what I appear to be
The love and passion that I have for Labrador Retrievers is what fuels my drive for my total involvement with the breed. The never-ending quest for the Betterment of the Breed is the legacy that I would
like to leave behind after it is all said and done.
This Blogging Off section reflects the "tell it like it is" persona that comprises one of the many hats that I wear in my daily activities with Labrador Retrievers and the people that own them.
"Questions are the keys to understanding,
answers are the open doors that will follow,
choosing the right door to proceed through will
determine if the correct path was taken."
V. Sandy Herzon
The Blogging Off Experience
These blogs will cover every Labrador-related topic under the sun and then sum/some! There will be puns intended, off the cuff remarks will rule, attempts at acerbic, acidic and arsed-like humor will be on the menu. Since I have lived outside of the box for most of my life, parameters need not apply.
Moon Landing In 2015
“The Eagle has landed!” and I am totally elated!
Seems that the vast majority adding their two and three cent’s worth are now believers or at least accepting that product we are witnessing was worth the energy expanded!
Whether I had something to do with it or not, at this point it doesn’t matter…………….the great thing for the betterment of the breed is that the ship has been righted and is right on course!
It took a while to get there, but with what I am seeing and hearing, the naysayers have vanished or maybe just lying in wait, but out of sight just the same……………..that is a great thing…………………those now active and in the game are for the most part contributing their best and I, not being a gambling man, will stack the top 10 class males and the 10 class females from Florida against any region of the country that can field 20 class dogs that they would consider their best in that area!
Of course the preceding makes winning points that much more difficult because those win will be spread out between so many worthy dogs.
Which brings me full circle to the well-worn, often asked lament, “Why doesn’t my dog win?”
The answer varies for each individual dog that is currently on the front lines at the dog shows. From my perspective and level of expertise, I can state that 75% of the dogs out there are worthy combatants for those elusive Winners Dog and Winners Bitch awards and points!
Yep, you can quote me on that last paragraph, as I stand behind everything I say and do. That 75% number includes dogs from Chambray and from all the other breeders and kennels that are listed in the catalog.
There is a minority 20% that are average or have faults/defects and maybe 5% that are below what it takes to be competitive to win the points.
For the Chambray dogs, each and every one that is on the show roster, each deserves that spot because for every one of those dogs, there are between 4 or 5 that are waiting in the wings to be in the starting lineup.
Because of handler limitations, we have had to curtail the total number of dogs this fall by 30%. So, more dogs are sitting at home than in normal years.
Also, because so many of our dogs have championed out in the last 4 years (20 new champions), our average age is the youngest that it has ever been, in fact we are looking at the average age being 14 months old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That average age will soon be getting even younger as the newest puppies from the Class 2015 with debut in succeeding shows now in October and November.
If up to now the judges have had a field day picking different dogs for the wins, it will be a real hootenanny for them in the coming months with so many puppies and young dogs vying for those WD and WBs.
The last 2 weekends we saw that Best Of Breeds were awarded 75% to class dogs! That is not a typo…………….3 out of 4 Best Of Breeds were awarded to dogs coming out of the classes!!!!!!!!!!!!
That is a ‘freak of nature’ percentage.
Considering that there are 8 champions showing, with 2 specials that have won well over 30 Best Of Breeds, 4 Group 1’s and one of those is ranked in the Top 5 USA…………class dogs shouldn’t be winning BOB’s 3 to 1!!!!!!
When it does happen, then you know that the bar has been raised to stellar heights! If the Florida dog show circuit has been the toughest in the country……………….it now is OMG level!
What a great prelude for the up and coming Eukanuba week of shows in December!
I can’t wait!
The Winds Of Change Feel So Refreshing
This past weekend was a very positive one for me with my mission for the betterment of the breed.
Not so much because our dogs won or didn’t win…………………more so because more owners, exhibitors, breeders and even a couple of professional handlers have been much more receptive of my adamant stance for breeding and showing better dogs.
I even had a conversation with 2 judges that follow along with the goings on at the Florida Labrador scene and each of those had nothing but praise for the state of affair that they have seen through the years with Labradors in general in Florida. Lately, more and more judges openly approach and share their views with me about the Chambray dogs or the level of quality that has risen in Florida as a result of our drive for the betterment of the breed.
Recently a much respected judge came expressly to where I was sitting to tell me that because of our combined efforts, “Labradors are in good hands in Florida”.
That was a ‘euphoric’ moment for me. It more than diminishes all the trials and tribulations that I have endured all these years at the hand/mouth of the naysayers, gossip mongers and Doubting Thomas’s.
Standing outside the ring these two past weekends and witnessing the outstanding quality of dogs………..with easily 75% of the dogs showing being of superior quality, I can’t help but think that my steadfastness for the breed has had a hand in raising that bar to those heights.
For those that stood on the other side of the fence or that drew a line in the sand because there is always fear of the unknown…………………..there is no longer the need to ostracize themselves as the mission for the betterment of the breed is at hand and the breed as a whole has benefitted tremendously as a result of that quest that we set out years ago.
We raised our quality where we dominated the wins for 7 years straight, now the level of quality is spread out to a large percentage of dogs competing. That my friend is mission accomplished!
Calling A Spade Good Or Bad
Calling It As It Is When It's Bad & Also When It's Good!
If you are going to look like a duck and walk like a duck, then you’d better talk like a duck! So, here I am the Duck of the Day, telling (quacking) it like I see it………………….as I saw it this past weekend at the Ocala shows.
With very few exceptions, the lineup of dogs was stellar!
No need to re-read that last sentence, as I will reiterate it………………….the lineup of dogs was stellar! I left off the ‘with few exceptions’ this time to remove any negativity………………..I will lightly cover that at the end.
Every class that walked into the ring had the majority of dogs that were born champions!
Yep, you read right! The quality of dogs competing these past 2 weekends of shows has been the best overall in the past decade!
Whatever has occurred with the owners, breeders, exhibitors and professional handlers to bring on the quality we are witnising in the Labrador ring…………..halleluiah!
What I was looking at made Sandy a happy boy (old guy)! Having that top-notch quality to compete against makes winning that much more important……………..whoever wins! All of the dogs that won Winners Dog, Winners Bitch, Best Of Breeds, Best Of Opposite Sex and Selects Gr Champions were deserving of those wins!
The real great news is that out of the 50+ dogs there, more than half the class females can win Winners Bitch at any show. About 1/3 of the class males can win Winners Dog and Best Of Breed can be taken by 5 or six different dog/bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That’s what I call a stellar lineup.
Now for a few negatives:
There were a few dogs totally overweight.
There were more than a few out of shape.
There were a few with severe upright shoulders
There were more than a few cow-hocked, some moderate and 1 severe.
There were a couple with totally incorrect coats.
MORE NOTEWORTHY NOTES:
Someone came to defend a friend of theirs claiming that I pick on that friend at my blogs.
My answer: “I do not think your friend is cow-hocked and your friend seems to have short, straight, dense hair………..I am not sure of the ‘course to the feel’ bit as I haven’t felt it”
Another person came to ask if I was referring to her dogs in my blogs.
“So far, no! But now that you mention it, I will cover some of the faults your dogs has, of course I won’t mention any names.”
“How do I fix my dog’s cow-hocks?”
“You don’t! It was born that way because either both parents were the same, or one parent was. It is considered a ‘structural defect’. In my betterment of the breed program, I won’t use any dog that is cow-hocked to breed. It is a very difficult defect to correct in successive generations of breeding. A cow-hocked dog bred to a dog that has great rear structure and came from great rear structured parents, bred to that cow-hocked dog will more than likely produce 60% cow-hocked puppies. Even the 40% that doesn’t display the defect will themselves carry the defect in the recessive and then pass that one to a large percentage of the puppies produced.”
“What type of conditioning program do you suggest for dogs to get them to move out more?”
“It all depends on the individual dog. Dogs that are out of shape, but that have otherwise good structural components can have a workout regimen designed for them to condition the areas that seem to be the most deficient first.
Those dogs that have straight shoulders have a very difficult time with front reach and dropping their heads below the horizontal medial line, thus they cannot move out faster without high front leg action which is worse looking than them going at a slower pace.
