April 2015

  V. Sandy Herzon

am

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."
 

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.

May Day

Homey Knows Best

 

How do you explain the ‘unexplainable’? What do you say to someone that asks a question, that you fully know the answer to and yet the reply to the person asking will seem like Twilight Zone stuff!

 

Yep, that’s the dilemma that I encounter on a daily basis with some of the owners that are part of my Dog Show Management Program.

 

“Why doesn’t my dog have any points?”…………………..I wish a had a thousand dollars each and every time I have heard this lament………………Johanna would be a very happy rich person if that were the case!

 

What makes that question even more difficult to answer is that maybe that particular owner has heard me say many times over, “Your dog is one of my top dogs!”……………………..and yet it hasn’t won a single point or maybe just a few scattered wins here and there.

 

There are several class dogs showing right now in our lineup of show dogs that are in that exact predicament. They are as good as or even better than some of the champions on our roster and yet, they are still fighting it out for the much needed champion points from the non-champion classes.

 

That just doesn’t sound or feel congruent and yet it is what it is………………….the problem I encounter is trying to make sense of the panorama to the perplexed owner of such a dog. Nothing I say really quenches their thirst for the reason Fido has no points or Pooch can’t win against Such&Such.

 

Judges are licensed individuals that pass ‘judgement’ on which dog wins for the day……………….they however are not the final word on a dog’s greatness or lack thereof……………………….that verdict comes from me.

 

With my accrued and accumulated credentials, I can now apply and be accepted as an AKC judge, not just for Labradors………………….for as many breeds as a apply for, especially in the sporting groups where I have handled and pointed/finished many different breeds, in addition I have master-trained well over 40,000 dogs of all breeds………………………yet, even with those credentials and expertise I would only feel my supreme mastery over just one breed………………….Labradors.

 

The exact scenario happens with the vast majority of judges we face at the dog shows……………………they are licensed to judge Labradors and many of the other breeds, but they assuredly are not the final word on Labradors as I am.

 

So, when I tell one of my owners that their dog is in the highest levels for the breed…………………….that should suffice and yet sadly it doesn’t because to them the mark of greatness is winning points and the feather in the cap………….an AKC championship!

 

Hey, Homey loves winning too………………………….and don’t even mention a new Chambray AKC champion! That’s super-duper braggadocio………………….chest thumping, rooster crowing….............walking the walk & talking the talk material!

 

However, the bottom line to all this dog show, show dog stuff is the Betterment of the Breed and if I say a dog is great, then that dog will be front and center on the stage for perpetuating the next generation of super stars regardless of whether it has points, a champion’s title or not!

 

Homey Knows Best!

April 30th

The Little League World Series Is Coming To Town

 

The odyssey is about to begin for a new ‘batch’ of Chambray owners…………………..without them knowing, it actually began way back before they came to Chambray Acres searching for a new Labrador puppy……….it was pre-ordained in a way!

 

Little did these neophyte owners know that there was a whole new world waiting for them to come on board………………..to join hundreds that had made the same trek and become instrumental for the Betterment of the Breed through their inclusion and participation with Chambray’s Owners Programs.

 

What is about to materialize this weekend for this specially chosen group of owners and puppies and young dogs will be their first baby steps into the world of showing dogs. These are the ‘International Shows’, put on by IABCA…………….compared to the AKC, we are talking minor leagues………………..for Chambray we are talking about the great leap of faith needed to bring new blood to the fancy, new owners with brand spanking new puppies that will perpetuate the next generation for the Betterment of the Breed.

 

This excursion into the realm of dog shows has traditionally been the springboard for the vast majority of great dogs that have gone on to stellar superstar status at the major leagues of show dogdom, the AKC shows!

 

We are talking about dogs now considered legends of the breed such as BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff when he was just known as baby Hogan, a 4-month old tyke taking his first little steps in the show ring at one of these off-the-radar gatherings of puppies and dogs. Yes, off-the-radar because all the snooty breeders and exhibitors in the past would poo-poo anyone that ever attended these doggie congregations!

 

Well, since we do things different at Chambray……………….attend we have………..now more than 15 years have we been there in full regalia, not caring what the naysayers had to say. In fact, the functions went from once a year to twice a year and in the last 5 years, 3 times a year........................and we have been to every single one of them, showing off our very best new puppies!

 

So, the truly great Labs of Florida got their tiny little feet wet at these International side shows, besides AKC Best In Show winner Hogan, Kika, Florida’s only other AKC Best In Show winner was there front and center…………………she too won a Best Puppy In Show at the IABCA just as did her grandpa Hogan…………………in fact every single one of our AKC champions since 2001 were also participants at these ‘lightly regarded’ canine functions!

 

For those not into numbers……………..that’s 25 Chambray AKC champions that got their start at the International level under many AKC judges that were there and that later would see them again at the big top, the 3-ring circus of the AKC shows.

 

So, here we go, getting ready to drive up the pike, then I-75 to the same venue where we strut our stuff at AKC shows………………the only difference is that the banner flying for the day and weekend will be the IABCA’s………………..what most outsiders consider as Little League…………………what we at Chambray, the winningest Labrador breeder in parts north, south, east and west consider the beginning of a wonderful adventure for the Betterment of the Breed.

April 30th

Kudos To Extra Numbers

 

I can’t write any clearer, in fact, I use one of those Writer’s Editors to let me know at what grade level my articles and blogs end up at. There is a Golden Rule for writers and authors…………………..to reach the vast populace, the renditions must be at an 8th grade reading and comprehension level.

 

There is a direct proportion of folk that will lose interest in reading with each .5 rise of difficulty. That means that at 8.5 grade reading level, here will be a 10% drop-off of readers……………………at a 12th  grade reading/comprehension level, most of those left will need a reading college level of understanding and comprehension.

 

So, although I relish delving into our beautiful English language and pride myself with the gift of gab and the ability to translate that into understandable prose……………………I know that to reach the majority of those that frequent my blogs and the articles that I pen, I must tone it down to that comfortable level that most feel at ease with.

 

After each blog that I publish to the www.chambraylabradors.net website……………….the one that I have dedicated to educate and serve as a mentorship platform, plus keep archives of dogs and their accomplishments…………………I will receive a few communications that did not ‘get’ the point or that misconstrued the intended message.

 

Case in point the ‘Do Numbers Translate Into Winners’ Blogging Off rendering……………….seems that a few did not get the gist of my ramblings.

 

So, as a past US President once fessed up………………..”Let me make things perfectly clear!”

 

I am 1000% behind any breeder/exhibitor bringing many dogs to the shows!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

There is no criticism for that action!

 

I applaud and congratulate a breeder that can field a great looking entry. That’s because not many have the depth in their kennels to warrant bringing that many dogs. So, at the recent Vero Beach shows when a Florida Labrador breeder presented a roster of 10 of their bred and owned dogs………………………..I said hurray!

 

In fact, I can call up over a dozen witnesses that I explicitly expressed just that sentiment while at the show! More facts; to those mumbling about the numbers of dogs brought on, I made mincemeat of their criticism and set them straight there at the show.

I have said it time and time again…………………… “Bring on your best, as many of your best that you have…………..because that’s just what Chambray will do”.

 

“Then we can let the judge of the day choose which they think is the best…………..and may the best dog for the day be the anointed winner!” I have reiterated over and over again.

 

No way, no how that I will now backtrack and take back any of that………………….because that’s the way we do business and will continue to do so as long as my aging legs will carry me and my mind will remind me.

 

Yes, I have to admit that at times I do write with ‘read in between the lines’ subterfuge, but most that know my style know when I am jiving and when I am being plain and simple.

 

PLAIN AND SIMPLE……………………………..Kudos for the number of dogs brought on this past weekend!

April 29th
Do Numbers Translate Into Winners?

 

For years the critic’s cacophony of laments sounded more like a field full of crickets…………………………. “He brings too many dogs!”

“He loads the entries!” they would whine endlessly.

 

“He builds his own majors!” their chirping would get to a feverish pitch at ringside, although with backs turned and in aggravated hush tones so that their identities would remain cloaked in anonymity.

 

Same exact thing at those busy-body Internet Labrador forums where anything goes because no one owns up to the criticisms made without signing their names.  

 

“Doesn’t play fair with so many dogs!” was a favorite of one of the habitual harpers.

 

Well, lo and behold guess who came to dinner at the most recent weekend of dog shows?

 

One of the loudest and most fervent curbside cheerleaders of the rumor mills of the recent past, came loaded with her own harem of dogs! In fact, the person with the most Labradors owned from the 40+ entries, accounting for about 25% of the dogs entered.

 

So, do numbers rule at the dog shows? Does bringing the most dogs play itself out and increase the chances of winning? How does having one quarter of the dogs competing translate into winning Winners Dog, Winners Bitch and Best Of Breed?

 

Does bringing that many dogs actually increase the chances of packing up the truck on Sunday after two days of showing, leaving the competition as a “winner”…………………………. “weaner” as my Brazilian partner, Geraldo used to say?

 

Well, to quote Borat…………………. “NOT!”

