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Chambray Labradors Blogging Off

February 2015

"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."


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. 

  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.

February 27th

The Show Must Go On


The last minute preparations are underway at Chambray for the 2 days of shows in West Palm Beach starting tomorrow.


Compared to the majority of show venues we travel to, this one is a relative short hop and a skip away. So much so that we drive up and back for each day, saving on hotel bills……………..of course the 99 mile one way trek does suck up a bit of diesel fuel when you multiple that by 4 and come up with 400 miles of traveling to and from. But like all the other circumstances related to dog shows that we deal with, it is all part of doing business.


Like in Charles Dickens, ‘Great Expectations’ novel………………we too arrive at this destination with a load of expectations. We, being all of those fine folk that in one way or another comprise Chambray Labradors and this extensive ‘family of owners’ that is so unique to the Labrador world.


Every single dog that will be featured at this weekend and every weekend of show we travel to are individually owned by a family and not the usual fare of breeder-owned, kennel-housed and professional handled dogs that are the mainstay of show dogs.

There is a two-edged sword to the preceding passage.


On one side we have the great advantage of choosing from all those dogs that are  part of Chambrays Owner’s Program……..scores and scores, probably numbering well over 100 dog owners that choose to participate with their dogs in our numerous offerings for the betterment of the breed.


The flip side of owner-based dogs are professional-handled dogs which make up the majority of the dogs we compete against and those dogs are in a show-minded environment 24/7.


So, in one hand you have the Chambray-managed dogs…………….most spoiled silly by their owners……………..dogs that are happy go lucky, cheerful and full of vim,vigor and vinegar …………………which can at times lead to misbehaving and erratic performances in the ring vs. the statue-like presentations offered by the professional handlers who have literally removed the owner’s influence from the training/conditioning and handling equation.


By choice and by design, we have created this world of showing dogs that allows the dogs to have their owners as the biggest part of their lives and not the opposite scenario of the professional show dogs!


Of course to every situation there are advantages and disadvantages and occasionally we deal with those anomalies or ripples in the water that at times present themselves on this odyssey that Chambray Labradors and the Show Management Program has created.

The most evident hiccup that we know can come up at any moment for us as handlers while in the ring is the unexpected acting up of our owner’s dogs. The opposite of that are the dogs in the professional’s hands that seldom if ever deviate from the show routines that they practice day in and day out.


So, we have perfectly rote performances from the pros vs. our spontaneous, at the moment offerings that our handlers improvise with hopefully willing dogs. The old two-edge sword if there ever was one. If all goes in our favor…………………..happy, chirpy and natural usually can beat the stiff, yet perfect acting dogs. The opposite of that is when our dogs decide that they are class clowns, jesters, squirrels, donkeys and as in Champ Bob’s case flopping Dolphins or Marlins or whatever it was he thought he was instead of being a show dog!


When that happens to us in the ring……………….oh boy! We are in for a rude awaking and of course embarrassing situation to say the least. Here you have the most successful Labrador breeder/exhibitors in the country with ill-behaving dogs! Certainly not what the Doctor ordered, so if the judge says something to me…………………you better believe that I will be throwing that dog’s owner under the bus! lol


Not all guffaws are on the dogs in this ‘Us vs. The Pros’ way of doing things. There was a passage somewhere at the beginning of this blog that stated ‘removing the owners from the equation’. That’s the very first thing that the professional handler will put into play if they are to take on a client’s dog on.


The pros want the owners as far away from the dogs as possible, both in time and in space. They want total control of the exhibit and insist that the owners not get involved in any way with the presentation of the dog in any way. Simple as a dimple on a dapple………………….the more control they have, the better their performances will be in the ring. The pros don’t want to deal with all the individual idiosyncrasies and layers of inconsistencies that owners heap upon their dogs. This also includes the high and lows of owner angst that is so pervasive with winning and losing!


Of course those that are part of Chambrays Owner’s Programs know nothing of the preceding because they are each an integral part of their dog’s journey as a show dog. We provide a mentoring and nurturing environment from the day that an owner obtains their new Chambray puppy.   


Each owner is encouraged to take part in the training and conditioning of that dog from day one. They are also included in the whole show experience by traveling with the dog to as many show venues as possible, giving Chambray the largest numbers of entries for our team of handlers to show.


Just as the sun rises each morning in the east and invariably sets in the west, we also deal with the different ebb and flow of personalities that come with each dog’s owner, something that the pros do not tolerate.


For the last 25 years we have dealt with hundreds if not close to a thousand show dogs and their owners and by far and wide our success rate with our Owner’s system in place is well over 97% satisfaction and being a businessman besides all the other hats that have adorned my head, that is a number that most businesses dream about having.


So, on with the show we go!

February 24th 

What's Up Doc?


"Is there an afterbirth pill to give to dogs to avoid unwanted puppies? The last time our dog got pregnant she had a mixed litter of puppies."


I get plenty of emails like the above. There is a drug that is used to induce abortions, however its use is strictly for emergencies and is considered risky. The best solution for unwanted litters is to spay the female if she cannot be properly supervised and contained during the estrus cycle.


"Where do you recommend that we advertise our puppies so that we don’t get stuck with them? Sometimes they become too old and not cute, when people like to take them home and then they cost more than they are worth."


Boy, I hear this too often. The indiscriminate breeding of dogs without a game plan leads to disaster. Yes, raising puppies can become very costly to say the least with vet bills, licenses, food and housing among the regular bills to pay. As soon as it is known that the dog is pregnant, put an ad in the local paper, put flyers out anywhere where they are allowed to be posted…………… a days, social media is a great way to get the word out as well. Don’t wait until the puppies are 8 weeks old to find homes for them or you will be stuck with them.


"We purchased a show Lab from a breeder in our area and she recommends that we show it. How hard is it to show our own dog?"


Anyone can take the dog into the show ring and lead it around as the judge instructs and have it stand for examination. What will invariably be vastly different will be the results produced between what a professional handler will achieve and what a novice, amateur handler will get.


There are not many activities, professions or sports where a total neophyte can stroll into the competitive work area and go head-to-head with the top professionals of the business. The object of showing a dog is to present it in the best possible way so that the judge ‘sees’ the outstanding attributes of that dog. As in other activities, it takes time and practice to accumulate the expertise to do the job well enough to be competitive. Also bear in mind that the quality of the dog will also determine how successful that dog will be in the show ring.


The first and foremost requirement that a successful show dog must have is the breeding. The breeder is totally responsible for that all-important criteria. No matter how much you show the dog, unless the conformation is there, the dog will not go far in the show ring.


The next item that is a must is training and conditioning. A dog with great conformation will do well, a dog with great conformation that is top trained and conditioned will do great!


The 3rd item for total success, having had the conformation, the training/conditioning is the presentation! With these 3 items in place the deal is sealed! A dog missing any of the three will have a tougher time achieving success.

February 24th 

And The Beat Goes On



The West Palm Beach dog shows are this coming weekend and it has been non-stop action here at Chambray Acres with training, conditioning and grooming of those dogs that are part of our show management program.


Preparation is paramount for the best possible show presentation, so very little is left to chance!


The dogs that are part of the show roster receive specialized, private In-Kennel training and conditioning sessions where the dogs are left with us for determined periods of time.................there are the 3 nights a week of group conformation training classes that are a must for show practice...................... and the private owner with dog At-Kennel sessions where the owner either comes and works with the dog or hires one of our staff trainers to do the work.