Dogs with poor rear angulation, have a hard time with rear drive. They don’t have the correct fluid pumping action that the hocks generate, thus they appear to ‘piddle’ as they move forward and that piddling action is exacerbated by trying to moving the faster.
Dogs with too much angulation have too deep a stroke in rear drive from extending the rear leg underneath the body to driving backwards to the rear most thrust of the rear leg. Thus they have to work overtime with rear drive and at a higher pace look like a locomotive.
Recently at a show, I had a owner/breeder state to me, “That dog has great rear motion”, while looking at one of those runaway locomotives………………….I then read her the riot act, letting her know that all that extra work by the rear was as counterproductive as a cow-hocked does in overcompensating all the displaced energy by the side-to-side action of the rear hocks."
September 24th Some More
The Colonel's Secret 11 Herbs and Spices
Yes, to answer that question/statement, there are some that have tried to copy our secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices to attempt to attain the successes that we have savored for over 20 years, especially the mind boggling winning numbers that we have put up in the last 6 years!
There are those that dress like me, there are those that set up their crates like we do, there are those that duplicate our content at their website and even copy our source codes to achieve higher rankings on Google searches……………….my oh my, so many complements paid our way, after all they say that imitation is absolutely the greatest form of flattery/complement that a competitor can give!
So, I revel in watching those doing their best to imitate our ways and means.
There is one major problem that holds all of the unreasonable facsimiles from even coming close………..they don’t have the critical eye needed to know what’s good and what isn’t!
That is proven over and over again with the dogs that some of them bring to the venue where the best should have been brought, the dog shows!
If a breeder shows up with a dog that has breed standard faults or worse………………..defects………………then pray tell, what does that tell you about their knowledge of what is good, what is bad and what is ugly?
Would you trust them placing a ‘show quality dog’ with you, if they themselves keep a dog with, not one, not two………….with 3 serious faults and defects? So, if they are practitioners of ‘keep the best, sell the rest’, what quality can the ones that are sold be?
Now here is yet a worst case scenario, sure as heck, those dogs with those obvious from across the street defects will be bred to produce their next generation.
So, the real secret ingredient is the evaluation of the puppies at the correct age, to be able to project which ones are really the ‘born champions’.
I am now making the secret known, the ingredient that cannot be duplicated is the ability to know which puppies are really the born champions!
The day that someone puts that together, then the playing field will be level, until then, advantage in.
Champion-Born In The USA
Ah, but there is a huge difference with the dogs we breed and or manage. I have the extreme luxury of choosing from dozens and dozens as to which ‘born champion’ I will be managing at the shows.
No so with Daffy Jones, who settles for whatever Loonie Tunes sold them and then goes way out of their way with time and money to make a champion………………….remember the silk purse made out of a sow’s ear……………la meme chose folks!
When you see one of the Team Chambray handlers with a dog in the ring, that was no fluke that it was there…………….no siree Bob, that was a well-designed and crafted occurrence.
NOTHING WE DO IS LEFT TO CHANCE.
Each dog that is part of our show roster represents 5 others that are sitting at home awaiting their turn to be called up to the starting lineup.
If per chance one of our charges falters in any way……………….guaranteed that 3 weeks later there will be another dog taking its place in the starting rotation.
The vast majority of exhibitors and even breeders bring the only dogs they own, be it great, good, average, so-so or what-ever! There is no choosing for them, they bring whatever it is they own.
They don’t get to choose from 5 great dogs, that 1 special one that will be featured and showcased at any given show.
So, with our program, there is never a 'made champion', never a run of the mill, average dog that has to be 'made' anything.
There is an ultimate plan for each born champion, once it accomplishes what it was intended to do.
Each is there because each will contribute to the next generation of dogs that will then be considered for the starting lineup themselves when they are ready for showing!
It is a perpetual motion program for the betterment of the breed. It is a system that has produced 25 champions in the last 5 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All of those male champions are now part of the stud dog program that will in turn produce the next 25+ champions. Of course the female champions will contribute their produce to be part of the next wave of puppies that will be under consideration for the perpetuation of the betterment of the breed.
To fully answer the person that wrote in saying that not all of our dogs that we manage and show end up with their AKC champion’s title:
There will be some of our dogs that don’t go all the way, but it won’t because they were not born champions! In the last 5 years, there were 12 dogs that dropped out of competition………………not because they were not good enough to win their title……………….10 of them because the owners did not have the financial resources to continue on to see it through to fruition. The other 2 because of owner mismanagement and making very poor choices for their dogs.
Finances and erroneous minded people will fell some of the best dogs along the way.
Of Homerun Hitters & Homebred Champions
The hallmark of a great homerun hitter in baseball is how many round baggers that player achieved. That is the validation for that designation. The player could have been the nicest guy on the team, he might have even won a Golden Glove on the defensive side of the plate……………all those attributes would contribute to his legacy, however without posting ridiculous over-the-fence numbers, that player would not be considered and elite homerun slugger.
So too is the benchmark for a great Labrador breeder. The homeruns for a breeder are their homebred champions……………….those dogs that they actually bred, raised, placed and maybe even had a hand or two in leading them to their AKC champ’s title.
All of that work in order to have the dog validated as being a worthy specimen of the breed so that it can contribute its outstanding qualities to the next generation of dogs produced.
We should make a distinction at this point of the value of a true champion.
In my book, champions are born and not made!
Let me explain that sentence. I will make it simple so that everyone can understand and not get wrapped up and lost in one of my long winded dissertations.
Any average Joe Labrador can be ‘made’ a champion. After being ‘made’ a champion, they can even be campaigned with a huge war chest of funds (whether they get paid or not) and taken to the highest titles offered by the AKC.
Then they can sit in their owner’s home never to ever be seen again. ZERO contribution to the breed because everyone knows their value or lack thereof and no one uses the dog for perpetuating the breed to the next generation.
What a tremendous waste of time that was for the breed. Of course all the handlers along the way benefitted greatly with the 4-year long chee-chink!
There was the case of another less than average dog that was traipsed all over by over a dozen different handlers for 7 years……………………….more than 300 shows, maybe 400! Just between entries and handling fees………………………….minimum $40,000 and for what…………………dog gets finished off, never breeds and is never heard from again.
There are dogs that are showing today that are mediocre at best, however with persistence and money, they will be finished……………… ‘Made’ a champion because in actuality they were not born champions.
Those dogs that are born champions are obvious even to a rank novice. They have what it takes and it is just a matter of getting them to perform as youngsters to get them finished.
They have ZERO faults, none! They have ZERO negatives, none! If they are going to be the perpetuators of the next great generation, they cannot have any of the preceding to pass on to their get!
They can’t be cow-hocked or they will pass that on to their offspring. They can’t have totally upright shoulder, unable to hold their heads up while in motion or else their kids will be likewise. They can’t have the wrong coat, or else most of the puppies produced will be furry little creatures just as their sire. They can’t have straight rears making them have real poor drive, piddling along in slow motion as the offspring will also piddle along.
Any and all faults and defects will be handed down as a gift to the next generation and then the owners of those ‘not as good as should be dogs’ will also be contending with the same situations as the breeders of the not so good dogs that produced those not as good as should be produce.
That is the never ending cycle of producing less than stellar, even less than the standard calls for.
Those are the dogs that were not born champions! Those are the dogs that have to be ‘made’ champions because they didn’t have it at birth!
Those ‘made’ champions will produce just like themselves! They will sire puppies that will have to be ‘made’ champions.
Pray tell, what doesn’t someone understand about the preceding?
Ok, it looks like we are now cooking with Crisco...or is there something else that is now more politically correct to cook with?
I have had some requests from owners and exhibitors to educate them at some of the up and coming dogs shows. That sounds just peachy keen to me.
I had a breeder email me photos of her female that she wants to breed. The dog was obtained from a top producing, well known kennel, from very nice lines.
Although a nice looking dog, she had virtually no rear angles, no turn of stifles and hyperextension of the rear hocks. That in my book is three strikes for that dog to be in a progressive breeding program and those 3 negatives were all in the same rear assembly!