 

All those dogs entered, all that money spent on handlers and nary a point to be had, no WD or WB or BOB’s either in two days of showing!

 

Hey, that was the hushed-up tones with backs turned that was being whispered ringside by the menagerie that thrives on ditties such as these, just as was done when Chambray used to do it……………….all the chattering by the same peanut gallery………………………..the only difference was and still is that any numbers we bring, be it the largest entry or a workable number…………………..we came out as the proverbial “weaners” that others that try and don’t succeed.

 

Proof positive is the 107 straight, consecutive dog show winning weekends spanning now the whole of 2012, 2013, 2014 and half way through 2015! That covers every city in Florida that has held a dog show in that time, every state that we have traveled to since January of 2012……………………….Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

 

That covers the grueling Florida Winter Circuit, with all those awesome northern dogs that come down by the truck load with the bigtime, well-known professional handlers……………….several of those considered ‘handler legends of the breed’!

 

That covers each and every Eukanuba week of shows from 2012 to 2014, including winning at the Eukanuba event itself!

 

That also covers the LRC Labrador Retriever Specialty held in conjunction with the Eukanuba extravaganza!

 

That’s each and every weekend of shows here and there and everywhere, all-breeds and specialties and known circuits where only the big guns were supposed to win at.

 

Hey, don’t get me wrong………………………..I say bring on the numbers if they are good enough to play. Nothing wrong at all with believing in your product…………….actually it says a lot to enter that many dogs with your name on them.

 

I applaud the effort and congratulate the breeder/owner for having produced that many good, competitive dogs to bring to the dance.

 

It is not an easy thing to do, look around and see how many other breeders can field more than 3 outstanding dogs at any one weekend of shows? As difficult as it is to field that many good dogs..................winning with them is 10 times more difficult!

 

Now, multiply that by the 20+ years that Chambray has been doing just that. Bringing on the numbers is one thing…………………let’s see if the winning follows! That will be the true measure of the grit and resolve and of course of the breeding, training, conditioning and show management that is needed to persevere and set the bar, the records, the streaks and the accolades that being the winningest Labrador Retriever breeder in the country 2 out of the last 3 years has evolved into.  

April 29th

The Plane Has Arrived

 

“How do we qualify for your Owner’s Programs?” was the first words to exit out of the mouth piece from the next person-in-waiting at the Vero Beach dog shows this past weekend. Mind you they were very patient in their wait to get a word in edgewise as person and family after person and family were lined up like planes circling overhead looking to land at a busy airport!

 

After the proper introductions………………which according to the nice couple taking their turn for a Chambray Puppy Placement Interview……………according to them was not necessary as my ‘reputation preceded me’ and they “clearly knew who I was”………………..their words exactly…………………….I then dove in head first into ‘this is the way we do things’ and ‘that’s the way it’s done by the others’!

 

According to them, they already knew all I was dissertating about! They had done their homework………………over 18 months’ worth……………………Internet surfing and searching galore, calls to anyone that would answer a phone……………………visits to many ‘so-called breeders’ (their words), even flying up to a well-known, highly advertised breeder up north!

 

They admitted being ‘stalkers’ on all 3 of my websites!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The better half of the complement, fessed up to reading the Blogging Off page every day and saying she was very disappointed when I went days without a post!

 

Both even knew dogs and their accolades and achievements from back 15 years ago! To say the least, I was impressed!

The ‘he’ part of the equation preferred the breed standard articles, stories and blogs……………………….. “Precise, concise very easy to understand, especially when you use the visual graphics” he opined.

 

They offered up information such as ‘lots of space for the dog to run’, with ‘7 full acres of fenced in property’ with ‘a clean water pond’, an ‘extra-large swimming pool’………………….’trips to the beach that is less than half a mile away’, ‘boating on a 28-footer’ and ‘camping at least 4 times a year in Florida, the Carolinas and also Upstate New York’!

 

My reply was “Can I be adopted along with the dog?”

 

Then the icing on the cake……………………….the coup de grace that makes Sandy a happy boy……………….. What I want to hear like sweet, sweet music to my waning hearing capabilities, “we want to be part of your show entourage”!

 

‘Entourage’………………..I had never ever heard ‘us’ being called an entourage………………………in the 3 decades plus before this fateful day, I had heard many other labels………………but entourage sounded so ‘now’, so ‘glib and glamour’, so ‘big league’, so ‘movie star-like’………………………wow, we had arrived!

 

They said the right things to get on the ‘right’ waiting list for a puppy! They could have said ‘we will give you a million dollars’ and it wouldn’t have sounded as good to me…………………..of course my own better half, the one person that pays the bills and keeps track of all the finances, economics, taxes and all that stuff that I don’t want to be bothered with…………………..Ms. Herzon…………………she would waltz to the sound of a ‘million dollars’!

 

So, now we sit and wait! We wait until that very special puppy will present itself to us from one of our very ‘special litters’…………………it could come from the very next litter that I evaluate or we may have to wait and pass over several of our ‘special litters’.

 

I found myself saying that over and over to more than a dozen people/couples/families that were there to meet with me……………..almost word for word what I had covered with the very first one in line…………..same as the 6th in line and by Sunday’s last Interview, the 13th ‘powwow’………….. ‘meeting of the minds’……………………. ‘rap session’………………………. ‘Puppy Placement Interview’ or whatever else we can label it.

 

What a great feeling it is having finally ‘arrived’!

April 29th
From A Lab Owner & Chambray Owner

 

Sandy,

 

I thought that I would throw in my two cents about improving the breed.   I have been in love with this breed for eighty years and I’m only in my sixties!   Actually, I encountered my first Labs when I was six years old in Rhode Island in the 1950’s.  We were a Navy family and they belonged to a local kid named Louie.  They were a Mother and Daughter.  Louie and I would do everything together, including swimming in the Narragansett Bay.   When the mother Lab thought we were in too deep, she would swim outboard of us and herd us back into shallower water.   Even at that young age, I recognized that something special was happening there and it made an impression.  How many other breeds could do that?

 

When I started having my own Labs back in 1972, several were “Mom & Pop” bred varieties and a couple were well-bred Labs.   I began realizing that I had less health problems with the well-bred Labradors. I like the idea of working Labradors, the field trial dogs.  But they were almost like a separate breed.  Some of them had such high energy levels that they couldn’t live inside a house.   Show Labradors had better temperament and were more trainable.  So I began gravitating towards the well bred show Labs.  Oh, I donate to rescue dogs, but I won’t adopt them.  I want the "best of what the breed has to offer".

 

The “best of what the breed has to offer” goes so far beyond what is just pretty or cute.   My last Lab was spectacular and of championship quality.  As you know, he came out of Beaver Creek Kennels in Ohio (Dr. & Drs. Rabelais).   He was out of two dogs that were #1 overall for the year on Canada and another who was #1 overall in the US.    I never showed him, but  Jake had a litter of puppies.  I got the pick.  I gave the pick as a graduation gift to a young man who was the first to graduate from college in his family.  As a boy he had been best friends with the son that I lost.   I helped guide Mark in the puppy’s raising.  Sabo grew into one of the most spectacular examples of the breed there has ever been.  It was then that I grew to understand propagating the best of the breed.

 

When I was ready for another Lab, I found Chambray after an exhaustive search and research.   You gave us Amos.  Never did I think that Amos could live up to the standards set by Jake, my pervious Labrador, or Sabo, his son, but the raw material was impressive.   Amos has developed into the best Labrador EVER…. and his beauty goes far beyond looks.  When he was a puppy, people would stop us on the street to tell us what a beautiful dog he was (they still do).  Meanwhile, they couldn’t see the intelligence and the temperament.    I knew after Sabo that I was interested in propagating the best of the breed.   With your program, I can do exactly that.  Although I’ve come to enjoy the shows, I had no real desire to participate except as a means to an end.   Doing well at the shows means that other people want his bloodlines… and so the breed gets improved.  And actually Amos seems to enjoy the shows as well.  Ryan told us after the Group competition at Vero Beach,  "Amos LIKES the applause!  He stood a little straighter, and puffed his chest out.  Then when I went to run him around the ring, he flew.  I couldn’t keep up with him!”

 

This is why the shows are necessary.   Walter, one of your most winning Labradors ever, is about to have his first litter.   No one would have known how special Walter is without the dog shows.   Tucker is also special. Although little more than a puppy himself right now, Tucker will have spectacular puppies.    I look forward to the day when Jean and I can visit you down in Miami to see a litter of ten little Amos puppies running around in the puppy compound.  Even though Jean will want to take them all home with her, I’ll be satisfied knowing that the new owners will be getting the best of what the breed has to offer, just as I did.

 

Phil

 

PS from the editor (me):

Amos is AKC Ch & Int BIS Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos, now half way to his AKC Grand Champion's title with 12 points, 2 Major wins and 2 Wins Over Competition & 2 Best Of Breeds to his credit. Both Amos and his family, Jean and Phil Eslinger are vital members of the Chambray family and the Show/Breeding Management Program.

April 28th

The Times Have Changed

 

I receive an inordinate amount of email and also person to person queries on all sorts of subjects related to Labradors. These questions come in from each end of the spectrum of knowledge from those asking.

