"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.

January 29th

Kind Acts That Come Back And Bite You In The End


“How does a person know if their dogs are show quality or not? I would like to get involved in breeding and also showing, especially those puppies and dogs that I will be breeding. Where can I get information if my dogs will be competitive showing?” Lindsey Shaels


Do a search for dog clubs in your area. Most clubs offer training classes that you can attend with your dogs and more than likely someone there will be active at the dog shows and can offer you more information as to who may assist you with your questions. Some club members are show dog handlers and there are even judges that are club members and they would be the best people to speak to.


There may also be show Labrador breeders in your area that you can visit and consult with. As a contribution to the breed, I offer breed standard evaluations, free of charge to anyone that has a Labrador and is intent on breeding and or showing.


Usually the best bet is to speak to the person that sold you the dogs in the first place. They may have much more experience with the breed and may be able to offer you more in-depth information on their lines of dogs.


The dog show world can be fun and rewarding for the entire family to get involved with. However it is very competitive, especially the Labrador ring. Having the right equipment is very essential in any sport you play in and breeding/showing dogs is no different.


Starting out with the best level of conformation dogs will make the experience a lot easier than going out there with less than average dogs and not be successful. Since showing dogs is a competition where dogs either win or lose……………….winning has a way of making things brighter while consistent losing will turn off the most rabid individual.


If you didn’t obtain your initial dogs from a successful show breeder, than your chances of being successful breeding those dogs to any quality that will be competitive is as distantly removed as your chances of winning a big lotto! In fact, your chances of being struck by lightning are greater than you breeding that pet stock and being successful against those at the dog shows with top conformation stock.


In my 45 years of involvement with Labradors, I have witnessed hundreds of people that began with pet stock and insisted on breeding those with the intent of showing.


All…………….no exceptions spun their wheels for years with absolute no success producing litter after litter of the same level of pet dogs. None rose to any more than what they started with. Almost all quit breeding for show by the 5th year, some still breed for the pet market. A few realized what I told them in the first place and eventually saw the light and invested in show stock and did away with the pet dogs from their breeding programs.


Realistically, I would say that out of 100 folk that approached me with the above scenario, that only 2 got the message and took my advice and waited to get into breeding after they obtained better quality dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


That means that 98% went ahead and used those dogs that in one way or another did not conform to the breed standard………………….most had faults and structural defects…………………and they bred and perpetuated those same faults and defects to the next generation produced……………selling those puppies produced to yet another set of owners that may have wanted to get into breeding and/or showing!


Just recently I experienced a 3rd generation faux pas of the preceding!


A lady, let’s call her Sally Knows calls me to ask if I would be interested in using her ‘top show quality male’ for stud service……………..especially since the dog had Chambray in its pedigree!


I ask the usual questions as to where she obtained the dog from and she informs me the name of the person she bought the dog when it was a puppy. Sally tells me that it came from Hilda Q.


I recognize that name, Hilda Q. as someone that had been here at Chambray Acres to inquire about breeding her female 7 years earlier. Hilda Q. had purchased that female from a mass pet puppy producer that was down in Homestead using the name Del Mont Labradors (not the real name so as to not embarrass the guilty party).


At the time Hilda Q. was here with her female for breeding, I went over the poor quality her dog was and did not make our stud dogs available to her for breeding. I counseled her to look into investing in better conformational correct show quality stock. Needless to say that Hilda left here in a huff and I never heard from her again until Sally just came over with one of Hilda’s produce.


Coincidentally, the person that Hilda had obtained her dog from, Del Mont Labradors was another person that also came to Chambray Labradors years before for stud service and to inquire about obtaining breeding stock from. I took a big chance with this person and placed several top notch show prospects with her under the condition that she eliminate the pet producers from her breeding program.


Although that Del Mont breeder now deals in the show lines, it took years and years for her to eliminate the pet producers from her operation which meant that for all those years, countless numbers of people bought puppies that came from pet stock but bred to show lines (my lines).


So now it had come full circle around with Sally’s so-called ‘top show quality male’ having a Chambray dog as a grandsire. This dog and its sire and dam were the only show dogs on the 3 generation pedigree she was so proud of. The grand dam that was bred to the Chambray champion was a run of the mill dog and so were the grand sire and grand dam on the other side of the pedigree chart.


So, from mass pet producer Del Mont to Hilda Q to Sally Knows……………12 years have elapsed………………three different people/so called breeders……………….three generations of spinning wheels and going backwards for the breed and each were given the benefit of the doubt from yours truly about what they had and what they could continue to have on the path that they were headed on.


So, what did Sally Knows say when I tell her that her so-called show quality stud dog is riddled with:


  • breed inconsistencies (yellow eyes, slab sided, too long tail and curled over back),

  • faults (missing teeth, very high in the rear),

  • defects (severely cow-hocked)

  • and even 2 DQs (disqualifications, red nose and well over 26 inches tall)


“Well, he’s already produced 3 litters as a stud dog so we will see how well he produces!” Ms. Knows says with lots of pride and authority…………………………little does she really know!  


Did I say 3 generations of spinning wheels, let’s now add a 4th with all the puppies that Knows Labradors is producing now!

January 28th

Of Resurrections & Exorcisms


"My grandfather was a Labrador breeder who owned and bred by the name Redlands Labradors in South Florida back in the 80/90’s and he had dozens of Best In Show winners and several dogs that won  Best In Show at Westminister, so your claim of being the top breeder from Florida is wrong. I don’t live in Florida however I am resurrecting the good name Redlands Labradors in honor of my late grandfather and want him to receive his due credit of being the top Florida Labrador breeder."


Yes, I remember a backyard breeder back in the late 80’s and into the 90’s that bred Labradors down in Homestead using Redlands Labradors as a kennel name. He even visited Chambray Acres a couple of times wanting to buy “good” stock to breed to his dogs. Since I knew that he was supplying the area pet shops with puppies, I chose not to place any of our dogs with him.


For a period of time, there were dozens of those dogs and their owners that enrolled and attended our training facility and none of them had the conformation for show or even for breeding. I remember well turning away several female dogs owned by those and others that contacted me for stud service.


I can assure you that there were no Best In Show Labradors from anyone breeding Labradors from South Florida in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, with the first Best In Show Labrador born in Florida taking a Best In Show in 2008 and that was BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff! I have the catalogs from as far back as 30 years, with some dating back to 1971 as proof positive about any cockamamie claims made by anyone.


In addition there has never in the 125+ years of Westminster where a Labrador won a Best In Show, let alone a Group 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The national average for a Labrador to win a Best In Show is once on 3000+ shows, which translates to about 1 a year for the WHOLE COUNTRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dozens from South Florida malarkey!


Anyone can make claims galore………………..however the proof is in the records and records don’t lie or fabricate nonsense. I hear claims, brags and boasts on a monthly basis from the countless emails and phone calls I receive…………..more than likely the vast majority are baseless to ridiculous.


I take claims like these very personal as it has taken me a lifetime (45 years) of hard work with Labrador Retrievers to reach the levels that I am now comfortable basking in.


Bring to life any name that makes sense to you and then commence on working hard to establish a breeding program that will serve the Betterment of the Breed and maybe you will be lucky if you get somewhere in the next 20 years with that mission in mind.

January 28th

How Rare Do You Order Your Meat?


With all the hoopla and hullabaloo that our newest grand champion, Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting has generated with his back-to-back Best Of Breeds and then back-to-back Group 1 wins at the last weekend of shows of the Florida Winter Circuit in Ocala……………many are asking how difficult it is for a Labrador to take that coveted first place from the Sporting Group competition………….a Group 1 if you will.


Rare comes to mind……………..in fact in all our years of showing and winning at a higher clip than all the other state Labrador breeders, there have only been 13 Group 1’s won by Chambray dogs. That’s thousands of shows where Chambray dogs won 281 Best Of Breeds, which led to those 13 Group 1’s, if my math still serves me well, that’s a little more than 4 ½ % of the time when one of our dogs wins a Best Of Breed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Now, in all reality, that 4 ½ % is way more than other area breeders that won a Best Of Breed with their Labs, because I don’t recall too many Group 1’s being won by anyone else…………….maybe one in a rare, blue moon being eclipse by the sun’s shadow……………..or once when a class dog needed to go Best Of Breed, PLUS a Group 1 over all the Lab champions AND all the sporting dogs in order to win the needed major to finish its championship........................which incidentally doesn’t happen much, never mind the moon, stars and heavenly planets!!!!!!!!!!


Now magnify winning back-to-back Group 1’s by the same dog……………..something that has only happened twice with Chambray, first time in 2008 with BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan”, Tucker’s grandfather…………well you do that math and you get that picture!!!!!!!!!!


By the way those Group 1 wins were amassed by the following dogs:


BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan” with 3
BIS BBE Silver Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter “Kika” with 2……….Hogan granddaughter.
BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter with 2………..Hogan grandson, Bailey* son
Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting with 2………..Hogan grandson.
Ch Chambrays Mad About Madeline with 2
Ch Chambrays Miracle Of The Meadow w/1…………Hogan grandson, Bailey* son
Ch Chambrays Franco w/1


*Bailey is BBE Ch Chambrays Bailey On The Rocks…….Chambray's top Group 1 get producer w 2 get.

Also Hogan, Bailey and Walter are 3 successive generations of grandfather, father to son of Bred-By Exhibitor champions.........dogs bred-by and handled from the Bred-By Exhibitor class to all their wins for their AKC championship!

January 28th

Winning, The Good Old Fashion Way.................Hard Work!


“Somehow it doesn’t seem fair that your group has so many great dogs that you all can bring to the dog shows and there are some breeders and owners that may only have one dog that is good enough to compete against your so-called lineup!”


Yep, heard that before, not once………..hundreds of times is more like it!


Here is my suggestion………..for the next Olympics let’s make the USA bring out only 1 of their elite swimmers or runners…………only 1 so that Mali, Fiji, and all the other countries with less than stellar stars will have a chance of winning something………..yeah, that’s the ticket!


Competition to determine the best doesn’t work that way! If limiting the number of the best, then mediocrity becomes the rest……………………..that’s not going to be conducive for selecting which dogs are the best to perpetuate the breed to the next generation. Only the best should be on the front lines, so that the best of the best are the ones that will win at a higher percentage and earn their titles against the best lineup of dogs.



Then and only then will you have dogs that are truly worthy of carrying the champion’s titles in front of their names. The opposite of that scenario is having a bunch of lesser quality dogs winning against other lesser quality dogs and then every dog can have a champion’s title……………………..what good is that? That will breed mediocrity at best, less than that at worse!


Less is not best when deciding which really the best is! The more the better with the likelihood that the better dogs will win the points and go on to win their titles the good old fashion way……………..earning it with hard work and the best product/service!!!


So, to all those that want it the easy way, there is always the highway………….like in loading up the van, SUV, truck or whatever mode of transport and hightailing it to parts north & west of Florida where the sun and the competition may not be as bright. The only problem with that is that we too will be loading up and heading for parts unknown to divvy up those available points for the big lineup of great dogs we sport.

January 28th

Happy Days Are Here Again


Ok now, Sandy is a happy camper!


Just finished the entries for the Lakeland dog shows and we are back with our ‘More Is Better’ way of doing things!


No more skimpy, limited roster of our dogs……………leaving behind a cadre of dogs that could, would and should win at the same rate as those making the trek…………………no siree Bob, Bill or Ted……. let’s bring on our best and put the wimpy ideas to rest!


In the dog eat dog world that we all delve in, the guys/gals with the biggest guns get their way and so too is the law of the land at the dog shows…………………..you have the goods on hand, no reason to be shy, having the best is no sin……………….so Lakeland here we come with a bevy of our best boys and girls and also 3 of our top champions to boot…………….and may the best dogs win!


We are also building up an even bigger lineup of dogs for the West Palm Beach and the Ft Lauderdale dog shows where the majority of our owners live and can come out in force with their dogs to show.


There’s nothing like having the luxury of dozens of the top show dogs in the country to work with and to bring them on to the world of showing dogs.


So, these last 3 weekends of shows in January, working with a reduced roster really got to me. Knowing that there were some of our best dogs back at home raised my competitive hackles a bit………………………..actually more than just a bit!


So, Sandy is a happy boy with a big grin…….knowing that we are fully loaded and hunting for bear, bees or in this case Winner’s Points and Breed/Group wins!

January 27th


Random Thoughts & Questions


“I noticed that many of your dogs have ‘N Counter’ as part of their name, why is that?” LM


“Where can I find more information on WinQuest Labradors since there are quite a few dogs that share that name with your Chambray dogs.” CC Wilson


“How many different breeders and kennels do you co-breed with?” Dave


“Why are there some dogs that are not bred by you that are part of your programs?” TQ


The preceding questions come in weekly from all over the globe. I never imagined that something we do with our dogs way over here in South Florida could have so much interest throughout the Labrador world community. The following synopsis will more or less cover some of those questions.


In 1990 Chambray Labradors opened its doors to any and all that had the best interest of Labradors in mind. This was the beginning of the Owner’s Programs that now are the driving force behind Chambray Labradors.


The idea was to bring together a community of dog owners, Labrador owners in particular that could pool in their collective resources to benefit the breed……………..all of this centered around us as the breeders.


Along this most successful venture, awesome associations have been formed, some leading to the establishment of secondary kennel names such as WinQuest, N Counter, Guardian, Scuba and several others with less impact.


Not all owner/breeder associations necessitated forging new kennel names as the vast majority of those that joined our various programs worked under the guidance and mentorship using the name of Chambray Labradors.


WinQuest Labradors was formed with Geraldo Desouza in 1999 and together we have bred a couple of litters a year since then. The main lines of these breedings were established using outside lines independent of our main Chambray lines. Geraldo is more like a silent partner who works better away from the limelight and thus not much is seen or is heard from him, I state that because there are many inquiries about him and his involvement with our programs.


N Counter is a kennel name that my daughter, Jessie and I founded back in 2001 with one of our females, Chambrays Chance N Counter bearing the first N Counter surname. Since then there have been 4 generations from that original dog that also bear the N Counter last name. Four years ago, one of our owners and close ally, Juan Marrero was incorporated into the N Counter Labrador name as a co-breeder. Many of his dogs now carry both Chambray & N Counter.


We will form associations, co-breedings and whatever is in the best interest of the breed……………the Betterment of the Breed, first and foremost is our working mantra.




“Did you all make it to #1 Labrador Breeder for 2014?” JT


Of course we are chaffing at the bit to know ourselves! As far as I know, there was only one other breeder in November with 5 new AKC champions for 2014. We finished #6 that month and ended up the year with the same number that made Chambray #1 for 2012! So, all our fingers and toes are crossed, all our ‘i’s’ are dotted and we anxiously await the year end totals to be made public by the record keepers, the AKC. Now truth be told, a little birdie from that esteemed club made mention with a wink of an eye that ‘good news’ was on the way! So, hold on and sit a spell and I will make it major front page news if the good news is indeed what we are hoping for.




“How do you keep up with all your winnings, records and accomplishments?” Neil


I do that with a great tremendous amount of pride! Each and every dog we have raised, trained, conditioned and then presented at the dog shows is the end product of what a show breeder is all about. It is the defining criteria that determines if a breeder is successful or just spinning their wheels.


There are a vast number that are spinning their wheels…………………..there are a small number that find themselves on a consistent basis standing in the mythical ‘Winners Circle’! I cherish each and every trip made to that prized location…………………it spells



So, keeping up and documenting all that success keeps it all real and in perspective……………..that being the setting of benchmarks, records and accomplishments for all those others to strive for and of course for Chambray to do even better the following year.




“How do you determine which of your owner’s dogs will be the ones that actually make it to the shows?” SM


The number one criteria is that they must be top-notch show conformation otherwise they won’t make the show handing roster in our Show Management Program. Then and only then do we begin to consider the owner’s individual situation for inclusion into our roster.

At times, there several dogs of the same age, same type and same color and a decision is made to alternate shows between them. So in this case, one or two may be taken to a particular weekend of shows and the others will remain back at home.


There may be instances where finances will hold back a dog for a period of time and other times a dog’s conditioning may not be the best and it may be held back until it comes back into the desired shape.


The great luxury that we have at Chambray Labradors is that there are always several dogs waiting their turns to strut their stuff in the show ring.




“How many dogs do you all have currently in your show management program?” DF


This figures varies from week to week as owners come and go according to their lifestyles and other commitments. I would say there are 30 active show owners that are fully committed to their dogs. Most of these owners take advantage of the private training afforded each Chambray Show Quality dog, most attend the 3 nights a week sessions for training and conditioning, some leave their dogs for periods of time to receive In-Kennel Training provided by the trainers of Team Chambray.


Besides those 30, there are probably another 15 owners that are on and off and not as committed, but can be summoned up to the task at hand if needed.


On top of those numbers there are another 50 to 60 owners that participate in our Stud Dog Program and in our Puppy Placement Program for producing the 8 to 10 annual litters.

January 27th


The ‘Pin The Tail On The Donkey’ Breeding Program


Ah, the games we played when we were kids………………...the old time favorite was Pin The Tail On The Donkey. A willing participant was blindfolded, spun around several times and then stood in front of the illustrated donkey poster that was hung on a wall. What were the chances that anyone could actually pin the tail in the exact right location without peeking from underneath the blindfolds?


Slim to never would be an appropriate answer, because in the 100’s of times that I played the game as a child and then later supervised my own kids playing the game………………never, ever did anyone really hit the sweet spot of where the tail actually went!


That’s why right now, right here I am coining a brand new, but very appropriate phrase to label the type of breeding that people do with blind folds on!


I am bestowing the name ‘Pin The Tail On The Donkey Breeding Program’ on what I am about to describe further down.

Now here is the clincher…………………..their eyes are wide open and they can actually see. But in essence they, like the kids of yesteryear playing the blindfolded donkey game are more or less groping in the dark because the method they are using to breed their dogs involves as much skill/luck as pinning the donkey’s tail with blinders on!!!!!!!!!!


“Whoa Nelly” you say. What in tarnation are you diatribing* about?


*made up word.


An interested party approaches me for information about breeding their bitch. So far so good, nothing out of the norm about that. Then more information is provided as follows:


“It’s a stud dog that is being used a lot from up north! I don’t know his name, but it is one of the more current stud dogs out there.”


My question to them was “Have you seen anything it is producing?”


Answer, “No”.


My next query is “Have you taken stock of your dog and identified her strong points, her neutrals and her weaknesses (negatives)?”


Answer, “No”.


My next suggestion “Have you listed the stud dog’s strengths, neutrals and negatives?”


Answer, “No”.


So this then would be a ‘Pin The Tail On The Donkey Breeding Program’!

January 26th

Taking Off Where We Left Off


Nothing like starting the 2015 New Year exactly where we left off the year before………………..on a winning note, right on top!!!!!!!!!!!!


The consecutive dog show weekend winning streak is now at the big 100 mark! That’s winning at every weekend that Chambray competed at since January 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Totally unheard of and probably not to be bested anytime soon! By the way, for Bob and anyone else seeking the “proof”, a little leg work can be done by going over every weekend of dogs shows that are listed and available at the www.chambraylabradors.net


On top of all that hoopla, we finish off the first month of dog shows by crowning a brand new AKC Grand Champion……………the 13th Grand Champion for Chambray Labradors………………winning 2 Sporting Group 1’s……………..making them the 12th & 13th Group 1’s for Chambray………………both of those BOB’s & Gr 1’s make him the Top Labrador in Florida in both the Labrador breed and also in the all-breed rankings. Major kudos to new Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting.Those 2 BOBs now give Chambray a total of 281 lifetime BOBs.


Tuckers 2 BOBs and another Chambray dog, Chambrays Cover Girl “Willow” taking a Best Of Breed, gave Chambray top BOB honors with 3 out 12 shows that we competed at the 2015 Florida Winter Circuit.


Besides Willow taking a 4pt Major win, Best Of Winners and Best Of Breed, Chambrays Cajun N Counter also was in the Winners Bitch conga line with her own WB for 2 points, missing a Major by 1 absent female!


Congratulations to our awesome dogs and their even awesomer owners!

January 21st

One More Weekend For The Road


The van is almost loaded back up for the 4 days of shows in Ocala FL starting tomorrow Thursday, January 22nd. I state that because we breakdown the entire van, from front to back, emptying out every crate, bin, box and whatnot after every weekend of shows!


Of course everything that can be washed in bleach/water is done and the rest is Lysoled, from floors to walls and anywhere else where germs and bacteria can set up house!


Then, right before heading north on the Florida turnpike or west over via I-75……………..it all must be loaded…………………configured to how many dogs are making the trip and also how many of Team Chambray’s handlers are riding in the Silver Bullet van.


There are times that the van is solely used for dog transport and a second vehicle is used for the rest of the ‘people’ cargo!

Since I came up with the limited show dog roster idea (maybe not so good one at that), all of the doggies and crew fit amply in the large Mercedes van.


I will have to take stock after this weekend’s four shows and figure out whether bringing a limited number of dogs to the January shows was such a good idea or not! It is very difficult going into competition with only half of your best dogs! That means that sitting back at home were dogs that could/would/should have won points where some of those that made the trip fell a little short of the winners circle.


Oh well, live and learn……………..so the thinking cap will be firmly in place during the 5 hour ride north up to Ocala and of course on the way down for another 5 hours south on Sunday with all the results of the 2 past weekends (8 shows) in Brooksville and these 4 shows as well!


So far we have kept the consecutive weekend winning streak alive where it is now sitting on 99 straight dog show weekends of winning……………..but with less of our top dogs at the shows, we have just scraped out a couple of wins at the 2 Brooksville weekends.


So, now we go to work on getting ready for the local Florida competition, as the northern professional handlers head back to the freezing temperatures of their Siberian-like state locations.


First up is the Lakeland shows on Friday Feb 13th and Saturday the 14th. On Fen 28th and March 1st will be a local South Florida show in West Palm Beach and 2 weeks later we will be even closer to home at the Ft Lauderdale Dog Club shows in Davie.


Most of our local owners are chomping at the bit for these 2 venues of shows, so we should have a real good turn of the Chambray Owner’s Program.


After this long trip and 4 day weekend of shows, I am looking forward to taking the next 2 weekends off from the long driving and cold weather we have been working through up in central Florida.

January 21st

It's Back To Work Time At Chambray
After This Weekend's Shows In Ocala


Great News!


Training & Show News that is!


Just what the doctor ordered! We will finally be home most of the month of February for you all to come over for training with your dogs.


In fact, we will be offering the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Training & Testing for everyone that owns a Chambray dog with no charge for by us for providing the class time! You only pay the AKC for the testing material and certificate.


This is Chambray’s 4 Weeks of Wednesday Night Training and then on the 5th week we administer the CGC Test and those that pass the 10-Item Evaluation Test will be awarded the title CGC by the AKC to be added to the dog’s name!


Sounds great, right? Plus, it is all free for you to bring your dog, work with your dog and learn how to train it in order for it to be a better member of society. Only Chambray Labradors provides this valuable training tool to its owners, so take advantage of this great opportunity. Since 1997, we have worked with the AKC and their CGC Program at matches, shows, seminars, workshops and most of all through our training classes and have trained well over 1500 dogs for the CGC and have passed well over 99% of those dogs trained!


The 1st night we will meet will be Wednesday, February 4th at 7 PM. Then every Wednesday night in February (weather permitting) with the test being administered on Wednesday March 4th.


We will also be available on the weekends as follows:

Feb 7/8
Feb 15
Feb 21/22


Dog Show News:


For those dogs/owners that are in our Show Management Program, as soon as this weekend of shows in Ocala is over, we will begin to concentrate on the following:


The Lakeland Dog Shows on February 13/14 (yes, that’s a Friday and Saturday show).
The WPB Shows on Feb 28-March 1st
The Davie Shows on March 14/15


We would like to have a great turn out for the WPB and Davie shows which are local and most of our South Florida owners can attend and bring their own dogs (saving $$$ in traveling expenses), plus the whole family can come out and root your own dog on.


Now that Jessica Herzon is working at Chambray Acres full time, we have more time and energy to take dogs on for conditioning and advanced training. So we want you all to take advantage of the added offerings to make your dogs that very best there is in the Labrador world.


For those dogs outside of Chambrays Owner's Programs, there is a nominal fee of $25 for the 4-weeks of training and $10 for the test and testing materials, plus of course the AKC's fee for their certificate. 


Ok, now the ball is on your side of the court, we are waiting to hear from you.


Before I Leave For Brooksville Dog Shows


It is very difficult to explain to dog show newcomers and new dog owners how dog shows work, especially “winning points”…………………………winning points that will lead to their dog being a show champion!


First of all very few fathom how extremely difficult it is to produce top show quality in the first place.


That it doesn’t matter that a dog has “AKC Papers” that would make it a show dog………………….however for it to show, it must have those AKC papers, but just merely having those papers does not make it show quality!


That last paragraph probably should be re-read a couple of times for it to make sense to some.


Taking that premise a bit deeper, you would find a needle in a haystack way before you could find a champion prospect puppy from the couple/three hundred thousand bred each year!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, you read right……………………….over 300,000 Labrador puppies are born each year!! Although the AKC doesn’t release the actual numbers registered each year with them, that number is way over 175,000 per year.


To that gargantuan number, there are another 150,000 that are not registered with the AKC or some of those may not even be registered at all…………..so over 300,000 cute as pig’s ear Lab puppies waiting to be taken to their new homes EACH YEAR!


Remember the needle in the haystack? Well someone that sets out to purchase a puppy from that huge haystack of puppies and wants to show it and have it win enough to become and AKC champion will have better odds of getting struck by lightning even in the lightning capital of the US, Central Florida!


Yep, take cover because there are less than 100 new Labrador champions per year out of the 300,000+ that are born yearly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not good odds at all.


Heck, just finding a top show breeder that will sell a top show prospect will take angst, helicons and high water, all the cows coming home, hell freezing over and a double rainbow at 12 o’clock midnight before any of them part with their best shot………………plus a very shiny, pretty penny will have to be forked over, with a litany of paybacks due…………………..that’s if any of them will sell one of those prized beauties!


So, let’s say that a top show breeder will place a top show prospect……………….keep in mind that not all puppies produced by the top show breeder will have what it takes to go all the way to the AKC promise land of being a champion.


But, let’s just ‘assume’ that a miracle does happen and a top prospect show puppy does materialize out of that Lab puppy haystack. What are the realistic chances of it making it to the mythical ‘winners circle’ reserved for the very few?


Listen up as here comes reality!


There is tons of training and conditioning way, way before even entering in a dog show.


Then at 6 months of age, the puppy must begin to go and compete at the dog shows!


That’s compete against dogs of all ages, from puppies the same age to well-worn adults of say 1 to 7 years of age!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yes, you read right……………….that 'one in who knows how many' puppy actually competes against real big, mature fully developed dogs AND it has to BEAT them all to win any POINTS!


Just winning 1st Place from the Puppy Class is not enough! It then has to go head to head with dogs that have been around the block countless times and they too need those ‘winning points’ to become champions!


To become champion, a dog or puppy needs to win 15 POINTS!


Points are assigned according to how many dogs of the same sex are competing.


For instance in Florida to win 1 point, there has to be 2 dogs competing.



To win 2 points, there has to be a minimum 9 dogs competing.


To win 3 points which is considered a 3-Point Major, 15 dogs have to be defeated.


A 4-Point Major is 22 dogs


A 5-Point Major is the maximum amount of points at any show regardless of how many dogs are competing as long as at least 34 dogs are competing.


So, let’s add intrigue to the original 15 points needed to be a champion…………….2 of the show won have to be Majors under 2 different judges!


So, 15 points and 2 majors are needed to become one of those rare AKC champions!


Now theoretically (it has happened) a dog can win 3 back-to-back shows worth 5-Point Majors each and finish their AKC champion’s title in those 3 outings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Remember hell freezing over? Well, I wouldn't hold my breath no matter how awesome a dog or puppy may be…………………………in 25+ years of showing Labs……………….with Chambray setting all kinds of state and even national records………………….it hasn’t happened yet to us!


I hope the preceding answers a few questions and that it doesn’t frightened too many away from showing their dogs…………………but it does take much more than finding that proverbial needle in a haystack.


Of course aligning oneself with the more successful show breeders will dramatically improve one’s chances of reaching the top of the hay mound!

January 15th 2015


“We thoroughly enjoyed the dog show that you invited us to attend at Brooksville last week. There were so many wonderful Labradors competing that I really don’t know how anyone can pick out just one winner.

You dogs and your owners are all first class and we also met a few other breeders and owners that were a pleasure to speak to. All of them had good things to say about you and your programs.

I guess the great qualities of the breed passes on to those that own and breed them.”


Riley James and family


It was my pleasure to have spent some time with you and your family at the show. I hope that you all continue your interest in owning and maybe getting involved with our Owner’s Programs. Yes, there are excellent sources of well-bred Labradors both here in Florida and also by many of those breeders that sent their best dogs down here with professional handlers to compete in the Florida Winter Circuit.


I have always maintained that the quality of the dogs bred is a direct result of the quality of the people breeding them. If you deal with shady characters, then the product can only rise to their level…………likewise dealing with those that have the betterment of the breed in mind will produce much better results.


Taking that last premise a level higher…………….dealing with those that have established themselves as the upper echelon of quality produced, with proven success year after year will ensure that your chances of obtaining the best is well at hand.

January 14th 


I have been receiving lots of emails asking why there haven’t been daily blogs lately, well there is only one of me and my hands have really been full…………………..plus I have been mostly one-handed for the last 3 weeks with an infection to one of my fingers that took over the whole hand.


Of course getting ready for the first weekend of shows in January, actually 5 consecutive days of shows up in no man’s land of Brooksville FL really takes a lot of doing……………………not to mention that I have a litter of puppies underfoot here at Chambray!


Not just any litter of puppies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These are from our top show producer stud dog extraordinaire Bronze Grand Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho…………….recent recipient of the Labrador Retriever Clubs Inc. 2013 Top 25 Tribute Award.


Jericho was bred to one of the top Chambray show champion females of all times, BBE Gr Ch Chambrays First N Counter “Gavi”…………………..she being the newest champion producer with her offspring Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck “Bob”. Gavi also has the awesome distinction of having won the 2012 Eukanuba National Championships Select Grand Champion Award 5-Pt Major.


In her first litter she was bred to Ch Blackthorn Rock U Too “Bono”, producing an outstanding litter with Bob finishing his championship before he was 18 months old and another of the dogs in the litter being champion-pointed. This new litter to Jericho promises even greater things to come as the evaluations place the whole litter in the top 5 of all times at Chambray.


So, with one good hand working, getting dogs and owners ready for 12 shows in January and a new litter to tend to…………………….blogs will be doled out as time and energy permit, so for most of my faithful followers thank you for your patience and as always there will be good stuff to come!

January 13th 


Show Report From Brooksville FL Week 1


Inclement and brutal was the weather the first couple of days!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even the northern handlers were suffering big time with the below freezing temps and gale force squalls that were raking the show grounds all day the first day. It did ease up on the 4th day and then on Monday the 12th, it was downright sweaty Florida weather!


I predicted a low turnout by the northern handlers and I could not have been more wrong!!!!!!!!!! In fact, very few of the local Florida Lab fanciers showed up, 4 or 5 at the most and the rest were snowbirds swooping down from the below zero weather they have been dealing with up in states due north of the Florida border.


The biggest breeder winner was BiGi Labradors (NY) taking 2 Best Of Breeds and 2 Winners Dog. The Chambray dogs managed 1 Best Of Breed, 1 Winners Bitch, 1 Best Of Opposite Sex and 3 Select Grand Champion awards.


All in all, the level of competition was at an all-time high from the vast majority of the dogs entered.

January 7th

Let's Play Ball! (Tomorrow)


It’s now 7 days into the New Year, so far so good! Today we leave for the first dog show weekend of the year………….actually 5 days of shows in Brooksville, starting on Thursday January 8th through Monday the 12th.


We have done the behind the scenes activities with our dogs, with training and conditioning and now we look forward to putting it all together with performance! Of course way before the training and conditioning there was the breeding to produce the best possible conformation quality Labradors to begin with.


If any of the above ingredients are missing then success is a long shot proposition at best and certain failure the vast majority of the time. That is the state of affairs in the Florida Labrador ring! There are no two ways about it……………….preparations way before show time and then presentation in the ring is the win/win combination.


There are many that resist that thesis, instead many still believe in all types of conspiracy theories. Although there has been vast improvements in the Labrador ring atmosphere in the last couple of years, there are still those that play the blame game on everything else but what really ails.


“He knows the judges” and all that infers is still one that I hear humming after the awards have been doled out.

Well, truth be told………………there is some truth to that saber-toothed tiger……………… ‘Knowing the judges’ goes a long way in planning what dogs to present to each of them!  That information is available to all that show dogs. All you need to do is keep a running record of what certain judges put up over a period of time and there will be tendencies that can be detected and acted upon.

For whatever reason, some judges prefer one color over another, some like the moderate sized dogs over the large, heftier versions, some like a dog presented ‘au natural’ while others prefer that the handler do his/her job and actually do some handling of the dog while in the ring……………………and then there is always the vice versa! So knowing these peculiarities goes a long way in creating an edge in winning with certain dogs.


“He brings a lot of dogs”……………ah, the lament of all that can’t! Of course if they could…………..they would……….but they can’t so they lament!


I hear this chronic chime endlessly and I know that no matter how it is detailed, explained, simplified or demonstrated…………………bottom line is that no other Labrador breeder anywhere near here or even real far away can assemble the number of dogs that can and will win at any given show under randomly selected judge…………………..none! That includes local shows, out of state shows, the ‘real’ big shows, breeder/judged specialties, the Winter Circuit and the biggest of the all, Eukanuba!


What wins is QUALITY over QUANTITY. I will put up my very best male and best female class dog and challenge any other breeder in Florida to bring out what they consider their best 10 females and best 10 males and I will guarantee that the 2 dogs I bring will win 80% of the time over those 20 brought by a competitor!


So, following that bouncing ball, if I were to bring on my best roster of males and females against all comers at the dog shows who logically are bringing their best dogs and we win at that same 80% of the time………………IRON FACT, proven by wins at 97 straight dog show weekends.


So as assuredly as the sun will rise in the east and set in the west, there will always be a chorus of those that fall short and then come up with whatever excuse the next bloke will agree with.


Well, we don’t have time for that nonsense, because no sooner have we wrapped up another day’s performance that we are already into our preparations for the next day’s agenda.


I just finished loading the dogs that are traveling with us and the rest of the van is packed and ready to go. Of course we will meet some more of our dogs up min Brooksville for each show.


For 2015, we have decided on a ‘limited’ roster of our dogs. Last year we had a difficult time creating the starting team roster and cutting it down to the usual numbers, so we opted to take a ‘loaded’ roster of our 10 best class males and 10 best class females.

The results were phenomenal. Most of the dogs ended up winning points, the only thing was that they ended up dividing more than 80% of the available points for the year between themselves…………….that’s a great thing, however individually each could have done so much better without our own dogs being the competition.


So, this year we opted to have only 5 class males and 5 class females for our working roster per set of shows. The roster will change from month to month as we alternate dogs, giving each a much better chance at winning without the rest of the Chambray dogs showing.


The OCD competitor in me cringes at the thought of leaving what could be some of our top dogs behind at any given weekend……………………however the team player in me sees and acknowledges that this will concentrate the wins among a few number of our dogs and benefit each of those with the possibility of finishing their championship much sooner with less expense.


Let’s see how homey’s strategy works.

January 4th 2015

The Emails Keep On Coming In.


Each morning when I first open up my email program, they come in droves………………each seeking that pearl of wisdom, that one word that will give them the enlightenment they are searching for “Do you have puppies for sale?”


More of them now come with an inkling of a ‘difference’, in fact lots more than say a short 5 years ago, however the overwhelming majority know only that ‘breeders’ produce puppies for sale and that there are countless numbers of those little bundles of fur romping at will somewhere, ready to be seen and given a new home as human impulse beckons, “Yep, that’s the one I want to take home with me right now!”


Driving to a farm out in the country is the old American dream of adding a new canine member to the family………………those searching families now have been educated by the media and other noble outlets that there are ‘wrong’ places to obtain a man’s best friend and that dealing with the source is the best to ensure good health and longevity. Of course the worst place for obtaining a new member of the family would be from one of those mass-producing puppy mills that are full of ill and little goodwill.


Like everything in life, things seem simpler from afar and the scenario of adding a puppy to a household takes a fork in that country road when it involves Chambray Labradors. This is where it becomes a little bit of a task to explain to most puppy searchers that there are a limited number of puppies at Chambray, but a very limited number of them, about 75 a year with about 1000 or more request for the same. So, definitely way, way more seekers than supply…….hence the need for further education on our part to those inquiring minds.


Chambray, unlike the vast number of Labrador breeders………………..we only breed for the top levels of quality of conformation………..conformation being dog show grade quality. This calls for the perfect temperament and the perfect breed type.


This then becomes one of the discernable differences between Chambray and those supplying the puppy pet market……………this becomes ‘quality breeding’ over ‘quantity breeding’ by that vast majority.


In other words, it must act like the breed and it must look like the breed as well. Not a ‘reasonable facsimile’…………..not ‘close enough’ as that’s not good enough………..it must be a perfect representative of the breed standard…………that breed standard is the written blue print that every certified breed of dog has in place as a reference for every breeder to follow that breeds them. Quality breeding ensures that the dog will look and act as the breed is supposed to……………whereas quantity breeding ensures that there will be tons of cute puppies to choose from any day of the week.


We can and do ensure the best for each of our puppies produced, not likely when numbers are the goal.


In order to prove that those dogs produced do conform to that written breed standard and are of the highest conformational quality, there are dog shows where licensed connoisseurs of those breeds act as judges to select the absolute best specimens which then should be the eventual perpetuators of future generations. In other words, the best of the breed to produce the next best generation and so on.


This then is the guiding light at Chambray Labradors. So, what is difficult about that you may be asking?


If you were asking, that’s a good thing! Because there are many that do not want to know any further, for them a puppy is a puppy and it may not matter how it got to be a puppy. For those people I have no answers that will suffice, well at least no reasonable answer that would make any sense to a closed mind. I know, because I have tried for 45 years to make sense to some and nowadays I prefer to deal with those that are open to enlightenment.