Looking at the dog from the rear, she had no separation between the thighs (close quartered), so the hip formation was not very ample, giving the dog a very weak look to the whole rear end.
The owner stated that she had 5 points to her credit, but that she had decided not to show her anymore as it didn’t look like she would be able to win the majors needed to be a champion as the competition here in Florida, where she had relocated to recently seem much tougher than where she came from.
She was also inquiring as to which of the Chambray stud dogs would complement her bitch to produce a litter for her to keep something to show.
After pointing out the many negatives that the dog possessed which would render her as ‘non-show’, there is no stud dog that can overcome that many faults to be able to pick a puppy to show in the very competitive Florida dog shows.
As certain as I am that I am breathing, I know that by standing up for the breed and also providing valuable educational information, not to mention that I passed up a great money making opportunity in turning away stud service for one of our dogs……………….I know that this person will not be appreciative and hold it against me for being truthful to her about her dog………………the truth hurts, but when it comes to the breed, so be it!
The bottom line when it comes to breeding………………..you can’t breed down if you want to rise to the top!
You can’t take a negative and expect to get a positive out of it……………..that’s not the way it works with improvement breeding. No matter how much you love a dog, you can’t love away a glaring structural fault. There is a reason that the dog was not winning when there was competition!
Standing Up For The Breed
The feedback has been very good regarding the last blog about calling it like it is for the betterment of the breed.
Unless those with a higher level of expertise and knowledge step up to the plate and call a strike a strike and call those outside the parameters a ball………………….unless that happens, those without the benefit of knowing any better will just keep on plugging along not knowing what they don’t know!
As redundant as that last line sounds, it’s the God honest truth. How in tar blazes is a person that calls themselves a breeder know that they are breeding good or not so good?
If a ‘so called’ established breeder steps in the ring with a ridiculously cow-hocked dog that even a beginner comes up to me and asks, “What’s wrong with that rear?”……………….then someone has to own up for the breed and call that spade what it is! All for the betterment of the breed.
Same thing for all those dogs that are cow-hocked even if the judge gives them a BEST IN SHOW……………….it will still be a cow-hocked dog and according to the breed standard that is a serious structural defect!
That last word is D-E-F-E-C-T! In my world, a defect is the opposite of being perfect. I would rather ride in a perfect airplane than in one with a defect. I would probably live longer if my heart didn’t have a valve defect that causes blood to be regurgitated backwards to a chamber in my heart, of course I would have rather been blessed with a perfect heart……………………so defects are not good.
Why then do breeders insist on breeding defects to the next generation? If my heart condition was an inherited one, I would have never had children!
All physical traits on a dog are passed on to the next generation. A dog with incorrect coat will produce a percentage of puppies with incorrect coats. Dogs with straight, upright shoulders will produce their fair share of puppies with wrong shoulder placement. Dogs with cow-hocks will produce more defective rears just as they possess.
So, someone has to be the spokesperson for the breed, so I will take on that charge and be the elocutionist for Labrador Retrievers.
If those that follow my bouncing ball don’t yet know, I elected myself to that position because all the rest are either playing the ‘politically correct game’, or ‘I don’t want to be involved’, or maybe they are a bit ‘shy’ or maybe they just don’t feel confident enough with their knowledge to press forward with their input.
Whatever it is that keeps people back from saying publicly what they say to each other in whispered, hushed tones…………………those reading this know what I am talking about because everyone does the talking behind the scenes, usually followed with “Don’t tell so and so”.
Well, folks the buck stops here with me!
If I say it to someone in private, I will own up to it and say it in public if it concerns the breed.
There are always a handful of newcomers watching at ringside…………….future breeders of Labradors, future custodians of the breed once I am long gone…………………how are they going to know what’s right from wrong if everyone around the ring sugar coats everything and no one stands up for the breed……………..the correct breed…………………….the way it is supposed to be regardless of what a particular judge puts up or thinks is correct.
I am not coming down on anyone’s choice to be vocal or silent………………….I am just letting everyone know that I will be vocal for the breed. So, now add 'elocutionist' to whatever else folk want to label me.
I will take the preceding a step further for any and all………………at any show that I am at, after Labradors are done showing, I will be more than glad to go over with any owner, exhibitor, handler……pro or otherwise or any breeder anything about the breed standard or their dog in particular.
I will even put on a breed standard workshop or seminar for a group of people if given sufficient time to put together some worthy material.
All for the betterment of the breed.
Talk Of The Town
Yep, folk were talking at this last weekend’s dog shows in Deland FL. Oh, I am sure that folk were talking at every dog show across the country……………..however, I really couldn’t hear any of those topics of conversations elsewhere, but I sure as heck could hear what was transpiring around me at this venue.
It didn’t take long for some of the Blogging Off readers to come and ask about the judge’s selections. Especially since the last blog, the one following this one had to do with proper movement!
Several old time Labrador breeders in attendance, three of them to be more precise came to share their combined expertise with me about the breed……………………….that’s four of us totaling 132 years’ worth of involvement with Labradors, with over 100 champions between us………………….so I would consider that to be way more knowledge about the breed than 99% of the licensed judges found on any given dog show throughout the country.
Of course I don’t need to state names here as I will take the responsibility for the content of the conversation, just in case the other folk involved are shy to make their thoughts known. So, according to ‘Sandy Herzon’ will suffice.
The unanimous consensus was, “What was this judge looking at?”
If dog shows are to serve as a mentoring tool for beginners and intermediates as well as for the people that are licensed judges and even the old timers that can still learn a thing or too…………me included, then I will take the lead and be the spokesman for the breed since there are way too many that have the knowledge yet will not profess it for fear of being ‘politically incorrect’ or whatever else people fear when going public.
It must be understood that I hold no malice to anyone that owns and shows a dog, so there is absolutely no personal agenda with anything I write that I know will benefit the breed………………………..NONE!
In fact, with some of the following dogs that I cover in this blog, I hold a few of those owners with very high regards as was stated by me when asked if I knew the owners.
I offer the following because I care about the breed with a passion and it does impact me very much to see dogs being shown that eventually will be bred that are very incorrect for the breed. It doesn’t matter that they are owned by beginners, intermediates or old timers…………..if they are incorrect, they are incorrect.
If it is a breeder, then they should know better! Their value as a breeder is only as good as what they produce and show. So, if they come to a dog show with a very incorrect dog, then what does that tell you about their knowledge of the breed.
What you show is a reflection of what you know!
So, let’s cover some of the more obvious points that stood out like super big sore thumbs to me and to this congregation of Labrador Retrievers past and present that have accounted for the majority of the dogs shown and championed in the last 30 years.
The first passage on the movement section reads:
Movement: Movement of the Labrador Retriever should be free and effortless. When watching a dog move toward oneself, there should be no sign of elbows out. Rather, the elbows should be held neatly to the body with the legs not too close together. Moving straight forward without pacing or weaving, the legs should form straight lines, with all parts moving in the same plane.
So this passage applies to a dog that was awarded points whose movement did not conform to the written standard and the deviation was so apparent that even some of the newer Labrador enthusiast commented likewise on the anomaly and brought it to my attention.
MOVING STRAIGHT FORWARD WITHOUT PACING OR WEAVING, THE LEGS SHOULD FORM STRAIGHT LINES, WITH ALL PARTS MOVING IN THE SAME PLANE.
That’s what the standard describes as proper front movement. What was visual on that particular dog was the front legs crossing over the central line with the feet creating an inward scalloping action akin to digging rather than the clean forward stroke that helps propel the dog forward in a straight line.
What should be is the shoulder blades reaching forward in front of the dog, with the upper arm and lower long bone of the leg going forward all in the same place with each other and the pasterns and the feet also in the same plane reaching out and forward. There should not be any inward curving motion or bowing out of the elbows, which would negate the ‘all parts moving in the same plane’ dictum of the standard.
The shoulder blades, the upper arm, the lower arm, the pasterns and the feet ALL MOVING STRAIGHT FORWARD IN THE SAME PLANE.
Now as the dog’s speed increases, the front legs will inline somewhat to a center line smack dab underneath the dog. They really don’t touch that center line and certainly will not cross over to the other side of the line. Even as each line moves inward, it does with all parts still in the same plane.