 

Some questions are very befuddling because of where they came from.

 

At this past weekend’s show in Vero Beach an inquisitive couple waited patiently until after we finished up handling our Labradors in the ring and then their statement/question was, “Your dogs are really beautiful, why do people show dogs?”

 

As can be seen from the nature of the question and where we were at the time, it seemed very incongruent that anyone at a dog show would be asking ‘why do people show dogs?’

 

I gave them the usual “These competitive venues gives us breeders the opportunity to stack up our produce against what other breeders are producing so that we can work at bettering our dogs with each succeeding generation, ensuring that only the best of the best will be the ones producing that next generation”.

 

Hey, it sounded good at the time and the couple seemed impressed with the ambitious sounding reply. Did they really understand what I was inferring?

 

Nah, I don’t think so! That’s because the majority of breeders/owners/exhibitors that do bring their dogs to the party may not have a clue themselves why they end up showing those dogs!

 

That’s because there is a myriad of reasons that people actually show dogs and most of that has nothing to do with perpetuating the next generation of supposedly superior dogs.

 

Way back in the 1920’s thru the 1970’s it may have had more of the ‘show the best to select the breeding best’! During that time, dog shows were dominated by purist breeders and those shows were more like livestock fairs where the best breeding specimens are brought out for competition to select which of those were the best to produce the next generation of the best.

 

Things changed radically in the late 1980’s through the present where owners outnumber breeders, thus the drive for showing may or may not have anything to do with breeding. The nature of dog shows has taken a decidedly ‘pageant show’ ambiance more than what it was originally intended to be.

 

There is a large percentage of dogs that may never perpetuate the breed and yet some of those are top winning champions. That is as dead-end as dead-end gets!

 

For some owners it is a great lark to be doing something with their Fido. So, getting involved at the dog shows creates an activity for owner and dog to participate in, much like those beauty pageants for little kids. These folk have no game plan for stud service for the males nor are they contemplating producing several litters from the females.

 

Interesting enough, the people standing in front of me that had just posed the question continued on after hearing my reply and added, “Well, we want the best and may want to show it off, but we won’t be interested in having it breed!”

 

I rest my case!

April 27th

An Urgency In The Air

 

As a self-appointed mentor/ambassador for the breed, I make myself available at all at dog shows once I am done with my duties as overseer and manager of our Show Management Program and the dogs and owners that participate with us in that endeavor.

 

So, from the moment we arrive at the show site, it is all business with the roster of dogs that are in my charge. Arriving at the show site is usually 2 to 3 hours before Labradors make their way into the ring. So, if ring time is 9 AM, you can bet your sweet BP that we will be there by 6 AM!

 

Preparation is one of the vital components to success, so we come prepared and then we prepare some more once we are there.

The optimizer of time and energy part of me is totally geared for the competition that will take place inside the ring. That is the time where all the training, conditioning, not to mention the years of breeding the best………………………..it all comes together through the management program we provide all those that have benefited now more than 3 decades worth.

 

So, right after all that is said and done, I usually take a breather and relax a minute or two and then open shop for any and all that want to further their education about Labradors.

 

Most of the time, there is a lengthy waiting line that has expressly come to the shows to visit with me. These ‘visits’ are arranged weeks and sometime months in advanced. From all those that communicate with me via email (remember that I have minimized phone time down to almost nothing), I let them know that a person to person interview, either at Chambray Acres or at a theater near them (show site), I will make the time if they make the trek to where I will be.

 

This weekend at Vero Beach the cup runneth over with those that I invited to ‘sit a spell and spin a yard or two’! After Labradors were over showing each day, I must have spoken and listened for 3 hours straight both days………………..knowing me…………………….. ‘spoken’ was probably in the lead way ahead of the listening part.

 

Hey, I figure I have a lot to say when it comes to something that I have been doing for 45 years now and I know without a doubt that very few other homies can light a match to what I have accrued as a breeder, trainer and handler of one breed………………….the Labrador Retriever.

 

Dealing with short term memory loss makes it even more time sensitive for me to speak out about all that concerns the breed, so there is a renewed fervor for me to share as much as I have accumulated in all aspects of the breed while I still have the long term knowledge vivid as the brightest beacon to enlightened the way for those meandering within a fog.

April 27th

 

Of Best Of Breeds & Group Placements & Legends

 

Labrador Retrievers are by far and wide the most popular breed of dog worldwide. In our very own, good old USA, they have been the #1 registered breed since Mohamad Ali was Cassius Clay!

 

The super nova importance of that statement is that Labs outnumber which ever breed is 2nd by a 3 to 1 ratio!!!!!!!!!!!Yep, there are 3 times as many Labrador registered by the AKC than there is the number 2 breed!

 

So how come they get no respect when it comes time to receive the really big ribbon at day’s end at an AKC dog show??????????????

 

If we are lucky and the stars lineup in just this way and the sun and Jupiter are conjugating or whatever else is that planets and stars do…………………with the Earth being eclipsed by a rogue moon from Saturn, then and only then will a Labrador Retriever receive the holy grail of designation at dog shows.

 

Maybe, just maybe there may be 1 Best In Show winning Labrador per year!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s for the whole USA, continental and otherwise……………..like in all 50 states, with all the territories combined for good measure!

 

There’s over 3000 shows annually all over our great country and once in that humongous congregation of folk and dogs………………it may happen that a BIS goes to a LAB!

 

Heck, just receiving a Sporting Group placement is an ordeal of unfairness proportions! Then pile up heaping loads of gravy and forget about getting a free pass to compete at the big dance reserved for each of the seven group winners, the Best In Show competition. Of course that free pass would be being awarded a Group 1……………………that’s doggie lingo for FIRST PLACE from the Sporting Group competition!

 

The Sporting Group judges awards four placements, a Group IV for 4th place, a Group III for 3rd place, a Group II for 2nd place and the anointed breed of dog that is handed the Group I, 1st place gets to sachet over to the Best In Show ring to compete against the other 6 group winners.

 

A Labrador is very fortunate to receive any placement from the Sporting Group, let alone a Group I.

In fact statistically, the Labrador that wins Best Of Breed from the Lab ring has less than 1 in 10 chance to receive an additional nod by receiving ANY group placement.

 

I know I have covered this subject before, as in the last 3 years we have had 3 of our Labs totally buck the ‘way it is’ the ‘standard soup of the day’………………this is the way it has been has changed and now each have raised the ratio of BOBs to Group placements way beyond the ordinary way of doing business of once in ten trips to the Sporting Group square off!

 

BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter has taken the batting average crown to what would seem like no man’s land with an astonishing 11 Group Placements from 17 trips to the plate (BOBs), a 679% making that the highest BOB to Group placement ratio ever for a Chambray dog. Walter has been to the BIS competition twice with 2 Group 1 wins.

 

Our super star of all times, BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan” with 20 BOBS and 10 Group Placements has been holding the 2nd highest average of 500%. He also sports 1 Best in Show (tie for #1 BIS’s) and has 3 Group 1 Placements which is sole possession of #1 for Group 1’s.

 

BIS BBE Silver Gr Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter the all-time Best Of Breed winner from Chambray, with 33 BOBs has a 454% average with 15 Group Placements, which is also the most group placements ever from a Chambray dog. Kika is tied for #1 for BIS’s with Hogan and adds 2 Group 1’s to her resume.

 

Now along comes 2-year old Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting scoring his 10th BOB and then notching up his 5th Group Placement, giving him the 2nd highest ratio of BOBs to Group Placements now sitting at 500%. Tucker has also been to the last dance of BIS twice with his 2 Group 1 wins.

 

It is not a co-incidence that Walter, Kika and Tucker are all Hogan grandkids. The old saying was that from great dogs come greatness…………..now we say from a legend (Hogan) comes more great dogs (Walter, Kika and Tucker that will produce greatness………………….the Next Generation of Chambray champions.

 

 *The percentages for the dogs above are figured on at least 10 Best Of Breeds (times at bat).

April 26th

Vero Beach Roundup

 

So, how did it go this past weekend at the Vero Beach dog shows? Even with the reduced roster of dogs, Chambray topped the winning once again over some breeders that actually brought more of their dogs than we managed to bring in the super-sized silver bullet. As you may remember, we rode up the pike with only 2 of our bred-by, owned-by-others Labradors.

 

It amazes me how observant people are because I had well over half a dozen folk mention the fact that someone else brought more dogs than Chambray did! There was one breeder that brought 10 of her own bred-by and owned dogs!!!!!!!!!!!! That is a feat that Chambray has never done and the way our Puppy Placement Program works, it will never happen!

 

Keep in mind that the general operating system for the vast majority of Labrador breeders (other breeds too) is to KEEP THE BEST & SELL THE REST……………………………with Chambray, we BREED THE BEST & then we choose owners, be it existing Chambray owners or newly recruited owners to receive those BEST PUPPIES PRODUCED!

 

Simple as a dimple on a dapple………………………………a Chambray owner will never have to compete against a Chambray-owned dog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not so with the old traditional system of KEEPING THE BEST & then PLACING THE REST!

