"Questions are the keys to understanding,
answers are the open doors that will follow,
choosing the right door to proceed through will
determine if the correct path was taken."
V. Sandy Herzon
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.
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.
Signing Off Till 2016
In a recent blog someone wrote in saying that the person she purchased her dog from “can’t remember how many champions she has bred”…………………………………that would be comparable to a mother saying they don’t remember how many children they have had!
To the vast majority of those in the dog fancy, the number of champions a breeder has bred is what defines that breeder’s level up the totem pole. So much so that each breed has a tally at the end of the year and the breeder that championed more dogs in a year can lay claim to Top Breeder for that year for that breed.
The breeder that has bred the most champions ever in a given state can likewise proclaim themselves Top Champion Breeder of that breed in that state!
So, for someone to snuff out that memory really raises a few hairs on my head that I no longer (hair) have.
There should be a Hall Of Shame that we all could nominate and assign breeders that make all kinds of claims that not even a clam could make!
Recently someone emailed me a list of nefarious blokes right here in Florida that have websites and advertise themselves as ‘breeders of champions’!
Do they have no shame? Do they not know that others know that they are just a pet puppy producer and some have never ever had a bred by dog with even 1 AKC champion’s point!
I brought this up face to face to one of those hot air braggarts and her answer to me was that she had several ‘International’ champions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Come on a folk, that’s like winning a cake walk at the local park versus winning an Olympic Gold Medal in the 100 meters!
Hey, I use the International venues to debut our newest puppies to get them ready for the big time, the AKC shows. We encourage all our new owners to get their feet wet at these informal ‘testing ground’ for puppies and young dogs. They allow me to determine which puppies AND OWNERS have what it takes to rise to the top levels of AKC competition. We celebrate any ribbons, any win, any awards and especially the record setting number of Best In Shows that the Chambray dogs win there. Each and every Chambray dog that we take to those venues comes away with a ‘champion’s title’ which is added to the dog’s resume…………………………………but let’s make things perfectly clear here and now……………………..the real celebration, the real annotation for that dog will be when it achieves its AKC champion’s title, until then, it is not officially a champion of record!
Although it sounds like a great idea for me to post that list of those shameless breeders that claim having been to the moon…………………….on second thought, not giving them the few seconds of print hopefully will keep them out of mind of all those that stumble upon their meaningless acclaims.
There was another ‘concerned’ contributor that suggested that I ‘expose’ those breeders that do their best to ‘slam’ Chambray. It seems that the concerned person was ‘shopping’ around for a puppy here in Florida and she encountered several ‘hostile’ breeders that did their best to ‘trash’ me and Chambray after she made mention that she had also contacted us and that she had ‘thoroughly’ gone over all the ‘amenities and guarantees’ that Chambray offers!
Just as a forewarning to anyone ‘shopping’ puppies………………..don’t mention Chambray or Sandy Herzon to any other breeder you contact! What you will get is the following mentality ‘I can’t compete against their dogs or their offerings, so let me do my best to make myself look good by making them sound bad!
That is one of the oldest gimmicks used by used car salesmen to make a sale of their inferior product. Trash those on top and there is always a percentage of gullible types that will be ‘sold’ on the negative sales technique!
A breeder with a good product and a good service will dwell on those positives and never ever invoke anyone below them to make a sale……………………let alone try and besmirch the top product/service provider!
At Chambray Labradors we let our dogs and our 45 years of service to the community speak volumes and at the dog shows…………………..I can’t stop our owners from doing all the talking……………hey word of mouth, like a picture is worth a thousand of my words!
Well, other than the above, all seems quiet, so I will bid adieu for about 5 days as I take a well-deserved little cruise on down to the Caribbean. See all of you on the other side of the New Year……………………Happy 2016 to all!
Truth Or Dare
"I have been following you and your dogs for a couple of years and your entire approach to breeding and showing dogs is so different to the many that I speak to about their dogs and their breeding programs.
I just read your 7 points to success blog and then shared it with the breeder of my current young dog. She says that she breeds for the best and then sits back and sees which puppies will rise to where she feels will be successful in the show ring. She says that those are the puppies that she will be bringing out to the dogs shows!
That is radically different than your method of producing, selecting and then showing dogs. She has been breeding for over 25 years and says she can’t remember how many champions she has produced. I have known her for 3 years and I also can’t remember her finishing any dogs in that time. I am starting to think that she is one of those that you mentioned in another blog as the 'wishing and a hoping type!"
Read that part of paragraph 2 which she states “she breeds for the best and then sits back and sees which puppies will rise to where she feels will be successful in the show ring. She says that those are the puppies that she will be bringing out to the dogs shows!”
That could only mean one thing! She keeps the best for herself and sells the rest………………………more than likely, what you obtained from her which is your young dog now. If she kept the best 2 or 3 from that litter, of course assuming she has the ‘gift’ of really, really knowing which is the best as puppies……………..what are your chances that your 4th or further down the line puppy has a prayer?