This is creating the winning edge through preparation.


Besides all the hands on training, there is also the bathing, shampooing, trimming, nail grinding and other cosmetic detail that are also part of the services provided at our training facility in order to have all the bases covered once we arrive at the show venue.


In addition to the preceding, we are also very involved in intensive physical therapy and conditioning for dogs going through re-habilitation or for those that just want special treatment.


We also provide mentoring and apprenticeships to those owners that are interested in furthering their levels of expertise in show handling and in dog training. At the current time there are 5 people apprenticing through our Handlers & Trainers Courses, plus 3 Junior Handlers attending private training sessions, all of which will be competing at AKC events shortly.


Never a dull moment at Chambray Acres.

February 24th

Mighty Mouse Is On His Way


I receive an inordinate amount of emails on every topic Labrador! You name it, I hear about it!


At times it boggles even my ultra-liberal and ever-understanding mind what is in other people’s minds………………..however, at other times it leaves me scratching the barren dome that in yesteryear sported flocks of unruly curls!


But hey, that’s the way I like it, not so much the hairless beacon……………………what I do like is the fact that people around the world visit my little Labrador domain and have enough faith in my breed-related expertise to chime in with whatever they can conjure up.


I use this blog format to showcase those queries that come from far and wide and whose topics range from the curious to the insane.


Rather than answer individually those emails that  come in, I will whip up a blog that will at times suffice a dozen like-minded questions.


I wrote this offering in response to all those that are repetitive in questioning if I don’t have anything better to do than to ‘stir’ things up!


The act of stirring has a ‘blending’ affect, bringing to the surface of newness………………whereas the opposite of that action is stagnation, same ole, same ole! We all know what happens when things become stale and old……………….becoming rancid and covered with mold.


So, in the belief that moss don’t grow on rolling stones, I keep on truckin with whatever comes to mind…………… for those with muddled confusion, errant navigational responses, and just plain Jane…………………who, what, when and where……………lob them this way and as my childhood hero would say “Here I come to save the day”!

February 20th

Preparations For The West Palm Beach Dog Show


The program for the West Palm Beach shows just arrived via email and we now have the times and rings for the 2 days of shows to consider.


We now can create a ‘flow chart’ of the different breeds that we will be covering at these shows. Since we manage other dogs besides Labradors we must plan out what times all these breeds of dogs will be entering the ring, how many breeds before each and what rings they will be judged in.


At times, there will be straight up conflicts between our different breeds and our handlers will need to split up to ‘cover’ the different breeds in different rings and at times in different buildings. This means that the regularly assigned dog to a handler will need to be changed since that handler may be in another ring at the time.


These and others are eventualities that I consider for each show, dog and handler.


There are scenarios where there is no apparent conflict with the timing and then something happens in one of the rings as happened Friday at Lakeland where the Cane Corso judge was running over 45 minutes behind and caused one of our handlers to miss out completely in handling her Australian Shepard and also miss getting back to the Labrador ring to handle her assigned champion there.


Fortunately, we were able to contract outside handers to cover the Labradors that needed to be in the ring at the time, unfortunately the Australian Shepard fell through the cracks with all the craziness created by the Corso judge being so slow and backing the show up more than an hour. That means that Jessie doesn’t get paid $35 for grooming the Aussie, $25 for boarding for the day, and the $85 for handling that those outside the Chambray Owners pay……………..that’s a huge hit for a handler to take because of the major conflict that we were totally taken by surprise with.


Besides the monetary loss, there is also the grief that the owners of said dogs go through that we must deal with.

In every profession and endeavor there are those unwanted situations that will invariably arise and that must be dealt with, however the ships doesn’t sink because of these unplanned circumstances…………….we deal with it and the show must go on as tomorrow is another day.


After reviewing the times and rings for the WPB, there will be possible timing conflicts for some of the breeds, we will now contact as many independent handlers that may be available at certain times. Most of the time we will have contracted some of these handlers to be available to us if needed, however some of the time no handler is available before we arrive at the show site and we then begin to scour throughout the building and grounds for available hands to help cover and backup with the dogs/breeds that have the conflicts.

There is much competition for available handlers because all the other professional handlers also have to deal with conflicts of their own and they too are out seeking any available handler that can cover their backups and conflicts.


It is not an easy task, but it is part of the business and it must be taken care of if things are to operate smoothly and efficient. Most of our clients have no idea what is transpiring behind the scenes as all they see is that their dog goes into the ring, goes through the paces of showing and then comes out in an orderly fashion…………………maybe with some points or maybe not.


There are even some owners that have no clue what’s going on right in front of them and will come and ask when their dog is due in the ring only to be told that it already was there and they must have missed their dog in the ring showing!


Besides all this ‘behind the scenes orchestrating’, we are also doing last minute grooming, trimming, grinding nails and the non-stop conditioning and training that takes place at Chambray Acres 7 days a week.


All of this to put on a well-oiled, seamless and efficient presentation………………………of course all this barring any unwanted handling conflicts that may and invariably will rear its ugly head from time to time.

February 17th

Inquiring Minds Want To Know


Inquiring Minds Want To Know


Whenever there is a ‘hot topic’ of conversations as is going on right now from many within the Chambray Owners Program, I will receive an inordinate amount of inquiries concerning that subject.


Rather than spend my available time answering each email in a repetitive way, I use this blog format to cover as many of those wanting and asking the same questions, because for each person that asks a question, there are 10 more that also want to know but don’t ask!


So I employ the old ‘killing of 2 Mockingbirds with one fell swoop’! (Remember my penchant for mangling metaphors and crucifying clichés)


“Regarding your recent blog about the handling of dogs……how do you determine which handler takes which dogs into the ring?” JE


After a lot of scrutiny and strategizing and working with each dog at the nightly training classes and at the private one-on-one training sessions, I get to see what works best for that individual dog and which of our handlers brings out what’s needed for the dog to shine in the ring. I then consider which dog show class that dog will do better from according the many other criteria (too numerous to go over in this blog) and then I consider which of our other dogs will be in the same class competing against each other.


Once I have all that information collated and making some kind of sense, I then confer with the other members of Team Chambray and collectively we come up with a strategy for each dog in our management program including which handler will be ‘assigned’ to which dog.


Now, nothing is cast in stone because as the manager of the entire program I reserve the right to change up things as I see fit………………….even to the point of switching a handler right at the moment of walking into the ring………………….that has occurred dozens of times in the 30+ years of our showing dogs.


The bottom line is that each and every call made is to benefit the individual dog. At times the dog’s owner may not comprehend what is transpiring and may have question as to the decisions made, however the protocol  of our management program is that we will cover any and all such questions after the show is over or better yet after the weekend is over and done with.


There is absolutely no time to confer or explain to anyone about changes made while we are working the show ring. In fact, I let everyone know whose dog we manage that they are not to approach any of the Chambray handlers within half hour of the show starting with any questions or problems……………..all such matters are brought to my attention after we finish showing……………….in addition I may let that person know to wait until after the weekend is over.


After each and every show, the handlers of Team Chambray go over each and every exhibit in our charge. We discuss how each dog performed and what could have been better. We may even decide to change handlers for the next day’s show according to all the facts and figures that present itself.


