August 2015

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."
 
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.

August 31st

End Of 1st Half Show Season Report

 

Where Are We Now Before The Fall 2015 Dog Show Season Starts?

 

The end of summer is 3 weeks away and the 2015 Florida Fall Dog Show Season fast approaches.

 

The first half of the year has been extremely successful in all areas of breed involvement for Chambray, especially at the show level.

 

The prized achievement so far for 2015 is the finishing of 5 new AKC champions. There is a strong likelihood that 3 more of our dogs can finish out their titles before the year is up, giving us right now as breeders the front runner position to claim USA Top Breeder status 2 years in a row!

 

The 113 consecutive weekend winning streak is alive and well even though we now must rely on our young and inexperienced lineup of dogs to keep it rolling. We did just that at the Atlanta shows with one of our youngsters taking back to back Winners Bitch, of course Amos taking 1 Best Of Breed to gather in his Grand Champion’s title and our super star for 2015, Tucker adding 2 more Best Of Breeds to his resume which now stands at 23 BOBs................they each made sure that the streak keeps on ticking.

 

Having at least one of the Chambray dogs in the USA Top 5, which automatically insures an invitation to the 2016 Westminster show appears to be very doable as Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting is currently in the USA #3 slot and his winning spree is now in cruise control.

 

Tucker now makes 5 years in a row with one of our dogs ranking in the Top 15 for the year. The highest ranking was BIS BBE Silver/Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter with a super high USA 3rd Place in 2012, so Tucker has a great opportunity to at least tie or one up Kika’s amazing run for the top!

 

10 new titles in 7 months bodes well for that Chambray record to be broken that was set in 2014 with 13 new titles for that year. So far we have 5 new AKC Champions, 3 new Grand Champions and 2 new Bronze Grand Champions. On the horizon are a minimum of 3 dogs, with maybe 5 that can claim their AKC champion’s title and 1 champion that more than likely will make it to Grand Champion before the year is out. So, topping 13 new titles for the year seems well within reason.

 

With several Chambray specials being campaigned for top champion rankings and also grand champion points, our kennel’s Best Of Breed state record total which now stands at 310 BOBs………………most certainly will be  added to before the year is over. Right now our champions collectively are sweeping the Best Of Breeds in Florida at a 90% clip. With at least 26 more dog shows left for our dogs in 2015, Best Of Breed #325 is well within reach.

 

So, we now concentrate on our class dogs that are within striking distance of their AKC champion’s title.

 

Chambrays Triple Play ‘Sonic’ needs just 1 more major win for him to be Chambray’s newest champion, #50. Chambrays Where Eagles Dare ‘Tank’ has both majors and just needs 5 single points to make it to #50 first, before Sonic.

 

One of our girls from Tennessee, Chambrays Ole Miss Zeta Lady has both majors as well and just lacks 6 single points to finish out and maybe leapfrog over both front running Sonic and Tank as well.

 

From the Bred By Exhibitor class Chambrays Gayla comes off back-to-back Winner Bitch wins and seems highly poised to make a good run for her championship title in the remaining months of 2015.

 

There are several dogs outside of our Show Management Programs that could conceivably earn their champion’s title in 2015 with Chambrays Cover Girl (14 points and 1 major) and Chambrays Aslan with 11 points to his resume. Of course they both would need to hit the show circuit and find majors to finish out at.

 

After posting 6 straight years of one-upmanship, each succeeding year surpassing the previous record-setter year……………..what looked like a ‘greenhorn year’ with the majority of our roster being young, up and coming prospects has turned into another blowout, blockbuster 8 months of 2015 and now we enter into the 2nd half of the year show wise to add to the titles, streaks and records and maybe, just maybe another USA Breeder Of The Year, our 3rd since 2012……………………pretty impressive even if it is me that is thumping my chest and blowing my own horn.

 

Jackie Gleason would certainly exclaim right about now “How Sweet It Is!”

August 30th

Today's Soggy Blog

“Why 2 websites?”

 

Why not!

 

At Chambray we do things totally different than the normal…………………been there done that, same old same old is not for me!

 

So, we have 2 completely different websites to please whatever pleasures folk have that are interested in Labradors and also in the way we do things.

 

When we only had the original old site in operation, it grew and grew and became very difficult to navigate for those wanting a quick, ‘get in and get out’ process. I received an inordinate amount of emails and communications telling me about the difficulties that those people were having accessing information from that site.

 

Of course I also received just as many emails and communications commending me for the ‘wealth’ of information at the very same site. I would say that the pros and cons of the 100+ page website was an even Steven proposition! Half loved it the other half……….well you know.

 

So, when we had to lock down the old www.chambraylabradors.com website because of malicious hackers that kept hijacking the controls and the script…….causing me to start anew with a replacement website chock full of security measures…………………………….I decided to create 2 versions!

 

A quick version site where those ‘in a hurry folk’ could drop in, look around, find whatever it was that tinkled their fancy and be on their merry way to other fruitful places on the world wide web…………..thus www.chambraylabs.com was launched………………the quick version site, since then nicknamed the ‘blue site’ by many of the frequent visitors there………………………. ‘Blue site’ because of the background color theme……………………………. not by musical inclination or by social demarcations!

 

Then I turned my attention to creating a site where those other folk, the other half that wants bigger and broader……… that wanted more, much more…………that would visit and kick their shoes off and lounge around, flipping from page to page of anything and everything Labrador-related……………….with a current blog detailing the latest from the grapevine hanging around at Chambray Acres and the shows we venture to…………………..a show-to-show account of our winnings and exploits………………………pages with rankings……………pages and pages with more pages linked to those pages………………………I call it the ‘mothership site’ and the ‘mentorship site’, most that email me refer to it as the ‘big site’! Since it is mostly information based it is a .net site, like in www.chambraylabradors.net

 

At the quick version site, the blue site to most visitors, stud dog information and puppy and litter news dominates and with lots and lots of photos! That’s it, all the information/photos anyone wants about our stud dogs and all the new information/photos about our latest litters and puppies available. So, if quickness and streamline is someone’s cup of tea and looking at photos is a turn on, there’s plenty of that at the www.chambraylabs.com site.

 

However for those with loads of time on their hands that want the latest of the latest goings on, that want to learn about the breed, that want much more information about the shows we compete at, that want to know about our top producing females, that revel in trivia, that like to keep up with records and winning streaks…………………the speed zone at the www.chambraylabradors.net is SLOW going! It’s big, really big, so if big and broad is not your thing, then hang at the blue site.

 

You would think that people would be happy as greased monkeys now that they have 2 sites to choose from………………………..NOT! Because there are those that wish that the blue site had many more pages and there are those that go to the big site and complain because it is so big!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

See, at Chambray we aim to please if you please……………..as Ms. Antoinette once said right before her head rolled off into the sunset………..’let them eat cake’…………..so cake of different flavors I have provided either at the .com site or the .net site……………….happy savorings!

August 29th

Thinking Time Ahead!

 

The summer hiatus ended for Team Chambrays right before taking the trek north up the pike and I-75 to Atlanta last weekend. That very long ride to Georgia’s capital gave me lots and lots of thinking time…………more than 12 hours’ worth to put all the cards on the table for the up and coming Florida AKC 2015 Fall season of dog shows.

 

Of course, I am looking at an even longer ride in a few days as we head north and then west to Biloxi MS for the 4 days of shows in the Magnolia State. That will give me beaucoup thinking time as well as the hours drift on by on the almost 800 mile one way journey.

 

There’s so much to consider with all the new dogs that will be making up our show roster…………….our very ‘green’ show roster at that! Green because the majority of our A-Team dogs for the 2nd half of the 2015 Florida dog show season are mostly wet-behind-the-ears whippersnappers!

 

Yes, having just finished 5 brand spanking new champions…………….leaves our stable pretty nears depleted of AKC champion-pointed dogs. Out of the 5 dogs traveling to Mississippi with us only 2 have major points and the other 3 have a total of 6 points between them.

 

From the Deland show entries that I am getting ready to do online, there are 11 class dogs and bitches, 8 of them have no points at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 6 out of those 11 dogs are puppies under the age of 11 months old………………only 1 dog is older than 2 years old!!!!!!!!!

 

Talk about green horns……………babes in the woods……………..yep all that and immature to boot!

 

There they went to the 4 days of shows in Atlanta, 7 ‘greenies’ with an accumulated 3 points between them!!!!!!!!!!!!! All that and our 112 Weekend Winning Streak on the line and sure enough, 2 Winners Bitch awards from one of the youngsters.

 

So, here they come again to a theater near you! It is the changing face of the Labrador ring in Florida as each succeeding generation of Chambray-produced dogs emerges and succeeds in record time…………………6 new champions in 2012 (USA #1), 4 new champions in 2013, 6 new champions in 2014 (#1 USA) and already 5 new champions for 2015!

 

That’s 21 champions from 2012 to now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here’s the real clincher to those statistics, 75% of them have been under the age of 2 years old when they championed, with one of the females finishing at 12 months of age……………..in less than 5 months of showing……………..as a puppy in the Bred By Exhibitor class at that!

 

Talk about having an influence on how things are done!

 

So, here we come with a brand new wave of beyond stellar puppies and young dogs eager and ready to make their mark on the Florida AKC show scene.

 

As this is all being prepared at the AKC level, we are also working on a show roster for the IABCA International shows on October 31/Nov 1 in Ocala FL. A whole different set of new puppies under the age of 6 months old will debut there with all their new owners that have joined the Chambray Owner’s Programs.

 

These of course will be the AKC show prospects that will debut either later in the year or at the beginning of 2016 at the AKC level.

 

Never a dull moment and lots of driving time to strategize and think about it!

 

August 29th

Fronts

 

Forequarters: Forequarters should be muscular, well-coordinated and balanced with the hindquarters.

 

Shoulders: The shoulders are well laid-back, long and sloping, forming an angle with the upper arm of approximately 90 degrees that permits the dog to move his forelegs in an easy manner with strong forward reach. Ideally, the length of the shoulder blade should equal the length of the upper arm. Straight shoulder blades, short upper arms or heavily muscled or loaded shoulders, all restricting free movement, are incorrect.

 

Front Legs: When viewed from the front, the legs should be straight with good strong bone. Too much bone is as undesirable as too little bone, and short legged, heavy boned individuals are not typical of the breed. Viewed from the side, the elbows should be directly under the withers, and the front legs should be perpendicular to the ground and well under the body. The elbows should be close to the ribs without looseness. Tied-in elbows or being "out at the elbows" interfere with free movement and are serious faults. Pasterns should be strong and short and should slope slightly from the perpendicular line of the leg. Feet are strong and compact, with well-arched toes and well-developed pads. Dew claws may be removed. Splayed feet, hare feet, knuckling over, or feet turning in or out are serious faults.

 

In the past 2 weeks, I have dealt quite a bit with this section of the breed standard. Several folk in my partnership and mentoring programs and a couple of other folk have been covered about the ‘ills’ that have crept into the breed with poorly structured fronts, so I have jumped to this section of the breed standard to cover.

 

There are several areas concerning the Forequarters that have been impacted by many breeders which has altered the ‘form’ and the ‘function’ of the breed.

 

Shoulders: The shoulders are well laid-back, long and sloping, forming an angle with the upper arm of approximately 90 degrees that permits the dog to move his forelegs in an easy manner with strong forward reach. Ideally, the length of the shoulder blade should equal the length of the upper arm. Straight shoulder blades, short upper arms or heavily muscled or loaded shoulders, all restricting free movement, are incorrect.

 

‘The shoulders are well laid-back’………..that lay back is determined by the next line ‘forming and angle with the upper arm of approximately 90 degrees’……………………….that’s what it should be!

 

If those 2 points, the shoulder blade and the upper arm form a 90 degree angle, then the layback of shoulder should be correct. The problem is that way too many show breeders don’t know what a good lay back of shoulders is!

 

When those 2 items meet and form a 90°, then the shoulder blade will form a 45°with the ground. Again, if everything is correct, the shoulder blade placement also forms a 45° with the ‘level topline’.

 

If the shoulder blade forms a 45° with the topline and also the ground and a 90°with the upper arm, and the upper arm is of equal length, then the upper arm also lays at a 45° with the ground as it intersects the point where it meets lower arm at the elbow. Of course the lower arm stands vertical and forms a 90° with the ground.

 

Viewed from the side, the elbows should be directly under the withers, and the front legs should be perpendicular to the ground and well under the body.

 

The withers is the upper most spot on the shoulder blades on top of the dog’s back. Remember the wicket blog where the dog gets measured at the withers.

 

So the withers (upper most spot of the shoulder blade) is directly over the front leg.

 

The withers to the point of shoulder (front part of chest) forms a 90°with the upper arm which is equal length to the shoulder blade. So, shoulder blade and upper arm are the same length and they form a 90°angle that goes back to where the upper arm and lower leg meet at the elbow. The elbow is directly under the withers.

 

The elbow to the ground distance is equal to the elbow to the withers distance.

 

So, if you envision all of the above, you should be able to ‘see’ a triangle formed by the

  • Withers to back of elbow line

  • Wither to point of shoulder line

  • Point of shoulder back to the elbow line.

 

If all is honky dory and all the dimensions and angles are where they should be, distance B is equal to distance C…………………….distance A, from top of withers to the elbow where A intersects C will be the long side of that perfect triangle which forms the correct front, thus the correct layback of shoulder.

 

Now if the actual dimensions are of the right size, then the dog will end up being the correct height. For instance, the dog that had the wicket erroneously called on, measures 11 ¼ inches to the midpoint of the elbow and he has the perfect front triangle with all the angles and all the proportions as perfect as can be……………………..the distance from elbow to withers is 11 ¼ inches, added together he measures in at 22 ½ inches tall, that's more than the minimum height that the standard calls for.

 

As the judge pointed out after performing the deed with the wicket, “Didn’t need the wicket, because it was obvious by just looking at it that he was well in the standard”.

 

After explaining the above angles and dimensions to a few folk while at the show, one of them a breeder of over 10 years stated that “It is too confusing to follow all those angles, proportions and sizes to keep up with!”

 

Well, maybe folk that feel that way shouldn’t be breeding!

 

So, what are the deviations we see in the show ring when breeders can’t be bothered with all the knowledge needed to breed correctly……………….or worst yet, know what should be and then go do their own dastardly deeds by breeding what shouldn’t be?

 

Straight, up and down shoulder blades! Instead of being at a 45°, on some really poorly-bred dogs the shoulder blade is like a Terriers at 90° with the ground and also the topline that is parallel to the ground………….yes, totally up and down……………..as straight as straight can get..............instead of the shoulder blade and the upper arm forming a 45 degree angle, they form no angle at all, shoulder blade and upper arm in a straight line with each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

What happens with that placement or any other that is not at the ideal 45 is that the upper arm will also be up and down with no angles going back to the elbows………………thus instead of the legs being ‘well under the dog’ the front legs will be way up in front of the dog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

If a line was to be drawn up the leg, it would emerge somewhere in the middle of the dog’s neck area, just like in Terriers.

 

There would be no triangle where the long side of the triangle from elbow to withers meeet, the 2 equal sides of withers to front and front to elbow would all be totally convoluted and discombobulated!

 

In other words, TOTALLY WRONG!

 

Now let’s another dose of flawed and substandard design, SHORT UPPER ARMS.

 

Yep, there are some breeders that choose to breed Labs with upper arms that are not the same size as the shoulder blade, thus that part of the front triangle is way lopsided! Which means that the overall dimensions will not be correct. The distance from the ground to the elbow will be much shorter than the distance from the elbow to the withers!

 

Many of these dogs would ‘wicket out’……………..not make the required height called for by the breed standard!

 

So, for those that can't follow the angles, the sizes, the proportions........................maybe they shouldn't be breeding at all.

August 28th

Impending Storm

 

“You mention that owners do much work with their dogs and that other owners don’t know much to do with their dogs. How can the ones that don’t know much to do with their dogs learn to do better?”

 

Oh boy, this will take some doing to explain.

 

First I have to say that I am very privileged to have so many wonderful owners for my Chambray dogs! Thank you to each and every one of you……………you all are the greatest Labrador owners there is anywhere!

 

Now, that all makes for happy-go-lucky home pets! They have it all, they have love, they have comfort, the have food, they have all the medical attention if needed, they play all the time, they are as happy as Horned Larks!

 

However, that is not enough to make perfect show dogs.

 

Wait, wait, let’s back up a minute…………………………on second thought, yes they are the perfect show dogs…………probably the best in the USA! That’s because they have the breeding, the pedigree, the best conformation to the breed standard possible………………………because I bred them that way, so show-wise looking, they are as good as it gets!

 

So, we have the greatest looking show dogs in the country…………….living the greatest lives possible by the awesome owners that they were placed with! That’s 2 great ingredients!

 

Seemingly those 2 items should be the winning combination……………………and it is if you only consider them being pets and ambassadors of the breed, which they are!

 

As show dogs at dog shows they need a 3rd ingredient! That presents us with a great dilemma.

They need to be in SHOW PRESENTATION MODE!

 

Across the country, the dogs that win the most, the most successful show dogs are those that are in a professional dog handler’s environment! That means that the owner’s influence has been drastically reduced! In our specialized lingo, the show dog world language it’s referred to as “removing the owner from the equation”!

