"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.

June 18th 2014

Hot Tamale Time


Every time there is a ‘hot’ topic at one of those busy-body, mind someone else’s business, rip them if you don’t agree with them forums, I also will receive my share of communications wanting to know what side of the fence I am on.


For the record, I am always on the Betterment of the Breed side of the fence!


Now, for the ‘hot potato’ of the week, the subject is EIC (exercise induced collapse syndrome). More specifically, a well-known special’s bitch that is known to be an AFFECTED…………………..sporting 2 genes for the malady which means that it has the condition and could very well have the seizures that are characteristic of EIC.


It seems that the owner of such dog decided to air her laundry at the most cantankerous of all the dribble-ridden chitchat rooms. This is the site where unlike the Cheer’s bar “where everyone knows your name’, here no one knows who is on the other side of the keyboard. This leads to much waywardness and unaccountability by the posting of anonymous offerings.


My stance, solid as a rock and unwavering until the very end is that an AFFECTED dog should only be bred if they will contribute greatness to the breed AND IF THEY ARE BRED TO A CLEAR.


Like Nixon and Clinton said “Let me make this perfectly clear!”………………………………ONLY BRED TO A CLEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This AFFECTED to CLEAR breeding will always produce CARRIERS.


Now, it would be the responsibility of the breeder to disclose to prospective new owners that each of the puppies coming from the breeding will be CARRIERS and they should only be bred to CLEARS in the future.

June 11th 2014


Prevailing Winds Of Good In The Air


There was an electrifying, positive energy emitting from the dozens and dozens

of bystanders watching the action at this last weekend’s dog shows in West Palm Beach Fl. I estimate that there were about 60 people gathered around the Labrador ring each day to watch the action from the 38 Labradors competing.


Since the Chambray owners fielded the largest entry for these shows, it would be accurate to state that about 40% of those in attendance were owners of the Chambray dogs competing, so figure that at least 24 of our dog owners made up a good chunk of the crowd. There were also past Chambray owners in attendance adding support for our collective efforts, plus I invited several dozen more prospective new puppy buyers to come and meet our show dogs and also meet their owners there. All in all, we accounted for at least 45+ of the standing room crowd of 60 or so at the Labrador ring. In fact the largest crowd assembled all day at the large building housing this canine event.


Without exception, each and every one of those in the crowd that were part of the Chambray entourage were upbeat, encouraging and super supportive of all the dogs that were being paraded inside the ring. There was a tremendous amount of camaraderie amongst the Chambray owners even before the winners were pronounced and lots of celebrating once each of the judges disclosed their “top dogs’ designations.


By and large, outside the Chambray group, the environment around the Labrador ring has matured and those with brighter bulbs seem to be the prevailing wind of consensus.


Oh, mind you there are still a few with chocolate chips upon their shoulders when it comes time to face the Chambray music. Competition has a way of creating fences, especially when an established entity as Chambray wins at the vast majority of those competitive venues. This fact of life leaves many stranded on that other side of the proverbial ‘loser’s fence created by the same blokes. Most of the competitors have read the writing on the wall and accept their fate with a grain of salt, figuring that there is always tomorrow.


Long gone from ringside are the hag-like, harbinger faces of the moribund…………………..nicknamed ‘the black clouds’ with their omnipresence and witch’s brew of venomous spew constantly snickering, whispering and casting of evil eyes in our direction. What a dark time that decade was, however what a lifting of spirits now that these denizens no longer lurk among the cheerful crowds that gather to root on the noblest of all breeds, the Labrador Retriever.


Such is the state of affairs at the dog shows now-a-days, especially around the Labrador ring. It is quite normal to hear a few disgruntled competitors as that is the nature of the beast when there are winners and therefore losers……………………with the Chambray dogs being the prohibited favorites at each show they compete at………………………………..but by and large the atmosphere is uplifting and cleansed from the noxious elements that once permeated the air.


Hurray for those that persevered for the sake of the breed………………the Betterment of the Breed!




June 10th

Interview Interruptus


One of the most requested subjects or themes from this blog is my experiences with prospective new puppy

owners. I record some of the more interesting ones and from time to time I will craft a blog using those that

really standout. So, here’s the most recent episodes of note.


After several email back and forth sessions, the customary visit to the farm was arranged. The couple arrived in their perfectly white convertible Mercedes Benz fashionably late by 45 minutes ………………not a good way to get on my good graces for me to place a puppy with. The couple in the middle 50’s were dressed in matching white tennis attire. Upon meeting them at the gate and requesting them to move their vehicle from the entrance to the property (as the sign in front of them stated), I also apprised them that my next appointment was due in 15 minutes, so we would be doing a shortened interview process so as to not impede on the next person’s time. Of course those reading this can by now get the picture that this meeting was going nowhere as pronto as Tonto will get you. I had requested for them to make out a list of their expectations for owning a new puppy.


A. They wanted to take 2 or 3 puppies to their vet before they would decide which puppy they would purchase.

B. They wanted the puppy right at 8 weeks, not a day before or a day after because that is what ‘all’ the authorities on puppy behavior were advising.

C. The puppy needed to be crate trained, able to sleep throughout the night without any accidents.

D. The puppy needed to be collar and leash trained, walking politely without pulling or jumping up on people.

E. The puppy needed to know its place to potty when taken out.

F. The puppy needed to be ‘social and well-behaved’ during social events at their home.


Reading the list almost made me choke trying to control my laughter response……………………but the clincher was when the ‘gentleman’ took out a small writing pad from a very expense gold flip-top case and began writing with one of those ultra-sheik, initial monogramed Cross pens…………..folds the note, hands it to me and tells me that this is what he expects to pay for the puppy of his choice!


Just as I unfold the small piece of paper, my next appointment pulled up right on time. “Saved By The Bell’ comes to mind here………………………….looking at the figure that man had just jotted down on the paper…………………………… $850!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I then take their initial ‘expectation list’ and quickly jot some figures of my own as follows”


A. Not going to happen

B. Not a problem if there is enough time to fit them in that day

C. 2-week boarding and training at an additional $500

D. Part of the above 2 weeks,

E. Part of the above 2 weeks plus continual education by the owners

F. Could be somewhat expected after the dog was a year old or more with lots of training and socialization on the owners part.


Handing them their list back with my addendums, I then announce that our interview time has now expired and I needed to tend to my next appointment…………………."oh and one more thing, there isn’t a puppy in the current litter that will fit their needs, so no deposit is needed."




Sitting out front under the big orchid tree awaiting a scheduled interview, a parade of vans and SUVs pull up to the front of my property, 4 total. Looking out past the shade cloth material now adorning the front fence, I see that each vehicle is loaded with kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Within seconds the street and swale area between my property's fence and the street had a total of 19 boys and girls aged 10 to 12, with 5 adults to boot. “Whoa Nelly” would have been the most apropos exclamation at that precise moment.


Approaching the gate I announce to several of the adults “The soccer park is about 7 miles east of here!” From the looks on their faces, none of them appreciated my humor.


The ringleader lady then announces to me that they are all here to see and play with the puppies………………………………..I then attempt another one of my ‘funny’ lines, with a poor impersonation of Borat “Not!”, which of course was once again not perceived as being funny by the large throng of women and A.D.D. pubescent banshees running rampant in the street, with a few attempting to climb over the spiked railing gate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


“I don’t interview flash mobs.” With a hand gesture I bid them adieu and I headed back to the safety of my humble abode.





Arriving about half hour early, the SUV outside the gate begins to honk on the horn and soon thereafter I receive a telephone call from them. “We are out front to see the puppies” was their pronouncement upon me saying “Hello”.


I then proceed to inform them “I have a deadline to meet for dog show entries, so I will be out there shortly, right on time.”


“We don’t have all day so we appreciate it if you would be more prompt” was their retort.


Of course you all know where this interview is headed!


Upon completing my scheduled task and arriving at the gate with 10 minutes to spare before the stated appointment time, I am greeted by 2 surly-looking adults with 3 matching appendages and one really angry Rottweiler-looking Labrador…………………snarling and growling as I am more than 50 feet from the gate.


The rather large, rotund man does nothing to correct nor control the 100+ lbs of ferocious, poor excuse of a Labrador.


The entire Chambray collection of dogs was up in an uproar because of the perceived threat that the beast out front was displaying. Wreaking havoc was more of a descriptive of the behavior of the dog and the people seemed to perfectly tolerate the entire state of mind of their dog.


Shortest interview on record!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “I don’t have a puppy or dog that will fit your personality style”, turned around, corrected my dogs to settle down and went back inside to work on emails (where none of those can bite me).

June 6th 2014


"I didn’t understand your most recent blog. Were you complaining about the judge’s selections as not being worthy?"


The blog was a commentary on the state of affairs on the varying acceptable ‘types’ of Labradors. When 4 different judges cannot agree on the ‘best’ dog from a lineup of only 20 dogs, it more than highlights why there are so many different looks to the breed!


There was absolute no consensus between those 4 judges in selecting the ‘best’ female either. So, which male dog was really the ‘best’ dog, which of the 4 females was really the ‘best’ female?


For novices and even intermediates, which dog do they model their ideal around? Which of the 4 judges came closer to selecting dogs that adhered to the breed standard the best? Even if any of the judges had selected any of the Chambray dogs, I would have still wrote the blog because the judging was all over the board from class to class as well.


The irony of all this is………………………is that there is no solution! It is what it is and any worthy dog can win at any given show, depending on how the judge interprets what the breed should look like, plus a myriad of other intangibles.

June 5th 2014


“Where’s the beef?”


The above question, pretty much sums up the dozens and dozens of emails received since my last blog, right before I departed sick as a dog to the Biloxi MS shows on May 25th.


Truth be told, the old engine is slowing down and it takes a load or two to get up and going and just as soon thereafter the steam seems to be running out much quicker than it used to in recent yesterdays.


Oh, don’t get me wrong, the passion still runs deep and the ire still rises when there is a perceived threat to the Betterment of the Breed, however there seems to be a general acceptance of mediocrity that was not as apparent just a few short years or even some months ago.


Fighting a continual uphill battle will weaken the resolve of even the toughest combatant, so consider someone that has been on the front lines as long as I have and quite frankly as old as I am……….well you get the picture.


Change comes in such small increments and when time is of essence (my time left), then exasperation gives in to patience. Watching the judging at the recent 4 shows in Biloxi is a prime example of the futility involved in breeding for the dictums of the breed standard.


There were 4 different judges, one for each show/each day. From a lineup of 20 males, each choose a different male as their Winners Dog. There were 24 females and each judge choose a different female for their Winners Bitch.


The ‘type’ of the 4 males selected were very contrasting to say the least! Alone on coat, the entire spectrum was represented from those ‘winners’, from thin short, sparse coat to overly long, full and bushy. Keep in mind that the breed standard dictates ‘short, dense and course to the feel’ as the officially accepted type.


Movement was all over the board as well with the majority of dogs being put up from the classes……………….it seems that the overriding criteria was that the dogs be able to go from ‘point A’ to ‘point B’ without tripping over themselves. Standing cow-hocked and then moving cow-hocked didn’t seem to matter as well………………………moving like a locomotive actually was prized by one of the judges!


This is not a sour grapes mustering, it is more of a realization that no matter how much anyone excels in any endeavor, we still must face the music when being ‘judged’ by another pair of eyes that may or may not see the light.


Because of the temporary flu-like effects, I was not physically nor mentally up for the challenge of those 4 shows, there were still those that wanted my mentorship and with the placements being all over the board, very little made sense to those yearning to learn more as there was no beacon to point to as the example to follow.


Winning at dogs shows and breeding for the Betterment of the Breed at times seems to take a very divergent path depending on whose eyes are acting as judge and jury. From the results at shows such as those this past weekend………………any worthy dog can and will win points………….if there were 20 days of judging with 20 different judges, the pattern established by the first 4 judges would indicate that all 20 different dogs would have walked away with points for as many shows.


How does that information aid in the Betterment of the Breed? In the short run, it creates happy campers that will stick it out for a bit longer with those wins……………….in the long run, hopefully those happy campers will begin to see beyond the winning of points and establish their own identity based on what the breed type should be regardless of how scattered the judging is from day to day.


May 25th

A Caboose With Nowhere To Go


"We will be receiving our newest show puppy next week. Would you be able to look at photos

and videos to determine how good she will be? This will be our 5th puppy we buy for showing

and we hope our luck is much better than the other 4 as none of those even made it to the

show ring".



After seeing who the breeder was, the pedigree of the litter and the photos sent to me, #5 will go the way of the previous 4!

No, I am not Nostradamus, nor do I use a crystal ball, no tarot cards, no illusions, and no relying on luck, just plain old common sense. Common sense seems to be a commodity that is quite rare now a days everywhere, but even more pronounced in the dog show world.


Just that facts ma’am! Unfortunately in this case and hundreds of others that are submitted to me, the facts all add up to Borat’s favorite exclamation “Not”!


For this particular case let’s take the facts one at a time.


  • The breeder is a novice, maybe having bred 2 or 3 litters of her own.
  • Has no experience showing, as the paint commercial states, “No Runs, no errors”….let’s add “No Nothing”!
  • The sire and dam themselves have no show track record
  • The pedigree behind both sire and dam is fraught with mediocre and unknown dogs.


Those 4 facts stare at me as a recipe for disaster. I won’t wager $1 to win $1000 that this puppy, which is now in the hands of another beginner will end up ever winning a single point.


Now let’s take those facts into consideration about the new owners:


  • A complete neophyte with no breed standard conformation knowledge
  • No show experience
  • Competing in Florida where, besides Chambray winning 60 to 70% of the time and 3 other handlers dividing up the rest of the wins, that doesn’t leave much for even the other well-bred dogs.


No way Jose! This is a caboose without a locomotive. It is not going anywhere as fast as stopped will get you.


So, where do people that intend to show and breed go wrong? You could more or less forgive someone buying their first puppy and learning from that experience. But here we have a situation where 4 prior purchases did not turn out well and yet, the expectations for success are exactly the same! Where was the learning process here?


The scenario from above occurs with predictable frequency as the communications to me indicate. You have fine folk with very specific desires and yet their preparations to achieve that quest are non-existent! How does someone get into something without knowing anything about it……………..over and over again?


The old axiom, “You get what you pay for” is the operative here. You want to play basketball and you go out and buy a beach ball………………………well you get the point!


La meme chose here folks…………………………..in order to be successful at showing and breeding, you need to invest with the best, those that are successful at what they are doing will create much, much better odds than to hope and pray for ‘luck’ from a source that is at the bottom of the pot.


In researching, the most important criteria is who the breeder is.


  • How long have they been into the sport of breeding & showing?
  • How successful are they compared to those others in the same area.
  • Besides a potential show puppy with a world class pedigree, what else do they offer?


Let’s take those items individually.


Longevity in breeding and showing. There are loads of breeders that breed and breed and breed. Loads of them! That fact does not hold water when it comes time to show up in the ring. So, a breeder that has been breeding 5, 10, 20 years or more and does not have a show record probably produces ‘nice’ dogs for pets, but not the right stuff for the highly competitive show world, especially in Florida.


Success is measured in results, so even if the breeder dabbles in showing, what are their results when it comes time to owning up in the show ring? Merely traipsing a dog around a ring once in a rare blue harvest moon, doesn’t qualify as a ‘true-blue’ show breeder. There must be documentable and verifiable statistics that can be used to determine their value and worth as a show breeder.  

The product and services being offered goes a long way into how successful a person will be with a dog. So, just what is it that they are ‘selling’? Remember that 99% of all breeders end up keeping the best puppies for themselves, so that what they end up ‘selling’ may be the curd and not the cream. So, are you getting the tail end that is heads and shoulders below what the breeder will show up when the bell rings to go in the ring?


Do they offer ‘valuable’ mentorship (keep in mind that dribble is offered by just about everyone with dogs), do they offer their expertise (if they have any) in training, conditioning and handling? Will they have their own dogs going head-to-head with your dog (what do you think the outcome of that will be?), what are their guarantees………………..are those in writing, ironclad, no willy-nilly when it comes time to own up?


All of the above is the groundwork that could very well lead to success. Without it, there we sit in the caboose that is headed nowhere.

May 23rd 2014
It has to add up!




“I have just started breeding Labradors and there is no way I will be able to compete with what you all have going with the breed. It almost feels like there is no chance for a beginner or even someone that has been doing this longer than I have.”


I fully comprehend where you are coming from. However, you need to create goals to achieve a mission. Your mission should be to breed the very best and either keep those outstanding puppies produced or develop some type of owner network where you would be able to keep up with those puppies you place.


Breeding for the Betterment of the Breed should be first and foremost, developing each of those puppies that you produce comes next and eventually competing at dog shows will materialize as you gain the knowledge and expertise that time in the breed will give you.


Breeding and showing are 2 complete different worlds……………………but they come in order with breeding being the precursor  and showing coming as a result of your success with breeding, raising, training and learning the ropes of the ins and outs of showing dogs.


There have been numerous new folk in the last couple of decades that entered the show world without much of a breeding foundation and they soon found the ‘competition’ aspect too arduous to continue with.


Although from a distance, showing dogs looks innocuous and a simple process to get into and to succeed at……………………once involved with it, it doesn’t take long to see the stark reality of the undertaking. Competing against time-harden professionals…………..people that ply their trade on an everyday basis going head-to-head with rank amateurs…………….soon the novelty of it all wears off for the novice, no more deer-in-the-headlights and the realness of it all sets in. A few diehards will remain, but the majority just fade away from the competitive, show end of Labradors.


I highly recommend for those new to the fancy, to somehow attach themselves to an established and successful mentor that will accept them in. Look and listen, watch all those around that are successful, avoid those others that are spinning their wheels……………………..and mind you there are more of those than those that are successful.


Keep in mind that everyone with a dog professes to be an authority and advice is as abundant as is the bait that litters the floor at a dog show! People will be tripping all over themselves to ‘educate’ the newbie on the block with all the hearsay and fodder that they have accumulated from all the others that tripped all over themselves when they too were newly arrived on the scene.


Breeding better dogs should be the mission, learning and gaining experience at the dogs shows should be a goal……………………being successful is the product of perseverance, time and patience………………winning is the icing on the cake.


May 23rd 2014

There's A HMMMMMM In The Air


I don’t consider myself so much a writer as I do a story teller and a sharer of information. Nothing pleases

me more than to receive feedback on any topic that I cover through the blogs or the articles and stories that

I have written and published.


There have been subjects that I have broached that didn’t seem to stir a fly and that left me with a feeling of “no one’s looking, no one cares”, however the opposite of that is those topics that seem to resonate and strike a sharp chord and then there are a few provoking a tidal wave of emotions and actions!


Just this year alone we have had two category 5 cyclones that captured the imagination of the populace, well at least the ones that dwell at this blogging off section.


The first real blow-up occurred right after the Westminster dog shows in February. Not to re-hash, but just in case someone was in hibernation, deep sleep or severe hangover during that time, I am referring to the brouhaha over the awarding of Best Of Breed and Best Of Opposite Sex to two Labs that seemingly tipped the scales of over-doneness.


Yep, that occurrence was definitely a tsunami of epic proportions that circumnavigated the sphere several times over. Although I had been sounding the alarm for years that the pendulum was swinging way, way too far to the right of ‘bigger is better’ (which it isn’t), it took a world-media event to ignite the fuse for a massive uprising that has reached the highest levels of who’s who, including the supreme beings at the AKC.


Although the din has somewhat subsided on that subject, the aftereffects remain and there is a renewed awareness of the benefits of following the nationally/universally accepted breed standard to be used to ensure that the breed’s conformation integrity is maintained.


So, a positive emerges from a negative occurrence and that’s a good thing!


The second drum-sounder so far this year is more localized (pertaining specifically to Chambray) than the breed standard flap, although the epicenter of this commotion seems to emanate now a days from areas away from Florida. I'm referring to the recent Chambray negative image that still lingers on those that don’t seem to comprehend our mission and goals for the Betterment of the Breed.


Bear in mind that this ‘negative image’ is ill-informed conceived, but none-the-less persistent in nature, like in ‘human nature’ has a way of casting the unknown into crevices filled with falsehoods, innuendos, imputation and even slander when taken to the legal standards.


On a local basis, the vast majority now seem to grasp and more or less accept our omnipresence. Those few detractors that still exist do so more from the ‘sour grapes’ taste of not winning in the dog show competitive arena than from any confusion of our intent and purpose.


So, when I posted the UFO Invasion blog, the stinging bees came out with a vengeance………………stinging bees being the Chambray owners that felt impugned by the references made by the ill-informed……by the uneducated of the ways of our accumulative efforts with the breed, the Betterment of the Breed mission.


“Them there are fightin words!” was the war cry from more than a few. “Let’s go put a whuppin on some on them” another was heard saying, with one advocating the leaving of a fake horse head on some of their beds (obvious reference to the movie God Father). Of course being referred to as  the ‘Miami Mafia’ and then following that up with fisticuffs and physical dominance would more or less seal the deal that maybe what we are up to is not the ideal.


Being a ‘big picture’ aficionado, I can see and understand the first reaction to when someone’s feet get stepped on. Knowing how much each of our owners puts into their dogs with time, energy, money and emotions…………………………it was completely understandable to see their hackles raised and many of them voice their displeasure at being labeled something that they certainly are not.


Minimizing their tremendous efforts by insinuation……………………………. ‘owning of judges’ just smirked of insult, thus the rush to the front-line mentality. Of course I know that all of our owners are the ‘best of the best’ when it comes to class and decorum and I wouldn’t have it any other way than that. But being human and having 100% stock and faith in our efforts with the breed in general and knowing our total commitment to their dogs, the adrenalin would emerge and act like a storm surge.


All those that are part of Chambray’s programs, know that we lead by example and leave the negativity to those that can’t cope with reality. We all know there have been a few of those naysayers and along the way and with time, they like a bad storm, would diminish and fade away. After the worst storms, clear skies always emerge and so has Chambray Labradors………………..44 years and going strong.


As mentioned above, human nature has its frailties but it also has fathomless resolve and eternal understanding……given some more time, I am faithful that those few still in limbo about our involvement with the breed, will eventually see the light too!



May 21st 2014
And There Is Light!




Well, the feedback concerning the UFO Invasion blog has been overwhelming to say the least. Now and in recent times I have heard from every corner imaginable. You name it, they have had their say. Big name breeders and some that I have never heard of, plain Janes and Joes, to some heavy weight folk, a couple of judges and several professional handlers have added their valuable 2 cents/sense in on the subject.


All present at the training class last night and all that have visited for their private sessions have also added their insights as well.


The following are 4 very representative communications.



"I am guilty of being one of those that knows better about you and your owners, however I find it difficult to relate to those with set views when I encounter that mentality. For years I frequented the Florida dog shows and would watch from afar the goings on at the Labrador ring. I enjoy just sitting and watching the dogs. From time to time I would hear and see the behind the scenes drama play itself out. Several times I attempted to explain what I knew to be the real facts, but as you state there are those that would rather believe in the conspiracy theories and not deal with reality."




"I really take it personally when I hear that garbage. As a judge, I call it as I see it, the dogs and only the dogs. As a professional handler, I have competed against you and your dogs for well over 2 decades and have known you to be 100% about the dogs and never about connecting up with the judges or asking for favors. Now as a judge I appreciate even more your dedication to the breed and to your owners. It is always a pleasure to see you and your family handling dogs at their best. Buddy, keep up the good work!"




"Being from up north, I had preconceived notions about your efforts with the breed. When I came down for the winters to Florida, it really didn't take long for me to realize how dedicated you and your family are to all of those wonderful owners you place your dogs with. No wonder they all sing the praises about Chambray and all that you offer all of them. In fact I have personally met with several dozen of those owners, including a couple that were welcomed into your programs with dogs from other breeders. Even though I have a dog from somewhere else and I use a professional handler, you always have make the time to speak with me and even encourage me about my dog. I am one of those that dares to speak up and I let everyone know back north how you all really are! Thank you for all you do for all Labradors."




"Sometimes I can say for a fact that I take things a bit too seriously.  At times, I will get bent out of shape because of what I consider an injustice when someone bends the truth to one, benefit themselves; or two, to hide their INADEQUACIES.  I want to stress that word, because although both go hand in hand, that last one is where all of those lies and stories come from, not being adequate enough.  For the shorter people it is called Napoleonic Complex.  For the ego maniacs, we call it the Ego Complex.  One that resembles the Ego Complex, where people think that they are the most important person in the world, and that they are here to redeem the word and rid it of evil (ergo, the Miami Mafia), we have the Messianic/Redeemer Complex.  All those and more are simply excuses that people will have because they feel that they are "short" somewhere.  


What upsets me about that "Miami Mafia" blog more than anything is the fact that the people that are talking about it, slandering Chambray Labradors and ALL OF THE OWNERS THAT ARE PART OF THIS GROUP, by assuming that WE buy judges.  Do these people know that I, as an owner, can sue them for slandering?  Doing what they claim that we do is not unethical, it is outright illegal, and the fact that they are blatantly accusing our group of doing just that, boils my blood quite a bit.


Sandy, as long as you have known me, you have seen my demeanor and the kind of person that I am.  This side comes out only when I see what I consider an injustice, and these comments by those INADEQUATE breeders and handlers, are unjust and aimed as excuses to hide the fact that their dogs are not good enough, and also the fact that their way, which is fundamentally flawed, has not worked.  I don't want to include their owners in my comments, because those folks don't know better and pretty much will say exactly what their breeders and handlers say.  They don't seem to educate their owners so that they can speak for themselves, as you guys do.


For the last 2 and 1/2 years, since we picked up Miracle from Chambray Acres, we have seen FIRST HAND, what Chambray Labradors is about.  It is incredible to me that you folks are there, basically for everyone, at anytime, if there is an issue with their dogs.  When we have questions, the answers are plain, simple and to the point.  When we have ideas, whether they are good or not, you guys will sit there and listen to our dribble, and rebuff if the ideas don't pan out, or give it some thought if they do.  instead of shutting us out completely, like I hear some do, y'all offer us respect.  I am not saying anything here that could be considered by anyone "a revelation".


Aside from the many hours a day that you guys dedicate to your owners, you guys have to also dedicate more hours a day to our dogs, and I have seen, first hand, how they are treated.  The dogs are literally the kings of the house, all of them have priority over any humans in the property.  


Why am I upset?  Because those folks who talk what they want to talk, have NEVER spoken with you, visited you at the farm, or asked any of us how we feel about our group.  Instead, they use slander and call us a "Mafia".  It is extremely unfair to be called that, when all you do is benefit us as owners, and all we do is win...wait, I see now....I  know why they gripe.....In the mortal words of Charlie Sheen:  winning!!!


You know what?  You let those folks know when you hear spew their poison again, that if they are not careful, they are going to wake up with a horse head in their bed (a fake one, as I don't advocate killing horses or animals...)"




Like a 'good dog', I work well with positive re-enforcement! So all this great feedback is like getting a jerky treat or a pat on the top of the head....................makes me want to do more! Of course you all know that I have been slowing down a bit in the last couple of years and I am thankful to the All Mighty that has allowed me some extra time to spend with my family, my dogs and my owners, plus all those other fine folk that love Labradors as much as I do.


May 20th 

Stupid Is As Stupid Does





The Fast and the Furious……………………no sooner has the ink dried on the latest blog that a torrent of feedback precipitates in with no haste!


Here is a sampling from our own Chambray owners.


“Now that the cat is out of the bag about us owning all the judges, we can dispense with all the time and energy we all put into working, training and conditioning our dogs and just let you and your family waltz into the ring and come home with the bacon”


“Wow, what an enlightenment it is to hear how powerful you and Chambray are. Not only do we have the best bred, trained and handled dogs in the country, we are also guaranteed the wins!”


“You got to be making this stuff up. I really cannot believe that there are that many gullible people out there!”


“No wonder Chambray dominates considering the mentality of the other breeders and exhibitors thinking like that.”


“Don’t these people read your website and the catalogs? Don’t they see that all of your dogs are owned by the people you place them with? Don’t they know how much time and effort your family puts into this labor of love you all have going on? Who are these people?”


“Hilarious, I am still laughing the day after reading your expose! There really cannot be such dunces out there! Really, come on, tell me it isn’t so. Please let us all know that you are putting us all on about the ‘Miami Mafia’ stuff. There really isn’t a bunch of weirdoes out there that actually go around saying absurd stuff like that? Is there?”


“No wonder the world is in such a sad state! To think that normal, reasonable people actually believe these things.”


“Since they can’t read nor listen too good, you need to draw pictures for them to see it!”


Yep, I agree, real scary stuff knowing that there are so many folk with diminished capacity. I have been hearing about it for years and I have thought of ways to enlighten the masses as to our ways. I have published articles, short stories and the Blogging Off section to very little avail. I know that there are multitudes that get it, but there are as many steadfast types that still believe in fairy tales.


In the last year and a half there has been great headway made with some. In recent blogs, I have covered some of those instances which shows me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a lifting of the fog, a coming out of the forest for many.


At the December 2013 Eukanuba National Championships in Orlando, several longtime and established Labrador fanciers that may have been sitting on the other side of the fence conferred with me and related how they now understood and appreciated my efforts with the breed.


In fact one of the handling legends of the breed even confessed how wrong she had been about Chambray/me because she had been swayed for decades by the innuendos tossed about by those not knowing any better. “ Shame on me for not finding out what I was missing” was her lament to me.


To which I answered “Imagine my loss at not having known you all these years.”


Like a breath of fresh air, best describes this newness………………Hope springs eternal!
Maybe there is hope that before it is all said and done, I will be able to see that spring!

May 19th

UFO Invasion 




It befuddles my mind the things that people make up trying to explain the unknown!


Just this weekend at a Labrador Retriever Specialty in Raleigh NC, one of the fine folk that

participates in many of the Chambray Owner’s Programs overheard some of the commentaries

perpetuated by the giddy, gossipy grapevine.


“We don’t travel with our dogs down to Florida because the ‘Miami mafia’ owns all

the judges down there!” was the buzz from a busy-body bee.


Of course, everyone that is into the Labrador show world knows that ‘Miami mafia’ is crypt for Chambray Labradors and more specifically………….me………………the one and only Sandy Herzon!


Yep, that’s the word out on the street at the thousands of dog shows held in our good old USA.


Somehow little ‘old me’ has corralled thousands of judges into our own private stockade where we extract favors from each and every one of them to favor us with the record-setting wins that the Chambray dogs have amassed over the last 25 years.


It must be extortion, contortion, blackmail, blackball, blacklist, blackout, bribery, browbeating (remember I got the eyebrows to do it with), payola and/or all other kinds of shenanigans are conjured up by those either unaware of how we are so successful or they not wanting to admit that someone has found a possible better way of doing things.


Either of those suppositions leads the sheep astray away from the real reason why Chambray leads the pack in unequaled success. Can’t beat them, then let’s make up some dirt on why they accomplish what they do…………………yeah that’s the ticket!