For each weekend of shows, there is a general game plan that is drawn up and followed, however since things come up that may be unexpected, changes are made at a moment’s notice to keep everything flowing as smooth as possible.


“Do your owners have a say on who handles their dogs?”


Yes. We accept as much input from the owners as will aid the dog. We consider every option and will work with requests that are within reason.


There are times when a particular handler already has an assigned dog in the same class as another dog, so that request may not work well for the time being. At times the assigned handler gets caught up in another breed ring and it becomes impossible for that handler to make it back to the Lab ring in time to enter the ring as happened this past weekend in Lakeland.


We have eventualities in place to cover almost all occurrences in order to present a well-organized and seamless operation. If we know that we can end up with more dogs winning their classes than we have handlers, we contact as many capable outside handlers as may be needed.


Of course those handlers have their own handling rosters and may also have conflicts of their own. In the last 15 years or so, there hasn’t been one instance where we didn’t have things totally covered and that bodes rather well for our show management program because most of the time we end up having to contract outside handlers to handle our overload of winners.


Now, what we let our owners know is that we have things totally under control and do not want nor need any input from them once the show kicks off and we begin to do our jobs in and out of the ring. In fact, we insist that all queries and concerns wait until the show is over or best until the whole weekend is over.


“Can a specific handler be contracted as a priority for a particular dog”.


In a recent blog I covered what an ‘assigned’ handler is and what an ‘exclusive’ handler is. There are also instances where a handler gives a certain dog a priority over another dog or dogs that they also handle.


For instance, Jessie handles Max from the Open Yellow Class, Rico from the Bred By Exhibitor Class and usually a male puppy from the Puppy Class. If she wins 1st place with all 3 dogs, then her Winners Dog priority is the Open Yellow dog, Max because she is already inside the ring with that dog. If Rico and her puppy assignment win their classes and Max didn’t, then her priority is Rico from the Bred By class.


Jessie also handles several females and each has a specific priority. This past weekend she won with the Open Yellow bitch, Jolie, she won with Sam from the Am Bred Class, she won with Stella from the 12 to 18 Class and she won with Evie from the 6 to 9 Class. Because she was already in the ring with the Open Yellow bitch Jolie, she stayed on her for Winners Bitch.


Suitable backup handlers were put into play to cover her other winning exhibits. In fact, we ended up needing 6 handlers to go back for Winners Bitch as we had all the females going back in for Winners! We contracted 2 outside handlers and all went off without a hitch.


Now, priorities change when it comes time to handle in the Best Of Breed competition. Here the champions of that breed take priority over the class winners of that breed. So, although Jessie’s bitch from the Am Bred Class was Winners Bitch, her priority over that class dog was her assigned champion dog Tucker that she handled. A suitable outside handler was brought in to cover the Winners Bitch, while the rest of Team Chambray covered the other 2 champions, plus an extra outside handlers was brought in to handle to Winner Dog, which we also had.


It should be noted here that Jessie works for Chambray Labradors in the Labrador ring, however she is also an independent handler with other breeds and at times she is covering those breeds while Team Chambray is back in the Labrador ring covering our assigned dogs. It then becomes a matter of timing, with many times she has to contract outside handlers to cover her other breeds if she gets caught up inside the Lab ring and vice versa as occurred this past Friday.


These conflicts occur very frequently, however because we consider every possible condition before hand and have things already in play, very few of our clients ever realize what is transpiring all around them.

February 16th

Business As Usual



From time to time, about every year or two it becomes necessary to go over certain protocols from our different Owner’s Programs. This is mostly due to the many new people that come on board and use our unique services to augment the great product that they either obtained from Chambray Labradors, one of our co-breeding kennels or from another top show kennel.


Of course the product I just mentioned above is a Labrador Retriever puppy or dog and the service in particular for this blog is our Show Management Program. Succeeding blogs will go over the Stud Dog Program, the Breeding/Co-Breeding & Puppy Placement Program, the Conditioning & Training Program and any other amenity that we offer.


The Show Management Program is probably the most intricate and complex of all our offerings because it is so unique and avant garde. There is no other Labrador breeder in the country that offers anything remotely similar to this cutting edge and most successful venture. There is no other business model to compare to and most outside of Florida, be it other breeders, owners, exhibitors and even professional handlers are just now beginning to understand and appreciate how it all works, especially for the Betterment of the Breed.


There are many ‘layers’ of complexity involved in the show handling world and then add the uniqueness of our Show Management Program, way too many of these layers to fully comprehend from reading a synopsis-like blog, but I will do my best to cover the most obvious features.


The most important principal to understand is that only the absolute best specimens of the breed will be considered for inclusion in our Show Management Program. Only those dogs that would be candidates for perpetuating the Betterment of the Breed will be under scrutiny over all other agendas.


To fully appreciate the preceding paragraph…………………..I turn away over 90% of those dogs that come for an audition (evaluation) to be included in our programs! That means that less than 1 dog in 10 is considered acceptable for consideration! What that also means is that we turn away lots of potential income from those owners that leave Chambray Acres with a dog that did not meet our extreme high standards.


Of course that also means that the majority of those turned away will not be happy campers and wish they could kill the messenger of bad news………………little ole me!


To be fair and honest…………………….those dogs turned away from the Show Management Program also include many Chambray-bred dogs, although the percentage of those passing far outnumber those from other breeders.


The only criteria used in determining whether a dog has what it takes to be a show dog is if it meets and surpasses the requirements set forth in the official breed standard. Nor money, nor friendship, nor any other worldly consideration will be used when evaluating a dog for show.


So, we now have the premise that each and every dog that has been and is now in Chambray’s Show Management Program deserves to be there and that they are the best from the best that have been specially selected to be on the front lines……………….the dog shows with the Herzons and Team Chambray guiding them along for the world to see and of course the supreme beings, the judges.


Now there is where the plot thickens………………because there is a very large group of dogs that have been accepted into the Show Management Program, not every one of those actually gets to be showcased at the dog shows. Only the ones that we feel are the top competitive ones, the ones that we work with, train, condition and thus are ready to win those elusive points that add up to make a dog a champion.


There will be dogs on the starting roster and there will be dogs left behind that are in the developmental stages, each of those ‘waiting’ dogs and their owners wanting to make the first team and actually get to strut their stuff in the show ring.

So, by now we have dogs that will show and dogs that are waiting in the wings, so we delve a little deeper on the processes at the actual dog shows……………………the handling of those dogs.


Each dog on our show roster is ‘assigned’ a handler that will show it from the different dog show classes. That assigned handler may also have 4 or 5 other dogs to handle in different classes or even in different breed rings. There may be instances where the assigned handler cannot make it in time to actually go in the ring with that particular dog, so a backup handler is pressed into action.


Now, the opposite scenario to the above can be the use of an ‘exclusive’ handler that is the only person that will handle that particular dog come rain or high water! So, we have ‘assigned’ handlers and there may be ‘exclusive’ handlers. The difference is prior arrangements and $$$$$$$$$$$. Exclusive handlers fetch upwards of $500 per show to sit and wait for that particular dog’s time in the ring………………… ‘Assigned’ handlers fees can run from $85 to $130 per show (the going rates today). It should be noted that those in Chambray’s Owners Programs have it much more affordable than the $$$$$$$$$$$ listed above.