The shoulder blades, the upper arm, the lower arm, the pasterns and the feet ALL MOVING STRAIGHT FORWARD IN THE SAME PLANE.
NEXT: Carriage in motion
The following is dictated by the breed standard
With the shoulders well laid back, forming a 90° with the upper arm.
The upper arm and the shoulder blade being of the same length.
The top most part of the shoulder blade is the withers.
The withers, elbows and feet are in a straight line perpendicular to the ground which places the legs well under the dog.
With the above the way they are supposed to be, the dog reaches forward creating a 45° with the ground at the forward most footfall, then retracts that front leg backwards completing that legs cycle of reach by going back to where the ribcage ends.
If all of the above is where it should be and is functioning as detailed, then the head is held above the shoulders while the dog moves forward.
If any dog has a problem holding its head above the shoulders while moving then the front assembly is structurally compromised! High shoulder placement, straight shoulders, the wrong angle created where the shoulder blades meet the upper arm, short shoulder blades, too long of shoulder blades and every combination of the preceding can contribute to the dog have incorrect carriage while moving.
NEXT: COW HOCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cow hocks, spread hocks, sickle hocks and over-angulation are serious structural defects and are to be faulted.
Yes here we go again!
What is it with judges putting up dogs that are cow hocks which are to be considered SERIOUS STRUCTURAL DEFECTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Folks, exhibitors, breeders, handlers and those watching outside the ring…………………if the dog is cow hocked it has a serious structural defect!
Don’t take my word for it…………………….read the bleeping BREED STANDARD!
This weekend at the dog show, make it a mission to compare all the rears on dogs being shown out there! Those that are cow hocked are not good examples of the breed.
I must say that the majority of the dogs now showing have what the breed standard calls for;
SHORT, DENSE AND COURSE TO THE FEEL.
Tail-The tail is a distinguishing feature of the breed. It should be very thick at the base, gradually tapering toward the tip, of medium length, and extending no longer than to the hock.
The tail should be free from feathering and clothed thickly all around with the Labrador's short, dense coat, thus having that peculiar rounded appearance that has been described as the "otter" tail.
Keeping those points in mind, any dog with long shaggy open coat where it should be short and dense and course to the feel is totally wrong!
If the coat on the tail does not end in a spiraled tip, the traditional twizzle, if it forms an open bottlebrush instead of the bound around, clothed thickly, having the peculiar rounded appearance that forms the ‘otter’ tail, then that dog’s coat is totally incorrect.
If it is a breeder, then they should know better! Their value as a breeder is only as good as what they produce and show. So, if they come to a dog show with a very incorrect dog, then what does that tell you about their knowledge of the breed.
What you show is a reflection of what you know!
Movement More ARRRGGGG Moments
Movement: Movement of the Labrador Retriever should be free and effortless. When watching a dog move toward oneself, there should be no sign of elbows out. Rather, the elbows should be held neatly to the body with the legs not too close together. Moving straight forward without pacing or weaving, the legs should form straight lines, with all parts moving in the same plane. Upon viewing the dog from the rear, one should have the impression that the hind legs move as nearly as possible in a parallel line with the front legs. The hocks should do their full share of the work, flexing well, giving the appearance of power and strength. When viewed from the side, the shoulders should move freely and effortlessly, and the foreleg should reach forward close to the ground with extension. A short, choppy movement or high knee action indicates a straight shoulder; paddling indicates long, weak pasterns; and a short, stilted rear gait indicates a straight rear assembly; all are serious faults. Movement faults interfering with performance including weaving; side-winding; crossing over; high knee action; paddling; and short, choppy movement, should be severely penalized.
This is the section of the breed standard that I find to be extremely vague…………..leaving way too much to interpretation and opinion! That all leads to a huge variance on how to apply correct movement when the blue print itself is murky at best and misleading at its worst part.
Nowhere do we find the typical carriage of the dog while in the preferred gait.
While in movement, where is the head held?
A) Is the top of the head held above the withers;
B) top of the head in line with the topline or
C) top of head below the withers?
Next time at a dog show, watch as the dogs go around the ring, some will have the heads held high, others on the same line of the topline and a few who cannot raise their heads above the withers.
Each of those different positions changes the whole outline of the dog.
A dog with correct structure will hold its head at A!
What about the position of the topline while in motion?
Is it held
B) Inclined downwards from front to back or
C) inclined downwards from back to front?
Watch at ringside and you will witness all three of the above!!!!!!!!!!!!
If all the structure is correct, then expect to see A)!
What angles do the legs reach to in the forward most stroke of the front legs, what about the rear drive angles to the ground?
Is the correct angles formed by front reach to ground
A) 45 degrees……………………
B) 60 degrees…………………….
C) 30 degrees?
Once again, check out the action in the ring and again you will witness all 3 of the above.
Correct reach is 45 degrees with the ground.
Same things for rear drive! It should be 45 degrees!
In addition, reach should equal drive!
45 degrees in reach and 45 degrees in drive……………… 45=45
So, if you see a dog reaching forward at a 45 degrees and driving back at 30 degrees,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Where do the front feet stop underneath the body as the front legs reach their furthest most position? Where is the convergence point of reach and drive underneath the body?
Right underneath the end of the ribcage
Right at Nicolas Cage’s house
Neither as there is no convergence of the rear to the front legs
They actually cross over, sometimes the front feet will strike the rear feet.
There is a large gap between the front and rear feet’s placement
The dog has to crab to one side because the rear legs extend way forward beyond where the front legs retract underneath the dogs
A is correct……………………however all the rest are seen at dog shows since most breeding dogs have no clue about anything that I have written above!
AND THEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yep here it comes…………………….you guessed it………………………you have the 30 to 40% COW-HOCKED dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, here is the interesting thing about the Movement part of the standard……………….as vague as it is with all of the above that I just covered…………it actually details about the rear legs and their role in movement.
Here is that passage:
Upon viewing the dog from the rear, one should have the impression that the hind legs move as nearly as possible in a parallel line with the front legs.
That means that all those COW-HOCKED dogs cannot move as nearly as possible in a parallel line with the front legs! How in tarnation can bowed-in legs move in a parallel line with anything???????????
Think about it, the front legs would need to be COW-HOCKED too for that passage to apply!!!!
So, if the front legs are straight and move in a straight plane forward, the rear legs should be straight as seen from behind and then they would move in the straight plane forward………………PARELLEL LINE Front legs to rear legs.
Even Brain Surgeons Have Brain Fart Moments
Some owners were stinging from a recent blog I published making known how some puppies behave badly because of their environment.
Well, if the shoe fits, wear it! Now, if when you come and visit and I tell you that your puppy is exactly where it should be for its age and mental development, then you can rejoice and consider yourself not part of the haphazard group!
If I can take one of those ‘all over the place puppies’ and in less than 5 minutes of my influence have that puppy settled, walking correctly without choking itself at the end of the leash, without jumping up and making a complete nuisance of itself, if I can have it focused on me for its next set of instructions………………….then there is nothing wrong with the puppy itself………………..the problem is the environment!
If I observe the owner and puppy outside of my property on the other side of the fence from the moment that the puppy launches itself with a flying leap out of the car and then proceed to yank and pull the owner from where their car is parked all the way to the front gate, then inside the property all the way to where we will sit under the old orchid tree, so much so that some of these ‘pulling at the end of their leash dogs’ have actually keeled over from lack of blood to their brains by the choke collar pressing on the carotid artery.
The most famous of those cases was the one that occurred at the Chambray’s FPL Training Center, years back. On 2 consecutive Tuesday night training classes, the same gentleman had been advised that he was actually choking the dog out by letting it pull him at the end of the leash. This after I witnessed the dog keel over momentarily and then recoup and start pulling all over again.
After the first night’s occurrence, I stopped the class and explained to all what had just occurred with the dog momentarily passing out.
The owner objected stating that the dog had tripped.
So, imagine when the following Tuesday night the exact same thing occurs, but this time, the dog is very wobbly in getting back to normal.
This time diplomacy goes out the window and I loudly exclaim to all in the class “It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that your dog just got choked out!”