 

Ok, back to this past weekend’s show exploits:

 

The Consecutive Dog Show Weekend Winning Extravaganza is alive and now into the 107th  weekend of winning!  107 is now Super Stellar material because way back in January when I reviewed the judging through June, this Vero Beach weekend seemed that it would be the proverbial cog in the machinery that would grind everything to a screeching halt!

 

Well, bust my britches and slap me silly……………………………….our newest AKC champion Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos…………………much like the famous Mighty Mouse of yesteryear came through and saved the day!

 

Amos snatches up his 2nd Best Of Breed in as many weekends, although this time around it would be the younger Herzon (Ryan) male handler that was doing the handling, after yours truly brought home the chitlins (chitterlings for those uppity verbiage users) last weekend with Amos’ 1st BOB. This BOB win now gives Amos a total of 12 Grand Champion Points with 2 Wins Over Competition and 2 Majors to his credit, more than halfway to his Grand Champion’s title.

 

For good measure Chambray’s USA Top 10 Ranked specials, Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting scoops up the other Best Of Breed available for the weekend at Sunday’s show………………..giving him his 10th BOB and he also then swoops up his 5th Group Placement, a Group III worth 102 All-Breed points, assuredly keeping his awesome USA Top 10 ranking intact! Tucker now has over 70 Grand Champion points to the 100 needed for the AKC Bronze Grand Champion’s title.

 

Adding 3 Grand Champion points was Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter winning a Select Grand Champions award, now only needing 5 grand champion points for the Bronze.

 

Now we have 2 weeks off from the AKC circuit, however the rest of the week we gear up for the IABCA International shows up in Ocala this weekend coming up.

 

We have one of the most impressive rosters of ‘The Next Generation Puppies’ that will be debuting and showcasing at this weekend of shows. Of course with those newly ‘hatched’ puppies, will also come newly ‘assembled’ owners. The two combine to create Chambray’s newest offering for the Betterment of the Breed………………….great new puppies and new owners giving life to the coming years at the dog shows.

April 24th

Looking at the graphic below (snatched from the official LRC page on the Internet), the description by the Labrador Retriever Breed Standard of correct, proper breed movement can be envisioned!

 

A Labrador Retriever must be well balanced, enabling it to move in the show ring or work in the field with little or no effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The left front leg extends forward in front reach at the correct 45 degrees to the ground.

 

The rear left leg retracts backwards in rear drive at the same angle of 45 degrees to the ground.

 

The synchronicity between those two legs is as good as it gets because the angulation of the front assembly equals the angualtion of the rear assembly. In other words, front and rear complement each other………………..well balanced!

 

The right front leg is in retraction mode of front reach. Because all the components of structure are correct on the dog depicted, the feet of that leg retract back to a point right under the end of the rib cage, which is the mid point between the front legs and the rear legs.

 

The right rear leg extends forward to almost the same point under neither the end of the rib cage as well, causing a visual conjunction between the right rear and the right front feet.

 

Since Labadors single track with their rear feet, the rear foot-fall is slightly inside the front foot's foot-fall at the point of conjunction and the two feet do not hit or nick each other. If they do interfere with each other, then that is a sign that there is something slightly off in structure causing the incorrect action at that point.

 

If the front feet and rear feet do not seem to converge at that point under the end of the rib cage, then one of the assemblies, front or rear is incorrect……………….or it could be poor angulation, front or rear or both, upright shoulders can throw off the cadence as well…………………..structural defects as cow-hocks, over angulation, hip dysplacia, short upper arms and on and on can lead to observable glitches in movement.

 

The graphic above, the dog moves without effort, keeping the head above the shoulders, front reach and rear drive equal to each other.

 

The photo below shows why a dog must hold its head above the shoulders when gaiting……………….in order to do the work it is intended to do, the dog must carry a weighted object above the ground and not drag it over the ground because of poor structure.

April 23

More Observations

 

After judging was over I overheard an anguished owner’s lament “My dog has good angulation, yet the judge just told me that it had poor rear drive”.

 

Good angulation and poor movement can and will happen with certain dogs. The two can and do exist on the same dog because it takes more than good rear angulation to have a dog that moves correctly.

 

For instance if the rear angulation is correct and yet the front assembly of the dog is straight up and down with no angulation, the synchronicity  between front reach and rear drive will be totally off causing the dog’s cadence of foot fall to be timed wrong, thus the appearance of poor, inefficient  movement.

 

In trying to explain to a group of owners standing next to me why a certain dog in the ring was moving poorly, I pointed out that the rear drive of the dog was shortened and not retracting backwards because the ball of the rear hip socket was set at the wrong angle.

Instead of the ball being set slightly forward into the socket, which creates the proper forward turn of stifle…………..this dog’s ball was set so that the leg bone was more perpendicular with the ground which prevented the rear legs natural forward motion to extend forward way short of the mid-rib cage.

 

There is a point right underneath the mid-rib cage where there is a conjunction of the front leg retracting backwards to the opposite rear leg extending forward. The front feet and the rear feet of the opposite leg almost meet at that junction. That’s perfect synchronicity between forward reach and rear drive.

 

If that doesn’t happen, then there may be a noticeable bounce to the rear assembly with the rear riding higher than the withers, or there could appear to be rolling shoulders in the case of poorly positioned shoulders. There could appear a ‘break’ in the topline, instead of the preferred straight and level topline called for by the breed standard.

In reality, the dog in question has adequate rear angulation, combined with poor turn of stifle caused by incorrect positioning of the ball and socket. In cases as these, it doesn’t really matter how much roadwork or conditioning is done with the dog, nothing will correct structural anomalies.

 

Another dog was observed ‘plowing’ with their head down below the shoulders while in moderate gait. Instead of the head being held up by the neck so that the crown of the head is higher than the withers, this dog’s shoulders were too upright and not laid back at the preferred 45 degrees. The faster the dog moves, the lower the head goes because of the wrong lay back of shoulders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now here’s the real clincher, that dog ended up being the Winners Dog! Nice dog all around, but when taken to task, a very observable structural deviation that causes poor working movement. A dog that cannot hold their head up at a moderate pace will have hard time carrying anything heavier than a dove without dragging it over the terrain.

 

Besides the above mentioned form follows function observation, there is a visual concept when looking at side gait at a moderate gait……………………topline straight and level, tail out and back and head above the shoulders.

This dog has proper front each, which equals its rear drive, feet meet underneith the mid-rib cage, level topline, tail extends out and head is held above the shoulders.

 

April 23rd

Light and Lively!

 

Sitting here feeling somewhat antsy……………………………the van’s packed and ready to hit the road tomorrow towards the Vero Beach dog shows………………….however the lineup for this weekend’s shows is right in front of me and it is the skimpiest roster that 

Chambray has fielded in many a blue moon…………harvest moon…………………full moon and moon over Miami too!

 

That’s where the angst of feeling antsy comes from………………………. “where’s the beef” sounds very apropos looking at 2 Labradors traveling with us to the two days of shows. Yes, you read right…………2 Labs………..like in uno, dos and not tres!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s not a typo, that’s the real McCoy…………………….a deuce, a pair, a couple………………………………..one more than the number one………………………two can be as bad as one it’s the loneliest number since the number one!

 

So, we have 1 male and 1 female occupying a tiny piece of real-estate in our spacious travel van.  I can’t remember (which is very common now a days for me), when I had such a light load traveling with us to the shows with only 2 making the northerly trek in the super-sized, dog limo, silver bullet Sprinter! There will actually be more people in the van than dogs for the very first time since way back when memory served me better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Although the judging for the weekend did not seem all that favorable for most of our dogs, we still came up with a nice lineup of our best dogs to support the Labrador entries.

 

Truth be told, we trimmed down on purpose for a big reason, while I peck away at the computer for this blog, my daughter Jessie and our intern Jackie are on their way to the Ohio Cane Corso Nationals…………………….so Ma and Pa Kettle will be holding down the fort at the Vero shows this weekend. Of course as a ‘just in case’………………..our son Ryan will be coming along to add youth and fire power to our apparent geriatric handling tandem.

 

The saving grace for the weekend is that there will be a total of 3 class males, 3 class females and 2 specials that will be part of our handling roster…………………..those extra ones will meet us there with their owners providing the transportation.

 

In addition, there will be another Open Yellow male and an Open Chocolate female, plus Chambray’s top champion specials that are managed/handled by others at the dog shows.

 

Several dogs can finish their AKC championship with just 1 Winners Dog or Winners Bitch at these 2 shows in Vero.

 

Coming off red-hot from a 3-point major Winners Bitch and Best Of Winners win this past Sunday at Zolfo Springs, Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha can clinch her title and claim Chambray's Lifetime Champion #47. She now owns up to 13 Points, 4 Majors, 2 Best Of Breeds and 1 Group 4 to her awesome resume and she is not even 2 years old yet!