By bringing the number of dogs that we manage and handle as a team, we are able to make the showing of dogs affordable by the use of subsidization. If we only brought out the usual contingencies that the other professional outfits deal with, then the fees per show would be more than doubled.


Our all-inclusive show management program. The only one of the kind in the country:


Top Labrador Show Breeder
Professional Training & Conditioning
The most successful Labrador handling team.

February 15th

Making It Happen


We just finished Chambray’s 45 home-grown champion and it took exactly 1 year from the first shows he went to.


In the previous blog below this one, Amos’s owner, Phil Eslinger details a bit more about the journey that started ‘just’ a year ago for Amos.


Note that I emphasize ‘just’ because the usual time for a dog to finish can take 2 or 3 years in a tough area such as Florida is for Labradors. In my 30 years of showing, there never has been the high caliber of dogs competing as I have seen in the last 5 years!

Now here’s the deal……………………………. The last 3 of our dogs to champion did it in exactly 1 year of showing.


So we have our newest champion, Ch WinQuest Chambrays Famous Amos start out at the Lakeland shows in February of 2014 realize his quest for the AKC title at the same venue a year later.


Same thing with Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting…………….starts out in Ocala in September of 2013 and finishes at the same Ocala grounds a year later.


Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck “Bob” kicks it all off at the Ocala shows in November of 2013 and then reaches the promise land a year later at the same place.


That’s what I call ‘Taking Care of Business”…………………………..the good old fashion way……………with hard work and determination!

Of course having a great product and awesome service goes a long way to make all that happen.

February 15th

More Chambray Owners Chime In


"When I first started this journey last year, I made the statement that I didn’t want to get “addicted” to this show thingy like some of the other Chambray people I saw.  


Well, guess what… we’re addicted.  When there is no show for a while, Jean and I get show withdrawal.    But I think we’re addicted in a positive way.  It’s fun for us.  Amos, too. We enjoy the dogs, all of them.  Dogs like having a job and Amos views his job as being in a show.  


He was very excited to be back at a show this weekend after a prolonged layoff.  I could tell it in his attitude and his level of excitement.  He was full of “vim and vinegar”.  Fortunately he didn’t let it get in the way.  I asked you about it and you said,

“No, he did everything I asked of him.”   


It has been an incredible journey over the last year.  While you use the IABCA National/International shows as an appetizer for your owners to get a taste of the show world, they must know that those shows give the new owners a false impression of how difficult a journey the AKC championship is.  


I was amazed by the quality of competition that Amos came up against. For you to tell me that it has been "the toughest in my 30 years of showing and managing dogs!!” makes his journey even more special.   


I remember the first show Jean and I attended:  we looked at all of the dogs out there and simultaneously turned to each other and exclaimed, “They're all gorgeous!  How does a judge ever pick between them?”  


Over the year we have learned some of the intricacies of the show ring and the tiny differences a judge has to go on:  bowed legs and cow hocks and the angle of a dog’s shoulder which yields a chests that sticks out proudly.  Even attitude makes a difference.  We started seeing small differences between a winning Labrador (read as Chambray) and an 'also ran’.  


Then I saw “the big guns” from the North come down for the Eukanuba National Championship and the ten days of Ocala and I became amazed all over again.  All of this competition can be very intimidating.  But through it all, Amos had a steady diet of wins, about one per month after he “got the picture” as you put it.   I was encouraged that through his championship run, four out of five of his wins were major pointed shows.   


Of course, I always considered Amos as the prettiest dog in the ring.  


I absolutely couldn’t be more pleased with the puppy you picked out for us.  I didn’t want a heavy, squat looking Labrador with short legs like many of the show quality (“English” is the term often used by people who do not know the breed) Labradors seem to have become. Many of the judges seem to stick to this old image of what a Labrador should look like.  Those were the shows that Amos seemed to lose.  


I have always liked muscular, athletic and trimmer Labradors who could easily make the transition from field to show ring.  I actually like the European requirement to get a field title before being able to go in the show ring.   You’ve watched Amos since he was a puppy and made me very happy the day you told me he would make a great field dog.   


The last aspect is the one that doesn’t show:  his personality.   I gave you my list of what I wanted in a dog: gregarious, strong willed, water loving.  I never thought you could pick a puppy so perfect.  Although, you did mention a puppy you had in mind who would come out and dance in the rain. I still love that image.  


I’ve had six Labradors now.  Amos is by far and away, the best of them all and that includes Jake who came out of dogs (note the plural) ranked #1 in both the US and Canada.  I can’t begin to tell you the quality of life and joy that Amos has infused into our already very happy lives.  


Please be my guest and share my sentiments with other owners thinking about going through the show gauntlet or even buying a Chambray Labrador.  Better yet, let them come and see Famous Amos!  (That’s Champion to you!)"



February 15th

The Thrill Of Victory

The Thrill Of Victory


In my youth and into my manhood, ABC’s Wide World of Sports TV series from 1961 to 1998, hosted by sportscaster Jim McKay had a theme song that is still embedded deep in my memories…………………The Thrill Of Victory and the Agony of Defeat.


So from a very early age, I was mentored that victory is oh so, so much better than defeat………………of course in the opening scenes of that show, the skier that was portrayed as being in defeat was all sprawled out, head over heels from missing a landing, crashing into the guards rails, snow bank and into other barriers.


Ouch, not a pretty picture!


Since then, I have really valued being victorious as often as possible and have put into play all those valuable and virtuous conditions that leads to that victory. That is the attitude that is pervasive today in breeding, training, conditioning and showing dogs…………… be victorious to be the best, you have to have the best product with services and the implementation and execution where it counts the most……………at the competitive venues!


This past weekend at the Lakeland FL shows that Thrill of Victory tasted mighty good for many of our dogs/owners.


Collectively it marked the 101 consecutive winning weekend of shows for our show management program. That’s every weekend starting in January 2012 and all of that year………………..all of 2013………………………all of 2014 and now going into the 3rd month of 2015!!!!!!!!!!!!


That is a lot of winning……………………..


2012 USA Labrador Breeder of the Year with 6 new champions,

2013 with 61 Winners Dog and Winners Bitch wins,

and deja vous 2014 USA Labrador Breeder of the Year with 6 new champions…………………..

each of those years with a Top 25 dog in the national rankings………………

a Best In Show winner………………………..

7 Group 1 wins leading to 7 trips to the Best In Show competition!


That is the Thrill of Victory over and over again like there is no tomorrow!


This weekend also marked the crowning of Chambray’s 45th home-champion! That is a state record that more than doubles whichever other breeder is in 2nd place. That is a lot of thrills of victories that are shared by all of those owners that make up that formidable number of champions.


New champion, Ch WinQuest Chambrays Famous Amos is owned by Jean and Phil Eslinger of Palm City Fl. Amos finishes his AKC champion’s title in exactly 1 year from his first win! That is a feat in itself as usually that journey takes most dogs a couple or more years to accomplish. That is a lot of thrills of victory in just one year for one dog. What makes it even more tasteful is that the competition is so heightened by the quality of the dogs competing in Florida.


Amos is a co-venture breeding with our partner kennel, WinQuest Labradors, a kennel who’s breeding, training, conditioning, and showing we manage in its entirety. The benefits of being breeders of champions is shared with the our co-breeder, Geraldo Desouza.