Stone silence overcame the class and the owner dragged his dog to his really, really expensive convertible sedan and zipped out of the parking lot never to return with the dog again.
What I didn’t know at the time, a fact that most in the class had gotten to know by the 4th week of an 8-week Basic Obedience Course………………….folk taking classes sometimes get to know each other better than the instructor does and this was the case here…………………what I didn’t know and was about to find out was……………………drum roll maestro…………………………………………..the guy was A BRAIN SURGEON!
What I am getting at here is, whether my owners like it or not, admit it or not………………it takes lots of learning how to deal with dogs to be able to then set the right examples for them.
Expecting them to somehow become cultured and not uncouth, does not happen overnight and it doesn’t happen all by itself. There is work involved and following a successful training program is paramount to achieving the goal of having a well behaved and obedient dog.
Check Out Tucker's Show Sight Magazine Layout
Tucker’s owner took out a 2-page spread in Show Sight Magazine…………absolutely stunning layout of Tucker! The magazine is also available online to view. See http://www.showsightmagazine.com/#!digital-issue/cf4j then go to page 324.
Just like that, I finally can put my finger on a persistent problem that I see in breeding Labradors.
Besides Tucker’s 2 pages, there are several other Labrador breeder/owners that also took out some great layouts of their dogs and then as part of the coverage on Labradors, several noteworthy Labrador folk were interviewed.
That’s where I got my answers to the perplexing situation that I feel is a huge detriment to the breed!
I will let you in on the culprit to my angst, but most of you old faithful bloggers know what my major pet peeve is and that is none other than Labs being cow-hocked!
At the Show Sight section where the Labradors are featured, each of those folk that are Labrador breeders and judges were asked several questions and one of those was “What should breeders be concerned about?“ . Each gave their take on those areas that they felt needed work on in the breed.
Now here is where it really gets murky for me. NONE OF THEM MENTIONED COW-HOCKS AS BEING A PROBLEM!
My question is “Have they not read the breed standard that specifically addresses the seriousness of cow-hocks and even states that they are a serious structural defect?”
There is even one guy quoted as saying some malarkey about “the dark eye”……………….nowhere in the standard does it call for a dark eye…………………… “BROWN on yellow and black dogs, BROWN and HAZEL on chocolate dogs”
Hello folks, the phone is ringing and none of those supposedly learned breeder/judges mentioned what a hard working, sporting breed that uses their rears both on land and water needs the most!
That being a non-defective rear!
Forget all the frills mentioned in those Q & A’s……………………..concentrate on the one area that affects the dog’s ability to perform its intended function……………………which then will cause form to follow!
An Explosion of Majors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Deland Dog Shows & Ocala Too!
The 1st Florida show for the 2015 Fall dog show season is just around the corner on September 20th and the 21st at Deland FL………..technically fall doesn’t actually start until 3 days later.
At first glance, the large number of Labradors entered was a huge surprise at this time of the year for this venue, on second thought, those abnormally inflated numbers could be attributed to a certain Labrador breeder from the immediate area.
Whatever the reason for the large numbers of dogs entered, both days will be major-pointed, giving those dogs that badly need majors the opportunity to vie for those wins.
All of our dogs could use these major pointed wins, however, Chambrays Triple Play “Sonic” just needs one of those Winners Dogs for a major to finish out his AKC champion’s title, making him Chambray’s 50th home-grown AKC champion.
That 50th champion also would become this year’s 6th Chambray champion, giving us as breeders a clear run for the finish line in the race for USA 2015 Labrador Breeder of the Year.
We figure the competition for Winners Dog will be fierce with the 23 males entered. We have 5 of our boys on the roster, with 1 each in the following classes;
6 to 9 ~ Chambrays Tank’d On The Boulevard, a Jericho X Kika puppy, coming off 3 WDs for 6 pts from the Biloxi shows this past weekend.
9 to 12 ~ Chambrays A Handerin’ For Trouble, a Jericho X Gavi puppy looking for his 1 first points.
Bred By Exhibitor ~ Chambrays Thor God Of Thunder. Jericho X Kelly, making a return to the lineup after a missed absence, has 2 Pts
Am Bred ~ Chambrays Stone Crusher Mason X Chanel. Also looking for his 1 first points.
Open Yellow ~ Chambrays Triple Play “Sonic”. With 12pts and 1 major, needing just one of the wins, either Saturday or Sunday to finish out his AKC championship.
The female count for Deland is 28!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A true WHAAAAAT moment if there is ever to be one! 28 females…………………where from…………..from whom……………like in what, where and who?
Has my constant challenging caused an aberrant upheaval of the cosmic order of things? Have the Gods on Olympus heard my earthly tirades and responded in sending a torrent of competitors to silence me?
I will need to invoke my ‘go-to shout out’ right here and now……………… “Whoa Nellie!”
Anyways, here are the ‘babes in arms’ girls
6 to 9 ~ Chambrays Promised Secret N Counter and her littermate Chambrays Celestial Stargirl Lily both from Jericho X Kika
9 to 12 Chambrays Granhill Special Effects and her littermate Chambrays Sweet Belle Pepper both from Jericho X Gavi
Bred By Exhibitor ~ Chambrays Galactic N Counter from Nicholas X Kika with 3 WB and 6 points.
Open Yellow ~ Chambrays Honeydew from Jericho X Viper with 2 pts.
Our handling roster champion’s lineup features 3 out of the 5 champions from 2015.
Gr Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos
Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter
Ch Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha
Other Chambray dogs scheduled to show in Deland handled by others in include Chambrays Cajun N Counter with 6 pts and the USA #3 Labradors, Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting.
Feedback To Today's Blog
The recent blog on the 'Changing Times/Bugatti' brought about a good number of responses which of course fuels the tank for further discourse on the subject.
So, to answer some of the questions and/or input here’s looking at you kid!
Yes, yes, I/Chambray do take credit for a vast majority of the changes that have come about the Florida Labrador ring in the last 2 decades!
Not only have those changes been about the age of dogs finishing and introduction of puppies into the fray of things that was detailed in that blog, but also a myriad of other ‘business as usual’ that are the norms for each breed ring, that no longer is ‘business as usual’ in the Florida Labrador ring.
One of the most obvious changes, of course only seen and realized by those players that were around 25 years ago is that the northern Labrador breeders no longer see Florida as ‘easy peasy’, “let’s send our dogs down there and gobble up all those wins against those *chump* Florida dogs”. I used the word chump here, however at the time the descriptive was ‘sh%tey’!
We may see one or two of those northern dogs being shipped down for our regular Florida circuit during the year. Now a days, we see those dogs only when the northern handlers descend down to Florida in January, just as birds migrate from those blizzard-over states, so too come those handlers that would be out of work during those inclement months, so they come and hangout in the sunny state and bring as many dogs as northern breeders are willing to put up the money for.
What has changed is that the wins against the native dogs, especially the Chambray dogs is not a piece of cake, walk in the park as was once accustomed to way back when, when all the wins were divvied up by those pros that came down with truckloads of Labs from the snow-covered tundra states.
Another obvious to the veteran Florida observer change is that Chambray is the only Labrador breeder with over 20 years of breeding that is holding up the fort………………meanwhile all those of the 1980’s, 1990’s and up to 2008 have since made themselves scarce from the Labrador ring. The old, ‘you can’t win, you fade away’ route has derailed many of those long-established names of recent yesteryear.
The reduced number of professionals plying their trade in the Labrador ring is another marked difference that may be more of in the last decade happening. In past years, there were half a dozen top ranked professionals that always had a couple of Labradors as their breeds of choice.
Just recently at the Atlanta shows, during the Wicket Fiasco a very well-known and high ranking professional came to me in support of the wicket matter and he expressed how he had turned down quite a few Labrador handling clients because of how tough it was to win against the Chambray dogs.
He shared that the one Labrador that he took on in the last year, one that he evaluated and thought could fare well, after 2 weekends of showing him and only receiving a 4th place ribbon in 7 shows, was enough for him to turn the dog back and him leave that ring to those that had the best dogs!
Quite a compliment from someone that regularly wins the sporting group with his breed.