 

Yep, all that pampered way of life living at home………………….the dog being spoiled rotten………………..doing what it wants whenever it wants is totally opposite of what will work in the ring for a competitive show presentation!

 

The highly competitive show ring is dominated by the professional handlers that make a living working with dogs day and night and then take them to the shows where they apply everything that was taught to the dog in the ring against other professionals and also against dog owners (amateurs) trying to compete against those pros.

 

In the August 27th blog, Do It Your Way, Do It The Pro Way, Do It The Chambray Way, I covered the statistics of success when it is just the Pros against the DIY types! I postulated that the pros win at about an 80% clip and the DIYs at about 20%..................I was being abundantly generous with that 20% gift, in reality that number may dip below 15%, giving the giant lion’s share to the pros.

 

Of course, I threw in the anomaly of the Florida Labrador ring where those numbers are tumbled and our way, the unique Chambray way dominates the success charts.

 

The reason the Chambray way is unique is that no pro or breeder in the country wants to take on the task of working with owner/influenced dogs. It is as simple as that! Even when a pro takes a Chambray Method-trained dog on as a client, the pros bitch and moan about how ‘un-trained’ the dog is!

 

It isn’t ‘untrained’………………it’s trained differently, it’s trained using whatever the individual owners can give us so that we, as the handlers can do our ‘magic’ in the ring with that dog………………………MAGIC because we have the highest success rate against those very professionals that complain about the lack of training the dogs have received.

 

Case in point, the top Chambray dog in the rankings in the country today. Championed and Grand Champion, with 2 Group 1’s to his resume and top 10 ranking under the Chambray Way Program before he was 2 years old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now at 2 ½ years old a Bronze Grand Champion with 4 Group 1’s to his credit and a Top 5 ranking as he matures and gets better!

 

So, the dog is handed to the pros with 2 years worth and value and the rub was that it wasn’t trained. Of course it was trained………………..just not the way that the pros do it (without the owners input)…………………not the customary way done to be successful……………..UNLESS you are in Florida where we do the HYBRID WAY…………….the Chambray Way, using what each owner can gives us.

 

Now here is the major downside to the hybridized-way……………………..owners only know so much…………….some owners know too little…………….or do too little……………………..and the results show up in the show ring when we as the handlers do our thing with that dog who has too much of the owner influence.

 

When that happens, working our special Chambray magic just doesn’t work at all. The dog is beyond stellar in conformation……maybe the best there is at the competition that day, however the dog acts like a butthead!

What do you think the results are going to be?

 

At a recent dog show at the very end when the judge is considering awarding Winners Dog. The judge has his lineup in front of him and he expressly comes to me with the Am Bred dog and says “Can you get anything out of this dog?”

 

Lacking totally confidence in the gorgeous dog that I now was handling…………..which happens to be the best moving and even the best conformationally dog in that lineup……………….I said “Let’s give it a go!” Problem was, I went and the dog decided to butt scoot the whole way around the ring!

 

Of course the butt-headedness kicks in and the go around the ring totally sucked! The judge shrugged at me and a lesser dog in conformation and poor movement is awarded the WD………………..just like that, all the magic that we bring into the ring, all the great conformation that I breed evaporates into thin air and the owners will then ask, “Why doesn’t my dog win?"

 

In this particular case, the dog has a great home, like all of the Chambray dogs, however the owners are not experienced show dog owners……………..these are their first show dogs!

 

Even though the dog comes occasionally to our ‘Lifetime Free Private Training Classes’, to our ‘Lifetime Free Night Training Classes’ and once in a while is left at Chambray for In-Kennel Training…………………the lack of knowhow in the home environment trumps all the other positives that is in place for the dog.

 

Now, we add the heightened level of competition in Florida in the Labrador ring where the vast majority if not all of the dogs winning are either in the Chambray Way or in the Professional Way and a dog that is not in presentation mode, no matter how well-bred or how much Chambray-influence we can add to the mix………………………it is a huge uphill climb to end up in the winner’s circle with that dog or any other dog in a similar situation.

 

So, the question is, “How can the ones that don’t know much to do with their dogs learn to do better?”

 

The answer is very individualized for each person. Right off the bat IT TAKES TIME comes to mind!

 

Yes, it takes time for anyone to see what is needed and then it takes them making the time that is needed to implement the different tasks that are required! I know that sounds like a conundrum, but that is what it is!

 

No one becomes a virtuoso violin player just because they are handed a Stradivarius…………………a great golfer because they use Tiger Woods clubs………………..a brain surgeon because they are given the tools to cut open someone’s head…………………….la meme chose, the same thing with a great dog.

 

IT TAKES TIME!

 

However, time is fleeting when it comes to dogs………………remember that Labradors age about 16 years the 1st year that a person owns it, 11 years the 2nd year and 9 years every year thereafter…………………… their lifespan is only 13 years!

 

Meanwhile a person that is really involved in learning to be a ‘decent’ dog trainer will get to 1st base in 4 years!!!!!!!!!! Maybe 10 years to be proficient and not to make too many mistakes in training.

 

A Labrador show dog doesn’t have 4 years! Especially in Florida!

 

Bottom line is that most owners don’t have the luxury of time to really learn how to train a dog in the time the dog has to get it done!

 

We are 1 Million % committed to each and every one of our Chambray dogs and even to others that we have incorporated into our programs………………….however each and every owner has to do as much as possible within their resources to make it happen as well.

 

If an owner doesn’t have the time, then the dog needs to have the time made by us or by a professional dog trainer. That is probably the best answer I can give.

August 27th

What Say Ye?

 

“I can’t get enough of your blogs! The days that you don’t print something to the blog is like a day without coffee!”

 

“Your Wicket Blog was the best ever!”

 

“Best blog by far that thing with the wicket!”

 

“Sometimes I go to your website 4 or 5 times to see if you have added anything new!”

 

“Just love it when you get on a tear!”

 

“Forget about buying Labrador books to learn about the breed, just reading your blogs has given me more than all the books sitting on my shelves!”

 

“I totally envy those owners that live in your state that have you as the teacher and guide. What a tremendous advantage they all have over all the other Labrador owners in the country.”

 

“No wonder most of the other Labrador breeders either have pulled up stakes and moved out of town or lay low by not showing up at the shows. I follow the InfoDog results and see several of the breeders from FL driving long distances to shows in other states to avoid going head to head with your dogs. Speaks volumes of your programs for the breed and how successful you all are.”

 

“There were some people that complained because you bring so many dogs to the shows, now I understand why, you have the biggest following of any Lab breeder in the country and you provide them with all that is needed to have great dogs and win with them.”

 

“I mentioned getting together to travel to Fl to create majors at one of the Facebook groups and did I hear it from many of those on those that follow. No one wanted to venture to where your dogs are competing. That is proof enough for me that what you preach is true blue.”

 

“Keep up the great work with your dogs and with the blogs too!”

 

“How in the world to you do all the things that you do? You mentor people, you train dogs, you blog, you do the websites, you travel to the shows………………….do you ever sleep?”

August 27th

Do It Your Way ~ Do It Their Way ~ Do It The Chambray Way

 

In most areas of the country, there are 2 possible ways for showing dogs. There is the DIY (Do It Your Way) way, where the owner/breeder becomes the exhibitor……………..the ‘handler’ of the dog in the ring.

 

There is also the pro way (Do It Their Way), where the dog is handed over to a professional handler to ply their trade in the ring with the dog.

 

Each has advantageous and disadvantages. The most obvious ad-in or ad-out right from the get go is $$$$$$$! Yep, money is a major consideration when contemplating which way to go. The DIYfers save tons of bucks when they handle the dogs themselves.

 

The huge downside to the DIY method is that the success rate of winning drops in direct proportions to whom is handling the dog. No two ways about it the pros win at an 80% rate vs. the 20% owner/handler way in the regular 2 system market.

 

That stark fact changes the balance of the $$$$$ thought because the owner/handler will end up entering their dog at maybe 10 times more shows to win the needed points to title the dog! So, the difference in money spent may be the same, just laid out either in the short run or in the long run!

 

The big problem with the ‘long run’ is that there will be owner/handled dogs that will run out of time with the DIY way! We witness that scenario all the time, worthy dogs with less than stellar handling that just don’t have forever as competitive entities in the ring……………thus running out of time!

 

So, now we entertain a most novel………………an avant garde alternative. Here in Florida there is a unique situation that is totally different than any other state or region of the country…………………..there is a distinct 3rd option for getting the job done!

 

The very interesting fact about that 3rd option is that it is the most successful of the 3 ways in Florida for dogs to be exhibited. This 3rd way is the Chambray Way, where we as breeders are also the trainers and are also the handlers and together with the dog owner’s participation………….we collectively win twice as much as both the Owner/Handler way and the Pro Way! So, chalk up 60% for Chambray, 30% for the Pros and a paltry 10% for the Owner/Handlers.

 

The ways and means of how things are done in the Labrador ring in Florida has so drastically changed because of the effects of the 3-way system, where the Chambray way has altered the business as usual modes of operating…………………….younger dogs are sweeping up the wins from the puppy classes or from the Bred By Exhibitor class that we show many of our top prospects from……………….the Chambray dogs are finishing their championships way before they reach 2 years of age. This really puts lots of pressure on the DIY dogs because their time to finish is even less with all these young dogs and puppies taking up the wins.

 

So, in essence you have the ‘do it your way’ the ‘do it their way’ or the ‘do it our way’……………….which way for you?

The Blogging Off Experience

August 27th

 

"My husband and I are small hobby breeders with Labradors. We started 9 years ago and now have 4 females we purchased from different show breeders and 1 male that we kept from one of our litters. We also have 2 puppies, from different litters that we also kept for showing and to add to our breeding program. My husband has been transferred to Florida and we are now in the process of moving to the Tampa area. We have been researching the show breeders in Florida and also the large numbers of shows throughout the year there. We also have heard of your involvement with Labradors in breeding, training and showing. We understand that our dogs would be competing against your dogs so we are not sure if you would be interested in working with us or not. What if anything can you offer us?”

 

First of all, welcome to Florida as I know that by the time I publish this blog, you will have already settled into the Brooksville FL area. Coincidentally we wil be right close by where you live several weekends a year at dog shows and there are show venues within an hour or two to the north in Ocala, the south in Tampa/Plant City and to the east in Orlando/Deland/Elkton and others!

 

You can meet up with me at any of those dog shows for us to talk up our mutual love and passion for Labradors or you are most welcomed to drive down to Miami where we have been raising, training and showing Labradors for the last 45 years.

 

If you want, I can evaluate each of your dogs from a conformational point of view, especially those that you plan on showing. This will give you a good idea of whether your dogs will be competitive in the tough Florida circuit.

 

In your very detailed emails to me, you mentioned that you would be interested in working with our different programs. So, knowing what you have on hand to work with is vital for me to guide you for the future. There are many options open to you and your dogs, especially the training and conditioning programs. That training would include dog training and handler training for you since you said you are very interested in eventually handling your dogs.

 

Right now there are several folk that came on board with Chambray as already established breeders with their own dogs to work with. I met with each and evaluated their stock and made recommendations accordingly.

 

One person first came to me with 5 different dogs of her own. Only one of those dogs was accepted into our programs for the betterment of the breed. The other dogs, although within the parameters of the breed standard were just too far back in top show conformation to continue on with here in Florida.

 

Even if those dogs were bred to top producing stud dogs, the litters produced would be 7 to 10 years behind in conformation to what is winning today in Florida. So heeding my advice and wanting to be part of our betterment of the breed movement, this person has subsequently placed all but the one approved female and has since added 2 Chambray dogs to her ensemble, including the top pick show female from BIS BBE Silver/Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter. Now this person is totally up to date with the level of top show dogs in our region. As part of our mentorship program, she has also bred to our top yellow show champion, producing a top level litter of puppies that were part of our Puppy Placement Program and they will debut at the shows in October, all of them under our Owner’s Program for Show Management. That guarantees that those puppies will have the absolute best chances of achieving their AKC championships…………………making this person a ‘breeder of champions’ for the first time since she has been into Labradors.

 

As can be seen, we have a total open door policy when it comes to the betterment of the breed. We provide all of our show-related services to dogs that meet our high standards for the breed.

 

The next step for the 2 of us is to get together and put our cards on the table and let’s see what we have to play with.

August 26th

Happy Birthday To My Baby Girl Jessie (26 Today)

 

The Wicked Wicket Affair

 

First of all, I would like to thank all those that emailed or called expressing their sentiments (100% favorable) about the blog on the recent adventures at the Atlanta shows. There were several that proclaimed that particular essay as the ‘best’ blog ever!

Most that corresponded were inquiring as the ‘why’s and therefore’s’, since none had ever witnessed the ‘calling for the wicket’ procedure.

 

In fact, several real old timers that were present for the ‘wayward train’ event could not recall the last show where a handler called for another dog to be measured. It took my recollection of an event in 1993 here in Florida when a well-known Labrador breeder/judge used the wicket in the ring to make a point!

 

However, it must be pointed out that it was not called for by a handler or a breeder in the ring, it was done by that particular judge to bring attention to the newly enacted Breed Standard revisions that were jammed down the throat of the vast majority of Labrador show breeders by a few that were running the Labrador parent club at the time.

 

One of many new additions to the existing Labrador Breed Standard was the height disqualifications that called for the pulling of a wicket to determine if the dog was under or oversized. Up until that fateful year, for as long as Labradors had been brought into the US, bred for over half a century and exhibited, the breed standard allowed the judges to use their discretion as far as height was concerned. That is the world-wide protocol still in use in every other country today, but changed that year here in the US by a self-proclaimed dictator-like group of good old boys that were entrenched as the head honchos of the time at the parent breed club.

 

Of course by now from the tone of my writing above, it is apparent that I was not too enthralled with the revisions made to the standard then and neither were the thousands of other Labrador breeders across the country that eventually formed an uprising, then take to court the few that supposedly represented the Labrador community at the time.

 

I still have in my possession thousands of postcards that were mailed to me and the other half mailed to the AKC (it was a 2-part mail-in campaign where those protesting the changes mailed identical postcards……………1 to the AKC and 1 to me………….as record of just how many Labrador breeders, exhibitors, handlers and the like were in total disagreement with the changes made and most important, why no one from the dog show world was included into the group of 4 or 5 field/hunt people making the changes!

 

Ok, enough water under the bridge……………..actually in that case the water was down the commode!

 

So, back to the now and present…………………..the calling of the wicket to measure a dog in question:

 

Since it is part of a badly written, revised as of 1993 standard, we live with it and actually hope that none of the badly written sections ever rear their ugly heads………………like what happened in Atlanta this weekend, 22 years later!

 

Now a days in 2015 where the parent breed club works much closer with all segments of the fancy, be it field trials, conformation and whatever………………. judges use their ‘judgement’ if there is a glaring undersized dog or a whopper dog of epic proportions.

 

The wicket remains at the superintendent’s desk for other breed rings that make size matter as the traditions of those breeds call for. In Labradors, neither long-held tradition since the beginnings of the breed nor world-wide consensus that is still in effect today the world over, of course except the good ole USA, thanks to the small-minded, arrogant gents of yesteryear.

 

The protocol for the use of the wicket is that either the judge can call for the wicket or an exhibitor or handler in the ring at the time can request for a particular dog to be measured. The request must be made to the ring steward before that particular dog is examined by the judge.

 

The judge must inquire from the protestor what he/she is challenging. In the Atlanta case, the judge asked the handler/protestor if he was questioning if the dog was too tall or not tall enough.

 

Since the protestor had already exclaimed publicly and out loud that the dog was too short, he conveyed that to the judge as well.

The judge then makes arrangements with the ring steward to have the show superintendent bring the wicket and also for the AKC Rep to oversee the operation.

 

In this case, all those steps had already been taken since it was very apparent that the handler in question was going to pull the size card issue from the fiasco of the day before.

 

Of course now that it is history and now part of the official AKC record books that the challenge of the dog’s size was more than quashed as the judge, the AKC Rep and all those dozens, scores and maybe more than 100 folk gathered around ringside were witness to………………….that particular dog meets the size requirements as set forth by the revised Labrador breed standard.

 

As to the “why’s”…………………..who knows what lurks in the mind of folk nowadays. Anger, frustration, envy, personal conflicts with others……………………….who knows!

 

The thing that we all must keep in mind is that this is all about the dogs, the betterment of the breed at all times and when we allow for personalities to influence anything about the breed, then we open up a Pandora’s Box bigger than any individual.

 

Let’s hope that the vast consensus here and today has a way of curtailing any further personal agendas and conflicts from disrupting the well-being of the Labrador Retriever as happened in the early 90’s and at Atlanta most recently.

August 25th

No Rhyme No Rhythm

 

The Rhyme And Rhythm Of Judging

 

There isn’t any!

 

Yep, you read right………..or left or whatever your political leanings ascribe you to do.

 

There just isn’t any flow whatsoever from one day to the next among the judge’s choices for winners or even for breed!

 

I drives me batty, insane and cuckoo too to try and explain to newbie owners, intermediates owners and even the crusty diehard owners that have weathered knee-deep crud judging and yet they still hang around for more assaults of bass-awkward judgement.