So, for the open minded, here comes that fork in the road that I mentioned previously.


Chambray puppies are not born in kennels way out in the country! They actually are born in good old American homes, maybe right next to those seeking the information in the first place.


So, there goes the good old American dream about breeder/kennels way out somewhere……..but wait, that’s the real good news! We have a better way, a real down-home way……………….in fact a real home where they are all born at! They are born where each of our top show quality mothers live…………….in someone’s home!


That’s it!!!!!!!!!! That’s the pearl of wisdom………………..that’s the difference………….vive la difference!


That’s how it’s done………..no smoke and mirrors……………………no ‘now you see them breeder, now you don’t’, or here today, long gone tomorrow breeders……………..in fact Chambray celebrates its 45th year with Labradors, 42 of those years at the same place, Chambray Acres……………….25 of those years featuring Chambrays Owner’s Programs For The Betterment Of The Breed and that’s where the big difference occurs!


That difference is that our puppies are born inside of loving homes with the whole family involved in the delivery and the rearing of the litter with the mother right in her own home! That makes a huge……….no, make that humongous difference………..let’s even take that to the next level, the top most level where few if any can dare to dwell…………..real rarefied-air difference because it doesn’t get any better than this.


That is the Chambray difference, the best generation after generation of Labradors produced in loving homes making even ‘better’….a better way, maybe even the making of a new American dream where puppies are born and raised just like they will be lovingly living in a new home at 8-weeks of age in their new family’s home…………………………….and it all starts over again…………….our very best dogs living in loving homes where eventually they will pay it forward one day by producing the next superb generation of Chambray puppies.


Did I mention that it doesn’t get any better than this?

January 2nd 2015

Introduction To Showing Your Dog


The majority of Chambray owners have not had much experience in the art and fancy of showing dogs.


Of course they all know that Chambray Labradors is one of the top show breeders in the country, but few have an inking on how it all works……………how we all get to be that ‘top breeder’.


Notice that I state ‘we’……………….that’s because each and every Chambray owner is included in that top honor claim.

So, bear with me as I do my very best to ‘show’ each the way.


Of course it starts with breeding the best to produce the best…………….that’s where each new owner comes in…………….you each start out with the best show quality Labrador in the country.


Now, we (we again) will work together to prove to all that we do have the best! That’s where the showing part comes in…………………we must show our dogs at dog shows where approved judges……..act as judges to judge just which dogs are indeed the best!

Sound simple so far?


Well……………………..it gets a little complicated, but that’s where I come in to guide each and every new, existing, and old Chambray owner along.


I am the guiding light for the whole kit and caboodle………….it starts with me and ends with me………………like the master of ceremonies, or maestro or MC or whatever tickles your fancy, I oversee the whole operation…………………and operation it is!

But fret not, because I have the best interest for all involved, starting with the Best Interest for the Breed and extending to each and every chickadee that owns one of our precious Labradors.


So, only the best of the best will breed and only the best of the best will show……………..which in turn will be the ones that will breed to produce the best of the best that will show. Around and around we go and only the merry-go-round operator (the Little Old Wine Maker, me) knows where we stop and where we go……………but I promise each and all a great ride!


So, once we have bred those great puppies and I have chosen those great new owners for those awesome puppies…………….we then provide all of our great programs for the advancement of the breed.


We start out training puppies even before they leave for their new homes and we continue that training as the need sees fit with the owners participating in private sessions and also night training classes, whatever it takes to achieve the results we know are the best.


All of that so that we have the best behaved Labradors possible, plus we start the encouraging of taking those really great puppy/dogs even further…………………further being to the shows where those accredited judges will do their jobs and select the best dogs and those dogs then win enough to become champions.


Ah, there’s the catch…………show enough to become champions! Not merely showing up, but winning against other dogs that their owners and breeders thought were good enough to win and also become champions.


At Chambray Labradors, we take the very best of our dogs (your dogs) and we train, condition and handled to the very best in order to achieve the highest success at the dog shows. That’s why we are by far and wide #1 Labrador breeder in Florida and in the Top 5 USA……………#1 in 2012 USA and maybe, just maybe #1 again in 2014!


Each of our owners has the best team in the country working for them and their dog (us)…………..Team Chambray…….with me as the coach and sometimes player.


That means that we have to work to get the success that we are known for.


So, besides the great breeding program, it takes time, energy, and expertise to get the results needed for success.

We guide each and every new owner through that process as we are guiding their dogs to become successful in the competitive venues known as dog shows.


The dogs have to perform their best in order to show off their virtues, their high show quality traits and that takes time to achieve. Time behind the scenes with our Secret 11 Herbs and Spices, garnered with my 45 years of involvement with just one breed of dog, the Labrador Retriever………your/our Labrador Retriever!


Through Rain, Shine, Sleet and Hail…………….we deliver your mail, male and female too…………………….come snow (1977), come weather beyond recognition (1992 Hurricane Andrew), come high water and hell……………………in sickness and in health here it is 45 years later and we persist and excel.


So, let’s get working to show those best Labradors that were produced by those best Labradors before them…….let’s keep that winning tradition alive and kicking into yet another great year.


The Betterment of the Breed, that’s what I keep talking about!



January 1st 2015
It's A Brand New Year



End of Year report 2014


2014 was a great year for Chambray Labradors………………maybe the greatest show year ever and that comes after 2013 was the greatest year ever and 2012 was the greatest year ever, 2011, 2010 before that………………that’s 5 years straight of raising the bar so high that the new year starting seemingly had no chance for improvement………yet improvement came!


We completed 97 straight winning dog show weekends……………winning each and every weekend at dog shows since the first weekend in January 2012………….three whole years in a row.


We achieved 13 new titles in 2014, consisting of AKC champions, FCI champions, AKC Grand champions and AKC Bronze Grand champions! 6 of those being brand new AKC champions…………….possibly making Chambray the #1 Labrador breeder in the USA for 2014! Keep in mind that 6 new AKC champions in 2012 made Chambray #1 Labrador breeder in the USA!


Those 6 new champions plus the 2 FCI champions now gives Chambray a state-record 44 lifetime champions produced.


Chambray dogs combined for Best Of Breed, Winners Dog and Winners Bitch a mind boggling 8 times in 2014………….that’s 8 Trifectas in 1 year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This past year our dogs also combined to win 4 Judges Awards of Merits at Specialty Shows (JAMSS) with 1 Judges Award of Excellence (JAMS). One of those 4 JAMSS was won at the Labrador Nationals and the JAMS was awarded at the 2014 Eukanuba National Championships and it carried a #1 next to it as being the first dog awarded a JAMS at that event.


One of our dogs was ranked in the USA Top 10 All-Breeds, winning 14 Best Of Breeds with 9 Group Placements in 9 months of showing, including winning 2 Group 1’s. Another of our dogs showed at only a 4-day weekend of shows as a champion and won the 4 back-to-back Best Of Breeds, with a Group 1 and a Group 2 to boot.


We just wrapped up the 2014 year with the biggest dog show there is, the AKC/Eukanuba Week with 3 Orlando shows, the LRC Specialty and the grand finale the 2014 Eukanuba National Championships. The tally for the 5 days of showing…………………………………1st day, a 4-Pt Major Winners Dog………..2nd day, a 4-Pt Major Winners Bitch/BOW………………..the LRC Specialty a 5-Pt Major Winners Dog and Judges Award Of Merit to 2 different dogs, a Best Bred Labrador Retriever to another dog………………………..the Eukanuba a Judges Award Of Excellence #1 JAMS.


So, now we start the 2015 New Year with great momentum with several dogs on the verge of their championships, a whole cast of youngsters chomping at the bit to be included into the show roster…………will 2015 surpass the past year’s achievements…………….at this point in the journey, the years just seem to merge with the successes that quality breeds or is it that breeding quality brings on the successes?


Time is on our side as our records so vividly shows……………..a time-honored tradition of superb quality year after year and 2015 is a continuation of that tradition.


Happy New Year To All

December 31st

Happy New Year To All


The Proverbial Pandora’s Box Swings Open



Just like clockwork……………………..maybe even the orange kind…………….out of the woodwork comes those harpers, lamenters and lambasters that insist that dog shows should be 100% about the dogs and not about conditioning, handling, training, preparations and/or the rest of the litany list that rivals the old laundry list or even Craig’s List!


Well, here’s a suggestion to all those that prescribe to this cockamamie notion………………why don’t we play pin the tail on the donkey (dogs being shown) and have Joe Blowsky or Nancy Drawn or just grab one of the concession staffers……………………blindfold any of them and have them grope around and pin the Winners Dog or Winner Bitch ribbon on one of a bevy of dogs tied to the stanchions holding up the rings.


This way, it is fair for all that may not be fair or even fare! Yeah, that’s the ticket!


Better yet, let’s save tons of money in entries, traveling, handler fees, lodging and food and let’s just email photos of our dogs to some spiffy-looking website and have blokes on tokes anoint the Best Of Breed rosette from all the photos submitted.


Hey, I say as long as we are using the system in play by the AKC, UKC, IABCA, ICE and other well-thought out abbreviated, hyphenated, truncated organizations taking our dough, mula, dinero and other hard to come by tokens of hard work, they who come and put on these venues where we can congregate with our dogs…………….then homey…………….that’s me will do everything within my reach to create the winning edge for my exhibits!


Feeding the best foods………….ya betcha!


Exercise and conditioning………………yep all that too!


Train and train some more, well choo choo to that as well!


Handle with the best of them…………well, little ole competitive me will go one up one anyone that enters my ring………..yep you heard it right…………….the Lab ring is ‘mi casa’, you come into my house, you better clean your feet or they could get stepped on!


Those that whine and complain, hey bro and sis, the more power to you…………..it’s a free country and self-expression is still the operative ‘word’ here………..so knock yourselves out while I do my thing and keep right on truckin in the Lab ring……………….nothing like success to keep a parade, a conga line, a good thing going!


So, now 12 hours before the strike of midnight and we enter into yet another New Year................time for me to go work with my dogs!

December 30th



I have had quite a bit of feedback on the blog about dogs being able/not being to finish their championship or not.


Here’s the thing……………..each dog has its own predicaments and each is as individual as there are people on the planet. There is no catch all reason or fault that adequately describes or details why some dogs are able to finish and others just run out of time/gas. It could very well be an amalgamation of circumstances that deride even the best dogs from the intended goal.


My contention to all that will listen/read is that if a dog is worthy to show……………….then show it! There is no way to know if it will garner the needed points/majors/wins under 3 different judges to achieve its title. If the dog is not shown, if it is sitting back home lounging around and not at the competitive venues, then for sure it isn’t going anywhere real fast.


The flip side of the above are some dogs that don’t have what it takes to be competitive in the conformation ring and their chances of titling become even slimmer. Of course we have all seen dogs from this category being traipsed to several hundred shows (or more) and after a lengthy, grinding campaign…………….finally the merciful ‘eureka’ moment and they are finished and hopefully put up.


There have even been some dogs that after being forced-fed through more shows than fit on 5 AKC Points/Wins Report pages, were even specialed to national ranking after finally finishing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dogs that were questionable to be shown in the first place……………………so anything is possible.


You do this show stuff enough and you will see everything under the sun.


December 29th

Drum Roll Maestro.........Let The Good Times Roll


2015 1st Week Brooksville Numbers Are In


Yippee Ki Yay! 


The good news is that we have majors every day for the males. Each and every day of the first 5 days……………………..that’s Thursday the 8th through Monday the 12th. Of course the required 15 dogs must show up for competition for those majors to stand and then we can boogie all night long!


99% probability that the quorum will be met each day and the male dog anointed Winners Dog will take that major-pointed win as the breakdown looks like this for each day of showing.


Thursday 20-21………..3-2

Friday 20-19……………3-2

Saturday 23-19……….5-3

Sunday 24-19………….5-3

Monday 19-18…………4-2


For those not as versed in conformational numerical computation deciphering {entry breakdown}, the first number indicates how many class males have been entered. The 2nd numeral is the number of class females with the 3rd, the number of male champions followed by the number of female champions.


Since May of 2014* it takes 15 class males in our region to add up to a 3-pt major with 23 class females needed for a 3-pt major. There are some interesting and intricate permutations that can augment those numbers from the champions’ side of the postulate, but for this Pre-K rendering we will leave lying dogs lie………for now.


*I notated that date because the powers that be, the AKC can and will raise or lower that number at some secretly arrived whim or will……………..or scientific formula……much like Colonel Sander’s Secret Recipe Of 11 Herbs & Spices! So watch for the new and improved/not improved 2015 AKC Point’s Schedule to be released at a theater near you in May of this year!


Ok, ok you say…………so what’s the bad news…………………in case you forgot the opening line right after Yippee Ki Yay.


There is no bad news!


BUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!There is always a butt!


Me being me and me being able to read in between where there are no lines……………….smell smoke in outer space……………………see where there’s no visibility, where even bats couldn’t ‘see’ what they don’t see to begin with………………………..I sense from those puny numbers that the northern professional handlers with truckloads of the well-known Labrador breeder’s dogs of the frozen tundra states north of the Florida border………………..somehow detoured to points other than deepest south, shortened their route much closer to colder climates or maybe just went on a much deserved hiatus from the hustle and bustle of driving so far for so little!


Ooooppssss did I just slip in an editorial in that last line?


My proof to my hypothesis is of course:


The rather small, paltry entry of 43 to 51 total dogs depending on the day. From the last 5 years, these numbers are the lowest tallied.


3 male champions and 2 female champions the 1st and 2nd days. I can more or less predict who the 3 males are………………..2 of them are Chambray dogs and the 3rd is from one of the Florida professionals that work the Labrador ring. Most of the northern pros pad ($$$$$) their roster with a few champion specials, so that speaks volumes to me as to who is there and who did not make the sojourn to the warmer climate.


The numbers flip up for the weekend and flop down for the weekday shows which smoke signals to me that these fluctuating numbers are Florida locals/locos as well.


So, my prediction is that instead of the usual 7 to 10 hardy soul pros that have been keeping the old tradition alive of flocking down to sunny Florida to divvy up those points as was customary through recent recorded history of the 1990’s, 2000’s and the beginning of fading away circa 2005…………………there may only be 3 of them with limited numbers of those nice looking northern brethren Labradors.


Keep in mind that in the real heyday of northern handlers/dogs frolicking in the sun, there were upwards of 100 Labradors each day at the Winter Circuit with 20 or more of the best known named professionals plying their trade and nary a local Florida dog to be seen within miles of the winter wonderland locales set up for the conquering hordes with their burly dogs in tow.


So, here we go, armed with our best dogs............well a trimmed down version of our best dogs since we came up with a different strategy for 2015. I would honestly say that we are traveling light this year to the Florida Winter Circuit with half of our awesome lineup as our starting day roster. The rest of our top troopers will come out swinging in weeks and months down the road. Let’s see if we can't finish 3 or 4 of our top pointed dogs which will make it easier for our other worthy dogs to come out and play!



The only thing that is needed is the starting bell for the first day’s excitement! 


Needless to say, I will keep you all posted.


December 28th
Success Or Failure. You Choose.

Case In Point for those asking


Long letter detailing the ‘failure’ of a Chambray dog not being of enough ‘show quality’ to win at dog shows. No need for dog’s name nor owner as that could be any dog or any owner.


Here are the facts as detailed in the note: ‘Dog is now 18 months old’ and according to the owner had been ‘showing since it was 6 months old’…………………… ‘a whole year of showing and not one point to show for all that bother’…………………..listed some of the judge’s comments as ‘Too immature’ and ‘Not developed out’……………. ‘Needs conditioning’.


Before answering back, a little research yields the following:


Dog was entered in a total of 12 shows in that “whole year of showing”. It was marked absent 5 times out of the 12 shows that it was entered. At 2 of those ‘absent’ shows that I was present at, the dog was on the grounds, however the handler did not make it to the ring to cover the dog.


About the judge’s comments: All dogs showing under the age of 12 months are immature and not developed and in this particular case the dog was not in great physical condition………………nothing to do with the dog itself and more of a trainer/handler misgiving.


Further observations, more of an opinion………………the handler is not well versed with the breed, rather better suited for the little breeds that are walked around the ring and need no setting up or hand’s on presentations as a young Labrador will need.


So, bottom line is that this dog has had very poor show management, including moving the dog to the open class after it turned a year old!!!!!!!!!!!!! No wonder some of the judge’s comments!


Poor decision making processes, poor training and poor conditioning and even worse show preparations and presentations if and when the dog actually made it to the ring………………….not a winning combination at all and the results clearly speak for themselves.


This is the total opposite of those Chambray dogs in our Show Management Program and so are the results!

December 28th

Let's Get This Party Started

Reality Vs. Rah-Rah


"What percentage of dogs that show end up as champions?"


I get this question so often from so many people.


Somewhere along the line we all must face reality in everything we do and showing dogs is no different.


Some dogs will not finish their AKC champion’s title!


Whoa, now that’s stark reality! No pussyfooting, window-dressing, no rah-rah to make things sound sweeter than honey……………….no sir, that’s as direct as a line can get!


Now, let’s soften the blow a bit by saying that many that don’t reach the promise land of being a champion……………should have!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


That may sound ambiguous, but a little bit of scrutiny and delving a little bit more may bring about some light to the matter.

Let’s back up a bit and let me make another controversial statement……………not every dog showing, should be showing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yep, that statement will heat up the waters a little. That statement will make some of my readers say “He’s back!’


Lately, I have been receiving comments to the effect that I have lost my edge…………………..that I am not digging up interesting fodder to feed on……………………that I have become mainstream, establishment-like if you will!


Maybe old age has overcome me…………………or maybe……………..just maybe things have evolved around me, around the Labrador ring where positives far outweigh the negatives that we had been navigating through.


Let’s put these last 2 paragraphs on the backburner for the time being and I will address that subject in future blogs.


As President Nixon & President Clinton both said to assure us, “Let’s make things perfectly clear”.


I too will make clear………………….that each and every dog that is managed and shown by Chambray is worthy of being shown!


So that statement I made above about ‘not every dog showing, should be showing’ does not apply to the dogs we are showing!


Now, I will add some more verbiage and say that just the same, not every dog that we show will finish!!!!!


Ok, so how many have fallen off the fast moving train with my suppositions? What am I saying here? Who can follow my logic as it twist and turns, spins and churns?


Hey, stay with me if you dare and lucidity will be your reward!


So, here we go, follow along with Mitch Miller’s Bouncing Ball.


For show purposes, I will only work with dogs that are worthy of winning their championships. No two ways about it, no compromising, no male cow feces…………………… ‘Just the facts Ma’am’ is all you get from me once we enter into the Twilight Zone of showing dogs!


Chambray dogs and/or outside dogs……….if they are worthy, then bring them on! The proof is in eating the pudding and those that don’t subscribe to this last statement better check our resume of dogs finished…………….let’s remind folk of our record setting 44 Chambray-bred champions and then let’s add the following names:


Ch Chelons Emma Ducka O’Chardon (1992)
Am/Can Ch Granquest Chambray Slapshot (1995)
Ch Kai Dens Chambray Conquest (1998)
Ch Surry’s Obscured By Clouds (2003)
Ch Carmays Ruff Around The Edges (2004)
Ch Dan Jacs Duchess (2005)
Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho (2012)


All of the above titled dogs were dogs we committed to regardless of who the breeder was and we saw them through to their just championship.


Now, let’s add to the mix that there were just as many dogs that WE committed to that did not finish their championships!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ah, back to the smoke and mirrors of confusion…………but bear with me as I will bring clarity to what may seem murky.


There are infinite amount of variables as to why some dogs do not finish the champion’s race that may not have anything to do with their show worthiness.


Yes, that’s it! A dog may have what it takes to be a show champion and then a meteorite falls on it!!!!!!!!!!!!


Well, that’s being as dramatic as all get out………………..but I think you get the point……………..in other words the road from Point A to Point B may be riddled with so many pot holes, detours, way layers, bushwhackers and other obstacles that have absolutely nothing to do with show worthiness that many of those dogs will be lost along the way.


Here is the Top 10 list of such eventualities and calamities that sidetracked or worse yet, stopped some worthy dogs from getting there.

  • Finances

  • Divorces

  • Poor Decision Making on owners part

  • Loss Of Interest

  • Dogs Not Shown Enough

  • Relocations

  • Crippling Accidents both dogs and owners

  • Bad Luck, Bad Timing/Running Out Of Time

  • Illnesses & Deaths………….dog/owner

  • Lost/Stolen


Some of the above are tragic or unavoidable and we can rule those out {1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). Well, some like #7, #8, #9 and #10 where it involved the dog only (not the owner) have left me with ‘I should have known better with the people involved’. Some people are just Calamity Janes and Joes and should never have dogs to begin with.


The one item/reason dogs fail to make it across the finish line that irks me to no end is #3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hate #3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Want to see me see red? Want to see me seething?


Bring up any case that involved a Chambray dog where #3 was the reason that the dog did not finish!


Way, way too many of these nincompoop owners that were perpetrators of #3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Some really great dogs went the wrong way with incompetent owners with their dastardly decision making processes. All falling short of the potential that was handed them.


Here is an eye opening fact:


Dogs that are part of the Chambray Show Management Program succeed at an 80% rate.


Dogs that go independent with their owners making the Show decisions succeed at a 10% rate.


Of those dogs that are part of the Chambray Show Management Program we still must content with some of the reasons the 20% will not succeed such as:

  • Finances

  • Divorces

  • Poor Decision Making on owners part

  • Loss Of Interest

  • Dogs Not Shown Enough

  • Relocations

  • Crippling Accidents both dogs and owners

  • Bad Luck, Bad Timing/Running Out Of Time

  • Illnesses & Deaths………….dog/owner

  • Lost/Stolen


Around and around we go and where we stop, only those that are already there know.



December 27th 2014
The 2015 Starting Roster In Bold


Our Class dogs.


Chambrays Maxed N Counter 'Max' (Von Rietzenstein): After spending 4 months in the mountains outside of Bogota Col. what an awesome home-coming from South America, first show out winning a 3-pt major at Davie, 2 weeks later a 4-pt Major the 1st day of Eukanuba week and 3 days later a 5-pt major at the LRC Specialty under a breeder/judge, plus a Judges Award of Merit at Specialty Show. He will finish his championship at the first 2 weeks of the Brooksville shows! Max just needs mental maturity that will come as he nears his 2nd birthday in March……………….hard to believe that he is not even 2 years old yet! We will continue the physical workout regimen here at Chambray Acres that he had been put through from August to November in Colombia. At the end of 2014 he has 12 points and 3 majors. Max embodies 7 generations of maternal Chambray lines, with Hogan as his grandsire on one side of the pedigree and with Gateways Nothing But Trouble as his grandsire through his sire Bronze Gr Ch Summithill Joshua’s Battle At Jericho.

Watch for Max at the Brooksville shows


WinQuest Chambrays Famous Amos (Eslinger): “Famous Amos he is”. He will also finish his AKC championship at one of the 3 weeks of shows in January, either the 2 Brooksville weeks or the last week of shows in January in Ocala. We have seen steady improvement from show to show in his ring performance with increased focus and attention, which was lacking at the beginning of the year. His movement has now become an asset, along with his great looks. At the Eukanuba week of shows, he showed steady improvement show after show and I expect this to continue in the New Year. We just got word that Amos made the ICE Dog Shows Top 10 All-Breeds rankings. At the end of 2014 he has 12 points and 3 majors. Amos brings to the Chambray Breeding Program the most consistent breeding lines in the country, the Tabatha lines through his sire, Zindfndel Brigham. Through the dam lines comes the Hyspire and Windfall lines with Hyspires Adrenaline Rush and Windfalls Pipe Major as grandsires and great grand sires.

Watch for Amos at the Brooksville shows


Chambrays Stellar Thunder 'Rico' (Marrero): What an awesome boy this is. His mental maturity has kept him back from winning that last major-pointed show, however, now at 2 ½ years old there has been glimpses of his full adult character. We feel that he will be finished in the first couple of months of the New Year, needing just a major win. With all his clearance passed, he has been busy in the stud dog department both for Chambrays Puppy Placement Program and for several outside Labrador breeders as well. Several of his offspring are now in our Show Management Program with 1 champion-pointed get to his credit already. At the end of 2014 he has 14 points and 1 major. Rico is also 7 generations of maternal Chambray lines, with Hogan as his grandsire on one side of the pedigree. His sire is Gingerbred Celestial Thunder bringing long some of the best established producing lines in the country.

Watch for Rico at the Brooksville shows


Chambrays Recurring Dream N Countner 'Dreamer' (Gardner): Dreamer will be showing from the Am Bred class now that he has aged out of 12 to 18. His last couple of shows, he came on strong with RWDs and we hope that with his improved performance in the ring and also some physical developing that he gets on the race for is champion’s title. Dreamer is an 8th generation Chambray line with Hogan as his grandsire. There is also Ghoststones Louie Downtown coming from the maternal side and his sire is Blackthorn Hailstorm.

Watch for Dreamer at the Brooksville shows


Chambrays Black Diamond In The Ruff 'Bandit' (Rodriguez): Is our super star class black dog! If I was a betting man, I would put all my marbles on him going stellar somewhere along 2015! He just needs a bit of physical conditioning where he can move out a little more. Besides that, he has it all. When he starts to win points, there is no stopping him. Bandit won a 1st Place at the Eukanuba from the 12 to 18 class. Watch for this super typey boy to become a very instrumental producer from Chambray’s Stud Dog Program. With Jericho/Trouble on the paternal side plus Hogan and Lobuffs Bobwhite at Chucklebrook from the maternal side………..an awesome combination of type and substance.

Bandit will join our show roster in February


Chambrays Thor God Of Thunder (Solis): This is another youngster that will have a bust out streak once he starts to win, there will be no stopping him. Although very developed physically, his mental maturity still lags somewhat behind. When physical and mental catch up to each other, watch out! Another super typey boy to become a very instrumental producer from Chambray’s Stud Dog Program. With Jericho/Trouble on the paternal side plus Hogan and Lobuffs Bobwhite at Chucklebrook from the maternal side………..an awesome combination of type and substance.

Thor will join our show roster in March


Chambrays Where Eagles DareTank (Knapp): This perfect gentleman needs to become a bit of a ‘bad boy’ to strut around the ring. This youngster has it all, just needs to show it when it counts in the ring. I have seen moments when the head lights shine and then it’s “Wow!”  Another super star stud dog in waiting. Jericho/Trouble on the paternal side plus Hogan and Ghoststones Louie Downtown from the maternal side………..a super awesome combination of type and substance.

Tank will join our show roster in March



Several of our puppies are also in the mix for 2015 with Chambray 4X4 Big Dog Diesel (McCubbins) already AKC ch-pointed. Chocolate Duke (Moreno) will also made a run at the points. We expect to see Chaos (Padgett) in the male’s roster as well. With great anticipation we await the debut of Kika X Jericho boys, with Chambrays Magnum N Counter (Dillon) and Harley (Faria) developing into stunners!

Watch for Magnum to debut at the 1st week of Brooksville shows and for Diesel to join us at the 2nd weekend of shows there.


Our girls:

Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha (Merin) was red hot from the summer to the beginning of the fall show season, winning 8 points 2 majors and 2 Best Of Breeds and a Group IV to boot. She came close towards the end of 2014 with several RWB awards, however we expect her to finish her title chase early on in 2015.

Watch for Max at the Brooksville shows


Gracie (Baker) came on like gangbusters at the last 2 weeks of shows, including a phenomenal 4-pt Major win at the Eukanuba week of shows. She also won the Best Bred By Exhibitor Labrador at the LRC Specialty. She shows from the Bred By Exhibitor Class and we expect her to add to Chambray’s champion BBE count early in 2015. We would like to see some added conditioning with her, but at 14 months old, we really couldn’t ask for more.

Gracie will be joining us in February and March shows


Chambrays Little Miss Magic Stella also clocked in a couple of wins at the end of the 2014 show season including a 3-pt major win at the Davie shows. We would like to see some physical development with her as she now nears being a year old. So she may be on the sidelines until March.


Chambrays Cajun N Counter 'Jolie' (Scearce) and Chambrays Bella From Ipanema (Faria) both won points this past year and we expect both to come on strong in the coming months garnering points from the Am Bred and Open Black Classes. Chambrays Isis (Padgett) will also make a big comeback into the starting lineup in the Open Yellow Class.

Watch for Jolie and Isis at the Brooksville shows


Several of our other up & coming girls, such as Chambrays Camila, Chambrays Maylee, Chambrays Miranda, Chambrays Honey and a couple other youngsters will be attending shows off and on through the rest of the winter and into the springs shows as well.


Of great interest is the debut of the girls from the Kika X Jericho litter. Chambrays Galactic N Counter 'Gayla' (Jackson) and Chambrays Eventful N Counter 'Evie' (McGraw) strutting their stuff early on from the puppy classes.

Watch for Evie and Gayla to debut at the Brooksville shows


Our Champions:

Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter (Baker): WOW! What a year for our golden boy! 14 Best Of Breeds with 9 Groups Placements since March!!!!!!!!!!!!….that’s the highest ratio of BOB to Groups ever for one of our champions! Then we takes a Judges Award Of Merit at Specialty Show (JAMSS) at the Labrador Retriever Club Specialty with Labrador breeder/judge Carl Liepman and then the very next day at the 2014 AKC/Eukanuba he is awarded the #1 Judges Award Of Excellence! Whoa Nelly! Watch for Walter’s offspring get in the coming year as he will figure prominently on Chambray’s Breeding Program. He brings with him 7 generations of Chambray, then add Hogan as his grandsire and Ghoststones Louie Downtown from his mother’s side, whoa Nelly is right!

Walter will join us at selected shows in the future.


Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting (Etzig): Our top black champion of all times, exceeding all expectations way before he is 2 years old. I received just as much accolades from those around ringside while showing him at several of the Eukanuba week of shows as I did from Max and Walter’s super wins and awards! I can’t wait to see how he matures out in the coming months as he nears his 2nd birthday. Jericho/Trouble on the paternal side plus Hogan and Ghoststones Louie Downtown from the maternal side………..a super awesome combination of type and substance.

Watch for Tucker at the Brooksville shows



CH Chambrays Razor's Edge Thunderstruck 'Bob' (McGraw)……….Bad Boy Bob turns into Mr. Bob in the Best Of Breed ring at the Eukanuba week of shows! Once he matures mentally a bit more and fills out physically to his full potential, watch out for Bob! He is an 8th generation Chambray line, with Hogan as his great grand sire and the introduction of the Blackthorn lines through his sire Blackthorn Rock U Too……….who goes back to one of the top dams of the breed, Blackthorn Blondie.

Watch for Bob at the Brooksville shows


December 27th

The Countdown Is On


The New Year beckons with each passing second left of 2014. Closer and closer we get to the one day, one hour that we can ring in the new by casting out the old……………………giving ‘starting anew’ an added meaning!


Fresh starts are the perfect remedy for stale, brackish waters………………new life glistens with sparking running waters………………the celebration that ensues on New Year’s Eve gives all a chance to clear the mind and have hope that there is better times ahead…………..at least thinking those positive thoughts is better than dwelling on all the negatives that can drag one backwards.


Each year, those of us from Chambray celebrate a great passing year and anxiously await the chance to excel at the New Year’s offerings…………………..a new year to extend our mission and goals for the Betterment of the Breed……………….a new year where we can Pay It Forward to the next generation of great puppies produced, giving new owners the chance to partake in the one-of-a-kind Chambray Owner’s Program so that they too will one New Year’s Eve celebrate alongside of all those past Chambray Owners and they too can be part of the Pay It Forward movement that defines Chambray Labradors.


If this coming year we produce as good or better as we did in 2014……………….then we will declare on December 31st 2015, a whole year from now……….as having been a great and successful year for us and for the Labrador Retriever breed.


If we only win half as much……………if we only title 1/3 as many dogs……………………if no records are set nor broken, if the winning streaks stops the very first week of the New Year………………………………none of the preceding matters that much if we produce as good or better……………then collectively we are a success……………….you, me, the whole program is a success.


Winning points, winning Best Of Breeds, titling a brand new champion to add to the record setting numbers already posted, the awards, certificates, trophies, medallions are all icing on an ever growing cake!


Sure as heck that I will take it all and bask in the afterglow glory………..yes sir, that’s what I will do, but make no mistake, my exuberance, my braggadocio broadcastings…………………the real measuring stick to the Betterment of the Breed is producing the next generation of as good or better dogs!


Trophies and medals sit on a shelf away from what matters……………………….those better built dogs, they are someone’s family member, contributing on a daily basis, a thousand times better than the awards and ribbons in the drawers or closets.


My real trophies are the testimonials of the Chambray owners telling me how great their dogs are.


Happy 2015 New Year to all.

December 27th

The Great One That Didn't Get Away (1967)


For years now, I have told ‘fish stories’ galore!


Tall tales from my youth as a prodigy of my namesake, Santiago from the Old Man and the Sea (Hemmingway).


Speckled Trout, Pompano, Permit, Red Fish, Drums, Mackerel, Bonefish and my numero uno fish de jour the greatest of them all, the Snook! All where there just waiting for me to come and play, 'let's fish'...................and fish I did!


Ah, the elusive, temperamental, spooky, ghostlike, streak liner, with the red devilish glowing eyes (at night) of the bays and inlets.

The grapevine at the area bait shops would hum about a ‘run’ of the ‘Robalo’………………old timer’s lingo both Anglo and Latin for the Snook…………………and I would hop unto the old 48 Desoto and chug along A1A (US 1) wherever that locale appeared on our “shore and inland waterway charts’ (vintage 1938 bible-like fishing charts)……of course I knew where each nook and cranny, fork, inlet, runoff……………..you name it and I had been there since first coming to this great country of ours in 1955 at the age of 5.


Of course by the time I was 18 years old in 1967, I no longer had to rely on my parents to make the treks to some of these totally out of the way places…………………mosquitos, land crabs, no-see-ums, barnacles, shallow water stingrays, jelly fish and billions of mangroves ready to wrap up an ankle and break it every which way but loose.


Now 50 years later, names such as Boca Raton, Jupiter Inlet, Bakers Haulover, Hillsborough Inlet, Government Cut, Blackpoint and several others are so-prime real estate that even getting a glimpse of the water from a fast moving car would be a treat for me, let alone make one last cast into glistening waters.


So, for all those patient Chambray owners that have had to endure for years and years of all my ‘greatest fish stories’, I present to you one that did not get away.

By the way, that was a 28 inch waist on me and the fish was 32 inches around the belly

December 26th

A Legend Is Born

Folk Lore Legend


In my 45 years of involvement with Labrador Retrievers and more importantly the last 25 of those years with breeding show dogs, there have been dogs that contributed more or less, with some more than others.


With 2015 looming less than a week away, officially making this my 25th year in conformation with the breed, we have crowned 44 different dogs as breed champions that were bred by us. Some of those dogs sired by top producers of the breed from elsewhere, a few sires revered as ‘legends’ of the breed!


Names like Receiver of Cranspire………….Ebonylanes Aslan…………….Langshott Gale Force From Kimvalley………………….Ghoststones Louie Downtown………………..Monarch’s Black Arrogance……………Davoegs Irish Gold…………………Dickendall Arnold……………..names that appear prominently in the who’s who of Labradors today. Prepotent dogs that stamped the best of their genes on their progeny and to succeeding generations thereafter. Dogs who’s names people, exhibitors and breeders toss around as if though they knew them personally.


I often wondered what it would be like to be the breeder of one of those ‘legends’. How it would sound to toss around a name that others knew and appreciated it for the contributions it had made to the breed.


How there would be some newer type owners into the breed that had never seen that dog in person, however the ‘legend’ effect had somehow reached them and they spoke of that dog with the highest regards……………………….almost godly, if there is such a thing for a dog.


Well, that moment has arrived for me as a breeder. I guess better late than never. But no complaints from me because the vast majority of breeders never ever have a ‘legend’ dog to call their own. Up to now, in Florida there really had not been any one dog that had risen to that lofty status reserved for the infinitesimal few.


The breakthrough, eureka moment came at the recent Eukanuba shows in Orlando. Following the LRC Specialty on Friday December 12th, after judging of Labradors a breeder/exhibitor a gathering took place at a designated location. A rather large turnout of some of the top breeders in the country that had come down for the specialty and for the Eukanuba show that would follow the next day.

No sooner than I had joined the celebratory function, the conversation towards me from different ‘top breeders’ revolved around ‘the Chambray lines going back to Hogan’…………………..not one, but four different one of these breeders mentioned up about the same thing!


So, needless to say, without me being around, this must have been the topic of conversation. Folks within the breed speaking of a dog as a producing legend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I had arrived as a breeder with my own bred-by legend.


To those that know him and love him, he is known as Hogan, his official AKC name BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff CGC THD TDI NFP NJP


Hogan is owned by Rosie and Bill Feely of Boynton Beach Fl and is now in his golden age of 10 ½ years old.


It is not necessarily his titles that make him great, although being the first-ever Labrador born in Florida to win a Best In Show in Florida would certainly give him major kudos………nor leading Chambray’s record books for males with Best Of Breeds, with Sporting Group Placements and other stellar achievements………………………no none of those makes a folk lore breed legend!


What does and what is doing it for him are his kids, grandkid, great grandkids and whatever comes next!

The big winner breeder at the 2014 Eukanuba/LRC/Orlando shows was Chambray………………………..with each and every one of those dogs that contributed to the winning spree………….were descendants of Hogan. Out of the 19 Chambray dogs showing at this year’s Eukanuba week, 17 were descendants from Hogan!!!! Four out of the five Chambray champions showing were attributed to Hogan.


Chambrays Maxed N Counter a grandson………….won a 4-pt major at the 1st day Orlando show……………a 5-pt major at the LRC Specialty PLUS an LRC Judges Award Of Merit at Specialty Show.


Chambrays Grace Of The Field a Hogan granddaughter…………………4-pt major at the 2nd day of Orlando shows……………………….LRC Best Bred-By Exhibitor Labrador.


BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter (the USA Top 10 Labradors for 2014) another grandson……………….LRC Judges Award Of Merit at Specialty Show………………………..The 2014 Eukanuba 1st Judges Award of Excellence.