 

Also in the winning mode is Chambrays Maxed N Counter………….2 weeks ago taking a Winners Dog at the Perry GA shows, and now only needing 1 single point for his AKC champion’s title. Max already sports an FCI Colombian Champion’s title…………….winning that with 6 Best Of Breeds and 4 Group II placements in 2 months of showing down in Colombia back in September and October of 2014. His coming back party including winning a 3-point major at his very first show back in the good old USA and then he starred at the Eukanuba week of shows by taking a 4-Point Major at one of the Orlando shows, followed that with a 5-Point Major at the Eukanuba LRC Specialty and crowning that feat with a Judges Award of Merit at Specialty Show!

 

Needing 1 more major-pointed win, is Chambrays Cover Girl with 14 points, 1 major and 1 Best OF Breed to her resume. She would need to take Winners Bitch and Best Of Winners to accomplish her goal of an AKC Champion.

 

Also in the mix is Chambrays Aslan who needs to win both days, as he needs 2 majors to do the trick.

 

The rest of our lineup is well set and can use any combination of wins and points to further their quest for the champion’s title.

 

Chambray’s 3 champion specials are glistening from their 2015 exploits in the Best Of Breed ring.

 

Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter comes off the 2014 Show Season with a #10 All-Breed Labrador Top Ranking and is currently ranked #16 for 2015!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is also 8 grand champion points away from his well-deserved Bronze Grand Champion’s title…………………………..back-to-back Best Of Breeds will guarantee him his new title!

 

Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting is now ranked #9 All-Breed Labradors in the USA and #1 All-Breed from Florida. He is now more than half way to the 100 points needed for the Bronze and that goal seems within the immediate future with the way he has been racking up the BOB wins since January. Tucker comes off a Best Of Breed and a Group III at the Zolfo Springs show this past Sunday, a win that should keep him in the Top 10 for the month of April.

 

Coming off his first Best Of Breed win this past Saturday at Zolfo Springs, Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos is now underway towards his Grand Championship with 7 grand champion points, 1 major and 1 win over competition.

 

With just 1 win of points by any of the above mentioned dogs………………Chambray’s consecutive weekend winning streak rises to 107………………….let’s keep it rolling!

 

So, all aboard the Silver Bullet as we have plenty of room to stretch out our legs!

 

April 22nd
Doggie Lingo

Dog and Labrador Retriever Vernacular

 

“My girl is having her menstrual cycle now and I know I have to keep the boys away for 21 days” the well-intended owner shares her perceived predicament with me.

 

So, let’s see how far off that sentence was from the realm of ‘dogdom speak’……………………….the vernacular………………….language spoken by those in an endeavor!

 

‘My bitch is in her estrus cycle or ‘in heat’’ would be more appropriate for those into dogs.

 

So, ‘bitch’ takes over from ‘girl’ and menstrual cycle does not carry well when referring to dogs, so you can use the lay term ‘in heat’ or the more clinical term ‘estrus cycle’.

 

‘Boys’ is replaced by ‘dogs’…………………..dogs (males) being the counterpart of bitch (females)!

 

The ‘receptive’ period for females is also referred to as ‘standing heat’……..occurs sometime after the 9th or 10th day after first ‘spotting’ or seeing blood drop discharge. This attracting state lasts about 5 days, not the 21 days surmised by the uninitiated owner.

 

Other interesting conversions: naïve language to dog aficionado lingo

 

(Dogs) losing their hair……………………………..blowing coat
(People) losing their hair………………………………what happened to me at an early age


(Dogs) walking the dog in the ring……………..gaiting
(People) walking the dog, more like the dog pulling and yanking the people around


(Dogs) fixing the dog’s legs…………………………stacking the dog
(People) fixing the dog's legs………………………..because the dog was too fat or out of control and the dog broke something that needs tending.

 

Other terms used in the everyday dog show world.

 

Special’s dog/bitch……………….a dog that has attained its AKC champion’s title and continues to show for other titles or national ranking.
With people, it’s pretty much the same, some men are dogs and, well some women are just bitchin to be heard and seen.

 

Class dog/bitch…………….one that has yet to ‘finish’ their championship and is shown from the appropriate dog show class.
With people class and bitch are seldom used in the same sentence.

 

Backup………………..someone designated to show the dog in case the primary handler has a conflict handling another dog at the same time.
With people, backup is what should have been done with your computer before it crashes and all your stuff is lost for good………..or bad!

 

Put up……………………………when a judge likes a dog and selects it over other dogs in their placement.
With people……………………….it’s putting up with some of them that really gets the hackles in an uproar.

 

Shut up……………….same as in ordinary people’s language, what most people, ordinary and dog people should do more often.

 

To dump…….when a judge doesn’t like a dog and does not place it, also when a handler doesn’t want the dog to win any higher placements and does a poor job handling it.
With people, dumping seems to be a way of life for some, getting dumped on for others.

 

Finish a dog………………having a dog attain its AKC championship.
With people, it’s finish eating a Ball Park Frank.

 

Points schedule………………….from 1 point to 5 points……………the amount of dogs needed to win those points. It takes 15 male dogs for a Labrador to attain a 3-point major…………….the point schedule for our region is going up and after May, it will take 18 male dogs to attain that same 3-pt major.
With people, it seems that there are way too many that are totally pointless.

 

More doggie linguistics:

 

Run up……………………………when gaiting around the ring, taking a dog up close to the dog in front of it.

 

Blocking………………purposely slowing down the gaiting around the ring with a slower dog in the front of the line. Also, standing in a position to obscure another dog from the judge’s view.

 

Make the cut……………………………..more so in the Group competition, when the judge selects out some of the dogs from the lineup before making the final 1 through 4 selection.

 

Groups………………………..The AKC sorts out the many breeds of dogs into 7 groups. Labradors are in the Sporting Group with other retrievers, setters, pointers, and spaniels.

 

Group Win…………………….receiving one of the placements from the groups, as in a Group 1 for 1st place thru a Group 4 for 4th place.
 

April 22nd

Paying The Pied Piper

 

Ringside chatter is interesting to listen to as it serves to distinguish which person, exhibitor, breeder and even handlers know the difference between Bo Derek, Bo Jackson, bo diddley from………………….diddly squat.

 

In other words, there’s a bunch of people involved in a very complex endeavor and very few have the acumen to decipher simple correct structure in Labrador Retrievers…………….let alone the more in-depth nuances of faults or even the more exaggerated and visual structural defects seen aplenty in the show ring.

 

What’s scary and alarming is that these same blokes are actually reproducing what they know very little about! They are the perpetuators of the next generation of the breed, choosing stud dogs for their females that they have no clue if the two dogs complement or if both dogs have the same dastardly structural defect, which means that the majority of the puppies will follow suit with a litany of faults and structural defects.

 

Several of those same owner/exhibitor/breeders were talking ‘shop’ about which famous stud dog they will be using next on their prized bitch to be in season. I state ‘prized’ because people tend to see their own dog as perfection and they insist on perpetuating that ‘self’ anointed perfection to the next generation…………………………………whether they are truly worthy or not and in most cases the ‘not’ factor has it over the ‘have it’ factor.

 

In addition, whichever flavor of the month stud dog they have somehow come to a conclusion about, may or may not serve to bring about the Betterment of the Breed that all Labrador breeders should have first, foremost and only in their quest for quality.

 

More often than not, when someone approaches me with a breeding in mind and I evaluate the stud and the dam, I point out more inconsistencies with the breeding than the compatibilities needed for improvement. It is then and only then that the ‘aha’ moment occurs for the ‘so-called’ breeder and they then do an about face with the intended breeding.

 

Time after time, those that stuck to their guns and charged through with the dubious breeding ended up on the receiving end of an “I told you so” from me………………….and deservedly so, plus I make sure to rub it in several more times for good measure!

 

If you don’t want to hear the truth, then don’t ask me in the first place because the truth will hurt even worse later when my expertise bears fruit. I think that’s call ‘paying the prize to the Pied Piper when you order up some music’.

April 21st

 

“You keep track of all these numbers and records that your dogs post. How valuable is that to your program?”

 

Sometimes questions come in loaded like the Trojan Horse of fabled times! In this case, the perpetrator of the inquisition isn’t all that lathered up about ‘how valuable or invaluable’ anything is for me or not……………………………………more than they are bothered by my very visual display of all the records, benchmarks and winning streaks that our collective efforts have accumulated and accrued over the years.

 

Numbers, records, benchmarks and winning streaks are all indelible footprints etched in pure stone for others that are involved in the same quest to either match or best! It is something that all other competitors can set their sights on……………………breeding, raising, training, conditioning and then handling in the show ring…….putting it all together in the hopes of bettering those numbers!

 

All those special numbers serve as a historical archive for people interested in research about the breed in a given area. In our case, these are records for those into Labradors from Florida.

 

By comparing what other breeders have done or have not done, it also serves as a barometer as to who the top breeders are and who the bottom feeders are. Of course the top of the totem pole is where everyone that has an ounce of competitive juices running through their veins, wants to be. Anyone else that dribbles anything different with their talk, shouldn’t be in a competitive venture as showing dogs is!

 

Of course, I use all of those records as a motivator for those in our Show Management Program. Even though the majority of those in our programs own a Chambray dog, they too become competitive and each one of those owners relishes the day that their dog surpasses one of those stellar records held by another Chambray dog! Just watch the action from ringside and see how elated one of our owners is when one of their dogs is the victor of the day!