Even the ones that ‘know’ are looked at like infidels when they try and explain what they have seen, heard and felt first hand…………………what they know to be a reality, they dare not speak up for fear of being casted as a sinner. So much so that I have been told that it is best not to even try and share what’s real. We all know what happens to the messenger when the receivers of the news don’t like what they hear. So those that have seen the light pretend they are still in the dark lest the doubters form a posse and perform an exorcism on them.


Besides, just as little kids don’t want to hear there ain’t no Santa Claus, so too are grownups more likely to believe in hearsay then in wazzup!


The old idiom says it best ‘can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’ describes those that would rather believe in fairy tales than to actually look into it themselves and prove that there is no pot at the end of the rainbow.


In the 1970’s the Smith & Barney commercials, John Housman said it best……………. "How do they make money? The old-fashioned way………….they earn it.”


At Chambray…………….how do we succeed? The old-fashion way……….we earn it with innovation and hard work!


If the gentry and the masses don’t get it, then that’s the way it will be, as I have come to the conclusion that ill winds are going to blow no matter how prim and proper the preparations have been made in its anticipation. It is what it is and never has a drop of spilt milk been recovered by all the ballyhooing that usually accompanies such spillage.


It is so much easier to say ‘It can’t be done’ than to actually attempt to do it. It is so much easier to believe in hocus pocus than it is to gather the facts and figures and come up with a tangible answer.


Our society loves conspiracy theories…………….we revel in imagining captured extra-terrestrials, Walt Disney being kept alive in a frozen state and some breeder down at the end of the Florida peninsula somehow orchestrating cadres of judges that come from all walks of life.


Some of the best attended Las Vegas acts deal with magic where smoke and mirrors reign supreme, so therefore black magic, voodoo and sorcery must be at play at Chambray. Stirring the witches brew and serving the Kool-Aid must by a ritual imagined by those without a clue.


I will repeat it again as Jon Lovitz had it right……. "Yeah, that’s the ticket!"



May 16

Seek And Ye Shall Find


“Who are the other top quality Labradors breeders in the state…………in the country?”


That’s like calling Mercedes Benz and asking them ‘besides yourself, which other auto maker is as good?’


How does anyone know the worth and value of any product?


What criteria establishes an entity as ‘top drawer’, ‘best in its field’, ‘numero uno’?


My long-lived policy has been to promote the good, the positives, the advantages of the product and services I provide through Chambray Labradors. I have dedicated several jam-packed websites with more educational information than can be phantomed in one sitting by the normal fact seeker.


I have steadfast kept my promise along the way to keep it ‘clean’ and upbeat by not naming names even in the face of onslaughts by naysayers and other hell-bent souls with personal vendettas……….so too have I refrained from making lists of the good as well, because to so would spotlight the bad and the ugly through omission.


I have chirped until I could not pucker my lips any longer about the virtues of gathering independent information about those advertising and trying their best to pawn off their wares.


There are very worthy Labrador providers out there, plenty of them to go round. It then becomes the consumers job and duty to find those ‘better ones’ so that their investment is a good one, so that they can get their monies worth in product and services provided (if any).


I have written and published enough ‘buyer beware’ articles and blogs that seemingly have become repetitive and boring to say the least. I feel that I have sounded the alarm so much that I may have become the boy that cried wolf one too many times. Unlike that alarmist tyke, I know what’s out there and it ‘ain’t’ pretty…………..it ain’t one wolf…………………………there are packs and packs of the hairy creatures setting out traps and sitting in front of telephone banks waiting for the ringing of the bell to pounce on the unsuspecting.


I hear it countless times a day from those that have been pounced upon and made mincemeat out of. Real life sad sack stories with ‘not so good’ endings! I feel like I should do something about it, maybe open up one of those anonymous forums where I can trash those that I know are the culprits.


The big problem with that is that it would then lower me to the same pit that those other notorious Labrador Forums that became infamous for their personal vendettas and witch hunts.


No, this homey will continue on the chosen right path and keep it upbeat and positive and leave the negativity to those that are already doing just a great job of making arses out of themselves.


I also hear about that every day as well. Folk that communicate with me informing me of those that do the trash talking and making themselves appear frivolous and unprofessional. Through their lack of vision (remember the politically incorrect reference to the blind), these garbage-announcers self-identify themselves, making the consumer’s job easier in eliminating them from their ‘seller’s menu’.


So, let your fingers do the walking……………………let your mouth do the talking………………..let your ears do the hearing and your brain do the figuring, deciphering, the math, the filtering out and the deciding on who’s who and what’s what in the Labrador world.

May 15 2014



"I have been into showing dogs for 3 years now and it seems that everyone that breeds and shows

has a different way of doing things. How do I know which one will lead me right?"


Yes, I know what you are saying and experiencing, because I hear it all the time from those I am mentoring

and from the thousands that yearly communicate with me.


No sooner than someone gets into a fancy or activity, that they become the ‘fountain of expertise’…………spouting about the theory of relativity to any and all that will stand still long enough for them to get two words in edgewise. Never mind that they may not even know where they themselves are standing!


Woeful wives’ tales, frivolous falsehoods, errant and erroneous utterances, cockamamie idiocies, malicious and detrimental hearsay, pass-ons not worth the gas that passed them on…………………..you name it and the gaping grapevine has it going on……………………and what’s worse is that blokes actually subscribe to all that malarkey as if thou it were the gospel truth, with most reciting chapter and verse to other blokes gladly accepting it as heaven sent epiphanies.


The gibberish I hear at times makes me break out in uncontrolled, unadulterated guffaw, while at other times I grimace with the possible consequences that may follow if whatever is being spread about is acted upon!


Talk about OMG moments…………………………almost daily and repeating themselves with predictable frequency.


When it comes to breeding and showing dogs, false gods are everywhere, proclaiming their deity and it is up to each person to scope out the landscape and see, hear, feel, taste and smell…….in other words…….use your God given senses to figure out who the real deals are.


Common sense should prevail, iron-clad facts such as:


  • Longevity ~ is a dead giveaway……………..maybe we should change that terminology to ‘long-lived giveaway’. I will put my money on a well-established organization long before I even think about entertaining a neophyte upstart.

  • Expertise ~ Duh! A cardiologist with a thousand heart procedures under his/her belt sounds a lot more reassuring than some recently graduated whippersnapper attempting his/her first ever heart valve replacement…………………..no brainer!

  • Success ~ “Who you gonna call?” to rid your house of demonic possessions? Mickey Mouse or the guys from Ghostbusters………………………………..you go to a boxing match and in the red trunks you have Rocky with 1000 wins and no losses and in diapers you have Winnie The Pooh……..who you gonna put your money on? Come on folks this should be looking like a freeze in the breeze by now.

  • Value ~ Where does your money (or time or energy or whatever it is you are investing) earn you the most bang for your buck, dough, mula, clams or anything else of valuable consideration? You buy a product and what if any service do you receive for it. Wouldn't you want the whole kit and caboodle for the bread you are spending?


Ok, here is where it really gets tricky for most.


The longest lived……………..the hand’s down no doubt about it expert………………………….the most successful bar none and the one and only, really, like in the onlyest (don’t look it up, it’s a made up word) that actually serves up more than just a dog and there are still those walking among us that are so easily swayed by the humming of nothingness.


I see it and read about it every day……………….the things I see and hear make me laugh out loud at times, shake my head in disbelief, cringe with angst and make me want to shake, rattle and roll at other times.


Oh my, the blind leading the blind…………..oooopppsss, is that saying one of those that we used to repeat at the drop of a dime in yesteryears and now has gone the way of the politically incorrect taboos?  Well, just in case……………….let’s make it those ‘without vision vs those with vivid vision”.


Ok, let’s cut the curd and get to the cream here…………………………if you have to follow, then find one that is on a clear path………………..one that has been there, done that and is still going strong………………..someone that will be there when the cows come home and will tend to those cows so that they will keep coming back for more.



May 14th 2014




“We have contacted you several times in our search for a Labrador puppy. However, each

time the puppies you had were already spoken for. You publish all the services and amenities that come with the puppies you place. What would be the things that I would need to know when dealing with different breeders as I search for a puppy?”


Since we only have a limited amount of puppies per year, there is a waiting list for them even before most are born. So there is seldom if ever a situation where someone can take a ride out to Chambray Acres and be able to select a puppy on the spot and take it home that moment.


I always say “the best things in life are well worth waiting for” and a puppy that will become a dog in a short period of time and then be part of someone’s life for 12 to 14 years is one of those ‘best things worth waiting for’!


After the Interview Process and a Reservation Deposit is accepted, the average waiting period is about 6 weeks. At times there may be an opening due to a ‘change of plans’ by an expectant puppy buyer and a puppy may become available much sooner.


You could come and visit with me, here at Chambray Acres in Miami where we have been raising, training and show Labrador Retrievers since 1973 (41 years in the exact same place) or we can meet up at the various cities that we travel to for dog shows.


This then becomes the Interview process where we get to know each other.


Now, as for ‘dealing’ with the rest…………………. ‘Caveat Emptor’ is the rule of thumb………for it truly is a buyer beware jungle out there!

The Internet has spawned a swarm of ‘brokers’………………taking phone orders and then filling them from the hundreds upon hundreds of mass puppy producers dotting the landscape.


Even dealing with the ‘so-called reputable breeders’ can become an ordeal to say the least! What you see and hear may not be what you get, so I recommend that everything be done in writing.


All amenities offered, warranties & guarantees promised, clearances certified and even claims of conformation and/or breeding quality should be documented and signed by the breeder. The minute any doubt creeps into the equation, then it’s time to contact another breeder with other offers.


The bottom line is that there are those that do their due diligence and they know that the best is worth waiting for and Chambray Labradors is the place where the best is worth the wait.

May 13th 2014



“Every chance I get, I surf through all the different Labrador breeder’s websites

both here in Florida and in other areas close by. It is amazing how many show

breeders in the Florida/Georgia area have Chambray dogs in their background.

You must be very proud that there are so many people breeding and showing

that got their start with you and your dogs.

I am currently on a waiting list for a puppy from an independent breeder that has

Chambray in their lines. What can you tell me about them and the quality they are breeding?”


Yes, there is a tremendous sense of pride to see so many dogs with Chambray in their pedigrees.


From time to time, I will receive an email as the one above from a puppy buyer that has contacted a breeder with Chambray dogs in their background. These inquirers are looking for verification and recommendation about the breeder they are dealing with.

Although I refrain from acting as a ‘clearing house’ for those looking for that type of specific information, I do my best to give them a ‘head’s up’ if there is something to worry about.


It must be understood that once a puppy is placed with someone and that person does not operate within the parameters of Chambray’s Management Program, there may not be a way to determine if they indeed are on the up and up.


The same for those that use our Stud Dog Service, where our responsibility ends with the shipping of the semen from the dogs that we manage.


I do my very best to get to know who is interested in one of our puppies and dogs. I have in place a pretty extensive interview process that is part of our Puppy Placement Program. However, in all honesty, people will present whatever it is they want to be perceived as and no matter how much scrutiny is used, not all owners end up being the ideal!


Fortunately for me and Chambray, the vast majority of our owners have lived up to their promise as great caregivers of one of our dogs. Granted, there have been a few that I have had my regrets in placing a puppy with, but that happens in all walks of life where the facts become a reality after all is bared and known.


No one comes up at a first meeting and proclaims themselves as being a schmuck………………time has a way of peeling away the thin veneers that some folk have and the true stripes lay bare for all to see.


Again, our 97% success rate means that 97 out of 100 owners has been the real deal and those 3 others, well we just don’t dwell too long on their plight. Can’t please a bloke that can’t be pleased!


So, yes, I do take great delight in seeing the foundation that has been paved by my efforts through Chambray even if a few of those are not within the framework of our Owner’s Programs.


For the Betterment of the Breed has no limitations on who’s who and who ain’t who………….as long as  the breed is well served then it doesn't matter if I see eye to eye with those that don’t look me in the eye! If they were served by my efforts, then my mission of the Betterment of the Breed is alive and well regardless of what tune they hum, mumble and roll.


My theory is that there are way more good ones to work with then to lose time thinking about the ones that come and go. Spilt milk never taste as good as the one still in the glass!


May 12th 2014
Ideas Are Only Good If They Work


"Let me get this right. You guys are the top breeders and exhibitors in your area. 

There are a bunch of other guys that compete against you as breeders and as handlers

or pay others to handle their dogs. Yet you disclose how you breed better dogs and also

how you train and condition those dogs to win. You even point out by publishing articles

and posting photos what those other guys are doing wrong in the hopes that they can get better.

What is up with all that?"



I get the above all the time from the many that follow the blogs and even from my own owners that are part of Chambray Labradors.

“Why do you want to help the competition?” they question and they harp.


For me it’s called ‘paying it forward to the breed’, even if it means that the show ring competition will be tougher for us as handlers.


If they indeed elevate their game, then it forces my hand to raise the bar even higher with all the assets we have. That creates a win-win situations where the breed comes out ahead………………..for the Betterment of the Breed then becomes a real beacon for all.


The preceding is the altruistic self in me…………….of course the realistic self is the one that comes out to play and then it becomes every man/woman for themselves in the competitive arena.


From many unknowns that communicate with me and even several of the other ‘players’ that have personally confided at times to me, it seems that there are several versions of me:


  • The ‘tell it like it is’, ‘no holds barred’ guy…………..boasting and bragging even after the cows have come home.

  • This other persona that champions the breed, providing mentorship and education to all.

  • Then there is the highly competitive……………….win is the name of the game type.

  • In addition, there is the shirtless guy who just gave his last shirt to someone in need.


So, who is it?


Well, the truth be told……………………all of the above and even several more!


Mono-types make for dull boys, so there are many facets to myself and that is a good thing because at the end of the day I weigh the good, the bad and the ugly and ‘the good’ seems to have the upper hand each and every day……………..so a good day for all!


Yes, I share how to better the breed.


Yes, I share what is being done wrong with the breed.


Yes, I share how to train and condition those dogs even if they are the competitor’s dogs.


Yes, I share what can be done to make a better, more competitive presentation of a show dog.



What’s wrong with any of that?


Happy Mother's Day 
May 11th 2014





Responses from the Pyramid Breeding Method Blog

“The pyramid idea seems so simple to follow, how come there are breeders that just don’t seem to improve with time?’


In theory, yes, the pyramid idea is as simple as a day in May……………………however, in practice it becomes a logistic nightmare for the vast majority of breeders.


Those breeders that just don’t seem to improve are the ones that time has left behind because of the following:


  • Most involved in the breeding of dogs have a set number of dogs……………….say 1 male and several producing females.

  • More than likely, they will use that male over and over again ‘since he is there and he needs to pay for his upkeep’.

  • Each female will produced upward of 5 to 6 litters before they reach that age of minimal return and are then ‘put out to pasture’ or found a ‘forever home’.


That’s the traditional way of doing business with the multitudes of those breeding dogs

If those dogs used over and over again happen to produce great quality, so be it! If on the other hand those same dogs produce inferior quality, so be it the same!


So, you have a female that may breed for 7 years or more, have a bunch of litters whether those puppies produced were an improvement or not………………problem is after those 7 years there was only one generation that was produced.


There is very little moving ahead with this ‘same ole, same ole’ way of doing things…………..more like hit or miss, with ‘miss’ being the operative word here.


So in essence, with this old mode of breeding, for these breeders time stands still for upwards of 7 years or more…………………meanwhile, with the pyramid method, improvement with each generation produced creates at least 3 new generations produced for the betterment of the breed in the same 7 year span.


It is plain as day that the pyramid building of one generation producing the next generation of improvement is quite different than the ‘old way of doing things’. Breeding the same dog over and over again will produce the same quality (or lack of it) over and over again.


The old way produces a linear quality at best and ‘not so good’ at worse. There is no building upwards as is the case with the pyramid method where one generation produces the next generation of improvement which in turns produces the next generation and so on.


This pyramid building block system is used at Chambray, building on each generation’s contributions to the betterment of the breed to produce the next generation of improvement.


Like I said………………simple…………………………..if you get it.


May 10th 

Seeing the Betterment of the Breed in a New Way



There is a huge difference between ‘structural faults’ and ‘deviations’ from the accepted norm of breed type. However, I would not breed a dog that had many deviations just as I would not breed a dog with a structural fault.


Working on the premise that there is no perfect dog and that each breeding should have the betterment of the breed in mind………………..therefore each dog considered for breeding will have some deviations from the desired goal that needs tending to in order to reach that mythical ‘perfect dog’.


A rule of thumb would be not to pair dogs for breeding that have the same ‘deviation’, as this would ensure the perpetuation of that less than perfect trait. Choosing a dog with a strong, desirable trait for a dog with a less undesirable trait would bring about that sought out ‘improvement’ in a high percentage of the puppies produced.


Even the puppies produced with the more desirable trait need tending to in future breedings because they may be carrying in the recessive the lesser, unwanted characteristic passed on by parent that exhibited that trait.







A New Way To Look At A Program For The Betterment of the Breed.



Envision a pyramid with a large base of building blocks on the bottom first row.



                                                                This is the foundation of the structure.


In breeding Labradors, a breeder has all of the dogs in the gene pool to choose from, thus the first row in this new way to look at breeding, is to see and use that first row foundation available to all. Of course selecting the very best will go a long way in establishing a great breeding program. This is where research comes in and relying on mentorship from those already established will avoid major pitfalls.



In an individual breeding program the second row of the pyramid is brought about by the judicious selection of the dogs that will produce that 2nd generation. The pairing of dogs with as few imperfections as possible (remember the premise that there is no perfect dog) and making sure that whatever the imperfection on one dog is not the same deviation on the other dog, will go a long way in bringing about the Betterment of the Breed mission.


The third row of improvement is produced by the second generation of the pyramid. There should be an ascension of betterment that is taking place with a higher percentage of 'improved upon' dogs produced with each successive generation.


The ultimate quest is to succeed at improvement with each successive row of the pyramid leading to the mythical perfect dog way at the top of the pyramid.


All those building blocks, row upon row, each row better than the preceding generation because each dog used was better than the ones that produced it, leading to the pie in the sky…….the pinnacle…………..the perfect dog!


Gee, the preceding just described Chambray Labradors for the Betterment of the Breed mission!

More May 8th

Feedback to Shoulder Layback Blog






(1) “Another great blog using photos. Does upright shoulders cause ‘Terrier fronts’?


(2) “I think my dog has a correct layback of shoulder, but his neck is just shorter looking!”


(3) “With one blog and one photo, I finally get what it means for have a good layback of shoulder”


(4) “I always thought the point of shoulders was up on the shoulder blade, now I see where it is in front of the dog”


(5) “Thank you for clearing up some confusion I have had about the dog’s front assembly.”


(6) “Ok, now I get it!”


(7) “Which dog is that in the photo?”


(8) “Can a dog still move good if the front end is not structurally correct?”


(9) “Would you breed a dog that does not have correct structure?”


(10) “Why do you always use your own dogs for your blogs? Don’t other breeders have dogs that you can use for your examples?"



Ok, these are the first 10 communications following the publishing of the Front End Assembly blog.


I will answer each individually:


(1) Yes, upright shoulders contribute to the incorrect formation of a front on a Labradors that looks more like the correct front on most Terriers. So, it would be correct on a Terrier, it would be totally incorrect on a Labrador. The other part to the puzzle is the incorrect angle formed by the point of shoulder (A on the photo) and back to the elbow (C). In Terriers it is desirable for the upper arm which goes from the elbow to the point of shoulder to be almost up and down rather than at a 45 degree.


(2) All Labradors have the same number of vertebrae in the neck, therefore the necks should all be about the same length, give or take a smidgeon here or there. If the shoulder blade is more upright and not laying back at the desirable 45 degree, then the shoulder blade would be covering up one or more of the neck vertebrae making it appear as being a short neck.


(3) A picture is worth a thousand words…………………………a few sentences then becomes the light that illuminates the picture.


(4) Yes, there have been many folk that thought the same about the point of shoulder. Just as many were in the dark about where the withers are and many, many more didn’t know how to draw up the Front End Assembly Triangle.


(5) You are welcome as are the many that communicate with me wanting mentorship.


(6) Getting it is the first step in doing something about it……………….like in breeding dogs that have the least amount of inconsistencies………………….that’s the Betterment of the Breed movement!


(7) That is Grand Ch Chambrays Summer Breeze “Hanna”. Sired by BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan”. She is owned by Rosie and Bill Feeley, who also own the sire Hogan. Hanna is Chambray’s 29th homebred champion.


(8) Yes it can function. However, it will not be seen as a “good mover” since there is something that is off and whatever that is will not be working as efficient as it should.


(9) Very complicated answer. I would not breed a dog with a structural fault. Even if it was the most awesome looking show dog ever………………………numero uno in the world, winner of Westminster, Eukanuba and Crofts……………………….this would be like taking 2 steps forward and 1 back. Whatever you allow into your breeding program will linger for generations to come. Years and generations later it will come back to bite you in the arse.


(10) I will let all my ‘Bloganistas & Blogsters’ come up with their own answers for #10!

May 8th

How Shoulder Layback Affects Movement


“Some judges have said that my dog has ‘straight’ shoulders and that it affects the front movement! How can I correct that?”


A correct front assembly calls for the shoulder blade to lay back about 45 degrees.


So from the point of the shoulder blade (front most part of the chest at the keel of the dog), back up to the withers (highest point on dog’s back, right before the rise of neck) there should be an angle of 45 degrees.


Then a line dropped down from that point of withers to the ground should pass right through the elbows and that line should form a perpendicular with the ground.


In other words the line from the withers down through the elbows to the ground should be perfectly plumb (straight up and down).


The angle formed by the elbow X point of shoulder and the elbow X withers are equal and also the distance from elbow to point of shoulder is equal to the distance from point of shoulder up to the withers.


These proportions form a triangle:


  • with the long side being the withers to elbows line

  • withers to point of shoulder equals point of shoulder to elbow


Now let’s look at the photo to see the ‘Front End Assembly’ and therefore visualize the ‘Triangle’ formed when all the parts are correct.


A is the Point Of Shoulder


B is the Withers


C is the Elbow


So, a line from A to B is the ‘Layback of Shoulder’, preferably at a 45 degree from the perpendicular to the ground.


A line formed by B to C is straight up and down and forms a perpendicular to the ground. This line is also the long side of the ‘Front End Assembly Triangle’.


The line formed by A to C forms the “Front End Angle’ and should be the same degree as A to B and also should be the same length as is A to B.


Now, in the big picture the Front End Angles should complement the Rear End Angulation as this will determine how balanced the Front End Assembly will be with the Rear End Assembly, creating a synchronized movement which increases efficiency and determines proper movement.

Back to answer the questions about upright shoulders and poor movement:


A dog with the structurally correct Front End Assembly will be able to reach forward, covering the correct ground at maximum efficiency. A dog that has upright shoulders, straight shoulders, or steep shoulders does not have the correct angulation for proper front end movement and will not be able to reach out sufficiently, covering much less ground with each forward step.

In most cases, it will appear as being very short and choppy or stilted.


Besides movement being affected, so too is the ‘look’ of the dog as the higher shoulder blade is the shorter the neck will appear, reducing the desired ‘slope of neck’.


There is nothing that can be done to correct a structural placement, however through exercise and conditioning, the dog can develop better reach thus improving its movement. 



May 7th

I Like Kudos




“Just love the Blogs”


"You all have great dogs, great organization…………….you guys rock!"


"In a league of your own and no one comes close."


"Educational, witty, to the point, beyond anything else on the web."


"A cup of joe and a blast from your blog starts my day off right."


"Your passion for the breed speaks volumes through your blog. Congratulations on your life’s work with Labradors".


"I am still waiting for the book in you."


"Different hats for different thats. You never cease to amaze me with the different topics you cover and the way you make each so interesting to follow. The only drawback is that you leave me wanting more!"


"The breed standard blogs are amazing. What a great way to educate using photos of dogs that are relevant today. I read and re-read the ‘movement’ blog a dozen times and each time learned something else that I didn’t see the previous times. I can now look at my dogs and others at the dog shows and see why a dog may not be moving as well as it should. Before the article, I knew something may have been off, but I couldn’t pick it out."


"Kudos for the time you put into all of this. You and your blogs are the topics of conversations with other Labrador exhibitors and breeders. That’s a good thing because you bring up areas of the breed that need talking about and hopefully improving upon."


"The captions and graphics for the blogs are awesome!"





There are hundreds more as these about the Blogging Off page.


If no one cared, then it would be a waste of my precious time away from the time I spend with my dogs and those of the multitude of owners that are part of Chambrays Owners Programs. As long as there are those that value what I have to offer, I will therefore continue to share what I have learned over the last 44 years with Labradors.


I, like one of my dogs, love praise and will work all day for a pat on the hairless head, so keep these treats coming!

More Bo Diddley Feedback

May 6th


"We read the Bo Diddley blog with much interest as the same thing had been occurring with us.

We read on your website where you recommended contacting many breeders and we did just that.

Well, that was an experience! Once we mentioned to any of them that we had been in touch with other

breeders, it was the cold shoulder and never mind bringing up Chambray and what you all had to offer! A couple of those women were outright rude! What a welcomed difference it is communicating with you, where you provide as much information as we have requested even though you had no puppies available for our time tables. So much so, that we have changed our plans and will now wait for one of your puppies in the fall".


Your email is a recurrent theme. It seems to be the modus operandi for the majority of breeders to do business that way. To be honest, I don’t get it!


The way I see it is that I have a great product and I want everyone to know about it. I advertise and promote all the value that we provide with the product and with the service that comes with the product. I spell it out to any and all that ask, which is my way of educating people so that they can make an educated choice with whom they want to do business with.


To me that is the American way of doing business. Build a great product and then provide the best service possible.


Show me the facts and figures and I will then make a decision on where, when and with whom to do business with.


For those that I interview for a puppy placement, at times I invite them to the dog shows in their cities that I will be at with our Chambray dogs. There they can also approach other breeders that will be there with their dogs. They can compare apples and oranges on an up close and personal, firsthand basis.


Guess what? The vast majority of those show visitors come away as true blue clients once the visitor speaks to several of the other breeders because of the negative spin these breeders use.


Since we have a limited amount of puppies on a yearly basis, only a small percentage of those contacting us will actually have a Chambray puppy placed with them, however we provide as much education to all the do contact us so that they can be as educated as possible in making a 14-year investment in time, emotions and also economically.

May 6th 


“I have been a fan of Chambray for many years and have followed the success stories both at the

shows and through your website. Which dog do you consider to be the greatest dog that you

have bred?”


The answer, if there is a definitive one, will really take me to task here.


I have a ‘big picture’ mentality. Rather than seeing the individual brushstroke, I see the entire painting, even including the canvas, the frame, the wall, the room and beyond. To me everything makes up a singularity………………….so that a great dog was brought about by all that made it possible to exist.


As great as a dog is, the sire and dam must be as great to have produced it. So, if there is a great dog, then those behind it must be given the same due credit.


Of course, I understand that my answer will not suffice as the majority of folk have a ‘normal’ outlook on things………………seeing what is in front of them with the setting and background just becoming props.


Most observers tend to see the show accomplishments as the bellwether of a dog’s worth, however as a breeder, I value what a dog produces as much as what a dog accomplishes, so the answer will need to be qualified in order to make sense.


Below are the Top 5 Chambray-Bred Show Dogs


BIS BBE Silver/Bronze Grand Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter

  • The only female Labrador in Florida to ever win a Best In Show

  • USA only female and 1 of 2 Labradors Best In Show winners for 2012

  • The 2012 Chronicle #1 Ranked USA Female Labrador

  • AKC Top 10 USA All-Times Grand Champion

  • The highest ranked All-Times Grand Champion Female in Florida

  • Chambray’s highest ranked Silver Grand Champion

  • The 2013 Eukanuba National Championships Select Grand Champion

  • Eukanuba 2012 #1 Qualifier with 4 Individual Invitations & the dog with the most qualifying invitations in 1 year ever for the Eukanuba National Champions.

  • Purina Breeder Showcase Best Of Breed Adult 2013

  • Chambray record 33 Best Of Breeds

  • Chambray record 15 Group Placements

  • Chambray record 2 Group 1 wins

  • Plus the holder of 7 other Chambray records 


BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff THD TDI CGC NFP NJP –

  • One of only 3 Florida Labradors Best In Show winners

  • Sire of 8 AKC Champions & 5 Grand Champions

  • Sire of 2 Master Hunters

  • USA Chronicle Top 20 Ranked 2 years in a row, 2007 and 2008

  • 7-Years in a row Eukanuba Qualifier

  • 4 years USA Top Stud Dog Status, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012

  • 2005 Purina Breeders Showcase Best Of Breed Labrador Puppy

  • 2007 Purina Breeders Showcase Best Of Breed Labrador Adult

  • Westminster (2009) & Eukanuba Qualifier & Participant

  • Winner of 20 Best Of Breeds – 10 Group Placements and 3 Group 1’s 


Ch Chambrays Mad About Madeline RE AXP OJP NFP

  • 17 Best Of Breeds & 7 Group Placements w/2 Group 1’s

  • Westminster & Eukanuba Participant

  • Producer of 3 AKC champions


Ch Chambrays Twist Of Fate

  • 15 Best Of Breeds 2 Group Placements

  • 2004 USA Chronicle Top 20

  • Eukanuba Qualifier and Participant


Bronze Gr Ch WinQuest Chambray Reaching For The Stars

  • 13 Best Of Breeds

  • Eukanuba Qualifier and Participant


As stated before, show achievements are not the only criteria for greatness. There have been a couple of other dogs that carry major importance for their contributions to the breed.


JAMS BISV Ch Chambrays Chisholm Chancey

  • Dam of 4 AKC champions

  • Winner of 5 BOBs and 2 Group Placements


BISP Ch Chambrays Chance N Counter CGC THD TDI

  • Dam of 4 AKC champions

  • Winner of 2 AKC Best Puppy In Show and 1 BOB


All of the dogs above reached a very observable level, however each and every Chambray dog that came before it made it possible for it to rise above the ordinary.

Happy Cinco De Mayo

May 5th 2014



“We have been researching Labrador breeders for over a year and we seem to always come back to

your site. We have contacted dozens of other breeders and none are familiar with your programs.

Most have heard of you or have seen you at dog shows, but none seem to know exactly what it is you all do that is so different than what they offer.”


I hear the above all the time from puppy searchers that inquire and mention Chambray’s offerings to other breeders. The old, ‘If you can’t beat them or even equal them, pretend they don't exist or try and trash em’.


The absolute best place for information is to go straight to the source. There is no one that can explain or detail what anyone else is doing or is offering. Besides, if those other breeders could, they would be doing exactly what we do!


But the bottom line is that there is no other breeder that is qualified to offer the Labrador-related programs that we do.




For example, here in Florida there are about a dozen Labrador breeders that actually produce dogs that can be competitive at the dog show level. That means that there are hundreds more that produce dogs that are not at all at the same conformation level as the prior mentioned 12 or so. Included in those ‘hundreds more’ are:


  • Mass Pet Puppy Producers

  • Backyard Pet Producers

  • Off-Color Pet Producers

  • Plus, every Tom, Dick and Harry producing whatever comes out that can and will be registered and sold!