 

I can explain 99% of anything Labrador! You can wad your bucks and head to the bank with that statement…………………….however I am totally perplexed with that measly 1% which encompasses the matter of judging!

 

I CAN’T EXPLAIN IT!

 

There I said it! I fess up, man up, and throw up that I don’t know something that deals with Labradors!

 

My owners want to know why their dogs don’t win. My owners want to know why another dog just won.

 

The only truth answer………………the one worth any salt, any pepper is that their dog is worthy to be showing.

 

That’s it!

 

It either meets my highest standards for showing and I encourage the owner to follow suit and have us show the dog or it falls short of my ‘WICKET’ and it doesn’t make the A-Team!

 

I cannot make it any simpler!

 

If the dog has been chosen to be on the Chambray A-Team that means that there are 4 other Chambray dogs that were held back for that one spot on the show roster!

 

Once that 1 in 5 dog has been anointed by me……………………the supreme expert in all matters concerning Labradors (well, at least 99% of those matters), then that 1 in 5 dog is taken and trained, conditioned, trained some more and then taken to the shows to train some more in the ways of the show world!

 

Then we stand in judgement by who knows what the agenda for the day is!

 

Is it a color thing? Is it a yellow day today? Nah, let’s give it to the blacks………………wait, what about the chocolates that seldom win!

 

Oh, it’s a ‘movement’ judge……….yeah that’s the ticket, the dogs that move out and seem to be in the best shape……………….those will be the winners for the day.

 

Wait, no this judge prefers to have them stand still as statues! “Miss, if your dog had not sat down, I probably would have given it the points today!” that was straight out of the judge’s mouth at one of the shows this last weekend. Never mind that several of his choices couldn’t lift a duck off the ground on a retrieve because their front assembly was so far forward that one dog could not hold his head not even at elbow height!

 

Nope, no rhyme no rhythm on judging………seems that I will just have to be content being that 99% !!!!!!!!!!!

August 25th

The Labrador Coat

 

Coat: The coat is a distinctive feature of the Labrador Retriever. It should be short, straight and very dense, giving a fairly hard feeling to the hand. The Labrador should have a soft, weather resistant undercoat that provides protection from water, cold and all types of ground cover. A slight wave down the back is permissible. Woolly coats, soft silky coats, and sparse slick coats are not typical of the breed, and should be severely penalized.

 

At the Atlanta dog shows this past weekend there was so much brouhaha with the ill-conceived ‘pulling of the wicket’ fiasco………………….however, all was not lost with the curly shuffle!

 

There were actual positive moments of dialog from some of the local Labrador breeders from that area. Of course they approached me because of the beacon-like blog where there are no holds barred and anything and everything Labrador is fair game………………………..as long as it leads to that eureka moment, the betterment of the breed.

 

From the dozen or so folk that took the opportunity to seek me out for questions or discussions, 75% of the subject matter was about coat! That was very surprising as I thought for sure most people that don’t know me personally but read my blogs would be more concerned with structure, movement or cow-hocks!

 

So, this blog will cover the Coat of the Labrador Retriever as called for by the breed standard.

 

It should be short, straight and very dense, giving a fairly hard feeling to the hand.

 

That first sentence from the breed standard says it all in very plain, easy to understand English! There is no ambiguities, no legal jargon, no double entendre, no reading between the lines, no interpretations at all……………………it is a simple as simple gets!

SHORT…………………….STRAIGHT………………………..VERY DENSE…………………………………FAIRLY HARD FEEL!

 

Short means short…..that is as short, sweet and descriptive as a passage gets.

 

Short doesn’t mean long, it doesn’t mean medium length……………………….IT MEANS SHORT!

 

STRAIGHT means straight………….not curly, not corkscrewed, not crimped, not wholly………………..it is either straight or it’s not!

 

VERY DENSE……….not plush, not bushy, not flowing, not dripping, not flyaway, and not sparse.

 

FAIRLY HARD FEEL……….not soft, not slick, not silky!

 

So, those dogs with the ‘big hair’ look that is popular in many southern states by folk of the opposite sex, just isn’t meant for Labradors of any sex.

 

Those with long flowing coats seen in the Golden Retriever……………….WRONG for our breed!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Those whose hair flows with the wind as an Afghans do…………………..No……….No……. and a couple of more No No!

 

Those folk erroneous in their ways that speak with the term “Dripping with coat” ……………NOPE to anything dripping other than water that should really bead off the dog!
 

Our America………………….where bigger is better………………where the more the merrier………………….where give an inch ~ take a football field rules……………..where eight is never enough, gotta have ten instead……………….where a breed standard is written but is said not to be followed, instead every Tim, Zach and Gerry can brew up their very own concoction and still call it a Labrador Retriever, even if it doesn’t look like a Lab, doesn’t swim like a Lab or even quack like a Lab…………………….then to them it must be a Lab!

 

One of the kind folk that I spoke to stated that they preferred the heavier, thicker coat as it insulates the dog in harsh cold weather so much better than the short, straight, dense, course to the feel coat as described in the standard.

 

Well, gee whiz and by golly……………..how about a Beaver tail instead of the Otter tail as described by the standard. Hey, I am not a Beaver, but I'm pretty certain that the flat paddle board tail that a Beaver has probably can make the Beaver swim faster.

 

How about ears that stand straight up over the head instead of the ears that fold down by the side of the head…………after all, straight up ears can hear better.

 

How about a roach back like a Greyhound for the dog to run faster.

 

Do you see where I am going with this? If free choice is allowed to change at will whatever doesn’t suit an individual, then pretty soon we will have so-called Labradors that look like Wildebeest!

August 24th

Because Inquiring Minds Want To Know

 

Phew!

 

HotLanta is now in the history books!

 

Phew that again!

 

The whole weekend could not have been better written if the one and only M. Night Shyamalan had conjured up another twisted, sordid, and convoluted but juicy script!

 

You name it and it was in the story line! Drama, comedy…………….heroes and villains………….did I say drama?…………….Because there was plenty galore to go round for those from the normally laidback state to get excited about!

 

Thursday’s event went quite well for Team Chambray with our rising super star, Chambrays Galactic N Counter “Gayla”, taking a Winners Bitch and Ch Winquest Chambray Famous Amos finishing off his AKC Grand Champion’s title in befitting fashion with his 3rd Best Of Breed for the year!

 

So, Amos now shares the podium……………..an illustrious group of 15 Chambray Grand Champions, adding yet another to our Florida state record AKC Grand Champions.

 

Our top special’s champion, Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting was awarded the Select Gr Ch pts.

 

Debuting for the weekend was 6-month old Chambray’s Tanked On The Boulevard, taking Reserve Winners Dog awards. Didn’t win any points, but his presence as a top show prospect was evident by the judge’s awards and also his conformation quality.

 

Friday’s event was demure in comparison to what lay in waiting for Saturday’s main event……………….Gayla shone brightly once again and took back-to-back Winners Bitch………………..and Tanked again was awarded RWD.

 

Now we arrive at the ‘big blowout’ event, Saturday’s ‘shot heard around the world’ fiasco!

There we all were in the ring for the Best Of Breed competition. Everyone on their best behavior looking nice and orderly, everyone minding their P’s and Q’s!

 

So, there I was teaming up with my buddy, newly-crowned Grand Champion WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos…………………………. he, having won the remaining points with a spectacular Best Of Breed at Thursday’s mild tasting event.

 

A total of 5 champions were lined up with the Winners Dog and the Winners Bitch bringing up the rear of the lineup. Everything was the way it should be………………………….all the dogs went through their paces, each was examined by the judge as should be done and then she has in front of her the lineup to choose from for Best Of Breed, Best Of Winners, Best Of Opposite Sex, Select Grand male (no Sel Gr Ch females were present).

 

She makes up here mind and Tucker is awarded Best Of Breed……………………….the Winners Bitch is awarded BOW, Evie gets the nod for BOS and one of the male champions is designated Select Gr Ch.

 

So far, so good……………………..all is in compliance with Law & Order…………………the Gods of Olympus are satiated with wine, cheese and grapes……………………..all AKC rules and regulations have been adhered to and then………………………………………….the roar that stops that show dead in its tracks!

 

Totally out of protocol……………………out of order and breaking the peaceful calm of the Peach State, where even molasses has a drawl and crawls out of the bottle twice as slow………………the handler whose dog had NOT won the Best Or Breed………………who once again was relegated to a mere Select abruptly approaches the judge (a no-no in itself……………as all communications in the ring are transacted through the ring steward)……………………the handler bellows out “I want the wicket pulled on that dog!”

 

For those of you standing on first base of Dog Shows 101 (Who’s On First)……………………..there is a prim and proper protocol for calling for a height measurement……………………………..it must be done prior to the dog in question being EXAMINED!

 

NOT AFTER the judge has finished examining the dog and absolutely, positively not after the awarding of the placements! Especially by the handler of the dog that was beaten for the top honors.

 

Now confusion sets in and it all starts to slide down hill, like the old slippery slope all lathered up with soap and let’s add some good old elbow grease to make it even a more treacherous descent into the abyss!

 

The judge now gets all flustered and forgets the rules and regulations, just as did the professional handler by throwing the wrongly-timed penalty flag of his own.

 

The show superintendent and the AKC rep are both summoned to ring 11………………..now totally paralyzed with improper, erroneous, ill-conceived and arse-like procedures being enacted!

 

The Keystone Cops were never funnier………………………….my all-time favorite Three Stooges could not have created a better skit!

I was fit to be tied, a panther stalking the ring…………………..the handler on Tucker was fighting mad, the bellicose objector was enjoying the moment like there was no tomorrow…………………..the huge crowd around ringside was growing by the moment as regular folk, exhibitors and other professional handlers were congregating around ringside watching the ‘Greatest Show On Earth’ inside the ring!

 

The flustered and totally flabbergasted judge, now up in years……………….should have known better, but age has a way of erasing what was and should be, continued on plodding away with the improper procedures, including what we now suspect was the setting of the measurement at the wrong notch.

 

As we all know that 2 wrongs don’t make a right, the judge proceeded to apply the wicket without setting her hand at the appropriate spot at the highest spot on the withers. So, one bad move after another……………………………slapstick comedy would have been proud!

 

With all eyes on center stage, the judge then makes her final lack of judgement move and slides the improperly set wicket on the dog and it doesn’t measure up!

 

At that precise moment clearer minds speak up and Jessica Herzon alerts the AKC Rep that the whole procedure is out of whack because the judge has already awarded the placements!

 

The AKC Rep now realizes the comedy of errors that has just played itself out in front the whole peanut gallery and calls a timeout and then nullifies the proceedings by taking the wicket away and proclaiming that ‘nothing has transpired’ because proper protocol was not followed and “On with the show we must go!”

 

Needless to say, there was venom galore at that moment and the rest of the day everywhere at that venue. Each faction doing its best to rally support for their cause. In reality, I could sense the pulse running about 99% in favor of Tucker and 1% going down the tubes with the other side!

 

The ‘Shootout at the OK Corral’ was reserved for Sunday’s show. All the players were set and primed. Ringside seating was at a premium and standing room around the ring by interested parties was unusually high for an 8 AM curtain call!

 

The cast of characters were in in place when the Best Of Breed competition started. There was an electrically charged atmosphere both inside and outside the gigantic Atlanta Expo Center. A huge, ominous black sky, the prelude to a massive cold front that was headed for our area was about to hit at about the same time that all the champions entered the ring………………….so outside driving rain, thunder and lightning!

 

Likewise inside the building, saying the atmosphere was thick as pea soup would be describing it lightly…………………..maybe black-eyed pea soup would be more regionally-apropos, seeing as we were in our neighboring state of Georgia!

 

Just like clockwork orange, as soon as Tucker was about to be examined, right on time as the ring protocol dictates, the antagonist calls for the ‘wicket’!

 

As all the players were anticipating this final act, the AKC Rep was on hand as was the show superintendent and they had the wicket already at the judge’s table.

 

The judge took the complaint and noted it in his judge’s handbook and proceeded to examine the dog in question and every other dog in the ring.

 

During my turn to be examined with my exhibit (Amos), a verbal altercation took place right behind me between the antagonist and protagonist………………..which the judge had to intermediate and set order back in his ring!

 

Having concluded the examination of all the champions, then the judge proceeded to take charge of the wicket operation. He took his time to set the wicket at the right height, double checking and showing it to Tucker’s handler and also the AKC Rep.

 

Then he took the dog with the handler into the middle of the ring and had the handler set Tucker up. He then set his hand on the spot where the top of the withers rest and asked the handler if she was ready for the wicket. He proceeded to slide the wicket from the rear over the dog’s back until it was firmly resting on top of the withers and the legs of the wicket were off the floor.

 

Way more than enough! A hair makes it and this was way in the standard for the correct height for the breed!

 

This dog passes the wicket for height requirements” was the judge’s official proclamation!

 

Pandemonium was set loose! The house came down with clapping, cheering, whopping and whistles from all 4 corners of the ring and then some! The 99% in favor faction was in major celebratory mode with the very popular verdict handed down by the judge of the day. There were even some folk whose demeanor was more like those seen at hockey games where even some middle finger pointing was going on.

 

Of course the Latin blood in me let loose a torrent of ‘woof-woof’ and other extremely loud bursts of ‘in your face’ shout outs and other hawkish gladiatorial ventilations!

 

“Yes, yes, yes!” How about one more “Yes” for the road!

 

So, now it’s back to business as usual………………….we are back home and the rest is history!

 

 

PS: Did I mention that Tucker proceeded to take his 23rd Best Of Breed after all that drama filled saga?

 

Well, he did indeed......................seems that the judge got to really go over him with that wicket ordeal and 'felt' that he was hands over the competition!

 

If that wicket had not been called into play, it may have gone another way.......................goes to show that it is best to let sleeping dogs lay!

August 17th

Those Were The Days My Friend

 

Each blog published brings an array of more questions…………………..so the more answers provided the more doors that open up with people wanting to know more…………….that’s a good thing!

 

I didn’t come up with that brilliant observation about the conformation quality of Labradors being a regional thing…………………….that is one of those ‘known’ agendas among those in the ‘know’, those that partake in the scuttlebutt act of disseminating information!

 

About 25 years ago, the northern Labrador breeders would contact the traveling professional handlers and send their dogs down here for easy wins and titles galore!

 

Yep, it was ‘known’ through the back-fence of talk and the grapevine of gossip that if you wanted to finish a dog, that you could send it down to Florida where ‘shitey’* Labradors were being bred and exhibited.

 

*This is the exact verbiage that was used by the dwellers of the higher latitudes of the era to describe the Labradors in Florida back then.

 

A little bit more of a history lesson: Another term used back then by the Yankee Doodles was ‘emptying out the garbage can’ on the hapless Florida breeders. What this entailed was the selling of the bottom of the barrel of puppies to the 'more-than-glad-to-receive-them', Florida breeders of the time!

 

That was then! Now, those same breeders, north of the Mason Dixon line know not to send anything down here because it will end up being ground up chum compared to the heightened level of competition in Florida.

 

Yep, no more easy wins, no more fast as greased lightning champion’s titles…………………..yep, those ‘good ole days’………………….feeding on the lesser than stellar local dogs are long gone and Florida is now known, through the ever churning, mouth-to-ear, wiggle waggle form of communication as ‘you better bring it or your wasting your money’!

 

Just as Florida was the whipping boy of the times before 1995, so do we now have areas of the country were the conformation of the dogs pales in comparison with dogs from the tougher regions. So, now the smart breeders/exhibitors pack up the van, truck or trolley and head to those areas where the pickins are indeed slim and they can descend upon that area and do as the Roman conquerors would do....................veni, vidi, vici!

 

Just this year alone we have seen where there have been half a dozen dogs that were showing in Florida and couldn’t win a 4th place out of the Open Classes weekend after weekend and then just like that, off they scamper to greener pastures north and west of Florida and by golly, they win and come back victors with champion’s titles!

 

So, yes to the several that inquired as to how it could be easy to win with lesser than stellar dogs in one area and then have really great looking dogs not be able to win in our area. Yes, it does exists and it does happen………………….that’s the way it is.

 

Yes, it does also make for champions that may not be worthy enough to be champions in one area, but seemingly have it easy somewhere else. These are facts of life.

 

So, when looking to improve a breeding program, it is not just about breeding to a ‘champion’ that makes it or breaks it…………………it is about knowing the true value of that dog.

 

Writing this blog brought back memories of how it was then………………….but the best thing about the whole thing is savoring how it is now……………..bitter sweet could not be more appropriate! 

 

Especially knowing that Chambray has contributed so heavily to the drastic change from yesteryear to the now and present!

 

Jackie Gleason said it best "How sweet it is!"

August 16th

Improvement Breeding

 

Improvement Breeding: There are no shortcuts, there are no abbreviated methods, no cheat sheets, no CliffsNotes*

 

* just so that some don’t email in to correct me, (CliffsNotes, formerly Cliffs Notes, originally Cliff's Notes and often, erroneously, CliffNotes)

 

Learning about the breed and breeding correctly takes years and years and even then some will never develop the ‘art’ or ‘science’ or the ‘gift’ or the ‘ability’ or the ‘eye’ or whatever it is that it takes for producing the quality of dogs that will make a difference for generations to come.