 

We even have owners that put their money where their mouths be…………………with added bonuses each time their dogs win points or BOBs! Now that’s what I call my type of guy/gal, because that’s the way I am when I am in a competitive venue! Once I take the reins (leash) and waltz in the ring with my assignment………………………watch out…………………..because I give it my all regardless of who else is in the ring with whatever dog they may be handling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

So, yes………………numbers are very, very important to me because it serves to separate winners from the dabbler, the also-ran, the perennial contestant that shows up and is satisfied with merely being in the ring, wishing and a hoping that they get thrown a morsel here and there………………………….numbers define who’s at the top of the heap and those others that are part of the supporting cast of characters.

 

Just this past weekend, an owner whose dog had just won points was overheard in a very joyous voice express her contentment that her dog had beaten the Chambray dogs!

 

I say hurray for her and her dog and I am honored that winning over one of our dogs carries as much weight as winning points for others!

 

Proof positive that numbers do mean something to the many that wish and hope to be able to be in the mix for those numbers themselves.

 

April 17

 

The Tale Of Two Photos

 

No, you won’t have the benefit of seeing one of the photos, so you will have to take my word for what will follow. Of course the photo that I will publish will have all the glowing reviews since I approve 100% of that dog as an excellent example of the breed, therefore using it as my launching pad for this blog.

 

Both dog’s photos came to me via a dedicated aficionado……………..someone avidly seeking as much mentorship, advice and information on the breed from someone that has been around the block for 45 years with the breed………………me!

Here’s the photo and following is my email response to the inquirer:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From that photo...............as good as it gets! Perfect front triangle, perfect complementary rear angles, perfect rise of neck because the shoulders have perfect placement. Perfect ratio of ground to elbow, and elbow to withers, perfect coupling. I would love to see him move!

 

Subsequent email: He's one of the best looking side profile chocolates I have ever seen in photos. Of course I would love to see a rear photo and a front. But unlike the other dogs you sent me, I see absolutely no weaknesses coming from the rear assembly.

 

Ok, so now you the “good” from the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ equation in picture perfect form…………………...the old a ‘picture is worth a 1000 words’ and in this case I can state that this picture is priceless……………………..a Kodak moment if there ever was one!

 

So we now traverse the universe and arrive at the quadrant where the ‘bad and the ugly’ dwell!

 

The bad are those dogs being bred or put up by breeder/judges by so-called ‘named’ Labrador breeders. ‘Named’, like in long standing, long in the tooth (like me), recognizable and supposedly looked up to folk.

 

Bad because by the time anyone has been around long enough to be considered ‘long standing’, ‘long in the tooth’, ‘recognizable’ and worth being ‘looked up to’…………………..their dogs should be flawless and without reserve…………………without ‘structural defects’………………..that also includes the dogs that they put up under their mentorship as judges!

 

Yes, mentorship! Mentorship because there are many in their wake trusting their selections as the gospel truth and then basing their future choices on what they deem is correct from the bestowments made by those breeder/judge mentors at the shows they act as judges!

 

The breed standard is very specific and doesn’t care an iota who the handler of the dog is, who the breeder of the dog is………………nothing but the facts ma’am when dealing with the breed standard!

 

A cow-hocked dog is a cow-hocked dog regardless of how ‘pretty’ it is, how otherwise ‘perfect’ it may seem…………….it is still cow-hocked!

 

Now, you may sit back and think to yourself…………. “Well, here goes Sandy, off on one of his wild tangents about his number 1 pet peeve!”

 

Ok, you are right about that call………………but it goes way, way deeper than a personal taste or in this case, distasteful subject…………………….it goes to the very core as to why ‘recognizable’ breeders are breeding dogs…………………………and that why should be 100% for the Betterment of the Breed.

 

So it befuddles my mind to kingdom come and back to see a ‘well-known’, ‘very long in the tooth’, ‘very well looked up to’ breeder/judge give a prestigious placement to a very cow-hocked dog.

 

Now here is where there’s no sides to take on this issue.

 

THE BREED STANDARD STATES THAT COW-HOCKS ARE STRUCTURAL DEFECTS!

 

Read the following lifted directly from the source:

 

Hindquarters: The Labrador's hindquarters are broad, muscular and well-developed from the hip to the hock with well-turned stifles and strong short hocks. Viewed from the rear, the hind legs are straight and parallel. Viewed from the side, the angulation of the rear legs is in balance with the front. The hind legs are strongly boned, muscled with moderate angulation at the stifle, and powerful, clearly defined thighs. The stifle is strong and there is no slippage of the patellae while in motion or when standing. The hock joints are strong, well let down and do not slip or hyper-extend while in motion or when standing. Angulation of both stifle and hock joint is such as to achieve the optimal balance of drive and traction. When standing the rear toes are only slightly behind the point of the rump. Over angulation produces a sloping topline not typical of the breed. Feet are strong and compact, with well-arched toes and well-developed pads. Cowhocks, spread hocks, sickle hocks and over-angulation are serious structural defects and are to be faulted.

 

 

The ‘ugly’ part of the equation are those people that accept the position as ‘mentors’, as ‘judges’ and then go out and lead astray the flocking sheep that see only through the eyes of these so-called ‘knowledgeable’ types! So, instead of rewarding a dog that is obviously cow-hocked.....................it should be seriously faulted! That way the bleating sheep will not perpetuate the serious structural defects that work so against the betterment of the breed.

April 16

A New Generation Ready For Their Excellent Adventure

 

We have the lineup for the International shows and now we have 2 weeks to get ready for those that will be going on this excellent adventure.

 

We have plenty of time to get in some training sessions in order to have the puppies perform to their best while at the 4 shows in Ocala.

 

Our goal is to come home with 100% success, that means that each and every puppy and dog that we invited and that will be part of our management and handling roster will achieve their first champion’s title. In order for that to happen, they need to know some basic ring patterns and of course follow instructions from our handlers……………………..they need to know what we want them to do and they need to do it correctly and look good while we work with them in the ring!

 

So, in order to maximize your investment of time, energy and money, we need to work with them in the coming 2 weeks.

 

Now, here’s the rub, we won’t be home the next 2 weekends as we have our regular AKC shows to travel to……………………so, we need to get together on a private basis during the week for those sessions.

 

Each of you needs to contact me…………………..remember using email and not the phone, to set up private one-on-one sessions. These can be done weekdays from 10 AM to 5 PM. For our show puppies and dogs, these are free of charge if you do the work while you are here with me. You can always hire one of the trainers for $10 for a half hour session to do the work.

 

Another option is to leave the dogs here with us for 2 or 3 days to get in the training needed. This will be done at a discount to you in order to get them ready for these shows. Instead of the usual $35 for boarding and show training, we will only charge $25.

 

The night classes are also a must in order to get them socialized in a group setting. These sessions are free for all the show dogs if you work the classes with your dog. You can always hire one of the Chambray trainers at $10 for a half hour session where they will work your dog for you. This is an excellent idea because it speeds up the learning by the dog.

 

Night classes are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night at 7 PM. Always……………always call our 305 232-5227 number by 5 PM that afternoon to hear if class is still scheduled. Don’t drive out here without calling and getting the status of the night class.

 

Next week, I will be crafting a detailed agenda’s list for what you will need to take with you to the show venue and also what to expect while you and your family are there on the show grounds and what will transpire inside the ring with your loving Pooch!

 

The above activity is part of our Show Management Program for the Betterment of the Breed. It is the very first leap from total non-show oriented owners to newly initiated show neophytes!

 

I state ‘leap’ because all the first steps are now behind all of those ‘wet behind the ears’……………….more like ‘deer in the headlight’ owners! Of course I say all these things in a lovingly way, because without all the new folk that come on board each year with our newest offerings for the breed……….our continuation as Top Labrador Show Breeders will dwindle down to a smattering rather than the highest quality entourage that we bring on to the shows that we travel and show at.

 

The very first step on this excellent adventure odyssey is being selected to own a Chambray show puppy through our very complicated and arduous Puppy Placement Program. That is not an easy accomplishment, because before we turn over one of our prized possessions to anyone, there is an extensive Interview Process that is used as an educational tool as well as a filtering out process to determine which owners fit our needs for each of the puppies we have for placement.

 

Once the owners have been chosen and the puppy has been placed comes our exclusive amenities package of mentorship and Lifetime Support System in all areas of raising puppies and the extensive training program that comes with each of our top show puppies.

 

Training that includes private one-on-one sessions and also our long running night training classes, now into our 26th year. That’s 3 nights a week where owners come with their dogs and learn how to train and condition their dogs using our innovative training methods and our one of a kind, avant garde training/conditioning/exercise equipment.

 

There are also special programs devised for those owners that don’t have the time to spend training and conditioning at home……………………these are the In-Kennel Training regimens where dogs and puppies are left at Chambray Acres for determined periods of time to achieve whatever is needed to make the dog as competitive as possible.

 

So, by the time we arrive at the IABCA show grounds, we are quite certain that the absolute best puppies have been chosen to participate and that they will be somewhat ready for the very first audition as show prospects.