So, for this blog we will eliminate the 95% we just mentioned and only discuss the very few that have a breeding program based on conformation and of course the health clearances needed for producing the best.


So, from those 12 or so, all are Labrador breeders:

  • None are professional dog trainers as the Herzons are,

  • None offer anything but a ‘puppy to go’

  • None are professional dog handlers as the Herzons are

  • None offer a training and conditioning environment as is offered by Chambray

  • None offer a Lifetime Support System, also offered by Chambray

  • None offer free training for those dogs that they place…. Chambray does.

  • None offer a full mentorship program for beginners, for intermediates or for those advanced into Labradors as offered by Chambray.

  • None offer a stud dog program as offered by Chambray.


That’s because none are qualified to do so, so what they offer is what they have………………..a good product without the 44 years of experience with the breed and all the amenities that come with that tremendous amount of experience and expertise.


If they could they would…………and they do know what the differences are and they experience those differences each and every time at the dog shows that we all compete at…………………they all visit the various Chambray websites checking out what’s new trying to keep up with the trendsetter………………………………….they read the daily blogs, the articles, the testimonials, the show results, the new litters and on and on.


So, when any of them pretend they don’t know what’s what with Chambray, either envy or denial comes to mind.


In every competitive sport, endeavor or business, there is always someone at the top and the rest all want to be there. All those wanting to catch up know everything about the leader. To say different is to begin the deception process.


It is simple….if they don’t know, then they don’t know anything, if they do know and pretend they don’t know, then they are not honest.


I hope that answers your question about those ‘that don’t know Bo’, because chances are they ‘don’t know Diddley either’!

May 4th 2014

More Inquiries


"How do you determine which dogs you will be showing from all those that are

participating in all of your programs?"


"When does a dog receive priority handling over another dog in your handling lineup?"


These are representative questions that are dealt with on a daily basis both from our visitors

at our website and from our own Chambray owners.


Each Chambray Labrador owner that has one of our ‘show prospect puppies’ has the opportunity to take advantage of the free private training and also the free night training classes that comes will all the show puppies.


During their visits at Chambray Acres, we go over everything that is needed for a healthy and well-socialized dog. Included in their sessions with us is a constant conformation evaluation to determine how the dog is developing. Those owners whose dogs display all the makings of a competitive show dog are then encourage to follow through with dedicated and advanced training and conditioning in order to have the dog ready for up and coming shows.


The dogs that we feel are the most competitive will be the ones that will be on the A-Team for a specific weekend of shows. There is always a regular roster with a limited amount of dogs that we can adequately travel with and handle at the far away dog shows, however at times we may augment the lineup and take extra dogs as the circumstance calls for.


Since we are based in South Florida and the largest segment of our owners lives relatively close by, we can bring on a larger roster of dogs to the venues in this areas. When that occurs, we hire extra handlers to help out with the added entry.


At the present time we are working with about 30 puppies, young dogs and adults that all have the potential to show. We then consider which of those is in prime conformation and also which ones are the best performers and in the best condition…………………….these then will make the first team and will be the ones that will be seen at the dog shows that we compete at.


From time to time, we change the lineup and switch dogs around leaving some out of some shows and bringing out new ones, giving more dogs the opportunity to compete.


There are many considerations that go into deciding which dog goes to a show and which dogs do not make the trip. These considerations are discussed with each owner as part of the individual game plan for each dog.


Dogs that are near finishing and need majors will be entered at those shows that traditionally have had large entries. In order to save money on entries, those dogs will not be on the roster for those venues that do not draw large entries.


There are a myriad of conditions that dictate priorities of one dog over another for a given class or an individual handler.


The dogs with the most points usually command class and handler priority


Dogs handled from the Open Classes and the Bred-By Exhibitor Class normally have priority over the Am Bred Class and also the 12 to 18. Puppies command the least priority.


There is always an attempt at not having more than 2 dogs competing from the same class.


Finally, there is nothing cast in stone as decision are made as seen fit and needed.


The goal is to have the best and most competitive dogs showing. I know that at times some of the owners feel slighted when their dogs are not included in a particular show roster or when we advise them to put them up for a while in order for the dogs go through awkward growing stages and need further development.


There are those dogs that may need conditioning, weight loss or weight gain, toning up and building up of stamina and endurance. There are dogs that need major behavioral adjustments for them to perform and show better.


All of these mentioned contingencies are considered and with the owner’s participation, put into play in order to have the best dogs with the best performance out on the front lines of competition.

May 4th 2014

Programs for the Betterment of the Breed


For those asking how to join our different programs this Bud’s for you. I have covered the majority of inquiries

that come in with regularity asking how they too can benefit from our Betterment of the Breed movement.


  • Show Handling & Management Program – Although we have a set roster of dogs in play with 6 months of planning, there are always possibilities for those dogs that have what it takes to be competitive. Our handling team varies from 3 to 7 handlers at any given show, so we are capable of adding new dogs as the needs arises. A thorough evaluation of the dog is the first step in the consideration process, just as is an understanding of how show handling works with priorities and all the ins and outs that are involved with showing dogs. If a dog is approved and accepted into our show management program, then the strategies and logistics are put into play for that dog revolving around those dogs that are already in the lineup of dogs. Besides the dogs that are part of our show roster, we also have a large contingency of dogs waiting in the wings to be included in the active lineup. Since our mission is the Betterment of the Breed, only the best, most competitive dogs make it to the shows. We will evaluate and accept worthy dogs from any and all breeders as long as the owner has free and clear control of the dog and is not hindered by contracts and the whims of the breeder.

  • Ways to enter the Show Handling & Management Program – Some come on board with outside dogs that they have acquired on their own from other show breeders………………the majority start out with a Chambray puppy or show started dog………………………..and then there are those breeders that join our various programs for the Betterment of the Breed.

  • The Stud Dog Program – Once again, there are various entry ports for inclusion into this elite program. Only the best of the best of the best are candidates for this all important program. The dog must possess all those outstanding qualities that make it a desirable perpetuator of the breed. It must pass a bevy of clearances before even being considered as a stud dog. It must have a rock star pedigree from the top producing dogs in the country.

  • The Breeding Program – Here again, top-notch show quality females are considered to be the producers of the next generation for the Betterment of the Breed. The majority of those that are presently under consideration for this program are Chambray-bred females, however the program is open to any and all that wish to participate in the Puppy Placement Program where we would be managing the breeding, the raising and the placing of the puppies from the litter.

  • The Training and Conditioning Program – This exclusive program is only available to those dogs that will be part of our Show Dog Management Program. We have had to limit this program to those dogs that we will be handling in the ring because the demand for these services had risen beyond those dogs and clients that we will be winning with at the shows.

More May Day

Cockadoodledoo How Are You?



“Winning, Is That All There Is?”


Time and time again when I mention our weekend of shows winningstreak or the number of Winners Dog & Winners Bitch wins, invariably I will receive a bevy of emails questioning the value of winning!


If that is all that the Chambray-bred and managed dogs did, then I would be a happy camper until the fire in me no longer burns, however truth be told, each and every Labrador that I am associated with brings about much joy and happiness to their owners……………………..priceless pleasure that no amount of money or winning could light a match to!


On a weekly basis, I work with as many Agility, Obedience, Rally, Therapy and Service dogs and owners as I do with the show dogs and owners. You don’t hear about those, because those dogs and owners are personal to me especially the Therapy and Service dogs. I don’t want to boast and brag about something that is so near and dear to me. I will keep those euphoric moments and memories to myself and only share those treasures with those owners that are part of those programs.


So, that brings us to the dog shows…………………………………….where as in the Cheers’ song, everyone knows your name! Where everyone goes with the sole and intent purpose of competing to WIN!


You win, you be beaming, you don’t win, you be grumpy! There are no two ways about it, the name of the game is winning!


Those that win are seen as being successful, those that don’t win hunt up every excuse in the book to justify their fate.


So, winning is the only consideration at the dog shows. No matter how some say they do it for fun or that winning isn’t everything there is. Next time at a dog show, watch those that say they do it for fun, watch their faces once again when they walk out of the ring with nothing to show for their efforts. At that precise moment approach them and ask them if they are having fun yet! Be prepared for some venom being spewed about because they are so ecstatic and having so much fun!


Since winning is the driving force at these competitive engagements, those that win have the right to take the credit, those that win big can lay claim to the top rung, top rating, top dog or whatever else is the most wanted acclaim.


Each and everyone else that competes at these venues is gunning for the same pie in the sky, so being able to reach up there and grab that Golden Fleece year in and year out, I will toot my horn, thump my chest, belch out blurbs and out crow all

the cock-a-doodle-doos out there.

May Day May 1st 2014

Pudding Time Again




"The ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rumble’ blog was humorous and informative. Where do you get your facts from?"


Easy peasy lemon squeezy, can’t get no easier!


Check out the show results from the www.infodog.com and from www.onofrio.com for all the Florida shows in the last 5 years, year after year to the present tense year, month and day and then tell me what you say.


Can’t hedge on a hedgehog, can’t cheat on a cheetah, it is what it is and it ain’t what it ain’t!


Proof positive is our current, unheard of, maybe never to be equaled and never mind to be bested 83 straight dog show weekends of winning in the Labrador ring in Florida that also extends to every dog show weekend that the Herzons have traveled to in MS, AL, LA and GA………………..since January of 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s all of 2012, all of 2013 and now all of 2014 to the last weekend of shows in April!


One or two of the professionals that work the Labrador ring have had good runs at winning several weekend in a row as has one or two of the owner/breeder managed dogs that may win here and there, but none………not even adding up their wins together can stand next to numbers posted by our management program.


For the last 5 years, each successive year we have bested the previous year’s record-setting wins to the point that at the end of each completed year, we concede that the following year will not top what had just been posted and yet somehow it does happen.


The mindboggling 51 Winners Dog & Winners Bitch wins posted in 2011 seemed to be the outer limit that would withstand the test of time in being bested.


At the end of 2012………………59 Winners Dog & Winners Bitch undoubtedly busted the bank forever and then we raised the bar to 61 WD/WB for 2013!


No way, no how can that be bested or even equaled…………………..there just isn’t enough shows in one year to go beyond that……………………especially having championed 12 dogs/bitches in that same span of time and now having to start all over again with a bunch of new dogs and young puppies……………..going up against the same competition that all those mature dogs that are now finished were beating.


But guess what? The beat goes on and our youngsters and puppies are holding their own and winning WD and WBs at an encouraging rate for 2014, meanwhile our champions lately have been dominating the breed wins as well!


Will I hold my breath thinking that the magic Roger Maris number of 61 HRs (WD/WB for 2013) can bested without steroid induced muscle power? Nah, I will exhale and savor the sweetness as it happens because even if a year's record setting wins cannot be beat, all the success just keeps on truckin year after year setting the bar the highest for the career wins.


You know what they say about the pudding? You got to taste it to know that it is good and nothing taste as good as success.


April 30th 2014




The Two Basic Types Of Labradors Seen At Dog Shows (Maybe even 3)


No, with this blog we are not going to be covering English vs American………………nor skinny vs fat

…………………nor short legged Whoppers vs tall, mammoth 135lb Big Macs…………………no, we will let

those subjects lay like sleeping dogs ought to………………………I will be delving into a more delicate subject area that may cause some quiet waters to ripple and peach fuzz on a baby-faced teenager to become bristled!


Yep, that’s me ‘going where no man had gone before’ like the galactic wanders on Star Trek did with each week’s new journey into the unknown!


So what in tarnation’s am I about to belly flop unto? Will it be one of those ‘off with the messenger’s bald head’ moments? Will there be tar and feather on yours truly that will need to be removed with lighter fluid upon the disclosing of the subject matter?


Well my little chickadees read on and see if you too can spy with your own little eye what’s conjuring inside my beaming beacon!


So, here in an itsy bitsy teenie weenie little polka dotted………….brief………………..is wazzup!
Labradors in a professional environment vs Labradors in their owner’s environment!


That’s it!


That’s the hot tamale subject of the day from the Mind of Minolta!


For the newbies, the tweeners, the been-around-awhile, the been-around-too-long, the should-have-been-gone-a-long-time-ago and the ones that take a licking and keep on ticking (me)……………this is subject is taboo stuff!


The pros don’t want divulgence of its existence and the owners don’t want to admit that it’s true! Like in don’t talk about it and it don’t exist!


Well, you guys know Bo and Bo knows Diddley and both of those know me and knowing me, you got to know that I tell it like it is, even if it means divulging secrets of Area 51! Well, let’s stop there before Homeland Agents coming knock the roof off my house thinking I know anything about that most secretive area in the world…………………but I do know that there are UFO and aliens that are being processed there which is no top secret because everyone else knows that!


Ok, back to the scoop at hand!


Pro-Dogs vs Owner-Dogs’


‘Let’s get ready to rummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmble!


’In the black corner weighing in at a hefty price, loaded with bells and whistles and other fees, primed and ready to go are the heavy weights of the fancy…………..the professional dog handler Labradors.


In the white corner adorned with bling, bling, toes nails painted and spoiled rotten to the core are the owner Labradors!


So, about now, most of the faithful bloganistas (the ‘likers’) and the Doubting Thomas blogsters (the ‘don’t likers’) are wondering “what is the difference between the two?”


Did I say two?


Hold on to your horses because we are going to throw a huge Gorilla wrench into the fracas…………………………this isn’t a conventional bout with just two sides a sparring, no sir, this is more like a 3-ring circus because in the 3rd corner we have the Chambray Managed Labradors!


So, let’s check the scorecard for the tale of the tape for the three combatants.


The Professional Managed Labradors


The Owner Managed Labradors


The Chambray Managed Labradors


Now aren’t we in a pickle with not one, not two……………..no, we now have 3 considerations when dealing with the Labrador ring in Florida.


Let’s gloss over each one a wee bit to get a better handle on the leash.


Group A: The Professional Managed/Handled dogs at first glance will seem to have the heavy upper hand at having their way in the combative dog show ring. After all they have the top handlers putting in all of their expertise, know-how and well-known connections to achieve the desired affect which is to win.The vast majority of dogs that the pros handle also travel with them, thus removing all of the owner’s peculiarities and instead create the most consistent behavioral patterns that translate into great performances in the ring. These dogs are trained and conditioned to do one thing and that is to perform. Since the pros have the ability to pick and choose which clients to take on, most of these dogs come from some of the top breeders in the area and country, thus their potential is top drawer. Because the owners have been removed from the equation, the dogs are much more in tune with the demands of the pro handlers.


Group B: The Owner Managed and/or Handled dogs make up another substantial group in the Florida Labrador ring. Most of these dogs are extremely competitive and can and do hold their own in the ring. What some of them lack is training and conditioning and they also give some ground in the level of handling that the owners can muster. Because most owners lack the advanced skills in show training, plus most are not into conditioning of their dogs and most importantly because most owners do not have a true working relationship with their own dogs, the end product suffers quite a bit as compared to the pro managed dogs.


Group C: The Chambray Managed dogs are a major departure from the usual way of how things have traditionally been done. Since we work with a significant number of dogs, we encourage each owner to be as involved in the training and conditioning of their dogs. Those owners that have unlimited amounts of time to dote on their dogs, are given much more responsibility with the preparations of the dog. Those owners that do not have the time nor inclination will rely on our extended programs for those areas that they cannot do with their dogs.


So, what are the results of the 3 different camps?


Camp A experiences a 40% success rate at the Florida dog shows

Camp B realizes somewhere around 10%

Camp C comes out ahead with a 50% winning rate


The Tale of the Tape for the last 5 years of showing in the Labrador ring in Florida.


April 28th
Quick Reponses To Today's Blog


“I read your blogs every day and have learned so much. It is like a never ending book. I also show my dogs and wonder at times what some judges are looking for. I really don’t get some of the dogs that end up as the winners of the points. Your blog about Luck Of The Draw makes me really wonder. If that is true, that means that any dog can win and shouldn’t it be the best dogs that should win?”


The vast majority of dogs that are being exhibited have the potential to win points and they do! Different dogs win on different days because the people judging them have different views on what constitutes correct breed type, true movement for that breed, the actual presentation of the dog and other criteria not going to be covered here. When worthy dogs are awarded points………….that’s a good thing! When the opposite of that happens, that’s a bad thing! However as covered in a previous blog, the percentage of good judging is way on our side which makes it somewhat easier to swallow when the bad happens.


Each exhibitor must take stock of their dog and decide how worthy the dog is and what that dog needs to be competitive so that it too can be in the mix of those dogs that can win on any given day.


At Chambray, we evaluate each of our charges on a per show basis. Once a weekend of shows is over, the handling/training team gets together and we go over every dog and their performance in the ring. We brain storm on ways to increase the dog’s ring presence so that the next time that dog is at a dog show, it will have a new set of strategies for a better presentation.


The conclusions we arrive at are then shared with each of the owners and decisions are then made by the owner as to how best to implement the suggestions.


Some owners are willing and able to put into play training and conditioning regimens, while other owners rely on our exclusive services to bring about the needed improvements. It then becomes a cooperative venture between the breeder/trainer/handler and the owner, all working together to continue the unprecedented successes that we are enjoying.


So, there is some ‘luck of the draw’ for winning at dog shows, however there is also improving your chances by having the best conformation, having the best training, having the best conditioned and of course putting it all together with the best presentation at the dog shows.


The preceding is why there are some folk consistently in the winner’s circle and others walking out of the ring as ‘non-winners’!

April 28th 2014

And The Winner Is!
More Like The Luck Of The Draw



“Why didn’t my dog win today?” Asked out load by dozens and thought about by hundreds!

It is the burning question of the minute as soon as the judge points to the dog that does win

today, leaving the inquisitioner’s dog a ‘non-winner’!


That singular action by the judge of bestowing a win on one dog means that the rest of the dogs competing, did not win……………………thus the bewildered look on the owner’s face when they ask “Why didn’t my dog win today?


Of course the most obvious reply to that oft thought about and once in while actually verbalized question would be “Because another dog won!”


Now you and I both know that answer is not going to suffice as ‘truth-laden’ as it may be. That’s because there really isn’t any answer that will quench the thirst of a newbie at a dog show wondering why their wonder dog came out empty handed (or is it empty-pawed?)I too wonder sometimes “what was that judging thinking” with some of the wins they dole out, however me having that lack of knowledge doesn’t help the person asking why their beloved Fido did not win on that given day.


So, I am left with how to convey to someone new or old, but new at dog shows or old and also old at dog shows why their dog was left holding the bag and someone else’s dog gets to add points to their resume. Well, listen closely and I will bring about an enlightenment on the subject………………..the reason your dog did not win is because another dog won!


Whooooop there it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


That’s as simple and as complicated as it gets! If one dog wins the points, it leaves all the other contenders in a status quo position………………….in other words they are as they came into the competition……………..no worse and no better………………in fact just the same!


So no harm done, in fact much the better because hopefully they received lots of hands on training while in the ring doing their thing. The more practice they receive the better their chances of being the anointed point winner for the day the next time they enter the ring for more competition. In defense of the appointed judge, he/she may have very well like each and every dog that enters the ring………………..but he/she must whittle it down to just one dog of each sex………………..just one....................the 'lucky dog'!


If a dog is in the Chambray Show Dog Management Program, it was specially chosen from dozens and dozens that are willing and able to also be on the show roster, but for the sake of bringing out the most competitive, those other dogs may be sitting on the back burner awaiting their time in the show ring.


For instance, each and every Chambray-managed dog at the recent Vero Beach dog show was a top contender for winning points and Best Of Breeds…………………from our superstar champions to our newest litter of 6-month olds that debuted this weekend. Each and every one of those dogs deserved to be on our show roster and each was capable of attracting the attention of the judge enough to award it Winners points.


So, maybe for our owners I will have to come up with an alternative answer to the burning bush question “Why didn’t my dog win”…………………so from now on here’s Johnny’s answer “Your dog will probably win tomorrow!”

April 25th 



Addendum to the recent blog about the ‘why’s and why-not’s’ for show potential dogs not making it.


In the years since we started in conformation (1986) to the present there have been dozens upon dozens of dogs that were actually show started and then fizzled out along the way for a multitude of reasons.


I would say one of the biggest reasons was owners losing interest too soon. Since owners think that their dogs are the most beautiful in the world, it is beside them why the judges just don’t see what they see. So they come into showing with totally unreasonable expectations and become disillusioned right away when Poochie doesn’t win a Best In Show every time it steps into the ring. They didn’t understand the process involved with training, conditioning and ring presentation and going against other dogs that may be older and wiser in the ring. So, we see many dogs that could conceivably win their championship fall by the way side from loss of interest way to soon.


There would be another segment of the total number of dogs that actually get started showing and the owners either:


  • Relocate to faraway places

  • or owners that fall on hard economic times

  • or owners that go through marital discord............................Most of these dogs are never to be seen again.


Then there are those dogs that are forced out of the show world because of injuries. Each year that are at least 3 dogs that are felled by accidents and ‘retired’ before their time.


There is also a small number that for one reason or another fail to pass some of their clearances for breeding, thus the owners opt out of showing since those dogs would not be bred.

The Blogging Off Experience

April 24 Some More




How many Chambray puppies that evaluate as being show prospects actually go on to be successful at the dog shows and eventually become champions?


The answer to the above would take a book or two to fully cover all possibilities. Since I don’t have the time nor energy to write a tome at this moment, I will cut to the chase and answer with “very few”!


In defense of the evaluation system, more than 90% of those deemed ‘show potential’ actually grow up and become show worthy and can compete at the top levels. So, from all those deemed ‘show prospects’, 90% will stay the course and fulfill the prediction and only a few will actually make it to the promised land.


There are a myriad of reasons why those highly placed dogs will not succeed all the way to finishing their AKC champion’s title.


  • The No-Shows - The biggest sector of those that have what it takes but do not succeed is that the owners have no interest in showing. So these we will labeled as the ‘no shows’…………………show potential but they don’t ever make it to the venues to show off their value to the breed.

  • The Poorly Prepared – Which includes, poorly trained, poorly conditioned, and poorly handled. All the preceding plus poor ring strategies have doomed way too many worthy dogs.

  • Poor Finances – Showing dogs is a highly competitive sport and it takes a well-thought out campaign to ensure that the monies put into training, conditioning, entries and handling are well worth the investment. There are way too many owners that have no game plan and end up spinning their wheels with very little return for their money, most of these dogs end up dropping out along the way with very little success.


There are many owners and exhibitors that adopt a ‘hit or miss’, now you see them and now you don’t scheme. They have no consistent game plan with very little continuity so that the dog is never in ‘prime’ position and condition to make any headway.


Dogs are creatures of habit, taught the right habits, they learn to perform what is expected of them. Taught the wrong way, they too will exhibit those ‘wrong habits’.


So it is essential that from the get go as puppies that they learn the correct way of showing. Way too many owners and even some paid handlers actually do more harm than good with their ring presentations. Of course their excuse for lack of success is usually cast upon the dog and not on their own inability to execute proper handling of the dog.


As stated in the second paragraph of this blog, very few will ever make it to become champions, but it has more to do with external contingencies than the actual conformation of the dog.


Those dogs that are part of Chambray’s Management Program have the highest chances of going all the way with proper training, conditioning, ring strategies and superb custom-fitted handling. This is by far the best buck for the money in the business..............the RIGHT WAY!



April 24th 2014

"How Does Poor Judging Affect The Breed?"


Great question, in fact it has been the topic of conversation at recent dog shows.


Breeders that strive for perfection are dealt a serious punch to the stomach when a judge puts up a dog with a dastardly fault. Not only does it affect those breeders that know what is what, it also has an adverse effect on those newcomers that don’t know any better and take what they see winning as being the right stuff.


No matter how many years I have been breeding and showing my Labradors, nothing sticks to my craw worse than to see dogs with major structural faults being handed Winners Points over dogs with much better conformation.


Recently witnessing a bitch with an atrociously weak, close-quartered and cow-hocked rear end being awarded points just sends shivers up my spine when from the same class is a dog with perfect conformation as called for by the breed standard. The standard specifically states that COW-HOCKS are serious structural faults so it is not just a case of eenie meenie miney moe or let’s flip a quarter and you call it while it is still in the air…………………..no siree Bob, the dog has a serious structural fault (according to the written breed standard) and it goes to the end of the line or better yet, is dismissed for lack of merit!


The old pat saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ applies so apropos for dog judging and as proof, witness how far off the placements and wins are from one day’s worth of judging to the next day. Not only does it create a distasteful sensation about the proceedings for me, it also sends the wrong message to owners of dogs that are much more worthy, creating a disillusionment for their involvement in the fancy.


Since I have been into showing for several decades plus, it affects me momentarily and then a few minutes later I am over it as I then start thinking of the next day or next week’s itinerary. I know that dwelling on negatives brings about more negatives, so as soon as the Latin blood in me cools, I am back to creating positives for the next jaunt.


However not so with my dog owners, I find that my owners take this occurrence of poor specimens receiving the placements much more at heart since they are singularly minded with just their own dog. Having to explain to them that a much lesser dog was awarded points just doesn’t make sense when they have bought into the ‘betterment of the breed’ philosophy.


Fortunately there are way more judges with the right vision for the breed than those that are out beyond the left field fences. In my loosely held conjecture the percentages for the ‘good’ judging sits at about 75%, with 25% going to the ‘bad & the ugly’ type.


I tell my owners, “we have to live with it and move on”. Wishful thinking would be that something could be done about it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the innovator in me has a huge laundry list of things that could be implemented to bring about some uniformity…………………….but knowing human nature, the frailties, the ineptitude, the mental weaknesses, the short vision……. not to mention all the other shortcomings that we as a species possess…………………none of what I have come up with will work for all the different characters that we see in the ring as judges for the day.


Those of us that have the betterment of the breed in mind need to stay the course with our correct and positive mission…………………the Betterment of the Breed.

Feedback On The Movement Blog

April 24 2014


“Wow, learned more about movement with your blog than all the books I have researched through!”


“One of your best offerings. The photos were great and it makes all the sense in the world. It’s like if it is built right then it would function right.”


“Once again a brilliant article that show mastery with the subject matter.”


“When you publish your book, please sign me up for a dozen of them.”


“What a great looking Labrador, your passion shows in everything you do with your dogs.”


“Kudos and a great presentation, crystal clear, concise and to the point and the photos were beyond excellent.”


“I want to commend you on an excellent educational piece. It was so easy to follow the explanations with the photos. I now understand what to look for when looking at certain areas of my dogs.”


"No wonder Chambray is heads and shoulders beyond the others."



Since publishing the 'Movement' blog, I have received and inordinate amount of response with many of those asking for more, especially with the use of photos and videos. I guess a picture is truly worth a thousand words!


Oh, by the way, for those asking about the dog, he is our newest AKC champion, BBE Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter.


Walter was sired by BBE Ch Chambrays Bailey On The Rocks who in turn was sired by BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan”.


In addition, we also championed Hogan’s sire Ch Carmays Ruff Around The Edges, so 4 successive generations of dogs handled to their AKC titles by Chambray’s Show Management Program.


Walter is our 39th home-bred champion and our 7th champion totally breeder/owner handled from the Bred By Exhibitor class as was his sire Bailey and his grandsire Hogan. Both of those numbers are state records for Labradors.


Walter is owned by Judith Church Baker and Mickey Baker of Ft Lauderdale Fl.


Watch for Walter's run for the AKC Grand Champion's title. He is off to a great start, first weekend as a champion he scores a Best Of Breed for a 4-Point Major grand champion points plus a Select for 2 more points, plus both were wins over competition. So he now has 6 points, 2 wins over competiton and 1 major. He needs a total of 25 with 3 majors and 3 wins over competition for his Grand Championship.


Besides the Grand Champion credits, he also now has 3 Best Of Breeds and 2 Group III's to his resume with over 245 All Breed national points for 2014. 

The Elusive Correct Movement On Labradors

April 23 2014


Describing the correct movement of a dog is like trying to describe a certain color to someone that is blind. Think about that for a moment………..how would you describe the color ‘red’ to a person that has never ever seen any colors?


From time to time I have published articles using graphs and photos to describe proper angulation, turn of stifle, top-lines, rear assembly, front assembly, correct layback of shoulders and the response and feedback has been worth the time I put into the presentation.


Mentoring on correct movement has evading me for years. I have tried writing about it and that seemed to create more confusion by those that cannot image a concept. I have tried talking about it while at ringside with those that yearn for more knowledge and that also has not worked as well because everything is moving so fast and there is only a fleeting nanosecond to see it and then try and describe it.


Now, I have been very successful in pointing out atrocious movement because in most dogs it is so obvious and those dogs will continue to display the anomaly over and over again so that those in the learning process can actually see it after a few repetitions.


Not so with proper movement……………………….what ends up happening is that the observer sees the overall effect of correct movement but not the individual parts that contribute to the end product and how each works in order to achieve maximum efficiency.


One of those eureka moments just occurred with one of our dogs at 2 weekends of dog shows. First of all the particular dog has that ‘perfect movement’ that most can see without much prompting. With the aid of some awesome photography, I am going to take a stab at yet another mentoring presentation in the hopes of creating some enlightenment on correct movement using a series of photos.


So we start with a photo with the dog standing still. Correct movement is dependent on correct structure. Without correct structure movement becomes inefficient at best and a train wreck at worst.


















































































Looking at the photo on the left we see a dog standing naturally (not posed).


This is as good as a front gets. Front legs straight and parallel to each other with the correct width between them at the elbows (not close quartered or barrel).


Correct spring of rib (not slab-sided) from the neck down to just behind the elbows that have the correct tuck (elbows not pinched in) with the leg proceeding straight under (not bowed or angled in or spread outwards).


Rounded and well arched toes (not splayed nor long).


Distance from ground to mid elbow is distance from mid elbow to whithers (not short upper arm).


Looking back at the rear set of the legs, we see the correct width of rear where each rear leg is standing wider than each front leg and all four feet facing forward or ‘north-south’ (not east-west) and certainly not COW-HOCKED. 

With those integral parts in order where they should be as called for the breed standard for Labrador we now move to photo #2 to the right.


The breed standard calls for the movement of the legs to be parallel to each other and in-line as well.


Looking at the photo we see the front left leg in exactly the same plane as the rear left leg and the same thing for the front right leg in the exact plane as the rear right leg.


We see all four legs coming underneath the body creating the desired in-line action called for by the breed standard dictums (not crisscrossing).


All four feet traveling forward (not east-west) and the dog moving straight forward (not side-winding nor crabbing in or out).


There is perfect cadence between the opposing legs.


The front left leg is exactly in sequence with the rear right leg (same distance from the ground) and the front right leg is firmly planted as is the rear left leg.


Elbows are well tucked (not out at the elbows) as there is a continuous plane created by the side of the shoulder blade, elbows and legs.

Looking at the photo to the left we see the dog at a slow gait for the up and back.