 

I receive so many inquiries asking how to go about improving what they have to breed with.

 

The answer eludes me time and time again, because how does anyone suggest improvements when the dogs are not available to be seen. It would be like those 3 blind* mice running around in circles!

 

*Is it politically correct to use ‘blind mice’ as a reference point? Or am I going to receive a backlash from the Blind Mice Society?

 

The ‘glutton for punishment’ in me will take a stab at creating a scenario where some may get the gist of what’s involved in improvement breeding!

 

Here goes! First let’s establish a rating system for dogs that will be used in a breeding program. We will refine our samples to dogs that are showable. That means that they possess the breed standard qualities that would be acceptable at a dog show.

 

Of course that would exclude 90 something % of the breeding age Labrador population! Yes, only about 10 of the entire population of Labradors will actually have the conformation to be able to show!

 

So, for those 10%ers, we will establish a rating scale. This rating scale would start at 1 and go to 100.

 

1 Being the lowest conformational acceptable dog seen at dog shows. A ‘1’ adheres to the breed standard, but they never ever win points (at well-entered shows). Of course at one of those shows where 3 total dogs show up, then it may be the lucky one that the judge is more or less forced to give the points to.

 

So, 1 is the loneliest number that you will ever do………………….now let’s say that a 50 is an average enough looking dog that may win some points, but most probably will never win those 2 major-pointed wins over a large entry to finish its championship. Probably half the dogs that ever show, are somewhere around the 50’s.

 

A dog rated at 75……………..with a protracted showing campaign will probably earn those 2 majors and 15 total points for an AKC champion’s title……………..it may take a while to materialize and it may take a professional handler to get the job done.

 

As a comparison, here at Chambray, we have set the minimum for a puppy to be declared as show potential at 92.

 

Yep, those are mighty high standards. But even at a 92, that dog may be sitting on the sidelines on the 2nd or 3rd string of our dogs, watching those others that either rated higher to begin with or developed into the 95+s that we have on our starting lineup at the shows!

 

Depending on the region of the country, at any given show, there will be dogs that will range from that 1 to that 100. Using a bell curve, in Florida, the biggest part of the curve will have dogs ranging from the 70’s to the 90’s……………….in other areas where the competition is not as hardy, the mid-point of the bell curve may sit around 45 to 70.

 

Ok, we have set the parameters to which we will deal with for improvement breeding. Of course starting at 1 has already excluded 90% of the breeding age general population.

 

Let’s say that Nancy Drew, a breeder/exhibitor from Florida owns 5 female Labradors and she once in a rare while brings one of her better puppies to show. None of her dogs ever win because in the 25+ years she has been breeding (5 litters a year) she has never ever bred a single champion of her own, nor has any of the ones she placed with clients ever championed either. Her dogs range in the ranking system from above from 35 to 49!

 

Now when she considers a breeding, she looks at her 5 female and chooses one of them. Below is what she has to work with.

  • 35

  • 39

  • 41

  • 45

  • 49

 

So, she decides to give 41 a chance to ‘prove’ herself!

 

So, she starts to research potential stud dogs that others have used in their breeding programs and may have produced some worthwhile puppies.

 

Out in Willow Creek Iowa is Ch Hercules Globe Trotter (totally made up, fictitious name) and she sends for his sperm. She has ‘heard’ of him and seen photos at the spiffy website Hercules Labradors sports on the Internet……………….Drew was also very impressed with how nice Trotter’s owners were when she spoke to them.

 

To Nancy, this surely is an improvement breeding because her dog couldn’t win a point here in Florida and Trotter won his AKC title before he was 4 years old, showing in the Mid-West.

 

Trotter was one of those dogs that had a long showing from the classes before he was to finish at 4 years old because his rating is a 75.

 

Now at the exact same time that all this research and breeding by Drew is taking place, here at Chambray, we are considering which of our females will have the 5 to 7 litters for the year. There are well over 65 breeding age females that are part of our Chambray Owner’s Breeding Program and keep in mind that none of those actually lives with us at Chambray. They are all someone’s pet and at the same time the top show dogs in the country.

 

These dogs under consideration were the top show puppies from the litters they came from. They all started with a minimum of a 92……………………and there are a handful in this group that range from 97 to 99.

 

I have never ever given a 100 to any puppy or dog, but there is one that should be and several young ones right now that eventually will push up to that 99 too.

 

So, Nancy starts out with a 41 and breeds to a 75……………..meanwhile her direct competitor in the same state and same shows will be selecting from a group of females that are already champions, or near there……………some grand champions……………….even a Silver Grand Champion and BIS winner! All of them with a rating of over 95!

 

Of course the stud dogs being considered for these ladies in waiting could come from the Chambray’s Stud Dog Program. Dogs that each started out in the high 90s and with very shortened show careers, many finishing their championships by the time they were 18 months old and those that started later, finishing in a year’s time………………….now, the astonishing fact is that they have done all this in the toughest state to show Labs……………..in Florida!

 

That last statement proven over and over again………………….dogs that can’t beat their shadows here in Florida, take I-75/I-95 due north or I-10 west and win with ease and come back to Florida with their champion’s titles!

 

Now, once in a while, we will also expand our horizons and breed out to outside lines to stud dogs from other top producing breeders. Of course not lowering our standards as each and every dog considered for breeding must bring the same high ratings that our females possess. Each male considered will come into the breeding with some type of contribution to make the production of our puppies meet our highest expectations.

 

So, now which breeding program will be producing the next super competitive dogs, those bred from the 41 X 75 pair or from a breeding between a 98 X 97?

 

 

Here are some facts:

 

The greater the difference between the sire and dam’s number, the greater the inconsistencies between puppies in a given litter.

 

Improvement comes in small gains, so even if a puppy is as good as or better than one of the parents from the 41 X 75 breeding, the most that could be gained may make it to an 80! However, the range of puppies could very well start at 35!

 

Puppies from a low-numbered parent carry those genes in the recessive, so even a better looking puppy such as an 80, when they are bred as adults, will produce puppies with numbers much lower.

 

So, improvement breeding is all relative to what the breeder/owner has on hand, what they have available to them to use in their breeding program. So their produce………….their puppies will be pretty much in the same rating range, give or take 5 or so point’s better, if that!

 

Throughout the years, what has been seen over and over again, are breeders that enter the fancy to show their dogs, but unfortunately start out way behind the eight ball with dogs whose ratings are far below what is present in our state, where the competition is the highest anywhere in the country. Within a relatively short period of time, through lack of success, the vast majority just give up.

 

So, we come back trying to find a good answer for someone inquiring about improving their lot. As can be seen by the above scenario, it is all relative to the actual area of the country and also to what an owner/breeder starts out with………………………..and then add to the quandary, if they are going to be showing and want to be successful.

 

Any suggestions?

August 15th

"Nobody Uses The Breed Standard To Breed"

 

“Nobody really uses the breed standard to breed dogs. That’s what my breeder says. She says that people breed one dog to the other and get puppies that look like the parents. If they look like Labradors in the first place, then the puppies will look like Labradors too!”

 

WHAT???????????

 

OMG?????????????

 

No wonder we have such a mess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

A breed standard is in place as a safety valve to ensure that the particular breed is uniform and stays looking like that for a very long time. That is what an individual breed is, UNIQUE!

 

The breed standard offers that one of a kind look so that it can’t be confused with another breed!

 

That’s why each breed has a breed standard and if not followed judiciously, then eventually members of that breed will not look like other members of the same breed, in other words we will have the huge mess we have with our breed, the Labrador Retriever.

Yes, the Labrador Retriever that can look like 10 (or more) different breeds!

 

We have short, pudgy ones that look like porcine, we have galoots that resemble little ponies, we have huge big coated dogs that look more like little wholly mammoths…………………….wait a minute, did I say they look like different breeds…………………when actually some look like different species of animals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

From one end of the spectrum and even beyond into the twilight zone of different looking specimens and even resembling other species!

 

Now here’s the real big rub………………………….I’m not talking about those observed out in the wilds of the human population……………………..no siree Bob, I’m talking about those seen at all-breed dog shows to specialties, to obedience trials to hunt test and field trials, to rally to agility and to all the other canine event venues!

 

Places that you would think that the owners/exhibitors/handlers/breeders would know better about the breed that they purportedly own……………………………..they do own it, just what is it?

 

Let’s do the skim milk process here and just deal with those dogs being exhibited at conformation events. Of course, this the venue where the spotlight is directed to the conformation, the ‘look’ if you will of the dog!

 

Being that the dogs are judged for their conformation, you would conjure images of Labradors lined up that were cookie cutters of each other, after all, they were supposedly created using the exact same parameters, the exact same breed standard for one……………………one for all!

 

But lo and behold, there are a myriad of types, styles, blends, tastes……………………this is beginning to sound more like a coffee sampler than a dog exposition! 

 

There are short ones, tall ones, thin ones and wide ones, fat ones, and even skinny ones. There are really heavy coated ones, regular coated ones and wholly coated ones as well, some have thin hair, others sparse coated, some soft and furry, others stiff as wire……………………..some with very straight slick hair and others with tons of curls, and then some with a wavy coat.

 

Did I say 10 different looking breeds?………………………………..then we can let the floodgates from hell open up and we can look at all those others that are owned by the regular folk, those that don’t know about shows, the non-competitive venue owners, the pet owners, the puppy producer dogs, the backyard dogs, the junkyard dogs and on! So that would be a 10X affair…….yes 100s of different, supposedly the same, but assuredly not the same looking breed of dog!

 

Then, they all claim them to be Labrador Retrievers! After all they all have AKC, UKC, ABC, NBC, CBS and all the other alphabet soup of dog registry abbreviations…………………..plus pedigrees galore that are a miles long according to the advertising and promotions at their websites.

 

“What makes you so successful?” is something that I get a lot now a days……………………….simple……………………I breed dogs that correspond to the breed standard! They look like Labradors should, they act as Labradors should, they can even quack like a Labrador, well maybe not really…………..but hey, you get the drift here.

August 15th

More On The Breed Standard VS. Breeding

 

Head: Skull-The skull should be wide; well-developed but without exaggeration. The skull and foreface should be on parallel planes and of approximately equal length. There should be a moderate stop-the brow slightly pronounced so that the skull is not absolutely in a straight line with the nose. The brow ridges aid in defining the stop. The head should be clean-cut and free from fleshy cheeks; the bony structure of the skull chiseled beneath the eye with no prominence in the cheek. The skull may show some median line; the occipital bone is not conspicuous in mature dogs. Lips should not be squared off or pendulous, but fall away in a curve toward the throat. A wedge-shape head, or a head long and narrow in muzzle and back skull is incorrect as are massive, cheeky heads. The jaws are powerful and free from snippiness- the muzzle neither long and narrow nor short and stubby. Nose-The nose should be wide and the nostrils well developed. The nose should be black on black or yellow dogs, and brown on chocolates. Nose color fading to a lighter shade is not a fault. A thoroughly pink nose or one lacking in any pigment is a disqualification. Teeth-The teeth should be strong and regular with a scissors bite; the lower teeth just behind, but touching the inner side of the upper incisors. A level bite is acceptable, but not desirable. Undershot, overshot, or misaligned teeth are serious faults. Full dentition is preferred. Missing molars or pre-molars are serious faults. Ears-The ears should hang moderately close to the head, set rather far back, and somewhat low on the skull; slightly above eye level. Ears should not be large and heavy, but in proportion with the skull and reach to the inside of the eye when pulled forward. Eyes-Kind, friendly eyes imparting good temperament, intelligence and alertness are a hallmark of the breed. They should be of medium size, set well apart, and neither protruding nor deep set. Eye color should be brown in black and yellow Labradors, and brown or hazel in chocolates. Black, or yellow eyes give a harsh expression and are undesirable. Small eyes, set close together or round prominent eyes are not typical of the breed. Eye rims are black in black and yellow Labradors; and brown in chocolates. Eye rims without pigmentation is a disqualification.

 

The different heads seen in Labradors in general are as varied as the body types. Again from one end of the spectrum to the other. Fads have come and gone, with the pendulum swinging widely, but in general, coming back to a more moderate conformation.

 

In the dog show venues, both all-breeds and specialties, heads are more typically correspondent to the breed standard as there isn’t the huge variable seen in the general populations. As mentioned above, there have been fads such as the ‘Rottie’ heads of the 90’s, which fortunately came and went and moderation returned. Labrador heads look like Labradors, so not much from this section to really write home about.

August 14th

Contracts Not!

Someone asked about contracts.

 

Contracts to me are a hindrance!

 

I work the old fashion way, I trust you with the placement of one of my best puppies…………………..I provide the one of a kind owner’s programs………………in other words, I do everything I say I would do……………….then I sit back and see if the owners of the dog appreciate all that was done for them and then they hold up their part of the agreement!

 

If they don’t, then it’s “Hasta la vista baby!”

 

It doesn’t get any easier to understand than that!

 

Either they are appreciative and work out in the association or they somehow are misfits and don’t.

 

I don’t do misfits! So out with the wash they go!

 

I have absolute no time to waste in a negative situation with anyone………………..anyone!

 

For every 3 misfits, there are 97 grateful owners that appreciate the whole kit and caboodle! Yep, that’s a 97% satisfaction rate……………………….those are super great returns…………………there probably isn’t any organization, business or operation that can claim those numbers.

 

So, no contracts to hassle over with anyone………………if it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work and there is no need to squabble about it!

 

The great part of all of the above is that those 97% Chambray owners are happy as larks, singing the praises everywhere they go with a Chambray dog, that’s promotions and advertising that can’t be bought for no amount of money and none of them had to sign a contract!

August 14th
Where Do They Go?

 

“We were wondering what happens to those puppies that you all place as show prospects?”

 

Our Puppy Placement Program differs vastly in that we do not keep any puppies ourselves for breeding or for showing, rather we place our best puppies with those that want the best. Of course, the industry norm is that other top show breeders keep the best and sell the rest, so that makes our operation totally different from the get go.

 

Looking back the last 25+ years that our programs have been in place, there are 4 roads that our show quality puppies……….our best produce have taken.

 

  • The one avenue that we hope the majority of those top show puppies that are placed take is staying with all of Chambrays Owner’s Programs………………from taking advantage of all the mentoring, the training and conditioning, the show management services, to co-breeding the next generation of superb puppies and to the Puppy Placement Program of those produced puppies to the next generation of Chambray owners.

 

  • The 2nd alternative route is those owners that come to us for the top placement of a show quality puppy………………….participate in the mentoring…………………take advantage of our training and conditioning expertise………………..some use our show management services and then they go off and become independent breeders. Some still stay in touch with us for mentoring, for training and handling tips, even for advice on the breeding of their dogs while others go it by themselves…………….all have benefitted with the placement of a top notch show puppy that they would have never had from another top level breeder to place with them. All have bred and contributed to the betterment of the breed with good produce.

 

  • There is a 3rd not-as-friendly and fortunately not as many that go this way……………………those that don’t work out for a myriad of reasons and are more or less, let go or jump the tracks themselves. All of those took advantage of a top show placement, all took full advantage of our mentoring program, all took advantage of our training and conditioning programs, all took advantage of our handling services and then it became obvious that a working relationship was not going to be doable and the associations were terminated. The big plus for the betterment of the breed for these folk is that they ended up with great breeding prospects that produced champions for them as novice breeders and hopefully they were/are able to build up on the great stock they obtained from Chambray

 

  • A 4th, not so productive way is where the owners/dogs go away! Never to be seen again and never to participate in the perpetuation of the betterment of the breed with the next great generation of puppies. Some of these will occasionally visit Chambray Acres with those ‘lost’ to the breed dogs, some will email once in a while, the vast majority never pass it forward to the next generation of dogs or future owners.

 

With all four ways, we did our jobs for the betterment of the breed. producing the best and placing those best puppies with potential owners that would pass it forward to the next generation of Labradors and owners as well. What happens once they leave Chambray Acres with that special puppy in their possession is really up to each individual.

 

August 13th

2nd Installment Of The Breed Standard Critique

 

Size, Proportion and Substance: Size-The height at the withers for a dog is 22½ to 24½ inches; for a bitch is 21½ to 23½ inches. Any variance greater than ½ inch above or below these heights is a disqualification. Approximate weight of dogs and bitches in working condition: dogs 65 to 80 pounds; bitches 55 to 70 pounds. The minimum height ranges set forth in the paragraph above shall not apply to dogs or bitches under twelve months of age. Proportion-Short-coupled; length from the point of the shoulder to the point of the rump is equal to or slightly longer than the distance from the withers to the ground. Distance from the elbow to the ground should be equal to one half of the height at the withers. The brisket should extend to the elbows, but not perceptibly deeper. The body must be of sufficient length to permit a straight, free and efficient stride; but the dog should never appear low and long or tall and leggy in outline. Substance: Substance and bone proportionate to the overall dog. Light, "weedy" individuals are definitely incorrect; equally objectionable are cloddy lumbering specimens. Labrador Retrievers shall be shown in working condition well-muscled and without excess fat.

 

This is the 2nd section of the Labrador Breed Standard.

 

So for Size we once again have rigid parameters to deal with as far as height is concerned. The biggest deviation using these parameters is dogs that are undersized. That is below the 21 inch minimum requirement for females and the 22 inch minimum requirement for males.