Furthermore, if you live in her state and you are planning on showing your dog, which dogs do you think will be winning? Your ‘down the line’ dog or her ‘keep the best and sell the rest’ dogs…………….that to me is a no brainer!
You also mentioned that she suggests that you wait until the dog is mature enough to see if it is what she would consider competitive…………………………..for some breeders that sell dogs, that’s a way of keeping out of sight those dogs they feel will not do them any good being seen by others.
If I was you, I would have the dog evaluated by a couple of different professional handlers. The vast majority will be painfully honest with you about the dog’s chances in the show ring. Those pros with integrity will not walk into the ring with a 2nd rate dog.
Don’t waste too much time going to other breeders, as most have agendas of their own and may not be as honest about your dog as they should be. If the dog is 2nd rate, they may encourage you to show the dog to throw its breeder under the bus…………….if on the other hand the dog is worthy, they may poopoo your dog so that you won’t be competition for their dogs.
Hey, it’s a dog eat dog world out there and you need to know which ones bite!
From the photos you sent me, do yourself a favor and the next time you want a show quality dog, approach those breeders that have a winning show record going. The most important item that you need to address with anyone you are dealing with for your next show dog……………..make sure that they know you will be bringing this dog out and that you want a bona fide show prospect!
Someone, Prove Me Wrong
To those that still don’t get it about winning………………………..guess what, you never will!
That’s why there are winners in the world and there are those that don’t even know there is a finish line.
All that namby pamby, do-gooder stuff about feeling good about losing,.............. breeds ineptitude and lackadaisical results for everything else attempted.
Give me…………………… ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’..................... ‘Losing is not an option’…………………………… ‘play the game to win, congratulate the loser for trying’.
Being the best at something is the reward for doing all the right things it takes to get there…………………losing on the other hand should be the lesson of what needs to be done to make it better. If losing is rewarded, there is no incentive to do better!
The very first step in breeding better dogs is knowing what better dogs are!
All those that start at the bottom, breeding indiscriminately……………….not knowing what is up or what is down, will produce years and years’ worth of mistakes that others will have to live with for a decade or more…………………with some of those perpetuating those mistakes made by breeding those mistakes themselves………………………….all adding to the gene pool of the dastardly!
Once the spermatozoa breaks through the lining of the egg, that’s it, that’s the creation of how much the ‘breeder’ knows or doesn’t know. You can’t alter the product later on, you can’t change the tires or fix the roof…………………….that combination of genes will persist for the lifetime of that individual produced.
Accomplishing this vital first step involves knowing the individual breed standard to a T! Knowing what the ‘paramount’ characteristics are that set that breed apart and also all the secondary traits that make one member of the breed stand out over the rest goes a long way to achieving the betterment of the breed mission.
The 2nd very important step in breeding dogs is knowing what combination of dogs to put together to perpetuate the better qualities of each dog that the pair possesses. This now involves the ‘study’ of inheritance from the ancestors of the 2 dogs involved in the pairing. So, knowing each dog is vital and knowing the dogs behind each of those dogs……………………several generations back…………………..the further back on that family tree the better……………………… will increase the chances of producing the right stuff in the succeeding generation.
The 3rd ‘get it right’ agenda is being able to ‘see’ at 8 weeks of age, which of the puppies in the litter are indeed the best specimens produced.
Since now a day those breeding dogs may not have the capability of hanging on to multitudes of dogs produced, it is imperative that those breeders be able to project for the future and select the best progeny from each breeding.
This ability is what will separate the perennial winners at the dog show level and make losers of those that do not have the vision beyond cute, cuddling puppies running around in front of them.
The 4th step is the one that sets Chambray apart from all the rest of the breeders at the upper most echelon of show dogs! This is where we take the very best puppies in each litter……………….of course having first mastered the first three steps………………….we are able to recruit new owners to become the ‘stewards and sponsors’ of those puppies………………………stewards and sponsors means loving owners and the backers for those puppies at the dog shows where before that, each of them will be prepared for, by the 5th element!
The 5th step on the road to unparalleled successes is the mentorship environment that is provided to ensure the quickest and best way to the goal of being the best. Without this process, the greater majority of top-notch show puppies placed with people are lost by ineptitude, by poor decision making, by hardheadedness, by all the frailties that humans are fraught with! Even some of the top Chambray puppies that were placed with folk that like Sinatra, 'wanted to do it their way'………………………99% of those headed off the cliffs of disaster!
The 6th step is the training and conditioning programs that either hone the dog to perfection or make it just a dog that shows up and goes through the paces, including walking out of the ring a perpetual ‘non-winner’! Those in our management program are at the top of their game here and those that have no inkling what I am talking about here are as clueless as those DoDo birds that no longer exist!