Once again we see the perfect cadence between all four legs.


The front left leg is reaching forward at exactly the same time as the rear right leg makes its way forward underneath the body.


The right front leg makes contact with the ground at the forward most reach and now begins to move back as the rear left leg begins its rear drive.


Perfect synchronicity between front reach and rear drive.

The photo at right shows the same dog moving out at a much faster clip again with the perfect cadence between all 4 legs.


The front left is at the forward most reach while the rear left is at the rear most drive.


Both legs on the right side are at perfect convergence right underneath the end of the rib cage at the mid most point of the dog’s body.


Head carriage, topline and tail are all at exactly the correct position and all of the above is due to perfect structure.


As the saying goes 'It doesn't get any better than this'! 

April 22nd Earth Day


“There are other ways a Labrador can win a major. I heard it happen at a dog show once where a class dog took the breed and then a Group 1 and crossed over for the major that way and even finished its championship with that!"


”Another point of view:


“I heard it was one of your dogs that would have had the points if a pointed-out dog had been pulled? So is this sour grapes time?”


Contrary to whispered here and there say…………things that happen at dog shows………..I don’t take any of it personal! Being human, well, maybe for a second or two. I am allowed a few moments of angst and venomous intentions……………………but in the name of moving forward it don’t last too long!


What really ruffles my feathers is those same bumpkins that cry “foul” and then they proceed to step in their own droppings. Yep, them there critters hoot and howler and shout out “unsportsmanlike”……….stomp off and flay their arms about and complain “he don’t play fair”, yet given the opportunity, they chew the same cud they be spouting out!


You go figure!


As stated in the previous blog, there is no law or rule about pulling a pointed dog out from the competition. You paid your money and you are entitled to your 15 seconds of flame in the ring. However in the name of that much shouted out phrase “unsportsmanlike”, it is best overall to pull a pointed dog if there is no chance of a major from the breed ring.


Of course there are those that figure that their class dog can win a Best Of Breed and then hike up the pike into the Sporting Group and win a first place…GROUP 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yep. Seen it done with my very own eyes! To tell the truth only once in a quarter century of dog shows, but none the less it did happen………………..why and how, I am not privy to the deep rooted facts, but hey odder things happen every single day. So for those that not only hold out for a Best Of Breed and then think that they can run the tables to a Group 1, here are the odds of that occurring ‘naturally’………………….25 years of showing with a minimum of 50 shows a year equals 1250 shows give or take half a dozen or so! I really don’t know what 1 in 1250 comes out to percentagewise, but if I had to guestimate, it must be something like a gazillion or a gagaggle percent or one of those other grotesquely sounding names that Wordalogist come with when something new happens and it doesn’t have a name yet.


So for Homey (guys) or Homely (gals) to think that their class dog will end up in the Best In Show lineup with an ordinary looking Labrador, good luck!


No sour grapes because there have been many instances where one of our management dogs stayed in the competition in the hopes of going breed for the major-pointed win and that didn’t happen. In essence taking points that another dog may have needed and I know for sure that really did cause puckered grimaces amongst those that can’t decipher out the permutations involved in achieving a major.


To all of this I say “Show your dogs if there is the possibility of taking BOB and then crossing over for the major points that way”………………………… “Pull your dog if there is no way to major from the breed ring because 1 in a gazillion is not going to happen!”


Do what you might,

Do what you may,

Hold no one accountable

As it make come back and bite you one sunny day.

Ok, ok here it is for those that couldn't wait to read all about it!

April 20th 2014







The various Chambray websites and in particular the Chambray Blogging Off section provide different outlets for the dissemination of Labrador-related information. Subjects and topics cover any and all matter that comes up on a daily basis from the multitudes that email, phone or those that cometh in person.


Negotiating with hundreds per week…………….scores of thousands on yearly basis I have come to an understanding that ‘knowledge’ is a commodity that comes and goes, even with those that have been dabbling in the fancy for any length of time.


There are particular subject matter that seems to surface with very regular frequency and one of those is the continuation of showing a class dog/bitch that is pointed out.


An explanation is needed for those just starting Pre-K in the world of show dogs.


At the AKC venues, a dog needs:

  • A total of 15 points to earn its champion’s title.

  • These points are accumulated by winning a Winners Dog (WD) for the boys and a Winners Bitch (WB) for the girls.

  • There is a point value for the number of dogs defeated of the same sex.

  • The more dogs defeated by winning the WD/WB the more points is awarded.

  • There is a maximum of 5 points no matter how many dogs are competing.

  • Any show that is worth 3, 4 or 5 points is considered a ‘Major-Pointed win’.

  • So one of the other requirements for a dog to champion besides the total of 15 points is that it must win 2 of those major-pointed wins.


A dog or a bitch that accumulates 9 of the ‘lesser-pointed’ wins is said to have ‘pointed out’ and therefore only needs 2 of those major-pointed shows to ‘finish’ its championship.


In essence, that pointed out dog/bitch needs to show only if there is a *remote* possibility of winning a major by doing something that most class dogs usually do not do and that would be beating the champions in the Best Of Breed competition and thus adding the needed numbers to the class dog/bitch tallies to rise to become a major-pointed show.


There is no written rule to the pulling of a pointed out dog, however since winning those ‘lesser points’ is useless and won’t count towards the ascribed numbers needed to champion out, it may set better with the gentry to sit the dog out until there is a possibility of adding up to a major.


So, in the name of good sportsmanship, throughout the ages most sensible folk with normal forethought will forego showing a dog when the points won’t add up to the major points needed even if it does win the Best Of Breed award.


The Chambray Dog Management Program will always show a dog if there is a chance of achieving a major-pointed win by going Best Of Breed or Best Of Opposite Sex. That is a standing rule now and in the future.


We will not show a dog if there is no chance of a major-pointed even if a BOB or BOS were to be had.


In years past without the benefit of the Internet with instantaneous facts and information available at the sleight of hand, touching of I-Pads, thumbing of cell phone screens, or scrolling over with a mouse…………in those prehistoric days of yesteryear it was difficult to know exactly how many points a dog really had amassed because the AKC was also dwelling in the Dark Ages and it took months for them to update a dog’s winning and the points it had accumulated towards it championship.


Fast forward 10 years to the now future and the AKC is only a week behind in its visual publication of all show dog’s points progression……………….however there could be some recent shows that have not been tallied and posted in yet, however the dog show superintendents publish to their website the show results from those shows and it is quite simple for anyone with any sense to figure out exactly how many points a dog has using the AKC site and augmenting that information with results from online catalog results…………….simple as a dimple on a dapple.


Now a days, seated around ringside we can access any dog’s ‘points progression’ at the AKC website using that dog’s AKC number found in the dog show catalog and presto maestro right before your very own eyes the information is crystal clear, plus checking the shows not yet covered by the AKC and whoop there it is…………………..of course there are those with very slow moving gray matter that are and will perpetually be blond when presented with equations just beyond simple addition found in primer school.


Educate and mentor as well and as much as can be, there will always be those lost sheep that stray too far from the norm and that is the spice of life that makes the world go around.


To enlightened those not clear on the point's process, at any show that I am present at, I will offer my expertise in figuring out what appears to be a logjam for some on deciphering whether or not a dog has achieved its needed lesser points and whether that particular show could add up to be a major-pointed win by winning beyond the classes of Winners Dog/Winners Bitch points.

April 18th 2014

Caveat Emptor




“Is there a ‘clearing house’ or other agency or organization that rates breeders?”




That is as simple as it gets!


The AKC has a referral list, but anyone that registers their puppies through the AKC can by listed there.

There are hundreds of supposedly ‘Breeder Referral Services’……………again anyone can ‘buy’ to be on those lists as well by paying the stipulated fees to be listed.

Even the parent clubs for the different breeds allow their members to be listed, however they too have no ‘rating’ or ways of knowing the breeding practices of those members.


It is ‘Caveat Emptor’…………………..buyer beware!


The vast majority of websites offering ‘cute puppies for sale’ are NOT THE PLACE TO GET A PUPPY FROM!


That’s as simple as I can state it!


On a daily basis I receive dozens of emails from people searching for puppies and almost all have also been in touch with these nefarious sources. There have been some that have already been through the experience of having bought a puppy from the wrong place and the stories these folk tell raises the hackles on the back of my neck.


I do my very best to educate those looking to add a canine member to their family through the various websites that I host. Unfortunately for those ‘thousands that touch base with us, the entire Chambray owner’s membership only produces a small number of puppies and cannot supply the 1500+ requests for puppies I receive a year. There are over 150 owners that participate in our various programs and from those 10 to 12 litters of puppies are produced which adds up to 60-80 puppies a year.


My advice to people is to get to know the breeder, because the quality of the puppies produced is 100% related to the quality of the people you are dealing with.

April 17th






The hiatus is about over and here we go again to a weekend of dog shows with the Zolfo Springs 2 days of AKC shows upon us this Saturday and Sunday.


For those that just blinked twice wondering where in tar blazes ‘Zolfo’ anything is……………..well, it is somewhere and that somewhere is right down the country road from Wauchula. Just in case you don’t know Wauchula……………………. both places are right dab in the middle of nowhere south central Florida!


Here’s how to get there…….from my neck of the woods, I head due north on US 27 which runs right up the middle of the peninsula. Yep, no coasts to see………….in fact not much else other than the same thing miles on end of nothingness. You keep trucking on that road until you pass an ungodly amount of orange grove miles and then you come upon a desolate intersection with a homeless guy selling oranges on the side of the road…………….that he just picked (swiped) from the orange grower’s endless lineup of citrus trees. I know that for a fact because unknowingly I stopped one day to buy a bag of the fruit thinking the guy was legit and come to find out he purloins them and then runs to the side of the highway and sells them to unsuspecting yokels like yours truly here.


That particular junction of the road on US 27 is FL SR 66 and there you make a left and head west a whole bunch of miles and miles of more trees dotted with more oranges and then you come upon another desolate intersection that looks just like the one 29 miles before with the exception of having no homeless guy selling oranges and right there you will find Zolfo Springs.


So, if anyone is in the mood for driving out to nowhere and want to see lots and lots of orange groves and maybe even the homeless guy on the side of the road selling 3-finger discount fruit, then set your GSP to Zolfo Springs Fl and be there at 8 AM on Saturday and la meme chose on Sunday to catch us city slickers running around the ring in the middle of smack dab Nowhere FL with our Labradors in tow.

April 15th TAX DAY




“Read the recent blog and could not agree more wholeheartedly with the poster of that blog. I have searched high and low for a breeder that would work with me with the type of dog I was looking for. What a rude awakening that experience has been. Talk about finding a needle in a haystack! Most of the more reputable ones will sell a dog, but 100% on their terms! Forget about me telling them what I wanted, very few had the time of day for that! More like "this is what’s available, this is the price, let me know and I will let you know if it is still available". That is until I met up with you at the Eukanuba shows in December and my recent trip down to South Florida to meet with you at your farm at by the Everglades. What a wonderful experience this has been, I can’t imagine why anyone looking for a puppy would put up with anything less when they can have the whole package and more with your programs”



My response to the above:

No further words needed from me.


April 14th 2014



“I was truly amazed going through your website and reading about your owner’s programs. I have never heard of any of this before. My wife and I have been going through dozens of breeders and kennel’s websites and no one else comes close to what you all do with your Labradors. Since you all are so successful, how come no one else has set up an operation as you all have?”













First of all, thank you for your acknowledgement and kind words. I would like to lay claim to being the originator/innovator for the programs that we have in place for our owners…………………however in all honesty I am sure that there are and have been others with some type of mentorship/support program for their owners, I just like to believe that I have somehow done it better for all involved…………of course that is the ‘braggadocio’ in me speaking!


There are many reasons why our programs work for those that have chosen and have been accepted to be part of our programs………………………….the biggest reason is the passion that I have for what I do with Labradors…………………………without a doubt……….without the passion it won’t work!


Next comes the expertise in all the areas needed:

  • 44 years of experience raising just one breed of dog, the Labrador Retriever………………………..

  • 20,000+ dogs/owners trained………………………..

  • thousands of dog show competitions multiplied by at least 5 dogs per every one of those competitions handled…………………

  • hundreds of not a thousand dogs pointed………………………

  • over 100 championed dogs, mostly Labradors………………..

  • 39 of the Chambray dogs and 18 more Labradors from other breeders and kennels.


Followed closely with my desires to share with those that come with open minds and display the all-important trust in me and my mission for the betterment of the breed………………..and are willing to establish a working association with me towards those same goals.


Last and certainly not least will be my ability to work and build a trust system with those that have been accepted into our various programs.


With all these prerequisites in place, we then can move forward as so many have and together we accomplish so much.

April 11th 2014








“At times, I see different handlers on dogs, how is it determined which handlers goes on which dogs?”


Each dog has a totally different game plan devised according to various criteria. There are priorities established for the different handlers in our program as to which dog they handle out of the classes.


We have a roster drawn up for each day of showing with a particular handler on a given dog, this handler would be the ‘primary handler’ for that dog. However, because of conflicts between different rings, there is also a backup plan in case a handler cannot make it in time to show their given assignment, so these stand-ins would be termed as ‘backup handlers’.


Since a handler may win with several dogs, there is a ‘pecking order’ for that handler to go back in with into the Winners Dog/Bitch competition since they cannot handle more than one dog at time. This then sets up a priority between the class dogs and also the class bitches for a handler.


Although our management system sets up a written roster, changes are made according to many variables. Sometimes these handler changes occur seconds before rushing into the ring. This is termed ‘going with the flow’.


For instance at a recent show, I handled several males from the classes and won with 2 of those. My main priority for going back into the Winners Dog competition was the Bred By dog that needed to win that day to win his AKC championship. So, we followed the script and I went back in with Walter and I used a backup for the other male that I had won the class with.


As it worked out, Walter won Winners Dog for a 3-Pt Major, finishing his championship. Now, for Best Of Breed competition my main Labrador priority for the day was my ‘specials dog’ Jake, who already is a champion and we are campaigning him for national rankings.


Each of the Chambray handlers had a priority going into the Best Of Breed competition, so a backup handler would be needed for Walter who had won Winners Dog from the male’s competition. Right before going into Best Of Breed, I made a last second decision to ‘stay’ on the Winners Dog Walter and switch some of the other Chambray handler’s original priorities.


Johanna was supposed to handle our specials female Gavi, so she switched off to Jake, Ryan was brought in to handle Gavi, Jessie stayed on her specials priority Jericho and Angel was put on the other Chambray specials Miracle.


As it worked out, Walter won Best Of Breed over all the champions that day, thus raising the points to a 4 point major win. He also won big in the Sporting Group competition by taking a Group 3 picking up a total of 166 All-Breed Points to his credit. So my intuition paid off by staying on Walter and handing off my regular champion.


The champion dogs receive the overall priority over the class dogs unless an exception is called in as I did with Walter that day.


Those dogs with the most points accrued are given handler priority over the younger dogs with less points and puppies usually bring up the rear as far as priorities in handling are concerned.


Each show day brings us different scenarios, so at times whomever was handling a dog on Saturday may very well be handing a different dog on Sunday. Besides handling dogs, one of my other jobs at a dog show is to watch each of our dogs and handlers in the ring to see what needs to be done to make each dog’s presentation better. At times I may call for a handler change to see how a dog may react with a different handler, other times a handler change is made according to who the judge is and what their ‘tendencies’ may be.

April 11th 2014




“How do you select which dogs will be showing from your extensive lineup of dogs?


”One of the luxuries of Chambray’s Owners Program is the ability to work with so many dogs with show potential and developing each to that projected potential……………..then deciding which of those dogs will be the most competitive at the dog shows.


It all starts with the puppies designated as ‘show prospects”, where each is afforded unlimited training, both on an individual basis and also in class sessions. Each of their owners is encouraged to participate in as many of our areas of expertise as they have time for.


We have programs for every need and situation. Some owners are very active and get involved very personally with the development program for their puppy. Other owners take advantage of the services we provide and let us do all the work.


As we work with these up and coming puppies and youngsters a natural selection process occurs, as there are some dogs that take well to training and exhibit the attitude for showing, while others may have the conformation, but not the attitude.


So, at this stage there may be some owners with their dogs that are spared further investment in time, energy and money and are given extra time to grow and develop.


The owners with puppies that have that extra ‘flair and ambience for showing’ are encouraged to continue on. With these ‘select’ ones, the goal is to get them primed and ready for their show debut at the International Shows (both IABCA and the new ICE venues).


This then becomes our 2nd level of ‘proving grounds’ where the more successful dogs graduate on up for consideration for competing at the AKC level. Here again, there may be those puppies and young dogs that may not exhibit the competitiveness under the pressure to go further in showing.


Those dogs that pass these initial hurdles will then begin the process if conditioning & training for the heightened demands of AKC competition. These then will be the dogs that can be seen on the frontlines for Chambray’s Show Dog Management Program at the AKC shows.


At any given point in time there will be puppies making their first appearance at a show alongside those veterans just needing one more win to earn their AKC champion’s title. Each dog and owner is treated totally individually according to a myriad of considerations.


A game plan is developed for each dog and the owners are very much part of the equation………………..which of course is the polar opposite of what the standard fare for showing dogs is………. ‘Removing the owner from the equation’. We encourage our owners to participate as much or as little, but it is their choice which.

April 11th 2014




“There are so many stud dogs to choose from, how do I know if the one I select for my female will produce good puppies?”


The Internet has become the greatest tool for our breeding programs by allowing us access to hundreds if not thousands of breeders from all over the world.


No longer are we restricted to breeding Molly McGee to Point Dexter down the street, now we can order ‘Romeo’s goods’ from across the sea because we saw a video with him dazzling the crowds at biggest dog show on the planet at Crofts (England) after having arrived from his native Italy for the grandiose affair.


The 'Best In Show' results at the Potomac in Maryland get beamed as they happen via cell phone, better yet the same cell phone sends action videos to Kalamazoo, Hullabaloo and other parts unknown jiffy quick, giving more choices for the part of the leading man in anyone's action movie of breeding.


What used to be the hottest dog of the year, now becomes the hottest dog of the moment according to which venue and in what time zone the event is being staged at.


This actually has caused the ‘kid in a candy shop’ syndrome! 'Plain Jane' who owns her very first female can now access the greatest dog of the day and order up his ‘liquid gold’ and 60 days later have a bundle of puppies with potential galore.


It actually is a bit more difficult producing greatness than the preceding…………..but you get the gist here.


So, to answer to the burning question of ‘knowing’ if a particular dog will produce ‘good’………………practice makes perfect……………..the thing about this saying is that with the vast majority it will take years and years of practice, with some running out of time before that actually get to see the 'Perfect 10'.


With so many stud dog choices available we will see 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' at a theater near you............actually now you can just click on your cell phone, IPad, Lap Top or whatever else is new and view that flick as you drive down the Interstate.


More April 10th

Vive La Difference


No, we don’t name names! There is really no need for that as everyone that is involved knows who they are. We are totally fine with each and every person showing dogs in Florida and every other state we show our dogs.



We have a job to do and that’s exactly what we do! First we breed for the best, then we take those dogs and train them to perform, then we take the best of those dogs and condition them to compete at the highest levels, then we provide our exclusive handling/management program to make the best presentation possible.


We have absolutely no time for any drama or personal agendas. Our owners expect the best from us and that’s what we deliver. It is all positive, forward business with us………………..of course at a recent dog show I let out my inner emotions and probably created a celebration of mass proportions, but I think that coming back from the ‘brink’ entitles anyone to “do a little dance, sing a little song and get down tonight”.


I honestly believe that there is a new attitude of ‘’laissez faire’ about the Labrador ring landscape in Florida……………….it is long overdue, but better late than never. The pervasive black cloud hanging over the environment is no longer there and most fanciers now come and go without all the negativity that persisted for so long.


So, yes there are many that are working within the framework of Chambray’s Management Program, some that are totally independent, some with Chambray dogs that have dealings with the various programs and amenities offered by Chambray and few past Chambray owners that have no ties to our programs. To me that’s all a good thing and ‘vive la difference’!

April 10th 2014

An Addendum To The Ant's Blog




In a recent blog, I stated the following:


The following blog is in response to an observation of the inner workings of Chambray’s Owners Group and how there are so many Chambray owners working within our numerous programs and why there are a few previous owners that are not part of the program. Simply put, the program works for those that work at it and it does not work for those that don’t work out.


Over the years, Chambray Labradors has enjoyed well over a 97% satisfaction rate from our dog owners and service clients, so I should have been more specific to the inquirer’s question which was directed towards the 2% or 3% that can never be satisfied no matter what………………the ones that didn’t work out.


All businesses and enterprises work hard for a high satisfaction rating and we take extreme pride in ours, we also know that there will always be those few self-serving individuals that for whatever reason don’t seem to fit in and try as we may, it just doesn’t work out, thus the part of the statement “the program works for those that work at it and it does not work for the that’s don’t work out”.


With those folks that don’t seem to work within the parameters set up by the program, we wish them well and we part ways without a second thought.


The preceding covers more or less what the initial inquirer was asking about, however it has been brought to my attention that my reply was too broad in scope and covered more ground than the intended. So I offer an addendum here to cover some of the other scenarios.


There are many Chambray owners that have become independent breeders, exhibitors and even handlers and we support these fine folk 100% in their endeavors. Some enjoy our Mentorship Program and Support Network even though we may not be handling or manage their dogs. There are those that use some of our services, including the Training and Conditioning Programs and others that are part of our Stud Dog Program with their male dogs and others that own females and use the Stud Dogs that we manage.


A better answer/descriptive would have been the following:


  • So at the dog shows in Florida the largest group from the Labrador ring will be the Chambray Owners that are working within Chambray’s Management Program.

  • Next in size will be those breeders/exhibitors that are not associated in any way with our programs.

  • Followed closely by those that have Chambray dogs and have become independents and maintain a good relationship with Chambray. Some of these partake in our training and conditioning, others use our Support Network for Mentorship, and some use our Stud Dog Program.

  • Then there are the few that just didn’t work out.

More April 9th
By Popular Request........

A Testimonial Page


I had been posting some testimonials to this blog page and the response to those blogs have been great. Many have inquired to the posting of those testimonials to a stand alone page. That had been in the works for some time, but because of the limits on my time, I had put that project off for a while. The original testimonial's page is still online at http://www.chambraylabradors.com/Testimonials.htm which is housed at the old Chambray Labradors website.


However, I will be tranferring some of those old testimonials to this new page at this website, plus any new offerings will also be published to the new page at the following:

April 9th 2014

Alone We Can Do So Little
Together We Can Do So Much

.....Helen Keller



The following blog is in response to an observation of the inner workings of Chambray’s Owners Group and how there are so many Chambray owners working within our numerous programs and why there are a few previous owners that are not part of the program. Simply put, the program works for those that work at it and it does not work for those that don’t work out.



Producing top show quality Labradors is a ‘pure labor of love’ because it is so much easier to churn out mediocrity without the labor and certainly without the love and of course the purity of the product would be very questionable!


Taking those puppies that exemplify the breed standard and then going beyond with them at conformation dog shows is a task not for the faint of heart. The competitive nature of dog shows at times brings out the little kid in some, with the old attitude of ‘my dog’s better than your dog, nah, nah nee nah nah’……………………….and trust me it can get stickier as many have witnessed in recent and plenty years before that.


Of course the flip side of melodrama is letting the good times roll and that happens when one is aligned with a successful breeding/training/conditioning and handling program………………in essence all ride the waves of euphoria with those successes at the dog shows.


It is very pleasurable for those that have done their research………………..have made the right decisions on where and from whom to obtain their puppies………………….those then will have success and will be happy as larks in a meadow of poppy’s.


The aforementioned successes comes from the pooling in of resources to make it all work out for those involved in the cooperative venture. This then becomes the humming mantra that is vital for the engine to continue purring without missing a stroke……………….and if a bump in the road does present itself, it is only a momentary glitch that is negotiated…………..righted…………………..and onward with the show we go!


The preceding is a descriptive of how Chambray’s Management Program for the Betterment of the Breeds works……………………..all cylinders working smoothly by all the different parts and the fruit of the labor is the unprecedented successes enjoyed by those that partake in the programs.


If along the way, there are a few that for whatever reason do not enjoy the ride, then adjustments are made...................fine tuning if needed, to ensure that the products and services offered continue to be the best for all involved and the successes maintain the unparalleled path now going into its 25th year at the dog shows.

The Double Edge Evaluation Process

April 6th 2014


The Double Edge Evaluation Process


One of the most crucial steps in the perpetuation of producing great quality dogs is the ability to identify as puppies those outstanding specimens from a given litter. Those chosen as such will be the ones that will in turn produce the next generation of superior quality.Chambray’s mission statement, for the Betterment of the Breed is crafted around the premise of breeding the best from the best, so being able to select out the best as 8-week old puppies is imperative if the stated mission is to mean anything in the long run.


Ah but alas………….it is easier stated than done!


Anyone with a pair of eyes can look upon a litter of puppies and pick out the one that for whatever reason impresses them the most and proclaims that choice as the ‘pick of the litter’. At times, the process resembling the old children’s way of picking things, ‘eeny, meeny, miny, moe”, which is as reliable as pinning the ‘tail on the donkey’ way.


For those that use those ‘hit or miss’ methods to determine which puppy to keep or place as show/breeding quality will invariably face the consequences of their inability to really ‘see’ which puppies if any indeed have surpassed the parents conformational quality.


For those others that have developed that valued asset of determining which puppies are truly the ones that have at least equaled the parents and at best gone beyond…………………..those then will be the ‘far sighted’ individuals who will reap the rewards of their talents.


The process first involves choosing parents that truly qualify as top show quality. This crucial step is the ‘do or die’ lunar landing for success. Breeding mediocre dogs will produce another generation of mediocrity, so without the very best to breed to, the project is doomed from the get go.


Once a litter is born from outstanding sires and dams, the litter must be evaluated for top quality with a very clinical, non-emotional process. Culling out those puppies that have inconsistencies that deviate from the breed standard is a vital step, thus leaving only those that will conform to the blueprint for the breed.


Next is to judiciously select out those that conform to the standard and that go beyond…………..the ones that stand out and seem to say “beam me up Scotty”! Those are the ones that have the right stuff………..the ones that have what it takes to perpetuate the breed to another generation.


Like I said, easier said in the preceding short paragraphs, where in reality most breeders go years, decades and still never develop the ability of ‘vision’ at the 8-week evaluation mark. Few ever follow up in the future when those dogs have grown up.........……………..being able to compare what they more or less predicted at 8 weeks and seeing how they actually turned out as adults. The old ‘before and after’ comparison that becomes the verdict for the evaluator.


As if that entire ‘lifetime of learning’ process was not difficult enough, at Chambray the toughest part actually comes in the placement of those superior puppies. The ‘double edge’ if you will with another ‘evaluation’ process that needs to take place before any puppy leaves our midst. This then becomes the ‘truth or dare’ process………………..being able to select the right owners for those puppies that have risen to the Betterment of the Breed credo.


Now being able to ‘select’ the owners of those puppies that exemplify the breed and go beyond with stellar assets then becomes the real ordeal……………………the break a deal if it doesn’t go well.


Both of these ‘evaluation’ processes occur right after and within days of each other…………….for no sooner have the puppies gone through the rigorous conformational evaluation that we then have to decide with whom they will be placed.


Making a mistake with either process spells failure for our breeding, training and showing programs.


A great puppy with an uninterested owner ends the ‘pay it forward’ for that puppy, as those will never be seen again……………………….a poor puppy with a great owner dead-ends that owner to the sidelines at best and long gone at worst.


There is very little margin for error either way and matching a great puppy to a great owner is like winning the Big Fat Lotto for Chambray……………………fortunately for us we seemed to have won the lotto over and over again as both the puppy evaluation and people evaluation processes invariably tips the scales in our favor as proof positive with our collective successes.

March 31st

A Bud For All The Dedicated
Chocolate Breeders



The Eureka Chocolate Moment


Twenty years ago I embarked on a most noble project…………………actually more like a Don Quixote jousting with windmills thing………………….what if any affect could I have in establishing a chocolate breeding program to produce show competitive chocolate Labradors!


For those that have the knowledge to understand the preceding paragraph, you know that reaching the summit of Mt. Everest may equal the challenge involved in succeeding with either.


For those not privy to the inner workings of the Labrador gene pool, in specific the chocolate genome, it is a major uphill ordeal producing any consistency, although a few have had the patience to achieve degrees of success, the vast majority of chocolate breeders were a good 25 years behind what the top yellow/black breeders have accomplished.


My vision at the time was that it would take a minimum of 7 generations of breeding the best to the best to actually seeing through the fog of lesser quality produced. The goal was to arrive at a better percentage of show quality puppies in a litter versus pet quality pups produced. In Chambray’s yellow breeding program, 7 generations would take about 20 years, with the chocolates breeding the same 7 generations would take at least 30 years since we breed so few litters and they are spaced apart much longer.


In addition, during that span of 20 years, there have been several stop……..wait and start again periods that have lasted 3 to 4 years of non-productive downtime. Major damaging storms, personal health issues and other un-fortuitous times would derail the noble project.


Which brings us to the present day………………3 generations short of the 7 that I thought it would take to see the light at the end of the tunnel………………tons and tons of new developments have transpired since my initial guestimates of time and productivity………………..good things at that!


Although there have been time wise setbacks for us at Chambray, there has been humongous headway achieved throughout the country from dedicated chocolate breeders, add to that the ease of exchanging information with the Internet and what used to take 15 years to accomplish in the old days now is done in 3!!!!


By utilizing the new advances in information exchange and benefitting from the successes brought about by top chocolate show breeders, our newest generation, our 4th for the chocolates has crossed into the ‘eureka’ threshold. Each generation before this one brought about observable improvement and now being able to see what top stud dogs are producing as it happens, gave us the tools to move ahead by leaps and bounds.


Our newest litter, a 4th generation venture produced what no other chocolate litter had ever done at an evaluation……………………all 5* pups in the litter had the type and physical conformation to rate as being ‘top prospect show quality”.


So, for all those chocolate breeders that have laid the groundwork down and have opened up the gene pool with the quality needed for improvement…….this Bud, Miller and Michelob is for you!


With all the great things that are taking place with the chocolates................I can't wait to see what generation #5 brings for Chambray.


*one puppy had a slight overbite that rendered it as a pet, however all her other attributes would have propelled her into the show spectrum.

March 28th 2014



I have received numerous correspondence since the blog with the year-by-year champions. That’s 39 champions in 21 years……………by the numbers that is approximately 2 champions titled per year, give or take 1 or 2.


The first 10 years (1993 to 2003) saw 15 champions titled and the same amount of titled dogs in just the last 5 years (2009 to 2014)! We can justly assume that there will be more Chambray dogs finished in the remaining 8 months of this year which would significantly bring the per year totals for the last 5 years to a much higher value.