Chambrays Black Diamond In The Ruff a Hogan grandson…………………LRC Specialty 1st place 12 to 18.


Merely having a troop of offspring does not make a legend……………………..having people, exhibitors and breeders speak of that dog in that light makes it so! Having so many there referring to his contributions to my lines and in general to the breed makes it official.


A legend is born and his name is Hogan.

December 23



In a little more than a week, come the New Year……………2015 will mark the 45th year that I have been blessed with Labrador Retrievers in my life.


The last 25 years of that 4 ½ decade journey has been dedicated to producing the best show conformation possible with the innovative and most successful Chambray Owners Programs.


So, I and we…………….all of those that have been part of this odyssey actually are celebrating 2 anniversaries……………the 45th year and the 25th year with Labradors.


How fortunate I have been all these years to be involved in my life’s work, raising, training and showing Labrador Retrievers and mentoring 100’s if not 10 times more…………interested and loving owners that have associated themselves with our many programs for the betterment of the breed.


I know that I have benefitted tremendously……………………seeing the level that our dogs have reached on par with the best of the best Labrador breeders in the country, I know that the breed has benefitted and feeling the gratitude from the multitude of present and past owners, I know that all of those owners have benefitted as well. So, a win, win, win situation if there ever was one.


Without a single doubt, I know that I can pull over to the side of the curb and let the caravan move on without me and know that there will be many generations coming up with the lasting influence of the betterment of the breed that has been our rallying call all these years.


Jackie Gleason said it best “How sweet it is!”

December 21

The Ultimate Pay It Forward


"Describe your involvement/contributions to Labrador Retrievers"


“Producing the True Blue Labrador Retriever according to the Breed Standard.”


That is the simplest answer to the 100’s of not 1000’s of queries that come in yearly about our:

  • Our involvement with the breed

  • Our owner’s programs

  • Our vast offerings


Since our existence as ‘breeders’ in the Labrador world is quite different than 999% of those breeding dogs………………….999% because I am leaving that smidgeon of 001% just in case there is someone else that I have never heard of that may come close to our modus of operandi………………..a further, much more detailed explanation is warranted in order to hopefully satisfied those with inquiring minds.


For those that know me……….know of me……………….you know that a dissertation will follow. The only thing that beats words is actions and our overwhelming success with our dogs is the actions, so now I offer the words that follow the action………………….a narrative if you will of the action apparent to all who wish to see.


We are totally an owner/breeder organization. All of our puppies are born in our owner’s homes. All of our puppies are raised inside of our owner’s home through the entire raising and then weaning process when they are away from the mother.


Each of those owners follows a special puppy rearing protocol especially designed by our 45 years of involvement with just one breed of dog, the world renowned Labrador Retriever.


Before a breeding takes place, we assess each and every female that is part of our Owner’s Program. There are now well over 100 privately owned females that may take part in the Chambray Owner’s Selective Breeding Program. We have the immense luxury of only breeding the absolute best females each year.


Less than 10% of our large group of females will be given the chance to perpetuate the next generation of Chambray dogs. So, we choose from over 100 females………………only 10 that will be considered to have a litter. That’s where QUALITY over QUANTITY takes charge and defines our entire involvement. We have the means and ways to produce as many puppies as are requested………………..I receive well over 1500 puppy emails a year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! However, there are only 50 to 75 puppies born to our very selective breeder/owner’s program! That spells QUALITY over QUANTITY.


So, once the puppies are born another novel, unique process begins…………………choosing who will be the recipient of one of those prized puppies! This is the Puppy Placement Program and it values the educated consumer………………..the client that knows the most about the breed and what it takes to produce the quality level that Chambray offers.


Then it goes one level above being a discerning buyer, it goes to which truly of those knowledgeable client understands our Betterment of the Breed mission…….our goal to produce the best with each succeeding generation produced where they as owners together with Chambray as breeder…………pay it forward to the breed and to the next generation of educated consumers, discerning buyers and knowledgeable clients. Pay it forward by going in together in the producing of the next generation of Chambray puppies.


Oh, I know that some heads are spinning with the preceding ‘out of the box’ information. Those that are bound and restricted by the 4 walls of that same proverbial box, seem not to be able to fathom the intricacies and inner working of the Chambray Breeder to Owners Programs.


For 25 years, I have laid bare and public how and what we do and there are those that still resist the facts that have gathered and become apparent like a Mt. Everest in this past quarter century of Chambrays Labradors and the Owners Program.


I have to admit that there were major winds of change coming from all directions at the recent Eukanuba week congregation of who’s who of Labrador Retriever personas. How refreshing to feel that fresh air coming from some that may have been on the other side of the fence through lack of knowledge or apathy towards something new and foreign to them.


No fence has deterred our path to where we stand today, fences are temporary barriers that present challenges in getting around or at besting. Admittedly, in the past there have been some setbacks because of malicious oriented types, but patience and determination has outlived those obstacle-layers and we breathe and move much more freely.


The overall acceptance by the vast majority that now permeates the air is indeed welcomed and much appreciated. It validates the work and the volume of success from all those that contributed along the way. 25 years is a long time and there have been many that have come and gone since 1990……………each and every one of those owners past and present are responsible for what is obvious today!


For that, I thank you all.




OUR TIME! The Most Critical Time For Chambray


There are 24 hours to a day and there are dozens and dozens of tasks performed by those of Chambray on a daily basis! However, there is one task that takes priority over every other activity, function and duty.


Those looking in from the outside would assume that actually showing of dogs is our most critical time with our dogs!.....................................Not!


There may be others that see us winning at such a higher percentage than most others involved with the breed as we are, that may jump to a premature conclusion that winning and the making of champions is our #1 concern………………………………..Not!


Since there are still many out there that haven’t yet figured out our quality first/foremost principal, they may think that sales are our numero uno endeavor …………….they erroneously figuring out wrong that we produce quantities……….a mere 6 litters this past year from an awesome quality pool of over 100 females that are part of Chambrays Owner’s Programs lays that assumpton futile………..that mere 6 vs. 40+ litters from our main rival producing top show puppies in the country………………..they erroneously assume that taking the time to sell puppies must rank at the very top…………………wrong again!


Nope, none of the above would ever supersede the most important task each and every day of the year.


That being, the time each day at the beginning of every day that we spend with our dogs comes first through 100!


Those first 3 hours of each day set aside for our dogs, being with them, cleaning up after them, watering them, feeding them, letting them out for exercise………………….showing them that they come first and foremost…………………….that’s what I am talking about!


No bloke blasting on his/her horn out in front of my gate trying to get in to see puppies, no wicked storm……………..no matter how down I am feeling…………………..no matter what, my dogs come first.


That time each day is our time together. It is promised them each and every day! It is when they let me know that they are ok, that they are happy, that they are healthy, that they are content and fit and is the time that they can show me how much they love me and it is the time that I can show them how much I love them. This is our time!


Everything else, everyone else has to wait. It doesn’t matter how long someone had to drive to come to Chambray Acres……………………if they are 2 hours too early and are infringing on OUR TIME……………….then they have to wait! Plain and simple, no two ways about it……………..no exceptions…………NADA!


Once I am 100% satisfied that those dogs in my charge, be it here at Chambray Acres or at the dog shows………………..are satisfied themselves………………once I have spent each minute allocated for OUR TIME, then I open up myself, my gates to others to share the greatness of our programs.


My dogs come first……………that time we spend comes first…………..our time comes first.


Thank you to the vast majority that know this.

December 20th 2014

Time Stops For No One


The dust has settled on the 2014 dog show season with the last week/weekend of shows………..3 Orlando dog shows, The LRC Specialty and the finale, the 2014 Eukanuba now history………………..and what a year it was!


Labeling the year “a whirlwind of a year” would be stating it mildly for our Chambrays Owners Program. Collectively with our ‘team effort’ which includes all the participating owners and their dogs……….the Herzon family steering the ship………….the ‘hired help’ assisting in the training, conditioning and dog show preparations and presentation……………we all once again rose beyond a stellar show year extending winning streaks, breaking old records and setting new ones that all add up to the most successful Labrador Retriever breeder/owners group in the good old USA.


Although most of the dogs right now are in hiatus mode for a few weeks, the 2015 dog show season looms ever closer with the Brooksville FL dog shows kicking off the year on January 8th through the 12th……………..yep, 5 shows that traditionally present us with the most trying weather conditions of the entire year. At last year’s show, I collapsed with a serious hypothermia episode that needed emergency intervention. Needless to say that I now travel totally prepared for that type of eventuality!


So, as soon as we all wade through the festive holiday season now upon us, we hit the ground running with training and conditioning as soon as the firework’s smoke dwindles to none the day after New Year’s Day.


Even before then, we are now fine tuning the show roster as entry deadlines are 4 days away on Christmas Eve, the 24th. So, although we are in holiday spirits and awaiting a new year to come and brighten our way, we also are aware that time stops for nothing or no one and we are making the needed preparations for our dogs for 2015.

December 17th

From A Chambray Owner



The past week has been one of the highlights of our life and we have been blessed to have had some good ones in the past.

We Thank God for that.


As always I cant say enough what a pleasure it is to be part of Chambray.

You are all AMAZING(Johanna, Ryan, Jesse, Danny, Jackie) the hard work, dedication and love you put into these dogs is beyond special.


They say that if you love your job you will never work a day in your life.


I believe that is the difference between all of you and the other breeders.


To set up crates, stay with the dogs until 1 or 2 and get up 4 or 5 hours later and still smile and enjoy the moments

can only be done out of pure love for these loving wonderful creatures.


I had lots of time to think on the way back and realized that your business is not about dogs as you make think.

Its really about providing constant unconditional love with moments of pure bliss emotion and happiness.


People have told me; (You paid what for your dog) ,but I didnt pay for a dog.


I paid for unconditional love.(Bandit) I paid for the looks they give you, for the happiness they exhibit when you arrive home as if they haven't seen you in a year. For the joy of sharing happy moments with owners and a group of people who understand what it is to see these incredible creatures who love us so much, win and perform just to please us.


I paid for seeing my Chambray friends win and for the edge of your seat anticipation of the judges before they choose.

I paid to share these exciting moments, the strategies and camaraderie among us.  


You can't get these emotions from cars, fishing, jewelry, clothes or any material things you could buy.

You can get excitement from winning sports but without the love.


You will never see any athlete perform just to make the fans happy.


But from Bandit,Tucker, Amos, Thor, Walter, Stella, Bella, Max, Bob, Gracie and all of these wonderful loving creatures you get happiness, love, affection and a willingness to please ,to make us happy any way they can.


That is their reward that is their motivation ,to see us happy.

How unselfish is that.


I haven't met any human who 24 /7 /365  will give you that.

Family members come close but not 24/7/365.


So you see winning is awesome and its a great feeling its almost a form of a high.

But unselfish love is the greatest feeling in the world and only they provide that to that extent.

So my friend you are in the unconditional unselfish love business.


We thank God for all of you and its our pleasure and privilege to be part of the Chambray group.


And we thank you and congratulate all of you for the hard work and dedication you all provided in your effort to give us that special moment this past week.


As you always say for the betterment of the breed.

Or is it for the betterment of our breed?


Hugs to all.

Bandit ,JC and family.


December 17th

Amazed At The Eukanuba


"Thank you so much for inviting us to this past weekend’s Eukanuba shows. What an amazing experience seeing so many great looking dogs of all breeds and especially all those beautiful Labradors. By chance we ended up seated next to a couple of your dog owners and they provided a play by play commentary of the proceedings. In doing so, each of them gave us so much insight about the breed, answering all of our questions. What a wonderful group of people you have and they are so loyal to you and to your cause for bettering the breed. You and your family and your handlers put on such a great show when presenting the dogs in the ring. Both of our children now want to learn from you and your kids all about training and even showing dogs. What a great organization you have for Labrador owners. We can’t wait for our visit to your Chambray Acres in the New Year and see which puppy you have chosen for us."


EM & family


It was my pleasure meeting you and your family. As you well could see, we are so busy showing the dogs that I end up with very little time to socialize. However, I could see that the Chambray owners did a great job taking the time to speak to you and all the other visitors that I invited to come see the 'greatest dog show on earth' (well, the USA anyways).

I am looking forward to your visit and that of the other fine folk that came and supported Team Chambray at the Eukanuba week of dog shows.

December 17th

Which Year Is It?


"I’m confused. In your last blog you state that you will be celebrating 25 years with Labradors and yet you claim to have been involved with Labradors for the last 44 years, so which is it?"


2015 will be 25 years that the Owner’s Programs were put into effect. That part of our involvement with Labradors started in 1990 with the very first owner Joe Gonzalez and family joining us in training, conditioning, showing and eventually co-breeding his first Chambray female.


That was the model that would be used over and over again with hundreds and hundreds of owners since then……………..a quarter of a century later………….25 years’ worth of co-ownerships, co-breedings, stud dog partnership, you name it we have done it all in the name of the betterment of the breed.


The vast majority of those associations worked like a charm, with mutual cooperation, immense satisfaction and unequaled success by the parties involved. Of course in every endeavor where human nature is involved there will be those situations where personality differences will deter the smooth workings needed to achieve the desired goals and somewhere around 3% of our partnerships did not work. However, 97% satisfaction rate is way beyond any world-recognized business model, so mission more than accomplished.


My first dabbling with Labradors was 44 years ago in 1970 when I acquired a black male puppy, so coming into the New Year, I will also celebrate 45 years with Labrador Retrievers. I followed that puppy with a female a year later.


I have had Labradors every single year since then.


My first litter produced was in 1973 and I began training dogs in 1975.


From 1985 to 1990 we were ery involved in obedience competition. We moved to the conformation ring in 1990.


In 1988 I purchased our first ‘show’ puppy, a female from Sunnybrook Acres Labradors and followed that with female puppies from Snowden Hills, Kelleygreen and Beavercreek (Drs’ Carol and Francis Rabalais) Labradors. Later additions would come from Chelons, Chardon, Kai Den and several other notable breeders of the times.


Our very first show litter was produced in 1990 and our first homebred champion came in 1993. Since then there are have been 44 Chambray champions.


So, 2015 will make 45 years with Labradors, 25 years of Chambrays Owners Programs in existence.

December 16th

Numbers Do Tell A Story


We have been following your amazing year at the dog shows and are wondering how it all turned out.



Having just wrapped up our final weekend of shows at the Orlando AKC/Eukanuba shows, the final tally is in for our 2014 numbers and they are really something to brag about!


97-We made it to 97 straight show dog weekends with wins in each and every one of those weekends starting at the first weekend of shows in January of 2012. So, that was the whole year of 2012, 2013 and now 2014! Not only did we make it through every single weekend of regular Florida shows………also in that tally were the weekend shows we traveled to in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia.


Included in that amazing number were the weekends of shows at the tough 2012, 2013 and this year’s 2014 Florida Winter Circuit. For those not privy to the significance of winning at these shows………….these shows are where dogs from every point north of the Florida border, descend by the truckload with the northern professional handlers and the knock was that the Chambray dogs couldn’t win against the ‘higher’ caliber dogs from those breeders……………well, that squashes that old wife’s tale to smithereens, three straight years running with wins at every weekend of shows and there are 2 weekends each year in the Winter Circuit!


Having just won big at the 2014 Eukanuba week of shows, gives Chambray 2 years in a row with wins at this most prestigious dog show event, so that also throws a damper on that boohoo that the Chambray dogs can’t win at the real big one! This year’s wins were beyond all expectations with 3 major-pointed wins, including a 5-point major at the LRC specialty, plus 3 Judges Awards of Merits to boot and 2 of those were at the LRC specialty and the 3rd was the Eukanuba 1st Judges Award of Excellence (JAM#1)


44-The lifetime home-bred champion’s number started at beginning of the year with 36 champions and that number grew to 44 with 6 new AKC champions and 2 FCI champions for the year.


6-The 6 new AKC champions for 2014 puts Chambray………….maybe at #1 for the year in the country. As soon as the numbers are totaled and released by the AKC at the end of January, we will be holding our collective breath as we did back in 2012 when we were indeed #1 with the same number.


52-Lifetime Trifectas, winning Best Of Breed, Winners Dog and Winners Bitch at the same show by dogs from the same breeder.


8-Trifectas in 2014, besting our own record of 6 in one year.


13-That’s the number of total new titles earned/won by Chambray dogs in 2014……………………8 new champions (AKC & FCI), 4 new grand champions and 1 bronze grand champion.


4-Grand Champions in 1 year


3-Sporting Group 1’s in 1 year. Walter winning 2 of those and Miracle taking the other one.


So, if numbers do tell a story, this year’s bounty would rate as a real Paul Bunyan tale of epic proportions.


Each year for the last 7 years, we come to this junction in the road where the bar has been set so high by the current concluding year and wonder if the coming year’s harvest will be as bountiful and each year so far we have celebrated bigger and better awards and accolades that following year.


This most apparent success, year after year is possible through our Chambray Owner’s Programs where each dog owner participates in the one-of-a-kind endeavor where the betterment of the breed is first and foremost the guiding light for the mission with Labrador Retrievers.


Those of us at Chambray and our loyal and faithful owners all welcome the New Year, 2015 with opens arms, looking forward to the celebration of a quarter century, 25 years of Chambray Labradors with the Owner’s Programs for the Betterment of the Breed! 

December 16th

Special Request From Some Of Our Owners


I recently emailed out a 'cover' email thanking all the Chambray owners for their great contributions to Chambray and to the Betterment of the Breed. I received a lot of feedback from them and many asked for me to share that email at the Blogging Off section. So here it is.


Wow, what a ride this whole week of the 2014 Eukanuba National Championships has been for Chambray Labradors and each and every one receiving this email shares the credit and can take extreme pride in its manifestation!




Thank you to each one of you who has been an integral part in our beyond stellar accomplishments. Without each of your contributions…………..be it just owning a great home companion….to being on the front lines with one of our super star show dogs…………without all of you, this would not be possible!




Since I am the front man for our collective efforts as the breeder/trainer/handler of the owner’s programs, I get to hear it firsthand…………….the “congratulations”, the “job well done”, the “you have the best dogs”………..the pats on the back…………………….the standing in the winner’s circle, over and over again……………..the whole kit and caboodle comes to me and I promise each and every one of you that my reply of gratitude to each of the well-wishers is “I owe it all to my owners”!




Of course not many outside of our circle of Chambray owners really understands how Chambrays Owner's Programs works………………….how all of our phenomenal show dogs are your loving pets…………….how none of those dogs live with me……………….how we all pool in our resources, expertise, energies, time and finances to make all this happen……………………………it’s not just about the breeder taking the acclaims, the accolades, the awards………………..it’s about the owners too, each doing their part………………each following the program set up for their individual dog and together we all make it happen.




Yes, I get looks of confusion from those not in the know, but I smile and just say to them “You’ve heard of the University of Miami being about the U, well with Chambray it’s about the US!”




It takes this whole village of Chambray owner’s to make it work………..you, each and every one of you!




This past week at the Eukanuba, some dogs won big! I mean really big, while others may not have taken points, might not have been presented with awards or even ribbons………………….but trust me, each dog there belonged there and each dog contributed to the wholeness of our unique and exclusive Labrador Retriever experience.




I can't begin to tell you all how many people, breeders, judges, show organizers……………you name it, I heard from them about our dogs……………………………….and our people/owners!




Those owners present at the show………………….you all were in the spotlight just as were the dogs in the ring. I heard from so many ‘outsiders’ about their experiences speaking with our owners and how great it was getting to know more about Chambray through your eyes, ears and of course your word of mouth.




Thank you to all receiving this email for being the greatest Labrador Retriever owners in the country……………….make that the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Even though I am exhausted beyond belief from the past 3 months of training/traveling and shows, especially these last 6 days in Orlando for the 2014 Eukanuba…………………I cannot wait to start back up again in the weeks to come to get ready for the 2015 dog show season.


December 14th

We're Back!!!!



The 2014 Eukanuba Extravaganza Experience


Amazing! This was the best in the 14 years of existence for this canine congregation! Well, at least for Labrador Retrievers!

The lineup of top Labrador Retrievers was beyond superb for the 3 days of Orlando all-breed shows, for the LRC Labrador Retriever Specialty and toppled off with the 2014 Eukanuba!


From the 5 days of shows, 3 different dogs each won a Best Of Breed and 1 dog won it twice and each dog deserved the award! In fact, the specials ring was circled with awesome champions, the majority deserved top billing just as well as those that were anointed with the Golden Fleece.


The class competition was just as stacked with some of the best dogs in the country from top, well-known breeders and kennels.

Chambray brought on our absolute best roster ever with mostly young dogs under the age of 2 years. It would be 21-month old Chambrays Maxed N Counter breaking the ice with a 4-point major Winners Dog the very first day of competition at 1st Orlando all-breed show on Tuesday December 9th. This win would add to Max’s 3-pt major win, 2 weekends before at the Davie dog show.


The very next day at the 2nd Orlando all-breed show 13-month old Chambrays Grace Of The Field would score her first major-pointed win with a 4-point Winners Bitch and Best Of Winners to boot. Gracie had won Winners Bitch the weekend before at the Miami shows.


Friday’s show was hosted by the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. as a standalone specialty with renowned breeder/judge Carl Liepman of Triple L Labradors doing the honors as judge.


This special show would be a bonanza for Chambray. Chambrays Maxed N Counter was awarded a 5-Point Major (his 2nd major-pointed win for the week) and on top of that the judge also bestowed on him a Judge’s Award Of Merit at Specialty Show (JAMSS), an award reserved for champions and seldom if ever awarded at a specialty to a class dog!


Our flagship dog and top champion for 2014, BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter was also awarded a JAMSS. Chambrays Stellar Thunder and Chambray Grace Of The Field each won their Bred By Exhibitor Class and then competed against each other for Best Bred By Exhibitor Labrador, with Gracie coming out on top for that hightly coveted specialty award.


Saturday’s Eukanuba was icing on the cake for a great week of shows for the Chambray dogs. Walter was awarded the top Eukanuba Judges Award Of Excellence (JAM#1), giving him 2 special titles for the 5 days of shows, the Judges Award of Merit @ Specialty Show (JAMSS) and this one the Judges Award of Excellence (notated as a JAM) and designated by the order of placement with a number and in this case as JAM#1.


Throughout the week, we had very strong performances by our other dogs, including top class wins and placements by Chambrays Bandit from the 12 to 18 class. Chambrays Rico, Chambrays Thor and Chambray Tank holding their own from the Bred By Exhibitor class. Chambrays Samantha had several top placements from her class. Chambrays Amos going head to head with Max from the Open Yellow had 1 placement over Max. Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting competing from the super tough champion’s Best Of Breed ring made the cut several days and even our newest champion Chambrays Razor's Edge Thunderstruck made a great debut against the top champions in the country. Chambrays Stella, Chambrays Bella and Chambrays Dreamer had good performances too.


What a great way to end a super 2014 dog show season.......maybe our best ever!



December 16th

The Eukanuba Week Afterglow


I am still amazed at the top caliber of dogs that I saw at the recent Eukanuba/LRC/Orlando week of dog shows! What a stellar lineup of dogs all week long.


Gr Ch Gateways Nothing But Trouble at 7+ years old was absolutely breathtaking as he was awarded Best Of Breed at 2 of the 5 shows, including the finale……..the Saturday, 2014 Eukanuba.


Gr Ch Sheabournes Grizzly Adams has to be one of the best chocolate champions I have ever seen and deserved the BOB at the LRC specialty.


Gr Ch Paradocs Obsidian won BOB at the first day of Orlando shows with Gr Ch Tampa Bay & Snobo Gusty Seas Batten Down The Hatch winning BOB on the 3rd day or Orlando shows…………………both dogs beyond outstanding.


Congratulations to the breeders of each of these great dogs………..to the handlers for putting on such a great performance and of course to their owners for doing what it takes to have such great examples of the breed on display for the rest of us to see, admire and hopefully incorporate into our breeding programs to perpetuate the betterment of the breed.


What an honor it was for the Chambray dogs to be among the best dogs in the country and also some top dogs from foreign countries as well. We will hang the awards/rosettes/points our dogs won with immense pride knowing they were standing in such awesome company and came out doing so well.

December 7th

From A Visitors Point Of View


"I attended the Miami dog shows as you had invited us to meet you and also your dogs and their owners. That was quite impressive to see so many wonderful looking dogs and to also have the opportunity to speak to so many of the owners that were there.

As a longtime owner of Labradors, some from well-known show breeders, I was really surprised not to see many dogs from other area breeders. In speaking to a Chambray owner, he related how not many want to compete against your lineup of dogs, thus the low turnout by other breeders. Where do other breeders show their dogs?"


I am sorry I missed talking to you while you were there. Things get quite hectic once the action starts in the ring that all we have time for is to handle the dogs. There were so many of our owners there, plus over a dozen people that had contacted me about a puppy and as I did with you, I also gave them the information about seeing many of the Chambray dogs that we were showing and to then have the chance to speak to the owners that were there.


I have no control over other breeders/exhibitors as far as entering their dogs at the shows. These shows are announced a year in advance and are open to all AKC registered dogs. When I make the entries for the dogs that I manage, I never know how many other breeders/exhibitors will be entering their dogs. We only know the entry breakdown about a week after the entries closed. We only will know which actual dogs will be competing the morning of the first show by seeing the catalog for each breed.


As occurred with the Miami shows, there were a total of 27 Labrador entered and about 19 were Chambray dogs owned by those I placed them with as puppies. Throughout the regular dog show season in Florida, that’s pretty much how it works out, usually about half or more of the entries at any given show will be Chambray dogs.


I would assume that our higher winning percentage has deterred others from entering their dogs, but that’s conjecture on my part. There could be other reasons as well. I really don’t get too caught up in the backroom drama of things. I have a job to do and my entire focus is in getting that job done with the resources that I have.


Of course that job is the ‘Betterment of the Breed’, in all that it entails. From breeding the absolute best, training and conditioning to be in the best condition possible and handling to make the best presentation of each dog that we manage.


In the last 5 years or so, there has been an appreciable move by the area breeders traveling out of state where we don’t travel to. This could be a way of avoiding direct competition with our dogs, which of course I take it as a huge complement.


We too have loaded up the van and headed out of state, however our mission on those jaunts is to build majors where it takes less dogs. Since the numbers of dogs entered in Florida has decreased because of our presence, trekking out of state has become a strategy to finish some of our dogs that have pointed out and need the major-pointed shows for their titles.


There really isn’t a remedy to this low turnout situation in Labradors in our state. At each dog show we attend, I will let the other breeders, exhibitors and handlers know how many dogs I will be entering in future events, hoping that they too will bring on their best exhibits.


My contention is and always will be that the best dog will win, regardless of the number of dogs that a breeder can field. A breeder/exhibitor can enter 10 poor specimens against a breeder with a great dog and the great dog will win 99% of the time, proving that it is not about the quantity as it is about the quality!


The challenge that I lay down for any and all is to bring on your best dogs to compete because that is exactly what I will do with the Chambray dogs. Each and every dog that I manage and enter at a dog show can and will win points because each is at the top of the conformation charts.

December 7th


Of Records And Streaks To Pass The Time Away…………How Did It Go?


So, now we are done with the Miami dog show weekend…………………………done because early tomorrow, not even 24 hours after we wrapped up this next-to-last dog show weekend of the year, we embark upon 5 grueling days of showing in Orlando FL to really end the dog show year.


That’s not just any 5 days of shows we are driving 4 hours north to……………………..no siree, these are the largest attended shows of the year for Chambray…………3 regular all-breed dog shows hosted by the area’s clubs, a Labrador Retriever Specialty hosted by the parent breed club, The LRC Inc. and then “The really big shoo!” as announced by Ed Sullivan of my childhood days…………………..the AKC-Eukanuba National Championships!


Ok, I know I have painted this “Eukanuba” canvas with so much color and texture for months now that most of my readers are bleary-eyed from reading all the hype, so I will just stick to the Miami dog shows of today and yesterday.

Since so many of you bloganistas are into numbers, or at least that’s what those that email me tell me, I will add some combustible fluid to your aching desire fires.


At the top of the list with the highest probability of achieving was adding to the Winning Weekend Streak of 95………………and sure enough, we hit 96! Not just casually or singularly but with aplomb!


At Saturday’s show, we sweep the 3 major winning awards or Best Of Breed, Winners Dog and Winners Bitch to record our 52nd Trifecta, which had a very good probability of happening. This Trifecta also upped the bar record to 8 in one year!!!!!!!!!!!!


Of course winning the Best Of Breed on Saturday covered the odds of making that the 277th lifetime BOB for Chambray dogs! Our top champion show dog, BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter would take his 14 BOB and followed that up with his 9th Sporting Group placement. This breed win propels Walter to the 5th place in the Chambray Best Of Breeds rankings, now only 1 BOB behind the current 4th place holder Ch Chambrays Twist Of Fate.


Those other records to beat/set such as crowning a 45th Lifetime champion, which would make that dog the 7th in one year did not happen………of course the odds for that to happen were exceedingly long shots. We now have 5 more show left in the year to accomplish that, especially 7 home-bred champions in 1 year.


Keep in mind that in 2012 Chambray posted the state record of 6 new champions and that number also was the most for the year in the country, making Chambray the #1 champion breeder in the USA. We already are #1 in Florida for 2014, however could 6 champions this year be enough for that national ranking? Let’s see what’s in store in Orlando in the coming week.


Last but not least the longest shot of them all………………..winning a Best In Show, did not happen. Those odds are astronomical at well over 2500 shows to 1 at regular local shows.


I wouldn’t hold my breath at that happening at any of the 5 Orlando shows with 10 times the entries of all-breed dogs from every nook and cranny state and even foreign countries. So using my un-savvy statistical expertise (non-existent), that would be like the Earth getting hit my a moon-sized asteroid anytime soon. As Carl Sagan would say “the odds are billions and billions against that happening”…………………well, he really didn’t say all that, like that………………….but he did say the “billions and billions” part of it.


PS: Side Note

We had 3 brand new point winners join the other Chambray dogs that are already AKC Ch-Pointed. 

Congratulations to the following young dogs and their Chambray owners.

Chambrays 4 X 4 Big Dog Diesel owned by Mary and Russ McCubbins of Delray Beach FL

Chambrays Camila owned by the Dias family of Coral Gables FL

Chambrays Grace Of The Field owned by Judith and Mickey Baker of Ft Lauderdale FL

Also in the winners circle adding to his resume of points was WinQuest Chambrays Famous Amos now with 12 points and 2 majors!

December 4th 

It Either Moves Good Or It Doesn't


“My dog moves just as good as some of the dogs that you say are great movers. What makes those dogs better movers than other dogs, especially my dog?”


I hope that you were able to ‘see’ how a dog is supposed to move like, when the dog’s structure is correct. We used one of our dogs that has what is considered to be the correct movement and then we showed you where your dog is off from that correct way of moving.


Any dog can move up and back from a judge and any dog can go around the ring. What a knowledgeable judge is looking for is the dog that moves the best……………….the one that is built the best so that it can move the best…………..redundant but that’s the way it is.


Like a car’s engine that purrs when perfecting tuned up………………..all cylinders firing in the exact precise order as designed……………………so too must a dog move its 4 legs in perfect synchronicity during the show gait in order for it to be considered a ‘great mover’.


There is a cadence between the 4 legs that must be precise or else something will be off.


In the perfect sequence of the show gait, the front leg is in full extension reaching forward, while the rear leg of the same side is in full extension backwards in the rear drive cycle, both legs and feet will be off the ground at exactly the same distance from the ground, at exactly the same degree (45°) off the ground at exactly the same time………..synchronicity at its best!


On the other side of the dog, both the front leg and the rear leg are in perfect convergence underneath the dog’s end of the ribcage. There is a millisecond where both of these same side feet and the other side’s 2 feet will be off the ground………………..in perfect synchronous movement!


The only way that the preceding 2 sentences can happen is if the dog has perfect structure and moves that perfect structure as true blue as training, conditioning and presentation can facilitate.


The flip side of not having perfect structure will result in an off cadent, non-synchronized mode of locomotion.


For instance, a dog with upright shoulders (not at the desired 45° layback) will inevitably be off that perfect cadence with the front leg still up in the air in reach mode, while the rear leg on the same side is still on the ground stroking forward. Remember, that in the perfect sequence, both of these legs will be off the ground, one at the forward most part of the cycle while the rear leg of the same side will be in the rear most position of rear drive.


This reaching forward and driving back of the same side legs is the most obvious to the eye that something is off. Looking at the opposite side legs, the ones in convergence underneath the dog……………….it is more difficult to pick up the off-cadence, however it is also there.


In perfect cadence, the front feet and rear feet almost touch at that precise moment. In off-cadence, keeping an eye right underneath the rib cage, the rear feet will hit that spot while the front feet are already moving forward away from the convergence point…………………..so there is no convergence of the front leg with the rear leg……the desired sequential mode is non-existent.


The degree that the cadence is off will determine how far off the dog’s movement is from the perfect and most desirable mode.

In the case of the dog that came to me for a movement evaluation at the show, her dog had very straight, upright shoulders. This caused the dog to have a very stilted front gait, which limited the front reach quite a bit, not the full 45° that is considered to be perfect reach. This caused the cadence of the four legs to be totally off where the dog never ‘planed out’ at the topline, rather it had a rocking motion from front to back, with the rear always higher than the withers. The shoulders being so straight, the head could not be held as high as the withers, creating a shoveling action by the head and frontend assembly.


Any dog can move around the ring, the question then becomes if it is moving correctly because of proper structure or if poor structure is causing the dog to move incorrectly.


In the case of the dog in question, the dog’s poor shoulder structure is causing the very observable to the knowledgeable eye as incorrect and poor movement.


December 4th

Records & Streaks To Pass The Time Away


The Davie dog show weekend is now history and the results are in the books………………the AKC’s and also the Chambray record books as well!


The Davie shows added to the Chambray record books and winning streaks.


*95 Straight Winning Weekends of dog shows.

*7th Trifecta in 1 year by Chambray-bred dogs (BOB, WD and WB, all from 1 breeder)

*The 275th Best Of Breed.


So, what’s in store for the record books for the Miami dog shows this coming weekend?


It’s extremely likely that the weekend winning streak will rise to 96!


Odds on for another Best Of Breed to add to the state record now at 276 and maybe even 2 BOBs raising that total to 278.


There is a strong possibility that an 8th and remotely even a 9th Trifecta in 1 year is within reach.


An even more remote chance that a 7th Chambray champion in 1 year could be achieved, making that dog also the 45th Lifetime Chambray champion, so 2 records with one dog titling would really put icing on the 2014 show year.


With one dog it would take more than just a Winners Dog, Chambrays Stellar Thunder ‘Rico’ would need to take WD and BOS or BOB to make it the major-pointed win to propel him over the top for his AKC champion’s title. If Rico finishes this weekend or next week in Orlando, he would raise the bar in 3 different categories for records, he would be the 45th lifetime champion, the 7th in 1 year and also the 8th Bred By Exhibitor………….all state records for 1 breeder.


The other dog with an outside chance to make it the 45th lifetime and 7 in one year is WinQuest Famous Amos needing to win both days Winners Dog for the 4 points he lacks for his title.


Of course any of our dogs taking a Best Of Breed and then a Sporting Group 1 would add to that record of 11 Group 1s……………………………the longest shot of all would be the winning of a Best In Show, something that only happens once in 2500 shows for a Labrador, with only 2 of our Chambray dogs (state record) ever savoring that ellusive pie in the sky……………………..so 3 lifetime BIS’s would really be a coup de grace of historical proportions!


So, now we await the weekend and see what the cards have coming our way. We are ready, our dogs are ready and our owners will be there to root on the home team, Team Chambray.

December 3rd

See You At The AKC Eukanuba Week In Orlando


"For the last year or so, I have occasionally visited your website, your puppy pages, the stud dog section and of course the blogs. What a great organization you all have there in Florida.

That I know of, I haven’t known or heard of any other breeders sponsoring so many programs and activities for their owners.

I have to admit that it did take a while to fully understand how most of it all works, but once I got past the newness, it became very clear.

I agree that sometimes a new thing is not accepted at first. With your setup of breeding at the quality level that you all produce and then providing the services of training and then handling the dogs at the dog shows, that and your successes also contribute to those whose dogs are being bypassed for the wins and points.

By and large those I have spoken to speak highly of your success with Labradors.

I will be at the AKC Eukanuba National Championships next weekend and hope to see and meet you and your family of owners that are listed on your roster lineup. From the looks of it, you all will have the most Labradors competing at these shows. Good luck and congratulations on all your successes this past year."

D Smith SC


We are all set for the really big one, the Eukanuba week in Orlando! We still have 2 shows this weekend right here in Miami. However come Monday we will be heading north 4 hours to Orlando to set up house in the cavernous convention center for 6 days of showing dogs, especially our Labrador Retrievers.


We also have 5 other breeds that we train, condition and handle for their owners, so hectic and nonstop will be the modus operandi come December 9th through December 14th.


I look forward to meeting you and well over 2 dozen more fine folk that have contacted me about meeting up with me in Orlando for the 3 days of Orlando Club shows, the LRC Specialty and wrapping up with the 2 days of Eukanuba.

December 3rd

Greatness Is As Greatness Does


If Forrest Gump had been a Chambray owner, he probably would have said the preceding:


I just wrote a blog about Hogan’s wonderful contributions to the Betterment of the Breed as a whole and specifically to Chambray Labradors. At the beginning, who knew how special he would be to our show and breeding program. It took a few years to realize what was building up, but gradually the contributions started to roll in and now 10 years later it is apparent for all to appreciate with the resume that Hogan holds.


Years back when I was a whippersnapper, still wet behind the ears as a Labrador breeder/exhibitor, the then greats of the breed, the breed’s legends that all of us newbies looked up to would say “Each breeder is entitled to one really great dog in their lifetime as a breeder!”


That was like a biblical passage to all the followers of the time. I lived that mantra, thinking that one day, I too would have that one great dog! 44 years later, I must confess that I have been blessed with not one great dog (Hogan), there have been several. Seeing as how all those great mentors are no longer among us, I guess I don’t sound too blasphemous to them saying that.