 

Anything under those low bars is cause for a DQ (disqualification)…………………a dog receives 2 DQs and it is not allowed to be shown again.

 

In some sectors of our country, there are a preponderance of short, squatty Labradors that do not measure up……………….literally and figuratively!

 

This is a serious problem in the breed. Dogs that are too small, mostly because they have very short upper arms…………………the terminology here is ‘no leg under them’! Distance from the elbow to the ground should be equal to one half of the height at the withers.

 

Those short, squatty dogs do not meet that descriptive from the written standard. If in question, go ahead and measure the distance from the elbow to the ground and then measure the distance from the elbow to the withers. They should be equal, if not, then Houston we have a big problem.

 

The weight recommendations is another thing. Males from 65 to 80lbs and females from 55 to 70lbs. This is not a DQ item, so breeder discretion is a must! Most male dogs at All-Breed dog shows will range from 78 to 90lbs, so we see dogs that are ‘over’ the weight recommendations, however there is no reference for penalties for being over……………………this is where the breeder discretions come in…………………..those that are substantially over the 65 to 80 recommendations, those topping 100lbs are 20lbs over the high end of the weight recommendations!

 

That is way, way too much because when one of those 100+lb whoopers stands next to an 80lb male, it towers over it , under it and around the dog with the ideal weight as called for by the breed standard. Those are the overdone dogs!

 

Labrador Retrievers shall be shown in working condition well-muscled and without excess fat.

 

That is the last sentence from this section and it really strikes a chord with me! How many fat, out of shape with no conditioning dogs do we see at the dog shows? Some that dawdle around the ring at barely a walking gait and are plum tuckered out with just one go around! In my opinion, way too many!

 

More to come!

August 13th

The Lesser Of 2 Evils

 

For those emailing in about grammar, spelling and syntax errors…………………………yep, guilty as charged!

 

I think real fast, I type slow, I read real fast……………mostly glossy over whatever is in front of my failing vision!

 

I do the entire website…………. I read all emails, pick up all phone messages, I write, I do whatever editing there is, I do the publishing………….so a one man writer/editor/proofreader/webmaster if you will……………..all by my lonesome! No contributing writers, no editors, no proofreaders…………………just me!

 

So, yes, there will be goofs, typos, wrong use of language, misspellings, incorrect grammar, syntax errors, mangled metaphors, dangling modifiers, inappropriate passive or active voice use, missing punctuations, wrong use of commas, homonyms vs. homophones and on and on!

 

But the intent is good and the information can’t not be found anywhere else and you can bank on that!

August 12

Gotcha Your Attention

 

“I truly love the blogs where you use the breed standard, explaining the wording and adding more to make it easy to understand. It would be awesome if you were to do blogs using more of the breed standard to show what areas are not being followed as good as they should be by breeders.”

 

Ok, sounds like a great idea! I think that I am game for it. However, I will only be addressing SHOW BREEDERS, not the general population of Labradors that really, really deviate from these dictums!

 

In each blog I will use part of the breed standard so as to not cover so much ground and make it easier to follow and understand. I will start from the beginning of the written standard and work my way to the end as it appears at the www.aks.org website.

 

General Appearance: The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled, dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion. Physical features and mental characteristics should denote a dog bred to perform as an efficient Retriever of game with a stable temperament suitable for a variety of pursuits beyond the hunting environment. The most distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense, weather resistant coat; an "otter" tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its "kind," friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament. Above all, 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 typical Labrador possesses style and quality without over refinement, and substance without lumber or cloddiness. The Labrador is bred primarily as a working gun dog; structure and soundness are of great importance.

 

This is the first paragraph. Let’s take a look at the first sentence, a very long run-on one at that!

 

The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled, dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion.

 

So from this first sentence, where have show breeders gone astray, awry?

 

Well, for start medium-sized will be a major bone of contention! Here there are 2 distinct camps of show breeder operators that have deviated enough for this passage to be covered. Those that went uphill and are breeding the whoppers and those that are breeding those that will not make the minimum size.

 

‘Overdone’ is the operative term used when they do not adhere to the medium-sized descriptive called for by the breed standard and then those dogs will range into the large breed descriptive and not the medium-sized as stated in the standard! There are tolerable weights for the breed, although only listed as “approximate” a vague guideline with no ‘fault’ or ‘disqualifications’ attached if looking too heavy!

 

Short-Coupled is another area where there are degrees of deviation, with a significant percentage of the dogs at shows seemingly being ‘long-coupled’!

 

Function for long hours under difficult conditions – yeah and the moon is made of Swiss cheese! Check out most of the overweight, out of condition Labradors being dragged around the ring!

 

Ok, so from the first sentence 1 glaring condition has entrenched itselves or better yet, breeders have perpetuated it over and over again.

 

OVERDONE ~ OVERWEIGHT (FAT) ~ OUT OF SHAPE! Dogs weighing over 100lbs are not MEDIUM-SIZED no matter how impressive they may look! Shorter dogs weighing 90+lbs appear fat as well and not the 'athletic, well-balanced conformation'

called for in the General Appearance preamble at the beginning of the breed standard, then further down is 'without lumber or cloddiness'...............if the dog goes around the ring huffing and puffing, just barely at a crawl..........then that is lumbering and cloddiness!

 

 

 

Let’s look at the 3rd sentence:

 

The most distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense, weather resistant coat; an "otter" tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its "kind," friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament.

 

Short, dense weather resistant coat’ and then dropping down to that specific section of the standard it adds:

 

Coat: The coat is a distinctive feature of the Labrador Retriever. It should be short, straight and very dense, giving a fairly hard feeling to the hand. The Labrador should have a soft, weather resistant undercoat that provides protection from water, cold and all types of ground cover. A slight wave down the back is permissible. Woolly coats, soft silky coats, and sparse slick coats are not typical of the breed, and should be severely penalized.

 

Very specific and not allowing for interpretations is SHORT, STRAIGHT, DENSE, GIVING A FAIRLY HARD FEEL TO THE HAND!

 

So, those “Big Hair” type coats, plush, whooly and silky……………..Golden Retriever or New Foundland-type is totally wrong. Totally wrong for Labradors, maybe ok for Goldens or Newfies!

 

Those breeders that gush superlatives such as “Dripping with coat” or “Tons of coat” are so full of WRONG that it hurts my ears hearing those dastardly descriptive being used for what they think is the proper Labrador coat.

 

Read my lips…………better yet, read the standard SHORT, STRAIGHT, DENSE, GIVING A FAIRLY HARD FEEL TO THE HAND is what it should be!

 

Ok, let’s stop here to allow all those following Mitch Miller’s bouncing ball to digest some of the preceding information.

 

More to come as my time allows!

August 12

Spotlight Of Accountability Is On

 

When a ‘supposedly’ knowledgeable breeder ‘producing' a quantity of litters a year takes one of their ‘supposedly’ best bred dogs to a dog show, you would seriously think that the dog chosen to represent their kennel, their breeding program would adhere as close to the breed standard as could be!

 

Do you agree with me?

 

Or, I am so far out in the betterment of the breed limbo that my common sense now has been shrouded over by my vision for the breed?

 

I just received an email photo taken by an ‘observer’ from outside the ring, of dogs competing in another state. It was the lineup for Best of Breed and 2 of those dogs shown in the photo, one severely cow-hocked and the other almost as glaring!

 

Fortunately for the breed, looking at the Infodog results, neither dog received a ribbon of any color. So, at least the judge did their job!

 

I will check the results tomorrow and see what that particular judge sees or overlooks!

 

From another ‘observer’ at a recent dog show in the mid-west, the judge refused awarding ribbons in the BOB competition for Select Gr Ch because the dog she was looking at lacked merit (the dog slighted was confirmed to be cow-hocked)……………….and this was a finished champion!

 

So maybe, just maybe if I keep banging the drum enough……………………..if I stir the pot as someone recently described me as doing…………………….if I keep bringing up the same things over and over again until people realize and get it…………………..if every chance I get when conversing with a judge, I dredge up the epic fails of what breeders are producing, cow-hocks, short legs, wrong coats, poor movement, then there may be some accountability that will be seen more and more……………….to that I say HURRAY!

August 12

Some More

 

The question asked ‘Why have you taken it upon yourself to be the Labrador advocate?”

 

Well, listen up…………………………really listen up and you can hear the sound of a pin dropping everywhere you go, no matter the injustice or the wrongdoing!

 

There’s no one else that has volunteered for the position and if there is, I don’t hear them!

 

Being quiet when an injustice is evident, well, that doesn’t hold up with me! When I believe in something, I will be the first to stand up for that! I may be the only one standing………………..I may get my hands slapped here and there, I may get knocked down a couple of times, but you better bet on me that I will stand up, again and again………………….hey, I am still here and I am still standing!

 

People stand in awe at a dog show when a dastardly specimen of the breed is awarded points. They grumble to themselves and skulk about and maybe mumble in hush tones to others that may feel the same way you do. Then it is forgotten and ‘wait for the next day’ takes over.

 

It really doesn’t matter how annoyed they are because no one, I repeat no one will do and say anything about it that matters because people are afraid of the consequences of standing up and voicing their opinions.

 

Known, recognizable named breeders about the country have been breeding totally away from the standard……………dogs that at times look like a different breed. Hey, I have been voicing my concerns for over 2 decades……….loud and clear without fear of being ostracized…………without fear of paying the price while in the ring with those same breeders that are also judges!

 

Seeing a huge vacuum of leadership, actually seeing total empty space I elected myself as that advocate for Labradors.

 

Hey, I will gladly step aside when someone with the highest regards for the breed stands up and gives me a well-earned respite!

 

I didn’t see my ascension to the post as a ‘for life’ appointment, rather as a stopgap for when a movement took hold and others could carry the flag further than my aching bones and back is allowing me. Besides, we all have expiration dates stamped somewhere on our bodies and mine feels pretty nears towards the end of the freshness date!

 

 

 

 

 

Another question: ‘No’ there isn’t a topic I will not tackle if it has to do with Labrador Retrievers.

 

 

 

I don’t do politics nor religion………………………… but don’t mess with America or Labradors, because I will be on the frontlines of either of those topics.

 

 

 

 

Yes, I support our military 100%...................I may not agree with where the conflicts take place, but supporting the men, women and dogs of the military is without question!

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, the AKC frowns upon the voicing of anything that may be seen as disruptive to the operations of dog shows. The key here is ‘what they see as being disruptive’………………so extreme care must be used when voicing an opposing thought or idea about anything to do with the AKC, both at an event and even away.

 

 

 

 

Yes, the AKC fields complaints about breeders and puppy producers, however they will not follow up on any complaints about not adhering to the breed standard. As mentioned in a previous blog, only at dog shows/conformation events is there any judgement passed on dogs using the breed standards as the guideline for quality.

August 12th

The Few, The Proud

 

No there’s nothing that can be done because as long as the puppy producers complies with existing rules, regulations and laws set up by the local, state and federal branches, then it’s business as usual.

 

As far as the AKC is concerned, as along as the dogs are well kept, the premises clean and the record keeping for AKC dogs are met, then it is business as usual.

 

Then there is the buying public which is left to their own devices when choosing which breeder to obtain their puppy/dog from. For the puppy producers it is like shooting beer cans off fence posts……… 3 feet away!

 

Way, way too many folk go out looking for something to buy with as much forethought as the puppy producers puts into the breeding of their dogs! That sure as heck sounds like a sure fire recipe for disasters in the making…………………..first the making of the disaster by the puppy producer and then the perpetuating of the same disaster by the buying public! That is a double whammy in my book!

 

 

 

No, there are no agencies or clubs or the AKC that checks to enforce that breeders or puppy producers are following any of the breed standards when they pair two dogs up. The only time that anyone with any judicial authority sees a dog is when they are entered into a conformation event (dog show) and are judged by qualified, licensed judges. That is the only venue where the breed standard is upheld because at all the other canine-related competitions, whether it be field trials, hunt tests, performances events, obedience trials, agility, rally, dock jumping…………………every other and any other but conformation, the breed standard is NOT in effect!

 

At any of those other mentioned events, a beyond the size taller, red-nosed, lanky, tail curled over the back, wilder than Gene (Wilder!)…………………………….Labrador……………………..not even a reasonable facsimile dog……………….yes it can be the big winner for the day if it scored the highest in obedience, the fastest in agility, the most ducks or the highest score earned…………..or whatever else the ‘golden fleece’ for the day may be!

 

So, the rules for breeding correctly are only imposed at only one dog-related activity, at a dog show.

 

That gives free rein to anyone breeding………………..citing that their “Bowser” can leap taller buildings without even bounding, retrieve 12 dozen ducks blindfolded or outrun a bat out of hell in warp speed doing 12 circles of that bat before the bat takes its second wing beat!

 

Nope, sorry to say, that all puppy producers and the vast majority of those that can qualify as ‘breeders’ have absolutely no one to stand over them in judgement of their production! That means that there is no quality control!

 

Like our US Marines, that stand tall with their service to our country, “The Few, The Proud, the Marines”, those of us that are show breeders can stand tall for the breed……………………..  As we are the few, the proud that stand tall at judgement with our produce……………………….all for the betterment of the breed.

August 11th

There are Kodak Moments and there are YUCK Moments

 

A ‘breeder’ is the bearer of an immense amount of responsibility to the breed they are perpetuating………………if they are doing the right thing!

 

I state that because right down the street from me is a person that dabbles in producing litter after litter of Labradors and there is no quality control, there’s no blueprint that is followed, there’s no forethought what’s so ever in the paring of the 2 dogs that will be perpetuating the so-called breed it is supposed to represent.

 

Although the dogs are healthy looking, well-cared for, fed good food, given plenty of exercise, up to date vaccinations on all dogs, the puppies at 8 weeks are as cute and welcoming as could be. To the general population, the lay person…………..this could be the ideal place to obtain the next member of the family.

 

Now, this blog is not an expose on this particular operation, rather it brings to light the vast differences of why people breed dogs. If there is a spectrum from the absolute best place, the best ‘breeder’ to the worst ‘breeder’………………….this particular place falls somewhere in the middle.

 

I have seen and heard of much, much worse. But let’s regress back to this puppy producer………………..notice that I term them ‘puppy producer’ rather than breeder. That’s because I hate to group them with what I do!

 

The lead-in sentence to this blog is a preamble of the relationship of what a breeder is to the breed they tend!

 

So, a puppy producer would then be someone that doesn’t abide by the guidelines that are in place for each and every breed of dog……………guidelines that if followed knowledgeably will ensure that each breed stays true to what that breed should look like and act like!

 

Of course those guidelines are the Breed Standards for each breed. Producing puppies from dogs that do not adhere to the Breed Standard then demonstrates that the ‘puppy producer’ either doesn’t know the breed standard or just doesn’t care!

 

Either way, indicates that they are not bearing that responsibility for that breed, thus do not deserve to be included into the fraternity of being a ‘breeder’…………………thus the ‘puppy producer’ label.

 

So far I have established that there is a spectrum, from the best to the worst and I have also indicate a middle ground…………..the example I am using in this blog. A nicely kept place with healthy enough looking dogs, however, no regards what’s so ever for the breed standard.

 

Just to set the barometer straight for those reading this blog, I will describe one of the stud dogs used in the puppy production at this location.

 

Yellow male: The negatives - Long muzzle, narrow head at the back skull. Noticeably taller than the breed standard allows, easily 26 inches tall at the withers. Very long coupled. Thin, slab-sided, with no spring of rib. Distance from the ground to elbows, way greater than distance from elbows to withers. Red nose, red eye rims, red flew, lips and gums. Yellow eyes. Short, thin, sparse coat. Long tail, curled noticeably and carried high at times over the back. Long spayed feet. Long, sickled hocks.

 

 

The positives: – AKC registered – Vaccinated – OFA Hips rated Good – Obviously healthy, overly energetic dog……………………..of course overly energetic translates into ‘hyper’ in a home setting. The wrong type of dog for a family looking for a new ‘family member’! That means that at least 50% if not more of that dog’s offspring will exhibit that temperament!

 

Ok, so let’s see where this puppy producer stands in the ‘knowing’ or ‘caring’ departments.

 

He seems to know the differences in what he has and what should be………………because he has inquired about breeding to ‘better stock’, by using Chambray’s stud dogs………………….something that ‘ain’t going to happen!”. So, he does know that his dogs are not within the conformational guidelines of the breed standard since he wants to ‘breed up’ as he termed it.

 

Does he care? Obviously not because from independent information, his ‘posse’ as he tells people that visit to see puppies…………….his posse has grown from 2 breeding females and the red-nosed yellow male covered up above………….to a total of now 4 female Labradors, 2 female Standard Poodle and a chocolate male Labrador.

 

Did the mention of 2 Standard Poodle females send up major red flags?

 

Yep, I see another ‘producer’ of so-called LabraDoodle$!

 

YUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK!

 

Like we don’t have enough mutts in the world and now we have these puppy producers, producing mutts on purpose and what’s worse if there could be such a thing, using inferior specimens of the breeds to hybridize with!

 

So, that now answers the question about caring!

August 10th

Cow-Hock Responses

 

The Cow-Hocked blog has brought in a flurry of responses concerning some of the other anomalies from a photo supplied that I covered in a response to the sender about sending the dog for us to handle here.