The icing on the cake, the coup de grace, the taking the bull by the horn…………………the most obvious to all those around ringside watching is the handling of those dogs! This is the spotlight on all 7 prior agendas it takes to be on top. It is what everyone sees and it is the catalyst that makes all the years of work behind the scenes come together in those fleeting seconds that a judge has to select out the winners!
So, winning is no accident……………..it isn’t about getting lucky……………………………unfortunately I don’t see many breeding today that have an iota of a clue of the steps it takes to get from point A to point Z……………even with all the educating, mentoring, illustrating, calling attention to, and the constant harping I do for the betterment of the breed.
Hey, I hope I am wrong about the preceding.....................for the betterment of the breed, I hope someone comes up and proves to me that they have finally got it!
Keep It Coming
"Come on now, there can’t be that many loose screws out there? Please do tell me that you are being humorous and entertaining us when you write up these blogs. If true, then the turnip truck is overloaded and needs to speed up a bit and make crazy turns to knock some of these people into reality! If it wasn’t so funny, it would be sad the things that people say and do.
Those continual whiners that complain about not winning, a wonder why, you have been very cordial by not mentioning their names, but on occasions at the dog shows, I have inquired from you and you have pointed them out and their dogs as well. No wonder again that they don’t have a leg to stand on or a prayer to be successful with their dogs and worse for them, their attitude and ways of doing things!
The ones that seemed to be a little more successful are those that started with you and your dogs and learned the ropes from you. They have modeled their practices after what you do and emulate the procedures you have in place. You go to their website and the same thing there, an attempt at imitating what you have done there as well. What a huge complement imitation is!
You got to hand it to them, because they learned from the best and at least are doing something better than those others that did not mentor with you.
Keep it all going at the shows and keep the hilarious and absurd coming at these blogs."
The Same Thing
"I had a very similar experience at the Orlando dog shows as the couple that flew down to be there that day to meet up with you. In fact I spoke with them at length about our mutual interest in Labradors and how you had also invited me to be there too to meet you. I also spoke with half a dozen of your owners as well. All of them know what a tremendous difference there is between Chambray and the other breeders. So much so that several of them encouraged me to seek out several of the others there and speak to them to see it for myself.
I did and they were right! Right away, the difference was night and day in their professionalism or better said, the non-professional manner in which a couple of them spoke and acted. One person couldn’t be bothered, in fact she seemed very bothered that I had been speaking to all those Chambray owners. There was one that even went on to say that she couldn’t compete against all that Chambray offered to its owners because she just sold her puppies and the owners could then chose to go where ever they wanted for training and since she wasn’t a vet, she couldn’t offer any advice on health care.
No wonder none of those that were pointed out to me as being Florida breeders had any of their dog’s owners there. That speaks volumes for their involvement with the breed other than breeding dogs and selling puppies. After my third attempt at speaking to one of the others, I came back and sat the rest of the day watching all the activities in the ring as part of that big Chambray group that was there cheering all your dogs on.
I can’t wait to drive down to Miami to see the puppy you are making available to me. I look forward to taking part in your entire offerings and programs and hope that I too can be part of that Chambray group next year at the Eukanuba, this time I will be one of those owners in the audience cheering the Chambray dogs on including my own."
Beauty Indeed Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
Especially When The Same Beauty Is Shared By So Many
"What a thrill it was for us to be at this year’s Eukanuba! It truly is an event that I recommend to any and all those that have dogs and that are either already showing or are considering getting started. Thank you so much for letting us know about it, for inviting us to meet you there and for spending the time that you did in spite of how incredibly busy all of you are with the Labradors that are part of your entourage.
It did not take us long to see the vast difference between your organization and the other Labrador breeders there. The simple fact that you have so many of your owners there with their dogs showing, really showcases your programs like no one else has. Each of your dog owners is a living, breathing, walking validation of what you have put together. At the drop of a hat any of them were more than willing to speak with us about their experiences with you, and about their dog they obtained from you. Out of all those hundreds of breeders, none had owners all around the ring like you had. Having a following like that shows how valuable all the extras that you provide are.
We came totally sold before we made the airplane trip down to Florida to meet up with you there, meeting and seeing all the wonderful owners and then having the opportunity to sit with you and listen to your passion for everything you do with the breed, really takes this Labrador involvement you all have to a completely different level, make that another world.
Watching the entire days’ worth of activities was amazing and sharing all that with the large group of Chambray owners was special. The fact that you were so successful in the show ring with awards and distinctions was added icing on the cake as a reward for all you do with the breed, the dogs and their owners.
Congratulations on a lifetime of achievements. We sincerely hope that our interview went well for us and that you found us to be the type of owner that you wish for one of your puppies."
There Was Dear Abby..............Now We Have Dear Sandy
You too seemed to have been fooled by the government! I read one of your blogs and you mentioned the men on the moon, there’s never been men on the moon, that’s one of those things made up by the government to deceive us into paying more taxes. So many people know about these cover ups that the government doesn’t try to cover them up any more which is proof that they existed in the first place.