Before Hogan, there was JAMSS Ch Chambrays Chisholm Chancey ( a 4th generation Chambray line) born in 1997 (our logo dog), producer of 4 champions, 3 of those females that together went on to produce 7 champions between them. The male offspring champion has 1 get champion to his credit.


The magical thing that occurred for Chancey and Hogan was how great their genes combined to produce the succeeding generations of Chambray dogs.


Right about now, we are seeing glimpses of yet another great contributor to Chambray Labradors breeding program. Time will tell if it blossoms into also contributing to the whole breed, the betterment of the breed.


I am taking about Jericho (Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho). Jericho made the 2013 LRC Top 25 Tribute……………..but his contributions are the offspring that are now dominating the show ring.


He now has 1 AKC champion get in Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting and 1 FCI/Col champion, one of the fastest finishing Labradors ever in Colombia, FCI/Col Ch Chambrays Maxed N Counter “Max”.


Just this past weekend at the Davie shows, 3 of his get were point winners. At Saturday's show we had Max take Winners Dog for a 3-pt major, plus Best Of Winners, then his daughter Chambrays Belle From Ipanema taking Winners Bitch and at Sunday's shows another daughter Chambrays Little Miss Magic Stella taking Winners Bitch, Best Of Winners and Best Of Opposite Sex (over a specials bitch) for a 3 point major.


Besides these champions and pointed dogs and bitches, he also has 2 more of his get that are pointed.

The icing on the cake with Jericho and what he is producing is how well his gene pool and pedigree has combined with the existing Chambray/Hogan lines.


Watch for these awesome Jericho get to continue to make a mark at the dog shows, propelling Jericho into the realm of greatness not only for Chambray, but also to the Betterment of the Breed.

December 2nd 

More Chambray Owners


I was totally amazed at all the ‘other’ Chambray owners. It was really great speaking to so many of them and they sharing their experiences with me.

This was the first time we have ever taken you up on your annual ‘round up of Chambray owners’ and are we fortunate that we finally did attend one! We met so many wonderful people from all walks of life and they all had that special ‘thing’ in common, Chambray!

I have been a Chambray owner now for 9 years after getting Mia from my brother-in-law and would like to add another special Chambray puppy to our family.

In my neighborhood there are several other Chambray owners and we also get together on the common areas alongside the golf course and let the dogs romp at will. Some of the owners have been with your programs for over 20 years and that’s how my brother-in-law got Mia from you and we got her from him.

Now that I have more time, with the kids now in high school and college, I would like to be part of your Therapy and Service Dog Programs.

However, seeing firsthand the tremendous interest level that the other Chambray owners have with showing, I would like to get involved in both these shows and also do the Therapy. Please select the best puppy for what we want.



Myra and her family obtained a Chambray puppy 2nd-hand 9 years ago from her brother-in-law, who had purchased it from me, but shortly thereafter had to relocate and could not take the puppy with him. I recently met Myra and she is now on the waiting list for a 2nd Chambray puppy. This time she wants to take part in all the activities that are part of our Owner’s Programs, including doing Therapy and possibly showing!


December 2nd

More From Chambray Owners

Dear Sandy, 

Thank you for including us!! 

We had such a wonderful time meeting your Chambray Lab families!! We all agreed once a Chambray owner- it's in your blood ;))


We sat with Tucker's family, maybe Kika's parent?, Bob's parents.... Vipper's mom, Marie..... We felt very comfortable and loved sharing stories of their experiences and special moments with their show dogs/pets ;)) You have truly created a fraternity of lab lovers and followers. Your efforts have brought us All so much joy!!

I have so many thoughts and questions..... Please don't feel like you need to get back to me.. 
I know you have lots of work to complete and we will be down to visit the babies soon enough ;)))

Our intentions are to own a show  quality pup. I want to make the commitment to get obedience training and participate in showing however, I have concerns.... My concerns are...

We met many couples that were older (meaning their children had maybe left home or were older siblings than ours). This is their hobby- their main activity .....When I commit - I commit 100% and I am concerned with the younger ages of my children ?? will I honestly be able to get the obedience training and show ring material dog completed with our schedules of kids sports, etc. At the same time; I want to make a commitment to be involved as a Chambray participant in the program. Are there other families like ours that participate part-time or in the puppy class or is it an "all in" every show program schedule? 

I could make appointments weekly for training but, nightly classes would be difficult as we are in Pompano (quite the drive for the evening program)? The whole point of owning the new pup is to love on him in our home, but perhaps there is a way where we could do blocks of training? 

I just want you to be honest with me and me; honest with you from commit standards. Can you tell I've read through your blog ;)) I don't want to be the family that commits and drops out. I don't want to be asking for a show quality pup and have you loose on your commitment to following the Betterment of your breed standard - by not showing your stock.... We are talking highest quality pets but, I realize you are running a business operation as well. 

We are longing for that large, blocky headed show ring boy - points or not.

Expense of the program is less my worry than time to commit with my responsibilities with the children's ages. 

Are any of these valid questions? 

Am I jumping the gun on my timing? We definitely want another pup, but perhaps Chambray Show Programing is in our future and not for present participation?

Yes; I know I'm asking many questions.... But, clearly after meeting the Chambray Fraternity ..... I don't feel like a psycho chambray follower anymore..... Because their are a whole lot of us!!! ..... And we will only have 2!! Haha!

We met a few families that have a bunch!! My reply was, "You must have a huge house and yard?" Some do and some don't ;)) ....


They just love Chambray!! It's a viral thing and I have it!!
XoX That's Great Stuff!!!

We love what you do! Thank U!!

I read your blog and I get dog advice, but Life advice - Humor and sometimes - THE straight up truth!! There are a lot of wacky people out there! I'm praying you aren't thinking this of me!! If you ever stop working 24/7 ....... You better take time to take up psychology, counseling, and write a few books!! 

We will talk in person when we visit. For now; Go Win Big!! We will be watching ;))

I know whatever you think best is what and how u will place us and guide us for this time in our life. We really just appreciate the opportunity to have another Chambray to raise ;)) thank u thank u!! 😝😝😝



Katherine and her family adopted 'Rivers' (Hogan's full brother from a previous litter) as a young adult and gave him almost a decade of family love. They now have an 18-month old full sister to one of our newest champions, Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting. They are also on the waiting list for one of Gavi X Jericho show puppies.


Of course I will spend as much time as they need to answer any and all questions she/they may have for a future placement.


As previous and present Chambray owners, they receive priority placement of one of our dogs because I couldn't think of a better family for a Chambray Lab.


December 2nd

The Hogan Influence Lives On

The Hogan Influence


This past weekend at two dog show venues 750 miles apart, across state lines a very unique happenstance played itself out.


On Saturday, November 29th at the Davie FL dog show, Best Of Breed (Ch Chambrays Hogan’s Hero Rocky), Winners Dog (Chambrays Maxed N Counter 3-Pt Major) and Winners Bitch (Chambrays Bella From Ipanema) (BOB, WD, WB…..equal a Trifecta) were either sired by BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan” or were his grandkids……………………………………..the same day deja vous moment occurred in Savannah GA where BOB/WD and WB (another Trifecta) were also Hogan’s grandkids too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Trifectas, the winning of Best Of Breed, Winners Dog and Winners Bitch all from the same breeder or same sire/grandsire as in this case doesn’t happen with any predictable frequency. In fact the vast majority of serious breeders/exhibitors may go a lifetime of showing and not parlay the winning combination once!


For posterity sake, at Davie’s Sunday show, another of Hogan’s grandkids (Chambrays Triple Play) took Winners Dog for a 3-Pt Major win and one of his granddaughters (Chambray Little Miss Magic Stella) took Winners Bitch/BOW/BOS for a 3-Pt Major as well.


Besides a son and a grandkid winning BOB, 6 grandkids winning points, there was even a new champion great grandkid (Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck) that took Grand Champion points both Saturday and at Sunday’s Davie shows.


What a long lasting effect this great stud dog and champion producer has had……………..3 generations now and what an awesome legacy for one dog to leave behind. Siring 8 AKC show champions, 2 Master Hunters, 1 Senior Hunter, 3 Junior Hunters and 12 more AKC champion pointed dogs and by now who knows how many of his grandkids and great grandkids are out there being successful in the activities they participate in.


Hogan is now 10 years old, on August 4th of this year.

December 1st

Chambray Labradors 25th Annual Owner's Get Together

Davie FL November 29th 2014



Folks, it truly doesn't get any better than this.

Click on center photo to enlarge.

Click on side photos to carousel.

Really Folks, It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This!


The Chambray Owner’s Program is all very difficult to visualize if someone is standing on the outside looking in…………………………..I know because even though there are multitudes on the inside experiencing the many facets of the unique Labrador Retriever-related activities, most of those don’t fully grasp the whole spectrum of the project.


Each year at a specified dog show, usually one of the last ones for the year, I invite the numerous owners that are actively taking part in the showing aspect of the program. To that list of owners, I will contact past owners whose dogs may have retired from showing, others whose dogs don’t actually show, some that participate in the breeding of the future litters, others that are more involved with obedience, many with our therapy dogs, and there are those whose dogs are actively in service………………while others participate in agility, many in rally and others in all types of active sports with their dogs.


There will be those that just joined in with their very first ‘show prospect’ while others have had several dogs that may span a decade or more of participation. There are single dog owners and there are owners that have several, maybe even 5 Chambray Labradors.


At the most recent ‘get together’……………this past weekend at the Davie Fl dog shows……………every niche, nook and cranny of an owner showed up! We had real old-timers, one past owner that had a Chambray dog back in 1989 and that dog lived 14 years.


There was an owner, Cindy Ceballos from back in 1996 who co-bred a Chambray female producing 2 Chambray-bred champions. Cindy now has an Aussie that Jessie is showing for her.


Two different owners from the same litter in 2004, one being Hogan’s owner Rosie Feely, the other owners were Wanda Simmons and Courtney Keller who entered at the Davie show Hogan’s brother Beach Boy as a Veteran at 10 years old………..looking great in fact!


What an incredible journey this has been for the hundreds upon hundreds that have participated and to those that are now part of the one of a kind Labrador Retriever Owner/Breeder’s Group………..one of a kind in the entire country.


I am beaming with pride at what we have accomplished together in these last 25 years of the Owner’s Program. We have come from obscurity in 1989 to being in the shiniest spotlight on a national level.


The achievements, awards, accolades, records, successes, our national recognition………………..none of those would have been possible without all of our owners……it has been a collective movement where we have kept the Betterment of the Breed as our foremost goal………………………….Mission Accomplished!


Thank you to each and every Chambray owner and Chambray partner that has stepped through the gates at Chambray Acres. Every single one of you has made a contribution that has made all this possible. What we have doesn’t exist anywhere else…………….not even close.


I received more than 2 dozen “congratulations”……….. “Job well done”………….. “Your group is awesome”, from other breeders, from club officers, from several judges, from the ring stewards, from ordinary folk………………….I get to hear it, but I pass it on to each one of our Chambray owners and partners! 


Thank you all for allowing me these last 25 years to do my very best for the Betterment of the Breed.


Together we have made a difference.


December 1st

Eukanuba/LRC/Orlando Shows Roster Revised


Revised Roster 


November 30th





As always what a great job you guys do.

Thank you, your family and the team for the wonderful show experience, looking forward to up coming shows.

I am super happy about being part of all this success and am absolutely in love with my dog.

Thank God I was sent in your direction and met you guys.

I see other handlers and breeders that I contacted before finding Chambray and it doesnt even come close.

Thank you for having the knowledge the intuition,dedication and acquiring the wisdom to breed such wonderful and exquisite Labs.


When you love what you do,what you do loves you back.

JC Rodriguez



Nothing further needed from me when the Chambray owners say it best.


November 26th

Clear As Day


I have followed your dogs for a couple of years through your website and also your blog. I have also seen your dogs at dog shows where you travel outside of Florida to show and I happen to be there with my dogs showing. I applaud your efforts to produce the quality level that I have seen and also your contributions to the breed through your various involvement with the breed.

I don’t understand why there are people that are confused as to how your programs work. You provide a product and then you offer services to those that buy your dogs. What is so difficult about that?


The last person that wrote in has it right, it is all about some people being successful and others not! Those that can’t compete against your dogs are the ones that do the complaining. I wouldn’t be too bothered by them either with their complaining or the level of their dogs. All those confused and complaining would love to have the dogs that you will be showing at the Eukanuba National Championships coming up.


How many of those on the roster already have points?


JD Smith TX 


Thank you for the feeedback. Several other emails also asked about whether the class dogs were champion pointed. So I went back and added that column to the Chambray's Show Roster document that I had published in the blog below this one.

November 25th

For those asking about our stellar lineup roster for the 3 days of Orlando shows, the LRC and culminating at the Eukanuba shows. The following link will detail every one of our dogs for those shows, the classes they will be showing from and their owners. Click on hyperlink below or icon to the right below. The document will be downloaded so that you can open it at will and save for future reading. Enjoy.


Chambray's Show Roster 


November 25th

More Chambray Owners Speak Up


Now regarding the To Get It Or Not To Get It blog.  I think people just don’t understand your program, although you spell it out, they don’t want to read it and think about it.


From reading the emails you post and talking to some strangers who heard of Chambray I realized, people think you own all the dogs and show them all knowing one will win.  


NO matter how hard I tried to explain that Chambray program is unique they didn’t get it.  People don’t seem to understand that dogs live in their own homes, with their own families.  The owners, exercise the dogs, feed and groom them, they come to classes to your Chambray Acres, where they work with the dogs. Yes the trainers work with them too when it comes to the show preparation, but I don’t think that people grasp the concept of many unrelated families coming together to be part of the program.


People will be people.  There always will be that person who cannot see past the love of their pets to realize it is not a show dog, or even show potential dog.  They will find reasons why the dog didn’t win, and blame everyone except falling short to meet standards of the breed or poor training of the dog or own showmanship.  It is in our nature to want to win, and things can get ugly if we don’t.  You see plenty of that I am sure of.


My two cents, you can’t change who people are. It is when their ugliness spreads into your life, when people hide behind email thinking it gives them the right to say whatever they want, you feel the impact of it.  Shame on them. I applaud your ability to hold back in face of such lack of professionalism and simple human decency.


  Your program is one of the kind.  It is a well structured order of events that allows the dog and the owner to reach their full potential.  Every Chambray owner wants to win, but with your guiding hand they seem to understand that winers are picked by the judges based on personal preference.


 All Chambray dogs are sound, well proportioned, perfect representation of the breed.  Like you said, every dog has an equal chance to win, and each win is celebrated because it is a victory of not only the dog, but a unique program that has  sole thing in mind “THE BETTERMENT OF THE BREED”  


I feel privileged to be part of your program, even if Sam is not a show dog, he is a wonderful dog, and we love him with all our hearts.  I walk him with pride knowing he is a great representation of his breed.  Thank you for allowing us to be part of your owners family.


I hope you will do great on the upcoming Eukanuba  show, please write a blog what dog will represent Chambray when you have the roster.  I hope Jessie will show, she has such wonderful showmanship it was a pleasure to watch her handle dogs in the ring.


Take care of yourself,




Thank you Eve for your wonderful understanding and great way to state it.


Actually, with the vet saying that his bite is perfect now, there is an excellent chance that he indeed can be a show dog. One of the top Chambray champions had an 'awry' mouth at 6 months of age. It had shifted from a perfect scissors bite to it being crooked from left to right with the top teeth. 


Well, at 9 months of age it was perfect and he went on to finish, winning 11 BOBs and even 1 Group 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ch Chambrays Franco, back in 2001.


Eve's puppy Sam had a slight alignment bite problem at the time of placement with Eve, thus was placed as a "pet puppy".

November 25th



Lollapalooza and hullabaloo too! That’s what the gargantuan, super-duper, dogdom extravaganza coming up the week of December 9th through December 14th promises to be!


In case you just arrived on Earth on one of the streaking Earth-encounter meteorites and then stumbled unto these blogs for the very first time……………………….I am talking about the Eukanuba week of dog shows up in magic O-town, Orlando FL…………yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!


For Labradors it will be 5 straight shows with over 100 Labradors each day vying for points, for Best Of Breeds, for grand champion points, for Judges Awards of Merits (JAMS), for Best Bred By Exhibitors Best Of Breeds, for national ranking, for major boasting rights……………………………..for just being there among the top dogs of our breed!

Could it possibly get any better?


Well, yeah! One or several of the Chambray dogs could win some of that gravy being piled high for this stellar week of dog shows!

Of course the big pie in the sky would be winning Best Of Breed at Saturday’s official Eukanuba event! That would seal every deal from here to Timbuctoo. Of course we were a dog’s hair away at the 2013 from walking away with all the marbles…………………..but just in the flick of a finger to the other dog being consider for that astronomical award, our flagship Labrador or all times, BIS BBE Silver Grand Champion Chambrays Celestial N Counter was relegated to the 2nd spot of Select Grand Champion and not Best Of Breed!


Well, we are back for the 2014 canine congregation with a vengeance! We have the most outrageous lineup of class dogs and champions chomping at the bit to get into it with the competition……………………….and so is Team Chambray!


Since the 2013 Eukanuba event almost 12 months ago, we have been training, conditioning, grooming, training some more, getting plenty of practice at the state’s dog shows………………..winning quite a bit, finishing a record-tying 6 new champions in that time, grabbing a state-record 6 Trifectas so far in 2014, going an astonishing 94 straight winning dog show weekends that started back in January of 2012 and other bar raising accomplishments…………………….so now we await these next 2 weekends of dogs shows here in South Florida before we load up and head for Mickey Mouse’s playground for the Eukanuba affair…………………….actually the show venue at the Orlando Convention Center is located pretty nears the Disney World enclave.


November 25th


Random Notes About Shows Coming Up


Davie Show News:


Not since Hogan’s (BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff) heyday have we seen so many puppies and dogs that have been sired by the same dog at a dog show!


Coming into this weekend’s dog shows in Davie FL, there will be 11 male and female offspring from Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho (owned by Carol and Chip Wilkening)……………………among those will be one of our newest AKC champion, Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting (owned by the Etzigs) and another is our newest FCI champion FCI Col. Ch Chambrays Maxed N Counter (owned by Mark Reitzenstein). Tucker is from Chambrays Queen Of Hearts aka “Viper” and Max is from BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Charmed N Counter aka “Charm” (Viper is owned by Marie Knapp).


There are 3 other Jericho kids that are AKC- pointed. Chambrays Where Eagles Dare “Tank” (owned by Marie Knapp) with a 3-pt major to his credit, Chambrays Little Miss Magic Stella (owned by Tim Kroll and Dawn Sloan) both Tank and Stella are from Viper. Chambrays Thor God Of Thunder (owned by the Solis family) with 2 points also. Thor is from Chambrays Kelly At Cherry Hill (owned by Darrell Venters).


Then there are Chambrays Grace Of The Field (Judith and Mickey Baker) and Chambrays Belle From Ipanema (the Farias family), both from Kelly as well, Chambrays Bandit from WinQuest Little Bella (JC Rodriguez)……………..Chambrays Diesel (the McCubbins) & Chambrays Coco (the Pulido family) both from Chambrays Scuba Divin In Antigua “Fer” (owned by Juan Marrero) and there is another Jericho X Viper puppy, Chambrays Sweet Honey Dew (owned by Ivan Toro).


BBE Ch Chambrays Bailey On The Rocks (owned by Neil and Faith Wasserman) who ranks as being the 2nd top champion producer (3 champion get) for Chambray has a nice lineup of offspring at the Davie shows too, four of them in fact. Topping the list for Bailey is our current top show specials, ranked #5 in the USA, BBE Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter (the Bakers). There is also Chambrays Triple Play ‘Sonic’ (Javier Lopez) with 4 points. Both Walter and Sonic are from WinQuest Chambray Jewel In The Ruff (the Wassermans).


The other 2 Bailey get are Chambrays Dylan (Sam Knobler) from Chambrays Lilly of the Pond (Rachel Green) and Chambrays Annie Get Your Gun (Gina Buzzetti) from Belquest Hoshie (Marsha Zimburg).


Our top champion producer (8 champion get) of all times, Hogan will be represented by one of his kids, AKC ch-pointed Chambray’s Ruff Rider Harley (the Pinedas).


Chambray's 4 champion specials showing at the Davie show are all brand new 2014 champions! First time ever that we have a starting lineup of ‘specials’ that all finished their AKC champion’s title in the same year.


Those dogs are BBE Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter finishing in March, Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting completing his champion’s quest in September, Ch Shady Banks Chambray Tiberius (owned by the Padgetts) winning the last major for his title in October and just this month we had Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck (owned by the McGraws) grabbing his AKC title at the last weekends of shows in Ocala.


Talking about champion titles, there are 3 dogs that can conceivably do just that at the Davie shows. The odds on favorite because he only needs 1 major-pointed Winners Dog is Chambrays Stellar Thunder (Marrero)with 14 points and 1 major. Since both Saturday and Sunday’s Davie shows are majors for the male, just one win for Rico gives him the needed major for his AKC’s title.


WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos (the Eslingers) has 11 points and 3 majors and could wrap it all up by taking a Best Of Breed or a Best Of Opposite Sex which would give him the full 4 points to finish out. Of course winning back-to-back Winners Dog…Saturday and Sunday would also seal the deal for him.


Another dog that could mathematically accumulate enough points both days is Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha with 8 pts and 2 majors (owned by Neil Merin). Sam would need to win Winners Bitch/Best Of Winners both days, with a Best Of Breed at one of the shows to reach the 15 points she needs to title out. She has already done that twice since July having taken 2 Best Of Breeds over the champions competing.


November the 23rd

To Get It Or Not To Get It!


Mr. Herzon

I totally understand about building majors to benefit all of the dogs owned by many of those that show in an area. I think that what some people object to is that your dogs are beating your own dogs since you all enter so many dogs.


Yeah, I have heard that lament before. However just as the other whining’s hold no water, this too is a porous wailing as well.


Say there are 100 dogs entered and one of those dogs will win the points, hopefully the best dog, what difference does it make who the owner of that dog is……………….who the breeder is……………………….who the handler is?  It’s about showing a ‘dog’ and it winning against competition. The dog/bitch that wins Winners Dog or Winners Bitch earns those points towards their AKC champion’s title.


It matters not one iota who the breeder is……………yet! That comes later for bragging rights among breeders to see which one has the most champions bred for the year or for a lifetime.


This is not about me winning or not winning, it’s about the individual dog winning………..of course if I happen to be the breeder of that winning dog, well the merrier I will be and the more I will boast!


Another point of view is that since we bring on the absolute best dogs, more than any other breeder can, then there is a much higher chance……………the odds will be much greater that one of our dogs will win…………………and they do at a higher percentage than other breeder can muster………..so that bodes well for those wise folk that invested in a Chambray-bred dog and that have aligned themselves with the most successful Labrador Owner’s Program in the country.


Those that chose right, they have a much better chance of being successful than does those continuously choose wrong, make mistakes and thus are not successful. This is the law of quantum physics as applied to choosing between right (winner) and wrong (non-winner).


Take for instance the lady that recently came over to Chambray Acres with her dog in tow for a conformation evaluation.

According to her email correspondence with me, she actively ‘search’ all over……………the Internet. Breeder, after breeder and then some…………..all according to her.


She communicated with dozens and dozens and half of those responded back……………or so she says.

According to her, some were very rude, some were very secretive and not informative and others just wrote her off after one email.

A few seemed to be chasing her to make a sale, in fact too needy sounding as they had several litters of puppies available. There were a couple whose prices were beyond the moon…………………all according to her.


So, after more than a year of comparing oranges to apples, she settled on a breeder that promised her the ‘pick of the litter’………………………..the one that the breeder wanted for herself but was ‘willing’ to give to her, for a price of course………………………….rather steep price because after all it was the one that the breeder was going to keep for herself.


So, now she was standing in the front yard of Chambray Acres about to hear yet another pronouncement of what she had on hand. Another one, according to her, because she has been to several conformation training classes and she had approached professional handlers and trainers, plus she had trekked over to some of the dog shows in her area and met with several ‘knowledgeable’ Labrador enthusiast and now she wanted one more analysis of her ‘investment’.


The one year old chocolate female now tearing around my front ¼ acre was nearly 24 inches tall……………which would make her the tallest Labrador at any dog show that I have been to in the last 3 years………………now that’s a tall story!


Her features were very ‘weedy’ or as some dog show elitist would proclaim ‘fieldy’…………kind of casting  dispersions on the field trial type dogs, with said pronouncement would elevate the conformation dogs to a higher calling.


Weedy to me means thin, long boned as opposed to being moderated boned and more of a squarish-looking look to the overall profile of the dog. Not a dog to being showing at dog shows!


After delivering my verdict, she tells me that she has one more place to go to for another evaluation!

Like if in the time that she leaves my place and arrives in parts unknown of this other verifier, the dog would magically transform from a worm to a cocoon to a dazzling, flitting butterfly!


The writing is on the wall, in big bold letters and this person keeps choosing wrong! Some people are like that……..make that ‘many’ people are like that, in fact let’s up that to ‘most’ people are like that! That’s why there is a small percentage of successful people and the rest just don’t seem to get it.


How does anyone make sense to someone as this lady? She just doesn’t get it! No amount of educating will make any sense. I have seen it over and over again in the 40+ years of my involvement with Labradors.



At the recent International dog shows in Ocala………………….a venue that I value tremendously to debut our newest crop of puppies and young dogs, not to mention the newest batch of owners that have joined our Owner’s Programs………………..I run into another lady that has been dabbling into Labradors for the past 7 years.


I remember her very first futile excursion at an AKC dog show with a female dog that she had purchased at a pet shop. OMG doesn’t adequately describe the sight of the dog nor the handling or better yet total lack of control with the dog in the ring!!!!!!!

So much so that the judge lost his patience with her lack of breed acumen and also total lack of training and control that he promptly excused the dog for lack of merit.


Those around ringside were totally dismayed at the whole scenario. Some were so concerned that they made an attempt at counseling her about the breed standard and how this exhibit was totally not what the breed standard was referring to.

She persisted for the rest of the 3 shows that weekend and each time was sent packing from the ring as being Judge Excused. Of course she did not concede her erroneous ways as she lambasted the judges and even the good folk that offered her good advice including yours truly.


Fast forward 6 months and at exactly the same venue, guess who came to dinner? Yep, it was the same soul, however this time it was a male dog she had bought at a ‘fire sale’!


Yep, a real fire sale, where the barn burnt down and those engaged in producing puppies for the pet market were in need of rapid fire distribution of all dogs on hand!


Once again there was deja vous in the air! Same ole, same ole just with a different dog. Same results, except that this time she found 2 judges that had the time to indulge her and not send her and the exhibit packing!

Worst thing that could have ever happen…………………………………6 months later there she was with a puppy from the original female and the repeat mistake male dog!!!!!!!!!!!!!


One bad decision begets a dozen more!


So has time been gentle and illuminating to that person……………………….NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Seven years later and nothing has changed other than dozens of litters produced compounding one mistake into hundreds and worse yet, there was a disciple now with one of her dogs……………..someone new starting out with baggage so loaded that there can be no possible light at the end of that endless tunnel.


I rest my case!



More November 21st

Yakety Yak


Every instance where there is mention of building majors, the confused, haze-minded, and fog-fazed blokes come out of the woodwork and other crevices that denizens dwell in, emerge just enough to rattle their make-believe sabers about the perceived injustices perpetrated by those loading up the numbers at dog shows.


Unbeknownst to this subset of the homo-sapien genome, it is customary and traditional to attract more exhibits by using a time-honored ritual called ‘supported shows or supported entries’.


All across the country at all breed dog shows in every breed ring, handlers, breeders, exhibitors and owners will plan ahead for a particular weekend of dog shows and bring out extra dogs to create the much needed major-pointed shows. At breed specialties ‘supported entries’ are the rule and not the exception.


Of course when exhibitors and breeders bring on their extra dogs, at times those dogs may or may not be to the conformational level that their better dogs may be at. These dogs could be referred to as ‘ringers’ or ‘fillers’. However there is absolutely nothing wrong or amiss in this practice because after all, the best dogs will win and those extra hands (feet) that came out, helped out (help foot the bill too).


So, that brings us to the Chambray owners rallying around the imaginary flagpole and entering their dogs en masse, in the process building majors that ANY OF THOSE ENTERED DOGS CAN WIN!


Notice that I typed that last passage in capital letters and in bold type……………………..that’s because none of those dogs are ringers, fillers or a lesser class of dog than the other top conformational Chambray dogs! In fact, those extra dogs are as good as or better than the rest of the Labrador breeders in the state can field.


For instance, take the 14 class males entered for the South Dade dog shows in Davie and also the 9 class females………………………….each and every one of those 23 males and females are at the top of the charts in conformation, in training and in conditioning and they will have exactly the same level of handling expertise while in the show ring. Which means that each has the same chance as any of the other Chambray dogs in winning the points…………………..which by all facts and figures available from show to show statistics……………..their winning odds exceeds the chances of winning from any of the competing exhibitor’s dogs.


So, major kudos for the Chambray owners that come out in numbers………….numbers that make majors! You can’t win points unless you show up, so those that whine and wail every time the Chambray dogs come out in numbers………I say “hey put up or shut up”.


Of course if these chronic complainers can’t take the heat, then a trip out of state with their dogs to venues with less competition is the soup de jour. The old ‘if you can’t beat them, then go somewhere else to play’ comes readily to mind.

November 19th

"Let's Give Them Something To Talk About"




In Florida at the Labrador ring it takes 15 males to make a major-pointed show, with females the magic number is 23! Without major-pointed shows and wins by the dogs competing, a dog cannot obtain its AKC champion’s title. No matter how many shows a dog wins, it must win 2 shows that add up to major-pointed wins…………………………………no two ways about it!


Well, guess what? We have majors for males at the Davie FL dog shows come the weekend of November 29th and 30th. That’s because the Chambray owners came together and entered their male dogs……..14 of them in fact! That’s what is called ‘creating a major’!

We……………the Chambray owners……..Team Chambray created a major at a venue where it ‘ain’t’ supposed to happen. Of course we must give credit to whomever (whomevers) entered the other 5 dogs because the entry breakdown announced yesterday shows a total of 19 males in the Lab ring, both days.


We have to adjust downwards by 1*, because one of those 14 Chambray males just crossed the finish line for his AKC champion’s title and will ‘move’ up to the Best Of Breed competition for that show.


*Congratulations to new AKC champion, Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck…………..a.k.a. ‘Bad Boy Bob’…………….now ‘Sir Robert’! Truth be told, Bob won’t be where he is now if it were not for his owners the McGraw family for doing what it took to get him there. This is the epitome of team play………….Team Chambray at its finest and best.


Back to the ‘majors’ thing. Now here is the clincher……………….not one of those 13 Chambray dogs is a ringer! No siree…………..no loading the scales with our thumbs here………….each and every one of those 13 males can and will win points at any given show here in Florida and never mind what they will do if we load up the truck and head for parts north and west of our sunny side-up state.


So much so, that with my eyes closed, I will select out any 5 of those 13 males and match them up against any other Labrador breeder’s 5 best class males in the country, not just from the Florida breeders……………………….For those in doubt, bring them on…………………..I will put money where my mouth is.


So, let’s hear it from the peanut gallery, the naysayers, the boo birds and all the others that just don’t get it. Team Chambray almost singlehandedly built a major and not one single Palooka on the roster! Instead of fillers, we have winners as there is a very strong possibility of crowning Chambray’s 7th new champion for 2014…..not just from one dog, as there are 2 of our boys that can conceivably finish out their championship right here in their own backyard with the home crowd cheering them on. Could there be an 8th new champion for the year…………………..talk about suspense building up in the days to come before that weekend arrives.


Speaking of home crowds, we have decided to make this Davie show weekend our annual Chambray Owners Get Together. We expect the largest home crowd ever in the last 25 years of our meeting up at the local year’s end shows in South Florida.


Now we have given them something to talk about. We now await to hear what the grapevine has to whisper about, of course truth be told, all that gossiping and gibberish that goes around is fuel and positive energy for Team Chambray to thrive on.


As that other famous song beckoned “Let’s get it on”!

November 21st

Time Continuum & Deja Vous


Since the awesome 2009 dog show season for Chambray Labradors, at the end of each year that has since passed we have stopped and smelled the roses and assessed that there would be no way that we could equal or best that year’s amazing successes in the new year about to commence.


Well, four years in a row since then we stop at the same junction in time and have a yearly deja vous moment and as Yogi Berra said it best “It’s deja vous all over again”………………….. that’s 5 years of one-upping the previous year where 2009 gets upped by 2010, then 2011 usurps the previous year, again 2012 goes beyond its predecessor year, then 2013 outdoes itself and each and every year we do exactly what seemed unattainable at the beginning of that year.


At the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, I was resigned to relaxing the whole year in front of us and savoring the past because the bar was set so high………………no way, no how was there a chance that we could even come close to the benchmarks etched, records set, records bested, streaks kept alive and ever again posting the most home-bred champions in one year in the country as was set in 2012.


Whoa Nelly……………………….the sky ride started right away with finishing a new champion at the tough Florida Winter Circuit in January at Brooksville. That was followed by a 2nd champion being crowned the following month in February…………….then a 3rd new champion in March……………………….3 months, 3 new champions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...................................now 11 months later it’s November and there have been 6 new AKC champions crowned, 4 new Grand Champions, 1 Bronze Grand Champion and 2 FCI Champions…………….that’s 13 new titles in 11 months…………………………WHAT?????????????????????


There are 3 weekends of dog shows left before we once again wrap up another year and what seemed like an unsurmountable summit on January 1st 2014, now appears to be the highest peak that Chambray Labradors has ever reached. Here we are about to reach that same spot in time where we look back and relish our collective success and we can now add 2014 to that frolicking train ride of year after year of leapfrogging super achievements.


What do the next 3 weekends of dog shows hold in store for our dogs and owners?


We have the Davie FL dog shows on November 29/30 where we will be able to see the largest roster of Chambray dogs ever under one roof! This venue and date will also be our annual Chambray Owners Get Together. There will be old timer Chambray owners, current Chambray owners and brand spanking, wet behind the ears new owners with their very first Chambray show dog……………….also dozens and dozens of past and present owners that come out to cheer Team Chambray on.


The following weekend is the Miami Dog Show where we will also have a nice lineup of our local owner’s dogs.


Of course the Chambray train gathers a full ahead of steam, the very next day following the Miami shows and we head up the pike to Orlando for the 5 days of shows culminating in the Eukanuba  National Championships on Saturday December 13th.


That gives us a total of 9 more shows to add to our amazing 2014 dog show successes. Numbers tell the story and those numbers are climbing to a staggering and seemingly unattainable heights for 2015 to ascend to…………………..but as has happened year after year since 2009………………let’s wait until December 2015 to access where we are at the junction in the time continuum.


More From The Chambray Owners

November 19th




Dear Herzons –


First off… thank you so much for all that you have provided for me and my wife! 2 years ago I decided I was ready to purchase the dog I have always wanted to own. I have had a few dogs in my lifetime and even a black “mostly” Labrador mix. The ideal dog in my eyes was a big yellow male Labrador. This has always been my favorite looking dog (maybe an Old Yeller thing) but knowing the Labrador breed as the ideal family dog and winning the most popular dog breed for a record 23 years in a row now, just solidified my choice. I made the decision I was going to look for a well “pedigreed” dog to ensure his good looks and hopefully a great demeanor.


I researched a few local breeders and struggled to find any puppies available.  It was tough just getting my phone calls answered not to mention someone who was friendly at the other end. Then I ran across your website. Not only did it boast of your amazing accomplishments it provided a wealth of “free” information. No other breeder has a website as extensive as yours. As you know I am in South Florida but I was ready to travel to the North of Florida if necessary for a good quality dog. I was ecstatic to eventually find that you were so close! I went over your website up and down and made the call. We emailed back and forth for the initial contact then finally set up a meeting. Initially I was looking for a “pet” quality yellow male but you enticed me to aim for a “show” quality dog. I made the decision because of all the services you had to offer (lifetime show training, obedience training, handling service, etc.). I never thought of “showing” a dog before and I will admit the thought felt strange, but I am happy you talked me into it.


You stayed in contact with me and eventually had a litter that I was able to choose the male of my liking. He was exactly what I was looking for, a little yellow bear happy and full of life! I was eager to take advantage of all your services and training so I showed up every week I could and emailed questions left and right which you answered immediately. Even though I already had a Vet just being able to ask the many questions of you and have great information feedback was comforting.


As you are well aware “Bob” provided somewhat of a challenge come training time. It was tough weather year when I got him and we showed up when possible. I learned from the sessions and followed your guidance to continue at home on the off evenings. While at the trainings on your farm Bob quickly became quite the entertainer. Earning the nickname “Bob the Marlin” and “Bad Boy Bob” for his infamous leaps into the air that finished with an alligator death roll. You confided in me sometime later that you had never seen anything like that and you were about to tell me to hold him up for a while until he matures a little, but you saw something in his movement that you really liked. So I worked even harder and spent a lot of time with him (honestly sometimes feeling overwhelmed) but finally got his head in the game. I am glad I stuck it out and worked hard with your help because now at 1 year and 6 months that crazy nut has turned into an AKC Champion! He has finally earned the title you once gave him “Sir Robert”.


You and your family provided a great atmosphere to work and train our dogs and you guys handled him wonderfully in the ring making him look even better. Thank you and your family for providing the wonderful services and getting us a Championship that I honestly did not think was possible early on, and at the end of the day thank you for selling me the dog I set out looking for 2 years ago. It has been a fun ride!


Take care.

The McGraw family.

November 18th 2014

Final Chambray Newsletter of the Year


The last issue for 2014 of the Chambray Labradors E-Newsletter is in the 'e-mail' to hundreds of our dedicted owners and followers. Since we had some computer and email issues this past year, there may be some of our newsletter readers that are not receiving our timely e-mail outs. If you would like to be included in future email newsletters please email me with your request.


To save space here at the website, the newsletter is in document form and will be downloaded as a Word document that you will then 'open' and read and either 'save' or 'delete' ater reading.

The Chambray Owners Speak

November 17th


I have received so much feedback from the posts from the Chambray owners that I will be posting more as they come in.



Hey Sandy, 


 I saw the results from this weekend. Congratulations!!  Chambray is really dominating the show scene! When I get back I would really like to take full advantage of the classes & lessons. I know that I want to work with you and stick as close to your program as possible.