In almost every breed ring at dog shows, professional handlers win at about an 80% clip. That’s countrywide, not just here in Florida. There are many reasons for this occurrence, probably the most influential reason is that they get hired to handle the best dogs!
Of course, their expertise in training and handling also contributes to them winning the lion’s share of the time………………………and of course the old lament from those that can’t win against the pros………………..judge recognition of those professionals………………….yes that too tips the scales overwhelmingly towards the professional’s vault of wins.
With only one team of professional handlers working the Labrador ring against our family-oriented venture, it is most obvious to even the neophytes now engaged in breeding and showing Labs that this ring is not the business as usual ring that it is just outside the Florida state line and the rest of the 49 states.
That 80% winning ratio tips way to the other side of the scales in the Labrador ring in our state. Like in no other state, the Chambray dogs win 75% of the time……………….leaving a mere 25% to be sliced up by the rest of the kennel names that enter their dogs here.
Another huge, very observable change of the ways things are done in Florida………………..the one that I liken to Jed Clampett loading up the truck and heading out to Beverly Hills……………….so too do many of those Florida breeders that can’t stand up to the competition right in their own state.
There are some Lab breeders right here in Florida that I have never ever seen at a dog show, here in Florida, however I see their dogs entered in all the surrounding states where Chambray doesn’t drive that far to show. Folk forking up big bucks in long distance hauls to avoid going head to head with the caliber of the dogs born right here in Florida.
Remember the saying from 25 years ago by those stating that the Florida Labradors were all bum steers, 'sh%tey Labradors' was the exact term flipped our way………………………..well that’s all changed.
A Florida breeder was the USA #1 Labrador Retriever Champion Breeder in 2012 and again #1 in 2014……………………..guess what, now also leading the race for repeating for 2015. If I was a betting man, my money would be on me/Chambray for that top of all honors that just winning it one year would bring, let alone two and now on the horizon and unheard of 3rd!
Remember that there have been very few Labradors Breeders of the Year since it has only been observed for about 60 years! A very elite cadre and to think that less than 2 decades ago, there were only chump Labradors down here in Florida.
The Changing Times, Zipping By Like A Bugatti
Dogs and all animals are creatures of habit. They rely on those patterns that brought them safety and nourishment to survive and then they repeat those patterns as long as they bring about positive results. This is adaptation at its finest.
Dogs in particular are highly adaptive and then from all the breeds of dogs that I have worked with in 45 years as a dog trainer, Labradors head the list as the most adaptive breed.
I know without a doubt and without being wrong (yet), when I place a puppy an in environment, that weeks later when that puppy comes back for a visit, that it will reflect that particular environment.
The puppy will immediately start the process of adaptation to its surroundings within minutes………………..doing the things that bring positives in the form of pleasure and most of the time, food reward.
That is a good thing……………………..you would think! The problem at times is that not every environment provides the optimum in what would be termed ‘politically correct ways of doing things’.
That is a nice way of saying that there are some people that live a helter/skelter, perpetual hit or miss, lost in space, space cadet, twilight zone, blond-for-life, wayward existences.
Each of you reading this know exactly what I am referring to. You know nice enough folk that just don’t get it, but somehow survive and function enough to still be a part of society.
How some of these well-meaning, but lost souls make it through life………………..how some get up in the morning, get dressed, go outside, get in their cars, drive away AND make it back home at the end of the days just boggles me to the brink of going bonkers!
Now, if folk are happy as horned larks and are content as cows meandering through life, that is hunky-dory to me………………………..to each his own and onward we proceed……………there are some of us headed in a forward direction (we hope) and others in lollapalooza land.
Where I am drawn towards those outskirts of destinations, is when somehow, those dwellers from Magic Kingdom and from Looney Tunes make their way to Chambray Acres with their also wayward Chambray puppy……………………remember that Labs reflect their surroundings within minutes of being assimilated into it.
So, they leave here little model denizens and just weeks later, they return for their first training session and some, fortunately not all………………..but some are all over the place! They, reflecting the patterns that they witness on a daily basis and they follow those patterns forming a habitual sequences based on the fact that they are safe and nourished!
Those puppies don’t know diddley squat right from wrong………………..all they know is what is transpiring around them that allows them to be alive and eat, so if the pack leaders…………………….the humans act more like tumbleweed so will the follow-along pack members.
Monkey see, monkey do working as smooth as fine-tuned Bugatti Veyron, purring along from 0 to 60 in a Usain Bolt record setting 2.4 seconds, of course 4 times faster than Bolt can zip by the 100 meters finish line.
The facts from above have led me to adopt new measures to my Dog Show Management Program for Owners.
Plus the fact that the bar for achieving success in Florida (and neighboring states when we travel to them)……….that mythical bar has been raised so high that we (also for those competitors that are still standing) do not have the luxury of bringing a dog along at the already altered state that we ourselves have created in the last 10 years in the Labrador ring.
The ways and means………………taking care of business has evolved and we are at a junction that either it gets done now and now means before the dog is 10 months old or the train will have zipped on by and there will be no catching up!
Whereas 12 measly years ago, the norm for finishing a dog was 4 years, with 3.5 years of showing………………..now a dog better be finished before it is 2 years old! 80% of the last 15 Chambray champions were less than 20 months old………………with the last of our dogs to finish was just 12 months old with just 5 months of showing (new Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter ‘Evie’)!
Plus, the old traditional, customary waiting to bring out puppies past 1 year old is like waiting to eat a pork sandwich and leaving it out in the sun for 3 days! You will be lucky if that sandwich is still there and if it is, would you eat it?
Year’s back, puppies winning points before they were a year old was one of those happenings that we say ‘one in a million’ to. Now, if a dog under 12 months has no points, the owners are crying boohoo because there are other owners whose puppy may very well have 6 points at 7 months old……………..case in point, 7-month old Chambrays Tank’d On The Boulevard with 3 WDs for 6 pts and 4 RWDs!
Those promising 6-month and older puppies better hit the ground running, because the younger ones are chafing at the bit to be age eligible to get into the fracas in the ring. Of course these continued waves of newcomers every 4 months or so are putting tremendous pressure on those that are older trying to wrap up the required Winners Point to finish out.
What all of the above means is that I have had to modify our strategies for each of the dogs in our show management program! Time is no longer a luxury…………….because the time a dog has to finish has been cut in half.
Now, it either gets done right now as there is no tomorrow. Whereas just a mere 2 years ago, I relied quite a bit on our owners to do so much more with the training and conditioning, now I am letting our owners know that most of the training and conditioning needs to be done by us!
Of course ‘us’ being the culprits for this greased-lightning acceleration of bar-raising that is affecting our own dogs and our own avant garde ways and means…………………..can you imagine how the rest of the competitors feel and what they may have to say?
Thought Of The Day
There are sayings galore……………..probably one for anything and everything that matters and some for things that no one cares about, but there will be someone that will carry on even if they have an audience of one, themselves.
In our profession, fancy, involvement or whatever people want to label what we do with dog showing and dog breeding Labradors, there’s one truism that we tender when someone reaches the lofty level reserved for the best and inevitably there were be those that use their tongues to devalue the achievements…………….. “When they stop talking about you, then you know you don’t matter!”
So, being prepared for the back-fence talk, innuendos, grapevine chatter, naysayers, rumor-gossip-scandal mongers and all those other forms of doing their best verbally to knock the king/queen off the hill is paramount for those at the top to keep right on doing what got them there in the first place.
Those that only offer lip service fail miserably because those folk with clear minds and visions prefer those that do what they do, rather than those that constantly say and then don’t do!
There will be those that prefer the company of the miserable and then there will be those that prefer to soar where eagles dare! The preceding need not apply as being so high, we can’t hear a word being said, the latter, come on up, there’s plenty of room for the betterment of the breed up here!
Of Lemmings & Jackasses
“You keep bring up this betterment of the breed slogan, I don’t consider making a bunch of champions and winning best of breeds against weak competition to have anything to do with bettering the breed at all!”
What you see is not all there is! You and the captain of the Titanic have lots in common, he infamous for not seeing the tip of the iceberg that sunk his ship………………………you for having a myopic vantage point and like a Lemming jumping into the freezing waters off the coast of Norway in search for better feedings grounds, only to pay the ultimate price of life when unable to reach distant fiords and islands that seem much closer to them.