 

Their owners will also be getting their feet wet as brand, spanking new show dog owners at their very first set of shows.

 

Of course we all know this is not the AKC…………………the big leagues, the NFL………………….but it is a beginning that affords mentorship, education, camaraderie, family fun, training for the puppies and a great launching pad for whatever the future holds for this next generation of Chambray Labradors. 

April 15th

 

A day does not go by that I don’t receive an ‘email’……………..I used to say communication, but since I don’t do phone calls any longer, 95% of my communications are now through email*……………..not a day goes by without hearing about one or more dogs, especially Labradors passing away. Especially Labradors because that’s what usually corresponds with me.

 

That’s sad to read and learn about and even sadder is that the vast majority that write to me telling me of a dog’s demise concerns cases with cancer. You name it and that cancer has a name, every sort of cancer that strikes people, fells dogs as well. It’s like there is no discrimination between the species………..an equal opportunity felon, robbing years away from our dogs’ way, way before their already shortened lives!

 

Since I receive an inordinate amount of emails from all over the country and the world, I hear it 1000 times more than the ordinary Joe. I hear from people I have never and may never, ever meet and I hear it from those that have Chambray dogs…………..more so from outside sources because of the sheer numbers………but I hear it!

 

I am not really sure if there are really more dogs dying of cancer now a days than in my yesteryears, or is it that we have the capabilities with social media to get the word out the instant it happens and then hundreds if not thousands get to know about it a mere second later!

 

In the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and even a short 10 years ago, it took months and even years to find out that a certain dog had passed on……………..now it is public information to the multitudes in one day!

 

Since the vast majority of Labrador breeders practice ‘don’t ask, don’t tell……………and even if they ask, don’t tell’…………………………I am sure that with the advent of the ‘quick as the speed of light’ spreading of information most of those secretive types are in cringe mode all the time when one of their dog dies of something or other.

 

At Chambray Labradors, we have been about full disclosure since the very beginning. In addition, the large owners programs that we foster and mentor gives tremendous access to all of those owners to communicate using all sorts of Internet and phone social grapevines. In other words, because of our large network of owners, information spreads so much faster than with all the other breeders that do not harbor an extensive owner’s program like ours.

 

Lately I have witnessed a hysterical type of attitude when known dogs passed on. Immediately, people want to connect dots between cases of dogs passing of whatever has stricken them. Most of the time the dogs are not closely related, but somehow some folk feel some morbid comfort in these associations.

 

Here are some facts that most don’t ever consider:

 

The life expectancy of a Labrador Retriever is 13 years. This doesn’t mean that all of them will reach that age. Much as in humans, where the life expectancy in the USA is 79, (41 in Sierra Leone), many die way before that time and a few live beyond.

 

What most owners don’t realize is that if 100 Labradors were followed for 15 years………………………some will die in the 1st year……………….some will die in the 2nd year and so on, year after year until there’s less than 50% survival at 10 years of age, with 48% passing in the next 4 years and 2% surviving to 16 years of age.

 

The list for causes of death is topped by accidents, with cancer/heart disease following a close second.

 

So, when I hear of some folk attributing the causes of death, especially those concerning the many types of cancer that strikes our dogs……………..all dogs as there is no breed nor breeder/kennel nor individual line that is not susceptible to cancer………..it irks me at the lack of knowledge and lack of understanding that most people have, but are willing at the drop of a hat wanting to attribute something that not even the so-called experts have a handle on.

 

*Due to short term memory issues on my part, the protocol for me now a days in receiving and divulging information is 99% through written emails where others (Johanna and Jessie) can filter through and backup any and all pertinent exchanges and have them readily available for double checking and acting on them accordingly.

April 14th 

Q’s & A’s

 

Boy do I receive a lot of those Q’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Q’s about everything that can be imagined and then some and then some are peat-repeats………………….probably from the same source which leads me to believe that they don’t have any re-sources to begin with!

But, like the field of dreams where some bored, lonely and baseball nostalgic country bumpkin builds a baseball field in the middle of Cornhole NB or where ever those cornfields stretch for miles and miles and miles and then some more endless summer of miles……………………..likewise with the little old wine maker…………….me……………………………I built this blog contraption and just like that the cornfield gets full of wandering nomads a hankering for what they don’t know!

 

So, to satisfy, satiate and quench the palette of the brain where facts and figures are hoarded for never ever use, here are a bunch to snack on.

 

Q. “Can you get a Labrador out of a Labradoodle?”

 

A. That’s like getting blood from a turnip……………..it’s red, but is it blood? In reality, once you mix up 2 breeds, your results are a hybrid. If you breed that hybrid, the results will be the red juice from the turnip………………..not the true blood of a pure bred dog.

 

Q. “Who is this WinQuest breeder? I have been searching high and low for any information about the kennel or the breeder and each time it leads me back to your Chambray kennel!”

 

A. The ‘$64 Million Dollar Q’………………inflation has taken the original $64 Thousand Question to millions now a days! A bit of history, back to 1999………………..that’s real ancient history to most involved with the breed today, especially those that have asked this smoldering hot question. 15 years ago a Labrador enthusiast, Geraldo Desouza approaches me and we form an association where I manage the breeding, training, conditioning and show management of the produce of our co-breedings. I come up with the name WinQuest for this association and the name is branded. Since then there have been 6 champions, directly or indirectly as a result of the union of WinQuest with Chambray. The most recent of those finished dogs is Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos.

The breeding is done at Chambray using a top national stud dog. The puppies are delivered and raised by Geraldo and his family. At 6 weeks of age, they all come to Chambray Acres for finishing out with:

 

  • socialization,

  • training,

  • conditioning,

  • timely medications/worming, vaccinations,

  • Vet Exam and Health Certificates,

  • the all crucial temperament and conformation evaluation

  • the Interview Process

  • finally placing thru our special Puppy Placement Program

 

Amos was placed with Phil and Jean Eslinger of Park City Utah. They flew down to Miami for their interview and then they came back to pick up their bundle of energy and joy. A couple of years later the Eslingers moved to Palm City FL and Amos was taken into the Chambray Show Management Program……………..exactly a year later he becomes Chambray Labradors 46th AKC champion and one of those 6 dogs that are associated with WinQuest as well. All is well that ends well and this association is 15 years strong and going super well!

 

Q. “We read your blog and traveled to dog shows close to where we live and were expecting to see a large number of your dogs. This is what we heard all the time from others we talked to. We were disappointed when we arrived and you didn’t have a lot of dogs with you. Why is that?”

 

A. Myths, legends, ballyhoo, wives’ tales and all other sorts of grapevine fodder precedes us everywhere we go.  As the legend goes from those that have blinders on……………………..Chambray wins so much because we bring large numbers of dogs to all shows we travel to.

 

There’s truth in them there woods……………………………….we have the largest contingency of superior quality dogs in our Show Management Program to choose from! That’s because all those dogs are independently owned by the hundreds that have annexed, aligned, and/or associated themselves with Chambray. So, at any given show, especially those in our bailiwick we can drum up lots of interest in having many of those dog owners enter and bring those extra dogs to that venue.

 

Now in all truth, the myth part of the legend is that we win because of the large quantities we field, when in reality we win because of the superior quality our dogs possess.

 

Of course, you met up with us at the Perry GA shows on Wednesday of this past week and you were there to see the Chambray dogs post our 55th Team Trifecta………………..that was Best Of Breed for Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting……………..Winners Dog for Chambrays Recurrent Dream N Counter and Winners Bitch was Chambrays Eventful N Counter. You also got to see a couple of the other dogs that were traveling with us. Since we can only carry a few dogs in these long range trips, we bring the ones that can use the points. However, as you saw, we didn’t bring the ‘couple of dozen’ you had heard about and thus the little bit of disappointment on your part.  

 

Q. “Lately we have seen a lot of dogs using N Counter as a middle or last name and all of them have Chambray as their first name. Some of the dogs are not even related, so I don’t understand the use of the name!”

 

A. The old “What’s in a name” game! Names are attributed on whims, on fetishes and on whatever the passing fancy at the time……………………..in this case, N Counter was a name that my daughter and I came up with for her kennel name way back when ‘she was just 17’………actually she was 12!

 

Our first dog together that she trained and handled and finished by herself at 12 was Ch Chambrays Chance N Counter ‘Connie’.

 

Chance encounter because the semen to breed to Connie’s mother Ch Chambrays Chisholm Chancey  just made it out of the airport in Arkansas minutes before a great blizzard hit that whole area and they were snowed in for over a week in December 2000! Chance N Counter indeed! Connie’s daughter was kept by Jessie and named Chambrays Charmed N Counter and she too was championed by Jessie.

 

Since then there have been BIS BBE Silver Gr Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter, BBE Gr Ch Chambrays First N Counter that have gone on to greatness carrying both the Chambray and N Counter name and now there are well over half a dozen other dogs that have come out of that association for the Betterment of the Breed.

April 13th

 

The 2015 March Canine Chronicle statistics are out and Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting stays in the Top 10 with a 9th spot and Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter grabbed the 16th spot, giving Chambray Labradors 2 of our dogs in the USA Top 20!