Honestly if I had found you before getting my first females a few years ago, I think I would have just co-owned with you. I love this whole experience but I want to do it the right way, with you to guide me. I know that I don't want to breed any litters that aren't worthy of being bred because I truly want to do it for the betterment of the breed.


Bringing lives into this world shouldn't be taken so lightly & I truly believe the closer I work with you, the better outcome I will have all around. I really want to work on handling as soon as I get back because I love it & I would love to be good at it.


Thank you so much for all that you do!! I'm so blessed to have someone with your knowledge to mentor me. Can't wait to get back!! 


Thank you & let me know if Dreamer is doing well please! I miss him to pieces!!!




Jenna joined the Chambray Owner’s Program as a handling apprentice. Soon thereafter one of our show prospect males was placed with her on a co-ownership to speed up her learning curve in both handling and as a future breeder. Since that time, she has bred one of her females with one of our top producing champion stud dogs. 


November 12th

From A Chambray Owner In Kentucky


Hi Sandy,

It is always a point of pride for me to walk into the crowded Vet's office with Kelly or Summer.  The oohs and ahs of "how beautiful" are satisfying, as is comments of how "well behaved" - and "where did you get her at" or "she is not from around here is she". 


Kelly always walks into the waiting area with confidence and manners, unlike the majority of other dogs that owners are wrestling around and apologizing for their behavior.   I think it goes to the temperament of the Chambray labs and their structure and training.  I always imagine Kelly's attitude is, if you got it flaunt it! 


Re your recent blogging off - it sounds like what is not being said by others why you bring so many dogs is - "if you didn't bring as many, I/we would have a better chance of winning" haha! 


Take care,


November 12th

Pandora's Box Revisited


With predictable results, mention a particular subject and the lid to the infamous box cracks open enough for bats to come flying out in all directions!


Yesterday’s blog about the ‘numbers of dogs showing’ is one of those super touchy subjects that seems to resonate with a certain subset of Labrador exhibitors, mostly from within the state and a few from outside the Florida circuit as well.

As covered in the blog, no need to trying and make heads or tails of the ‘whys’ since those most puzzled by the fact are the ones  wearing blinders and ear muffs and that makes it very difficult to impossible for them to ‘see’ or ‘hear’ enough to illuminate and educate them as to the therefore!


However in a never ending quest to share the pearls of wisdom that I have accumulated in the 44 years of involvement with just one breed, the Labrador Retriever, I make it my mission to bring about clarity when it involves the betterment of the breed.

Raising, training, conditioning and showing the absolute best Labradors is totally in the betterment of the breed realm, so providing information that will benefit those that are participating in those mentioned endeavors is accomplishing the mission.

So, here goes yet another attempt at enlightenment.


Most professional handlers, breeders and exhibitors generally have one or two worthy dogs to bring out to the dog shows.

In the case of the professional handlers, they have the luxury of choosing which dogs to take on as clients to show. This is very evident when professional handlers come down from up north for the January Florida Circuit. Those handlers approach the top Labrador breeders from the NE states and then travel down with the best dogs from multiple kennels. So, most of the time, the better dogs at these dog shows are those that the pro handlers has.


At the local level, those shows mostly attended by the Florida based dogs, several professional handlers work the Labrador ring and they also have the ability to take on the better dogs from the state’s breeders and owners.


Some of the state’s breeders also handle their own dogs and assuredly they will choose the one or two of their best dogs to bring out to the dog shows. Also, some owners/exhibitors will also be seen handling their own dogs and these can vary from good to maybe not as good.


*****Chambray Labradors Management Program has upwards of 20 dogs equaled to or better than the pros, breeders and exhibitors can field for any given show*****


*****This is more than proven by the winning percentage of those dogs vs. the other group mentioned****


Most breeders produce anywhere from 5 to 20 litters a year. They keep the best puppies for themselves and then place the rest. They then take those best puppies they kept and will show one or two of them.


Chambray Labradors co-produces about 10 litters a year from over 100 females that are part of our exclusive and innovative Labrador Retriever management program. ALL of those females are owned by individuals and all of them live in their owner’s homes. There are no breeding age females currently living at Chambray Acres, so all of our litters are home-born and home-raised in the dam’s home with the owners following our special birthing and puppy rearing protocols.


The best puppies from each of those litters will then be placed through Chambray’s Puppy Placement Program with new or existing owners that appreciate having the best and that will eventually take part in the perpetuation of the next generation of superior quality puppies.


So instead of having one or two great puppies to decide from as to which will be at the dog shows, we have the entire lineup of the best puppies from all the owners that take part in our various Owner’s Programs.


Through our Training and Conditioning Program, we take the best puppies and work with them and their owners to bring about the proper levels of preparedness for the shows. “Show in working condition” is a staple of the written breed standard and that’s exactly what our goals are for presenting a dog at the dogs shows.


Chambray’s A-Team of handlers provides the best handling at the Labrador ring regardless of where we travel to. This makes it possible to bring as many dogs that warrant being at the top levels of showing.


So, at any given dog show that we participate at, there will be professional handlers with several high quality dogs in their charge, there will be Labrador breeders with one or two of what they consider to be their best dogs, there will be owners/exhibitors with dogs they obtained somewhere and hopefully those have what it takes to be showing and then there will be the many Chambray managed dogs that are the winningest by far at the dog shows.


Now, in all reality, does any of what I just shared above make any more sense to those that have heard it before and didn’t get it then?


I don’t think so, but here I am still shedding light on a very lit subject which still looks very dim to those that just don’t see it!



November 11th

The Theory Of Relativity Made Simple


At the recent Brooksville dog show, the little old lady approaches me just as I come out of the ring with one of the Labs that I was handling. “Can I ask you a question?” she asserts herself.


“Why of course you may and I will be more than glad to give you an answer if it is within my reach.” I reply. Of course unbeknown to her, my reply to was laden with ambiguities since lately my memory seems to be flitting about like a butterfly in a brisk wind.


“Why do you all show so many dogs?” was her 2nd query to me………….remember her first question was whether she could ask a question in the first place.


For those not akin to the atmosphere around these parts, the subject of the question is simple sounding enough and would beg a simple sounding answer in kind……………….however simplicity can serve as a mask at times because in this case the question was really a statement…………………more like telling me that she or whomever she had been discussing the subject matter with were not in accord with me………….or my alter ego, Chambray bringing on as many dogs as we field at any given show in Florida.


Of course truth be told………………………if our dogs were not winning every weekend, weekend in and weekend out……………if instead of winning at the highest percentage ever posted by a Labrador breeder, we would show up with ‘all these dogs’ and instead of winning we would be losing………………..then the little old lady and her cohorts would be totally tickled pink that we brought all these dogs to lose to their dogs.


My real answer to the little old lady’s question should have been, “The theory of relativity and the ‘why we show so many dogs’ have one thing in common…………….no matter how it is explained or how many times it is made as lucid as a clear day in May……………………….not many will ever ‘get it’”!


The reason they don’t get it is that our ‘way’ is too new, too novel, too avant garde! From the dazed, deer in the headlights looks when a forthright explanation is offered……………..it just seems beyond the grasp of those with short reaches! You can’t get what you can’t grasp! So, we keep on truckin with our way of doing things and leave it to the confused to try and figure it out.


Of course the flip side of the prior mentioned scenario are those folk that are equipped with a bit more acumen and bought stock in our innovative and now highly successful venture…………………..those are the ones whose dogs are enjoying the success that brings out the deer in the headlights looks and the statements masked as questions!

November 10th

Numbers Do Count

Numbers Count


No sooner had Rico won Winners Dog at the Saturday dog show in Brooksville this past weekend, that several different people………..spectators, breeders and even a professional handler………….made references or had a whole conversation about our current consecutive dog show weekend winning streak…….……………that win by a Chambray-bred dog upped the streak to 93 dog shows weekends! Those are winning dog show weekends spanning all of 2012, of 2013 and now almost all of 2014, with 4 weekends left for the year.


Human nature being what it is, there was one exhibitor that was overheard telling someone else that no one keeps up with ‘things’ like that!


Now just as sure as there will be sunrises and sunsets each day (for at least another couple of billion years), if the shoes were covering the other 2 feet, the singing of the blues coming from that camp would be as loud and clear as the one that I am proud of and broadcast to any and all the can hear and see.


Numbers do count! Numbers create a hierarchy with the greater numbers on top and the lesser accomplishments at the bottom, a diminishing returns relationship if you will.


The keeping of number is used to set the bar for those that aspire for bigger and better ‘things’. They establish the upper reaches of benchmarks and bars to be equaled and bettered!  Without the qualifications and quantifications of numbers, there would be nothing to differentiate the consistent winners from those that just show up and have very little to show for their efforts…………….without accountability, everybody would just be the same and we all know that ‘ain’t’ so!


The accumulations of numbers eventually creates records when they total an amount that no one else has ever reached, thus the bar is set for all those others to best if and when they ever reach and ultimately topple when that number is surpassed.


On a daily/weekly basis I receive an inordinate amount of requests for the other numbers/records that Chambray has posted……….interesting enough, you would think that the majority of those asking would be Chambray owners, however more than 75% of the inquiries come from those that visit our website and read the By The Numbers page at the www.chambraylabradors.net website.


Some have asked as to which of our record setting ‘numbers’ means the most to me and each and every time I receive that request, I have to really mull it over to come up with the one accomplishment that is the pinnacle for me as a breeder/exhibitor.


The ‘appreciation’ for the current weekend winning streak is kept vivid on a week to week basis as that record keeps rising the most frequent of all the others, so that one ‘record’ seems to be the most memorable at the moment. Out of all the other benchmarks that we have set as breeders/exhibitors, it is the one that feels like a bubble is about to burst at any given weekend. I know that it cannot go on forever and that sooner or later there will be a weekend where a Chambray-bred dog will not win points or BOB. Where ever it stops, it will be a record set for the ages. I am pretty certain that no other Labrador breeder in the country can boast that they have won WD or WB points or a Best Of Breed at 93 consecutive weekends of dog shows, so this one ranks up in the top 3.

The other top honors for numbers/records are:


2 – Best In Show with home-bred dogs, #1 in FL. There is only one other FL breeder that has ever bred 1 other BIS winner. So this record is very prestigious and quite revered as being exclusive in nature, however it could be equaled, unless another of the Chambray dogs adds to that number, making 3 BIS unreachable by the vast majority of the state’s breeders.


42 – Home Bred Champions, #1 in FL. Unlikely that this number will be ever bested in my lifetime as who  is in 2nd place has less than half those numbers and they are not showing any longer. So, another very exclusive perch to be atop of.


50 – Trifectas won (WD, WB and BOB in 1 show)  #1 FL. There is no one even remotely close that is currently showing dogs. Maybe 1 other breeder with 3 lifetime Trifectas…………….Chambray also holds the number of Trifectas for 1 year with 6! These 2 records, especially the lifetime 50, really seem impervious to any one coming close. This one benchmark will be rather difficult to equal or best because most of the other area breeders seldom have more than 1 dog that can win consistently and for a Trifecta to happen there must be several dogs at the higher levels of winning and also be able to win Best Of Breeds too. As a side note, Trifecta #50 was especially a sweet one to savor as it was a breeder/judge that gave the Chambray dogs BOB, WD and WB! 


6 – Home-bred champions in 1 year, #1 FL and #1 USA in 2012 making Chambray the #1 Lab Breeder in the country that year. So far this year we have 5 home-bred champions with the possibility of 2 to 3 more before the year is over, so a very good chance of equaling or surpassing our best year and ascending to #1 for the year USA again. This 1 year record stands very firm as most breeders showing today have not had 6 total champions in all the years they have been breeding.


7 -  The most Labrador qualifiers in 1 year at any Eukanuba. This record will stand forever as the qualifying process is no longer in effect at the annual Eukanuba shows.


7 – Bred-By Exhibitors Champions the most ever BBE champions in FL, in fact Florida’s first and only AKC Silver Medallion Recipient for 5 BBE Champions and now on the way towards the Gold Medallion Recipient for 10 BBE champions with 7. Since Chambray more or less dominates the wins from the Bred By Exhibitor classes from Florida and there are more to come, this category is pretty much locked up for quite a while.


So, each of the preceding numbers/records takes precedent the moment that it is added to making that criteria the one that stands out for that moment, it then becomes the one that shines the brightest until one of the others takes center stage.

Numbers do count when they amount to something that no one else has accomplished….they are what sets the top achievers from the ordinary.



November 7th

Here We Go, Ready Or Not


Well, here we are off to the Brooksville dog shows this weekend.


Followed very closely by the 4 days of shows in Ocala.


There is excitement building with several of our top dogs being so close to finishing their AKC championship……………….there have been 5 new ones so far for 2014………………….and 4 more with a very strong chance of also joining that Fab-5 group! Of course, finishing 1 more would put Chambray in a good position for being the #1 Labrador breeder in the country……………….2 new ones would really shore up the claim and 3 new ones would seal the deal for sure!


On the downside to the elation above is me dealing with memory loss and also picking up everyone’s colds and flus………………..which adds to the ‘forgetfullness’. So much so that these next 2 weekends of shows will reflect me forgetting to enter certain dogs and also by being sidelined, not staying on top of which dogs are entered by their owners………………….that is a real bad combination for disaster as the show roster for Chambray will indicate for Brooksville and for Ocala.


I just have to use what’s left of my noggin to chart out the best possible ways of dealing with reality.


We have implemented various new procedures, programs and working ideas that will more than make up for my short comings. At the dog shows, we now travel with a whole team of trainers, handlers and groomers. There are a total of 6 that make up Team Chambray now, with 2 more people in training back at Chambray Acres that are apprenticing for active show duty in the future.


We now have 2 dedicated trainers and attendants throughout the day at Chambray Acres which frees me to just tend to the clients that come during training session hours. These trainers also assist with with each of the new-owner-to-be interview process.

I still conduct the night training sessions with 4, hands on handler/trainers available for those owners that want to expedite their dogs learning capabilities.


All in all, with a concerted effort by the staff of Chambray and all the awesome owners, we will be able to maintain and grow our most successful Labrador Retriever Owner’s Program………just as good or even better if that is possible!

November 5th

Thank You


Mr. Herzon


If it wasn’t that I have watched you weave your magic for years with Labrador Retrievers, both in breeding and raising the absolute best and then also razzle dazzle in the show ring, I would say that you are in the wrong profession!


Somewhere inside of you is a Mark Twain with the gift of pure story telling! You can take an ordinary daily happening and spin it into a tale that leaves me yearning for more.


As much as I appreciate your educational material on all aspects Labrador Retrievers, which has no equal on the Internet, your humorous offerings make my day.


I tune in each morning to your blogs and also your website wanting to read more of the Labrador happenings with you and your owners and their dogs, but I must admit that the days that there are no new blogs are a bit of a letdown.


Thank you for all you do for the breed, it does make a huge difference to many of us Labrador owners.

Carol Schultz



I thank you! None of what I do with Labradors would be possible if it were not for the multitudes of great Labrador Retriever owners that appreciate what I have to share. From the hundreds of Chambray owners to the thousands that come by and visit the website and that also share their stories and love for the breed with me. My encouragement to offer more comes from the tremendous response I receive on a daily basis from so many.

For ease of navigation, the Blogging Off section will be periodically archived.

This Main Page will have the newest offerings with the older, further down the page renditions, being transfered to the ARCHIVES section. 

Click above Archives icon to go to the archived blogs

November 4th



Yes, for those emailing in asking why I haven't been blogging as much as I usually do, yes, I have been under the weather with yet another flu-like illness..................like a good sponge, I soak everything that goes around!


Ok, so here's all that my infertile mind can offer for now.


Things that make my head spin.


The turnip truck most have just rumbled by and dropped some of its load, for there I was at the Ocala shows this past weekend when this country bumpkin shuffles up next to me and says, “Heard you’re the headman in these parts when it comes to Labradors.”


“Well, seeing as how most of the other Labrador dabblers in this neck of the woods are of the other gender, I guess that title is very befitting me.” Was my Johnny On The Spot comeback.


“My Daddy back in the day was breeding Labradors and he had one go all the way and win a Best In Show at Westminster Abbey!” offered up the Jed Clampett-lookalike in response to my response.


Now Paul Banyan was a mighty tall oak tree to fell, but this backwoods yokel just upped the ante when it came to supersized orders!  Yes siree, this here was a real ‘Babe’ whopper of a tale!


First of all, there has never, ever been a dog show at Westminster Abbey! Nope, none that anyone has heard about and that spans close to a thousand years to be imprecise!


Now there is a ‘Westminster’ Kennel Club that host an annual dog show in New York, NY………………….Madison Square Gardens to be more precise……… which is a completely different ball of wax than the cathedral of a thousand year’s fame in Westminster London which is called ‘Westminster’ Abbey.


Nope, I doubt seriously that in that millennium of existence that there were ever any exhibits of the canine variety there……..kingly and queenly coronations, Henry the 8th multiple weddings, chivalrous knight bestowments, maybe a beheading or two………………..but nary a doggie roundup leading to an awarding of ribbon or rosette.

To compound the farfetchedness of the claim to fame……………………..no Labrador Retriever has ever, ever, ever won anything more than a Best Of Breed at the more ordinary ‘Westminster’ from the Big Apple acclaim. Nope, nary a one Lab has won a Group 1…………..of course winning a Group 1 would give it liberty to strut down the red carpet of the Best In Show competition………………and none, zero, zilch Lab has done that!


“Herzon” came a call to arms from Ms. Herzon for me to go into action with the dog I was holding, so I was saved by the bell………………..cause just in the nick of time before any more taller than the tallest building yarn could be told, I hear my name being summons to enter the ring with a future King of England……………yeah now that’s the ticket!






Last weekend I am standing ringside at the Plant City dog shows and a family of 5 comes to ask me some ‘puppy questions’, which I more than happily answer. As I open a crate to bring out ‘Kika’, who was scheduled to walk into the ring for the Best Of Breed competition…...………………..the matriarch of the clan glances at the dog at the end of my leash and proclaims……….. “Oh my, she looks JUST like our Trixie, the spittin image!”


Now, I happen to be holding BIS BBE Silver Grand Champion Chambrays Celestial N Counter! The only female Labrador to ever win an AKC Best In Show in Florida!


In fact the only Labrador female to win a Best In Show in the USA for 2012 and only 1 of 2 Labradors to win a Best In Show that whole year!!!! She also happens to be the #1 Female Labrador in the USA for 2012. She happens to hold the Labrador record Eukanuba National Championships Invitations with 5 in 1 year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


She is the winningest Chambray champion ever with 33 Best Of Breeds and 15 Group Placements, including 2 Group 1’s!!!!!!!!!!!!


She is the 2013 Purina Breeder’s Showcase Best Of Breed Labrador and she was the 2013 Eukanuba Select Grand Champion winner and the highest ranking female Grand Champion ever in Florida and to imagine that somewhere in someone’s backyard there is an exact replica of Kika………spittin image and all!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Much like the Gambler did..................you got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run...................so I politley responded with "Yes ma'am, all Labs look so much alike" and then just walked away.

More October 30th Feedback


"Congratulations on an amazing winning streak! I have been around dog shows off and on for over 25 years and have never heard of such a successful breeder/exhibitor in any breed ring! I know of some real good Labrador breeders that would consider winning at 3 consecutive weekends a great accomplishments and to think that you all have strung out 92 winning show weekends in a row, now that’s a record for the ages to come!"



To be honest here, I never envisioned even going a whole year of dog shows with winning at every weekend………………………..so now we have the whole of 2012, the whole of 2013 and so far all of the weekends of 2014 with either a Winners Dog, a Winners Bitch or a Best Of Breed, at most weekends there have been a more than just one win and 16 times during that span there were 16 shows where all 3 major wins, BOB, WD and WB were won by Chambray dogs…………..in that one show!


We have 4 more weekends of shows left before the real big canine extravaganza, the Eukanuba National Championship week comes along in Orlando starting on Dec 9th thru Dec 13th, so it will be interesting to see how far this current winning streak continues.


More records in the midst: Our dogs are ready and primed, our owners are excited for their dogs, and there are several that can finish their AKC championships with one or two more wins, adding to the 5 new AKC champions so far for 2014. In 2012 Chambray finished 6 new champions (raising our state record by 1) and ultimately winning the USA Top Labrador for 2012. So, one more new champion for 2014 ties the record and may even propel Chambray into the Top Labrador Breeder for 2014 in the country.


We have another significant accomplishment streak going so far for 2014……………….the crowning of a new champion, grand champion or bronze grand champion in each month so far this year. That’s 11 new titles in 10 months of 2014!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “Whoa Nelly” is apropos for this accomplishment, as some top show breeders are thrilled to title 1 or 2 dogs per year. We could conceivably see 2 more new champions and a new bronze champion before the last shows for 2014 in Orlando in December.


When the going gets good, the good gets going even better!



Halloween's Eve
October 30th

It's Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature!


"I have been following the recent topics of co-breedings and associations with Chambray. Why in the world would any reasonable person obtain a dog from you and then choose to go it alone? We have been part of your programs with our 3rd Chambray dog and no matter how long we or anyone else do the shows and breedings, no one will ever have a fraction of the knowledge you have amassed on all matters that involve Labradors. The way we figure it, it is a no brainer being a Chambray owner!"



Thank you for the vote of confidence. I no longer even bother trying to figure out what makes people tick. Why do people do what they do in every walk of life is befuddling even to the purported ‘experts’. Why does a ‘reasonable’, ‘ordinary’ person going on a shooting spree at a school or shopping center? We do people commit crimes……..why is there so much domestic violence?


Some people are weird…………….odd balls……………..ornery……………..hard to get along with………………..loners……………………not cooperative………………….marching to the tune of an imaginary drummer………………………not trusting……………..not trustworthy………………………cantankerous……………….know it alls………………….delusional…………………bi-polar…………………………tri-polar…………………….multi-personality disorders…………those passive aggressive types……………….……chronic complainers…………………..wannabee teacher’s pets……………….prima donnas…………………..out and out bee-atches…………too high maintenance…… pains in the butts…………….….you name it and I have dealt with it………them!


The thing is that no one goes around wearing a sign hanging from their neck proclaiming their true colors. These are things you find out after dealing with them for a while. It doesn’t take long after placing a puppy with some for the ‘hues’ and ‘shades’ to start to show, but by then you have already placed the dog with them.


So, choices have to be made as to how to deal with those not following the yellow brick road.

With some, we do our best to work around with their personality quirks, others are just so out of bounds that it is best to let go and conserve the energy and time for all those that are a joy to associate with.


Fortunately, the majority of the Chambray owners fall within the broad spectrum of ‘normal’ personalities and that large group is the one we prefer to continue our associations with. At times there will be awesome puppies and dogs that seem to fade away from the spotlight and these may very well be those with owners that do not work well within the parameters of our working programs.


Some of those folk will continue on as independents and some will not go forward with showing or breeding. It is a shame for the betterment of the breed to hit these bumps in the road, but it is nature working at its best and you know what that 1970’s Chiffon Margarine commercial used to say “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!”

October 29th

The Grapevine Is Humming


Seems that the ‘hot topic’ of discussion running rampant among Labrador enthusiasts is Chambray’s co-breeding program………….not just from those locals to the Florida Labrador show ring, but even outside as there has been a thread at one of the breed’s many chat rooms.


Let’s dispel 2 of the more flagrant misconceptions first.


#1. Each and every co-breeding that takes place with a female is by 100% choice of the owner of the female. No one is ‘forced’ into a breeding. There are no contracts that would legally bind someone to associate themselves with me. All females are placed with full ownerships with owners-to-be that have been specially chosen to be the owners of one of our top show dogs. Those owners partake in all the activities and derived tremendous benefits from all the amenities that come with one of our highly prized show puppies.

When it comes time for breeding consideration, the dog is evaluated all over again to ensure that it does possess those great attributes for perpetuating the next great generation of Chambray dogs.


After passing my very rigid conformation standard evaluation, it must pass several genetic and physical clearances. Having passed those, a co-breeding lease for the breeding period is drawn up and then we delve into the pedigree/genetic part of pairing up to produce even better.


Now bear in mind that the Chambray breeding program only accepts an average of 10 females a year to participate producing a litter that will have the Chambray name or co-name attached to it. Which means that that litter will be placed through our exclusive Puppy Placement Program and each puppy will be backed 1000% by all of our amenities, programs and offerings…………………including being considered for our breeding program in the future.


It should be noted here that not all dogs carrying the Chambray name reach that top status to be accepted into our various programs including the Breeding Program, the Handling Program or the Stud Dog Program! To keep it all real and operating only at the upper most levels, only the best of the best must be the ones that are chosen to perpetuate the breed to the next generation.

This way, only the best of the best will be the producers of the best. So, if a litter is being placed through the Chambray Puppy Placement Program you can bet on it that the sire and dam are the best there is and that the litter has the potential of continuing with our unparalleled successes.


Along the way from the described pathway, there are some dogs that just don’t develop conformational into the projected top status that we strive for………………..there are also owners that don’t have the same interests that the Chambray program parameters are set to……………………..when detours such as these arise then alternates solutions are enacted. The most common remedy to an impasse where working together doesn’t seem to be in either parties best interest is for a dissolution of our ‘working’ agreement. In the case where working with an individual is not conducive, then that person is ‘freed’ from any further consideration in the future even though they benefited greatly up to that point with the placement of a great dog and also by having taken advantage of all the amenities that our programs provide.


There have been dozens that have gone independent and have done ok with their involvement in the breed. A couple of those experienced their very first champions with a Chambray-bred dog and then continued to build a breeding program with those dogs and produce their own bred-by dogs using the rich Chambray lines to achieve that success.




#2. Outside-bred dogs are also under consideration for all of our programs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The most recent introduction into our programs was 10-week old Summithill Joshua’s Battle At Jericho. He was evaluated as a ‘lark’ by his owners that happened to be visiting one of our night training classes. They had him as a ‘pet’ or so Carol Wilkening shared with me that fateful night.

Well, 3 years later the rest is an awesome history for Jericho and the Wilkenings, for Chambray and for the breed!


Today he is Bronze Grand Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho CGC.

USA 25 Ranking
2013 LRC Top 25 Tribute
Top champion producer with 2 champion offspring, including the fastest Labrador to earn it title in Colombia, 6 straight shows with WD, 4 BOB’s and 4 Group 2 Placements and another of Jericho's boys winning his AKC title by 18 months of age, which in Florida is unheard of. Plus 3 more champion-pointed offspring and half a dozen more showing.
CGC title at 6 months of age.


All of the above through our Show Management & Stud Dog Programs.

October 28th

Lots of interest in the co-breeding program


There have been quite a few emails regarding the co-breeding of litters within the Chambray Owner’s Programs versus those that obtain dogs from us and choose to go independent and do their own breedings. There seems to be some misconceptions and confusion by those outside of our various programs as to how all this works.


We choose 100% who we place our top show puppies with. Not all show puppies are the top ones of the litter. So, when we evaluate a litter and then go through the placement consideration process………………those that will be working within the Chambray system will have the best chances of having the top puppies placed with them.


Those that want a show puppy but do not want to go through the co-breeding of a litter will be considered for a show prospect, but certainly not the top choice……….simple as a dimple on a dapple.


We even have litters that are considered “private stock”…………………reserved for our existing ‘inner circle’ of owners………….those that have proven to be loyal and trustworthy and dedicated to the same mission of the betterment of the breed as we have held steadfast for 25 years.


Those owners that are part of Chambray’s Show Management Programs have way better chances of having their dogs champion than those going it on their own. Those owners that are part of the Co-Breeding & Puppy Placement Program have way better chances of being the ‘breeders of champions’ way, way before those doffing it on their own. This has been proven time and time again by the dozens and dozens of owners that are indeed ‘breeders of champions’ and yet they may have never ever been such unless they had partnered with Chambrays various owner’s programs.


I always tell those around me, you get what you put into it. Those that work within the program and contribute to our betterment of the breed mission……………………together we will reap the rewards.


Several cases in point.


Chambray-bred champion #42, Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting. Sired by Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho owned by Carol and Chip Wilkening, bred to Chambrays Queen Of Hearts ‘Viper’, owned by Marie Knapp………………………………..Viper was placed as a top show prospect with Marie with the possible consideration of at least 1 co-breeding. Marie took advantage of all the amenities that comes with the Owner’s Programs………………..training, conditioning, support system, mentoring, show management and then co-breeding.


The entire litter was placed through our very unique Puppy Placement Program. The top show puppies are specially placed with new owners that will also participate in our various programs, ensuring that the top puppies will have the best chances of achieving success.


Mission accomplished as one of those puppies is now Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting owned by new Chambray owners, Maresa and Gene Etzig. This makes Marie Knapp the breeder of an AKC champion with her very first litter bred!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


For the vast majority of people that breed multiple litters a year, it may take years and years, dozens, scores or more of litters before they can lay claim to being the breeders of champions!


Marie chose to breed under the Chambray kennel name, thus all the puppies in that litter sport that name.

Now the new champion, Tucker is part of Chambray’s Stud Dog Program, which will make his owners contributors to the betterment of the breed each and every time he sires a great litter for the betterment of the breed.


The 2nd recent case is Chambray champion #43, new Ch Shady Banks Chambray Tiberius owned by the Padgett family. Ti was co-bred with Matt Hedrick from Matt’s first and only litter as he is not currently into the show dog world………………in fact, only 1 puppy was born from the co-bred litter. That puppy was placed through the Chambray Puppy Placement Program with the Padgett family. Through our various owner’s programs, Ti was developed, conditioned, trained, managed and handled to his AKC championship, making Matt Hedrick the breeder of champions as well.


Now Ti and the Padgett family will have a dog that will be part of the stud dog program that will also contribute to the betterment of the breed though his offspring just as Tucker will.


Case #3………………..the Padgett family owns another Chambray dog. Chambrays Eko. She was co-bred to 1 litter with another of our Chambray owner’s dog, Chambrays Sky. Eko produced 10 puppies and the top show pick female was placed Neil Merin. Neil participates in all of our owner’s programs and today at 16 months of age, his dog, Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha has won 2 Best Of Breeds, 1 Group placement, 8 points and 2 majors…………in all likelihood the making of a very near future AKC champion…………….which will all make the Padgett family the breeders of champions with their very first Labrador litter bred!


When it’s time for Honey to perpetuate all the great breed quality she possesses, she will be part of our co-breeding program for the betterment of the breed with her owner as a Chambray co-breeder.


Simple Law Of Physics: The Best produce the next generation of the Best…………………….that’s how we get to be undisputedly the BEST!

October 28th


"We noticed that one of the dogs that won points on Sunday was not bred by Chambray, but the dog’s dam was a Chambray bred dog. How does that work?"

Tim K


In this particular case the Chambray female was bred by the owners without Chambray being part of the breeding. Thus the puppies in the litter need not carry the Chambray kennel name and that dog carries the owner’s new kennel name that they first used on this litter.


Although part of the consideration in placing a top show dog with unproven ‘show’ owners is that a litter must be co-bred through the Chambray Puppy Placement Program…………..to ensure that the next generation of puppies has a chance of continuing on for the Betterment of the Breed…………at times for various reasons owners are released from the initial considerations for breeding or handling or other Chambray Programs. Each case has its own merits as for the whys and therefore, but the bottom line is the breed is served to the very best by our providing new Labrador owners with the very best that can be perpetuated for the betterment of the breed which is now apparent throughout the country and into South America.


This past weekend on Sunday in Plant City, all of the dogs winning points, WD, WB and BOB were descendants of BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff from their dam’s side of the family and interesting enough, all three of those dogs were descendants of BISS GrCh Gateways Nothing But Trouble on the sire's side of the family.


The BOB, new Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting and WB, Chambrays Magic Stella are full brother and sister from our top black champion producing stud dog, Bronze Gr Ch Summithill Joshua’s Battle At Jericho (a Trouble son), bred to Chambrays Queen Of Hearts (a Hogan daughter). Besides his offspring dominating the wins here state’s side, another of his offspring Chambrays Maxed N Counter just blazed a new Colombian record by finishing his FCI Colombian championship in just 6 shows…………………….winning WD 6 times, Best Of Breed 4 times and 4 Group 2’s.


The Betterment of the Breed at work here and there.

October 28th

More On Kennel Names and the Such.


Anyone can make up their own kennel name to be used on dogs that they are the breeders of. There is no charge by any registry for implementing your very own kennel name……………………………………..however, the AKC can protect your kennel name for a fee so that others cannot use that name on their dogs! So, a kennel name can be registered with the AKC for sole use by the owner of the name. Go the the AKC site for more information.


There are several requirements before the AKC will permit the use of a name for a particular breed of dog. You must have registered several litters using that name for X amount of years and no one else can be using the name.


The name Chambray was the 1st name of its kind that was issued an official AKC registration a couple of decades ago. Since then several other breeds of dogs have been ‘sold’ the rights to using that name on their own breed. So, while totally unique to Labradors, there are several other breeds now sporting our innovation.


Beginning in 1990, we have had hundreds of co-breedings with our owners. These were top show pick puppies placed with the condition that at least 1 litter would be a co-bred venture.


Since those breeders just starting out have no way of reaching the higher levels of those searching for a show quality puppy, it is difficult for them to place their best puppies in advantageous show situations. Through their associations with Chambray, those that joined with us  took advantage of Chambray’s status as a top show breeder, plus using our Puppy Placement Program ensured that the top puppies in each litter would have the best chances of making it all the way to their AKC champion’s title.


Of course, having our other programs for training, conditioning and show presentation more than sealed the deal if indeed the dog possessed all those great attributes that could contribute to the betterment of the breed when their time came to perpetuate the breed to the next generation.


There were those that we encourage to set sail on their own as independents and where we could still work together with the same mission of producing the best for the breed. Today, we continue to have great relationships and all of these still use my mentorship programs for their betterment.


There were others that did not want to strike out on their own and they stayed within the system and used all the amenities offered them to perpetuate the unequaled successes enjoyed year after year.


Then there were those that just didn’t seem to fit in and when that happens the best thing that can happen is to part ways and that’s what has occurred with 5 or 6 on 25 years of our mentorship programs. We are totally fine with these folks and wish them the best in their in the hopes that they do the best for the betterment of the breed.


There was one extreme detrimental person that had other agendas swirling that fortunately we no longer have to deal with………….amen.


By and by, we have maintained the steady course of producing exactly what our breed standard calls for…………….not swaying to ‘at the moment popular extremes’, not bending with the heavy demands of fads………………………….maintaining the true essence of a perfectly perfect breed with no need to make it ‘bigger’, nor ‘hairier’, nor squattier, nor nothing that some Tom, Dick and Harry decides would be better because that’s the way they do it.


So, here we are 25 years later on top of the hill with the same drive as we had back then and with more determination to continue the betterment of the breed for another 25 years more. Of course at my age, I realize that the torch will need to be passed on to the many that are part of Chambray Labradors Owners Program today, but that will be a good thing when that time comes. I know without a doubt that the Chambray legacy will thrive for many years to come once it is said and done for my efforts.


At the most recent dog show all the point winners for the day, BOB, WD and WB were produced by Chambray females. All these winners were extensions of the Chambray Betterment of the Breed mission and nothing gives me a bigger thrill than to look at such an outstanding lineup of dogs in the winner’s circle and ‘see’ the many generations of dogs in their background that made it possible for them to be there receiving those ribbons, points and well deserved accolades.

What's In A Name

October  22nd 


There has been quite a few responses to the blog about the Owner/Handler Series.


Now listen up tykes……………….have all the fun you wish with this innovation by the AKC. We need that, we need people to have fun and come out to the dog shows……….the more the merrier. We need numbers in every breed ring, especially the Labrador ring. So if the Owner/Handler Series brings out half a dozen exhibits that ordinarily would not be there…………..so be it!


This program takes nothing away from the business at hand………………….showing dogs to win Winners Dog, Winners Bitch points, plus Best Of Breeds for national rankings and also Grand Champion points for those that pursue that mission.


I am all for the Owner/Handler Series. This gives those folks that consider themselves amateurs the opportunity to go head to head with others of their same level and derive some type of recognition for their efforts.


For those that have asked, since we are professional handlers, trainers and breeders, we are not allowed to participate in this program. So, not having to keep up with another rankings is fine with us.


Hey, we have so many other things to keep track of…………………our class dogs and class bitches competing and compiling Winners Points towards their AKC champion’s title………………..then there are the specials dogs and bitches that are in the running for national rankings……………..those same champions also accumulating Grand Champion points…………………..so saying our plate is full is an understatement!


Just last week at the LRC Nationals in Gettyburg, our black super star, Bronze Grand Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho was honored at a special dinner for making the Top 25 Tribute for 2013!


BBE Gr Ch Chambray Ruff Jewel Walter, having just titled 7 months ago is already ranked in the Top 5 Labradors USA and has already stepped into the Best In Show competition twice with2 Group 1 placements!!!


Our flagship dog of all times, BIS BBE Silver & Bronze Grand Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter, #1 female Labradors USA 2012 and the all time leading female Lab for Florida in the Grand Champions Rankings with 270 points returns to the ring this weekend at the Plant City Dog Shows after taking time out for having a beyond stellar litter that will debut in 2 weeks at the IABCA dog shows in Ocala.


Showing from the Florida Panhandle is Grand Ch Chambrays Rum Tum Tugger also on his mission for the Bronze Grand Champion’s title.


Starting out their quests for the Grand Champions Rankings are our 2 newest champions, Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting and Ch Shady Banks Chambray Tiberius.


So, not having to keep up with our wins in another area of competition is a welcome reprieve.





With the finishing of our 42nd  home-bred champion, Ch Shady Banks Chambray Tiberius, many have inquired as to his kennel name…….Shady Banks and why he carries the Chambray name.


Throughout the 25 years of Chambray Owner’s Programs, hundreds of beginners, intermediates and even a few advanced Labrador fanciers have been mentored with the main goal of the betterment of the breed. Associations, partnerships and co-breedings were formed to facilitate the learning curve for those joining our various programs.