If dogs could talk they would tell you all these things, because dogs know the truth since they can’t be fooled by what the government writes and tells people. My dog knows when it going to rain, she even knows when it will be dangerous for me to go out somewhere. When I sense from her something dreadful about to happen, then I become very vigilant and sure enough the next day I will read in the paper of yet another very bad thing that has happened somewhere.
Let all your readers know that they need to listen to their dogs more often and bad things will not happen to them.
Valeria Combs OK
Thank you so much for your contributions throughout the year. You always seem so intuit and hypersensitive to your dogs and the environment with the things you write me. Wishing you the best in 2016.
I have learned to ‘read’ my dog’s body language. When we take hikes through the woods, he can sniff the ground and know when there were rabbits there before us. He does this twisting and turning around, like chasing his tail dance. Then he runs off towards where the rabbits are and then comes back to the trail where I wait for him and he does that little dance again and off he goes in another direction.
If we encounter deer scent, he jumps up and down, sort of telling me that these are bigger animals instead of the little rabbits that he dances around to tell me about. He runs off into the woods and then returns telling me that they are somewhere in those woods.
He can even tell me about little mice, because he does this scratching and digging into the ground to tell me they have gone underground.
One time he ran into the woods and was out of sight for a few moments and then I heard him screaming and howling and he came out of the woods and ran all the way home without even waiting to tell me anything, until I realized that it was his way of telling me to run like hell because he had either seen a bear or a ghost, so I too ran home and never looked back!
Edward Mantooth BC
I am glad both of you are ok.
My dog is smarter than most of the people I know. She goes to the water bowl and sits in front of it when it is empty as she wants it filled up, she does the same for the food bowl, but with the food bowl, she paws at it and drags it on the floor where it makes lots of noise. She goes to the back yard door and touches the door with one of her paws because she wants out. She grabs her leash when she wants to be walked. When she wants to watch TV, she sits in front of it for me to turn it on. If she doesn’t like the program, she turns around and looks straight at me for me to change the channels. She once urinated on a man’s foot to tell me that he was probably not a kind person. She does hundreds of more things but you probably get hundreds of others who write you the same thing.
Connie and Conny (I named her after me, but changed the way the name is written so as to not confuse the people that know us and call us by name)
Thank you both of you for sharing your excellent adventures.
My husband and I got divorced and we have joint custody of our dog, Speedo. It is very difficult for me when she is away because heavens only knows if Scott is taking good care of her. It’s not like the dog can come home and tell me if she is being abused by Scott’s new interest or her kids! My advice is for every married couple to have 2 dogs, that way when they get divorced, each takes a dog and then the dogs don’t suffer as much.
Honestly, I don’t think that anyone is going to take the time and energy to drive a distance to pick up a dog to only have it abused! Maybe, you should get a 2nd dog to keep you company while Speedo is away. By the way, where did the name Speedo come from? Better yet, I don’t want to know.
I adopted my dog from a shelter at 6 months of age. Is there a way of know if she was abused. When she first meets someone, she pees on the floor and also turns on her back like if she is being beaten! I tried to find out who the people were that got rid of her as I wanted to ask them if they had beaten her. The manager says that is confidential information. I have become friends with one of the workers at the shelter and would like to know if it is appropriate to ask her to look into the files for me to get that information.
First of all, you would be putting your new ‘friend’ at risk of losing her job for ‘stealing’ the information. Second, you could be putting yourself in harms way by antagonizing strangers that may feel you are transgressing on their privacy………………………….this doesn’t sound like it will have a good ending.
My Christmas Gift
My Christmas gift to myself today was being able to sleep in all day until 4 PM this afternoon…………..of course I didn’t go to bed until 4 AM this morning with the family festivities lingering on from the 24th, so being in bed through most of the day was a matter of perspective of time.
I had arranged for one of our interns to come in and take care of the dogs early in the morning, but me being me, got up 3 hours after I laid my head down to check up on the dogs before she was to arrive………………..all was well! I also check my emails to make sure the world is still turning (get it? As the World Turns!)…………………..it felt like the world was turning and none of the emails that had come in since 4 AM were of any troubling matter…………..so back to bed I went.
Then at 12 noon, I got up out of bed again to make sure that she had no ‘problems’ to report on the log we keep where every burp and hiccup, poop and regurgitation is noted, where a scratch is written up AND taken care of with whatever I deem will take care of the problem…………………..where all the dogs that are here for training are notated when the trainer works with them and a status report is given for where we are with that dog’s improvement.
