works, the requirements for championships, and to give a clear understanding of the score card and what is being considered in each category.


Table Stacking


Soooo Heavy! I Can Do It!


Table Stack


Setting Up The Dog



The Rising Stars program is divided into age categories, allowing for the continued advancement of youth skills and development.


Championship Awards are offered in each age category. 
Requirements for each level include:

  • 15 points, including 2 majors
  • Attend 2 educational seminars
  • Completion of anatomy test
  • Super Nova also requires completion of HSD breed test


Judges Scorecard: Earning Points

  • 5 points- 6 ‘excellent’ ratings (major)
  • 4 points- 4 ‘excellent’, 2 ‘good’, no NI’s (major)
  • 3 points- 3 ‘excellent’, no more than one NI’s (major)
  • 2 points- 2 ‘excellent’; no more than 2 NI’s
  • 1 point- at least 1 ‘excellent’; no more than 3 NI’s

Getting Awards


Explanation of the Rising Stars scorecard

    1. Handler Presentation

This section evaluates the appearance and attitude of both the handler and the dog/bitch.


      • Shows proper front, profile and rear presentation of the dog.
      • Presents to the dog’s advantage, not their own.
      • Well groomed and properly dressed with appropriate shoes.
      • Uses the equipment correctly.
      • The use of bait and toys, if used, is quiet and proper.
      • Anticipates and is prepared for the judge’s movements.


      • Overall appearance: clean, well brushed and free of parasites.
      • Toenails trimmed.                                                
      • Ears clean.
      • Eyes clear with minimal staining.
      • Accepting of judge during examination.


    1. Gaiting Circle

This section evaluates the handler’s ability to gait their dog at the correct speed and to perform correct circles.



      • Does not crowd the other exhibitors; keeps appropriate distance between exhibitors.
      • Displays smoothness.
      • Is attentive to the judge, surroundings and to their dog.  


    1. Set Up/Stack

This section evaluates the handler’s ability to set up/stack with precision and accuracy.



      • When posed the handler should stand or kneel beside their dog; without leaning on the dog.
      •  Consistently stacks accurately, fixes feet that the dog moves, and makes best effort to keep the dog stacked even when the dog is not cooperating.
      •  Positions feet and presents in a quiet, efficient way that does not distract from the dog.


    1. Gaiting Pattern


This section evaluates the handler’s ability to receive and respond to instructions, display teamwork, and considers how they respond to their dogs antics.



      • Maintains proper gait speed.
      • Does pattern as requested.   If the handler does not understand the instructions given, they may politely ask for them to be repeated.
      • Lines dog up with judge when moving down and back.  Moves dog in a straight line.
      • Does not block the judge’s view more than is necessary.
      • Uses courtesy turns appropriately.
      • Free stacks dog at the end of the pattern.


    1. Handler Etiquette

This section evaluates the handler’s manners toward other handlers, their dogs, the ring stewards and the judges.  How they react to conflict and to misbehaving dogs is to be taken in to account.



      • Courteous to judges, stewards and other exhibitors.
      • Does not talk to the other exhibitors except when necessary.
      • Acts natural.  Over-showing, undue fussing and maneuvering are objectionable. 



    1. Final Posing

This section evaluates the way the handler has presented their dog to the judge, their body language, and their confidence.


    • Knows when to keep their dog stacked and when to allow them to relax.
    • Demonstrates confidence, not cockiness, in their handling ability.
    • Ties all aspects of their time in the ring together neatly and seamlessly.