There have been several kennel names that have been forged working together with Chambray. The one with the biggest impact has been the name WinQuest. This was a partnership forged in 1999 with Geraldo Desouza, with the introduction of several outside acquired females that were co-owned with Chambray, that were developed, training and handled at the dog shows and then introduced to our breeding program using our stud dogs or breeding outside the system with world class stud dogs. Several of our champions bear the name WinQuest along with Chambray since they were produced under our co-ownership and co-breeding program.


Other kennel names such as N Counter Labradors, formed with my daughter has seen quite a few of our most recent champions sporting both the Chambray and the N Counter name.

There have been numerous dogs that have sported the kennel name Scuba, which was a kennel name formed with Jennifer Shake (RIP).


Guardian Labradors was formed with Humberto Calvo with several dogs achieving their champion's titles and most recently our newest champion Ch Shady Banks Chambray Tiberius was a co-breeding partnership with Matt Hedrick. One puppy was born in the only co-bred litter between Chambray and newly formed Shady Banks Labradors and that puppy was developed, trained and shown to his AKC champion’s title.

The majority of our co-breedings with owners have not needed a new kennel being used alongside of the Chambray name as most owners were ok with breeding under the Chambray label.


Regardless of whether the Chambray name was 1st or 2nd, anytime a co-breeding takes place where the puppies will be placed through the Puppy Placement Program and then developed, trained and handled by Chambray……………….we are the co-breeders, taking part of the credit for the dog’s title.



October 20th


Ok, here’s the deal! The deal about AKC home-bred champions is that it is a real big deal to be the breeder of a dog that attains that title.


Those of us that are bona fide breeders take that achievement very seriously. There is a world of a difference in buying, trading, and/or obtaining a dog from someone else and doing all it takes to ‘make’ it a champion……………………the main ingredient is to be the actual owner of the dam involved in the breeding to be able to proclaim oneself the breeder of the dog and if it does ever complete the gauntlet set down by the AKC for its championship, and then to add the ‘breeder of champions’ to one’s credentials.

Then and only then is someone really considered a breeder of champions.


There was a notorious breeder in our midst that would solicit her professional handlers and add them to the ownership papers (lease) of the dam so that those pros could handle the offspring in the prestigious Bred-By Exhibitor class…………………..did it with 2 different pros and those pros would waltz into the Bred-By class as if though they really belonged there when it was pure canine blasphemy, outrageous shenanigans and everyone at ringside knew it and would mums the word………………true lack of co-johns on all of their parts…………………of course not yours truly that beat the drum over and over about the nefarious practice.


Then there are also those that offer stud service with their males but insist on being added to the breeding papers of the dam in order to appear as a co-breeder of the litter in essence taking credit that is reserved for the dam’s owner……………..also just in case they would snatch up a puppy in lieu of the stud service provided.


So, yes to those that emailed asking/stating “what’s the big deal who the breeders are?”……..yes it is a real big deal to actually be a breeder of champions because there aren’t too many real-deal champion breeders.



Now to up the ante a bit higher, for those in the know, those that have been into breeding for a long time (like yours truly), fuller accreditation as a true-blue breeder of champions is reserved for those few that actually breed a 2nd generation champion. That is, taking a dog that they actually are the breeder of and then producing a champion from that dog! That would be a 2nd generation champion, so now taking that dog and producing a champion from it would produce a 3rd generation champion and that then receives the entire mold-crusted gorgonzola…………………….the whole 9 yards……………………the full enchilada…………..that 3rd generation champion produced makes that breeder a real member of the mile high club……….without having to ascend the whole mile to get the designation.


There are protocols for everything in life and the preceding is the recipe for being an accepted breeder of champions.

So, Chambray’s 42nd champion…………………..7th generation of champions makes it even a greater deal than the vast majority will ever savor……..if any!


That is a big deal.

October 20th

I love it when I cover a topic and it opens up a Pandora ’s Box.




“Wow Nelly!’…………………and Happy Birthday (86 years old 10/18) to retired sports broadcaster Keith Jackson who made that ‘call’ at football games a household phrase!


Yes, just hold on to your horses lady! There was no impunity implied to the merits of that activity or any other dog-related venture. No siree…………….not from me!


My beef is with those unscrupulous types that make far out claims to mislead others, namely the puppy buying Joe Public.

Those that falsely claim to be ‘champion breeders’ are treading on sacred grounds for those that have actually made it to that lofty status. Some breeders go years, maybe even decades breeding and showing without reaching the promise land of achieving a single home-bred champion………………an AKC home-bred champion to be exact and precise!


It takes drive and determination, trials and tribulations, sorrow and heartbreak, tears and more tears, work, hard work, energy, patience, time and money to get there………………..to finally get to that sought after, sought out winner’s circle of achieving a home-bred champion!


In any given area or state there are very few that belong to this ‘breeder of champions’ designation. However there are tons that make the claim, some out loud and others through implied insinuations.


So………………………..the fly by night…………here I am today and just as quick gone tomorrow……………..so called ‘breeder’ who makes these preposterous claims without all that it really takes to get there……………well you know, it raises my hackles when it happens.

I am proud of each and every champion that I have had the honor and privilege of breeding and then taking it all the way to its championship. From the very first, Ch Chambray Acres Russell in March of 1993 to the most recent, the state record #42nd Ch Shady Banks Chambray Tiberius.



So the above should suffice for Part 1 of the complaint.


Now for Part 2: Professional VS Amateurs at the dog shows!


This is a real bad idea, one that fortunately will never bear fruit! The Owner/Handler Series is not a testing grounds for nor the prelude to ‘bigger and better’ things to come for this cockamamie notion!


No one in their right mind wants to create 2nd class champions! Because that’s exactly what will happen if professional handlers competed against each other for championship points in one ring and in another ring the same thing was happening with only amateurs allowed to compete with their dogs.


The quality of the dogs in the amateur rings would be so diminished that a special title designation would have to be implemented, which would create the 2nd class designation.


Let’s scuttle that loser idea before it multiplies!


October 19th


“Could you please explain the following to me? The breeder I got my puppy from claims to be ranked in the top 10 Labrador show breeders in the country. However, she only has 1 champion she is currently showing and I haven’t seen the dog win any Best Of Breeds. Since I am relatively new, maybe I am missing something.”


Since you supplied me with much more information, breeder’s name, dog name and more, I was able to come up with a plausible answer and yes, I will keep names confidential.


Several years back in order to increase attendance and interest in showing dogs………………..mostly because dog show revenues were drying up across the country, the AKC came up with some ‘novel’ ideas. Of course other dog show organizations had implemented many of these same ‘novel’ ideas decades ago.


But back to the matter at hand. The AKC came up with the Grand Champion program. So instead of most of the dogs that were ‘put up’ after finishing their champion’s title, now owners and exhibitor could continue showing their brand new champion in order to achieve its Grand Champion’s title………………….then they added the Bronze, the Silver, the Gold and the Platinum! So, a dog could be shown as a champion forever!


This became a ‘gold mine’ for the AKC, a true eureka moment! So, more ideas were floated about and they decided to add a separate ‘contest’ for non-professional owners and exhibitors. So they came up with the Owner-Handled Series. This was to run simultaneous with the day’s show activity, but a special award would be reserved for the owner-handler whose dog was still not beaten by any other owner-handled dog at the end of Best Of Breed.


Only dogs entered in the appropriate entry form and which were owner-handled are considered. So this became like a ‘sidebar’ to the regular proceedings at the dog shows. The winning owner-handled dog doesn’t necessarily have to actually win any Winners Dog, Winners Bitch……………..any points or Best Of Breed………..it just has to make it to the end without losing to another owner-handled dog.


In the big picture of showing dogs for championship points, for grand champion points, for national rankings…………………..this program adds nothing to that allure. However, it has become popular among the amateur owner/handlers and it does give them an extra incentive to ‘win’ something where they don’t have to compete against the professional handlers with the dogs that win 98% of the time.


This is the case with the breeder you are associated with. Her dog was finished by a professional to its AKC champion’s title and now she handles it, entered as an Owner-Handled dog. Since there may be very few owner/handler dogs entered at any given show, most of the time, she is the only entry under that program and she gets to move on to compete in the Owner-Handled Sporting Groups/BIS where other owner-handled dogs and owners compete against each other.


So, her claim of being a Top 10 Breeder comes from this activity she is involved in. This is a perfect example of taking some facts and wrapping them up in great packaging to make them look greater. Anyone can make claims as I see over and over again at websites I am directed to by visitors and readers of this blog.


The one far out claim that really shakes my head silly is the “Champion Breeder” proclamation! I see this one at so many wannabee show breeder sites.


Knowing these people and knowing they have never, ever bred a single homebred champion…………..it irks me to no end………but there in BOLD type is the proclamation “Champion Breeder” for the whole world to read and be bamboozled by!


Oh, I guess they can say that they ‘bred’ their females to a champion dog and that would make them ‘champion breeders’. Breeding a female to someone’s champion dog does not make that person the breeder of champions.

Then there are those that shamelessly claim to be ‘champion breeders’ if their dogs have titles from some of the lesser then stellar show organizations.


Anyone can make any claim…………………it’s when they are taken to task with the proof, that their claim just goes poof! When the smoke subsides and the air clears, they are exposed for what they really are.


Now, don’t get me wrong and don’t label me an elitist, because I think that all these owner, breeder, and exhibitor incentives are great for the fancy. If it will bring more dogs out to compete, then I am all in! It’s the shenanigans perpetrated by the shifty ones that infringe on what is real, that takes so much work, energy and expertise to accomplish and then they shamelessly want the credit when that credit is not due them that doesn’t set well me.


I am the first one that encourages my owners to get involved in as many activities with their dogs as possible, whether it be AKC, IABCA, UKC or any other organizations dog-related activities. In fact, I make it almost mandatory that all my newest Chambray owners first participate at the International shows before we ever consider their dogs for an AKC show. We give those dogs their due credit with their accomplishments there, but we keep it real when compared with their participation and successes at the AKC level.

So my advice is the ‘Keep it real…………….claim it as it is!’

October 17th


“Mr Herzon what do you see as the number one difference in your breeding/showing Labradors versus all the other breeders in your area.”


Ok, that’s really getting analytical but like I say, I am fair game for whatever comes up.


I had to really think about this question and all the implications it brings with it. There is so much that we do that is quite different than the traditional ways of breeders. Having to see it in order to explain it really has given me a better view of why our presence in the Labrador show ring has been so successful.


I would have to say that the most obvious is where it all comes together under our unique Management Program end of it! This is the sector of our programs that takes all the other individual Labrador-related activities and orchestrates them all into a ‘performance’ at the dog shows.


It is the final product that is on stage for the judge to see and weigh. It is the culmination of all the other facets of our involvement with the breed. It all comes together right there in the ring in front of the authority that will pass judgment. If all the integral parts were as good as they should be, then this final scene will be the truth or dare and the results that we continue to experience speak volumes for our body of work.


Across the country, there are other breeders producing at the same stellar levels.


There are some that have the same level of expertise with the breed as I have.


There are some that have the same passion that I have for the breed.


There are very few that have developed the willingness to share that knowledge and to share those great puppies produced (Puppy Placement Program) with others so that the breed as a whole can move forward.


There are even fewer that have the expertise in training and conditioning, plus the desire to work with the many that seek that ability. Now, well over 20,000 dogs, mostly Labradors that have in one way or another been through the offerings of nightly training classes, at times twice a week, 21 years’ worth at the old FPL facility and the last 4 years, 3 nights a week at Chambray Acres were it all started before the 2 decades at the FPL site. That’s a total of 25 years of conducting training classes…………..maybe 20 to 30 dogs a week, over 1000 a year…………..way too many to keep track of………………….Then 30+ years of private training sessions during the day with clients. Thousands more that have boarded/trained while staying at Chambray. Not to mention the weekend workshops and handler seminars.


On top of all the preceding, we have created the one of a kind Owners working with the Breeder Program that has facilitated the production of one generation being better than the previous one. This we call the “pay if forward program”………………….each owner that comes on board and benefits from the dog that was placed with them and also takes advantage of all the amenities provided by the many program offered by Chambray Labradors…………..then that owner has the opportunity to pay it forward to the next generation of puppies produced which in turn pays it forward to the next new owner…………..all of it paying it forward to the betterment of the breed.


So the breeding/raising, then training/conditioning and then add the show handling…………….all brought together with the management of it all.


In reality, each part is so dependent on the other for it all to work and be successful. Although the end product…………………the management program is what everyone looking in sees, none of it would work if it didn’t start with the Puppy Placement Program where I take the best puppies and place them with those that will be part of the Chambray experience.


October 16th 



Good Evening Sir,

After reading your blog Tuesday night about the puppy evaluation and your feelings of failure, I was reminded of a great man.  He used to say;


“We are our worst critics, by acknowledging failure, the deep fisher in our soul, we grow stronger, we carve who we are by learning and striving for perfection, never quite reaching it, yet trying till our last breath.  Those who suffer will triumph at the end.” 


This was my father’s lesson, sad words, but those he lived by.    He believed you only failed, if you didn’t learn from your mistakes, and he cherished each lesson.


You have accomplished more than anyone could dream of, the list is endless, breeders envy you, dog owners look up to you……………..do you think they would if they thought you failed somehow?  The answer is no, so as you harshly judge yourself, question  your choices, please think of what you have given to people, to the breed of Labradors, the lives you have enriched by sharing your puppies…..and part taking in your success. You have built a family, not bound by blood, but common goal.  Be proud, don’t look back, learn from the lesson, and continue to strive for perfection.  I know you wouldn’t have it any other way.


I hope my reflections will help to soothe the pain, and take some of the bitterness away.  Please let me know if you have decided and there is a chocolate boy that you can share with our family.  His name is picked and is waiting for the right dog.


Take care of yourself and enjoy the puppies this weekend, I know you have big plans for them in the upcoming show.





Thank you for your feedback and your kind thoughts as well as your words of wisdom! It means so much to me to receive input from those that somehow glean some form of gratification from my sharing’s.


Each person I meet on my life’s pathway is a teacher to learn something from. Each step taken, whether a progressive step forward or a slip one backwards is a valued learning experience for me.


Yes, I will rejoice full throttle when we do experience success and most that have witnessed me in the show ring after 40 years of involvement will attest that I still jump up for joy when a dog that I am handling wins the points. That fervor my friends will never subside, when it does then it’s ‘hasta la vista baby’!


When the inevitable slip up occurs, I will recoil, reflect, respond and rebound with a vengeance to make it right, and that is a pledge to you as well as to myself. As long as I have the wits and means then I will use those tools that God provided me to make a good end.


All is well that ends well……………..because in this case it was all thought out well and each eventuality was taken into account. Each of these gorgeous little puppies have been placed and will leave for their new homes by Monday the latest. The 5 that are being placed as pets and the 2 that will be placed as show, each will provide their new owners a decade plus of love and devotion and I will be there for them and their owners just as if though each was in the front lines at the dog shows.


And yes, I will be more than honored to place one of the puppies with you and to welcome you to our Labrador Retrievers Owner's Family.

October 15th

The Good News Just Keep Rolling Along


“Wow, what an incredible show record you and your dogs have.


I check your website every Monday morning to see how you all did and winning is like clockwork for your dogs.


It doesn’t seem to matter where they show or who the judges are, all-breed judges as well as the breeder judges.


I don’t think there is another Labrador breeder in the country today at your show level. How well do your dogs do when some of the other top breeders coincide at the dog shows?”


Thank you for your observations and also for visiting the website and the blog section. I am not really up on any of the other top show breeders in the country, so I will gladly take your word that we are doing so good on a national level. Although we travel to 99% of the Florida shows and to a few shows in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia, we really don’t get to see those other top breeders as much as we would like to.


There are 2 seasonal occasions that our paths could cross. The annual Eukanuba event here in Florida in December draws some of the best dogs from around the country. Last year they also added an LRC Specialty the day before the big event, so now we have these two great venues for the top show breeders to come down our way. The last couple of years with 100+ Labs showing, over 50 champions for Best Of Breed, each year one of our champions took the Select Grand Champion award, so I would think that the Chambray dogs fair very well with those from outside the state.


The next big migration south for the snowbird Labs has been the traditional Florida Winter Circuit in January where for years, dozens of professional handlers would load up the truck and head south on I-95 and I-75 for 3 weekends with 12 to 15 shows. There we do get to see some of the best dogs from the NE and Central states. Years back, say 15 years or more, the consensus up north was that it would be ‘easy pickins’ down here against the Florida dogs…………………….well, no more because for the last 10 years the Chambray dogs have changed all that, dominating the WD and WB’s and also the BOB wins. 


It still thrills me to see the high quality of dogs that travel down with some of the best known professional handlers. I have been able to put my hands on some prospective champion dogs for consideration to be used as stud dogs to our many top show females. It also provides me the opportunity to see what other stud dogs are producing.


I feel that the better the competition, the better our dogs will be.



October 15th

A New Day, A Step Forward


The only way to be successful is to start out with success.


Accepting mediocrity leads to half-arsed results, not acceptable in my book.


Giving it our all, both in product and in service is the only acceptable ways and means, anything else will not do.

Today is a new day and I look forward to the next 100 steps forward, the step taken backwards from yesterday will now be a blip on the radar, the experience will be used to further our knowledge base. We learn from our successes as well as from our failures.


There is only one way to move……………..forward.

October 14th 

100 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back


Not all situations with breeding/showing dogs comes up smelling like roses. When you least expect it, from nowhere comes a knockout punch that will leave your head ringing.


It doesn’t matter if you just had one of the greatest winning weekends, or back-to-back champion-titled weekends or 91 straight winning weekends, or a record 42nd home-bred champion, or just collected the 272nd BOB or one of your dogs wins only the 11th Sporting Group 1st place in 30+ years of showing…………………..nope, none of that counts for diddlysquat when the wine turns sour!


The taste of sour wine is unforgettable, because yuck always tastes the same. So what in tarnation’s can set a grown man to such angst?


The Betterment of the Breed is my mission, my credo, my humming mantra………….it is why I go 1000%, all in or nothing with Labradors! I take no prisoners, I mince no meat, this is the real deal and there is no compromising what’s so ever!


So, I am sure that those that find my blogs of enough interest to spend any of their gold-laden time here, would like to be privy to my quagmire of a mental state.


Together with my 25-year old daughter, in front of several of our trusted Chambray owners, including the owners of one of our best looking females (the dam of the litter), I just performed my umpteen hundredth litter evaluation. Like in I can’t remember how many and it has nothing to do with my recent plight of short term memory loss………………………..no sir, there have been so many litter evaluations in my 44 years with Labradors that it is now one big blur of puppies on tables……………..like those persistent sheep that keep jumping over the fence when one is an insomniac!


Pray tell Herzon……………wazzup?


The perpetuation of the next generation for the betterment of the breed is so dependent on the production between a top-notch female and the male specially chosen for her. The evaluation at 7 ½ weeks of age of that litter is so anticipated because those are the puppies that will be on the front lines for the kennel in less than a year.


So, what happens when such an evaluation just turns tail and heads south? What if the highly expected future show puppies don’t show up?


Oh, don’t misunderstand, they were physically present alright, all of them in fact! However beyond answering the roll call, their physical attributes as a litter just did not meet our high standards for the betterment of the breed as show dogs. I am sure as I am bald, that there are those other breeders that may have thought these were awesome puppies if they were theirs and then set out to place all of them as show prospects. By the way, for those that haven’t set eyes on me, I am by choice completely bald!


Being ruthlessly honest when performing such a crucial operation such as an evaluation is what makes winners win and conversely, fooling oneself at this junction of the road is what makes perpetual losers whine!


If you know anything about me, I don’t whine! Don’t like the sound people make when they whine………………solves absolutely nothing and adds zilch to the agenda at hand.


So, a highly anticipated litter is now rendered mostly as pet quality. That super ratio of 7 show puppies out of a litter of 10, goes to 2 show puppies out of a litter of 7.


Now here is where this all gets time sensitive. 25 years ago 1 puppy out of 10 being show quality would have led to a celebration. Now 2 ½ decades later and am beating myself up with 2 puppies out of 7. That’s what happens when the bar is raised so high and an attempt is made and yet falls so short of the intended goal that a grown, old, bald man is left dribbling all over himself.


But hey, the sun will rise tomorrow and 100 things will come up that need tending to, including the decision making process of where and with whom these ‘God’s little creatures’ will be homed with. I know one thing is for certain that each and every one of them will have the greatest homes, be it a show or a pet puppy.




October 14th

Why Ask Why.........Just Do It!


“I have just finished reading your latest blog about working together for the betterment of the breed. I am fascinated by your entire involvement with the breed and fully understand your commitment to producing the best. It seems that you leave yourself open to losing some of your best puppies by not placing your best puppies on strict co-ownership contracts as the other leading Labrador breeders do, why is that?”


I understand what you are saying/asking because my contemporaries………………..the other top breeders in the country will not place their best puppies with anyone unless they have maximum control over their future, especially for breeding/showing purposes.


I do not fault them in the least bit for that practice, for that is a great way to safeguard their lines of dogs and to also benefit from all the work they have put into their breeding programs. All of those great breeders have co-ownership contracts galore and they will go to all ends to control and enforce those dictums set forth by those contracts.


The way they see it is…………………..it’s very easy for a Johnny Come Lately to purchase a top-notch puppy from them and then to go about breeding it and producing some great puppies in their very first litter ……………………………….however all thanks to the breeder they acquired the dog from.


Worse than that are those that buy a great dog and then proceed to ‘mess’ up the great lines behind it by breeding to any Tom, Dick or Harry dog and produce a ‘pure mess’ with it.


Of course there are those that obtain a great dog and then disappear with it, never to be seen again, essentially dead ending the betterment of the breed in its tracks.


Any of those scenarios and the breeder that spent years, decades and even more is robbed of the ‘credit due’. That’s the way those breeders see it and that’s why they are so leery in placing their puppies on Open Registration, let alone one of their top picks.


So, I get it through and through about protecting one’s lines and why they do their best to control the placement of one of their prized puppies.


In a way, more subtle than contracts, I too have widgets in place to exert some control over the future of my prized possessions, however I have developed a two way barter system. You get a lot from me and then later you can ‘repay’ my investment in you with your end of the bargain.


Hey, it ain’t rocket science but it works in the vast majority of associations.


I build a ‘trusting environment’: First of all, I trust those that I choose with the placement of my top puppies! I provide them with everything that comes with a show placement (way too numerous to list here). I do everything I say I will do and then from all of the preceding………….they will then trust me.


That will be the basis for a working relationship that will lead to a successful venture. Together we will reap the rewards of working together. No contracts needed!


That is the way it has been in operation since 1990. That is the secret…………….not a secret anymore or actually ever since forever that I have been disclosing how it is all done. Generation after generation of a co-operative, trusting environment where the dogs placed win, the new owners win, Chambray wins and the betterment of the breed wins as well…………………win, win, win, win……………….we all win!


It works as very, very evident by our overwhelming successes year after year, records set, records bested………………..producing the best, then taking the best and proving it at the ultimate proving grounds, the AKC shows in Florida………………in Gettysburg…………………….the FCI shows in Colombia………………..anywhere and everywhere the Chambray dogs go to.


With this overwhelming, successful program in full forward mode, there is no time for spilt milk…………………those dogs/owners that do not fit into the smooth working progression are not worried about and in a broad sense that is actually beyond their reasoning, because although those few may not be part of the evident operation, they too add to the allure of our successful venture because no matter who the owner of the dog is…………………it’s what’s behind it that carries the weight of success and those in the know……………..know how that dog got to be successful and how it got to be where it is.


For those with any doubts, just check the front page of this website after any weekend of shows...... proof positive, no more words needed!

October 14th

Working Together For The Betterment Of The Breed


At the recent Arcadia dog show at ringside I was asked the following question, "It must be difficult dealing with so many different owners that are part of your show and breeding program!"


No, not really! The way I see it is, it either works or it doesn’t. If the shoe doesn’t fit, then wearing it will cause more problems in the long walk.


I start out with an open door, open arm policy. I essentially let 99% of those that I have let in through the front gate come on board with one of our prized puppies. Of course by the time that I press my automatic gate button to open, I have already pre-approved those folk with several emails and maybe phone conversations. Thus the sit down interview that follows is more or less a formality for me to gather more information on ‘which’ puppy they will have placed with them.


There are 2 options in the placing of a Chambray puppy. It either starts out as a ‘show placement’ or a ‘pet placement’. The entire purpose of Chambray’s breeding program is to produce the absolute best show puppies…………………of course the converse of that is other breeders that breed to produce puppies for the pet market.


Each person under consideration for one of our top show puppies is educated on how our entire program works. Where part of the decision making process for me is to determine if the people being considered are likely candidates to be included into the eventual breeding program with the dog that might be placed with them.


For male dogs, being available for our Stud Dog Program and for the female dogs placed, the co-breeding of at least one litter where the puppies will be placed through our unique Puppy Placement Program.


After the placement of a show puppy has taken place, several scenarios do occur. The majority of those people specially chosen to own one of our top show puppies do appreciate the trust placed upon them and they do honor their commitment to stay within the framework of the program with the co-breeding of their Chambray dog. These are the owners that form the heart and soul of Chambray Labradors and that have contributed for 10 generations to the unequaled and collective successes that we enjoy today.

Not all placements end up working as planned. Fortunately, it is only a small percent that for one reason or another end up not working within the original parameters discussed in the initial placement of one our elite puppies.


When these impasse situations do arise, my philosophy is to cut loose a dead weight rather than have it hold me back from moving forward. For me it is best to fully reward those working within than to fret over those that choose to be difficult.


Those that are part of our many Owner’s Programs are there because together we make it work and I have chosen them to be there. Those that start out with Chambray and are not part of our programs have benefited greatly with the placement of one of our dogs and hopefully they will do the right thing as they move along with their own resources.


So, the answer, “No it is not difficult working with so many different owners" is as accurate as can be.

It is not difficult at all because we all work at it to make it work……………………….for the Betterment of the Breed.


There is an unfortunate consequence with the majority that do not work out, the loss of a potential contributor to the betterment of the breed, because most of those dogs do not pay it forward to the next generation of greatness.



October 13th


And The Beat Goes On Without A Beat Amiss!


No sooner that we are home from an awesome and record setting dog show weekend, that the work kicks in for the up and coming shows in Plant City. Not even one day to relax, smell the roses, take in the depth of our collective accomplishments and unwavering successes…………………nope, all play and no work makes for all that's to come to come to an abrupt end…………………so here we forge on.


There is a big difference for the next weekend of shows coming up because it will be mostly our youngsters that will carry the Chambray flag on the front lines of competition. Our top dogs needing just majors were left off the starting roster for Plant City, so we now depend on our 2nd line of depth to bring home the right colored ribbons. So, for this Plant City weekend the top males in Florida will take a breather and the next generation will take their place.


If the judges from this past weekend are an indication of how our youngsters will fair, then the ship is headed in the right direction. Both judges gave us high praise for our lineup of dogs and each judge specifically commented on our puppies as being among the best they have seen from their recent judging assignments.


The judge that awarded Walter the Group 1 made it a point in front of all that were about to take Group win photo “I haven’t awarded a Labrador a Group 1 in I don’t know how long, so this is a real special dog!”


So, the fires have been stoked and the mission is on full cruise control, now we take the next 2 weeks to get our youngsters ready for what awaits them at the Plant City shows where by some miracle the entries made it to be major-pointed shows both days. We know what the competition will bring to the table and we feel that our roster will more than rise to the occasion and continue the winning without skipping a beat.................the beat that goes on without missing a beat!


October 12th 



On Friday afternoon as we made our way north towards Arcadia Fl for the weekend of dog shows there, we receive Facebook updates and emails from several of our Chambray owners.


Chambrays Diamond Destiny wins a Judge’s Award of Merit at the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. National Specialty being held at Gettysburg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Can you imagine our super pleasant surprise and excitement to hear that!!!!!!!!!!! So, now Destiny becomes the 1st Chambray dog to win 2 JAMSS and this one the very 1st at a National Specialty!


Can it get any better? Well…………………yes it can and it does!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The 91 consecutive Weekend Winning Streak was kept alive and kicking when WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos was awarded a Winners Dog for a 3-Pt Major at the Saturday Arcadia show. For good measure Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter wins his 11 Best Of Breed.


Chambrays Bob was awarded a RWD to Amos and Chambrays Camila wins a RWB.


For Sunday’s show, Shadybanks Chambray Tiberius saved his best for his last-show-to-be……………………for him it was, win and become a champion………………………not win and be retired! Well, we won the needed major and earned his AKC championship. That makes Ti the 42nd Chambray home-bred champion. Plus he adds to a new record of a champion, grand champion or Bronze grand champion crowned in each month of 2014.


At Sunday's show, Walter would win back-to-back Best Of Breeds and then slam dunk an amazing Group 1………………his 2nd Group 1 win this year and his 8th group placement with 12 BOB’s since March when he won his championship. He now has the highest percentage of BOB’s to Group Placements of any of our champions ever. With the 8 for 12 he is at 666%, ahead of Kika’s amazing 500%. (Kika has 32 BOBs with 15 Groups. Watch for Kika to return to the Best Of Breed ring in 2 weeks at the Plant City dog shows.


6-month old Chambrays Diesel would win his 2nd RWD in 2 weekends of showing and 11 month old Chambrays Grace Of The Field, showing from the tough Bred-By Exhibitor class was awarded RWB. These excellent placements for Camila (11 month's old), Diesel (6 month's old and Grace (11 month's old) serve notice that our newest debutees at the dog shows are ready to fill in as our top dogs win their championships.


Congratulations to my Chambray owners:

Ch Chambrays Diamond Destiny ~ Pat & Russ Blosse

WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos ~ Jean & Phil Eslinger

New Champion Ch Shadybanks Chambrays Tiberius ~ The Padget family

Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter & Chambrays Grace Of The Field ~ Judith and Mickey Baker

Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck “Bob” ~ John McGraw

Chambrays Camila ~ Marielba Diaz

Chambrays Diesel ~ Mary and Russ McCubbins


Plus all the other Chambray owners that make all of the above winning possible with their participation in all of our offerings for the betterment of the breed.


Together we make a difference!







October 8th

The Way It Is.................Is!


"I really enjoy reading your blogs, in fact it is the first page I go to each morning when I first go on the Internet. You seem to nail it with each and every topic and subject you cover. What you write is exactly what everyone around the ring whispers so that no one else can hear. You do tell it like it is and it is refreshing to see that someone has the conviction to stand behind their beliefs for all to hear and read. Bravo, Mr. Herzon!"


Well…………………I think that I am blushing!


It is really nice hearing from people that I have never had the pleasure and honor to have met…………………..hopefully through my travels or vice versa, we may meet one day. So many communicate with me from the 4 corners of the globe. Some sharing their Labrador experiences while the vast majority seeking guidance and mentorship about the breed.


I do know what you are referring to about the hushed toned whispers around ringside and subject matter that is talked about but that no one wants to be credited as saying even if they believe it to be 100% true.


“Don’t quote me”, “Don’t let So And So know that I said this and that”, “You didn’t hear it from me, but…..”. On and on we hear it and where it stops is right in front of me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


If someone comes to talk to me and won’t own up to what they are saying, then it is finito for that conversation. If I can’t quote you, then it isn’t worth hearing because you yourself don’t believe in your own words.


You say to me “Don’t let so and so know” and I will stop you and say, “Then don’t say it because the next person I speak to will be just that person to get their side of the story!”


I know for 100% that many folk at the dog shows are scared stiff to run their mouths when I am around! You know what………………..that makes the air so much cleaner! Who needs all that BS and hog dribble that some can’t wait, tripping all over themselves to blab about and yet they don’t want others to know they are the broadcasters of the fertilizer.


So, thank you to all that appreciate a breath of fresh air from me. Know that I will always own up to my actions and my words. If I am wrong, it will be me that admits it first and that takes the correct steps to right that wrong.


Now hear this…………………..if someone quotes me, don’t take their word for it……………….come to the source because you will hear it exactly the way it is!


October 8th

What Do The Judges See?


"As a new show dog owner, the judging at the shows is quite confusing. Even with a catalog to follow, the going in and out of the ring, the bestowing of the different colored ribbons, the choosing of one dog over another seems haphazard at best and totally confusing at times. There just doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to what some judges pick out as winners. At the last show, none of the champions won the Best Of Breed as a female that was not a champion was given that win. How does a judge make that decision?"


Ah………………..if you ever do totally figure it out, please share those insightful visions with me!


Yes, I agree wholeheartedly that it may seem helter-skelter for the newbies and even for some of the more initiated.  

My suggestion is to first get an understanding of the different classes where dogs compete from. Each class needs to have a dog win a 1st place……………..the winner of the class.


Then when all the classes have been judged and a winner of each class was designated……………..all those 1st place winners will come back into the ring. Of course there will be puppies as well as adults that will be back into the ring for Winners Dog (WD). The male dog given that award is the one from all the 1st place winners that actually wins ‘points’.


Then the same pattern is done with the females………………a 1st place awarded from each class and then all those 1st place winning females come back into the ring for Winners Bitch (WB). Thus in the judge’s opinion, the female that he/she feel is the best example of the females will be awarded WB and an x amount of points.


The 3rd obvious segment of competition comes after WD and WB have been judged. This is then the Best Of Breed competition. This is where the champions come into the ring to be judged for the top honors of being the best Labrador for the day. Included in this part of the show are the WD and WB that just competed out of the classes and each won from their respective gender classes.

So, WD and WB will come in at the back end of the lineup in for Best Of Breed. That means that the last 2 dogs in the ring are competing against those dogs that have already won their AKC champion’s title. They could very well be designated Best Of Breed just as could one of the champions there.


The vast majority of the time, it will be an existing champions that does receive the final nod of the day by the designated judge for Best Of Breed (BOB).


Not always though…………….in fact from the last 3 weekends of shows that we have competed at, it would be one of our non-champion girls that would win the whole enchilada……………..the same female, Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha! That was 6 shows and 2 Best Of Breeds for her, while the existing champions would divide the other 4 amongst themselves…………………..actually our super star Grand Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter would scoop up 3 of 4 of those available BOBs.


So, it is not a slam dunk that a champion dog will walk out of the ring with that major award. Granted the percentages are more like 1 in 15 times (about 7%) that a WD or WB will be designated BOB…………….with Sam, it has been 2 out of 6………………or 33% of the time!


So, now you have the logic of the ins and outs of the ring………………however trying to figure out which dog a judge favors over another dog presents a totally different scenario that even I, with 44 years’ experience with the breed, sometimes I am as perplexed as a neophyte may be trying to figure out which are males or which are females!


Some judges come in with a wealth of breed knowledge such as the Labrador breeder/judge Betty Nelson of Avalon Labradors. Herself a 2nd generation Labrador breeder following in her mother’s show/breeding shoe steps. By the way, she was one of the 2 judges that awarded a class dog (Samantha) the BOB over the champions.


At other times, it is in our best interest to pass up on a weekend of shows if the judges are deemed to favor something other than what we have to offer them.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it is paramount to ‘know’ what the particular judge may be looking for. In a spectrum of 100 judges (100 for percentage sake), there will be a small percent at one end of the spectrum that ‘prefers’ the thinner, leaner, maybe taller, maybe at times smaller dogs………………….just as the sun rises and sets every day (or so we hope during our lifetime), there is also a sizable percentage at the other end of that spectrum that ‘favors’ the bigger, some call them overdone…………………thicker, bushier coats……………………broad, bigger headed dogs (more of the breeder/judges in this camp).


Since Chambray Labradors has been breeding the moderate, more athletic dogs as called for by the official, sanctioned and approved Labrador Breed Standard, drawn up by the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. then implemented by the supreme powers that be, the AKC…………………..our dogs then fit well into the broad band of acceptance within that spectrum of judges.


Throughout the decades fads have come and gone, some having a beneficial effect, others causing a hellish effect that have taken the breed outside of the parameters that are in place to keep each breed unique.


Come heck and high water (Hurricane Andrew 1992), come bells and whistles (15 yard penalty for excessive celebraton....lol), come the Rottie-headed look, the Newfie-Fur Coated dogs, the short 'what happened to my legs' squatty dogs...............we have stayed the course and proudly look back 8 or 9 generations and more or less see the same ‘type’………………..‘style’…………… ‘line’ or call it what you may of dog since our very 1st homebred champion in 1993.


Now into our 9th generation and having just crowned our 41st homebred champion………………………not much has changed in what a Chambray Labrador looks like, the biggest change is the percentage of top quality coming from each litter produced………………………….the Betterment of the Breed at work since the beginning!




October 7th

Death Knell Of A Club


“With so many Labrador breeders and exhibitors in Florida, why isn’t there an official AKC Labrador Retriever Club?”


On a regular basis, this question gets asked or emailed in. So, I will take a few minutes to provide some history and background.


Here in Florida in 1989, several Labrador fanciers met at one of their homes and formed the basis of a future breed club. This was not the first time that this process was instituted throughout previous years, but it was the first one that eventually succeeded in accomplishing the goal of having a fully sanctioned and operational Labrador breed club.


So, the first to eventually be fully sanctioned South Florida Labrador Retriever Club was born that eventful day at Denise Troast’s house with yours truly in attendance as one of the founders.


It took 10 years to receive the full backing of the AKC and LRC for the club to host the first-ever sanctioned Labrador Retriever Specialty show in 2001. To get there at least 10 annual practice run matches were hosted over the years, training sessions were run and documented, meetings with a full complement of club members were held………………..all required to be reviewed by the higher powers to be accepted as a bone fide breed club.


Many of the club members donated their time and energy to see the fledgling club make it to full status. On a personal note, my family and I conducted more than half the sanctioned matches, several weekend training sessions and the biggest of our contributions was hosting/conducting a weekend handler’s workshop that brought in 35 attendees, that netted close to $1000 that went entirely to the treasury in order for the club to fund the first-ever show. It should be noted here that most of the paying attendees were Chambray dog owners.


Over the years, my participation with the few club members that ran the club declined because of personality differences and the direction they chose for the club, plus I found myself devoting more and more of my time to the 100’s that were part of our Chambray programs. Better to serve the many than to knock noggins with the few.


Sadly, because of lack of interest from the community of Labrador owners, the club folded 8 years after that inaugural specialty in 2001.