Standing at ringside and observing us ply our passion in the ring with our dogs………………reading about it at my website from my amateurish attempt as a writer and my desires to share with my owners our successes, gives anyone not delving a little under the surface the erroneous assumption that that’s all there is……………….making champions and winning best of breeds as you state.
What you don’t see, just as the captain of the RMS Titanic, Captain Edward J. Smith most certainly did not see, was that the iceberg before him was many times bigger than the ship he commanded!
Our involvement with Labradors is much like that submerged chunk of frozen water, of course the obvious tip above the water that is seen by those outside the numerous Labrador-related programs available to any and all that own a Labrador, is minutia compared to the 35,000 thousand or more that have been through our training classes and Labrador owner’s programs over the last 40 years.
Documented numbers and not those thrown around to make noise with.
Do the math:
25 years of 2-night a week training classes (Tuesday and Thursday) with an average of 25 owners and dogs in attendance each night. The majority of those Labradors, I would say that at least 55%.........................so at the least, well over 15,000 Labradors, which would make me the Labrador breeder that has trained the most Labradors alive today in the country.
255 extra nights (Wednesday nights) with CGC Training and Testing with easily 700 graduates and titled dogs. As one of the first AKC CGC evaluators and specializing with Labradors, I know without a doubt that I have CGC trained and evaluated more Labrador Retrievers than anyone else in the country.
20 Weekend Workshops and Seminars for both obedience and conformation training with an average of 35 attendees in each one. One in particular with close to 50 paying clients done as a fundraiser for the now defunct* South Florida Labrador Retriever Club………..then just about to hold our very 1st sanctioned Labrador Retriever Specialty in 2001. The entire proceeds, all of it was donated to the SFLC to be able to finance that up and coming first specialty.
*Sadly now defunct after being run into the ground by small-minded individuals making poor decisions, one after another……………after founding the club in 1989 and contributing in time, energy and finances, it was obvious to me that those running it in later years where headed nowhere as fast as something going backwards could go and serving just a few as they were doing, I had parted ways to continue serving the large Labrador owning community that eventually has become the largest group of Labrador owners today in the entire country.
At Kennel Training: Where dog owners schedule working appointments to learn how to train their dogs. For those that obtain their show Labs from Chambrays……………..free for the lifetime of the dog. YES, YOU READ RIGHT…………………free as many times as the owner wants private training here at Chambray, they schedule a day and time and they come out.
FREE LIFETIME CLASS TRAINING too! Here at Chambray at night…………free for life to our show dogs.
Even the puppies and dogs placed as pets get to come for at least 4 private sessions and 12 night classes.
Breed Standard Seminars & Presentations to clubs, groups and individuals. Dozens and dozens of them to as many as 200 people in all these years of service to the community.
Breed Representation at Public Parks Dog Days and Training Demonstrations. Dozens and Dozens.
Free Training Sessions at dog shows for folk from those cities and towns……………who knows how many, as I can’t remember, but I know that there is at least half a dozen at each weekend of shows that I attend that we take the time to mentor or aid in training.
Over 30 fun matches for the general public, some AKC sanctioned, others not, but all with great attendance……………most at our training facility, some at parks and other large areas where enough space was provided……………………some that we gave credit to the Greater Miami Dog Club for AKC purposes where we provided all the manpower, time, costs and the club got the community credits and we donated any monies that were net……………….several for the now gone SFLRC with our group putting in all the time, energy and donating the finances to that club as a fundraiser.
The mentoring of hundreds if not thousands that took their baby steps right here at Chambray Acres………………then newbies, some now bona fide breeders………………….novice folk wanting to have an obedient dogs, some now working as professional dog trainers……………….owners wanting to learn to show their own dogs, a few now professional dog handlers.
Last but not least………..in fact, one area that brings me tremendous emotional gratification is the dozens and dozens of Chambray dogs that were placed in personal therapy and service work! This is an area that I keep very personal, so there is no advertising nor boasting about it, but when I am shoved, I will shove back and I will bring this up because I am as proud of each and every one of my dogs that serves an individual in any way as much as I am those champions and those dogs that win those Best Of Breeds! Most of these special dogs were kept back and not placed as puppies because I knew they possessed that ability to go through months and months of training, sometimes as much as 18 months before I would decide with whom they would be placed. Now here is the kicker……………………they could have been placed as 8 week old puppies for the high end going rate for a puppy………………….we put in months and months of time, costs and training and then placed them for the exact price that they would have brought in as 8 week old puppies. Trained dogs their equivalent bring in $5000 to $8000 and yet these were placed with individuals that needed their company and their ability to serve for less than $1500 each.
So, when an errant Lemming is about to launch itself of a cliff in search for what lies ahead or a clueless observer with errant assumptions jumps to conclusions without hardcore facts that lay just below their threshold of understanding……………………..my nurturing ways wants to rein them in and educate them so that they don’t make those senseless leaps of faith that could cost their lives in the case of the furry little creatures or make a jackass of an otherwise sensible looking person.
Mississippi Sunday Report & More
Chambrays Tank'd On The Boulevard WD/BOW 2 pts
Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter BOB 3-Pt Major Win Over Competition.
Chambrays Where Eagle Dare RWD
The two out of state jaunts with 8 shows between them has proven to be a continuum of our Florida winning ways.
That’s 6 Best Of Breeds out of 8 with 6 WD/WB wins from the 8 shows too! So, be it north up the pike to Georgia or west on the interstate to Mississippi, the mission of the Betterment of the Breed speaks for itself regardless of the drawl of the locality or the quality of the competition from that region.
The competition changes from area to area, however at the end of judging there is a consensus with the results. For those that use the excuse that it’s a ‘Florida’ thing or a certain ‘judge’ favor or whatever else is ascribed to our successes, there comes a point in time when excuses just don’t sound all that intelligent unless the logical one is applied. However, to do that would mean accepting the premise that there are breeders that have achieved a vantage point with their produce, their training and conditioning and with their ability to showcase all those attributes where it counts………..in the show ring, in head to head with many of those that are the lamenters.
For years I have detailed what it takes to breed the best……………………..I have shared what needs to be done to have the dogs in the best shape and condition possible……………I have divulged many of our training methods and proprietary techniques, even if our competitors could benefit from them.
I even offer advice on the spot at dog shows to owners, breeders, exhibitors and professional handlers that are not part of Chambray Labradors Show Management Programs.
I have reiterated hundreds of times that first and foremost, I am it for the breed in general, for the Betterment of the Breed………………I never ever see what we do as a direct competition against any other breeder or professional handler. However once in the ring, it is all about competing and winning. Before those fleeting minutes in the ring and sometime after it has been said and done by the judge I am back to my ‘all in for the breed’ ways!
Now, truth be told there have been instances where some folk have made it a personal thing with their dogs or with their perceived existence as a competitor…………… and being human, I can’t help to take it personal……………….however, without fail I have maintained a professional façade through thick and thin, through a decade of Rosegate, through malfeasance, innuendos, slander and other malintent directives ……………………….ok maybe I did whoop it up recently with the Wicket Affair, but hey, I am human and I am entitled to show my ‘humanity’ every 25 years or so!
After finishing 5 of our top class dogs in the first half of this year, I stated that for the 2nd half of 2015, our first string, those dogs that would be on the starting roster for the up and coming shows now and until the real big one in Orlando……………..the 2015 Eukanuba National Championships in December…………..that most of our lineup of dogs would be brand spanking new introductions to the dog shows, some debuting for the very first time.
That’s exactly what’s taken place the last 8 shows, in GA and MS. A 1 year old female taking 2 Winners Bitch, a 6 month old puppy taking 3 winners dogs and 4 RWD………………………..A Best of Breed by a brand new 14 month old champion……………….of course 5 out of those 6 Best Of Breeds were taken by our ‘older’ dogs!
Yeah 4 of those BOBs, older like in Tucker who is 2 ½ years old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 Best Of Breed by Amos who can be considered mature at 3 ½ years old.