Seeing that the log was posted up and that nothing out of the ordinary needed my attention, I skedaddled back to bed for a couple more hours…………………...but before I put the log back in its designated place, I checked the emails to see if any dire needs needed some desires…………………..nothing of any consequence and back to the other zip code in our very huge and sprawling house……………………the one I designed and took 4 years to build all by my lonesome………………….if you Google it on Goggle Map, you will see that it is in the shape of an H…………………get it? H for Herzon! Yep, took me 4 full years to get around to erecting 5000 square feet of monstrosity on the 5 acres we all stand, sit and lay on each day!
So when I say another zip code………………..we need walkie-talkies to communicate…………………not really but we actually will call on one of the landline numbers to one of the other landline numbers to find out where someone is in the house!
The great thing about a house that is so spacious……………………is that each of the 4 Herzons has their very own independent section of the house where if need be, that space can be used to hermitize (made up word) for the day, days or week!
My space is the front northwest section of the house; all 850 square feet of it…………………that’s the world famous Labrador Museum!
Yep, my own little world where I work and play all day…………….especially now at old age where we have 5 different people doing my bidding…………well, exclude Johanna from those 5 because she doesn’t do bidding well, especially from me………………but the rest are members of Team Chambray, those apprentices that have turned into interns and handling assistants and doers of all that needs doing throughout the day at Chambray where they are scheduled to work Monday through Sunday (7 days).
Johanna has a desk in my space, but her world is the exact opposite end of the house, the south east corner that is the largest section of the house, well over 1200 square feet of master bedroom, huge bathroom/shower, even bigger sitting area with a hostess area with refrigerator and the coup de grace for any woman………………….a walk-in/dressing room and closet for cloths and a built in shoe closet in the walk-in room (yep, a closet inside a closet)……………………oh, I get a closet too, but it’s a squeeze-in closet where I squeeze in, pull something off the rod and get dressed in the bathroom! It’s off to the side in the master bedroom, so that I don’t perturb the goings ons in the ‘woman cave’!
Jessie also has a self-contained area as big as my museum is, that’s because that room is on the north east corner which is a mirror image of the northwest corner. Jessie can hibernate there for days and we may never run into each other………………..that’s a good thing at times! She has her own private entrance and escape…………..her own bath and beyond………..well you get it, she’s way out on her own over there, so much so that no one else in the house ever roams in that vicinity.
The southwest corner of the structure is the entertainment area…………………….the mirror image of the master bedroom sans the walk-in behemoth closet/dressing room. There is a full-sized professional pool table in the 24 x 24 room…………………..a full sized air hockey table, a foosball table, a roller ball table, the traditional dart board…………………my extensive collection of sports prints, photos and memorabilia……………..including several photos of my childhood hero, Mickey Mantle. Marino also adorns the walls as does Dwayne Wade, the Shaq, LeBron James, Chris Bosch and several of the top stars of the past from the Marlins.
There is also a 12/12 TV room with one of those absurdly-sized big screen TVs. What a waste of money that TV is, because once folk arrive at the entertainment area, they scream and shout playing all the games there and you can’t hear nothing coming from the TV!
There are 3 more bedrooms lodged around the house and one of those rooms that 'butts' up (in more ways than one) to my Labrador World room is Ryan’s bedroom/shutoff from the rest of the world……………………he has all the luxuries that today’s non-responsible generation could want………..his own dormitory with a quick getaway front door to his car that he parks right up against the large picture glass window in front of his royal abode. He has his own bathroom and the greatest perk while living at home is that the humongous kitchen area……………all 300 square feet with 2 full-sized, chockfull of food and beverage refrigerators, is steps away from the door to his assigned space.
Gee, where was I when I was his age?
Hey, I know……………………..I was living in a 12 X 24 wooden shack with no inside bathroom or shower………………….right here on the very same 5 acres, living there come rain, shine and just as cold inside as outside through almost 5 winters while I built the house that Sandy built!
So, here I sit pecking away at the keyboards reminiscing and probably complaining a bit too, but hey, I am alive and for the now, in relatively ‘feeling good’ spirits. I hope all those that follow these blogs have faired as well as I have through the years.
I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt (legal jargon), that I have been blessed in many ways and one of those life-altering ways was the Labradors that chose to guide me through thick and thin and still be here with me 45 years later……………………43 of those year……….actually in 7 more days, make that 44 years right here at Chambray Acres!
I have so much to be thankful for……………….and I am.
Ok, We Are On A Roll Here!
I read with amusement the memo that someone sent you complaining about not winning! Just the idea that there are substantial amounts of the population that think and operate that way shows clearly why the world is in the sad state it is in!
Since joining your efforts for the breed, I have witnessed firsthand the amount of work and passion that you instill in everyone that is part of this process that you term the ‘Betterment Of The Breed’!
What most people see is the tip of the iceberg at the dog shows. They only see the numbers of dogs there, some with their owners and others that you bring for the owners that can’t make it to that show. They see your family and team of assistants and handlers that you have mentored and surrounded yourself with. They see you and your dogs win every weekend since I first came on board with my own Chambray puppy and I know that your weekend winning streak is even older than when I first joined up.