There have been other attempts at organizing a breed club, many of those startups occurring around the Central Florida area. I was involved in one of those attempts around 2005 and it got all the way to have an organizational meeting at the Ocala Dog Show grounds that was attended by a packed-house of well over 40* would be founding members!


Unfortunately, a small band of ‘queen bee’ breeders scuttled the entire process with naysayer, ominous predictions and statements such as “A breed club is not needed in our area!” plus other dire, negative contributions.


The crowd in attendance, mostly gentle folk from the Central Florida area, were swayed or better said, intimidated by the Labrador Retriever, self-appointed matriarchs of the Central Florida area, to not continue with their efforts in forming a club. So, with one swift swipe of the sword, that movement was decapitated by a few self-serving individuals.


*I still possess the sign-in sheet for those in attendance and also the recording secretary’s notes for those that added their 2-cents worth at the meeting.


Fast forward to the present time: There are 2 separate factions in the process of hosting organizational meetings in and around the Central Florida area. Time will tell if either or are successful in getting off the ground and into full operational mode.


In the meantime, Chambray Labradors Owner’s Program boasts the largest Labrador-oriented group in the South East with well over 150 dog owners that participate in many of our ‘for the Betterment of the Breed’ programs.


October 7th 

"What's New Pussycat?

How About A New Champion, Back-To-Back Weekends of Shows, Records Made and Records Bested and A 6-Week Old Litter!


Ok………..now we have had 2 back-to-back weekends of dog shows under our belt to kick off the 2014 Florida Fall Dog Show season. A new champion crowned (Chambray record #41), 90 dog show weekends straight of winning,  Record Trifecta #50, A new streak of at least 1 champion/grand champion/bronze grand champion per month since January, 3 Best Of Breeds won in 4 shows and more!


There was a 3rd straight weekend that just happened way up in Lake City FL, but we took a ‘pass’ on that long trek north and decided to stay home and continue to tend to our newer dogs, getting them ready for future shows.


Since we took this last weekend off, we have taken the time to spend with many of those new dogs that will debut in the coming shows. Most have been coming out to Chambray Acres for further training, grooming and also to continue the education process for their owners.


The Chambray Labradors Owner’s Programs are perpetually ongoing. From the large pool of owners, there are those that have been with us for years, some owners with 2 or more Chambray dogs. There are several of those owners with us now that started as far back as 1990 and are now on their 3rd generation of our dogs. We even have owners that are 2nd generation themselves with their parents being the first owners of Chambray dogs.


The proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg’, those owners that are visible at the dog shows are the ones whose dogs are on the frontlines and both dog and owner are being showcased at the dog show venues at this time. Of course even from that subgroup, there are those that send their dogs with us and very seldom make it to the shows themselves.


This ‘dog show’ group may be brand new owners with their very first show dog, to those that have been with us for years………………including one family that was with us 24 years ago and now have a new puppy to start out all over again.


So, now we hit the ground running for this coming weekend’s show in Arcadia FL. There are still a few dogs that need grooming and those will come to us the next few days…………..there are a couple that need conditioning/training……………that need, seen either at the recent shows or at the training classes.............so those dogs will be staying several days right through the day before the shows right here at Chambray Acres for a more thorough tune-up.


At the recent Ocala shows, we finished Tucker with a major-pointed win, so he is out of the way for the other class dogs. He now moves up to the Best Of Breed competition and will vie with Walter, Kika or our other champion dogs for top honors.


With Tucker now titled, the horse (dog) race for which dog will be the next Chambray champion heats up. One of our dogs, Ti needs just a major to finish, comes out for the first time this year. He has been sitting on the bench waiting for majors to build. Of course now he joins Rico which also needs one major win for his title too, plus those other dogs that have both majors and now just need the singles to finish out.


Yesterday was a special day at Chambray with the arrival of our newest contribution to the betterment of the breed. This being Chambrays Eau De Chanel’s (Sweetie) 6-week old litter out of Ch Big Sky’s Stone Kutter “Mason”. See the following YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Wcg2vJy25M&feature=youtu.be


The Criado family that co-owns Sweetie with Chambray delivered the litter and raised them to the 6 week mark and now the litter resides at Chambray Acres for further development and training. They will also be evaluated as part of the consideration process for eventual placement through Chambray’s Puppy Placement Process.


This is the most intense and ultimately most satisfying time for me from all the Labrador-related activities that I have been involved in for the last 44 years. This is where all the fruits are hopefully collected from all the generations of the betterment of the breed credo.


Since we only breed for show purposes and not for the pet market, our puppies are very limited, with the average for the last 5 years being 75 per year. In that same year’s span of time we may receive 1200 to 1500 requests for puppies…………………so of utmost importance is where and to whom these puppies will be placed.


An exhaustive interview process takes place over emails, some phone conversations and ultimately a one-on-one sit down session with me here at Chambray Acres or at a dog show near where the prospective client lives.


The puppies are scheduled for placement after the 8th week, sometimes staying with me for a week extra, but before they take that giant step forward there is the crucial conformation and temperament evaluation at 7 ½ weeks old.


Crucial because here is where we identify each of the puppies’ future show/breeding potential. The litmus test of how good the pairing of sire to dam is how high these puppies score for show.


The results of this evaluation also determines with which client the puppy will be placed with. Those people wanting a show dog will have priority over those wanting a pet/companion. The right placement ensures that the betterment of the breed mission is served because it will be these new puppies that will themselves be under consideration in a couple of years for the perpetuation of the breed to the next generation.


So, this decision making process becomes the ‘make it or break it’ for Chambray Labradors for the future. Placing one of those superior, yet limited number of puppies with someone that spays or neuters it, dead-ends the process.


The opposite of ‘dead end’ is ‘pay it forward’ and that becomes the humming mantra for me with all prospective new owners. If there is an inkling of apprehension about the Chambray Puppy Placement Program for the Betterment of the Breed process and why we do what we do, then that person is passed up on the placement of one of our top show puppies and may be considered for a pet placement.


Although through the years the percentage rate of show vs. pet in each litter has risen from 1 puppy in 10 in 1990, to 7 puppies in 10 in 2014, there are always 1 or 2 puppies in a litter that do not rise to the expected levels and thus are placed as pet quality.


This litter was 6 weeks old on Sunday and the countdown is now on for their evaluation next week, meanwhile my entire essence for the next 2 to 3 weeks shifts to them……………………their care, their training, their vaccinations/meds………………their microchip & registration…………………the continued interview and decision making process of each one and also where each one may ultimately be living.


Did I just write ‘my entire essence’? What about the show must go on with the dog shows this weekend, the following weekend and thereafter and further? How about all the dogs in the show program? How about all their owners? Private training? Night training classes?


‘My essence’ gets pretty strained, stretched and pulled every which way but loose and sometimes loose as well……………..but I wouldn’t want it any other way......................... come what may! 


So, what's new at your end of the rainbow?

 October 3rd

What's Your Pleasure?


There has been some really good and interesting dialog in recent days about ringside etiquette and demeanor. There are some that contend that to each his own and that it is every man/woman for themselves in competition, while others feel that a more amicable environment would be more conducive for all involved.


Well, I agree with both factions! The nature of any competitive sport or endeavor creates a semi-hostile setting initially and then once it is over and then there is a winner and a ‘not-winner’, the opposing sides are expected to shake hands and seem amicable.

Hey, that’s fine by me as well. Either/or makes no real difference to me with my job to breed the best, train the best, condition the best and then provide the best possible presentation in the ring.


Folk around the ring can be an island unto themselves or they can revel in unison and party like there is no tomorrow. All of that extra-curricular activity neither detracts nor augments my involvement with the breed.

At the dog shows, my main concern is providing each of my owner’s dogs the best care and service possible, so that all of my energy is totally directed at that goal.


It is a never ending process because it starts way, way before we even arrive at the dog show venue. For simplicity sake, we will dispense with all the foreplay involved in getting there and just dive into the meat and potatoes of the matter at hand.

We arrive before the sun rises, most of the time in shear darkness to set up and get the best possible parking space, the best crate setup, the best grooming area and the best possible place to set our chairs. This is preparation at the ultimate, leaving very little to happenstance and if the unexpected does show up, it is taken care of forthwith.


So, there we are all set and ready for the ringing of the bell, arm band numbers have been dispensed to the appropriate handler………………..the one designated days in advance………………..each handler knows his individual lineup of dogs…………..each handler is set and ready to enter the ring in a timely fashion…………….there’s a ring manager that makes sure that dogs are ready to come out of their crates minutes before they are to enter the ring……………someone acts as go-for, holder, put-er-upper and whatever else is needed for maximum efficiency producing maximum proficiency!


In and out of the ring we go and the machinery purrs like a Persian cat. The handling priorities are followed as best as planned and eventualities are covered as seamless as possible.


Now, when it is over and done, I can relax and tend to the pleasantries of chatting with our owners that are there with their dogs…………………congratulating those that have just won something and encouraging those others whose dogs didn’t win the right colored ribbons…………………all part of my job description……………….all needed to keep our programs going in the right direction.

Then when the inner circle has been taken care of, it’s time to network and take care of future business with those that I have invited to visit us at the dog shows. This is absolutely the best place to interview potential new members to our ever-growing Owner’s Programs.


Here they can see, feel and validate all they have read and been told…………………at hand they have the best referrals that marketing can ask for…………..actual owners with their dogs that can attest to their experiences and benefits of being part of this innovative and avant garde Labrador Retriever endeavor.


Of course, those same invitees can also sample the other breeders that bring on their wares to compete at these same venues………………….that becomes a huge plus for our offerings because most of the other breeders have very little that compares to our programs…………………..and then there are the ‘negative’ minded ones that actually seal the deal for Chambray with their soiled attitude. I know, because I hear about it from these potential clients that I invite to these shows.


I would say and rightly so, that the preceding is a major win, win, win situation.


So business in the ring has been tended to, the Chambray ‘family’ has been cared for, the potential new owners have been ‘enlightened’ further and now there is time for the amicable rounds with those that seek that space. For those that choose to be that island unto themselves, well that’s the way it is and they too have that space.


October 2nd

More This & That


I have received a lot of feedback from the ‘Friendly/Not So Friendly’ blog. In fact, one of the topics of conversation last night at the training class amongst the attendees there was just that.


One last word on the subject…………………for now!


Competition in any endeavor brings out the best and the worst in people. It doesn’t matter if it is Little League baseball, spelling bees, boxing matches, pro football games, knitting contests…………………dog shows…………….any and all forms of ‘my dog is better than your dog’ situations seems to stir up and out the highs and lows in people………………...human nature at its best and worst.


Let’s face it, people compete to win and losing just doesn’t set well. No matter how well socialized a person is, the litmus test is a simple one, watch their faces when their team, kid or dog loses! Even a pretty face turns into sourpuss………………even if it is momentary.


My philosophy is simple…………..it is what it is and each person has the space to feel whatever it is and it’s fine by me. We celebrate our dog’s wins, which happens with beyond regular frequency and we take stock the infrequent times our dogs don’t win and prepare for the next day’s outing.


We hope that this demeanor is contagious to our owners and that each and every one of them shows the civility to accept the day’s verdict and move on with the knowledge that their dog is specially chosen from a pool of the best of the best……………………that only one dog can win for the day…………………….and that tomorrow is another day with another chance to shine and possibly win the desirable ribbons.





At the show this past weekend I received some inquiries from some not familiar with our programs as to why some of our dogs will be at some shows and then the very next outing, different dogs may be there.


The simple answer is that Chambray’s Show Management Program has more top-notch dogs than can be handled at the shows. As simple as that!


That allows me a tremendous luxury in deciding from that great pool of dogs, which deserve to be on the front lines representing Chambray Labradors. Obviously, being the competitive persona that I am, I will be targeting the best of the best to make up our starting lineup for each show.


Into the mix of consideration is a host of agendas, some on an individual basis per dog and owner. These considerations are on a personal level with each of the owners and may include such matters as the owner not wanting to send the dog out to a show unless they can take the dog themselves……………….financial situations where sending the dog to each weekend of shows may cause a hardship for an owner…………………….an owner not wanting to have their dog compete with another owner’s dog in the same class………………………………………… and other personal matters that vary from situation to situation.


Also include in the whys and therefore is not wanting to have more than 2 of our dogs in a class at any given weekend. It does occur, however when I draw up the possible roster for any given weekend, it is a general policy to limit to no more than two of our charges per class. From time to time, there may be a situation where more than 2 dog owners coincide at a weekend of shows with dogs in the same class.


Other reasons to vary the lineup are that some venues will not have a good draw of dogs, so at those shows the dogs needing just majors will not be entered. In fact, I am now working on the starting lineup for the Plant City shows and traditionally this is one of those sites that has had a low turnout for Labradors in the past. Foreseeing these shows not making it to be a major, the dogs needing majors will not be included thus our roster for males will not be as many as usual which of course makes the likelihood of majors there a long shot.


This works out fine because our younger dogs needing points and the singles will have a better chance of winning since our top dogs needing just the majors will not be there.


The judging slate also influences which dogs will be on the show roster. Knowing judging tendencies increases a dog’s chance of winning and also decreases an owner’s expense when we know that a judge will not favor a color or a type of dog.


As can be seen from the above, the simple reason is that we have a huge luxury with all the high caliber of dogs that are part of our betterment of the breed programs, however the strategies used for each dog, for each owner, for each venue, for each judge gives our dogs the best chance of success.




“We saw one of your dogs win his championship at Ocala. Now does he get to continue showing as a champion or do you all put him up as most professional handlers do and bring him back out when he is more mature?”


I love it when I hear the usual ‘wives tales’ that are followed as gospel!


This “Let’s put them up until they mature” malarkey is perpetuated when it’s convenient by the pros and then repeated by the bleating sheep that believe it is the proper thing to do because they are hoodwinked to do so.


Well, ‘Let me tell you a story about a man named Jed!’ (Beverly Hillbilly theme song). This is one of those ‘hook, line and sinker’ zappers that is used if it fits at the moment……………………….the moment being that the professional handler already has a special’s dog being campaigned and bringing on another champion at the moment is not conducive to that other dog’s best interest.


With Chambray Labradors Management Program……….each and every dog that is part of our roster, be it class dog or champion………….each is capable of winning a Best Of Breed and if we feel otherwise, then it won’t be on our starting roster…………………..as simple as a dimple on a dapple!


So, when one of our dogs champions out, we confer with the owners and let them know that we are 100% behind that dog as a champion in the Best Of Breed competition.


Now, the added luxury of having multiple handlers, gives us a huge advantage because multiple dogs can be campaigned as specials and none of them have to take a back seat and wait a year or more to come out and play as a champion!


October 1st

Experiences At A Dog Show
The Good, The Friendly & Of Course The Others!



Chambray Labradors Owner’s Program is a one of a kind experience. There is nothing else like it at the dog shows. Not in the Labrador ring nor with any other breed that competes at the AKC shows……………let’s make that any and all dog show registries and organizations.


This is not one of my usual braggadocios……………not one of those Latin-style macho chest thumping, king of the molehill scenes………………..and certainly not a boast until you toast, run the mouth and skip the action spiels…………………..this is the real deal, the real McCoy………………..no idle bragging at all…………what we all do as a breed group is unique until it squeaks!


Since the vast majority of Chambray’s owners are brand spanking new to the dog show scene, they really don’t know that there is this universe of a difference! Like the proverbial deer in the headlights, they come to the shows giddy with excitement and only ‘see’ what’s transpiring within the realm of what Team Chambray does.


It takes a while for those new owners to look around and see the other folk around the Labrador ring wearing a different ‘team shirt’. Not knowing the difference between what we have going on and what the others don’t have, they begin to reach out to some of those not part of our betterment of the breed program and ‘ouch’ invariably some get stung by those out of the loop.


This past weekend at Ocala, not one, not two, not three, but four and I am sure there will be more of our owners that felt the wrath of those outside the ‘winners circle’……………those that by choice or by direction are not part of our owner’s programs.


Keep in mind that there are total independents that arrived at the venue all on their own from parts unknown and some of those are fine and some of those are fickled. The fine ones do their thing, accept their fate, win (celebrate) or lose (pack up) and know that tomorrow is another day.


The fickled ones are another matter altogether! No need for names as had been suggested for years by those Chambray owners wanting to have a score card of the ‘good guys and the bad guys’………………….nope, I would rather that each and every one figure it all out by themselves. Sooner or later the true colors tend to bleed out and then it becomes clear as day who is who at the Labrador ring.


The Chambray owners are free to fly about the country as there are no impositions as to whom they can speak to…………….speak to one, speak to all……………..of course once a Chambray owners has been identified as such, there will be those ‘outsiders’ that show their angst on their faces………………if you haven’t experience it yet, you will or you can ask the Farias, the Etzigs, Neil (Sam’s owner), Sam (Dylan’s owner), and several other civil, social-mannered folk that have extended a hand only to have it scorched.


Hey, it is what it is. To each his own, but just all know that differences, for whatever reason, do exist. As the late Rodney King lamented, “Why can’t we all just get along.”


There is a huge reason ‘why we all just can’t get along’……………………………we are an emotional species trying to be rational and the true essence of what we really are tends to come out in moments of passion, envy, love, hate, jealousy, greed in all those other emotional states that we possess and that we display at the drop of a hat …………………those terms sound familiar?


So, to those owners that shared with me recently about the rude, discourteous, uncivil behavior displayed by some disgruntled folk…………….it is what it is and laissez faire may be the best remedy for what ails. However, keep in mind that each is free to come and go, do and say as you may and as Teddy Roosevelt once said “Speak softly and carry a big stick”.


October 1st

Thank You


It is always a thing of beauty when all cylinders work in unison and the machinery purrs along as planned, designed and implemented.


The TV commercial captures the moment when one of the characters says, “It doesn’t get any better than this!”


For me, nothing stokes the embers of the fire within me as it does when what I love to do touches the lives of those around me. My passion for raising, training, and showing Labrador Retrievers is enabled to the nth degree by those that partake in my vision for the betterment of the breed.


Whether one of my dogs finishes their AKC championship in grand style as Maresa and Gene’s black beauty, Tucker just did or Shari Macey shares her gratifying experiences with her special needs yellow Labrador service dog named Meatball…………………………….it all resonates deep inside and provides the fuel to keep the passion glowing.


Thank you to all my Chambray owners, the rest of the Herzon family and Team Chambray for providing me the platform to be able to contribute to the betterment of the breed. Without each and every one of you, our collective successes would not be possible.

October 1st


Dear Sandy, We've been diligent readers of your blog for the past year and in numerous occasions have wanted to provide feedback on all of the great experiences we've shared this past year. We chose to wait until Tucker championed out to provide a testimonial to support Chambrays commitment to the betterment of the breed.

It seems like it was yesterday when we began the search for our newest family member. We had just empty nested and needed that special addition to our home. Being diligent researchers, we conducted an extensive process sifting through the web for the top breeders in the nation. Of course we were elated to find out that Chambray was a local Florida breeder! Now it was time to trek to Homestead to see it for ourselves.

When we first arrived at Chambray acres we were amazed with the structure and cleanliness of your farm, especially in the common dog areas and runs. The sheer beauty of the show dogs in them was an amazing sight. So far so good I thought! Now to the interview and puppy evaluation process...This is were I believe your gift is truly noted. During our exchange of over an hour, many things stood out to us, most importantly 1) Your desire to get to know us better being instrumental in placing the proper dog to best fit our personalities. 2) Your knowledge and keen insight of the breed being a major factor in selecting that puppy with the personality which would be best qualified to meet this objective. 3) Your passion and commitment to the betterment of the breed resonated in my mind. It became clear to me that we wanted to be a part of this process.

We saw a couple of beautiful yellow puppies we could have easily taken home that same day. But we really wanted a black male and Jericho and Viper just had their first "super" liter and there were 3 absolutely gorgeous males waiting for placement! We eagerly awaited the day they would be ready to come home and had no doubt that your selection would be the right one. I knew from day one that was the case. Now it was time to get to work to help Tucker be the best he could be! We have diligently attended your training sessions and enjoyed the interaction with you, your family and the exchanges with other chambray owners. It's exceeded our expectations.

9/28 will always be special to Tucker and us. It was when Tucker won his first show (on his debut) and then finished, exactly a year later! We didn't quite understand how special that debut win was and we remember you telling us to not get spoiled, that that doesn't happen often...10 wins later (inclusive of the Eukanuba 6-9 month puppy) we truly do feel spoiled! But foremost than any win, is the companionship Tucker has provided. His temperament, eagerness to please and quick wits are what truly make him special. Just like you told me he would be when I first took him home.

We can't be remiss to not thank Jessi and Ryan for their excellent handling of Tucker. Johanna and you for all your advice on training, any health concerns and for always treating Tucker like a part of the Herzon family. God bless you Sandy and thank you for helping us fill our empty nest in a most enjoyable way. We look forward to working with you and your team in helping Tucker in his quest for Grand Champion.

Gene and Maressa Etzig

September 30th

Beating Of The Drums Time


“We used to go to the dog shows and enjoy all the happenings and now admit that we had no

clue what the judge was looking at or looking for!


Since we joined the Chambray owner’s program and have been intently listening to you

and reading your educational blogs, we now have become dangerous!


Like in a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing! We now see what a cow-hocked dog

looks like and what a poor moving dog moves like and what a bad front looks like, in other

words we have become obsessed with your betterment of the breed movement.


This past weekend it was evident that one of the judges was actually looking at all those

faults and defects and was placing the better structured dogs in front of those with

poor conformation.


Now instead of looking at the overall look of the dog, we see the glaring faults and defects and actually appreciate your steadfast stand on only breeding the best dogs and then only showing those best dogs. It really makes me proud to be part of your programs.”



Ah, I get that all the time from those that finally are able to ‘see’ beyond the fluffy coats and cute as pig’s ear faces……………………….there is much, much more and once you have been given the ‘eyes’ to see those structural faults and dastardly defects, it will never ever be the same. Each and every time you see a dog, your eyes will look for the right conformation and you will be able to pick out those defects.


Now, what is interesting is that there are a whole bunch of people (breeders) actually perpetuating those faults generation after generation. Is it that they don’t ‘see’ them? Or is it that they don’t know any better and don’t know how to better their lot? Or maybe they have just accepted the mediocrity involved in not producing for the best!


In each class, class after class you could ‘see’ the cow-hocked dogs. Clear as day even if the handler ‘fixed’ the fault by hand stacking the dogs………………..seconds later the dog would shift and the beyond glaring defect would show up like a monkey on a back!


Class after class the breeder/judge would line up the dogs and eventually walk to the back of the line and then look at the rears and class after class those with weak, cow-hocked dogs would end up at the back of the line!


Same thing for the cloddy, ponderous movers as they were segregated to the back of the line as well.


So, which dogs made the front of the line……………..which were the eventual winners……………………..the ones with perfect rears, the ones that covered the best ground with the best movement.


Hurray for the judge!


September 30th

Weekend Roundup


Had an interesting conversation with one of my newer Chambray owners. Of course being a new Chambray owner doesn’t totally prepare anyone for being a new ‘show dog owner’………………. in the least bit! The difference between the 2 is as big as is the ‘gulf’ between the US and England (not only the Atlantic expanse but also the English versus American Labs ‘viva la difference’)

The gist went more or less like this “What’s in it for me to be showing my dog?”


Delving deeper than the 10 spoken words in the sentence above is the needed justification for the time, energy and financial involvement required for showing dogs……………………………..in fact it is the exact same concern when participating in any endeavor, sport, fancy or undertaking where time, energy and money is necessary to be able to play, attend or watch.


There is no ‘cut and paste’ answer because each person is a world unto themselves and a generic answer would not suffice from one person to the other.


However, through the years I have come to understand that human nature can adjust to whatever it is that they like or that pleases that person. So, time, energy and money is irrelevant for those that really want to do something that is well within their reach.

Time can be made, energy can be exacted and money………………..if it isn’t there, it will be borrowed! Think about it, how many people own their homes outright or their cars outright? A mortgage is borrowed money that is paid back in increments and most people ‘buy’ either or both beyond what they really should be spending for it (personal opinion). This doesn’t include the gazzillionaires, only the other 99% of folk that I know.


So, by now you too know the answer that like the song says, ‘the answer my friend is written in the wind’. I tell anyone asking “If you enjoy it, then that is your answer.”






At the show this weekend in Ocala, another of my owners had a conversation with a competitor exhibitor/breeder. “Showing a dog to its championship will drop you back 24 grand or so!”


My owner shares the experience with me all the while wondering if this will also be the case for them and their dog.

My smug as a bug answer, “Well, that’s probably what it cost them………………………now go ask Gene whose Chambray dog just finished, what it has cost him to date to have a champion…………….I would say that with all expenses including the beers and hotdogs……………not even 1/5 of that and he had fun to boot……..well at least the times when his dog won!”


You get what you pay for, you also pay for what you have to get. The better the dog, the less the road it has to travel. Simple economics.






Several of the newer Chambray owners who have just started their excellent adventures at the dog shows with their new puppy or dog have already experienced some of the ‘sourpuss’ characters that unfortunately share the same air we breathe at these venues.


Well, that’s just human nature at its least common denominator. That is a fact of life, grumpy gnomes are born that way and no matter how much civility and amicable-like social graces are extended, their basic, basal and denizen-like behavior is a reflection of their value system or lack thereof.


There is a reason that some people are chosen to be part of Chambray’s Betterment of the Breed programs and others can only watch from afar! Which line do you stand in?





The older gentleman (older gentleman, because he looked to be well in his 70’s) asked if I was the breeder “Of all these dogs” pointing to the lineup of more than 17 Chambray dogs in their crates, all ready to show at the Ocala Sunday show.


“Yep. That’s me, the little old wine maker” came my response as I was next in the ring with Amos, my Open Yellow Male class dog.


“I ain’t  lookin fer wine……………….I wanted buy one of these dogs and they aint’ got no prices on em!” The oldster retorted.


“I’m into the ring right now, but I will be out shortly”, kind of in a hurry I replied.


“Heck (not the word he used), if ya don’t want to make a sale, I ain’t interested in buying a dog from you!” he puffed and huffed off to speak to the next person down the line holding a dog.






Way after judging, the judge for the day passed by me and stopped long enough to say “I wasn’t expecting to see such a nice lineup of dogs, very consistent group……great shape and excellent ground coverage.”


For those not as versed in the lingo…………….excellent ground coverage means ‘great movers’……………what I have been advocating and breeding for 10 generations. As Robert Blake of Baretta used to say “You can take that to the bank”………………and I did!






A ‘breeder/judge’ is the terminology used to identify those people that also breed those type dogs that they judge. Thus a Labrador breeder/judge, breeds Labradors and then also acts as a judge at venues where they are hired to do their thing.


The opposite of that is an all-breed judge. These types can judge other breeds than the ones they breed, while a good many of them came to be judges as professional dog handlers and may not have bred any dogs themselves.






The AKC Rep at a dog show is the ‘supreme’ being there. They supervise the judges and officiate the minions………………the breeders, owners, exhibitors and the professional handlers as well.






When it rains, it pours! That is the working credo at a dog show…….come rain, come shine, the show must go on is the mantra. If it rains, we show our dogs……out in the rain as was very evident this past weekend in Ocala. Some of our newer owners were very surprised that their dogs were getting wet! Labradors and water go hand in hand!



September 29th

Winning Weekend #90

Chambray Champion #41

Trifecta #50 & More!


What can be said after posting another career winning show weekend………………………the 90th dog show winning weekend in a row? That’s every weekend of dog shows that Team Herzon has traveled to since January of 2012!


I hate for the streak to come to an end, because there is no way, no how that any Labrador breeder/exhibitor, including Chambray will ever be able to come close. This streak is like holding one’s breath and it goes on and on, but we all know full well that it must come to an end, because no one can hold their breath indefinitely!


So here we had just clinched weekend win #90 and you would think that there was a lot of hoopla over upping the amazing run of weekend wins………………there should have been, but……………………………………crowning Chambray’s 41st home-bred champions took center stage………………..so Ch Chambrays Everlasting Tucker would deservedly take top honors right away at Sunday’s Ocala show even though it was that very win that made sure that the 90 weekend winning streak was alive and kicking! Tucker is owned by Maresa and Gene Etzig.


Our co-breeders on Tucker are Marie and Bear Knapp who own Tucker’s mom, Chambray Queen Of Hearts.


Because of all the excitement with Tucker achieving his AKC champion’s title, the awarding of Reserve Winners Dog to spectacular 6-month old puppy Chambrays Big Dog 4 X 4 Diesel…………..which the judge admitted having a difficult time deciding between him and Tucker for Winners Dog, went almost unnoticed …………..however nothing goes unnoticed in our quest for the best, so we give major kudos to Diesel and the potential that he brings to the starting lineup for Chambray. Of major interest...........it should be noted here that both Diesel and Tucker are sons of our superstar black stud dog, Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle of Jericho owned by Chambray Partners Carol and Chip Wilkening.


Diesel is owned by Mary and Russ McCubbins. Diesel’s dam is Chambrays Scuba Divin In Antigua “Fer” owned by Juan Marrero.


So, did the rest of the day settle down and the celebrating a new champion take over? Hardly as almost every class both in the males and the females were won by a Chambray dog or bitch. This was a huge vote of confidence for Chambray’s breeding and handling program because the judge was Labrador breeder Betty Nelson of Avalon Labradors!


The biggest surprise of the day lay in waiting at the end of the female's competition. Back in for Winners Bitch went the 6 to 9 puppy, Chambrays Stella (owned by Tim Kroll and Dawn Sloan), the 9 to 12 puppy Chambrays Bella (owned by Samanta and Fernando Farias), the 12 to 18 bitch Chambrays Samantha (owned by Neil Marin), the Bred By Exhibitor was Chambrays Gracie (owned by Judith and Micky Church). Imagine the surprise when Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha was awarded Winners Bitch over the full grown competitor's females!


We then move into the Best Of Breed competition and before long the judge has narrowed the field of champions plus the WD and WB, into a decision between Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter, our top winning champion dog and the Winners Bitch, Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha. Back and forth and around and around we went in the ring and finally, Samantha would get the nod over Walter for BOB.


WHAT????????????????? A 15 month old, wet behind the ears winning her second Best Of Breed in the last 3 weekend of shows that she competes at…………..totally unheard of and unexpected!


But wait, there’s more as she then sashays over to the Sporting Group under another judge and promptly snatches up her first group placement, a Group IV.


Now for those not keeping score, Tucker winning Winners Dog and Samantha winning Winners Bitch, Best Of Winners and Best Of Breed constitutes winning the ‘Big 3’ of awards by one breeder………………….WD, WB and BOB or better described as the Trifecta. Most breeders can go a lifetime and not win 1 Trifecta, this Big 3 was our 50th since 1992 which is a state record and also the 6th Trifecta scored in 2014, which breaks the record in 1 year of 5 Trifectas posted by Chambray in 2008.


Record Setting/Breaking Recap:

  • The crowning of state record 41st champion.

  • The posting of 90 consecutive winning weekends of dog shows

  • The 50th Trifecta lifetime

  • The 6th Trifecta for the year

  • Plus the making of a new record……………..the crowing of a new champion, grand champion or bronze grand champion each month so far in 2014!!!!!!!!!!


So, what’s in store down the road? This next weekend is an off weekend for the traveling minstrels as we skip the Lake City shows and await the Arcadia shows on October 11th and 12th…………………..skip a week and then we have the Plant City shows on October 25th and 25th.


Will Arcadia make 91 weekends in a row of winning? Are more Trifectas on the horizons for the last 3 months of the year? Will there be the crowning of a champion in October extending that new streak to 10 months? Which dog will be our 42nd titlist? With Samantha claiming her 2nd major-pointed win in the last couple of months, she now joins the elite list of possible finishers for the year.


6 new champions in 2012 gave Chambray claim to the #1 spot for top Labrador breeder in the country. Right now in October we have 4 new champions with the possibilities of 5 more of our dogs needing just one or 2 wins to cross that finish line.


Looming large on the horizon is the Eukanuba dog show in December and we now start the process of deciding which of our dogs will be on the show roster for the most prestigious of all dog shows for breeder/exhibitors.


September 26th

Why 3 Sites?

Mr Herzon


"Sometimes I am confused and can’t find the blog page at your website. Then I realize that I am at the wrong Chambray website. Why is that?"


Ok……………………..I think that the question is “why are there more than one Chambray website?”

So, going on that assumption…………..we all know what happens when one ass-u-mes…………..I will do my best to clear up the cobwebs.


Once upon a time, long, long ago when rotary phones were used to dial up the World Wide Web that was still being invented by Al Gore…………………more recently referred to as the Internet…………………..even more recently just called the web or the net………………we decided to set up our very own Labrador website…………………….so www.chambraylabradors.com was launched and we joined a few other Labrador enthusiast with a few pages of our dogs and our involvement with the breed.


Years and years passed and the site grew and grew and eventually I loaded up more than 500 pages with our decades and decades of Labrador-related activities!


“Cumbersome………….difficult to navigate………………..slower than molasses…………………times out……………….way too many slow loading photos” were some of the nice comments I began to receive after more than 20 years of Internet ‘broadcasting'.


Then one day I receive a dire warning from the hosting company “Your web editor, MS Front Page is now extinct and no longer being supported by MicroSoft”!


Oh boy, an obituary before its time……………...or maybe the program had died and I just didn’t realize the implications. Having to learn a new website editor at my age seemed like an ordeal beyond my comprehension. But I stuck it out even though once in a while things would “hang up’ because the hosting people would say that the ‘extensions’ were outdated and they would do what they could to solve the problems.


Then came the death knell………………………..hackers………………..malicious ones at that……………….took over the website because the web editor was somehow was full of security breaches or something scary sounding like that. We hired one of those Pakistani ‘we fix it all’ companies and sure enough, we got the website back……………………for 3 weeks and then another incursion and another expense round of ‘cleaning up and security patches’.


That was it……….time to start all over and learn a new system. It took several weeks of intense trial and error and then the brand new site at www.chambraylabs.com was launched.


This was a streamlined, easy to navigate site geared for those searching for puppies and those others searching for stud service. The idea was to keep this site as simple as possible to appease those with limited time, patience and some others with little Internet knowhow.


Mission accomplished and thus www.chambraylabs.com became our 2nd entity on the WWW. We decided to keep the old site going because most of the search engines had it ranked at the top for those looking for Labrador Retrievers.

Here the idea was to keep the original site ongoing for a year or so until the fledgling site could garner a high enough search engine ranking.


As I began to dismantle the old site, page by page, it dawned on me that so much information was being ‘lost’ and I decided to create a site where I could ‘store’ all this info that had taken 20 years to write and publish. Thus the idea for a real replacement site was born and www.chambraylabadors.net became a reality.

At this site I could go totally bonkers and load it up to the gills with whatever would tickle my fancy, more or less, transfer all of the stuff from the original site, add some more stuff, but make it easier to navigate with all the new, modern tools made available with the new web editor WIX!


So, now you have it. The answer…………of course assuming that was the question.


You have www.chambraylabradors.net what we refer to as the Mentorship site, the hold all that we may, brag as much as we have bragging rights to, the Blogging Off section, Champions, Grand Champions, Bronze Grand Champions, Silver Grand Champions, Best In Show Champions………………our class competitors…………………..anything and everything Labrador related will be published here.


Then there is www.chambraylabs.com the “Quick Version” site, short and sassy, easy to get in and get out, to the point and concise.


Then there are still parts of the old site left at www.chambraylabradors.com our old Mothership site, the one that got all this started…………………….I hate to shut it down totally, it’s like a child to me as I watched it grow as I have my 3 children.......it took a life of its own, it attracted millions of visitors over 2 decades, that’s over 20 years………………it’s still up and running.

However, since it is a security liability, it’s locked down so no one can enter to eidt, not even me. So I can’t add, subtract, change……..nothing. When the hosting company notifies me that they no longer can house the editor, then it will cease to exists, but it won’t be me that kills it.



September 26th

Wazzup America?


The Visitometer (new word I just wrote up), has been going bonkers at the www.chambraylabradors.net website! The Blogging Off page has been getting bombarded at 3 times the daily ‘looksee’ rate. This is now going on for 3 days in a row, so no one day fluke.


Something’s up somewhere!


Usually when there is a land rush of blokes to my websites, there is a topic of conversation somewhere in the blogosphere…………………like at that infamous Labrador Forum, or one of the gossipy, Queen Bee-driven chit chat rooms and the subject matter, the gossipation or the trashadation turns sourly in my direction.


I surfed around to some of the favorite grapevine buddy hangouts and all of them seemed quiet with nothing consequential going on other than the usual backstabbings, character assassinations, ripping to shreds of those presumed innocent until proven otherwise, kicking those down and out and other not so goodwill gestures that are perpetrated against those that are defenseless……………………….and heaven forbid that those being creamed try and speak up…………………… a Piranha-like feeding frenzy will ensue and the victim will be consumed until the next hapless mark is singled out for tar and feathering.


Not that I dwell at these total waste of time sites………………..but like the curious cat, I am always on the look put for juicy fodder so that I can stoke the fires that rage………………….the only difference is that I will shed light for those that can ‘see’ on those topics and subject matter that strays too far from reality and from the betterment of the breed.


So please pray tell, let me know what I don’t know.


September 25th

Busy Day At Chambray



Mr Herzon


Thank you for your contributions to the breed. I have a question that I hope you can answer. You and other breeders perform evaluations on your litters and then identify those puppies that are show quality and others that are not. Do all the puppies you designate as being top show quality end up being top show dogs?


Oh, how I wish that was the case!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But not by any stretch of the imagination. 


During our 7 ½ week old evaluation, we go over structure, attitude and also pizazz…..some of the things that are needed if they are to be successful as a show dogs.


Puppies that are cow-hocked are set aside as pets, so are puppies with upright shoulders, as are puppies with poor angulation (front, rear and/or both), as are puppies with incorrect bites, as are puppies with weak rears, as are puppies with hyperextension of any joints, as are puppies with narrow, slab-sided fronts, as are puppies with poor ear set, too long ears, too short ears……………………on and one we go and any puppy with any fault, defect, DQ or just a plain Jane will be designated as being a ‘pet’ puppy.


We even go as far as placing puppies as pets that have all of the above correct and yet they just don’t sparkle………..however they all will sparkle as someone’s dear companion.