In the same time period since 2009, it has become more and more difficult to finish dogs because the numbers of dogs entered at dog shows has dropped, making it much harder to earn the major-pointed wins needed for an AKC championship. So a catch-22 situation has created a major bottle neck for dogs to champion out. With less dogs entered at dog shows, it would seem easier to win points, which in essence is the case, at the same time with the lowered entries all those dogs that point out earning their minor points will have a much tougher road to win the few major-pointed shows available.


Now here is the ultimate carrot dangled in front of the horse with the blinders on……………………..starting on May 14th the AKC has lowered the point schedule for Florida by a significant amount making it much easier to garner a major win…….for the males that is! However quick thinking judges can also make it easy for the females to major by crossing the Winners Bitch to Best Of Winners and then both male and female will have their majors.


Sounds simple enough?


Well, yes and no! Because there is no guarantee that the dogs needing the majors will actually win the Winners Dog points. Here’s the catch, it’s every dog for themselves as puppies and younger dogs are also in the mix for those same wins even if they are not close to finishing but they too can gobble up those ‘up-to-now’ rare majors!


So, the next couple of months of shows in Florida promises lots of intrigue and surprises. At Chambray we have an outstanding new class of puppies and youngsters from the Class of 2013 ready to make their presence known alongside of our veteran dogs that so badly need those majors.


So far for 2014 there have been 3 new Chambray champions with Ch Chambrays Miracle in January, Ch Chambrays Jo Jo in February and our newest titled dog in March, Ch Chambrays Walter. Waiting in the wings are 7 more Chambray dogs that need majors to finish out their championship and also 5 other pointed dogs that are now coming on strong. Of course there will be a host of other Labradors from the many Florida Labrador breeders and all those that are shipped in from other states with handlers that will also be in the hunt for the elusive pie in the sky major-pointed wins.


Although a bountiful year already with 3 new champions, the record number champions of 6 in one year set by Chambray in 2012 is well within reach in the remaining months of 2014.


Yes, lots of intrigue and surprises, hopefully real good ones at that for Chambray!

The Blogging Off Experience
March 25th 2014

Hi Sandy,





I’ve been enjoying the blogs recently with owners comments, q&a on the Chambray program, etc.


Here is my offering coming from an owner that does not live in Florida:


I am a proud owner of a Chambray show Labrador and while I do not live in Florida and cannot take advantage regularly of all the benefits that the Chambray owners program offers, I just can’t be happier with my Chambray girl and with the quality that Chambray instills in its program.


Why you ask?


First and foremost, Chambray emphasizes excellent temperament, physical soundness and conformation to the breed standard. I think that this allows the Chambray dogs to be more athletic and capable of showing in the conformation ring AND in performance events like obedience, agility, hunt test, and as hunting dogs.


This is what the Labrador Retriever breed is supposed to be able to do as stated in the breed standard:

“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.”


To me the Labrador Retriever is the ultimate versatility breed and it is critical to the betterment of the breed for labs to be competitive in the conformation ring and be able to perform as a hunter or as a performance dog.


Maybe one day there will again be a dual champion Labrador, and if there is it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it’s a Chambray Labrador.


Take care and keep going on the blog!


Virginia B. Wilson

Memphis TN.


March 25th 2014



“Do you offer training and conditioning videos?”


I should!


There is so much demand by those that live too far away to attend our training classes or to be able to drop their dogs off for the different programs we offer.


Although this project is on the drawing board of ‘great things to do’, there is a slight hang-up with the idea……………….each dog is unique so each dog would need a very individualized regimen drawn up for its strengths and weaknesses.


Here at Chambray Acres we have 2 fulltime dedicated trainers and conditioners working with dogs 6 days a week, plus 2 other afternoon/evening trainers available for the night training sessions. More than 20 dogs are worked with daily with all types of customized prescriptions that are designed for each dog in the program.


A large percentage of the dogs that come for our services are in the Physical Conditioning Program for show:

  • Road work,

  • Treadmill,

  • Retrieve sessions,

  • Incline repetitions

  • Large exercise area workouts,

  • Weight reduction/weight gain,

  • Building stamina and endurance,

  • Correct gaiting techniques


Many participate in our Innovative Show Training Programs using

  • flat and inclined treadmill workouts,

  • our one-of-a-kind Series Block Stacking Method,

  • Circular Pattern Gaiting Techniques

  • hard stacking 

  • free style 

  • and other methods to bring out the very best in each dog accepted into our curriculum.

So, I will put my mind to work and see how I can come up with some videos that will actually do some good for the Betterment of the Breed.


March 25 2014
Proof Is In The Pudding





“You claim to ‘breed the best and place the best’……………….how many of the dogs that became champion did you initially keep and how many did you actually place with others”


Ah, inquiring minds at work taking me to task on my very public proclamations…………………I wouldn’t wanted it any different!


The best validity is an actual name by name presentation……………….there is absolutely no ‘claims” here that can’t be authenticated.


#1 1993 – Ch Chambray Acres Russell* owned by Gloria and Frank Rodriguez

#2 1993 – Ch Chambrays Indian Summer* owned by Casey and Phil McGowen

#3 1994 – FCI Ch Chambrays Princess Kenya owned by Lauret Beri

#4 1995 – Ch Chambrays Caleb at Triple S owned by Trish Sheekey

#5 1996 – FCI Ch Chambrays Duchess owned by Ren Avery

#6 1997 – Ch Chambrays Colombo* owned by Herbert Cordero

#7 1997 – Ch Chambrays Catch Me If U Can* owned by Nancy Lord

#8 1997 – Ch Chambrays Klever Kloi* owned by Mike Gibbs

#9 1999 – Ch Chambrays Chisholm Chancey* owned by Martha Chisholm

#10 2000 – Ch Chambrays Buckshot Shooter* owned by Coleen Cunningham

#11 2001 – Ch Chambrays Franco* owned by Tony Farias

#12 2002 – Ch Chambrays Penalty Shot* owned by the Gonzalez family

#13 2002 – Ch Chambrays Silver Storm* owned by Sharon Hall

#14 2003 – Ch Chambrays Twist Of Fate* owned by Roberta Wallach

#15 2003 – Ch Chambrays Chance N Counter* owned Jessica Herzon

So we have 1 out of the first 15 champions that was kept from a litter by then 12-year old Jessica Herzon, who trained and showed her to her championship. There were 3 super star puppies in that litter and we placed the other 2 with specially chosen people from a waiting list of over 15 people that wanted a puppy from that litter.


#16 2004 – Ch Chambrays Mad About Madeline* owned by Rosy Harkow

#17 2004 – Ch Chambrays Chisholm Sir Lancelot* owned by Martha Chisholm

#18 2005 – Ch Chambrays Moon Over Maya* owned by Grace Escalona

#19 2005 – Ch Chambrays Right On Target* owned by Cindy Ceballos

#20 2006 – BIS Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff* owned by Rosie Feeley

#21 2008 – BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Charmed N Counter owned by Jessica Herzon from the litter she bred, delivered and raised as her senior high school project. Jessie then went on to finish Charm herself.


#22 2008 – Ch Chambrays Hogan’s Hero Rocky* owned by Karen Gjertsen

#23 2008 – Ch Chambrays Dakota On Board* owned by Pete Schultz

#24 2010 – BBE Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays And The Beat Goes On* owned by Mary & Bob Jakeway

#25 2010 – Gr Ch WinQuest Chambrays Cadbury* owned by the Ottos

#26 2011 – BBE Chambrays Bailey On The Rocks* owned by Neil Wasserman and Faith Bandklayder

#27 2011 – Ch Chambrays Scarlet* owned by the Ottos

#28 2011 – Can Ch Chambrays Karley owned by Jeff Moore

#29 2012 – Gr Ch Chambrays Summer Breeze* owned by Rosie Feeley

#30 2012 – BIS BBE Silver/Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter* owned by Juan Marrero

#31 2012 – Bronze Gr Ch WinQuest Chambray Reaching For The Stars* owned by Alan Criado

#32 2012 – BBE Gr Ch Chambrays First N Counter* owned by Juan Marrero

#33 2012 – Ch Chambrays Handsome Island Boy Louie* owned by Eva Szabo & Richard Arnold

#34 2012 – Ch Chambrays Rum Tum Tugger* owned by Lewis and Brady

#35 2013 – Ch Chambrays Diamond Destiny* owned by Pat and Russ Blousse

#36 2013 – Gr Ch Chambrays The Count De Monet* owned by David Baxter

#37 2014 – Ch Chambrays Miracle On The Meadow* owned by Tony Alonso

#38 2014 – Ch Chambrays Mean Green Josephine* owned by David Baxter

#39 2014 – BBE Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter* owned by Judith & Mickey Baker


So that brings us to 39 home-bred Chambray champions and only 2 of those were kept and owned by the Herzon family. Since I relate really good to numbers………………37 out of 39 would be 94% of the champions produced were placed as the best…………………like in place the best!


*These dogs all benefited from our Total Show Dog Management Program, taking advantage of some or all of our programs for the Betterment of the Breed………………mentoring, private training, night classes, show handling……………..all for the Betterment of the Breed.


Now for all those breeders out there that count the dogs that they bought and then “made up” their championship,

here are those outside dogs that were titled by our combined efforts, however we don't count them in as our "home-bred" champions.

Ch Chelons Emma Ducka O’Chardon (owned)

Am/Can Ch Grandquest Chambray Slapshot (co-owned)

Ch Kaiden Chambray Conquest (owned)

Ch Surry’s Obscured By Clouds (co-owned)

Ch Carmays Ruff Around The Edges (co-owned)

Ch Danjacs Steppin Out At Carmay (co-owned)

Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho (managed)

The above where owned, co-owned or managed to their championship by Chambray's management program


In Addition we don't include the 100+ IABCA and UKC Chambray champions, just the AKC, Can and FCI champions.


For for all those that make claims about all the champions they have bred and yet offer no proof this pudding is for you

More March 23rd




Our society creates mediocrity by making it a level playing field for every Tom, Dick and Harry. Those at the bottom want the benefits of those on top without the work that those on top went through to be on top!


I hear it all the time:


“It isn’t fair at the shows because:

  • you all have the best dogs,

  • you all are dog trainers,

  • you all condition your dogs,

  • you have the best handlers,

  • you have the most owners,

  • you have the most dogs."


Well, yeah! We work our collective booties off to achieve the success we have.


The Best Dogs: It has taken years…………….44 years exactly for me to acquire the knowledge that I have about Labrador Retrievers and I put that knowledge to work when I consider which dogs will be perpetuating the next generation of superior dogs. This is ‘get your hands dirty’, hand’s on, priceless information that cannot be achieved by reading books, looking at pretty dog photos, memorizing pedigrees, reciting those memorized pedigrees to anyone that can be impressed with such trivial information…………………..no siree Bob, without putting in the time, it ain’t worth a dime!


Dog Trainers: We take great pride in the thousands and thousands of dogs that we have trained and worked with. Just alone at the FPL Training Center with 22 years of Tuesday and Thursday night training classes (with some years also Wednesday nights)…………….figure a minimum of 20 dogs per night, 2 nights a week for 22 years……………….do the math and the numbers come out staggering to say the least……………easily 20,000 visitors/dogs came through those gates. We also hosted 15 Fun Matches with a minimum of 50 dogs competing………………….Responsible Dog Owners Day (annual AKC September event)……………….25 Saturday Workshop Seminars and some other stuff that I have long forgotten. Now add the Weekend Long Handlers Seminars that we hosted throughout the year………….alone the one for the South Florida Labrador Retriever Clubs had 50 attendees which raised well over $1,000.00 for the club to have money in the treasury to be able to host the first ever specialty in 2001. Then there have been thousands and thousands of dogs and owners that have participated in private training sessions at the farm, not to mention thousands that have boarded/trained with us at Chambray Acres……………………..so yes we hold the upper hand as trainers and that is done the old fashion way……………..earning it with work!


Conditioning: Yes, we offer our services for complete training and conditioning…………….the best conformation with the best training deserves the best conditioning so that the dogs can be ready for the final touch…………………..handling!


Handling: Ah, the finishing touch to any project or masterpiece. The unwrapping if you will of that perfectly honed, constructed, designed work of art…………….you have the conformation, you have the training and the conditioning…………….what is needed is the presentation and validated with our successes, we have the handling that leaves nothing to be desired. In fact at a recent dog show, after winning the final 3-point major to champion our state record #39 champion, the judge exclaimed “You all have it all as breeder/handlers, including the passion that is not seen anywhere else!” That is the exclamation point!


You have the most owners/you have the most dogs: You bet your sweet bippy! Yes we do and that takes loads and loads of work to achieve and to keep going. No one does it better because there is no other owner’s program in the country like Chambray Labradors…………….it just doesn’t exist at the level that we are operating on.



All of the above is what makes it all rise above those that know little and do nothing, so if working hard and accomplishing success is considered not being fair, then so be it!

March 23rd

Tipping The Scales 





“A breeder I spoke to says that you all create ‘champion breeder statuses’ out of people that would have never ever won a single point with their dogs or the dogs that they are ‘given’ credit for breeding that your program later created champions out of. Furthermore she says that this is not right and not fair because there are legitimate people breeding that may take years and years of breeding to produce their very first champions!”


Throughout the years I have heard this lament many, many times coming from those breeders that indeed go years and years and many never actually be the ‘breeders of champions’! They, without the benefit of mentoring produce litter upon litter of ‘trial and errors’……………………mistakes abound and ‘not so good quality’ is perpetuated one generation after another! In essence adding to the huge puppy pet market that may or may not be good representatives of the breed.


The flip side of the preceding are those owners that joined Chambray and benefited greatly with a superior Labrador that was taken to its championship through our various programs, then proceeding to pay it forward for the Betterment of the Breed by participating in perpetuating the breed by joining us in the breeding program with their championed Chambray dog. More than likely that dog then either sired or produced yet another generation of champions.That process initially makes one of our owners an ‘owner of champions’ and then by participating with us in our mentoring environment for the Betterment of the Breed, they then become the ‘breeder of champions’.


Is it fair to those ‘trial and error’ breeders that go years, decades or more of producing mediocrity?


Is it right that that there are dozens of Chambray folk that may not really be bona fide ‘breeders’ and yet they are the owners of champions and maybe the ‘breeder of record’ of champions?


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…………………let’s ask those Chambray owners that have participated throughout 44 years what they think……………….let's go one step further, let’s compare the quality produced by those lamenters versus the quality produced by those that joined our programs and avoided all the trial and error litters produced by those that had no guidance. Let's even take it another step more, let's ask those people that bought from the trial and error breeders versus those that were fortunate enough to have had a Chambray puppy placed with them...............even if they didn't show or breed.


I think that we all know what the answer will be!

March 23 2014



"How many people correspond/inquire with you and how do you answer their questions?"


Hundreds and hundreds of questions on a weekly basis…………….emails mostly, in person some and very little phone…………………..I don’t have time for Twitter, Instagram, Pin, Post, Follow or whatever goes on in Facebook, nor do I do chat rooms, nor texting, nor whatever else is new in social media……………in fact I don’t get around to answering phone calls or voice mail……………….…..I have way, way too much fun working with my dogs and those of our owners………………………so all of my correspondence is 90% email, 9% in person and 1% phone.


Since publishing the Blogging Off page, most of the ‘common thread’ emails are saved up and when there are several with the same answer, I then write up a blog that will be a catch-all, educational blog for those that wrote in and for the hundreds that have the same question but didn’t ask.


A good percentage of the correspondence deals with whatever blog has been recently posted, either asking for more information or giving me their piece/peace of mind…………………that’s a good thing because that creates dialog and the opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas………………..for me it is part of the education process that I offer for any and all.


Whenever there is a firestorm at one of the Lab Forums or Labrador chitchat rooms, I will end up getting emails about that subject. In the past there seemed to be much more “anonymous detractors” at those busybody gossip boiler rooms…………………now I am sure that it may have been a one-woman ‘obsessed to the gills’ campaign to besmear me and Chambray…………………seems that right after their departure, the “let the mean times roll” has died out completely.


Whatever the questions, queries or que pasas…………………..I always come up with a response that will benefit the breed in one way or the other. I make no distinction between dogs that I have bred and Labradors from other breeders in offering answers, information and/or mentorship for their owners as that is my ‘pay it forward’ to the breed that has brought me so much joy for such a big chunk of my life.


As the mood and ambience around the Labrador ring has changed for the better in the last year or so, I find more and more of those outside our programs more receptive to learning about our different offerings that we provide to the Labrador community at large.


The Chambray doors are always open for the pooling of resources for the betterment of the breed. So, email your particulars…………………come see me or take a chance phoning it in.

March 21st

A Big Piece of the Pie



“Are you saying that an ‘independent’ breeder/exhibitor cannot make it at the dog shows unless they have a professional on their dog or are in your show management?”


Nope……didn’t say that at all……………………but numbers tell the story so I really don’t have to say it!


Let’s face reality……………………..61 Winners Dog/ Winners Bitch in 2013 for the Chambray handled dogs, that adds up to about 70% of the available WD/WB wins!


That just doesn’t leave too much to be divvied up by the rest of the competitors…………so now you throw in 2 or 3 of the different professionals that work the Labrador ring in Florida…………..they probably add up to 25% of the WD/WB wins between them…………………..leaving a paltry 5% to those others exhibitors…………………………………..but I won’t say it because the numbers add up and say it all!

March 21st 2014

Spring At Last



"I have been into Labradors for 6 years now. I acquired some excellent lines, have tried my hand at showing but the area I live in is way too competitive for a newcomer to have any chance at winning points. Instead I have been studying and learning as much as possible about the breed and developing a sound breeding program based on lines from the more successful breeders that adhere to the breed standard. I will be moving to SW Florida in the near future and see that your area is even more competitive than where I am living now. What do I have to do to be able to join your group? What is in it for you by allowing owners to come into your programs with dogs from other breeders?"


First of all let me tell you that you have started out on the right foot! You are one of a few that actually got a good start with good dogs and then bids their time through the learning curve without actually breeding a whole bunch of litters that are subpar at best.


Second, yes it can get very intimidating going head to head with professional handlers and against some of the establish kingpin breeders (the terminology should really be “queenpin” as more of top drawer breeders are of the fairer sex) in different areas.


When you move down to our sunny state, you will be 1 ½ hours away across the “Alley”, a stretch of 67 miles from the eastern reaches of Naples FL to the western outskirts of Ft. Lauderdale FL right dab across Everglades National Park.


So, as soon as you are settled in, come over and sit a spell under the shade of my famous Orchid tree. Famous because by now, 41 years later, thousands of visitors and Chambray owners have sat with me under the same tree and we have talked up a storm or two about our love for Labradors.


I know that you have researched every page and article at my various sites and that for a year now you have ‘obsessed’ (self-admitted) at the Chambray Blogging Off page.


What’s in it for me? One phrase tells the whole story......................... ‘For the Betterment of the Breed’.


We give 100% for worthy Labradors regardless of the kennel name or breeder behind it………………..so a dog with Chambray in front of it will receive the same attention as a dog with WinQuest, Guardian, Scuba, Shady Banks…………………..looking up at the Chambray Wall Of Fame, I see a Chelon champion, a Kai Den champion, a Grandquest champion, a Carmay champion, a Surry champion, a Danjac champion , a Summithill champion…………………all came in to benefit from our various programs, all taking part in our training and conditioning and all managed to their AKC championship by our show handling program.


Through our 25 years of 2 and 3 nights a week of training classes where more than 20,000 dogs have passed through, I have seen every kennel/breeder name that is out there………..you name it and they have been there. Dogs from every one of the Florida show breeder have had representative dogs there and dogs from almost every ‘known’ national kennel also have attended and worked with us at the training and conditioning classes.


Some of these ‘outside’ kennel dogs have also been included into our breeding program, contributing their worthy assets to our own lines.


For anyone that passes the litmus paper of the why’s and wherefores which include………………….the joint mission of the Betterment of the Breed………….the ‘trust’ factor that is soooooooooooo important in any association and of course the compatibility of personalities…………………of course not to forget coming in with a worthy dog that is a great representative of the breed that can perpetuate the great qualities it possesses to the next generation of superb puppies produced.


The Pay It Forward at its best.

March 19th

A Simplified Explanation.


Chambray Labradors Owner’s Programs……………………the breeder/trainer/handler & the dog owner working together towards a common vision……………the Betterment of the Breed.


Our unique and very successful management program has the ability to direct individual accomplishments towards a goal that ultimately will benefit all that are part of the organization. This drive is what fuels common dog owners to obtain uncommon results, previously only obtainable by single minded breeders.

March 19th 2014

Placement vs Sale


“You state that you ‘place’ dogs and don’t ‘sell’ dogs, how does that work and how do you determine who to place dogs with?”


Follow along with the emails below.


Inquirer: You are offering a 7 month old show prospect, what’s wrong with him?


Me: If there were anything wrong with him, I won’t be offering to place him as a show prospect.


Inquirer: All breeders that offer older dogs for sale are getting rid of em because there is something they don’t like about em.


Me: I don’t know what other breeders do. I do know what I do and I breed for show, then I place those puppies and older dogs accordingly. The show prospects are placed as such, be it a puppy or a 7 month old. Those dogs that do not meet my high standards for show are placed as pet quality.


Inquirer: So what guarantee do I have if I buy this dog that there is nothing wrong with him.


Me: The same guarantees that are given with every dog that I place. If it is a show prospect and something natural* comes up that prevents it from being competitive, then a show prospect replacement is offered and the original dog is returned.


Inquirer: All breeders offer the same thing because they know that no one will actually return a dog that they have had for a while.


Me: Again I don’t know what other breeders do, but in this case if I decide to place this dog with you and you have it examined and something is wrong with it, then you have some options.
A. You return the dog immediately before you get attached to it and I will refund the purchase price and cover the vet exam costs.
B. You can keep the dog and I will refund the difference between show quality vs pet quality, however the dog must be neutered.


Inquirer: What if I have this dog for a while and then decide that I don’t like it.


Me: There are no dogs available for placement to you.

More March 18th

Lots of emails flowing in.

Success has a way of moving things!



More numbers to think about and work with.


Back in the 1990’s the ratio of show puppies to pet puppies in a litter was about 1 to 7. So, in any show-bred litter where both parents rose to the show quality mark, maybe 1 puppy had what to would take to make it to be competitive in the show ring.


Today in 2014 through Chambray’s dogged practice of only breeding the best from the best to the best to produce yet another generation of the best………………..those numbers have risen to 60%!!!!!!!! Now in a litter of 10, there are 6 puppies that rock and more than likely the other 4 would still be competitive with many of the dogs now showing in the ring! The 6 stellar puppies are then the candidates that will be chosen according to established criteria of which will be on front lines at the dog shows in the coming year.


From those evaluated as possessing the highest scores for show quality and then placed as such with owners that appreciate our for the Betterment of the Breed credo………………..there will be a further evaluation as time goes on according to development, training, conditioning and show handling where only 1 in 4 of those show potential dogs will actually make our show handling roster.


So, for every Bob (from the blog preceding this one) there are at least 4 dogs from the Class of 2013 that are not showing where Bob is now.


However the training and conditioning continues for all of those puppies placed as show quality. Only the top 25% that are at their prime in all aspects are encouraged to make it to the show arena. All the others are placed on a “holding pattern” until they have what it takes in conformational development, in maturity, in training, in conditioning and in show presence to be competitive to win.


This is what keeps it all real………………..each and every owner that is encouraged to have their dog on our show roster has what it takes to win as Bob did.


It is just a matter of it all coming together at that precise short period of time that we are in the ring with their dog.


Of course there will always be those owners that are disappointed that their dogs are not among the early developers, but in most cases the majority of the dogs will develop out and be able to do their thing in the show ring.


After each show we go over each and every dog that was on our handling roster. A game plan is then developed for each of those dogs.


Some are encouraged to continue showing, others are given some time off to develop………..to go into a conditioning program……………………some need lots more training and then there will always be a few that just don’t seem to put it all together at the dog shows and those dogs and owners are spared the ordeal of showing without being successful.

March 18th 2014

An Owner's Validation





In the previous blog below I answer a question concerning my use of numbers. I am a numbers type of person. Numbers make perfect sense to me. Numbers form patterns that are easily followed if successful and laid to rest if it is not working. As much as numbers are a guide for me to use, my dogs come first and foremost…………..without the dogs there would be no dog numbers to work with. Even though the Chambray numbers add up to success, it is our owners that give us the greatest validation of that success. They are the true measuring stick, the weathervane, the notches on the wall of where we started, where we are now and with the successful numbers on our side, where we are headed.


Here is an example of a new owner working with us in all our Owner’s Program that fit his dog and his likings. 


Thank you so much for working with Bob and getting us his first AKC win! It was a lot of fun to watch and to witness you guy’s first hand make it happen. Even though he is only 10 months old and I have only had him for 8 of those months, working with you guys weekly when possible (even though shortened by a really bad rainy season last year) it is nice to see his progress and how he is coming along.


You guys are the lab professionals and Sandy in particular has been telling me about how Bob can move and has it coming around. I couldn’t help but think… knowing how many dogs you guys have in the program and owners you deal with I thought maybe this is what you do to keep everyone in the “game”.


I really did not have any expectations of him until what I was guessing to be around a year and a half old. This is a great surprise!


I enjoy being able to come over with Bob for training work, plus to be able bounce questions and concerns with you to ensure Bob is first and foremost healthy and happy… but living up to expectations of a Chambray winner, this makes me feel good (and proud). I hope I am doing the right things to keep him healthy and in conformation so that hopefully this can continue. I know there is still a lot of work to be done.


Yes this is just one win and I may not see another for quite some time if ever (that’s how the Judging ball can bounce), but it is nice to finally crack the ice on the first one and have at least one under our belt.


One of the greatest things about your program is being with all the other Chambray owners and the family unit it provides to talk about all the trial and tribulations of each owner and their dogs plus everything that we can expect to go through on our journey. Plus the support they bring when your dog performs well, it sure makes for a fun atmosphere.


I look forward to the continued work and hopefully more results like today! Thanks again and take care guys! See you soon in training.


John McGraw & Bob


March 18th 2014


“You boast about numbers at your website……………..shouldn’t it be about the dogs?”


The story is all about the about the dogs…………….the numbers validate the story.


The numbers give a real perspective because real numbers add up and they don’t lie. If they don't add up then there is something fishy going on.


Anyone can lay claim to anything…………………….and they do! I hear it all the time from folk that have not measured up in any way and yet they shamelessly boast and brag on their websites.


We breed Champion English yellow and chocolate Labrador puppies for loving homes.


That is the main headline at the home page of a Labrador breeder. The problem is that person has never, ever bred a champion dog of any color!


TOP Champion Breeder glares another headline at another breeder’s site……………………TOP of what? The block they live on……………………………….maybe the neighborhood……………….but absolutely not the state!


If it’s the state, surely they can’t be referring to Florida because there is no other Labrador breeder that has half of the numbers that Chambray does………………..maybe they are referring to the “state” of mind they are in………………….mindless maybe, but I will just mind my own and let the numbers speak for themselves.


For instance at the www.chambraylabradors.net site I published an article titled ‘By The Numbers’, each and every number there is verifiable. Also at the Chambray Trivia page see http://www.chambraylabradors.net/#!chambrays-trivia/c1baz there are numbers that are not only #1 in Florida, some of those are #1 in the USA.


So numbers do matter because totaled up they tell a story that can be easily verified.

March 17 2014



“Do you think it would be possible to start an owner’s program just like yours in the Midwest?”


I have fielded similar questions in the past and with each I addressed what would be the first steps in putting together something along the lines as the Chambray Owners Program.


I have had over 25 years to re-think this subject and I now offer the following:

The program will only work if:


  • Those breeding are willing to place their best produce with new owners.

  • Mentorship was offered at all levels

  • Training and conditioning was offered

  • Handling was also offered at a Professional Level.


Let’s take each item and delve a little further.


There are many breeders that offer the opportunity to place some of their better puppies, however very few if any are willing to place their best puppies. This is where all breeder placement programs fail miserably. If the breeder keeps the best for themselves and shows that dog, that will be the one that will be winning and all the rest that were placed will only garner what’s left over. This has always created ill-will with those that own the lesser dogs and those breeder/owner association have gone the way of the Dodo bird.


Mentorship and the sharing of knowledge is a commodity that also has a way of making divisions rather than unions. We live in an “information era”………………….that’s a good thing and also a very bad thing because there is so much bad information, skewed information, flawed information and information with agendas entrenched to cause harm. The newbie has no appreciable way of know what’s being delivered to them when at times what was shared with them was loaded to actually work against them and their mentor. There is a big sector of folk that are very self-serving and actually go out of their way to create cracks in associations. I have experienced this with many of those that came into our Owner’s Program and were approached by outsiders with diversions and falsehoods in order to alienate them from our programs.


Training & Conditioning: This is one area that is seriously lacking in the dog show fancy. There are very few breeders that have the credentials or capability to offer any significant level of advice or program that will adequately aid in this sector.


Handling: There are even fewer breeders with the proficiency to offer any type of handling program to any of their owners.


In light of all of the above, my response lately to questions about creating something along the lines of Chambrays Owners Programs is that I just don’t see anyone else with the ability to create and maintain anything resembling our programs.

March 17


“I am bit confused, in previous blogs you seemed not to favor those breeders with the ‘overdone dogs’ and in a most recent blog you say that there is use for dogs that do not adhere to the breed standard.”


I advocate breeding “down” from those overdone dogs, keeping some of the outstanding qualities they may possess……….incorporate those outstanding qualities with moderate dogs to produce less overdone features.


Ideally we would need for those breeders that have gone beyond the parameters to take stock of what they have and to make a concerted effort to bring about some moderation by breeding their dogs to dogs that are more within the standard. That way they can use their own lines to conform over a couple of generations.


It should be noted however that I am not advocating the breeding of dogs with serious structural faults as this would be detrimental to the gene pool.

March 12th 2014






This Bud’s for all those that have gone over the edge with the doomsday prophecies about the Labrador Retriever breed going extinct!


Chill out and chug this brew that I am offering you because the State of the Union for the breed is well and thriving!


Yes, there are some that will breed according to their ‘ruthers’ and produce dogs at either end of the spectrum…………………….and following in our Gucci-syndrome society, they will call it whatever images come to the mind in order to justify whatever it is……………………..but just as in one of those statistical bell curves, the better part of the curve will be those breeders who breed according to the breed standard and produce the moderate dogs called for by the official dictum.


The sky isn’t falling and Humpty Dumpty doesn’t need to be put back together again as there are enough of us true-blue Labrador lovers that will see to it that there is a middle ground to come back to for those that have swung out too far.


Nothing needs to be gotten rid of…….the baby and the bathwater are still very viable, as one can be used and other re-cycled.

  • Those overdone dogs will be useful in a breeding program where bone and type are lacking,

  • those over-coated dogs can be worked into lines that have thin, skimpy coats.

  • Just as those dogs that are too re-fined can contribute their great movement to a breeding program that is lacking in movement


So, instead of all the negativity and pessimism, let’s clear the cobwebs………forge forward and come up with ways to bring about a Betterment for the Breed.