What these people that complain and lament do not see is the time, energy and effort that you put in and that you challenge each owner to step up to the plate and match your involvement with their dog!
What you do is contagious and it brings out the best in people which brings out the best in their dogs.
I have watched at dog shows when you were down and not feeling well……………………….how all the dogs felt what you were feeling and your team of handlers were also feeling what you were feeling and although you all probably won on those days, it was obvious that the whole operation was not feeling good because their leader was not feeling good. I have also watched when you were needed and put aside your pain and took care of business! That is something that is sorely missing in today’s lazy work ethics!
Major kudos to you, your family, your team, and your owners that firmly have your back! Those that don’t get it, never will, so no amount of educating them will get the point across.
Keep up the great work because it shows beyond the borders of Florida as evident by the successes at the real big show this past week in Orlando.
Amen...........Couldn't Have Said It Better
Read a couple posts on the blog about people who think that showing should be a grand ole time for everyone regardless of whether or not they bring a dog that meets breed standards. This mind set, ideology or what ever it is seems to be every where. We first encountered it when our boys were playing pee wee sports. There were parents who complained if kids on the losing teams didn't get a trophy like the kids on the winning teams. They were concerned that the losing kids would somehow be effected in a negative way and cause lifelong implications. Rational people see a trophy as an incentive for the losing kids to practice and play harder to achieve the main goal which is winning. So it isn't any wonder that we have the problems with our young people today. Many have the attitude that if they can't start at the same wage that a person who has twenty years in then they aren't working. Many of them are the kids that got a trophy for losing at a young age. When we showed horses we went with one goal in mind and that was to win. We both worked full time jobs and after getting home in the evenings we worked horses to prepare for shows on Friday and Saturday. We got a letter one year from the walking horse association inviting us to their banquet and that one of our horses had won an award. We were stunned because our highest place that year was second. We put on our best clothes, took a covered dish and headed to South Shore Kentucky. We were awarded the high point Amateur Owned and Trained Walking Horse Specialty by the Ohio Kentucky Walking Horse Association. Even though we never had a first we had enough points from our other placements to put us ahead of the rest of the field. This award meant more than any we had received for anything else. Other awards such as employee of the year have all found their way to the landfill but we have hung on to our walking horse award. We had the same experience last month in Savannah Georgia when Hank and Jerrod got their first win. Jerrod has spent a lot of time with Hank at confirmation classes last spring and summer, block and ring training in the back yard and lessons with you when we were able to meet up at dog shows. We knew when the judge moved them to the front that we had won but it didn't totally hit till Jerrod came out of the ring. He was trying his best to be humble coming out but we did let our emotions go when he joined us at ring side. We saw it as an award for all the work put in and putting a superb dog in the ring that meets the breed standards. I can't imagine how someone finishing second or below could have the same feeling. We will be the first to say that the dog was 90% of our win. Without the superb quality and excellent confirmation it wouldn't have been possible. Another question that comes to the front is how many other breeders have had dogs winning at multiple locations around the world on the same day as was the case on November 29, 2015 when you guys were winning in Davie, one young dog was winning in Guatamala and Hank winning in Georgia. These whiners need to look at the big picture and take the correct steps if they want to be a part of winning. It isn't going to be handed to them nor should it be.
Competition Brings Out The Best
Names and places have been changed so as to not embarrass nor defame anyone……………that is never my intent………………….in the past, even under duress and adverse situations where I was being slandered and defamed, I deferred from naming names.
Dear Mr. Herzon
“I am a small breeder with 3 adult female Labradors with my husband. We have had Labradors for 10 years now and about 3 years ago we bought what we planned would be our show stock from a breeder that advertised she had show dogs. We have bred those dogs and have kept the best puppies from each litter.
I went to class at the local dog club’s training sessions and eventually started to show my 2 dogs. I really didn’t know much about the shows and thought I could go and learn and have an activity to do with my dogs.
The first weekend of AKC dog shows I first saw your kennel’s dogs and also your handlers and assistants and your dogs won almost everything that weekend. That continued the whole first year and eventually I was discouraged with the whole process because it just seemed that your dogs were always going to win.
This past summer my husband bought me a Labrador from a show breeder from Georgia and we recently brought her out to the shows and still encountered the same results with your dogs winning every single award at that weekend of shows.
This is very discouraging for someone just starting out in showing dogs. Are there dog shows that you all do not go to where beginners and others can win with their dogs?
Thank you for your time.”
Dale Destiny FL.
There is no real answer that will suffice here because there are way too many variables of expectations that are not realistic.
This reminds me of my experiences with one of the schools my kids were attending 10, 15 years ago. The new principal decided that there shouldn’t be any type of athletic competition where some of the more athletically gifted children would dominate against those whose forte was not sports. Everyone was awarded ribbons and prizes regardless of how well or poorly they did in any activity!