 

When viewing the dog from the rear, there should be equal distance from foot to foot from hock to hock from knee to knee, from thigh to thigh. In other words the look from the rear should be that of an open U (upside down). If it looks like a violin or hourglass shape, then the dog is cow-hocked. If it looks like a clown standing with feet outwards, then it is east west, if the distance between the thighs is less than the distance between the feet, then it is close-quartered! The hocks should be straight up and down forming a perpendicular with the ground, not bowed or arched.

 

According to the breed standard, that dog has 3 major faults, east west feet placement, close-quartered thighs and bowed hocks and worst yet, a structural defect in the cow-hocks. That’s 4 more faults that I wish to deal with………………let alone 1 of them!

 

To answer another question posed, no this dog would not be a candidate for our breeding program.

 

Also, another answer………………yes I would replace this dog if we had placed it as a show puppy, of course, we would have seen all those faults when we performed the 7 week-old puppy evaluation and we wouldn’t have had to deal with the problem 18 months later.

 

Another answer: Yes, improvement breeding can fix some conditions in some of the puppies produced. Which means that some of the puppies will inherit the fault from the parent. If a dog showed tremendous traits everywhere except for just one fault, then I would consider an improvement breeding with that dog! However, I know that a percentage of the litter would display that fault and those puppies would need to be placed as pets and not considered for showing or breeding, because perpetuating a fault is counter to the mission of the betterment of the breed!

 

Recently I had a consultation from a Chambray owner about breeding their male. The dog is an average specimen of the breed, competitive enough for showing, however not one to wow the judges to finish readily. It does have one noticeable fault in having a rather less than the desired angulation of the rear. Not totally a straight rear, but not comparable with the great rears of other Chambray dogs.

 

So, I advised the owners that I was not interested in breeding him when we have such a strong lineup of great stud dogs that will not be producing that fault in any large percentage of puppies. In fact, just producing 1 in a litter is 1 too many!

 

Another Chambray owner has a female and those owners have become friends through their participation of our owner’s programs and since their dogs play together both owners wanted the dogs to have a litter together.

 

Totally the wrong reason to have a litter! That also includes dogs that live together as is the case with another owner that has a drop dead gorgeous female and a very over done male! Yes, everybody that sees the male totally loves him, but those are lay people, the general population that doesn’t have any concept of what any breed is supposed to look like. This was a male that was turned down for handling as a 8-month old because of its huge size as a puppy, further more because his sire had produced 3 or 4 litters with oversized puppies in each litter, that sire was not used in the breeding program any longer and eventually placed in a forever home, even though he was one of the most impressive dogs that lived here at Chambray!

 

There has to be better reasons for breeding than because the owners of the dogs are friends, because the dogs romp together. In fact, in the case of the owner that has both the female and the male, since I am adamant about not dealing with a litter produced by both of his dogs, I have essentially lost the opportunity to have a litter from an awesome Chambray female. Not many breeders that would ever do that.....................I just couldn't live knowing that I had paired 2 dogs that would produce something that was contrary to the breed standard................to the betterment of the breed!

 

Hey, those are my standards, what are yours?

 

August 10th

AAAARRRRGGGGGG Cow-Hocks!

 

"Not knowing what cowhocks were, I didn’t know what all the fuss was with your blogs! Now, knowing that my dog has them, makes me mad at my breeder for not advising me of such. I have been paying a handler for 6 months and she didn’t tell me either. I found out from a competitor and then I understood why my dog doesn’t even win its class most of the time. The handlers says that she can fix them when she shows the dog and the breeder says that she will outgrow it. What do you think?" Arlene TX

 

Oh boy, here we go down that slippery slope!

 

AAAARRRRGGGGG cow-hocks!

 

They have become so prevalent in the show ring, that some of the judges actually think that is the way it is supposed to be! Worst yet, some Labrador breeders are breeding that way and some Labrador breeder/judges are awarding points to dogs that are so cow-hocked that the hocks actually knock against each other when the dog is standing, never mind when the dog is moving! YUCK!

 

NO, NO, NO your dog will not outgrow it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In fact as the dog gets older, it becomes worse since the dog's ability to stand square for balance is diminished, the dog actually becomes more cow-hocked by diverting the rear feet into a more east/west position to be able to shift weight around, accentuating a bad condition to a worsening situation. This abnormal positioning of the legs causes undue pressure on the joints and ACLs and other knee and hock joint disorders are more common.

 

The wear and tear on all joints with cow-hocked dogs more than triples, especially in the developing stages from 6 month to 13 months of age! More YUCK!

 

Yes, handlers do whatever it takes to make a good presentation in the ring, that’s their primary job! The problem with that is that knowledgeable judges can see the structural defect the other 90% of the time that the handler cannot fix the problem! It is not so much the handler’s job to be an advocate for any breed, however they should inform each owner as to what that particular dog has as strengths and also weaknesses.

 

With the Chambray Show Dog Management Program, every owner is apprised of all the qualities the dogs possesses and lack thereof as well! There is no hiding of faults from the owners, nor covering up of them by the handling. Instead, we dwell on them, especially if there is something that can be done to strengthen weakness and also to correct bad habits. Dogs with structural defects are not considered for the show management program and definitely not the breeding program!

 

This is not to say that there haven’t been cow-hocked dogs born to our breeding program, however, when identified as puppies, they are relegated as pets and placed as such. There have been some Chambray dogs that slipped through the cracks and later came back for us to consider for showing and we attempted to educate the owners as to the situation only to have them leave here in bad terms and then end up having the dog shown by others……………………..without any success, but having done just the same!

 

PS: The photos supplied demonstrate the problem of beyond moderate cow-hocks. In addition, the highs are ‘close-quartered’ and the pasterns are weak and bowed, instead of perpendicular to the ground and tight. Unfortunately, this dog would not be a candidate to show here in Florida where the competition is so heightened.

August 9th

Amateur VS Pro Handling

 

"We are new to owning a show dog and are intrigued by the handler’s system vs. us taking the dog into the ring. Can you shed some light on the subject?" Iowa

 

 

To the neophyte, to the uninitiated, to the ones that come off the street and end up in front of a ring with dogs running around what appears to be circles………………….the dog then standing there with the person holding the leash……………….with a another person without a dog telling those with dogs what to do……….then that dogless person hands out different colored ribbons to some of the dogs and nothing to others……………helter skelter comes to mind of the goings on!

 

Since you own a show dog, it sounds that you are a bit more involved in the show dog world than the casual observer, so I will dispense with the usual Introduction to Show Dogs 101 and delve a bit deeper on go straight to the ‘handling’ of dogs.

 

Yes, you can be the one that takes the dog for a walk around the ring with the judge directing traffic. The act of taking your dog around the ring is termed ‘handling’. So, you are the one with the leash are called the handler. You will be looked upon as an amateur because right there next to you in that same ring, handling someone’s dog will be a professional handler……………..someone that does this for a living, that makes money for handling someone else’s dog.

 

So, there are the amateurs vs the professionals…………………….as far as I know, it is the only sport or endeavor where rank amateurs go head to head against professionals for the exact same prizes!

 

No exceptions are made for the differences in expertise by the judge. The judge’s job is to select the best example of the breed regardless of who is handling the dog.

 

There’s where the crux of the matter lays………………………the professionals know what they are doing as they ply their craft in handling dogs……………meanwhile the amateur is navigating through uncharted waters doing something that they have little or no expertise with! That means that the judge will not have pity on ineptitude or tomfoolery.

 

What that above boils down to is that the results of winning will be way, way in favor of the professionals in the ring vs the results that the amateur handled dogs will have.

 

Although many owners start out handling their own dogs for fun…………………….frustration sets in with each succeeding failure to beat the professionals. Adding heaping teaspoons of salt to the wound is that owners always think that their dogs are the best and they take it very personal when their beloved Pooch doesn’t win……………………..show after show, week after week and sometimes a year goes by and zilch! Yep, frustration rears its ugly head and many owners just give up all together.

 

Fortunately for the real good specimens of the breed that were owner/handled and were not having any success…………………….turning to a professional is the next step of evolution in the show dog world. But handing the dog to a bona fide handler must be done before the dog’s short window of opportunity zips on by.

 

I can relate all of the above with 100% accuracy, because that’s the way I got into this profession. I ruined so many of the first wave of bought dogs……………..learning the ways at the expense of those dogs that were ruined in the interim! Years and years and dogs and dogs by the wayside to be able to get to where I am today.

 

The difference today is that the competition for anyone starting brand spanking new is so heightened that there is no way that even I could get to where I am now, competing against what I have created and put into play here in the state or region.

 

Now, there is hope in other areas of the country for beginners as the competition in the conformation and handling of the dogs is not at the same levels as can be found in certain areas, Florida being one of those.  

August 9th
Monkey See, Monkey Do.........DooDoo

 

“Reading the blog about lecturing the judges for poor choices, is there anything else that we as owners and exhibitors can do to let these judges or the AKC know how incompetent their judging is. I am no expert, but watching that judge put up that dog with the severe cowhocks and the totally wrong coat for the breed is a slap in the face to anyone like you that breeds for the highest standards and then accepts the best of those bred dogs to take into the ring.”
Dale w/Labs

 

There is always holding your dog from entering at those shows where you have prior knowledge of poor judging……………….however the AKC would really not like it if they were to find out that I led such a boycott! So, I have to maintain a very clinical and professional ambience………………………..and bend over, lest I am castigated for blackballing!

 

So, if an individual owner wishes not to have their dog shown to one of those ‘poor judgement’ judges, then it wouldn’t be any hair off my hide.

 

Of course, withholding dogs from shows only makes it easier for those poorly-bred dogs to win those points without quality competition that would make their putting up inferior specimens more obvious!

 

The biggest harm done is not the taking away of points from dogs that merit them, although that is the impact felt at the moment…………………..no, the larger picture damage is that people around the ring that do not know any better and don’t have a mentor (like the little old wine maker, me), may see those dogs being put up with all those dastardly faults and defects and think that those are the correct traits to breed themselves.

 

Even worse direct damage to the breed is that the owner or breeder of said defective dog will keep producing dogs with those same defects………………………….even ‘worster’ (made up word) is that they will actually BREED THAT DOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Yes, they will breed that dog! And now add the ‘WORSTEST’ (another made up word), they will offer said non-comforting, structurally defective, multi-faulted dog at stud to 100’s or 1000’s or whatever the number of gullible folk that know nothing about breeding but go ahead and produce one after another poor specimens of the breed.

 

The perpetuation of defects to another generation of Labradors………………………the exact opposite………………….180 degrees the other direction for the Betterment of the Breed!

 

That’s what I call going backwards as fast as a wet monkey will slide down a greased pole! Of course those puppies produced will all be cute as pig’s ears and those unsuspecting blokes that buy into them won’t know the difference all because some myopic or worse yet, un-expertise person standing in judgement gives those dogs their blessing for the day.

 

But hey, you didn’t hear that from me because each and every one of you can stand at ringside and witness it for yourselves and that takes the onus off me from the powers that be.

 

Now to be fair, as I toast myself to be and I don’t know if being fair is being fair to all those other fair people that do the right and fair thing in the first place……………………..but, me thinks that being fair is fair enough, each and every show, everywhere you go, be it here in the sunny state, the under floods states, the fire ravaged states, the states with 110+ degrees of sweltering heat……………there are dogs being shown with non-conforming traits, with faults, with defects and heavens knows what else……………………what’s even beyond worse is that those are the 99% of dogs being bred! 

August 8th

Chambray's Phone Use Protocol

{Maybe Better Said, No-Use Protocol}

 

I love the “Whoa Nelly” proclamation………..of course, giving credit to where it is due……………………we have to go way, way back to Pat Brady, who was Roy Roger’s sidekick in the Roy Roger’s Show back in the 1950’s……………when I was a kid!

 

Yep, old Pat would holler out “Who Nelly" when his untrustworthy 1946 Jeep, Nellybelle would either start conking out on him or the accelerator would stick and the old jalopy would take off to places unknown.

 

In later years, the famous sportscaster, Keith Jackson would plagiarize the shout out during his calling of college football games…………….of course back in those days, not many went around copyrighting or patenting sayings or shout outs………………..so it was ok, with folk and me alike for Mr. Jackson to use that well-worn exclamation during his heyday as the top booth game caller in the business.

 

So, what in "tar blazes" (idiom from The Beverley Hillbillies) is “Whoa Nelly” doing in this blog?

 

Well, since so many of you yutes (My Cousin Vinnie, for youths) asked and I intend on delivering (not like was done in Deliverance)…………………….here goes!

 

Seems that there are some good folk, or at least I hope they are, have not taken a liking to my recent ‘more or less’ forced use………………or in this case, no-use of phones!

 

Yep, that’s what brought up the “Whoa Nelly” in my mind…………………..yep the same mind that is responsible for the protocol now in place at Chambrays for using the phone system to communicate…………again in this case to ‘not communicate’ better describes the state of function.

 

"Now here this" (PA announcement on the Gale Storm Show ~ 50’s and 60’s show)………………..no really, now hear this………………..coming from me!

 

It is what it is and email is the way it is!

 

Yep, I can’t be trusted to remember phone conversations once I hang up the phone……………………of course my mind is brilliantly clear for all the long term stuff that I went through……………………all the TV shows when I was a kid……………………each and every person I went to school starting in 1st grade at Morningside Elementary School by Morningside Park (one of the oldest sections of Miami).

 

Now……………………..don’t ever play Trivial Pursuit with me, unless you are on my team…………….guaranteed that we will win come Earth, Wind and Fire! Never, ever lost a game and I played in organized tournaments!

 

However, newfangled meds to control my heart condition and also the prostrate problems, plus all the times that "I have fallen and I couldn’t get up"………………….have contributed to the short term memory loss………………add to that having turned 66 years ancient 2 weeks ago……………….definite recipe for forgetting!

 

So, fret not…………………….just email and you will receive a deluge of electronically-induced, conducted at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) psycho-babble!

 

The differences are that you will see it and not hear it and I will have a written record so the next time we talk, I won’t give you a blank stare and holler out “Whoa Nelly!” ........"What in tar blazes are you talking about?"

August 8th

It's A New Day

 

"When I used to go to the shows, sit at ringside and watch the dogs go in the ring it was fun. Since learning about structure from you, now I see all the glaring faults dogs have in the ring. The ones that are cowhocked, the ones with short legs, the ones with no angles, no ones with incorrect coats,  because you have been pointing al that out like forever. Now that’s what I see because you have explained about the proportions of the dog and the way it should be.

What’s really worse, is when a judge gives the points to a dog that has one of those  structural faults or worse yet, a structural defect as written in the breed standard like being cowhocked! I saw that recently, the worst cowhocked dog out of all the Labradors entered was given the points by the judge! I was really surprised that you didn’t go into the ring and educate that judge." Nancy E.

 

My tongue must have scars galore from the hundreds of times that I have had to bite it and hold myself back from giving a judge or another breeder a thorough tongue lashing for having dogs with severe defects and faults in the ring, let alone giving them points.

 

Nope, can’t do that at all with the judging………………not allowed by the AKC and it wouldn’t do any good with another breeder because if they can’t follow the bouncing ball of the official breed standard, then hearing it from me will just incense them more and they will do the opposite!

 

On another note, I am glad that there are those of you that have read, listened and learned from me so that we all can work at the betterment of the breed mission.

August 7th

From Another Perspective

 

"Chambray has been my breeder, my mentor and my handlers from the very beginning of my participation with showing dogs. I leave the whole matter of when and where my dogs will show and with whom as well. No need to re-invent the wheel here and no messing with success. I participate in the dogs’ training and the dogs’ conditioning as much as I am able, then I let the Chambray trainers take over and add what’s needed. If I can’t travel to certain shows, they take the dogs with them, if I can attend, then the dogs go with me and once there at the show sites, Team Chambray takes over for the day with my dogs. I sit back and watch as the whole picture comes together for my dogs and those other dogs that are also part of their roster. At times I hear the grumblings from those whose dogs are not winning, however I also know the other side of the story that some of those owners just don’t do the things asked of them as far as training and conditioning is concerned nor are they making the dogs available for the Herzons to train professionally. I would rather not be involved in that waste of time rhetoric as I believe that taking care of business should come first and foremost and those that don’t do that shouldn’t complain. Hey, that’s the way I see it." 

Name withheld by request.

 

 

Thank you for your point of view contribution. Yes, there are those that come on board and see the big picture and fit in doing the things that will make succeeding easier and then there are those that more or less wish and hope and yet don’t rise to the occasion…………………that’s human nature at work!

 

I know all that and I work with what is given me. However, there is a point in time when calling out someone is necessary in order to keep the ‘whole working for the many’………………..can’t let one drag the whole kit and caboodle back! So, certain protocols are set in motion to curtail the negatives so that the positives have the best chances of success.

 

The last two contributors to the blog are ideal. One of them confesses that they are clueless as to what is transpiring and the other is very aware of everything that is taking place around them……………..both are content with their participation in the various Chambray Owner’s Programs and onward we go! Any others, I deal privately with and that too becomes an onward we go sitcom as well!

 

 

 

 

"For years I have advocated an owner’s manual of sorts for Chambray Labradors.