More March Madness



To Be Bred-By or Not To Be Bred-By







The Bred-By Exhibitor Class


I have had lots of inquiries as to the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the Bred-By Exhibitor Class………from both Chambray owners and many from the outside.


So here goes a primer in strategy for entering dogs in the different dog show classes.


The different classes available to enter a Labrador Retriever at a dog show vary according to sex, age, winning record of dog, handling capability of the owner, nationality and color of the dog.


Let’s dispense with sex first……………………………class dogs (those not champions yet) compete against those of their own gender.


The males are referred to as ‘dogs' and the females as ‘bitches’. Very appropriate moniker if you ask me. So there are the dog classes and the bitch classes.


Now we get kind of fruity with the different classes available to each gender.


The minimum age for dogs at the AKC shows is 6 months old. So the first class available to both dogs and bitches is: 

  • 6 to 9 Puppy – the puppy must be at least 6 months old and up to the day before it turns 9 months old.

  • 9 to 12 Puppy – la meme chose as above, at least 9 months old and up to the day before turning 12 months old.

  • 12 to 15 – same sequences as above

  • 15 to 18 – ditto above

*The 12 to 15 and the 15 to 18 are usually combined at regular shows, however at shows where a huge entry is anticipated, then both classes will be offered.

  • Novice – this class is reserved for a dog of any age that hasn’t won 2 first places.

  • Amateur Owner Handler Class – as the title infers, only the owner can handle from this classes provided that he/she has never charged for handling (is not considered a professional)

  • Bred-By Exhibitor Class – This class is reserved for the breeder of the dog that is also the handler and also owns or co-owns the dog.

  • American Bred Class – only dogs born in American can compete from this class.

  • Open Black Class

  • Open Chocolate Class

  • Open Yellow Class


As the names imply from the above 'Open' dogs of any age of that color may be entered in these ‘color’ classes.


Since the judges have no inkling who any of the dogs are competing and by virtue of the name of the class, the Bred-By Exhibitor Class is the only class that the judge “knows” who the breeder is of any dog in the lineup of dogs! So, this class carries a special cache that the other classes do not possess. Now truth be told, any time that a Herzon is handling a dog, most judges will assume that we are the breeders, but for certainty the Bred-By Exhibitor class leaves no doubt.


Our newest champion, BBE Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter………………his sire, BBE Ch Chambray’s Bailey On The Rocks before him and Bailey’s sire before him BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff were all entered into the Bred-By Exhibitor Class and all 3 of them were always handled by yours truly as their breeder/handler and co-owner to their AKC champion’s title……………thus they all sport the BBE (Bred-By Exhibitor title in front of their names. They all won all of their points solely from the Bred-By Exhibitor Class as that is the AKC requirement to earn the BBE title.


So, now inquiring minds want to know how it is decided for any dog to be co-owned by the breeder (lil ole me) and then handled in this special class to be able to earn the special title.


Lots and lots of thought goes into the process because there are only 3 Herzons that can handle in the Bred-By Exhibitor Class, so not every dog will be invited to the party for this class.


We take into consideration everything and anything that will make the process successful. Of course the conformation of the dog must be supreme, so that is a given………………….the prime consideration therefore becomes the dynamics of relationship between the owner of the dog and Chambray’s Program for the Betterment of the Breed. How in tune each party is becomes the working code for designation by the Herzons for any dog to be considered to be shown in the prestigious Bred-By Exhibitor Class.


Each class for the dogs has advantages and disadvantages……………….for instance entering an 8th month old puppy in the Open Class is suicide for that puppy since it would have to compete against full grown adults. So too is there advantages and disadvantages in the Bred-By Exhibitor.The big advantage is the judge knows that we are the breeders………………..the disadvantage is that in order to use the BBE title designation, all the wins must come while entered and competing from the BBE class. This means that as 6 to 12 month old puppies, they will be in the ring against the older dogs that are showing from that class.


At the moment Chambray has several dogs that are able to be handled from the BBE class, with Walter finishing his championship as our 39th home-bred champion (state record) and our 7 Bred-By Exhibitor champion (state record), we are now in the consideration process as to which dog/owner will be invited as my next Bred-By Exhibitor handling assignment.

The AKC's special medallion for those dogs exclusively championed from the

Bred-By Exhibitor Class

Passion Trumps Old Hat

More March 12th




The elation is still there, 3 days later……………..cloud 9 always feels so good!


Within all the hoopla of winning the needed major-pointed show for one of our dogs to become the next Chambray champion, there was one person that made the statement “With all the champions you have under your belt you would think that another one would be old hat.”


The day that “another one is old hat” will be the day I hang that old hat up and stay home and vegetate!


Yes, I jumped up with joy!


Yes, I got emotional!


Yes, I yelped out “YES”!


Yes, I pumped my customary victory fist!


Yes, I hugged the judge!


Yes, I came out of the ring and hugged and shook hands with anyone and everyone that was happy for me, my dogs and my owners!


That is called passion…………………..passion is what fuels everything I do because I do it with love.


For those outside our group that may have thought that I broke decorum……………………well damn decorum because passion and love trump decorum any day, any time.


The ones that matter the most…………………………the judges, the owners appreciate the passion that it takes to keep something going for 44 years……………year after year of success………………..through thick and thin, through times of uncertainty, through ailing health……………the passion never wavering!


It is my promise to every owner that is in this with me for the betterment of the breed………………….it will NEVER be old hat……………………it will always be with PASSION each and every time!

March 12th 2014

From Morons To Cone Heads


Once again my theory was proven to be correct!


A class dog wins Best Of Breed over the specials and wins a 4-point major!


But as sure as the earth is not flat, there will be those cone heads/bone heads that will pull their dogs if winning Best Of Breed is the only way to get that needed major win!


Which by the way will be happening so much more frequently with the advent of the lowered point schedule that starts on May 14th. Then 15 class dogs will be needed for a major in Florida. Conceivably a small entry show with 11 class dogs can turn into a major-pointed win for the Winners Dog, by going Best Opposite Sex over the usual 4 male specials and even better would be going Best Of Breed as it will be a guaranteed major with the females specials added on to the tally as well.


Also all those small shows will now be as important as the mid-sized ones with the new lowered point schedule and the possibility of 'going over" the specials in the ring.


Let’s see how many cone heads there are.


By the way, from this point forward I will use the terminology of ‘cone head’ instead of ‘moron’.


I have been told that the morons take exception at being labeled ‘moron’ and that their feelings are hurt when I refer to them as such, so to spare their hurt feelings, morons will from hence forward will be referred to as cone heads.

More March 11th






“How does your Chambray Owner’s Programs work?” This has now become the most asked question/topic that I field on a daily basis, be it via email or at the dog shows. Success has a way of bringing out those that desire likewise.


Here is just one example of how the Betterment of the Breed Program worked for various along the way:


In 2002, I am at a dog show in Atlanta GA and I see a fabulous dog in the ring in the Bred-By Exhibitor Class. At that precise moment one of the top Labrador breeders from the state of Georgia, standing next to me asks “If you were judging, which dog would you choose from this class?"


Surveying the 5 dogs in the class and only “seeing” the worth of each dog, I single out #47. Notice that I state the “worth” of each dog and not the total picture including the handling, because that #47 was the one dog out of the 5 that walked out of the ring without a ribbon!


The handling was atrocious……………dog was jumping up on the breeder/handler, darting between her legs, sitting and not wanting the judge to examine its teeth. I mentioned that fact to the inquiring breeder, that with decent handling that dog will finish sooner than later.


As I am finishing that line, the breeder says to me in a fine Southern drawl, “Well Sandy, why don’t you just tell that to my friend and neighbor who is now standing right behind you!”


The rest is etched in the history books because by the end of the 4 days of shows in Atlanta, I was traveling south back to Miami FL with Carmays Ruff Around The Edges “Mr. Boo”. Somehow, I had convinced his breeder/owner to let me take him, condition him, train him and show him.


One of the biggest reasons for bringing him on board was his sire………….one of the greatest English imports ever, Ch Langshott’s Gale Force From Kimvalley………..known in the fancy as Gary.


That was in August and he had only 1 point to show after being handled by a couple of ‘well-known named handlers’.


Fast forward 6 weeks……………now September and at his first weekend of shows under our management program he wins a 5-Point Major show with then 13-year old Jessie handling him……….fast forward some more to 4 months later and between Jessie, Johanna and yours truly he wins the rest of his points including the last needed major at the Florida Winter circuit and in 5 short months I delivered on my prophecy of finishing him much sooner than later.


Appreciating his tremendous value to the breed and in particular Chambray’s breeding program, arrangements are made to lease a suitable line-bred female to breed to him. A litter is born and one puppy stands out and is placed with an owner that appreciated his pedigree and his possible contributions to the Betterment of the Breed.


That son of Mr. Boo would become Florida’s first born Best In Show winning Labrador. That dog is BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff, “Hogan”………………….my first dog championed from the Bred-By Exhibitor Class, thus the BBE title in front of his name.


Working together with his owners, the Feeleys, Hogan’s achievements for the Betterment of the Breed will be a legacy for decades to come. To date Hogan has 8 champion offspring and 2 Master Hunters to his resume.


Out of the many litters that Hogan sired, one litter stands out with having 3 out of the 4 puppies achieving their championships. All were placed with potential show owners, with one of those puppies and his owners (Faith Bandklayder and Neil Wasserman) were chosen to co-own the dog and continue the tradition of handling him in the Bred-By Exhibitor Class. That puppy would become BBE Ch Chambrays Bailey On The Rocks.Bailey has also been contributing to the Betterment of the Breed with 3 champions to his credit.


included in the awesome production is a son that was also chosen along with his owners (Judith Church Baker and Mickey Baker) for me to show from the Bred-By Exhibitor Class. That dog just became Chambray's state record 39th home-bred champion, plus the 7th Bred-By Exhibitor Champion as well.


So, his grandfather Hogan was a Bred-By Exhibitor Champion, his sire Bailey also a Bred-By Exhibitor Champion and now we present the 3rd successive generation of Bred-By Exhibitor Champions………….BBE Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter.


Answer to the question……………that’s how it works.

March 11th 2014

When My Owners Talk.....Like E.F. Hutton......People Listen!



From One Chambray Owner To Another:


I just read the message that Phil wrote and you posted on your blog.


I just wanted to see if you can pass this along to him...


"Dear Phil,

I love to read about Famous Amos, Fat Guy and Pretty Lady. I have never gotten over seeing him as a little puppy and how big his paws were. He looked and looks beautiful. I was there to see him this weekend and he looks as I expected......beautiful!


There is one thing that you need to know, from my short experience. I loved the International Shows, as our dog Miracle, had a great showing on his first and only International weekend of shows. I will caution you to temper your expectations as I did not mine. When our dog won there, we were flabbergasted. We were looking at this dog being a super star, rockstar, perfection in 4 legs...Sandy told us to temper our expectations, and to be aware that although great exposure for your dog, this was not the AKC.


In my sport's mind, IABCA was the minor leagues, and the AKC was the major leagues.


Did we listen? Not really, we were expecting instant success...then reality hit us. Miracle hurt himself a month after becoming the Grand Sieger and had a setback. All the good he did, he lost, and we had to start from scratch with a great dog. Miracle was full of lows and highs.


One day, you can ask Sandy about him...he has stories. Tell him to tell you about the "Texas Tornado" and other tales of woe!


Where am I going with this? Well, Miracle became a champion this past January at Brooksville, completing an improbable campaign. We were ecstatic, but thought that this sure took a long time. As I went to the shows and met people at Chambray Acres, I was told that he actually did it rather quickly. He is not yet 3 years old, so to the lay person, he is for all intents and purposes, a puppy. Many of those owners whom you met this weekend, actually have had dogs that have taken more time to Champion, something that I either did not know, or did not want to know.


Amos can do it too. He is a gorgeous dog and under the tutelage of Sandy and the Herzons, he will be successful. Don't be disappointed at him or at the early results. Remember, it is early yet. Don't let the results at the International Shows blind you as to what can happen even in the Major Leagues.


It's a great start, but it does not totally point toward instant success. This is just a way for you and Amos to be exposed to what shows are like. I agree that those class wins are not going to give your dog points, but I promise you, they are very important, because it will get him more and more exposure and ring savvy.


Trust in Sandy and what he tells you, he knows...I promise you that soon, Famous Amos will earn his first points, and you will be on "hook, line and sinker"....Regards from Miami..."


Tony Alonso

The Following For Me Is The Best Medicine In The World


Good times for A Show Bidness Family-a primer for beginners.


For those of you who have not met me yet, I am the “Dad” of Famous Amos, who used to refer to me as “Fat Guy” when he was a little puppy. His “Mom” is my wife, Jean or “Pretty Lady”.


Amos is my sixth Labrador Retriever since 1972 when I first discovered the breed that I call “God’s gift to Phil”. That was before everyone else in the world jumped on the bandwagon making them the world’s most popular dog. Over the years, I have found that I much prefer well bred Labradors from show lines. They have fewer health problems, often even coming with a guarantee, and a better temperament than dogs bred for field trial work.


The advent of the internet made research into the best breeders much easier. That's was how I found Sandy and Chambray Kennels. I had researched kennels across this country, up into Canada, and even over in Great Britain . Talking to Sandy and finding that he had started his original line of dogs from the same kennel that I had purchased my last Labrador, convinced me that his dogs were for me. I told Sandy that I wanted a dog who liked water, a gregarious, outgoing dog who would not be cowed by my strong personality, and a show quality dog. I was apprehensive about the fact that Sandy would choose the puppy for me and I didn’t get to pick him out myself.


Things had changed drastically since I last purchased a puppy. “In the old days”, there were no applications or interviews of prospective owners. There were no Limited AKC papers for a dog. You went to a breeder, you pointed to a puppy who had taken a shine to you, and you took him home.


Despite my trepidation, the process works. Sandy picked out the perfect puppy for Jean and me. He was everything we could have ever wanted in a dog and lots more. We named him Famous Amos. We took Amos back to Park City, Utah with us and began the long task of becoming a family.


Amos has grown up to be the best Labrador I have ever had and I’ve had some great dogs. One thing I haven’t mentioned here is the moral obligation I felt with Amos. Jean and I had no intentions of starting a kennel or breeding dozens of happy little Labrador puppies. However, Amos is a spectacular representative of the breed. Sandy gave me a show quality dog who was a beautiful representation of his years of expertise with Labrador Retrievers.


While we were in Park City, it was easy to ignore the obligation I felt to Sandy to show Amos because Utah is somewhat of a “black hole” for AKC shows. We sent Amos back to Florida for a quick weekend of International Shows where he got his Junior Championship. Obligation fulfilled. Then, Jean and I retired. We moved to Florida when Amos turned two.


Now we were back in the middle of Chambray Country. Suddenly, there were shows everywhere and the Chambray family there to handle Amos. So, we took Amos to Miami and turned him over to Sandy for some training. Sandy kept Amos for ten days and took him to another International Show in Deland, this time as an adult, where he got his International Championship.


Strong Suggestion: Even if you have no desire to ever have your dog in a show ring, even if you have a pet quality dog, consider entering your dog into an International Show with Chambray handlers. It’s a tremendously rewarding and entertaining experience and there’s a very good chance that you’ll come away with an International Championship for your puppy.


Based on Amos’ success with the International Shows and Sandy’s advice, Jean and I decided to enter the big league world of AKC shows. I spent four days in Lakeland for Amos’ first exposure to the real competition. Jean wasn’t able to be there because of her work.


I was fascinated by all the proceedings. I was just fascinated watching the contrast between all of the other dog breeds at the show and the Labradors. The Labs are all clowns in the ring. They are happy, rowdy dogs who literally dance around with grins on their faces. They jump up on their handlers as they try to give and get affection. They bounce, they lick, and they roll over on their backs for the judges. When most all other dogs have long since ceased being puppies, Labradors remain puppy like. I know. I have a 2 ½ year old puppy. There are other happy breeds like Golden Retrievers and Newfoundlands, but none that act like the Labradors.


Other breed rings are all 'bidness', no clowning around and not nearly as much happiness. It’s also a lot of fun to watch Sandy trying to handle one of these exuberant balls of energy. His Latin blood gets hot as his frustration grows and he exits the ring grumbling something like, “Blockhead!" Amos won a couple of his class competitions in Lakeland, but nothing more, and earned no points towards his AKC title.


This week, Amos participated in his second AKC show in Palm Beach. Jean was able to come with us. I talked to some of the other Chambray owners. I have been fascinated by the owner network that Sandy has been able to build. What a brilliant idea! Why hadn’t someone else thought of this before Sandy? I realize that to a minor degree, the glue that holds the network together is that same self imposed sense of obligation to improve the breed that I felt when I accepted a “show quality” dog.


What Sandy does simply works. I talked to owners who have four dogs and have been traveling to shows for ten years. That sounds almost like an addiction to me. Others are more like me, just starting out and everything is new and unknown.


Jean was disappointed in the results from the four days of the Lakeland show: four shows with no significant wins or points scored. She was much less amused at the newness of the experience than I was and even less amused when we had to get up at 5:15 AM to get arrive at the Palm Beach Show.


The first day, Amos placed third is his class of six dogs. “How can any judge pick one dog as better than the rest?” she asked as she surveyed some of the field of sixty Labradors at the show. “Look at them: they’re ALL gorgeous dogs!”


To lighten her mood, I pointed over to the ring of Vizslas where 15 dogs, each a literal carbon copy of the other to our eyes, all stood in a rigid show stance. “Wouldn’t it be interesting to take all of them off the leash and mix them up to see if the handlers could tell which one was theirs?” I joked.


We didn’t have to be there as early on the second day, so Jean was in a better mood. The first day, we arrived more than an hour an a half early so that Amos could be “groomed” for the show. When I showed up, Sandy looked at Amos and said, “Oh, he’s fine.” So much for grooming a Labrador.


As you wander around the show, you can watch all of the other breeds getting groomed. They get blow dried, curled, brushed, manicured, and clipped. One would think they were in a high priced beauty salon rather than a dog show. Some of the dogs have their “do’s” up in a 50’s like bee hive hair style or their ears pinned back in fluffy pig tails. Other dogs have long hair down to the floor all around them. They seems to glide across the floor because you can’t even see their feet moving. No feature of the dog is visible other than the hair, literally. How do you judge those dogs?


But grooming for a Labrador: “Oh, he’s fine.” Labrador owners have to deal with a LOT of shed hair. The next time you get discouraged because you have to empty out your vacuum cleaner after just one room, remember this: There’s a yin and a yang to everything. The people who have a poodle just three doors down from me pay $80 each week to have their dog groomed. Jean was getting discouraged.


After five days days of AKC shows, Amos had scored no points. Each judge seemed to have some little idiosyncrasy that they were looking for: one judge was partial to black Labradors; another liked stocky Labs that looked to me like they had sawed off legs; there was even one judge who seemed to be looking at pretty lady handlers rather than the dogs.


Jean told me, “If Amos doesn’t do better today, I think we should consider getting out of this show thing!” We waited through six different classes until Amos’ turn in the ring came. This time Johanna was handling him. I’ve suspected that one of the reasons the judges don’t rank Amos higher is his size. He’s taller than almost all the other Labs in the ring. Sandy had me pack a whopping 14 extra pounds of weight onto Amos’ lean muscular frame so that he could look more like the stockier Labradors that the judges seem to like. Even at 92 pounds, Amos looked more muscular and athletic that the other dogs in the ring.


I watched the lady who was judging the Labradors on the last day of the show. It seemed to me that she liked the Labs a little more muscular and athletic looking. Oh, I liked this judge. Johanna and Amos were a great team. When Amos got in the ring with Johanna, the lady judge seemed to look at him a little longer than the others. Each show class in the ring seemed to be over in seconds. Before I even realized it, she had pointed to Johanna and Amos and handed them a blue ribbon, another first in class. I know it was still meaningless, no points toward an AKC title, nothing substantial. But beside me, Jean was bouncing up and down with glee as she applauded for Amos and Johanna. Then she turned to me and grabbed my arm, “When’s the next show????"



Phil Esslinger

March 10th 2014

Thank You


“How sweet it is!"


Nobody has ever said it better than the great legend Jackie Gleason, so I will just borrow his famous line and say it myself

“How sweet it is”!


However I have to admit that this one was one of the sweetest ever.


There have been 39 Chambray-bred dogs that have attained their AKC champion’s title. Each occasion was cause for massive celebration because there is so much in the making of a champion. The breeding, the raising, the training, the handling………………those contributing dogs that came before them and their owners that teamed up with us to take those dogs to their success story and the now dogs and their owners that believe in me and in the Chambray Owner’s Program. All of them sharing in for the ultimate successes that have followed.


For a breeder there is no greater “thrill” than that of having a dog that they bred become a champion. For a show breeder, it doesn’t get any better than that moment…………………..ok maybe winning a Best In Show or 2 certainly matches this elation.


I can vividly remember the day that the first-ever Chambray-bred dog accomplished that feat back in 1993! OMG! The old Wide World Of Sports mantra best describes the feeling………..“The thrill of victory”……….can only describe when that moment occurs. I was on the end of the leash that fateful day when Ch Chambray Acres Russell crossed that finish line reserved for champions.


So, now 21 years later here I was lurching across yet another finish line from Russell the 1st to Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter now the #39. Adding to the above is the fact that this newest champion, this 39th home-bred champion was also a Bred-By Exhibitor Class Champion……………..who was handled in the very prestigious Bred-By Exhibitor Class……………………a special class designated for the breeder, owner and handler.


It seems like only yesterday (2006) that BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan” would be my first-ever Bred-By Exhibitor Class Champion and that since that time there have been another state record 5 Chambray champions that were handled by a member of the Herzon family as their breeder/owner/handler and BBE Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter adds to the state record and makes it a Lucky #7.


As I stated in the first paragraph, each occasion was cause for massive celebration, however nothing comes close to this most recent championship……………………#39 Home-bred & #7 Bred-By Exhibitor, by Walter.


It’s not so much the number 39 or the quantity 39 or even the 7th BBE champion…………….no, it has to do more with yours truly being in the ring handling the dog that would cross that threshold. As stated above I have been there many times before, but this one was the sweetest ever because I had given up the hope of ever handling again.


It was a scenario that I thought would never occur again for me. Due to failing health, I was sidelined at ringside and destined to be an observer for ever more…………………………quote the Raven never more.


“Cardiac failure” sounds so terminal……………….it’s like going on a one way trip with no destination in mind, you don’t know when and where you are headed to.


Limitations are the rule for whatever time is left………………..you give up this and you give up that and pretty soon you really don’t know who you are anymore. You no longer are even a reasonable facsimile of yesterday. Your self-worth evaporates and making due with as little effort becomes the modus operandi……………where over-doing it comes with pain and added suffering.


For a person that has taken the bull by the horns at every imaginable turn in life…………….for a hand’s on type A personality…………………………..for a do-it-all innovator of anything and everything, big or small, this new type of “living” just was not anything I wanted to be part of, although I did what was within my limits, but a happy camper I was not.


Life has twists and turns that cannot be measured, defined or at times explained and what was today can unpredictably be totally different the next day, the next week or month.


I now find myself with renewed and improved health, so much so that from writing my last will and testament in January, now in March I was in the ring handling 5 different dogs including Walter that would be part of my “comeback” moment in time…..this one more “thrill of victory” moment!


I am thankful, grateful and appreciative of this gift no matter how short or long-lived it may be.


Thank you to all those that have been my constant supporters with kind words, prayers and thought. I truly have felt it.

More March 7th











I have been receiving quite a few emails asking about what type of conditioning we give our dogs. As much as I would like to deliver a magic regimen to all that ask, in reality there is no pat, generic answer that would adequately suffice as each dog presents us with a different scenario.


At our home/farm training area, we work with 10 to 20 dogs daily. Each dog is given a prescription according to need. There are some dogs that are in excellent shape and condition, well-exercised and in great tone, these dogs then just need “mental training” to perform the routines that will be called for in the ring. Some of these dogs may also need to bolster their gait to move out better so they may be a candidate for the treadmill at a faster pace.


There are dogs that are way out of condition, overweight with no body tone what so ever. So their regimen will consist of physical workouts to increase stamina, endurance, toning up, plus weight reduction at the same time. There will be lots of timed activity in the exercise yards running with dogs that are in great shape, there will be retrieve training, road work and inclined treadmill work to firm up loose, flabby muscle. Most of these dogs will probably need lots of show training work, so our innovative “block workouts” will be put into play several times a day with varying number repetitions.


Since there are four training handlers available, we change around the handlers to give each dog a different feel. This also gives us a head’s up as to which handler is better suited for the various dogs in our handling roster.


At the night training sessions that I conduct, I get a great view as a judge would see it, thus I am able to make handler suggestions to our team. My position as the leader of the class also gives me a bird’s eye view of what each dog needs to improve its game in the show ring. After each night’s sessions, we go over each dog’s condition and performance and strategize what direction we need to go to make things better for that dog.


We also rely greatly on our owners to do as much as they are able to with their dogs at home. Some owners are into jogging, bicycling, swimming or other outdoor physical activity that they may include their dogs in. We also encourage our owners to take their dogs out to different establishments that permit dogs for socialization and exposure to different environments.


It is this team effort………………….us as breeders, trainers, conditioners, handlers working hand-in-hand with the owners and their dogs that creates the unmatched successes at the dog shows.

March 7th 2014

An Educated Consumer Is Our Best Customer
Mr. Syms had it right!



“How does one go about participating in your Owner’s Program?” More inquisitive minds want to know.


That’s a very good thing.....going right to the source to get your information and hopefully the answers you seek.


Of course the opposite of that scenario is listening to the whispering grapevine and coming to assumptions. We all know what happens when you assume…………………something about a “big donkey” coming between YOU and ME!


I always state that the “proof is in the pudding”, however the real phrase is “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”……………….which means that you have to actually “taste” the pudding to know if it really is as good as it looks.


In the case of the Chambray Owner’s Program for the Betterment of the Breed, merely seeing it is not enough because there is so much erroneous information passed on by those with nefarious agendas………………..looking into it firsthand will go a long way into making an educated decision of whether it is something of benefit to someone interested.


The essence of the avant garde Owner/Breeder’s program revolves around my passion for Labrador Retrievers and my full spectrum involvement over the last 44 years with the breed. This has led to this “pay it forward” movement where each new owner that participates with the program and derives great benefits will want to continue in the production of a new generation of great Labradors that will be shared with yet another set of new owners.


The majority of those working within the parameters of the programs made their entry with the acquisition of a Chambray-bred puppy or adult dog. They then would partake in all of the benefit’s programs available to them such as the

  • Lifetime Free Private Training,the Lifetime Free Class Sessions

  • the Lifetime Free Support System

  • Inclusion into the Show Dog Management Program

  • Inclusion into the Stud Dog Program for males

  • Inclusion into the Breeding Program for females

  • Plus countless other amenities too numerous to list here


There are others that came on board with an outside dog they obtained from another top show breeder, while a few have entered as already existing Labrador breeders.


All realized a great value to them by pooling their resources under an umbrella program that is all inclusive for the Betterment of the Breed.


To all those that have joined in, the success at the dog shows became the pudding that looked real good from afar…………………….the final decision to actually venture into the various programs was based on their accumulation of firsthand information that eliminated the “big donkey” that was standing between YOU and ME.


An educated client is our very best dog owner!

More March 6th

To Like Or Not To Like



“No one breeder follows the breed standard as close as you call for. I have seen some of your dogs and I don’t like some of them.”


There are 2 parts to this communication and one doesn’t follow the other and vice versa.


So let’s cover the “breed standard” part first.


Breed Standards are in place to keep each breed looking and functioning uniquely. Very few breeds give any latitude for choosing “this” or “that”! Either a dog looks like what it supposed to look like or it looks like something else and no longer is that breed. Allowing any Tom, Dick, Harry……………..and since the majority of Labrador breeders are woman and not wanting to be labeled as being “gender biased”……………let’s throw Alice, Jane and Shaqueeza into the mix of folk having their “ruthers” choosing whatever it is they prefer in breeding Labradors.


So now we have the famous Heinz 57 Variety Labrador. You have 57 different breeders, each liking a different flavor and each have a different recipe for brewing their very own concoction!


Maggie likes the short-legged style, Katie likes the Texas Holdem variety so hers are big and robust, while Emily prefers her a bit overdone and Sue is all about heads………………..there’s also the crew that likes “tons of coat” and others prefer more drama with “dripping with coat”. Toni/Tony prefers the “West Coast” look, while the wild bunch from the Midwest likes them with more “leg”……………..on and on it goes and where it stops only your hairdresser knows for sure!


Dogs at specialties reflect whomever the breeder/judge is and how big that person breeds them, while dogs at all-breed dog shows look like runway models compared to their brethren specialty types.


The preceding is why there is such a mess with the breed, where a descriptive needs to be inserted before the official breed name of Labrador Retriever to be able to properly identify the dog in question………………………..so if it is light weight, tall and snippy-looking we add “American” or if looks nothing like the preceding, which would be the exact opposite (chubby, cubby and tubby), just add “English” in front.


Of course the real English breeders have had a field day over in the UK with the recent controversy about the Westminster BOB/BOS winners. They abhor the labeling of that type of dog being referred to as being the “English” type, saying that their dogs look nothing like this “USA English-type” being identified over on this side of the pond.


The irony of the fact is that the show Labrador Retriever in Great Britain are very moderate…… actually looking much more as the all-breed dogs do over here in the USA and not as ponderous and heavy coated as those showing at the specialty shows.




Ok, now to part two of the correspondence for this blog.


Beauty if in the eye of the beholder and each person can assert themselves with personal choices as that is the American way.


You can like apple pie, while I prefer a peach pie, both pies are right, but not right for both persons and whomever chooses one is as right as the person that chooses the other.


At dog shows, accredited judges are the final selectors for a given day as to what they prefer. They then bestow “winners points” on those dogs that they feel adhere to each breed standard the best and that they like the most. The breeder that wins the most and that has bred the most champions is the breeder that has satisfied the most judges over a long period of time. That then becomes the “proof is in the pudding”.


That “proof” is what makes Chambray the #1 breeder of champions in Florida and in about 97% of the other states with 38 home-bred champions and an astonishing 61 Winners Dog/Winners Bitch awards for 2013, surpassing the previous record of WD/WB of 59 set in 2012 by Chambray, which beat the previous record of 51 in 2011, which beat the previous record of 27 set in 2010……………..all set by Chambray Labradors.


What any person likes or dislikes is their right, whether it really is right or not.


That is a personal choice, what is not right is choosing not to like the breed standard and then not breeding the correct type of dog as called for by that breed standard.

March 6th 2014





The Professional Handler Show Dogs Vs. The Chambray Owner’s Program Dogs


Yesterday’s blog hopefully answered the question about Chambray’s Selective Breeding Program utilizing all those great show quality dogs that are part of Chambray’s Owners Program…………..in other words all our producing females live in someone’s home as their loving pet, making all of our puppies home-born and home-raised.