A win, win situation for Amos’s owners and also for Amos’s co-breeder……………….the thrill of victory shared with those that are part of our Owners/Breeder’s Programs.


This weekend also saw the 53rd Chambray Trifecta since 1993 for Chambray dogs. That’s 53 shows where Best Of Breed, Winners Dog and Winners Bitch were won by dogs from the same breeder. To put that number in perspective………………..most breeder/exhibitors may go 20 years of showing and never win 1 Trifecta. Once again the thrill of victory that many never get to savor.


Part of the winning this weekend also was BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter, who moved up Chambray’s Best Of Breed rankings to #4 by taking 2 more BOBs, totaling 16 and only 1 behind the 3rd place dog. Walter also increased his BOB to Group win ratio to a staggering 687% with back-to-back Group 3’s…………………………..that’s 16 Best Of Breeds to 11 Group Placements………………..that is an insane percentage because Labradors do not normally place from the Sporting Groups. Walter also scored 2 Group 1 wins last year. Walter is owned by Judith and Mickey Baker of Ft Lauderdale FL.


Scoring yet another major-pointed win add to her resume was Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha, now with 11 points, 3 majors, 2 Best of Breeds and a Group 4 Placement to boot. Watch for Sam to be in the champion’s winner circle soon with an AKC champions title in front of her name. Sam is owned by Neil Merin of Palm Beach County.


Breaking into the horse race for their AKC champions title was Chambrays Recurring Dream N Counter with his first-ever points, a 3-Point Major!!!!! Congratulations to Dreamer’s owner Jenna Gardner of Lake Worth FL.


The Thrill of Victory is a contagious thing for those that are part of Chambray Labrador Owners Programs.

February 15th

From Our Owners


"It's hard to believe that just 10 months ago, I was taking handling classes with my Lab that I bought from another breeder & I remember seeing this ridiculously handsome boy staring back at me, waving his tail excitedly.


It was love at FIRST SIGHT!!


Because of someone else's misfortune, I was able to own one of the most beautiful dogs I'd seen in person, & I am truly SO blessed to be his new Mom.


It took a lot of hard work, time & sweat to get this awesome boy in the shape is, as with any spectacular show dog, and now 10 months later, we are seeing the fruits of our combined efforts.


I have to sincerely thank the Herzon family for their dedication & knowing how to take a dog that didn't work out for one owner, to winning his first points this weekend (A 3 PT MAJOR of all things!!).


You all are so knowledgable and truly the best at what you do!!


I'm so grateful to have this gorgeous, sweet boy Dreamer as my buddy- and the icing on the cake is bringing home those hard earned points!!


Thank you again!  No one stacks up to Chambray!!! (No pun intended, lol.)"


Jenna Gardner Lake Worth FL

February 12th

Time To Hit The Road


The van’s packed and all that is needed is for the rest of the Chambray handlers to materialize so that the dogs can be loaded up and we will then be ready to hit the dusty trail………………..the trail that leads from Miami to Lakeland for the shows there tomorrow Friday and Saturday.


There is added excitement for these shows with several of our dogs on the verge of finishing their AKC champion’s title with just one more win, plus there is one of our champions having won back-to-back Sporting Group 1’s at the last weekend of shows in Ocala that is now ranked #1 from Florida and #4 in the USA.


Chambrays Maxed N Counter, WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos and Chambrays Stellar Thunder ‘Rico’ each need one more win of 3 points or more and they will join a very elite group of dogs………………….44 Chambray home-bred champions that preceded whichever of these dogs finishes first now.


Then there is newly crowned Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting coming off an unbelievable two Group 1 wins propelling him to national prominence from both the Sporting All-Breed #4 ranking and Top 20 Breed rankings! Those 2 group wins place him in commanding lead of all the Florida Labradors in both All-Breed Groups and also Breed.


Joining Tucker in the Best Of Breed competition will be Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter who finished the 2014 Show Season USA 10th ranked Sporting Group Labrador and won a Judge's Award of Merit at the Eukanuba LRC Specialty and topped that off with a Judge’s Award Of Excellence at the last show of the 2014 year, the Eukanuba National Championships. Walter is now headed for his Bronze Grand Championship.


Completing the threesome in the BOB ring is Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck ‘Bob”, now striving for his Grand Champion’s title.


Our class males include Chambrays Bandit from the Black Open Class, Chambrays Dreamer from the AM Bred Class, Chambrays Magnum and True Prides Teddy from the 6 to 9 Class. All of these boys are searching for the first Winner’s Dog points.


The female’s classes feature several champion-pointed dogs, with Chambrays Samantha in Am Bred (8pts, 2 majors), Chambrays Gracie in Bred By (5 pts 1 mjr), Chambrays Bella in Open Black (2 pts) Chambrays Stella in 12 to 18 (5 pts 1 mjr), Chambrays Jolie in Open Yellow (2 pts).


The rest of the class females that are not pointed yet are Chambrays Evie in the 6 to 9 Class, Chambrays Luna in 12 to 18, and Chambrays Gayla in Bred By.  


Good luck to all these great Chambray dogs and also best of luck to all the competitors that will be braving the forecasted frigid weather heading down the pike to Florida.

February 11th

The Show Must Go On


The world moves on come rain or shine.


For most of the US, it’s snow, snow and more snow!


With a cool morning breeze stirring up the leaves in the front yard, we are spending most of today taking care of business in preparations for this week’s shows in Lakeland FL with last minute bathing, shampooing, trimming, clipping, grinding…………….then the usual training and conditioning that takes place almost every day of the year………………plus packing up the van so that tomorrow only leaves the loading of cloths, bags, luggage, the four members of Team Chambrays and of course the dogs that will make the trip with us.


Phew! All the preceding now takes 2 days with 3 people performing all the tasks to make sure that everything is covered! Of course the day after we get home from a weekend of dogs shows, it’s another full day breaking the van down, unloading everything and cleaning/disinfecting/deodorizing the van from front to back……………………this includes unloading all the travel crates, plus the show setup crates, washing and disinfecting each and storing them until it’s time to start the loading up process 3 days before the next weekend’s shows!


Most people only see the tip of the iceberg…………………………the running around inside the ring with a dog at the end of a leash! Very few really appreciate all that goes into this fancy/business we call showing dogs!


Well, on second thought maybe there are those that only run around the ring with their dog in tow…………in fact with the results that many achieve, or should I say, ‘lack of results’…………………, conditioning and preparations are non-existent!


The forecast for the Lakeland shows is cold, very cold, in fact maybe the coldest days of the fledgling New Year! A massive cold blast is headed towards the eastern part of the country with a southern intrusion that will reach frigid freezing temperatures south down into mid Florida.


Just what the doctor didn’t order for a person (me) that suffers from Renaud Syndrome (losing of body temperature and possible hypothermia). But hey, the show must go on and homey and his posse will be there come that rain or shine and in this case

burrrrrrr weather!

February 10th

Sadness, Shedding of Tears and Silence


For years I have been detailing the differences between being ‘just’ a breeder as are the thousands and thousands out there versus doing it my way………………….my way with hundreds of owners revolving around me with my/their dogs.