It would be like an operator’s manual of all that it takes to be a good Chambray Owner, a good Chambray Partner and a good Chambray Show Participant. Each of those requires the two-way trust that you mention so often. Each of those requires loyalty to everything you have going for the breed, your diehard commitment to the betterment of the breed requires that there be loyalty, without that there is discord and dissention, when there shouldn’t be because taking part in all of the amenities you provide is an elective (not to mention, free).

 

Those not content with your programs can also elect an alternative. Go seek out something that they deem better!

Good luck with that search!"

Anony-mouse

August 7th

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

 

Wow, I had never looked at you guys handling like that! I would see one of you go in the ring with one dog and then somebody else would go in the ring for another class and then at the end each dog that had won its class was in the ring with someone handling it. It never occurred to me how you guys decided who handled which dog! MS

 

That’s show management at its best………………and then add the success rate that we have and you can assuredly say that it works 99% of the time without a glitch.

 

Not so with many other folk in the Labrador ring that bring several or a lot of their dogs…………………with those others you see the constant booboos! Not being in the ring on time and making the judge stand there and wait……………….having people inside and outside the ring yelling for them to bring a dog into the ring………………..not having enough handlers on hand to cover the dogs that they brought to show………………….getting caught up in the ring handling a dog and not having anyone else outside the ring to backup, as a holder or to offer take-back-to-crate dogs!

 

Not only is it disrupting for the judge and the rest of the handlers there that take care of business the way it should be done………………..it upsets the dogs to no end to have to be grabbed by an unknown, hastily yanked around to get into the ring, to have someone that may or may not even know the dog’s name and then ask that poor dog to perform!

 

So yes, the fact that you were witnessing a seamless transition with as many dogs that we manage and you hadn’t realize the great expenditure of time and energy in planning out and then executing almost flawlessly is a great compliment to our ways and means.

August 7th

Does Money Talk?

 

“Do you all consider money for giving a dog priority handling over another dog?”

 Ally Beaumont

 

In the professional handling system, used by 99% of pro handlers, that could be a prime consideration.

 

I personally know of a professional Labrador handler that gave ‘Exclusive Handling’ at $500 per show for a breeder’s dog. So the handler would come to the Labrador ring and sit ringside until it was time for that dog’s class. Then the handler would get up, take the dog into the ring, handle the dog and chalk up $500 for handling the only Labrador at that show……………..whether the dog won its class or not!

 

I am sure that when it comes to money, that there will be some people that will sell out………….remember the old saying ‘everyone has a price’ add to that ‘make them an offer they won’t refuse!’

 

In the Chambray show management program, there isn’t a dog that we would give ‘Exclusive Handling’ out of the classes……………even at $500 a show…………………………as that would be defeating everything else that has been in place and that has worked so successfully with each dog coming up paying their dues until they reached their top status in our system and then deservedly was given the handling priorities it earned and merited!

 

Now there is a difference when a dog is a champion as that then becomes another set of priorities that are observed in the Best Of Breed competition. Plus, there are even priorities set between dogs of different breeds. When dogs of different breeds are in the ring at the exact same time, then the whole scenario of priorities changes because of the requirements of having our handlers split up and man each of those rings.

 

There is another set of priorities when several breeds of dogs win BOB and are to be handled in the Sporting Groups later in the day.

 

There are extra charges that will be incurred by the dog’s owner for these priorities, so that money does come into consideration for setting a handling priority for the Groups.

August 7th

Moving On Up

Moving On Up

 

We have covered the subject of handling priorities every which way including loose as a goose!

 

To recap since there isn't a day or two that this subject is not re-hashed either in person here at the training classes or one of many emails that come in from heavens knows where, heavens knows who and whatever!

 

Those new to the fancy, not fully grasping the protocols in place in the business of handling dogs will question why a handler will stay on a particular dog and not go back into the ring with another dog from a previous class where that dog won a first place as well.

 

To keep it real, those asking don’t really know when it happens to every other dog there, it is only when they are the owners of the dogs that seemingly gets bumped over and a backup handler materializes and waltzes in the ring with their dog. I state this because priority handling happens more often than not, but the complaints come in when it only happens to someone’s dog.

 

We could flip a coin or we could draw straws or we could play ‘eenie meenie miney mo’ to determine which dog gets the original handler and which dog will receive the backups that are in place for when these occurrences arise.

 

Maybe that’s the way it is done with others that leave things up in the air and then grasp at straws as a remedy of last resort…………………………but the professional way and the Chambray way is to determine priorities way ahead in advance covering as many possible scenarios so that a seamless transition occurs in those precise moments that each dog that won its class must go back into the ring.

 

There isn’t much time for decision making when dogs need to go back into the ring. There is absolute no time to be running after an owner and explaining to them what is transpiring at that precise moment………….unlike other sports and endeavors……………..like there is ‘no crying in baseball’………….there are no ‘time outs’ in dog handling!

 

There is a game plan for each and every show and for efficiency and for professionalism it is the guideline that we use……………..unless I see something that calls for ‘a split second change’…………..which I will call if need be.

 

For example, at the most recent dog show that Team Chambray was at in WPB in July, the Chambray males won every class but one! So, that was the 6 to 9 class, the 9 to 12 class, the Bred By Exhibitor class, the Am Bred Class, the Open Black class and then the Open Yellow class (that class having a total entry of 9 yellow males!)

 

Out of that winning lineup of dogs, Jessica Herzon handled the 6 to 9, the Bred By Ex, the Open Black and the Open Yellow male. She can only go back in with one of those dogs and the main priority for her was the Open Yellow……………for various reasons.

 

First and foremost, he was the committed dog from all of the above. Committed in that we was present at every dog show for the entire year over dog owners that pick and choose outings. Simply put, dogs on the frontlines week in and week out will have the best chances of winning because they hit a groove that the ‘hit and miss dogs’ do not. So, dogs in the starting lineup will receive priority over the dogs that do not attend each and every show.

 

The 2nd set of priorities with the Open Yellow dog was that he was the dog closest to finishing his championship, so having the most points will also be used as a criterion for priority. In this case the Open Yellow dog, Max needed just one more Winners Dog and he would finish out his quest for the AKC champion’s title. By finishing out, he was also finished with showing from the classes which opens up the winning of points for those other class dogs and a new set of priorities will now be established because Max is no longer in the mix!

 

The 3rd priority used was the actual class the dog was in…………….usually the Open Classes receive priority, followed by the Bred By Exhibitor Class, followed by the AM Bred Class, then to the 12 to 18 class and finally the 2 Puppy Classes. So, the Open Yellow and the Open Black class may be given a handler’s prioriity.

 

The 4th consideration at this particular show was the unusual numbers of dogs competing from the Open Yellow class…………………9 dogs vs only 1 dog in the Open Black, so choosing between the Open Classes was simple in this case, the Yellow class had more competition so the judge was more likely to award the win to the Open Yellow winner.

 

A 5th consideration of strategy that sometimes is used in staying with the Open Yellow, since that it is the last class that the handler is in with the dog and the judge would see that the handler is preferring to go back in with another dog, which sometimes gives the judge an inkling as to which dog the handler prefers to win with.

 

So, Jessica stayed on Max from the Open Yellow Class and ended up with Winners Dog, finishing Max. Keep in mind that Max started out as a 6 month old puppy showing and he paid his dues from the ground up when it was his turn to have backups used on him when there where older dogs that deserved the priority handling at the time.

 

So, each new owner’s dog moves on up the priority ladder……………….the paying of dues if you will……………..to get to the top rung of that ladder where all the due considerations are applied equally and fairly as they have with us for the last 25 years of show management.

 

That sure beats the tossing of a coin when it comes to being successful……………………and no matter how upset an owner gets when things don’t go their way, the one thing that cannot be argued with is our top of the mountain success rate………………one that we can truly proclaim ‘bar none’!

August 6th

The Weather

 

The ‘Heat, the Humidity and the Rain’……………………sounds like one of those folksy bands from the 60’s, but the stark reality is that at this time of the year, most of the country battles through merciless bouts of either/or………………and all three!

 

In addition, for our neck of the woods……………that being the east coast and gulf coast area…………………..there’s a 4th player that constantly spreads fear the moment one of them flairs up either way out in the Atlantic or in the Gulf of Mexico………………….so add Hurricanes to the, brow-beading, back-grizzling, heatstroke inducing trio afore-mentioned in the lead-in line of this blog.

 

Our daily dog work sessions, start before the temps hit the 90’s which is before 10 AM. Even in the shade under our heavily canopied work areas, the heat and humidity become unbearable for man and beast alike. So, a truce with nature is the best idea and other dog-business tasks are performed until a reprieve from the usual sour day’s offering takes place…………………….which could turn into a soaking mess with the customary raining season that befalls our area come the sweaty, sultry, sizzling summer months.

 

On occasion, we are treated to a nice sea breeze from the east or a big blow from the west with a sudden thunderstorm-forming squall that fans over our location that is nestled right next to the Everglades……………………zipping right over us and unloading a torrential downpour a mile or two east of here in Kendall, the western suburb of Miami.

 

For us at Chambray Acres ‘dog day afternoon’ is more like ‘dog day all-day’, as the day’s simmer begins to quell a bit at around 6 PM, giving us about an hour before the night training classes are due to begin. Of course, those that attend the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night sessions have learned that they need to call our ‘weather hotline number’ by 5 PM that afternoon to listen to the recording as to the status of the class due to the inclemency of the weather.

 

For those dogs that come and stay with us for prescribed periods of time, acclimating them to our environment is paramount, knowing that all of those dogs have the super comforts afforded them as the pets they are first and foremost in their owner’s homes……………………….of course being the top show dogs that they also are means that not only do we do show preparation and training, we also condition them to the rigors of the show environment.

 

Ah, but every season comes to an end and the winds of change for us here in South Florida usually come around the 2nd week in September…………………..what a welcome, refreshing little breeze that is, because from that moment on, we only need to concern ourselves with 2 more months of watching and waiting for the 4th element to either materialize or spare us for another year………………….a rogue hurricane that can brew and set it’s crosshairs right over our little dog haven.

August 5th

Fast & Furious Feedback

 

 

“We have read through all of the extensive information at your website and would be interested in one of your show puppies. We would however prefer to own the dog, show the dog and breed the dog ourselves, we couldn’t find any information as to whether that was a possibility.”

 

Good question, as I am receiving more and more inquiries from folk from all over the country for our top show puppies.

Let me take care of the shipping of puppies’ questions that I receive daily!

 

We don’t ship puppies!

 

Now that the Feds, through the USDA, has imposed regulations that only the big commercial breeding conglomerates can abide by, those breeding show puppies out of their homes will not be issued the licenses required for shipping a puppy out of state. The breeding of dogs has to be done from commercially approved/licensed standalone buildings not connected or adjacent to the home……………………….that will never, ever happen with a Chambray-bred puppy. It is a 100% must that each of our puppies be born in the home and raised in the home!

 

So, no shipping of puppies! Each and every puppy placed must be done in person, with the new owner taking possession directly from me! I will not have it any other way.

 

Ok, now back to the placement of one of show puppies to non-participating new owners (outright placement)…………………….yes, we will place show puppies under those terms, however those puppies will be placed at the corresponding market price using the pricing structure of those breeders that are at our same show level.

 

Outright placement of a show puppy starts at $4500 to those folk that wish to go independent, whereas show puppies placed with our full owner’s program participation start out at $2200. Some top drawer puppies may have ‘puppy/puppies back’ arrangements in addition to the monetary price.

 

So, in essence those opting to come on board with all of the amenities, mentoring, training, show management, and on and on, pay half as much as those just wanting one of our top produce and not participating nor contributing to the production of the next generation.

 

Hey, seems like a no brainer to me, but I still offer independents the opportunity to up their game with one of my prized gems for the betterment of the breed.

August 5th

What It Takes To Be Part Of Chambray

 

“What would be required from me if I were interested in purchasing a show puppy from your kennel?”

 

First of all, it would be very favorable for you to know the difference between our involvements with the breed versus any other breeder you contact. Once you have that information, then you will fully understand who, what, when and the where of Chambray Labradors.

 

The reason I state this upfront to any and all that contact us is that the vast majority of Labrador breeders produce litters for the pet market, while Chambray Labradors only breeds a litter to produce puppies for show.

 

If your intent is to show, then you will come and visit and I will go over all aspects of owning and participating in all of Chambray Labradors Owner’s Programs. Which ultimately includes the co-breeding of at least one litter that will be placed through Chambray’s Puppy Placement Program. This is the program that is responsible for all the puppies we produce and then place with new owners like you.

 

Once a puppy is placed with you, we would expect you to take full advantage of all the amenities that come with the ownership of a Chambray puppy. Those amenities are only made available by Chambray because we are the only ones qualified to offer the whole dog ownership package:

 

  • Labrador breeders that are the Top Champion Labrador Breeders in the country.

  • Labrador breeders that are professional dog trainers, having trained well over 40,000 dogs in 40+ years

  • Labrador breeders that are the winningest professional dog handlers in the Labrador ring.

 

So, with all this knowledge we are good to go to the next level, which is waiting for the right puppy from a co-bred litter to be placed with you. A puppy that was evaluated to be top show conformation where together, you as the new owner and us the producers & mentors will do all those things that have made us as successful with all the other puppies placed with new owners……………………together we will take that puppy and develop it to its fullest potential with the goal of having it pay it forward to the next great Chambray generation of stellar puppies………………….which ultimately is our collect contribution to the betterment of the breed.

August 4th

More Chiming In

 

"What is a typical training package for one of your client’s dogs."

 

Because we deal individually with each of our owners………………..so many variables are considered that there is no ‘typical’ regimen that can be prescribe to every dog.

 

All show puppies placed come with unlimited one on one training sessions and also unlimited training classes at night……………..those are provided free of charge to all our show quality puppies and dogs…………….for life………….of the dog!

 

At those sessions and classes we provide the learning environment for the owner to learn to work with their dogs in different types of training and also in conditioning……………………all age-appropriate and custom designed for their individual dog.

 

Some owners have the time and energy to take home the prescribed lessons and put them into play, others are way too busy or may not be into physical exertion and will not be able to follow the regimens needed to have the dog in the physical and mental.

 

We take each and every dog/owner situation individually and then we prescribe what will work in each case. We then keep tabs on the progress made with each client and their dog. Those dogs that seem to be falling behind, will have recommendations for more In-Kennel Training, where the dogs are left with us for specified periods of time and we perform whatever training/conditoning is needed

.

 

At first, we trust in the owners to do as much as they can for their dogs in terms of conditioning and training and some show preparations training. As time passes, we begin to fill in those areas where those owners are either falling behind or have totally failed to have the dog at the proper state of mind and physicality to be competitive in the show ring.

 

If the dogs are in our Show Management Program and have the conformation to be on the starting lineup, then the game is on to have it also be in the best presentation mode possible. If for some reason the owners cannot provide what is needed to have the dog at its competitive best, then that dog will be put on the backburner and not featured in the starting lineup, rather that dog’s spot will be filled by other dogs that may be more suited for competition at that point in time.

 

Either the dog is competitive or it’s not, if not, then a new prescription will be written up and hopefully the owners will be able to follow that game plan and that dog can make its way back into the lineup.

 

August 4th

Creating The Winning Edge

 

"No wonder some exhibitors complain that your group has an unfair advantage showing dogs in your state! You have created a monopoly in breeding and showing!"

 

Looking at the glass with some water in it, I prefer the ‘glass is half full’ option!

 

Rather than creating an ‘unfair advantage’ let’s call it what it is and what it does do……………….creating the  ‘winning edge advantage’……………………..creating an ‘unfair advantage’ may denote some type of nefarious undertakings or high jinx shenanigans…………………….while creating a ‘winning edge’ accurately describes the tremendous amount of work that we all collectively put in.

 

Owners working with the breeder to bring about the best there is in conformation and in performance………………which is what we do with the Chambray Owner’s Programs, Chambray’s Show Management Program, Chambrays Breeder’s Program and ultimately Chambray’s Puppy Placement Program that places great puppies with new owners that start the process all over again. 

 

Creating the winning edge advantage.........................all over again!

August 4th

Getting The Idea

 

This response was condensed as the original was very detailed and extremely long and covered way too much ground for one blog. However, I will use some of the other subject matter for future blogs.

 

 

"It doesn’t take much to see why you have become so successful breeding and showing Labradors.

Looking through your websites and the blogs more or less lays it out for anyone to get it. It is very evident that your breeding program is at the top levels with the other great Labrador breeders in the country. That is more than proven by your successes at the big shows where top breeders send their dogs out with professional handlers.

 

What really sets your operation apart is the owner participations in the various programs you offer those who purchase your dogs. The guidance you provide each owner is unique and that ensures that you will have more of your best dogs at the show levels than those breeders that sell puppies and then rely on the owners to develop and show those dogs on their own. It is evident that you have built a fail-safe system so that a greater number of those puppies you place will actually be part of the showing scene with your handlers showing all of them."

 

 

Ok, I will buy into your simplified assessment…………………………….just a couple of pointers for clarity’s sake.