Talk about a false sense of reality for everyone involved……………luckily that principal was shipped out to somewhere else to spread her weird sense of non-competitiveness.
The same thing applies to breeding dogs for competition at the dog shows. It is not in the best interest of any breed for mediocre, lackluster dogs to be awarded prizes, wins and titles to make the owners or breeders content.
The purpose and intent of breeding for the betterment of the breed is poorly served when lesser quality dogs are awarded anything that they do not deserve as far as conformation is concerned.
What good will it do the breed to have a show where a bunch of beginners attend and compete against each other? What you will have is below par dogs winning over other below par dogs and then those owners and breeders falsely believing they have something good going on, when in reality they will just have the best of the mediocrity!
Ultimately, what we want is for our best dogs to go head to head with the best breeder’s dogs from across the country and see how our dogs stack up against that level of competition. That competition is the Eukanuba National Championships that just took place in Orlando Fl last weekend. So, all year we take our best dogs to the dog shows in Florida and then at the end of the year the best of the best then make the trip with us to the Eukanuba.
There were over 100 Labrador breeders there and close to 20 from Florida. Attending those shows to just watch and learn is a great place for beginners and intermediates and even for some of the established breeders.
There are several other organizations where beginners can get their feet wet. The UKC and a couple of ‘International’ organizations frequent Florida throughout the year and these are great venues to bring dogs to learn the ropes. Our main Chambray group doesn’t compete at the UKC affairs but we encourage our owners to attend and handle their own dogs there for experience and to be active with their dogs.
The IABCA and ICE Grand Prix are 2 show organizations that we at Chambray use to bring our newest puppies and their owners to. We use these venues as a mentoring and educating experience for those newest owner/sponsors for the newest generation of Labrador puppies we have bred.
Those folk that breed and show dogs in Florida have to understand that this is the way that Chambray has been operating for 25 years and will continue to do so until further notice.
We breed for the best in each succeeding generation produced. We recruit new owners that will join our various programs for the betterment of the breed and those owners then become the sponsors of those puppies and dogs at the dog shows. Every 6 months, the newest puppies that graded out as show quality and whose owners have come on board, they will debut at 6 months of age and the ones that have what it takes to go all the way will have our entire expertise to take them there.
My advice is to invest in superior quality dogs. These may be obtained from the other top breeders in the country. I would venture to say that there are around 50 Top Show Labrador Breeders in the country. Merely buying dogs from the run of the mill breeders, even those that advertise ‘Champion Show Dogs”…………………….without proof or authentication of their show value will never amount to anything………..sad but true.
2015 The Year Of The Puppy At Chambray Labradors
The 2015 Dog Show Season will go down as the Year of the Puppy for Chambray Labradors!
Never before have so many puppies dominated the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch, some even winning Best Labrador Puppy and even a Best In Show Puppy from the puppy classes and one of them finishing hs AKC champion's title at 10 months of age.
Leading the awesome achievements and titles was Chambrays Tank’d On The Boulevard who ends up being the youngest Chambray champion ever as a 10-month old, winning all 15 points and both majors before he was 11 months old.
To crown off that feat, he takes 2 Best Of Breeds as a puppy from the Puppy Classes and goes all the way to a Sporting Group 1 at 8 months of age……………again uncharted waters for Chambray Labradors………………….1st puppy ever to take a Group 1.
Finishing off his torrid race for his AKC champion’s title at the same weekend in December in Miami, he takes a coveted Best Labrador Puppy………………..a Group 1 Sporting Puppy and a Best In Show Puppy!
That Best In Show Puppy places him in elite company……………..only the 3rd Chambray Best In Show Puppy winner ever following in his Great Grandmother pawsteps, BISP Ch Chambray’s Chance N Counter who actually won 2 Best In Show Puppy herself.
Tank’s mother, BIS BBE Silver Gr Ch Chambray’s Celestial N Counter “Kika” had the distinction of being the youngest champion ever at 13 months of age, holding that record since 2012 until July of this year when another of her offspring, Gr Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter “Evie” finished her championship right at 12 months of age, besting her mother by 1 month, of course Evie didn’t hold that record too long because Tank would best her by December at 10 months of age. Tank was from the breeding of Kika and Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle Of Jericho and Evie was from Kika’s first litter bred to Ch Aquarius Lobuff Liddle Prvt Nicolas At Brookstone.
Evie too was to take 12 points and 1 major as a puppy before she finished with a 3-point major win in July right after turning a year old.
Other puppy streakers winning Winners Dogs/Winners Bitch and even major-pointed wins for 2015 were the following:
Another puppy winning points was Chambrays Shinning Diamond Dazzle with 5 points and 1 major, won before turning 12 months old. Dazzle is from the BBE Gr Ch Chambrays First N Counter “Gavi” bred to Jericho.