With those multitudes of breeders, those thousands upon thousands that sell their produce and more or less it’s ‘hasta la vista baby’……………… ‘see you later alligator’……………… ‘hit the road Jack and don’t you come back no more’…………………………………..ok, you get the picture, let’s not kick that past tense horse no more………………………the vast, vast majority of those types never, ever want to have to deal with those that bought their puppies!


First of all, they have nothing to offer those owners so they don’t want to be bothered. Second they don’t want to deal with of any ‘problems’, be it behavioral, be it health, be it anything that they either don’t know about or don’t care to be annoyed with. Their attitude is ‘you paid for your goods, you got your goods and now it’s your kit and caboodle to deal with’!


Not so with the “Old Blue Eyes” way of doing things………………..because doing it my way brings about every nuance of choosing to being ‘involved’!


I get hundreds of emails weekly from those with my produce, now their babies!


Photos and videos and stories galore and not just from those whose dogs we train on a regular basis or from those that are on the front lines at the dog shows that we handle or from those who dogs contribute to the betterment of the breed by participating in the perpetuation of the next generation of puppies produced……………………… sire, no ma’am, I hear it from any and all that have ever experienced a Chambray puppy/dog……………………………………. AND I WOULDN'T WANT IT ANY OTHER WAY!


I receive hundreds of birthday cards a years………..birthday cards from the dogs of their birthdays!


I receive photos of dogs in every costume imaginable……………………I receive photos of Chambray dogs visiting places that I can only dream about (I don’t do airplanes), every national park, every beach, every waterfall, every lake, almost every ocean, on kayaks, on luxury yachts, on airplanes, on skiffs, on an iceberg, near a volcano (active and dormant)………………… name it and I have received it!


The ‘love’ stories I receive from Chambray owners about their dogs would make a great compilation book, assuredly to become a best seller if I chose to publish it.




Then I also receive those that make me cry…………………those that tear at my heartstrings, those that I have no words for…………… fact leave me speechless and write-less.  


Just this past week I heard from an owner whose Chambray dog just passed away at 17 years old and I also heard from an owner whose dog passed away from complications from a simple spaying procedure at 5 years of age……………………………..I heard about a young dog that slipped out an open gate and ran across the street, not making it to the other side and I heard from a puppy drowning in a pool.


Each and every one of those dogs was a puppy that was here with me before they want to live with their eventual owners………………..I remembered each and the joy they each brought me and I shed a tear or a dozen or more just reading the email letting me know what had happened and I was left with nothing to give..................not once, not twice......four times in just one week!


For those writing in asking why I had not posted anything to the blog in almost a week……….I was momentarily left with nothing to give.

February 6th

CGC Nightly News







There was a semi-cool breeze flitting about and even a wee bit of giddy excitement for those arriving at Chambray Acres for the first night of the CGC training.


Since most of the attendees came in tow with their puppies and young dogs, it actually felt more like the first day of school for one of our kids and in reality it is much like that breakout moment in a canine’s life as well.


The turnout was great with 10 owner/dogs showing up for first session of 4 training nights with the 5th meeting being the AKC’s CGC test. Of course those that pass the 10-item test will be rewarded with an official AKC title (CGC) that is added to the dog’s name.


The title looks really great, but the real pay-off is the results of taking the class, doing the homework required and then passing the test and having a dog that is a credit to the breed, the community and to their owners and of course to us at Chambray Labradors!

Nothing like a great looking Chambray dog that also behaves exemplarily…………a great reflection on us as committed breeders and also a major kudos for the owners for being responsible and having their dogs under control at all times while out in public.


For many owners, this CGC experience is the beginning of a quest to have the ultimate well-behaved, well-socialized dog. Most that pass the CGC Test will go on to the AKC advanced CGC (CGCC), maybe followed by  Basic Obedience Training…………………….for the truly dedicated, there is Advanced Obedience Training……………while those looking to further their participation in society, will take it further with Therapy Dog Training, which by the way is also awarded another AKC title of ‘THD’ and allows the dog visitations at hospitals, geriatric wards and other areas where dogs are allowed to participate for the well-being of those involved.


The night went well with most dogs showing great improvement after just one hour of teaching/learning……………………the learning mostly done by those that need it the most….the owners!


Like I always tell anyone that will listen, “I teach/train owners, I work with dogs!” In other words it’s the owners that need the training and learning.

February 4th

What's In A Group One?








There are thousands of all-breed dog shows a year throughout the “Good Old USA”!


You name it, there is a dog show near you…… your town, your city, your suburb.


With the exception of the Christmas/New Year back-to-back weekends……………….there are dog shows every weekend of the year……………..somewhere in our glorious 50 states!


That means that there will be a Best In Show winner at each of those shows and that also means that 99.999999% of the time………………IT WON’T BE A LABRADOR RETRIEVER winning that over-sized, multi-colored, prestigious rosette! In fact, odds are that there won’t even be a Labrador Retriever that makes it out of the Sporting Group with a 1st place win (a Group One) to even be in the final magnificent 7 lineup!


The absolute most popular, most owned breed of dog (which would also mean most loved) of all times…………….where the 2nd place breed of dog is so far down the list in numbers registered (Labs have 3 times the amount registered than the #2 breed of dog has)……………………….. and yet they don’t get to stand in the ultimate winner’s circle like all the other foo foo, frilly, frizzed-up, hair sprayed, yappity yap yap, not-so-dog looking canines do………………………and that’s real doo doo to me!


Raises the pores on my head where hair used to grow!


So, here we contribute to the coffers of the AKC to the tune of as much with one breed as all the other top 25 do and we get little return for our investment in the form of major accolades. Just doesn’t seem like the right thing is occurring to those that contribute the most……………….us Labrador lovers are getting the proverbial shaft!


So, you can imagine what it is like for me to see one of our Labradors actually be given a pass to compete in Best In Show! Just seeing a Labrador in the ultimate lineup of those left standing………………one each from their respective Groups, which would mean that they are among the 7 finalist to get to strut whatever strut is left after a day’s worth of competition…………………….and there lo and behold is a Labrador in that rarefied strata of the crème de la crème of canine delicacies!


In all these long, long years………………………decades and now 4 scores going through all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears of seeing only 13 of our dogs at different times stand tall among the 7 remaining, representing the Sporting Group, having won a Group One………………….thus the special invitation to step into the Best In Show ring with the other 6 wonders of the world!


It seems that hell freezes over with more frequency than a Labrador is awarded a Group One to be able to compete for BIS. But, hey I’m no dummy………………..I will take it when it does come our way. I will bitch and moan at the disparity of Labradors being slighted in favor of the fluff……………….but I will rejoice when that extreme make over moment presents itself.


In fact, I will savor for days, weeks and even years those few and far between occasions when a Labrador, specially a Chambray Labrador gets the nod for that sought after Group One and then I get to hold my breath for the ultimate wreath (I know they don’t rhyme, but they look good in the same line).


Nothing like the feeling of floating on cloud 9 and that awesome taste just persists…………………I still feel the buzz from 16 years ago with the first-ever Group One was awarded to Ch Chambrays Franco with yours truly at the other end of the leash………………..what a thrill it was that after 20 years of showing one of my own bred-by dogs was given the green light to go further in the day’s competition and then there I was standing with a Labrador Retriever in the Best In Show competition!


Years would pass, with several Group Ones garnered and visits to BIS, before one of those dogs would actually be the designated driver for the day with the awarding of a BEST IN SHOW!