 

“Those puppies you place” would be a more accurate read if it you had written “All the puppies you place”…………………………..then an explanation to that would be, we don’t keep any puppies ourselves, we place all the puppies………………….both the show prospects and those that do not meet our high standards for show, are placed as pets.

 

The last sentence of your response about a “fail-safe system” was novel and very true, so kudos for giving me another term to use in future promos, advertising and bragging……………...lol.

 

Also from that last sentence…………………………….. “your handlers showing all of them”

 

It is not mandatory that we must be the handlers of those dogs we place, of course we reserve the right to have the first choice of handling or refusal of each and every one of our produce................in many cases, we actually will recommend the appropriate handler if we are not available as I detailed to you in the reply email I sent you.

 

In fact, there is not a greater complement for us as breeders to have our competitor handlers take on a Chambray dog as part of their handling assignment, which means that they have made room for one of our dogs over the many other breeders that approach them with their dogs to be handled……………..that to me is a win, win situation any day of the week!

 

Plus that means more Chambray dogs will make it to the show arena as it will give us an opening to add another dog to our starting lineup……………………… so a triple win, win, win for us!

August 3rd

Mid-Summer Report

 

With great anticipation we now await the 2nd half of the 2015 show season, which kicks off for Chambray at the Atlanta 4 days of shows on August 20th thru the 23rd. Yep, it’s a long trek for us coming up from the southernmost show venue city in the country, Miami, but it is a must do with the number of owners/dogs we mentor and manage.

 

This Atlanta GA weekend of shows and the ones that follows, 4 days of shows in Biloxi MS on September 3rd to the 6th, gives us 8 extra shows to spread out amongst our top dogs that comprise our extended show roster.

 

For the out of state shows, we divided the starting lineup and will travel to the first weekend with some dogs and then alternate and take some different dogs to the following weekend, which gives those targeted traveling dogs a better opportunity to win points without having to compete against each other.

 

With the Florida weekend of shows that follow in September, October and November, we will go back to carrying as many dogs that we have room for in our Sprinter, plus we will be meeting many of our owners there that travel with their dogs to those shows outside of South Florida.

 

The last 2 weekends of shows before we head off to Orlando FL for the Eukanuba week of events, those shows are staged down here in South Florida where we will bring the house out since the vast majority of the Chambray show dogs live in this area.

 

One of the venues, the Davie FL shows the last weekend in November has now become our annual Chambray get together. At last year’s event,  more than 100 Chambray owners and supporters showed up to root the home team on in the ring. Our luncheon was held out under the trees in the parking lot with scores of present and past owners taking part in celebrating the 25th year that we have marked this tradition.

 

The following weekend in Miami will see us once again with a large home crowd supporting a very large entry of dogs, much like the previous weekend in Davie. Both of these weekends serve as a launching pad for the last week of shows that follow Miami’s event only 2 days later in Orlando Fl with 3 regular All-Breed shows during the week sponsored by Orlando area clubs…………………….then a special LRC parent club sponsored Specialty on Friday………………culminating with the most-attended USA canine show there is…………….The 2015 Eukanuba National Invitational on Saturday for Labradors!

 

For 2015, we are riding one of the greatest winning streaks ever posted by a Labrador breeder. That’s 112 consecutive winning weekends where Chambrays dogs have won Winners Dog/Winners Bitch/Best Of Breeds……………………..these weekends are only counted if our entire Chambray team and lineup was present……………..because there are numerous winning weekends where a couple of Chambray dogs handled by other have traveled to and also posted wins on those occasions, but we don’t include those.

 

In addition, for the first 7 months of the year, there have been 5 new Chambray champions crowned, making the likelihood that 2 or 3 more new champions will add to that number for the year which would bring us to the magic number needed to make 2015 the 2nd year in a row where Chambray is the top breeder of champion Labradors in the country……………that’s 3 times in 4 years as well with 2012 besides 2014 being at the top of the mountain.

 

With those 5 new champions already finished and not competing from the classes anymore, it leaves the door wide open for our other great dogs to vie for those WD/WB points. Most of those dogs are just getting started, most with less than 7 points to their resume. However, with 4 dogs on the verge of finishing their titles with either just simple points needed or a major win…………2015 at the top looks very inviting and doable to boot!

 

Our special’s dog lineup is formidable, almost impenetrable to win against. Bronze Gr Chambrays Tucker Everlasting handled now by the Wilkerson/Granda team is on a Top 5 Mission in the rankings, so far thru June he holds the 4th spot atop the Canine Chronicle rankings in 3 different categories…………………#4 Breed………………….#4 All-Breed…………..and #4 Grand Champion standings.

 

His 21 Best of Breeds is the most BOBs posted by a Chambray male and he has accomplished that all in less than 1 year since becoming a champion………….his 4 Group 1’s put him on top for both Chambray ever and also on top in the USA so far for 2015.

 

Our other top special's dog, in very limited showing thus far in 2015, BBE Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter (who was #10 USA for 2014), is still in the USA Top 20 rankings with a #19 to his credit. Between Tucker and Walter, they have dominated the BOB wins in Florida to the tune of 90% of the time.

 

Vying for his Grand Champion’s title, needing just 2 more points is Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos with a couple of BOBs to his record in 2015 as well.

 

Two of our newest girl champions will now both take a run at their Grand Champion’s title. Ch Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha with 2 BOBs and a Group 4 win to her credit and our newest, 49th homebred champion BBE Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter will also join Sam for those BOBs and Select Champions points.

 

Also coming out again as a special’s dog, with more maturity, more physical development will be Gr Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck “Bob’………………getting in some ring time in anticipation for the Eukanuba week of shows in December.

 

All in all, Chambray will be fully loaded for a bear hunt come this 2nd half of the 2015 dog show season as mentioned at the beginning of this blog…………with great anticipation!

August 2nd

More Kudos

 

I have received numerous communications from existing and previous owners that participate now and contributed greatly in the past to our mission of the betterment of the breed. The examples that I used in tracing the pay it forward movement that started with the placing of Ch Chambrays Indian Summer in 1990 as the first co-managed dog, all the way to the present in 2015 with our newest champion, BBE Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter is just one series of co-owner to co-owner to co-owner. There have been 100’s with similar stories.

 

It would take a book to cover each and every co-owner that has led us to the present. Someone suggested that I create a ‘summary’ of every co-ownership, co-breeding and mutual association from the beginning to now…………………………. “Whoa Nelly” is all I can say to that!

 

In previous blogs and articles I have documented the great contributions of dogs and owners such as BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff with his owners, the Feeleys…………………………………………Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle Of Jericho and his owners the Wilkinings………………………………..Am/Can Ch Grandquest Chambray Slapshot and the Gonzalez family and heaven knows best the dozens and scores of others that I have written about and can’t recall right now.

 

Part of my contributions to the breed is preserving the history behind where we are today in general with the breed and in particular with Chambray Labradors. Through the years in my mentoring capacity, I have published countless blogs and articles going back to the great Labradors of yesteryear, way before I got started in 1970! Along the way, I have given credit to where credit was due to all those great breeders of the past that made it possible to have great dogs to work with today!

 

As long as my faculties permit me, I will continue to educate those new coming on board as well as those that are already along for the ride.

 

 

 

 

"Looking from the outside in. That blog was an eye-opening expose of more than 25 years with your programs and the owners that have benefited greatly. To be honest, I really had no idea that’s how it worked! At the dog shows I could see the many dogs that you and your family bring to show and I had heard that you all were building majors for your dogs, what I didn’t fully understand was that all those dogs had been placed with those owners and you all were the ones that trained the dogs and owners and that you provided the knowhow for each of those dogs and owners for all those years. What an undertaking and what great successes you all have created." SW

 

 

 

 

"I read with great interest and pride the trials and tribulations that you documented from 1988 to 2015 with placing your best puppies with new owners. Pride because I have firsthand experience as one of those new owners that was entrusted with a Chambray best.

 

I benefitted greatly from all the training and support that you provided. My puppy also came from one of those co-bred litters where that owner was paying it forward as they too got their puppy from another co-owner that was part of the plan. 

 

I too contributed with co-breeding one litter with my Chambray female and her puppies were placed through your Puppy Placement Program. The program where each of those new owners benefitted greatly through your mentoring and a couple of those puppies and new owners also continued the tradition and participated in your breeding program when those puppies reached adulthood and breeding age.

 

Although I have been out of the dog scene with my now 13 year old Chambray dog, I still stay connected and follow all the great things that have come from the Chambray owner’s programs. Keep up the great work because there are tons of people that appreciate all that Chambray, you and your family have done for the breed." CC

August 1st

The 'Pay It Forward' Intrigue

 

"I am intrigued with your organization. How does this ‘pay it forward’ movement work?"

 

That will be easy to explain and difficult to fully comprehend.

 

But let’s give it a spin!

 

Let’s use actual instances with real people so that it becomes very personal and of course very real and while we are at it, let’s make it a history lesson for all those that are part of Chambray today so they can have an understanding of how their dog came to be.

 

Let’s go way back, back to 1988 with the purchase of Beaver Creeks Crystal Chambray. She was a yellow bitch puppy from Beaver Creek Labradors* that was owned by the late Dr’s Carol and Frances Rabalais. Their top-notch dogs originated from the top Canadian Labrador breeders of all times, Ebonylane Labradors.

 

In 1990, I bred Crystal to a grandson of Receiver Of Cranspire, the most influential show dog in the history of the breed.

There was one exceptional yellow female puppy that was placed with the McGown family as a co-managed dog for show and eventually for breeding. That was a huge leap of faith in placing what most breeders in the country would consider a foundation bitch………….placing such a dog with new owners is totally unheard of in the dog show world. Remember that breeders keep the best and sell the rest, especially a foundation quality female!

 

The association worked like a dream and in record time as that awesome puppy became Ch Chambrays Indian Summer in 12 shows!!!!!!! In 1993, Summer was bred for just one co-bred litter that also produced 1 super outstanding yellow female that would be placed with the next ‘chosen’ new owners.

 

So, the ‘Pay It Forward’ movement had taken its first infant step, we ‘trusted’ a new owner and they came through with flying colors becoming one of our first ‘partners’, which set up the next step in the process.

 

That next ‘foundation quality female’ was also placed with new owners, the Senra family and that association led to showing Chambrays Summer Rebel Amber who retired before finishing her championship with 13 points and 3 majors due to an injury. She too was co-bred for just 1 litter as a ‘pay it forward’ to the breed and to the next new Chambray owners.

 

One of the most outstanding females ever produced in Florida up to that time was that next puppy that was placed with Martha Chisholm and once again, the association between owner and Chambray for the betterment of the breed and for the pay it forward movement paid off gigantic dividends for both owner and our kennel as Am JAMSS Ch/Int BIS Ch Chambrays Chisholm Chancey became the model for all to follow…………………….the dividends kept right on paying for the breed and for those that came after with the placement of Chancey’s fantastic first litter.

 

All 3 of Chancey’s puppies, all females were to become the winningest show trio from one litter ever in Florida, all 3 were to finish their championships in record times, dominating the Winners Bitch wins between them for those times in 2002 to 2004! Together her offspring amassed 41 Best Of Breeds, 2 Group 1 placements, 2 Best Puppy In Show, Top USA Rankings, Eukanuba Qualifiers and eventually they produced 8 champions of their own!

 

Once again, trusting an owner with a dog the likes of Chancey, the world caliber dog she was, makes the pay it forward movement as real as it gets! Having this owner participate at every level that Chambray offered and then co-breeding that astronomical litter, allowing for the placement of those puppies with the next set of chosen owners makes the whole program work seamlessly.

 

True to form, 2 of those world-class foundation puppies were trusted out to new owners that would be part of the mentorship programs, one of the puppies was kept by my then 10-year old daughter, Jessica. With our training, conditioning and show handling, as mentioned previously all 3 of those puppies went on to dominate the show scene in Florida from 2002 to 2004.

 

Unfortunately, for the first time in the pay it forward movement that started with the placement of Ch Chambrays Indian Summer in 1990, those 2 new owners after taking advantage of the entire owner's programs, those 2 'trusted' placed puppies did not participate in the co-breeding program when it came time for their owners to pay it forward to the next generation of puppies produced or to the next set of new owners.

 

Fortunately, one of the 3 puppies, Jessie's was still in the Chambray programs after she championed out and she save the day, the year, the decade for Chambray by producing her own super stellar litter that would keep the betterment of the breed and the pay it forward movement alive and kicking……………….kicking booty!

 

Am BPIS/INT BIS Chambrays Chance N Counter “Connie” would be that kennel savior………………………she would produce 4 champions of her own, each of those ‘keeper puppies’ would be placed with potential new Chambray owners that would hopefully work in concert in our programs to pay it forward once again to the next generation of dogs and owners.

 

From 2 of Connie’s litters, two puppies would perpetuate the process to the next level with participating in the betterment of the breed by producing the next generation of super star champions for Chambray Labradors as co-breeders/stud dog owners.

Once of those puppies was placed with Chambray partner Val Till in 2007. Val is a previous Chambray owner, actually her association with us dates back to 1990, before Hurricane Andrew.

 

Val’s puppy, AKC Ch-Pt/Int Ch Chambrays Eloquent N Counter “Ellie”  would produce 1 co-bred litter that produced Florida’s most decorated and winningest Labrador ever and only Best In Show winning female, BIS BBE Silve/Bronze Gr Ch/Int BIS Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter “Kika”…………………..winner of just about any and all major awards that a champion can achieve.

 

In 2011, Kika as a puppy was entrusted to a brand new owner as part of the pay it forward movement, in fact the same person, Juan Marrero was also chosen to start off with both of Ellie’s top produce and he took home Kika and her litter mate Gavi…………….who is now BBE Grand Ch/Int BIS Ch Chambrays First N Counter.

 

So much did this owner impress us with his trust of us, our system and programs, that along the way, another champion prospect was placed with him and that dog is now Ch Chambrays Stellar Thunder, a main contributor to the Stud Dog Program.

 

Juan is now a full working partner with the breeding program having produced 5 litters that already has seen 2 new champions produced, one from Gavi placed in 2013 and one from Kika placed in 2014 and both of those were placed with a new owner that joined our programs for the betterment of the breed.

 

Those 2 new champions, Gr Chambrays Razor's Edge Thunderstruck and BBE Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter who both were co-bred/produced with Juan Marrero are owned by John McGraw who is now an integral part of the Chambray partners, each of those owners appreciating our mission and goals for the betterment of the breed, each commited to the betterment of the breed, each knowing how the pay it forward movement has worked for them and how it will work for the next generation of new owners!

 

The preceding summary only follows one line from 1990 through 2015, there are dozens,more like hundreds of others that have been on the same journey of participations and contributions through the pay it forward movement and the betterment of the breed mission. All those that believed in us, the programs and the pay it forward contributed greatly to our record number of champions produced 49 and to our USA Top Labrador Breeders of the Year for 2012 and again for 2014 and once again on our way to the top for 2015 with 5 new champions in 7 months so far this year.

 

By the way, way at the beginning of this blog, I mentioned the acquisition in 1988 of Crystal our first show dog that we 'ruined' with our first foray into showing after having been into obedience competition for 5 years...........................so, we are proof of owners ruining their first show dog, unless you happen to start out in a mentoring environment as Chambray has in place today and for the last 25 years. We provide the exception to the rule of an owner ruining their first dog if that owner takes full advantage of the mentorship program offered each and every new Chambray owner.

 

August 1st

More Feedback From Owners

 

 

The best form of educating sometimes comes from others that have learned by going through the trial...........so let's see what some of those that have been through a Chambray show dog ownership have to say.

 

 

 

"Finally caught up with your blogs and we totally get and trust what you do for the breed and your owners. You entrusted us with a great dog, we showed up weekly for training class, applied your feedback and process and the results speak for themselves! A lot of owners have no clue on how or why things are done a specific way. In spending time with them and exchanging ideas it leaves no doubt in our minds that your guidance is most needed and their reciprocal trust should be expected.

 

Not all owners are as committed as Maressa and I and that makes a HUGE difference! We thank you for all you've done and continue to do and our goal is to make you SO PROUD of Tucker that you will always fondly remember our experience together and enjoy his accomplishments as much as we do!! I truly hope he can continue his "drive to top five" as that invitation letter would be awesome. For now we take a well deserved rest before we begin the training for Atlanta. I don't think you could have picked a better owner for Tucker!! Take that to the bank!"

GE.

 

 

 

 

"It took us our 2nd dog to begin to grasp the 'big picture' as you are fond of calling it. Yes, we spoiled our first dog, 'ruined' as you chastise us owners for all the things we do that make it more difficult to train the dogs.

 

Through it all, you have been there the entire way, making it fun and rewarding to be involved in both of our dog’s training and well-being. Looking back the 7 years that we have been in your ‘camp’, we see totally what you are trying so hard to get new owners to understand.

 

Not sure that it is something that can be lectured and written about, we see it as a journey that each owner must take and learn as they go through it. I wish I could be more helpful to you with your new owners, they need to trust you that you will do the right thing for each of them as you have for all those that have been part of the mission with the breed.”

JR.

 

 

 

 

"For those that are in the show program, the best advice that can given anyone is to sit back and let Sandy do the driving, he’s the best and most knowledgeable Labrador breeder and trainer there is and his family make up the best handlers at the shows. That is the winning combination, like no one else has."

NM