So, now to answer a very frequent question that comes via email and also in person at the dogs shows.

“Why are there so many Chambray owners at the dogs shows?"


The answer is the difference between Professional Handler Show Dogs versus the Chambray Owner’s Program Dogs.


Professional Handler Show Dogs: The top professional handlers have an iron-clad system that has worked well for over a century at the dog show venues. They are hired to train, condition and handle dogs and they do just that. They are totally responsible for the end product, leaving nothing to the lay person to do with their dogs. This eliminates failures in conditioning, stamina and endurance and minimizes inconsistencies in performance in the ring. The term applied here is “removing the owner’s influence from the equation”.


The Chambray’s Show Management Program: The unique system encourages as much owner participation with their dog. We take everything into account and allow the owners to do as much with their dogs as long as it is a positive situation. Those owners that have the time and energy and knowhow will be given the task of conditioning and creating stamina and endurance with their dogs by formulating exercise regimens that will benefit the dog. There are owners that have very little time or have no inclination in the activities needed to have the dog in “working condition” as called for by the breed standard………………..so they rely on our Conditioning Program to do just that.


There are some owners that have a good understanding of show training and can put into play those routines and exercises that teach the dogs the things that are needed by our handlers in the ring. To those owners we give specific instructions on preparing the dogs for show. Again, there are vast numbers of owners do not have the patience or knowhow for show handling training and thus they rely on our Training Programs for their dogs.


Many of our owners enjoy the show environment and they then choose to go to the shows with their dogs and have them there for us to handle, while others would prefer for the dogs to travel with us and then they meet us there where they can sit back and watch the action. There are others that cannot make it to the shows, however they send their dogs with us.


At any given show in Florida more than half of the folk around the Labrador ring are the owners of the dogs that are part of the Chambray Owner’s Program which would answer the burning question as to why there are so many Chambray owners at the dog shows.



March 5th 2014







“I read your Best Of The Best blog, don’t all breeders say they breed the best they have, to produce better?”


Ah, an inquiring mind wants to know! That’s the way I like it………………..ask a question that may lead to the opening of a door.


Here’s the deal, most breeder have a certain number of females to breed from and that’s what will get bred.


That’s a fact that no one will argue with.


So let’s consider the different type of breeders out there.


We need not go over the “one-trick pony” breeder…………..those with just 1 or 2 females because that’s all they have to breed…………..good or “not so good” that’s what they will breed and produce yet another generation of whatever it is they have.


There are those with a small kennel of 4 or 5 brood bitches (breeding age females), there are those intermediate breeders with 6 to 12 brood bitches and then there are the big breeders with 13 to only the Shadow knows how many more breeding females they may have.


So for all of those mentioned above, those will be the females that will produce their litters, be it the best or not so best! Of course when they advertise, they say they breed their best which may well be the truth……………..but again, compared to what?


How does anyone really know how good those breeding dogs are because just bragging they are the “best” is meaningless because they could also be “not the best”!


A very different picture emerges with Chambray’s Selective Breeding Program as there are well over 100 breeding age females to choose from to produce the next generation of “better”. Each of those females were evaluated as top show quality as puppies coming from top show quality sires and dams themselves.Those top show puppies were all placed with owners that took the time to research and compare what different breeders were offering and those owners came to the conclusion that there was a difference…………..the Chambray difference being explained here.


Each Chambray top quality puppy produced supplements the rich pool of dogs to choose from later as adults to perpetuate the “Breeding the Best to the Best” Chambray Selective Breeding Program. Through our 44 years of involvement in all aspects of Labrador Retrievers, all of these top show quality females in the program are considered as candidates to produce the next great generation of superior quality puppies. Less than 10% of those considered will actually be called upon to pass on their great qualities. That’s 10 to 12 litters a year co-produced from over 135 available top show quality females that are in Chambray’s Owners Programs.


Now, that’s a selective breeding program with no equals, no parallels……..not even close.


The other breeders?…………………..remember they only can breed what they have on hand, be it the best or in most case “whatever they have”. So what is produced is a perpetuation of whatever is on hand.


I hope that answers the inquiring mind question…………………………there is the best and then there are the rest claiming to be whatever is left.

March 1st 2014

There Is A Better Way



“An Educated Consumer Makes Our Very Best Dog Owner”……………..I don’t know how many times I have written that slogan on email replies, information articles and at my website pages…………way too many to even remember when I first started using the passage.


For years I have thought and pondered how to best get across the one-of-a-kind Labrador Retriever programs that Chambray Labradors offers.


How we only breed for the very best, from the very best to produce the very best……………….and then we do our very best to place those new puppies with new people that appreciate what it takes to operate this avant garde system of “passing it forward” from one generation of success to the next generation produced………………….by incorporating all those new owners as part of the process.


Just following the above paragraph and understanding it seems like a major hurdle to jump over.


My strategy in making our unique owners/breeders network understood is to provide as much information as possible………………….problem with that is that the majority of folk searching for a new addition to their family only know how the

“run of the mill” system works:


  • Someone wants a puppy now.

  • They do an Internet search for “puppies”

  • They find listings and listings of “Puppies For Sale” sites

  • They order the puppy sight unseen.

  • They receive a puppy


This “presto” way of obtaining a puppy has been the “American way” for generation after generation of puppy buyers……………………..most don’t want to know that a better way exists…………….a way of superior quality and unimaginable amenities and services that come with the product, not to mention warrantees and guarantees not offered by the fly-by-nights, street vendors, online brokers, weekend-only dabblers and all the other amateur/hobby breeders across the good old USA.


“Training comes with the puppy?” asks the awe-struck inquirer

“For free?” again the quizzical response from the uninitiated and then more

“We asked other breeders and they told us they don’t do training!”

“You really offer written guarantees?” they ask and then add

“No one else we talked to does that.”


So, yes there is a totally different way……………….a much better way, the Chambray way.


Since no one else does it the way we do, we can deservedly and honestly say “No one does it better!”

February 28th
Not Knowing Is As Bad As Knowing And Doing It Wrong
The Results Are The Same











The majority of the problems facing the breed comes from far too many “breeders” breeding without any knowledge of the breed!


Here is an oft repeated scenario.


Tessa (made up name of course, I don’t want all the Tessas of the world to go on the war path), she knows of someone that has a neighbor whose sister, LouWanda (made up name again) that lives in a faraway state owns a Labrador Retriever………..she knows that because she is on Facebook all the time and is “friends” with all those that she has never met including her new found friend LouWanda………………….she sees photos of “Brutus” the lovable giant Lab and she too wants a big black Labrador that she can take anywhere and not be “fearful”, because LouWanda “posts” how she is protected by the big black Labrador.


So, Tessa does a Google search for “cute Labrador puppies”, just like all the other gazillion people do and up comes 3,800,000 listings for Labrador puppies from Assawoman Bay DE to Timbuktu CA, Kalamazoo MI to Yeehaw Junction FL…………………yep and every other nook and cranny place not known to man or woman (Assawoman Bay??????????????Really?????).


So, Tessa’s new black ball of fur arrives at the airport and her excellent adventure begins and then there’s a startling surprise several days later at the first vet visit……………………….she now has to rename the dog because “Manson” her new darling black boy puppy turns out to be missing some vital parts……………………..that’s because he is really a she and now she has to rename him because he isn’t really what she had ordered, but now she is deeply in love with him……………….her that is and there’s no way she is returning her new found her!


Fast forward 18 months and Tessa is about to be part of a delivery of puppies because “Roxy” (alias Manson) was bred to a “real” male Labrador that roams the neighbor looking out for handouts and sure enough the 60 day mark comes and a bundle of “cute as pig's ear” Lab puppies are now being featured on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and hundreds of other media show and tell places that I know absolutely nothing about……………………..which makes me a prehistoric, out of sync social media dinosaur.


So, now there are hundreds of “friends” that want one of Roxy’s and “Mystery Man’s” puppies which by the way now have 52,000 followers.


By the way, Roxy grew up (or maybe didn't grow up) to a whopping 19 inches tall and all of 45 lbs……………but not to worry because Mystery Man is the Shaquille O’Neill of Labradors…………….all 145lbs and tall enough to slam dunk a basketball with one single bound!

February 28th

Other Concerns Besides Bigger








The recent brouhaha about “size and weight” in Labrador Retrievers brought to light a major concern about the state of Labradors………….tongue in cheek I compared that particular state to the state of Florida………………no need to explain the comparison as both “states” seem to go in divergent paths from what other states and breeds follow.


Weekly if not daily I field questions about what I feel are areas of concern with the breed and for years I have been harping about the following short list…………………….there are others, but let’s just cover these items with this blog:


Size & Weight ~ let’s not beat a dead horse here since there are still fires burning with this issue all over the country and the world as well, and much has been covered in recent blogs below, so let’s just say this is an area of huge concern.


Coat ~ In the move for “more and bigger is better”…………….with recent consensus decidedly saying “NOT”………….coat has swung to as high as the pendulum will swing. There is no way that it can get thicker, longer, and fuller without more of a humongous price being paid. Already we are seeing open coats being accepted as being correct by breeders and judges alike! Making that wrongness even worse looking is the “grooming” of such a wrong coat by blowing drying it backwards to make it stick out even more! No longer is there the traditional twizzle at the end of the tail, rather a large rounded bottle-brush look has replaced the correctness of the “bound around” Ottertail!

George Bragaw (legend and true giant of Labrador Retrievers) once said to me, “If when looking at a Labrador it reminds you of another breed, then that dog no longer represents the breed it is supposed to be”. Maybe in my younger year’s mind I didn’t fully comprehend the fullness of the message………………..I certainly do now!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looking at some of the current dogs being shown at dog shows………………..their oversize and long, thick coats remind me of Newfoundlands.


Cowhocks ~ talking about doing bad things to a dead horse! This area of concern concerns me tremendously! As a house builder, I was given a blue print to follow and then there were inspectors that would oversee that the work was done to code and done correctly. Of course the owners of the built house were the final “judges” of a job well done. In building/breeding Labradors there is a blueprint to be followed that is very specific. Whereas a house blueprint only details what is to be done, the breed standard in Labradors goes further in describing what is not to be done…………………..it covers what are “serious structural defects” and cowhocks are specifically mentioned in that passage as follows:Cowhocks are serious structural defects and are to be faulted.


*As a house builder, if I were to deviate from the master plan and construct something that was considered a “serious structural defect”, I probably would have been issued some serious fines, more than likely would have had to forfeit my license and deservedly been driven out of business by the bad press! However in Labradors it has become perfectly ok to breed dogs with “serious structural defects” and have it being accepted as if it the correct thing to do.


Short of Leg ~ The breed standard details certain proportions such as the length of leg, so written that it really gives no room for choosing A, B or C. It’s the right way or the wrong way! The following is the exact line from the breed standard:

Distance from the elbow to the ground should be equal to one half of the height at the withers.

This means that the elbow is half the height of the dog, so that half the dog’s height is below the elbow and the other half goes from the elbow to the top of the withers. There is no ambiguity in that simple sentence………………no room at all for anyone that has any sense at all. So, how does a bona fide breeder of any repute justify producing dogs with extreme short upper arms that make the dictum of the breed standard so different than what they are breeding? This is as simple as simple gets………………..to be of the right proportions, the middle of the elbow is the lower half way mark and the distance from there to the withers is the higher half way mark…………….anything not adhering to that passage is WRONGLY BUILT!

If when looking at a Labrador, it reminds you of another breed, then it no longer is the breed it is supposed to be! The dog to the left is supposed to be a Labrador Retriever.

What do you think?

February 26th 2014


The One & Only Florida


Collaboration in every breed is a long-established tradition in the show dog world. The operative word here is “world”………….as all over the world and of course the good old USA, which is also part of the world.


So throughout all that expanse folk get together for the betterment of their individual breeds and at times pool their resources to forge ahead. Sure there is head-to-head competition by their dogs and well-known kennels for points and for bragging rights, however when the need arises within the breed, working in concert is the modus operandi.


Somehow, there is a region of that big world that doesn’t follow suit in any endeavor, be it presidential elections, dog show etiquette and in many other areas of social order/disorder. Time and time again we have witnessed how things in Florida just don’t add up at times. Conjectures about this anomaly range from too much sun, too much fun………………..too much spirits, too much “yerba Buena” or other excesses of too much much.


So, what’s the newest orneriness that sets the sunny state apart from the beat of the normal drummer?


The building of majors in the Labrador ring! Heaven forbid that a dozen or so owners/breeders/exhibitors/handlers get together and plan to build a major at an agreed upon venue that would allow many of their dogs the opportunity to at least have a chance to compete for the much needed major points and hopefully have the best dog for the day win and finish their AKC championship!


Just last week at the Lakeland shows the Flat Coat Retriever community held a supported entry show and twice as many dogs were entered for Saturday’s efforts than were entered for either Friday or Sunday’s shows. So the entries went from 20+ each day to over 50 at the “let’s support the breed” show.


The West Palm Beach shows come March 8/9 will field back-to-back majors in Labradors through the concerted effort of many owners/exhibitors that will benefit greatly by bringing out their dogs that have been pointed out and need a major or 2 to win their AKC title.


Already a few of the cat callers and hooters are messing in their litter boxes, diapers, outhouses or wherever else such denizens go to eliminate their loads. The good thing is that the din has gotten dimmer from this sector of chronic complainers. It now appears that the majority seems to now be free of the choke hold held by the few for so long.


Things have changed and for a change, that’s a good thing. There is a change in the air, a fresh change, one for the good for a change!


No longer is the one banging the loudest banging anything and the few that followed no longer have anyone to follow…………….so the haranguing is at a minimum and maybe, just maybe the sunny state will indeed be sunny by joining the rest of the world in doing the right thing most of the time.


The cooperation in West Palm is a start, the real proof will be in the next presidential election!

February 25th 2014

"Bigger" & "Better" Things Coming Up













There are some things that are “better” if they are “bigger”, of course we know from the latest media “flare-up” and from my blog

follow-ups that there are other subjects that are “bigger” and certainly not “better”!


So now that I started off this blog with a tongue and brain twister……let’s just forge ahead with positivity, not look back at “weighty” subjects and head in the right direction for a change.


This brings me to the matter at hand………………all the excitement "building" up to the West Palm Beach dog show weekend coming on March 8th and 9th.


Talk about BIGGER!


Sportscaster Keith Jackson would really have a field day yelping out his famous callout “Whoa Nelly”!


Yep, the WPB shows promise to be a “Really Big Show” as Ed Sullivan would open up the monologue to his famous TV variety show.


In this case, the “not so famous” Sandy Herzon went all out with entries by the Chambray dogs and a “really big show” is on the menu for West Palm Beach. Of course I am sitting on pins and needles hoping that this “bigness” turns into “betterness”!


Of the 60+ Labradors entered each day, 27 will be part of our handling roster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Plus another 3 or 4 Chambray-related dogs will be there handled by other capable hands.


“What?” say ye and every other person with clear headed forethought. Did I go raving mad putting together the “biggest” Chambray lineup ever at a dog show? What was I thinking? Does "tar and feathering" follow suit? How about a straitjacket to keep the flaying to a minimum and set me on a straighter path?


Let me plead my case here before the jury decides on a lynching.


We need major-pointed shows and they have been almost impossible here in Florida in the last 3 or 4 years. There are about a dozen or so dogs, Chambray and other breeder/owner/exhibitor/handler Labradors needing these majors to finish out their AKC championship. A concerted effort was launched by those concerned and affected breeders, owners, exhibitors and handlers to “build” a major at this weekend of shows.


Building a major calls for entering as many dogs as are competitive in order to reach the magic number that is needed for the designation. In Florida, Labradors need 19 class males and 24 class females for a major to be had in each gender.The collaboration worked as there are 27 class males and 27 class females slated for the WPB shows each day!


So, “bigger” is better in this case. There are majors each day for males and females, giving those dogs that are pointed-out a chance to attain the needed points to champion out! Of course now those dogs must be the Winners Dog or Winners Bitch each of those days to accomplish their goals.


For Chambray, we have 2 males:

  • Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter (17 pts 1 mj) &

  • Shady Banks Chambray Ti (14 pts 1 mj) both needing one of those wins and they can add to the Labrador Florida state record of home-bred champions now sitting at 38*


  • A 3rd dog, Chambrays Stellar Thunder also has a chance of finishing at WPB with 1 Winners Dog award as he has 11 points and 1 major..................there are enough class males (27) for a 4-pt major which would give him the needed 15 points and 2 majors for his championship.


*#38 our newest champion Ch Chambrays Mean Green Josephine winning 2 of those major-pointed Winners Bitch awards last weekend in Hattiesburg MS.


*#37 was achieved last month at the tough Florida Winter Circuit with Chambrays Miracle On The Meadow winning back-to-back 3-pt majors with Winners Dog awards, actually finishing his championship with 3 major-pointed shows to is credits.


Besides these top dogs, there are others in our lineup craving for major-pointed wins as they have already obtained the lesser points (9) and now just need a couple of majors to finish as well.


Adding to the excitement are the puppies of 2013 with 10 of them clamoring for the judge’s attention, including one that already has won 4 shows and sports 6 points to his resume.


Also in our roster of dogs that can attain higher level titles are the “specials” that compete for Best Of Breed.

  • Ch Chambrays First N Counter “Gavi” with 24 points, 3 Majors and 3 Wins Over Competition, needs just 1 more Grand Champion point to earn her AKC Grand Champion title.


  • Gr Ch Summithill Joshua’s Battle Of Jericho could very well go over the top for his Bronze Grand Champion title with a couple of Grand Champion Selects, BOS or 1 Best Of Breed.


Plus new Ch Chambrays Mean Green Josephine and Ch Chambrays Miracle On The Meadow debuting as brand new “specials” in the Best Of Breed completion. 


Joining those champions for the Best Of Breed competition will be our other specials, Bronze Grand Ch WinQuest Chambray Reaching For The Stars “Jake” and Grand Ch Chambrays The Count De Monet “Moe”.


We also are expecting a huge Chambray gathering of owners that will be rooting for the home team, in addition to dozens of prospective new owners that I have invited to come watch Chambray in action and also meet our dogs and owners.


All in all, we have Great Expectations for this awesome "bigger" than most outing. Hopefully this "bigger" will be much "better"!

February 23rd 2014

More On The More Issue


“Can you state that your dogs have not evolved with more substance since you first started with Labradors?


"It’s hard to have a “last say” on anything when the topic of conversation keeps on revolving back to the “same ol, same ol”.


I guess I have had my fill, but the populace is still hungry for one more filling! So, here we go with seconds on the house.




There has been an “evolution” of sorts over the years, but it has not been to “bigger is better”. Over all the same size and weight of the dogs of the late 1980’s……………………however with each succeeding generation produced since then, there has been improvement in areas that needed it.


The foundation bitch responsible for our current 10th generation of Chambray dogs came with excellent type, bone and excellent coat. That was a package that came from great foundation lines from Ebonylane Labradors from Canada. Her expression was very soft and I decided on an outcross to the most influential import dog ever, Receiver of Cranspire to hopefully infuse the stronger head type that this dog could pass on.In the lone breeding in 1990 I had with her and the Receiver-lined male, there were 9 puppies and 3 exhibited the bolder look of Receiver. *Take note that this was not “bigger is better” situation, it was more of shoring up a weak link.


The top pick female from the above litter, displaying the stronger head piece from Receiver and yet the great type and coat from Ebonylanes finished her AKC championship in 12 quick shows with all majors. The Receiver-lined male brought with him a slight weakness in the rear, so a linebreeding back to the Ebonylane lines was made because those rears were admirable. A great litter of puppies was produced in 1992, with the majority of those exhibiting the best of both worlds. One male puppy went on the finish quickly and ended up top ranked in the country (#9) and made the final cut at Westminster in 1995.


The top show female from the litter up above was selected to perpetuate the great qualities produced in that 3rd generation breeding. Movement was not a real big issue in those days, however I had marveled at some of the dogs coming from Monarch’s Black Arrogance “Gunner” and I made the decision to do an outcross from my existing “good looking” lines to a grandson of “Gunner” who could cover ground like no other dog in Florida.That breeding produced a stellar female puppy named Chancey…………….Ch Chambrays Chisholm Chancey to be exact! Best moving dog from 1999 to 2001 in these parts and yet one of the typiest as well. Best Of Breeds and Group Placements like no other Chambray dog had experienced. Mission accomplished with bringing in great movement and also the type of dog that the judges valued.


So, far we have traveled from 1988 to 2001 and there is no exaggerations in size, bone, coat, heads………………..maintaining what the standard was calling for. So bigger was certainly not better at that point in the journey.


Chancey was distant line-bred back to the Receiver lines using the Dickendall lines (founded on Receiver). A litter of 3 girls was produced and all three “out moved” everything in the Florida dog shows from 2002 to 2004, all three dominated the wins in that span of time and each finished easily and each made their presence known.


Their type and movement was overwhelming. One of them, BISP Ch Chambrays Chance N Counter "Connie", would win 2 Best In Show Puppy awards and finish out her championship by taking Chambray’s first ever 5-Point Major over 51 females that day.


Ch Chambrays Twist Of Fate would set a Best Of Breed record for Chambray with 15 in one year propelling her to the Top 25 and receiving Chambrays first-ever invitation to the Eukanuba National Championships in 2005.


The 3rd puppy in the litter Ch Chambrays Mad About Madeline would eventually top the Best Of Breed record by a Chambray-bred dog with 17 (lifetime) and would reach top national ranking status. She too would make it to Eukanuba and also to Westminster.


Connie was chosen to continue the Chambray lines by selecting a male to breed her to with excellent type so an outcross to the English import, Langshott Gale Force From Kimvalley ,“Garry” lines. The breeding was arranged to tightened up the type and in 2007, Connie and BIS Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan” (Garry grandson) produced an exceptional litter where 3 out of the 4 puppies went on to dominate the Florida landscape………………each of those 3 puppies would excel at the AKC venues with quick championships, all 3 took UKC Best In Shows and each won International Best In Shows as well. All 3 ended up as triple registry champions.


Connie’s 2nd litter with Hogan produced a stellar litter of 5 females with 4 of those having great show careers. One of those female puppies was bred to a distant Receiver male and they produced an exceptional litter producing 2 champions from that litter and one of those puppies going on to become Florida’s 2nd home-bred Best In Show winner (Hogan was Florida’s first-ever Labrador BIS winner). That puppy would become Florida’s most decorated Labrador ever, BIS BBE Silver/Bronze Grand Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter…………..Ranked #1 Female Labrador USA 2012…….Select Grand Ch Eukanuba 2013…………Best Labrador Retriever Purina Breeder’s Showcase 2013…………….32 Best Of Breeds…………..14 Group Placements.



All these dogs achieved these accomplishments over a period of 26 years 9 generations and still the dogs remain moderate-boned, medium sized, correct coat as described by the standard, great moving sporting dogs as intended by the founders of the breed and dictated by the passages of the blue print for the Labrador Retriever.


I know as sure as I am enjoying the evolution to correctness that my Chambray lines have enjoyed throughout all these years of involvement with the breed, that there will be detractors for whatever reason…………………….but there is no arguing whatsoever with the winning record that these generations of dogs have posted in Florida and neighboring states.


Just this weekend another homebred Chambray female took 2 Major-Pointed shows in Mississippi to finish her AKC championship, adding to the already out of distance state record of 38 champions (2nd place is way back in the teens). This was a Connie granddaughter.


So to answer the burning question, no to “bigger” and yes to “better”…………………..for the Betterment of the Breed within the Breed Standard.

February 23rd 2014

Makes Perfect $ense To Me


From time to time I will post a very relevent response or query that addresses an importnat issue. I have received an inordinant amount of feedback from the "more is better" syndrome that the breed is currently going through. Here is one from one person's perspective.


You just identified a major problem in this “sport”.


Yes, every sport has its flaws or issues when you get to the nitty-gritty… but you just exposed me to a major issue in dog showing… “Breeder Judges”.


That should NOT be allowed. Too much bias can be asserted here. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but when it comes to conformation there is one rule book. Maybe because I am new to this and so naïve that I don’t understand or that there is a lot of money involved, but the AKC needs to rein this in.


This reminds me of when the home team gets preferential treatment it’s called “home cooking”.


Where in professional sports have you seen an owner become a referee?


I work in local Government and see at lower levels how entities get their way… this smacks as “lobbyists”.


I hear you in your blogs that something needs to be done and our voices need to be heard. I wish there was a way that we could have a bigger voice to be heard and shake the judging up to make a difference. Maybe we need to start an online petition like the White House website has that if enough signatures are tallied it has to be addressed. Maybe I should get my cousin at slimmdoggy.com to start one!


Enjoy your weekend.


February 22nd 2014

And That's The Way It Is


In response to all the emails, calls and personal conversations I have had in the last week or so regarding the “More is Better………..which really isn’t” situation with Labrador Retrievers, I offer the following as my last word on the subject.


For 44 years I have had a privileged love affair with Labrador Retrievers. When I encountered the breed for the very first time back in 1970, I knew that this was the dog for me……………………that considering that I was a wet-behind-the-ears whippersnapper barely the legal age limit. They were the perfect breed then and they are the perfect breed today.


There has been no need to change, alter, arrange, re-arrange or make better in any way………………………..they are as “better as can be” as they are.


When I state that everything I do with Labradors is for the betterment of the breed, I mean just that…………..every decision I make about breeding, raising, training, conditioning, placing and showing is done with doing what’s best to preserve the great breed of dog that it is.


For as long as I am able, I will continue to pay homage to Labrador Retrievers by doing the right thing with them and by them.There is absolutely no reason to make them bigger, bonier, hairier, bolder……………..nor more massive, nor with greater heads, nor with tons of dripping coat galore…………………………none of that will make the dogs better……………………………..none of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Regardless of the trend by breeder judges to reward the “more is better” syndrome…………………….I will continue to hold steadfast and do the right thing for the betterment of the breed and hold sacred the breed standard that calls for a medium-sized dog with moderate bone………………………short dense harsh to the feel coat……………………………well-muscled, shown in working condition……………………with the operative word found throughout the breed standard descriptive of athletic………………that’s A-T-H-L-E-T-I-C which is the total opposite of ponderous, cumbersome, overweight, out of shape.


So, to repeat, regardless of how the judging goes…………………..as unfavorable as it may get by those judges that do not prize the way the dogs should be………………………..the Chambray dogs will continue to represent the breed standard.


And that's the way it is the 22nd day in February of 2014.

February 20th 

Get The Point?




“You advertise that your dogs have won at 78 straight weekends of dog shows, doesn’t everyone that shows dogs win when they show their dogs?” another incredulous inquirer asks.


It all depends on what you consider a “win”.


If just arriving at the show grounds is a win for some, then they are winners in their own minds. If the criteria for a win is a simple first place from the class the dog shows in, then I guess those folk can lay claim to being a “winner”.


I know of a show breeder/exhibitor that boasts and brags about “winning” a Reserve Winners Dog award. Well, in her eyes she is a “winner”.


So as the old saying goes “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”…………….obviously so too is what some blokes consider what a win is…… so I offer the following to be added to the Herzonisms of past blogs………. For those that don’t get the point, “Winning is in the eye of the delusional”. In the real world of showing dogs “winning” is only applied to those that actually win POINTS!


Now there are many types of points to be won, so let me lay down the gauntlet for those with fairy tale dreams.


Winners Dog/ Winners Bitch Points – these are won by class dogs competing against other class dogs. The points won are assigned by the AKC according to their Point Schedule for each region of the country. A dog or bitch can win 1 point or up to 5 points according to how many dogs it defeats. Which means that only 1 male class dog and 1 female class bitch will be “winners” for that show. Those other dogs and bitches that did not win points in essence are losers for the day and no matter how much a breeder/exhibitor claims to have won anything……………….they didn’t. This includes the Reserve Winners Dog and the Reserve Winners Bitch………………they won no points, thus they are not considered to have won anything. A class dog needs 15 of these points with 2 of the shows won being of the 3, 4 or 5 point value to achieve their championship. These points carry over from year to year until either the dog titles and becomes champion or no longer shows and retires with those points to their credit, in which case it can be noted as being “champion pointed”.


Best Of Breed Points – These points are “won” by the dog or bitch that is awarded the Best Of Breed award. A point is won for every dog, male and female that competed that day. A class dog (non-champion) can win these points as well as the champions that are competing for them. These points accumulate towards a year’s worth of national ranking of the Top 25.


All Breed Points – Once a dog wins a Best Of Breed, it earns the right to compete in the Sporting Groups. There are 4 placements in this competition of different breeds. The dog winning first place is the Group 1 winner and it receives a point for every dog of every breed in that group that competed for the day. A dog winning 2nd place is awarded a Group II and it receives a point for every dog from every breed less the dogs from the Group 1 breed. A Group III and a Group IV each winning a 3rd and a 4th place are awarded a point from each dog of every breed they in turn defeated, not including the dog that won a Group placement ahead of them.


Grand Champion Points – After a dog achieves the 15 points and 2 majors for its AKC championship, it then enters a new point system to earn its Grand Champion’s title. Starting from scratch, it must win 25 points, 3 majors and 3 wins against other champions for it 1st title of Grand Champion. From there with those 25 points, the dog can go for the Bronze Grand Championship by winning 75 more points (total of 100)……………….a total of 200 will earn the Silver…………….400 the Gold and 600 the Platinum.


So, now to answer your specific question about the Chambray dogs having won points at 78 straight weekend of dog shows, spanning now 2012, 2013 and through each show weekend in 2014…………unlike others that claim to have landed on the moon………………….at each and every one of those 78 weekends of dog showing actual, real………………..like in you can count them points were won………………….Winners Dogs, Winners Bitch, Best Of Breed, All-Breed, Grand Champion, Bronze and Silver…………………..a record that no other Labrador Retriever breeder can lay claim to and then provide the proof in the pudding.


These points are the real deal AKC verifiable points…………………………….although Chambray also dominates the International venues as well as the Florida UKC shows, these are not counted into the 78 weekends of winning…………………..only AKC points are valid on a world class basis.


There are among our competitors those that may go a whole year with nary a point to be made, others show up with a motley crew weekend in and weekend out and may tally a point here and not there. In reality that is par for the course for the vast majority because there is no other Labrador entity posting the numbers…………………….currently 78 to be exact and before this record, Chambray had posted 51 straight winning weekends……………there was only 1 non-winning weekend between those numbers.


Winning is winning and anything else……………well, you know you either get the “point” or you don’t!








February 19th 2014

​More Is Not Better For The Betterment of the Breed

Rebels up in arms, hooting and hollering…………………the Hatfields at the top of one hill and the McCoys sitting pretty on the other mound…………………………folks lining up on one side of the fence or the other depending on the weight………………..perceived excess by some or blinded by the light and not seen by others……………….around and around we go and where the merry go round stops, no one knows.


Many of the communications asking “what can be done about it” while a few thinking more along the lines of laissez faire (do nothing)!


I have given my opinions and suggestions……not just now to be politically correct since there are so many on the bandwagon clamoring for attention…………………………..no, I have been on the end of the cat calls, name calling and trashing for my observations and concerns that the breed has been careening out of control for some two decades.


