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jean nagle havanese hero

Jean Nagle, of Jangle Havanese, has lived in the Fort Myers area of Florida since 2005. Her first breed was the Australian Shepherd, and she showed them for many years. While raising her family, she took a break from dog showing, but when her children were grown, she was ready to come back to it. Jean knew that she wanted a toy breed and spent one month on the American Kennel Club (AKC) website, reading about each one and visiting parent club websites. She decided that the Havanese was the perfect dog for her.

She feels strongly that show dogs should be pets, as her own show dogs are. The Havanese is a companion dog, not a dog to spend most of its time in a kennel, she says. Jean is an active member of the Greater Fort Myers Dog Club and has worked extensively to create awareness of fraudulent breeding and selling practices of Havanese. She does all health testing, including tests that are not required by the Havanese Club of America Code of Ethics, such as screenings for cardiac and elbows issues. The puppies that she does not show go to carefully screened pet homes.

AKC: What is the most important thing to know about the Havanese?

Jean Nagle: They are needy (in a good way), not for someone who works all day. A Havanese wants to be your best friend and to be with you as much as possible. They play into your mood. They are good travelers, and small, but not fragile.

Havanese require a lot of grooming if kept in coat. It’s a double coat that can be silky, sometimes a little wavy, and they are hypoallergenic. Most people keep them in a puppy cut for easier grooming.

How has the AKC Marketplace helped you find puppy buyers?

It’s a good way to let people know what I offer and my policies. I include the price of my puppies because people come from so many backgrounds and some don’t understand that a good dog doesn’t come at a cheap price.

What is your favorite question to ask puppy buyers?

How many hours per day will the puppy be alone? Who lives in the household? I do not sell puppies to families with toddlers. I need to know who will be caring for the dog, and where it will go when you are on vacation. Is there a swimming pool? The more questions I can ask, the more I can help them with safety issues. I like to mentor my buyers.

What top qualities do you look for in potential owners?

I look for someone who will put in time with his or her puppy. I love to hear that they will take them to classes and be involved with their puppy.


What is the most important advice you have for novice breeders?

Because I feel that show dogs should be pets, I must know a person very well before selling a dog for breeding. But my advice is to get a really good foundation bitch and start there. Find someone who will sell you a top dog, health tested, and who has time to mentor you.

Do your dogs participate in AKC sports?

Yes, AKC conformation. I formerly competed in conformation and obedience with my Aussies. I would love to do agility with my Havanese, but just do not have time.

What is your favorite thing about being a breeder?

Knowing that I have found a perfect forever home for a puppy. I have on my desk the AKC standard and “Seven Elements of a Havanese.” I like the challenge of breeding to the standard, and I am so excited when I have a puppy that meets that standard. I love knowing that I breed healthy, beautiful dogs.

Do you have a favorite breeding story?

It’s hard to pick a favorite. As a breeder, it’s continuing education, always. Every litter is different. But a particularly memorable one is about a puppy I sold to a family with a high-functioning autistic son; he was in his late teens. He was such a gentle young man. At that time, I had several available males. There was an instant connection with one of the sable male puppies; it was a nonstop love affair–seriously, it brought tears to our eyes. We all had such a warm fuzzy feeling watching these two bond.

Each month, the AKC profiles breeders to hear about how they got started, their breeding program, and their experience with AKC Marketplace. To learn more about Jean Nagle and her Havanese, visit Jangle Havanese.