That would be 2008 and the super lucky dog would be BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff ‘Hogan’ with Jessie handling……………………that after winning a Group One the day before, but being passed up by a highly coiffured member of another Group. So, imagine what that was like……………………..a Labrador actually winning a Best In Show……………………….What????????????????? Shut Up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Needless to say a day of emotional tears for homey!


Several more special occasions would emerge where Groups Ones were deserved and awarded, but it would be 2012 when BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter ‘Kika’ with Johanna handling that would see our second-ever Mt. Everest ascender.............a Best In Show winner!


So, winning of a Group One had occurred just 8 times in 25 years of showing, with a mere 2 Best In Shows from those visits to the BIS ring and then in the last year we have raised the bar with 5 Group One wins, thus 5 trips to the coveted last dance of the night!


Here’s the deal, Hogan and Kika both won at least 2 Group Ones and they each won a BIS……………… we have 2 of our champions each with 2 Group Ones……………is a BIS in the cards for either or both?


BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter pulled off 2 Groups Ones in 2014 after becoming champion in March and just 2 weeks ago newly crowned Grand Champion, Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting equals Hogan’s feat with back-to-back Group Ones.


Stay tuned because both of these stellar Labrador Retrievers will be at a theater near you……………well, maybe not a theater per say, maybe an airplane hangar (the Lakeland dog shows, Feb 13/14)…………….a fairground building (WPB Feb 28th and March 1st) and at a Rodeo arena (Davie March 14/15).


It sure feels like there's a thawing out going on in Hades! Next stop down the line for one of our Labradors, another Group One and maybe, just maybe a giant, multicolored rosette with the intials BIS embossed on it!

February 4th

Let's CGC Tonight Like It's 1999












Tonight, February 4th at Chambray Acres we embark on our 100th CGC Training & Testing Course. Those that join us tonight for the 5-week course will put us at well over 1000 participants that have attended these special classes since we became AKC CGC Trainers and Evaluators.


There has been a 95% passing rate at the end of the 4 weeks of training with the 5th week reserved for the test. That means that there are somewhere around 1000 dogs that have received their Canine Good Citizen title because their owners cared enough to make the time, attend our classes and practice at home the lessons taught at each night’s class session.


There have been countless that lived too far from us to attend our classes and those trained with us at away dog shows in their area through the special get togethers that were arranged after we finished our handling duties and then later they went through the testing at another show, close and convenient to them.


Also, there have been several weekend seminars and workshops that also saw over 100 participants that trained with us and almost all of those were successful in passing the 10-item test.


All of the above has been provided by Chambray Labradors through our commitment for the Betterment of the Breed. Special kudos to all those owners that have participated throughout the years and that will be joining us tonight.

February 2nd 

Sounding Off


"I just read your ‘rumble’ blog and now realize why some complain about the number of dogs you all bring to the shows and why you all win so much".


And your point is?


I have addressed this ‘issue’ so many times before and it just keeps coming around like a real bad cold.


Here’s the deal for those still groping about in a dark forest, shrouded by an impenetrable fog.


What’s the difference if 30 different handlers each bring one dog or if 5 handlers each brings dogs 6 dogs………………………………..the same 30 dogs?


Isn’t this all about the best dogs? The best dogs winning?


Who actually does the winning, the dogs or the people handling them?


Do the handlers get points for those wins or is it the dog that receives the ribbons and the points?


If those 30 dogs are all worthy of being at a dog show and the theory that the best dogs will win, who cares who brings them?


So, if one breeder can field a large lineup of great dogs that win at a higher percentage of the time than the competition………………….doesn’t that translate into that breeder being the better breeder in that area………………………..thus the winningest breeder?


Why should that breeder limit the number of dogs that the owners of those dogs want presented at the dog shows?


Whose fault is it if other breeders only can produce one or two quality dogs and that’s all they can field at a dog show, why should the breeder that can produce multiple quality dogs be imposed limits as to how many they can show?


By bringing on the best to the dog shows, the likelihood that the best of those best dogs will be the winner and that is raising the bar so that any dog that wins from that lineup of dogs can truly wear the champion’s crown with pride.


The bottom line to all of the above is that it really doesn’t matter what anyone says or complains about, it is the way it is and has been for over a decade now and not much is going to change other than there will be more of those numbers as the program grows with more that can handle those numbers.


The more the merrier and may the best dogs win.

February 2nd
Let's Get Ready To Rumble


The news is awesome! 


We have major-pointed shows for the males at the Lakeland dog shows this coming February 13th and 14th! 

That could also translate into majors for the girls if they crossover with a Best Of Winners over the Winners Dog. 


So we are good to go with a great lineup of dogs as our show roster.


In fact, just glancing over the starting lineup, I honestly believe it stacks up even better than the show roster we had for the Eukanuba shows two months ago!!!!!!!!!!! 


I never thought I would be saying this as that was one awesome group of dogs from one breeder at that most prestigious week of shows for the year.


For the boys we have Max and Amos from the Open Yellow class. Either of these boys can win the class and go on to win the points, which would give either one of them the needed points to finish out their AKC champion’s title. Max and Amos have identical records with 12 points and 3 majors each. In fact, they can each win one day and both end up adding to Chambray’s state-record home-bred champions. Max is owned by Mark Von Reitzenstein of Doral FL and Amos is owned by Jean and Phil Eslinger of Palm City FL.


From the Open Black class we have 16-month old Bandit and talk about gangbuster development with this black beauty………………whoa Nelly, hold them horses back! He is like a thoroughbred at the starting gate ready to run for the roses and let me tell you when this boy starts winning, there is no holding him back! Bandit is owned by JC Rodriguez of Miami.


Dreamer headlines the American Bred class and in the last month his physical development has more than doubled which was the only thing keeping him from joining the ranks of the champion-pointed dogs. Watch for him to come from the rear of the pack and press the front runners in the coming shows. Dreamer is owned by Jenna Gardner of Boynton Beach FL.


From the Bred-By class we have Rico needing just one more major-pointed win to finish out. He came close with 2 RWDs at the recent Florida Winter Circuit as he has finally taken charge of his show demeanor and presentation with the maturity that being 2 ½ years old brings. Rico is owned by Juan Marrero of Miami Lakes FL


One of Kika’s 8-month old puppy, Magnum represents Chambray in the 6 to 9 Puppy class. This magnificent puppy embodies all the beyond stellar attributes of his dam, Florida's most decorated and acclaimed female Labrador ever. We expect him to score points early on. Magnum is owned by the Dillon family of Palm City FL.


Joining Magnum from the puppy classes will be Teddy who traveled with us to the IABCA shows back in November and has also been spending time here at Chambray Acres for private training. Teddy is owned by Gail and Neil Deleeuws of Sarasota FL.



The girl’s side of the roster is loaded with 8 top-notch females all under the age of 2 years old!!!!!!!!!!!


I can’t recall ever having a lineup of females this great with none over 20 months old! That is totally insane to say the least. Most breeders are showcasing males and females that are 2 to 4 years old and year we go into battle with a crew of youngsters and they are as good or better than anything showing in Florida today.


20-month old Jolie represents Chambray in the Open Yellow Class. She is fresh from a Winners Bitch at the Winter Circuit several weeks ago and now has 4 points to her show credit. Jolie is owned by Charles Scearse of Dunnelon FL.


