Sage, a 10-month-old Havanese puppy owned by Dannevirke's Tim and Margie Delaney, has made a name for herself in the show rings of the Manawatu over the past weekend.
Sage won three best-of-breed titles at the Manawatu and Kapi Mana shows and just loves being in the ring, Tim said.
"She's a real cutie and responds beautifully in the ring," he said. "She knows she's pleasing me and you can almost see her smiling."
Sage, from a Levin breeder, loves her life at the Delaneys' Woollybutts kennels on the outskirts of Dannevirke and is just one challenge away from her championship moment.
But she's not eligible for that title until she is 12 months old and the Delaneys are hoping that moment will come on March 3 at the Central Hawke's Bay Kennel Club show.
Like others of her breed, Sage is social and cheerful and gets on well with other dogs and cats, but Havanese are not dogs who can live outside.
Havanese are the national dogs of Cuba, developed from the now extinct Blanquito de la Habana.
"The Havanese are an ancient breed who made their way from Spain to Cuba and then when the breed began dying out there, three Cuban families left for the United States in the 1950s/60 with their dogs and most of the breed are now descendant from those dogs," Tim said.
Havanese have a lifespan of 12 to 14 years, are easily trained, but require a lot of grooming.
"They have hair, not fur, and don't shed, so there's a lot of tangles and knots to deal with," Tim said.
The Delaneys will continue showing Sage and will try to breed from her, working closely with her breeder.