So, we now await the Deland shows on September 19/20. Even if the lineup can be considered dominated by greenhorns…………………out of the 5 class males, the puppy that just won 6 points this weekend in MS and one of our mature males, Sonic who needs to win one of the majors at Deland to become Chambray’s 50th career home-bred champion, out of the 5 male only those 2 have points.
From the 6 class females only 2 have points and none have majors!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, we will be depending on our specials to make sure that the consecutive weekend winning streak continues. Tucker is now ranked #3 in the USA, especially after taking 2 BOBs and 2 Group 4s in MS, amassing over 200 more points to his amazing total for the year.
The other 2 champions, Evie who just scored her first ever BOB and Amos who picked up one in Atlanta 2 weeks ago will also be gunning for the Golden Fleece, the top prize, those 2 BOBs.
Mississippi Saturday Report
Saturday Report From Biloxi
Not being at a dog show where the Chambray dogs are, causes me considerable angst as will be detected by the blog that was posted earlier today.
Of course having Jessie there to take care of business as usual as when we all do it together more or less gives me some satisfaction. Of course some more, winning and extending our winning ways, assuredly aids in me overcoming the negatives and distasteful matters that are encountered on a daily basis. The Birds of a Feather blog matter is a good (actually bad) example of the sour tasting moments that I deal with.
So, the Chambray traveling troupe to Mississippi having won 3 Winners Dog & 3 Best Of Winners for a total of 6 WD points, plus 2 Best Of Breeds & 2 Sporting Group IVs and 3 Best Of Opposite Sex for 6 Grand Champion points…………………………..makes it more palatable when bitterness is encountered by my taste buds.
So, on the menu today:
Chambrays Tank’s On The Boulevard ‘Little Tank’ wins his 2nd Winners Dog for the weekend and now has 4 points to his show resume.
Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter takes her 7th in a row Best Of Opposite Sex award, 3rd in a row in MS and now has 14 pts for her Grand Champion’s title.
Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting, after winning back-to-back Best Of Breeds and likewise 2 Group 4’s, today had to settle for a Select Gr Ch to the dog that he had beaten 2 days in a row.
Stay tuned for Sunday’s Mississippi results.
Birds Of A Feather
I hear about breedings all the time with folk from around the world sending me photos of the sire and dam of their litter or one to be born, or a breeding in the planning.
Most of the time I am forced to shake my head when I look at the dogs being used to perpetuate this great breed of ours. Of course, there’s not much that can be done once the litter is born or the dogs are bred.
I will however give my 2 ½ cents worth…………………I figure that with my 45 years of involvement with the breed and relative successes in several different areas with raising, training and showing, that I can give myself a raise of ½ cent over the vast majority of those dabbling or dribbling with Labradors, whichever the case may be.
‘DON’T BREED THOSE DOGS’ comes to mind in the overwhelming number of cases when asked about possible matings! However, I know as certain as I know we all arrive on this planet and we also all leave at some point in time………………………that those dogs will be bred, regardless of much bellyaching I do!
This happens with regular non-breeders types that will breed just the same and it happens with those that consider themselves of a self-anointed ‘higher calling’ breeder status!
I can deal with those wayward and even dastardly pairings of dogs that supposedly are Labradors, because I don’t have to deal with their products firsthand, second hand or any hands at all.
What irks me like no tomorrow…………………………like a tick on a dog in a spot where the dog can’t scratch…………..like spilling scolding hot coffee, while driving my van, on my private parts,,,,,, oooouuuucccchhhhhh………………………….like speeding past a hidden patrol car…………………….like receiving a dreaded notice from the IRS about an impending audit…………………….well you get the avalanche here, something that ticks me off worse than that tick on that dog!
Knowing that one of the Chambray dogs has been bred totally incorrect. Now, some of you will think, ‘Just how do two dogs breed incorrectly?’…………………….. ‘Do they meet up head to head instead of nature’s intended plan?’…………………………… ‘Is it a same gender mating since it is now been sanctioned by the Supreme Court?’………………………………….. ‘Does the male have to buy dinner for the female before she turns over the goods?’…………………………….what, pray tell constitutes an incorrect breeding for a Chambray dog?
Well, I am so glad that you all asked! Because it is as simple as a pimple on a goose (think a little on that semi rhyme).
Yep, the whole movement to preserve this awesome, man-serving breed, part of the pay-it-forward to the succeeding generations to come………………………it is the humming mantra, none other than the Betterment of the Breed for those that just are not adept at following along.
Which by the looks of some pairings……………..not following along is a very kind way to describe how some folk get from point A to point B……………………..deviating to points all over the place instead of taking a step forward in the right direction. Call it blond eternal moments, lifelong brain farts, or let’s just call it what it is………………..moronic way of living!
So, what has transpired to set off the hackles on my back to compose such a despicable blog, full of venom, spite, vinegar and all those other awful things that we as humans acquire and spew when things just do not go the way we desire?
Well, one of the chickadees……………………….there are hundreds of these that have flocked around the Father Bee (no not an ordained clergy), I am referring to me! Yes, a farmyard full of little wannabees that all want to be teacher’s pet and sit right up front like we all aspired back in grade school.
One of those little chickens (don’t correct me here, as I know chickadees are little birds and not those fowl we eat at KFC)…………………but little chickens makes more sense with the allusions I am making here! Some members of the flock preen their feathers by tattle-telling on their flock-sisters/brothers.
So, one of those feathered friends just came chirping away about another’s wrongful ways in mashing (not a misspelling, I mean mashing and not matching) up a Chambray dog with a reasonable facsimile and this ‘spill the beans chirper’ was wondering if Father Bee, (remember not related by religion to the visiting Pope)……………….this bee that is ‘me’, the top Chambray buzzing entity would have sanctioned such a coupling.
Did you all see that news report last night that hell had just frozen over?
If you did, then it was in a really bad nightmare, because that toasty place will be selling fur coats for me to approve a backwards to the forward movement of breeding for the better!
Now, everyone out there have a nice day!
Report From Biloxi MS
Well, Consecutive Winning Weekend #114 is in the record books as the Chambray dogs strolled over to Mississippi, the 2nd state away from the sunny one and the results are the same as in the Peach State, the Magnolia State or in our very own Sabal Palm State.
I wonder how many of the blog readers, even those from Florida knew that the Sabal Palm was our official state tree. In fact, the spell checker where I write these blog, MS Word didn’t recognize the word ‘Sabal’ and I had to instigate an ‘add to dictionary’ keystroke for it to allow Sabal Palm.
Anyways, back to the Gulf Coast west of our panhandle…………………Biloxi MS where Jessie trekked to with 4 of our Labs in tow and met 2 Chambray girls that descended and met at the rendezvous spot, coming south from Memphis TN.
Reporting in from Mississippi, Jessie fills us in as Ma and Pa Herzon decided to keep the fort down……………..really like in keeping it from being rain soaked from all the wet weather from the recent tropical depression that dropped more than a foot of rain in 24 hours.
So here is the tale of the tape after the goings on in the Lab rings the first day of showing on September 3rd.
One of those wet behind the ears youngins…………………..barely 7-month old Chambrays Tank’d On The Boulevard scoops up the Winners Dog award and then beats the WB for Best Of Winners for his first 2 points. He also beats the female puppy, his littermate from TN and takes the Best Puppy Labrador awards as well. Later in the afternoon competing against a huge lineup of sporting group puppies that each had won their breeds Best Puppy, he wins the Group 1 that entitles him to compete for Best Puppy in Show. His winning stopped there as a Samoyed puppy was handed the BPIS rosette. Not bad for a Labrador to make it that far! Tank’d came close last week at the 4 days of Atlanta shows with 3 RWD awards.
Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting continues with his winning ways racking up his 24th BOB and adding a Group 4 to his resume. The Group 4 gives him an additional 96 points for his national rankings that he now stands at #4 All-Breed, #4 All Breed and #3 Grand Champion points. This BOB now gives Chambray Labradors a total of 311 career Best Of Breeds.
Showing in her 2nd weekend of shows as a new champion, Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter seals her 5th Best Of Opposite Sex in as many shows adding 2 more grand champion points toward the needed 25 for her Grand Champions title, she now has 10 points total.
Ok, we now await tomorrow's show report.