 

Walter is in semi-retirement now only coming out for the South Florida shows and he still managed enough wins to stay in the Top 20. Also Tucker is #1 in Florida with Walter claiming the 2nd spot from the sunshine state.

 

This weekend coming up we will see Tucker in the BOB competition in Zolfo Springs and in 2 weeks both boys go head to head at the Vero Beach shows.

 

Congratulations to the Etzig family for Tucker’s and to Walter’s family the Bakers for the awesome accompishments.

 

We also all await Walter’s first litter to hit the ground in a couple more weeks adding to the Betterment of the Breed in the show ring as well as a perpetuator of the breed.

April 12th

We're Back

 

For all those asking……………………..I have been away 10 days to dog shows in North Florida and also up to Perry GA. As much as I enjoy the competition at the dog shows, I would rather be home at Chambray Acres with my dogs, puppies and the great outdoors in my little Labrador world that I created going back to 1973.

 

So, what’s the scoop and score?

 

We upped the consecutive weekend winning streak to 104 at the Elkton Fl shows and then raised the bar one more weekend notch up at the Perry GA by winning 3 out of the 4 days taking that mind blowing streak to 105 weekends with wins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That will be a very hard act to follow for any other Labrador breeder to ever reach………….including ourselves once the winning spree comes to an end.

 

So, the new numbers for the record books are the 105 Winning Weekends……………………55 Trifectas………………………..14 Grand Champions.

 

At the Elkton shows, Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck……………….better known as “Bad Boy Bob”, because even when he is good……….he is bad………………………even with all his ‘badness’, he scored 2 Select Grand Champion points, giving him the needed 25 points for his AKC Grand Champion’s title! That makes 14 AKC Grand Champions for Chambray, another number that will see a lot of years before it is equaled and since we will have plenty more before it is said and done, the number will rise with the incoming tide. Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos also added to the gravy train of winning with 2 Select Gr Ch points at Elkton.

 

55 Trifectas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What??????????????????? Talk about unsurmountable numbers! “Whoa Nelly” never sounded so good!

Trifecta #55 came at the Perry GA shows at the very first day of competition. Our black stallion super star, Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting takes Best Of Breed…………………………Chambrays Recurrent Dream N Counter takes Winners Dog and Best Of Winners and Chambrays Eventful N Counter completes the Trifecta cycle with a Winners Bitch and just like that #55 is in the record books.

Tucker snaps up his 8th Best Of Breed the 2nd day of competition, with Chambrays Maxed N Counter picking his 2nd Winners Dog award the 4th day of competition giving him 2 WDs in 2 weekends.

 

Chambrays Cajun N Counter also joined in the winning parlays with a Winners Bitch award also on the last day of competition. Bob also added 3 Select Gr Champion wins for good measure which now get tabulated towards his Bronze Grand Championship.

 

No sooner than we arrive back at Chambray after being gone for 10 days, that the work starts all over again as we now get ready for the Zolfo Springs shows this weekend coming up.

 

What’s in the stars for the upcoming weekend………………………will the 105 streak rise to 106 winning weekends?

 

Is a new champion title awaiting one of our dogs at Zolfo? Max just needs one more Winners Dog worth 1 point and whoop there it is! If all the males show up, it will be a 3 point major at Saturday’s show, with a 2 pointer for Sunday’s show…………..of course unless he scoops up a Best Of Breed and then it becomes a funfest celebration for a new champion.

 

Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha is also just itching to cross that mythical finish line, lacking only 4 single points, so she would need to take Winners Bitch from each day.

 

Well, now time for some zzzzz’s after a grueling 5 days in Perry and that extra-long ride down the pike with morons tailgating doing 80+ miles in bumper to bumper traffic for over 700 miles!

 

Tomorrow is another day!

April 2nd

The Train Is Back On Track

 

In a previous blog I stated that sometimes there are happy campers and then there are those that set fires in the forest………………………………..well, I am not one to set fires in the forest because I just published the “Sandy Is Not A Happy Camper” blog.

 

I realize that it takes all kinds to keep the 3rd rock from the sun spinning on its axis. All kinds and all sorts in between as well!

There’s no crying in baseball or over spilt milk, so the gravy train keeps moving forward with no time to waste on those things that I have little or no control over.

 

My steadfast commitment to the betterment of the breed and to providing the best product, backed by the best service has no time to gather moss. There are way more on board that want to be associated with a successful brand and that have chosen to be part of winning ways than those that whine and those that choose not to continue on.  

 

All of the above in response to those ‘well-wishing’ emails with their overwhelming vote of confidence in our programs for the breed and their owners.  I want to let you all know, I am having so much fun after 45 years with Labradors, so just to let everyone know, I am not going anywhere and onward we go.

 

Onward we go with all those that are part of Chambray Labradors and all of the owner’s programs we provide. 

April 2nd

Sandy's Not A Happy Camper!

 

I just received a very long and detailed communication from a Labrador owner as to why they have decided not to show their dog any longer.

 

It had nothing to do with the conformation of the dog, in fact the dog is a world class young dog with AKC points on its resume.

 

It has nothing to do with injuries or not passing the all vital clearances that fells many a dog that starts out at the dog shows.

 

It has nothing to do with performance because the dog shows off like there is no tomorrow.

 

Finances are as good as it gets for the owner, so we can nix that out as an excuse not to show the dog.

 

Both the dog and the owners are the perfect picture of health, so we can also rule that out as the reason for not to be involved in showing any longer.

 

So, why on earth, the moon, the planets and stars has someone decided to hang it up when all of the above are all aligned and are as good as it gets.

 

Why, oh why when any of the preceding hurdles mentioned above will sideline even the healthiest, best looking, best performing, best financed dog…………………..why would someone belly up with that 1 in a million dog that could have, would have and should have gone all the way?

 

“BAD RINGSIDE MANNERS!”

 

Yep, of all things! The B.S. and drama that people brew up at ringside!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

The bad behavior displayed by those that take showing dogs to a whole different level that has absolutely nothing to do with the dog showing!

 

A breeder breeds for the best…………………………….takes those great dogs and trains them to perform their best……………………..conditions them to show off that great conformation and all the time, energy and money put into the training…………………………….handles and presents those dogs to be the absolute best that there is and then something totally unrelated to any of these items……………………………ringside brouhaha, shenanigans, poor sportsmanship that hasn’t an iota of a place in any of those things that make a dog great………………………….that’s what derails a true blue champion-to-be.

 

So, in the long list of what can cause a potential top-notch show dog from reaching its destiny and give that breeder yet another ‘star’ in their career resume, we now add bad ringside manners to that gloomy list.

 

What some people need to do is consider that nothing they do, say, rant and rave alters what transpires inside the ring…………………..NOTHING…………………………..the dog will win or lose without any of the drama and BS that is stirred up outside the stanchions that define the parameters of the ring. The judge is totally oblivious with each and every person outside the ring and nothing said and done beyond those borders of the ring matters one bit to the judge for the day.

 

The judge for the day, because the next day and the next week it will be another ‘judge for the day’ that will preside and the results will be either the same or different and nothing that occurs outside the ring will really change anything.

 

As a breeder for the Betterement of the Breed, I did my job. As a dog trainer and conditioner, I did my job. As a professional dog handler and dog show manager, I did my job! In fact, there are not many that go beyond what I do to get one of my super star dogs inside the ring and be as successful as we are.....................................and then something that has nothing to do with any of the above ruins it for one of my precious dogs.........................really ticks me off!

April 1st

 

Silvers...............A Real April Fools Joke!

 

“I have 2 silver Labradors that I want to breed and was interested in your stud dogs.”

 

Inferno just turned into the Ice Age and I thought about consenting and then I woke up from the nightmarish thought and pressed the delete button on that particular email!

 

No need what so ever in wasting time trying to explain that the moon is not made up of Swiss cheese to those that think that way. Been there, done that and don’t want to do that again, total adventure in futility in attempting to educate the uneducable!

 

I don’t even want any responses to this blog from the silver, charcoal, champagne, blue, and whatever other color breeders that have caused mutations from the crossing of different breeds!

 

I don’t answer anyone’s questions regarding this toxic-to-the-breed subject.

 

I understand that there is a huge flap underway at one of the Labrador boards regarding these ‘outlaws’ of the breed! Seems that there is one in particular here in Florida that is using the name ‘Chambray Labradors’ embedded into their source codes in order to attract web searchers over to their site! Besides our name, they are also using other well-known breeder and kennel names in order to deceive web browsers to drive traffic to their websites……………..a practice frowned upon by the search engines that don’t take kindly to be fooled!

 

Not cool in trying to associate by name dropping! Just to set the record straight for fine folk………………..I have no idea who these nefarious people are………………….never heard of the name of the kennel………………never heard of the name of the breeder……………………………they don’t have any Chambray dogs………………………I wouldn’t allow any of our stud dogs to breed to any female unless all clearances have been done on the female and a pedigree and photos are supplied to me for acceptance.

 

So, if anyone sees or hears any mention of Chambray and silvers in the same conversation……………..just tell them it ain’t so!