So, theoretically that should leave us the super stellar puppies as the top show prospects. Once placed as such, we brace ourselves and hope that all goes well with their development.


We cross our fingers and hope that all their adult teeth come in and that the bite stays a correct bite as the baby teeth are moved and the adult teeth take their place.


We hope that both little testicles felt as 7 week olds, will descent and have the full complement of 2!

We pray that injuries and developmental anomalies do not rear their ugly heads.


Just this last year the top show bitch puppy from one of our best litters developed an elbow joint problem that will render her as non-show.


A top pick black male puppy fractured his tibia at 8 months of age and the recovery has not been a good one.


A top yellow bitch puppy had her bite shift after she was 10 months old and now is borderline undershot.


That’s 3 really great puppies from a group of 30 or so that were designated as show quality. So at this point in time we are realizing about a 90% good returns.


We do our very best with the 40+ years of experience raising Labradors, but genetics and nature have their own plans. We wish that it could be 100%, but that would not be real! Any breeder that claims that everything they breed is perfect needs a serious reality check.


September 25th

More Feedback.


"I have been following your dogs for a long time and then your blogs since you started posting them. There is no other Labrador breeder that goes all out for the betterment of the breed as you do. Every topic and subject matter that you discuss in your blogs are relevant and on point! Those subjects then show up in other discussion boards, so it is evident that you are the trend setter and the go to authority that all the others follow. At most shows that I travel to, the topic of conversation at times comes up with you, your blogs and your dogs. Recently at a dog show in Tennessee exhibitors were discussing the making up of majors in the south and the Florida shows were mentioned and immediately several spoke up admitting that they wouldn’t drive down there to compete against the Chambray dogs! That’s impressive to command that respect! I count on your blogs to keep me in the know about the breed."


Beth S.


"Your Blog on Together To Get Better was amazing! It lit the light for me as how judges select their winners. You are so right in that only one dog will win the points and chances are that the best dog that has the best training will be the one that shows off the best! That’s how winners are made!"





Another illuminating blog about handling.


I often wondered how handlers decided which dog they would handle and which dog would go back in with someone else. This all makes perfect sense to have a set order and to have the eventualities in place. That is why your organization runs so smoothly even when your dogs win all the classes.


Meanwhile you have other exhibitors with one or two dogs and they even can’t get into the ring on time, holding up the judge and the other handlers.


I have seen that happen over and over again with the same exhibitor!






September 25th

Revolving Doors On Dogs & Handlers


“At the Deland dog shows this past weekend, I watched you and your handlers and some dogs were handled by different people on Saturday then on Sunday. How do you determine which dogs get handled by the handlers?”



The question of ‘handling priorities’ comes up a lot from our own owners and even from folks outside our programs. I have covered this subject quite a few times in the past, but I realize that the past is long gone and people new to the dog show world emerge on a daily basis.


So, let’s try it one more time until time makes this the past and new types have jumped up on the bandwagon.


I am going to narrow the scope of this blog to only cover the Chambray Management Program Handling Priority & Coverages. So, what you will read now only pertains to our way of doing things and not necessarily the way of other professional handlers.

For each show, I draw up a ‘starting lineup’ of dogs that we refer to as the ‘roster’. Since we are currently working with more dogs than we can adequately handle at any given show, the roster can vary from show to show, with different dogs being showcased and others being sidelined.


After the roster is set and each dog has been entered for a specific show, then I work on ‘handling assignments’ for the handlers that will work that particular show (handlers can also vary according to need and show). Recently at the Deland Fl dog shows, we had 5 different handlers working 18 different dogs.


So, a handler is given a dog or several dogs and then they become that person’s handling assignments.

Since the goal is to win each class that dogs are entered in, at times a handler may win more than just one class with their handling assignments.


For Winners Dog or Winners Bitch competition, the handler can only go back in with 1 of his winning assignments, a ‘class priority’ is established for that handler’s dogs for which dog he/she will go back in with.


Nothing is cast in stone, however in order to have some semblance of order, protocols are established ahead of time. Of course, I reserve the right to switch things up if needed according to the flow of the day.


A general pecking order (priority) is established amongst the handler’s assignments usually based on which dog has the most points, which class they are showing from, which is closer to finishing or which needs a major. Other criteria are more of spur of the moment such as judge’s tendencies and even comments made by the judges while in the ring with a certain dog.


This past weekend at Deland I had Amos as my handling assignment from the Open Yellow class and he would be my priority from the male’s classes if I also would win with the other dog I handled from the 12 to 18 class, which happened just that way at Saturday’s show. So, I ‘stayed’ on Amos since I had won the class with him and a ‘backup’ handler went back into the ring with Dreamer.


As it turns out, Amos was awarded Winners Dog for a 3-Pt Major. As the judge handed me the ribbon, he stated, “I really like this dog!”


So, now Amos would need to go back into the Best Of Breed competition at the end of judging the female’s classes.


There is another set of priorities once the classes have been judged. This is now called the ‘special’s handling coverages and priorities’. A ‘specials’ is the terminology used for a champion that is being ‘campaigned’ (handled) for grand champion points and/or for national rankings. Special’s priority usurp all class priorities and at times a handler may have 2 or more breeds where they have one special’s in each different breed, so a priority between breeds is also set up.


My specials priority for the weekend is BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter, who is being campaigned for both his Bronze Grand Champion’s title and also national rankings where he now stands as the #9 Labrador Retriever All-Breed in the country.

Going with the flow of the show, I called in a switch whereby I ‘stayed’ on Amos based on how impressed the judge seemed with him and with his comment as he handed us the win. So, we ‘moved’ Jessie onto Walter for Best Of Breed and I stayed on Amos. As it worked out, Jessie and Walter took Best Of Breed and Amos was awarded the Best Of Winners.


According to the judge, it was close between Walter and Amos, but Walter’s overall movement won the day for him. Keep in mind that Amos has just been showing at the AKC level for less than 9 months and Walter is an old pro with 2 years under his belt in the show ring.


Priorities can change from day to day. Take for example, Jessie’s handling assignments for Saturday’s show. She had Rico in Bred By Exhibitor needing just 1 major win to finish out, she had Bob from the Am-Bred class needing 5 singles to finish out and she also had Tucker from the Open Black class needing 5 points and both majors to finish out.


The priorities for her were Rico #1, Bob #2 and Tucker #3. If she had won the classes with all three, then her 1st priority is Rico. As it turns out, both Rico and Bob won their classes and Jessie went back in with Rico and a backup handler took Bob back in for Winners.


For Sunday’s show the game plan for Jessie was the same, the difference came at the end when Rico didn’t win his class, Bob won Am-Bred and Tucker won Open Black. A decision was made based on the judge’s track record favoring blacks in previous shows. Plus she made it a point to tell Jessie how much she had liked Tucker. So, we opted for Jessie ‘staying’ on Tucker and a backup going back with Bob.


Jessie and Tucker took the Winners Dog for the 3-major and then Jessie asked to stay on Tucker to see if the judge would award him the Best Of Breed. I handled Walter as my specials’ priority and eventually won BOB with him, with the judge commenting that he was one of the best moving dogs she had seen in a long while.


So, here is where all this priority stuff gets interesting…………………..because of Tucker’s 3-point major win on Sunday, he now commends 1st priority since he now has more points than Rico and is tied with him with 1 major. A reverse of fortunes from one day to the next that changes the way we see and do things.


If all the preceding sounds confusing and hard to follow....................then don't fret...................just leave it up to me and we will all continue to be the most successful Labrador Retriever show group in the country


But remember nothing is cast in stone and last minute changes can and will be called in as needed. It's all in the mind of Minolta!



September 25th

Out For A Walk In The Park


The Chambray dog owner with his/her dog walks into a park, a dog show, a pet supermarket, the vet’s office or just taking a walk down the street and sooner or later a person or a crowd of people draws near.


The preceding tale I know from the hundreds of times my owners relate the exact same experience!

What comes next depends on what side of the fence the awe-struck people came from.


For those met at parks, stores, down the street………………….the usual response is “Is that a mix between a Labrador and a Pit Bull?”…………………….for those with a little more education about the breed, “Is that an English or American Labrador”


Those that ask about “mixed breed” do so because they are used to seeing the generic version of Labradors. Those tall, long-legged………………..skinny, long bodied……………….thin whip-like, long and curled over the back tails………………….long snout…………..long everything dogs. So, telling those folk that this is a top show dog and a ‘real’ Labrador should look like will make you, the owner seem even sillier than the dog which to them looks like a mix-breed!


Those others that have been indoctrinated into believing in nationality-based Labradors (English/American), those that insist that there are 2 version of the breed depending on which side of the pond it originated from………………………there’s not much that can be said to them to make them understand there is only one Labrador Retriever, regardless of what land it was born in.


They will hear you, but years of hearing the perpetuated beyond reversal 'wives tale', just will not persuade them otherwise. In the words of Paul McCartney “Let it be”. Sometimes joining them in their folly is better than trying to swim across the Atlantic.




If you take a Chambray puppy to a vet, 95% of the time they will tell you that it is overweight. So don’t even argue the point……..pay your bill and listen to me!



Ok, now the Chambray owner arrives at a dog show with a Chambray dog at the end of the leash………so what is the expected response there?


It all depends on who you hear it from. If you are in Florida, the vast majority there will be Chambray owners and 99% of those will sing the blues………………country………………….pop…………………..rock…………….classical and any and all types of sweet sounding music about their Chambray dog and Chambray experience.


There may be one or two former Chambray members that no longer have the benefit of the association and they may/may not be so obliging………sour grapes always taste sour!


Then there are those that have not been part of the Chambray experience. Some have educated themselves and have an understanding of reality and others rely on hearsay, innuendo and soured-grape gossip and then proceed to spread what they don’t know to be real.


So, here is where it really gets complicated! For now you have walked into a venue where anywhere you step, it could be on competitor’s toes!


So, expect the unexpected! Expect to hear what you haven’t experienced and will never experience, for there could be trash talking at its best and the venue will be a mine field from a few of those that have been chasing the leader and just haven’t been able to get even close in 20+ years of trying.


Competition and lack of success brings out the worst in some people and this shows up at some dog shows.



What to do? What to say?


My owners relate these adventures to me and always ask what they should say and do.


My reply is consistent through the ages, “Be honest, be truthful, just let them know of your experience with Chambray. No need to try and ‘sell’ anyone on anything. No need to convert anyone on anything they don’t know about. No need in trying to educate those that are close-minded. Leave that up to me if and when they come to the open doors that Chambray has and will have, for any and all that want to know what is and what isn’t”.

September 25th
Positive Feedback Becomes Food For Thought



Good evening Sir,

It is wonderful to hear about your success.  Years of work and great ‘family’ of owners produce truly impressive numbers.  It takes dedication and knowledge to get to that level. 


I am very impressed with you expressing your honesty to your Chambray dog owners.  It is rare in today’s world.  The desire to win is a force we all struggle with every day, doesn’t matter if it is on a personal or professional level.  The strive to do and be better is in many of us. 


Since all your dogs are the best is it up to a judge to choose which dog wins the point, something that catches their eye, a personal preference, when you are looking at such great breed representations.


My second question is about puppies, how to you know which one has a potential to become a Top show dog.  Without giving away your secrets, what do you look at in a puppy.  They are only 7 ½ weeks old, how can you tell? What makes a puppy to be top show? 


Thank you for your blog updates, it is a first thing I read every morning. 





Great to hear from you. Thank you for your feedback. Knowing that what I have to share makes a difference to others creates a desire within me to do even more.


It has taken decades of raising and then following up on the majority of dogs that we have bred to 'see' what we evaluate at 7 1/2 weeks of age and what it turns into at 2 years of age! This is a major advantage over most breeders that never ‘see’ what their dogs turn into as adults. Being a breeder, a dog trainer/conditioner and eventually handling our puppies/dogs gives us a vantage point that very few in the country have.


Since I have trained well over 20,000 dogs, mostly Labradors and a huge part of those, my own breedings, I actually get to see them either make it or break it as top show dogs.


That I feel is a huge part of our successes today as top show breeders. Plus, for 20+ years, my daughter Jessie has been an integral part of the evaluation process. She has the 'feel' for each puppy that she manipulates on the table and I have the 'vision' while she does her part.

We then confer and come to a conclusion about each puppy. We then use my wife as an independent third 'judge' in the evaluation process.


Since we are all professional dog handlers, we each have valuable input as to which are top show quality and those others that may be 'nice' but that won't have the success that the top ones will have.


September 24th

Is It The #'s Or Is It The Best


"We have had Labradors for the last 25 years and have also had them shown at dog shows. We visited the dog show in Deland and were truly surprised at the number of dogs you all show. It seems like a daunting task to compete against your organization with so many dogs that you bring out."


Yes, we had a chance to speak to each other at the show and I more or less covered the different scenarios. It’s not the numbers of dogs that win points, it’s the individual dog that the judge thinks is the best dog that will win the points.


Once, some years ago, a Labrador breeder decided to match our numbers of dogs at a show close to where he lived. He entered 12 different dogs and piled them into his pickup truck. His wife and daughter were the ones to handle the dogs. They didn’t have enough crates to set up in the building, so some of the dogs were crated in the pickup truck outside the building. It soon became evident that not a lot of planning went into the adventure because it turned into a 3-ring fiasco for them trying to get dogs into the ring, out of the ring, into crates, outside to the truck. Although people around ringside did their best to lend a hand, they began to fall way behind and started to miss classes and some of the dogs ended up being marked ‘absent’.


To begin with, very few of the dogs had any type of show training. The conditioning and grooming was very poor as well and neither of the 2 handlers was very proficient in the ring. To say that the attempt was pathetic would be a nice way of describing the ordeal as the whole family got into it and way before the judging was over, they had packed up and headed down the road as fast from the dog show as a truckload of dogs and people can move…………………….needless to say, didn’t come back for the next day’s competition!


So, anyone can enter a bevy of dogs and it has been done, but the results are another thing because so much goes into the management of an undertaking such as what we have going.


The most important issue is the conformation of the dogs………….that is first and foremost! Without that, it doesn’t matter if 99 dogs are brought out, someone with 1 good dog will beat those huge numbers!


Now, I will concur that as handlers/breeders, we have the best chances of one of our dogs winning the points. In fact, we have a winning streak right now of 89 straight dog show weekends of winning points! Unheard of for any breeder to accomplish that feat. That’s not just in Florida, that’s every state that we have traveled to since January of 2012. Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and that doesn’t include the wins that some other Chambray dogs have had traveling with other handlers.


I didn’t get to see your dogs, but the kennels and pedigrees that they have look very promising. I would be more than glad to evaluate your dogs for you. I can’t promise that we will take them on into our management program because our lineup of great dogs is full, however there have been situations where we made the room for outside dogs to come into our programs.


Bronze Grand Ch Summihill Joshua’s Battle Of Jericho came to me as a 10-week old puppy and after evaluating him, right on the spot I made room for him and the rest is history with his show career taking off and him making the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. Top 25 2013 Ranking and will be featured at the LRC National Specialty Tribute presentation.


Besides all that glory, he is one of Chambray’s top producing stud dogs.


The criteria for inclusion into our programs is whether a dog can contribute to the betterment of the breed. 

September 24th

Together To Get Better


This past weekend was a great example of what I tell my dog owners about their dogs and why it either won the points or why it didn’t win the points.


Only one male can win the points, no matter if there are a total of 10 males entered or 50 males entered, same thing goes for the females!


That’s it! That’s the answer! No need for deep, intellectual-type dissertations or excuses or anything.


Only one male and one female wins points………………………this may change in the future as it already has at those specialties where a couple of hundred or more Labradors congregate at. There are some of those where the Reserve Winners Dog and Reserve Winners Bitch will also be granted points, but for now at the all-breed dog shows we compete at………………..only one class dog/class bitch can lay claim to those all-important winners points.


My capacity at the dog shows encompasses and covers many an agenda. Of course the obvious at hand is as the manager of the entire operation. I’m also the designated driver…………………not because the others are drinking, more so because all the others will snooze the entire trip and it’s not a good thing to snooze and drive!


I am also still one of the handlers……………………ok, so much for the prestigious jobs, because I am also one of the kennel bitches, picking up poop, cleaning up spills and whatever else dribbles unto the floor or elsewhere!


Now, the biggest responsibility, the one behind the scenes is to make sure that only the best of the best of our dogs, our charges at the dog shows are truly worthy of being part of the starting lineup. Not only do they have to be the best conformationally-correct representatives for Chambray, they also have to be the best trained and best conditioned of all the dogs in our management program.


So, I serve as prosecutor, defense attorney, judge and jury and pass down the verdict as I see it. The great thing is that all of our dog owners want it that way. They want the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God……………………………and they get it!


Once again, this weekend was a prime example of the above. We had assembled a great roster for the Deland FL shows. Over 43 dogs were under consideration for Deland as soon as the last show for the summer at West Palm Beach in July was history.

All the dogs under consideraton were brought in for evaluation. A game plan was devised for each dog and owner. Some were given instructions for training and those out of shape were put on a conditioning regimen.


If the owners didn’t have the time to put into the plan, then they came to Chambray Acres for whatever ailed them. By show time, we were as ready as possible, however the proof is in the tasting of the pudding and the actual show was the trial.

No sooner had the Best Of Breed dog (Walter both days) walked out of the ring, that the wheels of justice were in motion adjudicating the verdict for each dog’s performance.


By the time the Chambray van arrived back home late, late Sunday night, each dog had been gone over and suggestions were tossed about by the entire staff of Herzons and handlers that make up Team Chambray.


Under consideration was individual ring performances and comparing each dog to the other exhibitor’s dogs as each dog was given a thorough critique.  That evaluation was then covered with each owner in the days that have followed since this last weekend.


The majority of the dogs were on point and a green light was given them for future competition, of course more training and conditioning will be part of their game plan to keep them on the razor's edge.


There were several dogs that will be sidelined for further development either for maturation or for further training. The interesting thing about those sidelined dogs is that they each are as good as any of the competitor’s dogs! But in order to keep it all top shelve and true blue, if there is something that can be done for improvement, it will be put into play and we know that each of our dog owners truly appreciates that we have the total betterment of their dogs in mind just as we have the betterment of the breed in mind with everything we do that is Labrador related.



September 23rd



Addendum to yesterday's blog:


Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! I did hear again from that Georgia Peach with the dog named Fred!


Seems that one of the people standing/sitting in the crowd to which I directed him to, reads this blog and she did agree to sell him a female that Fred could have some whoppers with!


So much for everyone being on the same page for the betterment of the breed!





I have been receiving quite a few requests for more Herzonisms...................so here's Johnny!



We all want to believe that we are all created equal………………..or so goes the thinking for those of broader minds and reasonable thought.

Well, I am here to tell you the noble, well-wishing thought doesn’t translate to dogs! All dogs are not created equal and no matter how much training, conditioning and handling is done to a poorly bred dog, it will never be equal to a better-bred dog!


No matter how much we educate, there will always be some left behind. It is human nature for someone to bring up the rear just as it is dog nature for dogs to smell each others rears.


Ever notice how winners are few and whiners are plenty. Next time at a dog show watch as all those whose dogs didn’t win gather in groups to lament their misery…………………..human misery does love human company………..dogs rise above the nonsense, they don’t care about the ribbons they weren’t given!


A dog that comes in last is as happy as the Best Of Breed winner. The only difference is the lack of attention that is given to it by the loser handler!


In the dog show world, if you can’t beat them and you can’t join them, then you just trash them because there are more people interested in the trash than in the reality…………………reality tends to be boring and trash just lights up any conversation!


The difference between humans and dogs is the tail or lack of one. Dogs have something to chase and maybe catch……………..humans on the other hand keep chasing the old proverbial goose and come up empty handed!


Notice how some people have something figured out and then along comes another minute and they are confused again.


The difference between winning and losing at a dog show is the ribbon you are given....have you ever thought about how much those ribbons are worth...........................dime a dozen comes to mind right away.


Dogs don't care how good/bad a breeder, trainer, handler people are, they go along to the dog shows and they do their thing and are happy as larks because they were given some attention. The same can not be said about their human counterparts.


When 'all else' fails'................................don't try 'all else' again.......................try 'somewhere else" or at least 'something different'.



If some things don't make sense, remember they didn't cost a cent!


September 22nd 

Live & Learn




Deland FL Weekend Roundup


At the dog show this weekend in Deland, a local Labrador owner came by the dog show to observe the Labradors in the ring.


As I was getting ready to walk into the Best Of Breed competition with Grand Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter, the gentleman and lady approached me to tell me about their “Great looking dog that was as good or better than all the dogs they had looked at today.”


Since it was ‘showtime’ for me and my specials, I excused myself and told them to see me after I had finished up in the ring. After 20 minutes in the Best Of Breed competition, I walked out with Walter’s 10th Best Of Breed since March when he championed out and his second in as many days, since he had taken BOB the day before and also a Group 3 worth 184 All-Breed points. Plus later this day he would win his 7th Sporting Group placement worth 164 points.


No sooner that I had put Walter up in his crate and before I could open up a cold drink, the couple was back telling me about their awesome ‘Fred’ and how he could run circles around this ‘boy’ I had just put in his crate.


“Yep, twice as big as that little guy” pointing to Walter, he proudly proclaimed and then he proceeded to tell me he had all kinds of plans on breeding him.


Before I could go into the ‘why’s and why nots of breeding Fred’ the man points to one of our females and tells me “she’s the one I am mostly interested in breeding to!”


“Well, it really doesn’t work that way” I offered knowing full well that this conversation was going south faster than a speeding bullet.


“How much do you want for her?” he would drawl with some chaw in his cheek.


“None of these dogs are for sale. They are all show dogs owned by someone. I am the breeder, but I also train them, condition them and then manage them here at the shows.” I responded trying my darnest to stay sensible.


“What are they trained to do?” he would come back with before I could offer up some more wisdom.


The old ‘leading a horse to water’ saying came to mind and I knew for sure that no matter how much I led this horse to water, it wasn’t going to be drinking any of it.


Thinking quickly of how to shake loose of this goose and what some of the other breeders might very well do in my predicament………………….the light came on and I used a ploy that has been directed my way many a times!


Pointing at no certain person, but more at a group of people standing outside of the ring entrance “You see that lady over there, she’s a Labrador breeder and she may be interested in your offer”. In as post haste as post haste can be, a skedaddled out of reach of this Georgia Peach and headed for parts unknown.


Maybe someone standing in that group can add more fodder to the story.






It was very nice seeing a good lineup of dogs at the show this past weekend. Without exception all of the 40 or so Labradors there were very moderate and well within the parameters of the breed standard. All of the dogs could very well have a ‘high’ day and catch any given judge’s eye and win points. This is all good for the betterment of the breed.


Both judges offered up a good commentary about the lineup presented them. In fact, one of the judges shared that at the last show she officiated at, half the dogs were ‘way overweight’!


“I really like a dog that has full command of the ring and the ground it covers.” Was another offering about the Best Of Breed selection (Walter).


“Overall consistency in size, weight and conditioning” was another observation from one of the judges.


Which is pretty much the way I see it here in Florida, especially in the last couple of years. In order to compete with the more successful dogs, the shorter, squattier, less-leg-under them dogs have not been coming out to play, so a more consistent, moderate, more consistent look was become the norm.


Let’s see what the lineup of dogs looks like this coming weekend at the Ocala shows where a Labrador breeder/judge will officiate at Sunday’s show.







A couple of attendees at the show inquired about some of the more recent blogs and whether any of them pertained to them. My response always is “If the shoe fits, wear it!’


What many forget or don’t know is that the majority of the blogs I publish have nothing to do with the local Florida breeders. More emails and queries come from out of state enthusiast and blog followers than those on a local basis. Since I use the blog to answer the repetitive emails, it follows suit that most of the topics and subject matters will lay at others feet………………but once again heed the ‘shoes’ saying.








A ringside observer inquired as to how we (Chambray) can manage ‘so many dogs’. Of course the tone of voice and demeanor was more of ‘why so many dogs’.


To which I answered “Watch and learn and then there will be a quiz at the end of Best Of Breed”. I never saw the lady again……………………..so I figured that she learned her lesson well!


September 19th


"Your recent blog mentioned ‘backline breeding’ & ‘type breeding’. I know some about ‘inbreeding’, ‘line breeding’ and ‘outcrossing’, so what is ‘backline breeding’ and ‘type breeding’?"


Once I receive multiples of the same question, then I know it’s time to write a blog to educate, because assuredly there are many more that read these blogs that may not know but that don’t write in to ask.


To shorten and simplify my answer I will only be directing the response to the breeding of Labrador Retrievers where the gene pool is large with this breed of dogs. In other breeds where there are only a handful of dogs, thus a very close genetic gene pool, the following terms may not apply.


Most knowledgeable breeders will more or less concur with the following.


In-breeding is the closest pairing possible which will include:

Sire to daughter (next generation)
Dam to son (“)
Brother to sister (full siblings or half siblings) (same generation)
other combinations where the relationship is either close related on the same generation of close related on the next generation.


Close line breeding: Usually 1 Generation removed.

Sire to granddaughter (1 generation removed)
Dam to grandson (“)
1st cousins (“)
Uncle to niece (“)
Aunt to nephew (“)


Common Line-breeding to the 2nd or 3rd generation:

Any pairing where there is a relative on both sides of the breeding back 2 or 3 generations.



Distant Line-breeding may be considered to the 4th to 5th generation.


Anything further back to the 6th generation and beyond more or less is not considered a line breeding and more of an outcross.


Outcross is where there are no dogs in common on either pedigree of the sire or bitch to the 5th generation.


Back Line-breeding is a term I use in my breeding program where I go back to a certain ‘line’ of dogs every other generation or so.

For example, the Chambray lines go back to Receiver Of Cranspire, introduced in the US in the 1980’s. Now 8 to 10 generations removed from most of our dogs. From time to time, I will look for a stud dog that also goes back to Receiver that shows the prominent traits of that great dog. By continuously ‘dipping’ back into those lines with those traits, our dogs will continue to display those traits as well. In essence, keeping ‘alive’ those desirable traits


Type breeding is a bit more complex and specific. This is where the lines of the dogs are not as critical as the ‘look’ is of the 2 dogs used in the breeding. So, two dogs that display very similar physical attributes and whose parents and grandparents also displayed those same features are paired together, even if they are not related as in a line breeding, in the expectations that the similar features are passed on to a good percentage of the offspring.


In all types of breedings it is paramount to have as much information on the ancestors going back as far as possible.

Nothing is cast in stone when it comes to breeding dogs. At times, the best planned pairings end up producing very undesirable results.


PS: I have never had the inclination to do any In-breedings. Our breeding program has consisted of Common Line-Breeding, Back Line-Breeding, Outcrosses and Type Breedings.



September 17th

Why Not? 


Mr. Herzon your dogs are gorgeous. I have visited their pedigree pages and they are top drawer. Are there independent breeders, not part of Chambray in your state that you use their dogs?


If someone has a dog that I thought would complement a female under breeding consideration, I would not hesitate to approach the subject with that breeder. The driving force for me is the betterment of the breed and not self-serving agendas.


In fact there is a Florida owner/breeder that has an exceptional champion from Australia that I am very interested in doing some ‘backline’ breeding to. Our top stud dog of all times, BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff ‘Hogan’ maternal lines go back to Croftsway and Driftway, Australia and New Zealand’s 2 top Labrador breeders.


In Florida there are a couple of long-time established show breeders (20+ years) that have nice dogs, however their style and type at the time is not the way that I want to steer my breeding program. Our dogs are more athletic with good leg under them and not the stockier, shorter-legged dogs that these breeder specialize in.


The rest of the breeders are either ‘up or coming’ or ‘dabblers’ and are well below the development level that the Chambray lines are at. So that would really rule out the use of any of those dogs.


Since some our girls are now well into our 9th generation, we have quite a few ways to do backline breeding to some of the greatest producing dogs of the breed. There are dozens and dozens of top producers in the country standing at stud that are available for doing line breeding, backline breeding, outcross breeding and type breeding.


We then have our own champion producing stud dogs that are available for our own girls, including a couple of dogs that were incorporated into the Chambray breeding program with great outside blood.


I always keep an eye open and an ear poised for introductions or incorporations that will benefit our breeding program and as stated above, I won’t hesitate to inquire from an owner or a breeder for the use of their dog for the betterment of the breed.


September 17th

The Best Of The Best







"For years I have followed your blogs, in fact from the very beginning and before that visited your site and read the articles that you published then. I have learned so much from you publishing your extreme expertise on all matters with Labrador Retrievers. Something that’s escaped me over the years has been why with your overwhelming successes have the other show breeders not teamed up with you and your dogs?"


First of all, thank you for the very positive feedback. If people didn’t visit and read what I have to share and if they didn’t respond the way you have, I would not spend any time writing and publishing………..there would be no need and no point. However as long as I have these great numbers of visitors on a daily basis with the tremendous amount of positive feedback, then I know there are many out there that I can share with, mentor and educate about the betterment of the breed.


Today there are well over 200 dog owners that in one way of another benefit from the many programs offered by Chambray Labradors. The way I figure it, that is the largest group of owners, breeders and exhibitors based around a breeder in the entire country! Not even the largest breed or all-breed clubs have memberships that come close. As a comparison just here in South Florida there are about 10 all-breed clubs, from South Dade to Vero Beach and over to Ft Myers and all of the members of those clubs don’t add up to the owners that comprise and surround Chambray Labradors!


That may answer part of your question of why others don’t join in…………………… I already have my hands/time/mind full with the existing owners, breeders and exhibitors that are part of Chambray Labradors……………..well over 100 of them on a close encounter way and another 100 are a bit more independent, but still in the fold.


There are even a few that got their show start with Chambray, benefited greatly from our programs and then we parted ways and they operate totally independent, which is the way I choose for them. There are others that have their own beginnings and thrive on their own with a modicum of success over the years and that’s also a good thing.


Those that can work within the parameters of our programs are here and those that came on board and didn’t work out are somewhere else. Since I more or less choose who I place our top show puppies with, I am always on the lookout for people that appreciate my involvement with the breed and that are capable of working in a cooperative venture such as Chambray Labradors is.

Placing the ‘best puppies’ with the ‘best owners’ means just that………………………………..the ‘best owners’ that will be part of Chambray Labradors.


With that in mind, the best possible dogs with the best possible owners are already part of the most successful Labrador Breeder’s community in the country.

September 15th 2014

It's Almost Showtime!



The Florida 2014 Fall Dog Show season starts out as back-to-back weekends with major-pointed shows at all 4 shows for September!

Hurray and wahoo…………….yippe ki yay……………….wowser-wowser-wowser and ‘that’s the way I like it’, plus any other joy-filled shout out, song or tribal chant of excitement that gives any folk or bloke that downhome good feeling!


The numbers just came out for the Ocala shows slated for  09/27-28 and those added up to both days of majors for the males. Ocala follows this weekend’s 2 days of majors, Saturday and Sunday in Deland.


This gives all those male dogs needing only majors, 4 great opportunity to finish out their championship title. For the females, the going for those majors will be a bit tougher as each day the Winners Bitch would need to also go Best Of Winners over the Winners Dog to also earn the major.


This occurrence of one sex earning a major by winning over the other sex is referred to as a ‘cross over’ and it is common enough for it to also happen at some of these shows coming up.


We are now in ‘gearing up mode’ with our dogs for the trek up the road to Deland. From now until Friday when we depart north for the 5-hour ride, we will be tweaking the training with each dog, touching up their appearances as well and also as “Hans and Franz’ would say getting ourselves all ‘pumped up’!


For years, we have done our jobs in breeding for the best……………for each of those selected dogs, training and conditioning as good as it gets………….we then plan on doing our absolute best in the presentation of each dog and then we will rely on each of the appointed judges to recognize those efforts by awarding the best dog for the day the points for that one day.


In this business/competition I see it as preparation being 75% and presentation accounting for the other 25%. That adds up to 100% of those things that we can do to achieve success.


The unknown part of the equation is the validation that is up to those judges. It is the one area that is out of our immediate control. The judge’s verdicts are as variable as there are infinite amount of numbers. There is nothing taken for granted when walking into a ring with any of our dogs.


I constantly advise our dog owners that we do everything possible to have the best dogs there, we train and condition like no one else does, we provide the best handling possible for those dogs and then we take our chances in the ring for that one person’s personal preference and opinion!


It is as simple as that! One person’s like or dislike, be it the right choice or not……………win points or not,  then we prepare for the next day’s show and once again take our chances for another person’s like or dislike. Having done our very best, there are no explanations as to why a certain dog wins points and all the others have to wait for the process to repeat itself the very next day or next weekend of shows.


A very difficult concept for some to follow, understand and accept, but none the less, the way it is!


So, now game day approaches and the excitement begins to grow for all those involved with Chambray’s Show Dog Management Program. From the owners to their dogs, from the top brass (the Herzons) to our handlers and assistants………………….all on countdown mode, all waiting for the opening bell….the standing at attention for the Star Spangled Banner and the announcement of ‘ladies and gentlemen start your engines’.


So, have a safe trip and good luck to all.

September 14th
Q & A Round Up

Questions and Answers September 2014



“How do you determine which dogs your program will show at the dog shows?”


It’s all about the U! The UM that is, as only the most ‘UMbelievable’ dogs will get shown!! Hey, a pun now and then keeps Jack from being a dull boy!


Chambray’s Show Management Program does not compromise when deciding which dogs make the A-Team! Only the top conformation dogs are considered and then the starting lineup is assembled starting with the best adult dogs, and then the younger dogs and then finally the puppy classes are considered.


“How young do you all start out the training with the puppies?”


I practically scoop them off the floor at birth and start handling them and getting them used to my voice.


Same thing with all of the Chambray owners that are now producing 99% of our litters. Each of those owners have been mentored to follow the same home-rearing method that I have been using for 44 years now.


Each litter spends the first 6 weeks with the dam at the owner’s home and each owner follows the special Chambray Puppy Raising Protocol of high socialization and human bonding (training).


Then each litter comes to Chambray Acres for 2 to 3 weeks until I feel they are ready for their new homes at 8 to 9 weeks of age.


During that time they are here with us we do Leadership Training and Free Range Environmental Training along with individual training sessions with the different resident trainers, assistants, apprentices and intern trainers working at Chambray. 


Once they leave for their new homes, we encourage each owner to come back within 2 weeks for the first lesson of their free private training that comes with each Chambray puppy placed.



“How do all the other Labrador breeders in Florida feel about Chambray?”


This might be a good project for someone with idle time to take up, go around feeling out all the other breeders/exhibitors!


In the big picture of our involvement with Labradors, how other breeder/exhibitors feel and think matters very little, in fact there isn’t any thought given that subject.


At the dog shows we are so concentrated on each and every one of our dogs and owners that the only time we see which other breeder, exhibitor and handler is there is when looking at the catalog for each class that needs to go into the ring.


Months before a dog show weekend comes around, we are busy deciding which of our dogs is ready for competition. Drawing up the starting lineup consumes much of the thinking time, then getting those chosen dogs trained and conditioned becomes the driving force for game day for all of us. 



“Which breeder’s/exhibitor’s dogs do you feel comes in second to your dogs in your area?”


Honestly, our dogs are our own competition. Each of our top 9 males and top 9 females are their own competitors for Winners Dog and for Winners Bitch points. So which ever breeder is 2nd to Chambray, they must get past our whole starting lineup of males and females before they can see the light of day. Now, besides those 9 of each sex, there are 6 other dogs of each sex of equal show value that will be alternated with the starters, so at times we will have some of the top dogs sitting on the sidelines giving some of our other top dogs the opportunity to win those points.



I see the whole competition thing like a horse race……………………..the Chambray dogs all bunched up leading the pack………………way out in front, going head-to-head for the wins and then way back in the middle of the race track there is a small pack of dogs from some of the better breeders and then there is another group bringing up the rear.


Here’s the deal, we wish each and every competitor the best of luck. We hope that each of them strives for the betterment of the breed. We feel the competition is the absolute best way to drive the quality of our breed to even higher levels.


Whether any of the other Florida breeders, exhibitors or handlers wants to admit it or not, our programs to produce the best, to train and condition to be even better and then to handle for the best presentation has been the catalyst that has made Florida one of the toughest areas of the country to compete in.


Years back, it was customary for the northern Labrador breeders to send truckloads of their Labs down to Florida with well-known professional handlers for what they referred to as the ‘easy pickings’ against those ‘sh*tey’ Florida dogs down there…………………….well, that’s all changed and one by one those pro handlers have detoured to other areas where they may have better odds of scooping up those easy wins.


Even the Florida Winter Circuit which was traditional dominated by those same pro handlers with transported dogs from the frigid states, have dwindled down to 2 or 3 die-hards trying to capture the glory from the good old days……………of course much to their chagrin, the pickins are lean to say the least.

September 14th

More Winds Of Change



Thank you to all those that have responded to the recent Righting the Grapevine blog. It’s encouraging and refreshing to hear from so many from all over about the good press & PR being broadcasted about Chambray Labradors and my efforts for the betterment of the breed!


It is so gratifying to be able to make a difference to the local Labrador community and to have that effort be recognized throughout the country attested by so many fine folk that I have never had the privilege and opportunity to meet.


Throughout the years, I have maintained that the best remedy for falsehoods and misconceptions is to prove them wrong…………………however not through fighting words or cantankerous actions. Nothing will right a wrong better than proving the wrong to be wrong and the best way to do that is through positive actions. In other words, let our actions, successes, goodwill, fellowship, camaraderie and overall ambassadorship for the breed do the talking for us.


Success has a way of making believers out of the doubtful and convincing the erroneous to at least look a little closer and maybe see their erred ways. Facts are difficult to ignore and will make fiction and falsehoods, just that!


The tide indeed has changed along with other areas of ‘good for a change’ and the victors are all those that have the ‘betterment of the breed’ first and foremost as their credo, goal and mission. How can we go wrong when we all do what’s in the best interest of Labrador Retrievers?


September 13th 2014

Setting The Grapevine Straight







I had a woman at the show today ask me how strict the restrictions and commitment required by Sandy Herzon were of the owner of a Chambray dog. She could tell by the look on my face that I really did not know what she was talking about so she immediately rattled off a list of things about breeding, showing, and other horrible things that sounded like they came from the fine print on a credit card application.