Taking a stand (right or wrong) comes at a price and I know too well what my outspokenness has cost me………………….on more than one occasion at dog shows where the anointed one…….the queen for a day, the judge chosen to do the honors…………………….those of the “more is better” leanings have cast a less than benevolent glare in my direction and as sure as the sun rises in the east…….on that given day my exhibits were not the flavor of the day!


Along that arduous road I had hope that others would band for a common cause……………..the Betterment of the Breed………………….however in reality, my calls to arms seemed to have fallen on muffled ears.


An overwhelming majority seemed to agree with my assertions, but none were willing to stand tall and be counted. Like a pendulum that swings way to one side, there is that moment when it can no longer continue to move in that directions and come back it must………………….and folks we have reached that point with Labradors and those that are breeding them.


The national/world spotlight has forced the hand here and brought to the surface what has been lurking around with not many to call attention to the plight. The curtains have been pulled back and everyone connected to the breed is adding their two cents worth and as I stated in the previous blog……………………..cents and dollars is what will cause an effect.  If enough people speak their mind………………….now that it is politically correct to do so with so many chiming in………………………….this is the Boston Tea Party moment for Labradors with an impetus at hand.


Keep the clamoring, the rabble rousing, and the heat on those that it counts to in dollars and cents. Speak your mind to club members and to the AKC club delegate about the type judges that need to be hired for the shows in the future. This is the first wave of making a difference. If dogs that are ponderous, overweight, out of shape and don’t adhere to the breed standard are treated as such at the dog shows with poor placements and others are dismissed for lack of type………………….then those breeding those dogs will be forced to take a long look at their produce and do something about it.


Once that ripple starts, the pendulum will begin its arc back towards the norm, towards what it should be….moderation………………..a step in the right direction for the Betterment of the Breed.

February 18th 2014
Well-Deserved Firestorm Across The Country



I have been sounding the alarm for over 25 years, however one picture was worth the thousands and thousands of words that I have spoken and written!


All across the country there is a negative ground swell of epic proportions about the state of Labrador Retrievers. For once there is a state more talked about than Florida and that state is the sad state of Labrador Retrievers.


Blogs are lighting up like Christmas trees, forums are running rampant and the talk of the town is all about………………….fat, out of shape Labradors! There has been coverage about the topic on TV and newspaper articles and all it took was the massive exposure that the Westminster Dog Show provides for dog lovers and dog show aficionados alike.


What’s all the raucous about? It seems that the gentry is up in arms about the plight of the breed…………….specifically the deviation from the breed standard where the recent winners at the big daddy canine event at Madison Square Gardens seemed to go beyond the descriptive set up by the supreme keepers of the breed, the AKC and the parent club for the breed the Labrador Retriever Club (LRC).


A very popular website/blog is making comparisons with the winners from the late 90’s to that of the recent big ribbon winners of today and the difference is measured in pounds………………way more luggage being sported by those dogs that were recently awarded the highest placement for the breed at the Big Apple venue than the dogs that were victors a short 15 years ago.


Sound familiar?


Well it should if you have been a regular or even a once-in-a-while type of visitor to Chambray Labradors. I have been banging the drum load and clear about the direction that the breed was taking with the awarding of championships to dogs that were so far out of bounds that there seems to be several separate breeds in the Labrador ring at dog shows.


It seems that all these years I have been the sound of one tree falling in the forest and yet with one fell swoop the recent Westminster dog show blew the gasket off the steamer pot. With just one photo posted at the AKC site, the calls are load and clear and they are coming from all parts, including from the higher authority-types.


This past weekend judges at the Lakeland dog shows were talking about it and some shared their interests and concerns with me. Several lauded my efforts in breeding fit, athletic dogs that depict the breed standard. I have heard from owners, breeders, exhibitors, handlers and even bystanders that have a real concern for the developments that seem to have drastically changed the breed.


Yes, there is a dramatic departure from the written breed standard where people are using their own descriptions to fit their needs. Over and over I keep reading and hearing “Big Boned”, “Block Head”, “Thick Full Coat”, “Dripping With Coat”, “Heavy Muscled”.


Nowhere in any breed standard, be it across the pond, the good ole USA, Mexico or parts further south is there any mentioned of big boned, black head, thick full coat, dripping with coat, heavy muscled or any of these idiotic appendages being draped on the breed.What you do read, if any of the breeders of overdone dogs bother to read is words and passages such as MODERATE, ATHLETIC, MEDIUM-SIZED, SHORT DENSE STRAIGHT COURSE TO THE FEEL COAT, WELL-MUSCLED WITHOUT FAT.


But why bother reading or following the official dictum when those same breeders that have gone where no man/woman has gone before with the breed are the same ones doing the judging that awards the Best Of Breeds and the championships to those wayward from the standard dogs.


But hey, enough belly-aching and on to possible solutions. Everyone complains and gripes in hushed tones because they are afraid to being singled out. Not many will stand up and actually voice their concerns where it really matters. Well…………………….stand up………………..let others know how you feel……………do something about it!


Of course you all know that homey doesn’t play that tune……………I tell it like it is and I tell it to anyone that will listen.


Start off my telling those that run the clubs and are responsible for hiring the judges that you won’t support those judges that don’t judge according to the breed standard. If enough people sound off, it begins to make sense/cents! Shows are dependent on your entries………….your money speaks volumes! Take notes of those judges that have a total disregard of what this breed is all about, let the clubs know how you feel. Take a few confederates with you when expressing your concerns to those running the clubs…………numbers have a way of speaking with amplitude. Protests in number gets the desired effect pronto fast. 


If enough speak up, change will be effected………………that’s the American way.

More Feb 11th

Another Evaluation Bites The Dust


The email came in introducing herself as a beginner “show” breeder, having bred what she considered her first contribution to the “betterment of the breed”. Oh, she had been breeding what she termed “home companion” quality, but now she had bred her “investment” in a show dog with one of the “top dogs in the country” and she wanted to be able to select the top show quality puppy from her first-ever show litter to show herself to become champions…………………her own bred-by champions!


I remember well trekking through the same paths way back when Al Gore had yet to invent the Internet. Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end………………..and yet here we are, quite lost without the world wide web at our fingertips.


Yes, I too took those same steps with my first acquisition of a dog from one of the “known” breeders of the day. I too envisioned “winners” from my very first litter………………..puppies that I could show and make them my first “bred-by” champions.


Great expectations die hard……………….and so did those first dreams I had of glory. So too with thousands of others…………………however, there is a first step with any and all endeavors and the majority that take on the journey will also experience less than desired results.


She arrived with her litter in tow, all seven puppies in a large cardboard box for the fateful evaluation…………..this a professional service I provide to those seeking expertise on all matters concerning the breed.


In order to project were a 7 week old puppy is headed, there needs to be a history of where it came from. Nowhere is the premise that the fruit doesn’t fall too far from the tree more apparent than in the breeding of show dogs. Diamonds in the rough do not apply to this fancy……………………..nothing good comes from something bad is a good operative to follow. Great puppies do not come from mediocre parents.


So, for any evaluation to be worth the time spent on it, there needs to be some knowledge of the sire and dam and their background as well.


Before me was a cute bunch of furry white puppies, 7 weeks old and between 7 to 8 lbs each. Their dam came from an unknown breeder without show credentials………………………………..not one dog from that kennel had ever won a single point………………probably had never ever been to a show.


Looking at the 5 generation pedigree, the first dogs with champion titles were found on the last line, the 5th generation! Most in the 2nd and 3rd generation had no kennel names…………………..more than likely, someone’s pets at best and mass produced at worst.


The so called “top dog in the country”………………………had a UKC champion’s title and was ranked #5 with that organization…………………………….although a great activity (UKC) that I highly recommend all my owners to get involved with……………………totally worthless in the world of conformation value!


So, by now all my readers know where this blog is going because the evaluation process was going nowhere pronto fast. Yes, another “let’s kill the messenger moment” for little old me!


At times the truth hurts, but better now than much later………………….but like the proverbial horse that was led to water and not a sip did it take………..so too are people that just can’t see, can’t hear nor can get it!


Away drove yet another evaluation gone bad because the goods just were not good enough and the ones holding them do not have enough savvy, expertise and knowhow to know what they have gotten themselves into. 

February 11th

Seeing The Future


Winning a Best In Show with one our Chambray-bred dogs was absolutely the greatest thrill to experience from my 44 years of involvement with Labrador Retrievers……………………..now add another Best In Show and the exclamation point is large and bold, punctuating a show career that very few in the country can equal or better. Those lifetime thrills came with BIS Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff {Hogan} in 2008 and then the deja vous moment was to occur again in 2012 with BIS Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter {Kika}.

As a breeder, owner, exhibitor and handler nothing comes close to the exhilaration of that singular Best In Show accomplishment…………………………however there is another stellar moment that comes close and this one has nothing to do with winning a gargantuan BIS rosette………………..this has to do with pride and joy and once again very few breeders get to savor this as I do……..this has more to do with seeing the future with the debut of the newest produce of puppies at the International shows.

For Chambray, the International venue has become the proving grounds for our newest class of puppies to determine which ones has what it takes to go further in the show dog world. Just this past weekend the best puppies from 2013 congregated at the Deland FL ICE International Shows. 4 shows in 2 days gives us the opportunity to meet up with those top show pick puppies that were specially placed with new & existing Chambray owners that appreciate our efforts at producing the very best for the betterment of the breed.

So just how did those 12 specially chosen puppies representing 5 different litters and 2 adult dogs do at the Internationals shows………………………..how does winning 3 Best In Show Puppy awards and 3 Best In Show Adult sound?

For me, that is sweet music to hear and a major pride and joy event that only winning an AKC Best In Show can bring. Seeing the outstanding quality that is now a tradition for Chambray guarantees yet another successful generation of future AKC champions.

More February 6th

When Less Equals More


The topics of the emails I receive run the full spectrum of subjects having to do with Labradors. One recurring theme has to do with the different types of Labrador breeders. I have covered this subject in countless articles and also blogs. However the following offering comes with one of my twisted logics.


Let’s eliminate 98% of those that churn out the masses of dogs seen everywhere but at dog shows, let’s only deal with the itsy bitsy teeny weeny numbers that breed for show.

So, here’s my take on this subject.


*Note: Most lists of anything are done in 3’s, 5’s or 10’s…………………I present a list of 7.


  1. Big Breeder Operations ~ These are the real big names that are tossed around as the “who’s who” of the fancy. They produce top show quality puppies from the top producing stud dogs that they own or that they breed out to. Their puppies are highly priced, thus the price reflects the demand. 8 week old puppies usually start out at $4500 and that doesn’t guarantee a top pick from the litter. Those select “breeder’s picks” are either kept, as in “keep the best and sell the rest” or they are placed out on co-ownerships with other top show kennels. Most of these “top breeders” may have an arsenal of top pedigreed brood bitches alongside of their top show females to produce enough puppies to supply the rampant demand. The majority of these breeders send out their top show dogs with the “known” professional handlers all over the country. On any given weekend, their kennel names will show up in show catalogs from sea to shining sea……………….appropriately winning by the quality of the dogs, quantity of dogs being shown country-wide and of course professional handler recognition. A true winning medley. Nationwide there are about 20-30 of this type. There are very few that overlap any given area, but quite a few can be found in the northeast. These post big numbers in wins with big numbers of dogs produced.

  2. Mid-Level Breeders ~ Again, very recognizable kennel names as the previously mentioned types, just on a smaller scale with not as far reaching country-wide placements. Most of their best produce is kept close to be able to co-breed back into their lines. Price is guarded (in the range of the big operators) because the supply is limited, so availability is “keep the best” and “guard the rest” by selling the lesser quality dogs on Limited Registration. If they have a top prospect, more than likely it will be sent out with a professional on a limited basis. These Mid-Level types are spread about the country with about 50 to 100 fitting the bill for this type. They probably average 10 litters a year.

  3. Small Time Breeders ~ Producing very good quality, maybe not as well-known or as highly successful because they may not have the numbers produced to choose from to show and win with. Their kennel names are more recognizable on a regional basis, again because of their limited supply of puppies produced from 1 to 4 litters a year. These are found everywhere in the country and there are upwards of several hundred that comprise this type.

  4. Up-Start Breeders ~ Some of these are up and coming, most tend to fade away after several years. The length of time they are into the fancy depends on the level of success. The level of success is iffy at best for most because their level of quality is not there yet, although from time to time there is a “breakaway” one that seems to ride the coats of their mentors, ensuring them of a longer, maybe more endurable ride. Their kennel names are known on a local basis, mostly within their own states. Most hire local pros to handle their dogs and success comes in sketchy patches. There are always several up-start breeders in every region of the country and they probably number over 100.

  5. Dabbler Breeders ~ These abound in all regions, they make up a large segment of those that breed and show. Very few of these ever make it to be known as top rung “successful”. They can have a few litters or a dozen or more. Their quality is average and they succeed at producing average.

  6. Wannabee Breeders ~ This type also abounds in all regions, they make up about 10% of those that breed and show. Their success level is minimal so they come and go and come again. Their quality is below average at best, so their acclaim is limited to the backslapping they give themselves. For whatever reason, this group just doesn’t get it……..neither in quality or in recognition because of their lack of success.

  7. Chambray Labradors ~ In a realm of our own. There is no other breeding program built around those top quality show dogs placed with owners……………………………..managed to every aspect, including training, conditioning, showing and ultimately for those dogs that truly exemplify the outstanding qualities of the breed……………….to perpetuate the next generation of superior quality puppies by participating in the highly selective breeding program. Almost all the dogs placed are handled by the Herzon family or those that mentor with us. The success level is unprecedented………………..documented for any and all to see. The Winning show percentage is equal to or better than the Big Operator Breeders yet the numbers of litters produced never rises beyond that of the Small Time Breeder’s numbers……………….that’s world class winning with a small number of dogs compared to those producing and placing 10 times as many dogs. 

That's the Chambray story, family operated, small time in numbers, winning big time at the same levels as the "who's who"!

That's how less equals more.




More February 6th
Of Wine, Whine and Winning


Which brings me to the next thought wave………more like shock wave!


Those that whine, moan and complain about Chambray having the most dogs at the dog shows and how we beat our own dogs for the points, thus they say we “win all the time”.


Well, truth be told all the preceding is pretty much true!

That’s what happens when the other blokes don’t enter their dogs at dog shows……………………..that’s what happens when the best dogs are entered, show up and compete against each other and win the points.


Now, here is more truth………………….even if the other blokes entered their dogs, the exact same thing would happen………………………..the best dogs would win the points and those more often than not would be the same dogs that would win the points whether or not there was outside completion……..a conundrum if you will!


Yes, the results would be the same………………………..that’s why there are people that whine and complain…..the old “can’t beat them”, “can’t join them”, so let’s just whine and complain!


So, if you follow along:

  • Chambray dogs are entered at 99% of the regular Florida shows

  • at dogs shows in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia

  • the so-called “tough” Florida Winter Circuit

  • the December Eukanuba/LRC/Orlando with 5 days of shows  


That’s weekend in and weekend out………………..none of this let’s not show because it’s “So & So Judge”.

We show up, we show, we win!

That’s no idle bragging…………………………that’s well-earned Bragging Rights! That’s 77 straight dog show weekends of winning. Starting on January of 2012………………………..all of 2013 and now to February 2014.

Every weekend of shows that we traveled to come sun, rain, ice, whine…………………you name it weather, whining, we endure it.


  • Wins in 7 different states

  • Wins at back-to-back Eukanubas  ~ the 2012 and the Eukanuba 2013.

  • Wins at the 2012 & 2013 & the 2014 Florida Winter Circuit where Wooly Mammoth-coated dogs come from the frigid, iced-in, northern states, all of those dogs descending in search of warmer settings and of course points. Not only have we won at this revered venue three years in a row, we have finished 4 new champions there too……………………..Keep in mind that this was a place where “He can’t win at the Winter Circuit” was chimed in by the habitual chimers…………………now they talk with bitten tongues.

So, now what does the fly on the wall hear? What chorus is being song by those standing at water’s edge not wanting wet feet?

Wait……………………..don’t tell me, I have no time for whine-induced babblings!


On with the show!

Great Expectations

February 6th 2014





Well, here we go again! Another major debuting of our newest contributions to the Betterment of the Breed are about to spread their wings at this weekend’s ICE International shows in Deland FL.

The puppies from 2013 promise to raise the already risen bar to heights for the ages! The proof is in the pudding already with several of the early 2013 litters scoring big with pointed wins, Best Puppy In Show awards and serious placements as soon as they entered the big leagues of showing at the AKC events.

This new bunch going to this weekend’s shows come from the summer and early fall 2013 litters and already the expectations are zenith high.

Although these International style events themselves are not at the same competitive level as we experience at the AKC venues, the Chambray-connected puppies’ individual quality will be exactly what is now seen at the AKC shows. As soon as these puppies reach 6 months old, they will step into the spotlight with a major advantage of having had this weekend's experience under their belt.

Just as we experience little competition at the AKC level, so too happens at these events. From the posted roster up at the ICE website, out of the 16 Labradors entered, only 2 are were not bred by Chambray and even those other dogs listed are connected with our programs. So, although we have no outside competition at these shows, we become our on own stiffest competition as the quality of these puppies is beyond what the vast majority of breeders can field.


With this new group of puppies also comes a new group of owners that will experience for the very first time what a dog show is all about. We hope the experience they will have here is a good one and that all of them would want to continue on at the AKC shows.


Good luck to all.





Making A Point





There is so much being made about making points………………………everyone and their half-step sister that they have never met wants to make a point!


So, what’s the point of this blog? Is it going to be totally pointless, going around in dizzying circles, playing hard to get and not getting to the point right away?


From the first 2 lines above, it probably is starting to get clearer to most that do their best to follow my convoluted logic that a real pointed diatribe seems to be gathering steam here.


So, let’s throw a slab on the grill here and get to the point……………………….sooner or later!

Let’s flip the burgers, toss some seasoning salt around and identifying the differing points to be made. In other words, let's see what the Rock has cooking!


The Menu:


  1. Major Points {3, 4, & 5pts} ~ now that’s getting to the meat and potatoes right on the first kiss at first base! Yep, Major Points are the thing that all dog fanciers yearn after with dogs that are being shown to be an AKC champion. Major Points come in 3 flavors…………………there is the 3-Pt ones that are the “mild” version of the 3……………………then comes the “medium” flavored ones worth 4 points……………………then the real enchilada follows with the full, robust, zingy, zesty, no-holds barred, chock full of nuts, barrel full of fun flavor, the king of the hill, 5 pointer! To become an AKC Champion a dog needs to win a total of 15 points and 2 of these Major Points in any combination of the 3. Of course a dog that earns their 15 points with 2 of the “king of the hill” mucho gusto type will have major braggadocio bragging rights for kingdom come (just love that Italian sounding word)! Me, I will take 2 of the “mild” ones any day and be done with it. Hey, a champion is a champion no matter whether it was accomplished with the mild, medium or the gargantuan types!

  2. 15 Points ~ Ah, we digress back to the slow life and take it easy rounding first going into second here. It takes a total of 15 Points to get to AKC Nirvana! So, now we put together the 2 Major Points from the 1st entree………………….which could be any of the following combinations {3+3), {3+4}, {3+5}, (4+4}, {4+5} and 2 of the “swallow twice or you will choke” 5 points {5+5}……………………………..and the rest of the points needed can come in the smaller portioned, lesser calories entree below.

  3. The Lean and Mean 1 Pointer and the Dieter’s Delight 2 Pts. ~ Ok, remember that it takes 15 total points with 2 majors to celebrate like there is no tomorrow, so we have to fill in the rest of the menu with some of the less fattening types………Let’s say your dog has 2 of the “mild” 3-point garden variety ones……………..well, from grade school comes the knowledge that 9 of the lowered calorized ones will add up to the total of 15 with 2 majors to be able to claim the Golden Fleece. Now for a full course meal with all the fancy vittles that money can buy, can you imagine arriving at the 15 total points with 3 of the Super-sized 5 Pointers…………..wow wee, hog heaven and back!

  4. Insurance Points ~ Having achieved the required fare of 15 points and the 2 majors (minimum), there are those people-types that will continue to show a dog, win a few more points as sort of a hedge fund………….insurance points if you will. This action will cause a few well-earned glares and maybe a bit of trash talking, but heck that’s par for the meal course when it’s every man/woman for themselves………………………gluttony is a better descriptive!

  5. Sand Bagging the points ~ This is when a dog accrues the necessary 15/2 majors, but keeps on showing from the classes in order to preserve (jam and jelly too) a major-pointed show from breaking. It’s considered a “nice act”, where the previously mentioned gluttonous insurance points are considered in “poor taste”.

  6. Counting Points ~ This is the act at ringside where a major can happen if only all the entered players show up to the chow line…………………..someone keeps track of how many dogs need to be present and compete in order to get the rare 3-point major, the really rare 4-point major and of course the so rare that it is raw, 5-point major.

  7. Pointless Points ~ I really, really hate these, leaves a real bad taste in my mouth……………………..I really, really get mad when this happens……………………..temperature and blood pressure are rising just pecking the keyboards right now thinking about these points or better yet, lack of points! Pointless Points are those that could have been a major if and only if all the blokes that entered their dogs would actually make it into the ring with Fido at the end of their leash! This happens a lot with the professional handlers that will “pull” (not like in pulled pork, more like pulling Pooch), like pull their class dogs out of competition if winning Best Of Breed or Best Of Opposite Sex will earn the MAJOR POINTED WIN! What’s even worse is that now a days the pros have convinced the poor schmuck owner/exhibitor to do the same!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am mad as hell and I won’t take it any longer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. In Your Face Points (Major Points by Going Breed or BOS) ~ Ah, now back on my own sea & turf…………..these are the points that I am going to win for all those dogs that are in my management program! These will be won come heck or boiling water……………………………….simmer, sauté, brisque, broil and fry I will show all those dogs entrusted to me by those owners that know that I will go the nine yard smorsgasbord line if there is an aroma of a chance for points to be won………………………and don’t even mention major points being won if going Breed or BOS……………………………….in 2013 the Chambray team did the In Your Face Points 8 different times......................by going Breed or BOS over the champions in the ring!


Get The Point?


So, how do you like your meat cooked?


PS: I guess y'all can tell I'm back!

PSS: From the blog below.....I heard from many Marias that they were glad I did come back!

January 31st

Live & Let Die


For those that have been worried about my recent health cliffhanger……..the cat has used up yet another of the “9 Lives” and it looks like he will purr for a bit longer.




For those asking about the Blogging Off section being idle……..the body is cooperating a little bit more, however the brain process is somewhat foggy and the ideas are not following as usual, so my contributions to this page will probably be lacking until the cobwebs clear.


Rather than posting mindless dribble, I am sure that most that visit this page want cutting edge banter to either agree with me or for the few that disagree to add further to their dossier of why they hate Sandy.


Fortunately, as the years have gone by (especially this last year), the percentage of the last sentence have changed dramatically to something like 95% Love and 5% Hate……………………I say that because before with one “Let’s Trash Sandy” advocate leading a one woman modern day crusade of tar and feathering yours truly……………………..the percentages used to be more stilted on a nationwide basis towards the non-love side of the fence.


Now, with that bash and burn campaign eternally silenced, most of the tainted have had a chance to see a reality not stained by a person suffering  from delusional blind rage and envy………recently countless dozens having manned up (women too) to say they “understand” what Sandy Herzon and Chambray have been all about.


So, for all that find something to talk about from my postings…………………………..as Arnold once said “I’ll be Bach”………………………….to which Maria answered him “Don’t bother!”


“I’ll be back…………………………..sooner than later!” Even if the Marias of the world don’t want me back!

January 27th 2014

How Handler-Based Wins Over Better Quality Dogs
Hurts The Betterment Of The Breed


How Handler-Based Wins Over Better Quality Dogs Hurts The Betterment of the Breed.


Those of us into Labradors that have been around the block several times know fully well what the title of this blogs implies. Dogs that win because of the influence of the handler may not be the better dogs from the lineup of competitors. Those same lesser dogs undoubtedly will finish their championships and will then be used in breeding programs…………………………….perpetuating their lesser than desired qualities and producing yet another less-than-stellar generation.


How many times do we all sit at ringside and watch a judge look right at the handler when deciding which dog to give the win to? I often wonder if that judge just doesn’t know the breed enough, not feel confident with the lineup before them and just take the easy way out by awarding the win to a “known” handler figuring that the professional handler must have the correct dog.

With my years showing dogs, I take that type of process with 1000 grains of salt……………………I wish I was a better person and the old 1 grain would suffice…………………………..but not being that better person I am left with a very salty taste in my mouth when the aforementioned occurs.


Being very human, half of the bad aftertaste is personal (I don’t like to lose) and the other half is the knowledge that this type of judging does very little for the over-all betterment of the breed.


Making that statement at ringside recently, one of my allies questioned “What can be done about it?”

There are lots of answers to that question…………………..all whimsical, do-gooder, Utopian-like responses, but none of them that would really be practical nor enforceable. So, the only observation that I can offer when we experience that type of judging is to not let it influence a person’s perception of what is right for the breed.


In order words, do not let the type of dogs being put up by judges deferring to individual handlers to determine the direction that the breed should move in.



This & That From The Florida Classic Circuit




Round Up From The Last 2 Weeks of the Florida Winter Classis.
“These dogs from Florida have no spring of rib!” from a northern pro handler.
From me: Well, please do tell what ya’ll from the frozen tundra feed your dogs to make them spring those ribs!
“If you’d stop making such a big deal about cow-hocks, then there won’t be such a problem!” from a disgruntled relatively new breeder/owner, obviously the owner of the such!
From me: What? Lady, the problem is already there created by dunces like yourself that can make such a moronic statement! Even if I never mentioned it, the dogs that are affected will still be affected and will continue to produce generations of more cow-hocked dogs! Eventually breeding generations of cow-hocked dogs will lead to those hocks crossing and then “criss-cross” hocks will also be accepted! Duh!
“The word is that you create majors for your dogs” from another northern pro handler discussing why the Florida breeders are not showing their dogs.
From me: Another classic moronic statement! A major is a major and the judge will choose the dog of his liking, be it a one of those dogs that I recruited to come show or from someone else with bollas enough to come compete with the big boys and the big girls. Unlike most professional handlers that follow certain judges around, we show at every weekend of shows in Florida, regardless of who the flavor of the day judge may be. We have absolutely nothing to do with any of the Florida dog clubs on judge selection……………..again unlike some of the pro handlers that pressure the dog clubs with judges of their choosing.
“That dog that just won had great rear movement” from a novice exhibitor/breeder.
From me: No, it had atrocious rear movement! Over-angulated dogs have to work twice as hard to complete the cadence cycle because the leg has to cover much more ground since the distance from the forward stroke back to the rear push is greater than with dogs with normal angulation. When watching a great moving dog, the only thing that is obvious is how smooth it covers ground…………………..nothing else should be noticed. Dogs with straight upright shoulders have an obvious stilted look to their front end movement, dogs with no angulation in the rear have very short rear drive.





Dogs That Taste Good May Not Be True Labradors



Form Follows Function………………………………..the theory that a breed’s particular function will determine its correct form. Simple enough to comprehend if the function of the breed is universally established for that breed.


In Labrador Retrievers the world-wide established function is that of a water and land retriever. The fact that this breed of dog can accomplish so many other valuable tasks and service is a testament to the adaptability of the breed.


See the following:  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.


However this doesn’t mean that a person who uses a Labrador Retriever to hunt underground vermin should alter the original form of the dog to be able to burrow for mice and ground hogs! There are several breeds of dogs (Dachshunds and other short-legged breeds) that already perform that function and their form has already been established by that function.


Ok, so where am I headed with this blog?

Way too many breeders that have deviated from the intent and purpose of the breed and now are breeding the form to follow the function of couch potatoes! There are already pillows and stuffed toy animals that perform “sitting pretty” on a couch, rug or bed!


Short, pudgy, out of shape, cute and cuddly is a radical departure for the breed. No way, no how are these dogs going to fit the description of “strongly built, athletic”.


At the Brooksville shows this past week, I was approached by an owner/breeder with one of these prior-mentioned boat sinkers, a fat, out of shape dog that can barely walk at a brisk pace and her comment to me was about our newest champion being “too streamlined” for her taste. My reply to her was to read my response at the Blogging Off page……………………I have no time nor patience to indulge in any type of banter with morons.


“Well, here’s to you Mrs. Robinson” (no, this was not her name….this is from the 1968 Simon and Garfunkle song)

If we were going to eat our dogs, then I would probably prefer the more rotund version that you sport………………….however if we are to abide by the Breed Standard then the following describes this dog that doesn’t taste so good to you……The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled, dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation!

This describes the dog you were referring to:


  • Short-coupled not low hung and long bodied because of the short upper arms,

  • strongly built not bulgy and pudgy

  • Medium sized at 84lbs, not over-weight topping the scales at well over 100lbs

  • Well-balanced from head to tip of tail and from withers to ground, not out of whack with incorrect proportions.

  • Athletic describes this boy to a “T”!.................................“NOT” describes the dog at the end of your leash.


There is no way that the dog that “tastes” good to you can ever perform what is universally decreed and accepted for a TRUE Labrador Retriever.


(1)The substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions;

(2) the character and quality to win in the show ring;

(3) and the temperament to be a family companion.  


  • (1) I will put up serious money at a 10 to 1 proposition that our newest champion can perform any task for long hours under difficult conditions……………………..good tasting dog will need medical intervention after several go rounds in the show ring!

  • (2) New Champion winning back-to-back majors at the Florida Winter Circuit thus finishing with very limited showing…………………….good tasting dog, zilch points in several years of showing!

  • (3) Read the blog somewhere down the page about this boy, Chambray champion #37 being a family companion………………..good tasting dog is probably a good family companion also.


So the tale of the tape is Chambray champion 3 for 3 from the above, while good tasting dog rates being a “couch potato”.

As Miami newscaster Ralph Renick would sign off sign with, “May the good news be yours”.


I'm Back!

January 20th 2014

I’m Back!

Well, not for long because the Ocala dog shows crank back up on Thursday of this week, so I will be hitting the dusty trail in 3 days.


Behind us now are the Florida Winter Classic Dog Shows…………..10 tough and grueling days of dog shows in Brooksville Florida.

Grueling in more ways than one………….the terrain is the toughest of all the Florida venues. The entire campground is on a grade with the rings having upwards of 2 feet of slope from top to bottom. Needless to say that knees, ankle, shins and back will pay a heavy price in wear and tear.


Probably the worst aspect of this cluster of shows at this time of year is the suddenly changing weather which saw us sweating at 9 AM one day with 85 degrees and then a 55 degree about face with 30 degrees and lower with a wind chill 2 days later.


Tough comes in the competition from the top northern handlers bringing down with them the best dogs from some of the top Labrador breeders in the North East. Most of these professional handlers work f