16-month old Bella is featured from the Open Black class and she added to the winning this past year with a Winners Bitch to her credit. Bella is owned by the Faria family of Westin FL.


15-month old Samantha with 8 points, both majors and 2 Best of Breeds is the point leader from our girl’s side of the handling roster sheet. She scored a Best Of Breed from a breeder judge, winning over 2 of Florida’s top champions. Samantha is owned by Nel Merin of Palm Beach FL.


In the Bred-By Exhibitor we have 15-month Gracie with 5 points and 1 major. She also won a prestigious Best Bred By Exhibitor Labrador at the LRC Specialty during the Eukanuba week of shows in December in Orlando. Competing also from the BBE class is 8 month old Gayla, another of Kika’s contributions to the breed. This is an awesome puppy that will win points early on. Gracie is owned by Judith and Micky Baker of Ft Lauderdale FL and Gayla is owned by Liz Jackson of Hollywood FL.


Two of our black girls go head-to-head in the 12 to 18 class. Stella has 5 points and 1 major and Luna is not pointed yet. Luna comes back into the shows as Jackie’s (our intern) handling assignment and she also doubles as a Junior Handler dog for one of our client’s son that Jessie is mentoring as a JR handler. Stella is owned by Tim Kroll and Dawn Sloan of Davie FL. and Luna resides at Chambray Acres and is being show used as a training model for our interns and apprentices and also for a couple of Junior handlers going through our various training programs.


Our puppy representative, Evie will show from the 6 to 9 class. She is Kika’s 3rd puppy at these shows and she has already been awarded 2 RWB to major pointed shows at the Florida Winter Circuit, so watch for this awesome moving girl to strike gold very soon. Evie is owned by John McGraw of Miami.



In the Best Of Breed competition, Walter who ended up 2014 as the #10 Labrador in the country joins us as he continues his quest for the Bronze Grand Championship. Walter is owned by Judith and Mickey Baker.


Tucker will also make the trip, fresh off winning two amazing Sporting Group Ones, which we expect to get him ranked as the USA #1 Labrador for the first month of 2015………what a way to start the year off for this phenome boy! Tucker is owned by Maresa and Gene Etzig of Weston FL.


Our newest AKC champion, Bob also joins our 2 blockbuster champions as he is in search of his Grand Champions title! Bob is owned by John McGraw.


Did I say a super stellar lineup? Well, if I didn’t……………… heard it now!




Of course while we gear up for the Lakeland shows in 2 weeks, we are also preparing for the return of 2 weekends of dog shows down here in South Florida.


The West Palm Beach dog shows are on February 28th and March 1st. It looks really great for a huge turn out of both dogs and our supportive owners for this great indoors venue.


This week, I will be contacting those owners individually that we feel have competitive dogs that should be showing. Since these are local dogs, most of the owners can meet us at the shows and save on the travel and also get to see their dogs in action.


The Ft Lauderdale dog shows at the Davie Rodeo arena are set for March 14th and 15th. It seems that homey here made a mistake in the last mail out and had the wrong dates for this venue. So, it’s 03/14 & 15. 


We also expect a super turn out of our owners attending the Davie shows to root on the home team, Team Chambray!





February 1st

Thank Goodness For The Good Visitations


There has been a lot of feedback on the last couple of blogs with the ‘not so good’ encounters!


Actually, let’s coin a phrase for those………‘encounters of the worst kind’ for the Betterment of the Breed or maybe better said………..for the detriment of the breed!


Fortunately, from time to time there are those visitations where great goodness is served. In all this time that I have been blessed to have had Labradors there have been some really memorable ‘good’ encounters.


Good folk that came to Chambray Acres wanting counsel about their dogs and then they did the right thing with those dogs. Some took my advice and did not proceed to breed dogs that were not up to the breed standard. Others waited patiently for a show prospect from Chambray or other good sources to make their entrance into the world of Labrador Retrievers.


There were a few that actually had the goods when they arrived here at our little Labrador world.


Most recently, four years ago or so, it would be Carol and Chip Wilkening that visited our night training classes with a puppy in tow.


To make a long, sweet story short he is now Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho………………eureka when I saw him as a puppy………………..eureka with his stellar show career (Bronze Grand Champion)………………..and most important of all…….eureka now with his first generation of get on the ground having bred with several Chambray females.


Today he is the top show producer in Florida with beyond stellar conformation quality


  • a dozen or so show puppies now showing,

  • half a dozen of them AKC ch-pointed,

  • a Colombian champion son, FCI Col Ch/JAMSS Ch-Pted Chambrays Maxed N Counter that won big at the Eukanuba week of shows with a 5-pt major win at the LRC Inc. Specialty……….a Judges Award Of Merit from the classes and a total of 12 points 3 majors in the 3 months since coming back from Colombia

  • an AKC Grand Champion son, Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting CGC that just scored big with back-to-back Group 1’s propelling him to most likely the #1 USA All Breed Labrador so far for 2015!




An outstanding conformation dog from an outside kennel/breeder.


A great family dog!


A fantastic show dog reaching the USA Top 25 Labradors in 2013.


A great producer passing those greatness’s to the next generation of puppies produced.


That my friends is a win, win, win, win situation for all involved.



February 1st


More Random Thoughts, Questions and Answers.

“Do these emails and phone calls really come asking these stupid questions?”

Gene E.


Actually I address the more lucid ones because there are many that leave me scratching where there used to be hair! Sometimes I truly wonder how some folk get up in the morning, get in their cars and drive somewhere and then are able to make it back home again.


A long time ago some homeless guy told me that “there won’t be any smart people unless there where dumb ones”!


Makes a lot more sense the longer I live, see and hear.


“Can dogs that have been fixed still do the deed? My dog that was fixed still humps everything that doesn’t move and it’s a girl!”


The way dogs are engineered, I don’t think you will have any problems since the female really doesn’t hump to do the deed and since she was fixed then let her go paint the town red with her undulations.


“Our 5lb Chihuahua tries to mount our 80lb female Labrador, do you think she will get pregnant?”


First of all, is the Chihuahua an intact male? Second of all, does the Chihuahua know how to use an elevator? If the answer to both is yes………….then anything is possible!


“A year ago, our Dalmatian was gone for 4 months and then she returned for 5 months, now she has been gone for a month, do you think she went back to where she was gone to before?”


If it were a Labrador, I would say………………good for him……………………………..Since it is a Dalmatian I would say you/she are better off.


“My Labrador was “running around” with several mixed dogs and also with a Labrador male. How do I know which one “got” her and how do I know if the puppies will be purebreds or not.”


Hearing of things like this raises my hackles to no ends……………….since I don’t really have hair to rise, maybe better said would be ‘raises my ire’!


First of all it is an owner’s responsibility to keep their female dogs under guard when they are in heat! That way, they won't get ‘knocked up’ by any Tom, Dick or Harry!


Spay the dog and you won’t have to worry about unwanted puppies.


Now that the mess is yours to clean up, you can have all the puppies DNA taken with a cheek swab kit and submitted to one of the testing labs that do breed identification testing.


Regardless of the results, have your dog spayed and give away all the puppies with the condition that they all be spayed as well.


“Our dogs insists on sleeping in bed with us and lately our male dog has been getting between my husband and me. How can I train them not to do that?”



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