Dazzle’s littermate Chambrays Granhill Special Affects “Whisper” was this year’s Purina Breeder’s Showcase Best Labrador Retriever Puppy and also won a Sporting Group 2 Puppy.
Another Kika X Jericho daughter, Chambrays Midnight Delta Lady living in Tennessee also scored her first Winner’s Points from the Puppy Classes.
Chambrays Center Stage Rose from Kika and Jericho’s litter won Best Labrador Puppy and a Group 1 at the Davie Fl dog shows in November.
From Guatemala another of the puppies from the Gavi X Jericho litter would win 2 Best Of Breeds, 2 Group 1’s and a #4 Best In Show in November all as a puppy.
Topping off the Puppy Winning Spree was Chambrays Vivacious N Counter “Viva” who won a Best Puppy In Match at the Deland dog shows in September and then finished the year off for Chambray with a Best Labrador Puppy In Specialty at the recent Eukanuba LRC Labrador Specialty in Orlando last weekend.
All totaled wins as puppies in 2015:
1 Best In Show Puppy
1 New Champion as Puppy
1 Sporting Group 1’s
3 Best Of Breeds
5 Major-Pointed wins
8 Winners Dog
6 Winners Bitch
1 Best Labrador Puppy At Labrador Retriever Specialty
1 Best Labrador Puppy Purina Breeder’s Showcase
1 Best Puppy In Match
5 Best Labrador Puppy from All-Breed shows
2 Puppy Sporting Group 1's
Yes, indeed 2015………….the Year Of The Puppy @ Chambray
Thing is......................the newest puppies for 2016 are chaffing at the bit to get their licks in starting in the New Year!
Watch Your Step!
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
Except when dealing with top show level because at that level the only eye that matters is the eye of expertise!
Yep, Fido and Rover are cute as pig’s ear in their owner’s vision, yet they could be a mile or two away from what their individual breed standard calls for in being conformationally correct!
Anyone and I mean anyone and everybody can look at a puppy and pronounce it as “pick of the litter”! Doesn’t take a college degree or even a 5th grade education because even a kindergarten mentality can opine and proclaim greatness in any dog, happens all the time.
One of my Chambray owners emails me to let me know that 'Such N Such’ just evaluated their litter and thinks that there are several top show quality puppies in the bunch!”
Well hoot and holler and roll out the mayonnaise! Here you have the blind leading the blinder! Such N Such has maybe bred 3 or 4 litters of absolutely no account. In fact dastardly looking puppies from below average parents……………..parents with so many faults and defects that a pet shop dog may have been better to breed to!
Yet, you have a Chambray owner that has been mentored by little old me bragging that an addled-brained, simpleton Such N Such gave her two thumbs up on something that person knows absolutely zilch about!
Talk about leading the old nag to water and then it not drinking it!
Another Chambray owner comes to her working session appointment with a prong collar on her 5 month old Chambray show puppy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“WOW NELLY” I protest, “What is that prong collar doing on that 5-month old puppy?”
“Dolly Madison (made up name) and I do power walks together and she uses a prong collar on Brutus!” she meekly offered seeing that I was not too thrilled at the contraption being used/abused on the puppy.
“Well, let’s take off the torture chamber devise right now before you cause any more harm than might be already taking place!" I chastised the now cowering puppy owner.
Listen up folks………………..everyone out there reading these blogs……………….If you have a Chambray dog and are following my mentorship with training and everything else that comes with it…………………………………………DO NOT, I repeat…………………..DO NOT listen to anyone else about training or feeding your dog or for doing anything else for that matter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In this case Brutus is a brute that was totally out of control and needed to be reeled back in and I decided that his 125lb owner needed the leverage of the prong collar to neutralize the dog’s size and weight and energy level with the use of the devise.
Each dog is an entity into itself and what’s good for the gander may not suit the goose with dog training. It is a very individualized sitcom where what applies to one dog may be totally detrimental for the next dog…………………………case in point A PRONG COLLAR ON A 5-MONTH OLD PUPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Another Chambray owner telling me that another Chambray owner feeds their pregnant dog 6 cups of food per day.
“Nelly, whoa all over again!”
A little bit of knowledge becomes a weapon of mass destruction in the case of dog owners. Each telling and extolling the next with whatever they think will work not taking into account the individual person and dog’s situation in mind!
For all my dog owners……………………..before leaping off that cliff, check in with me to make sure that the cliff is really a step down on your stairs and not a mountain-sized abyss below!
Less For More or is it More For Less?
What's Your Pleasure?
What is the price for a top show quality Labrador Retriever puppy?
Well, for those not privy to the inner sanctum of the highest ends of show breeders………………….sit a spell and hold on to your seats!
If you are extremely lucky with all your stars, moons and other heavenly bodies all aligned and exerting all that physical inertia your way…………………one of the Top 10 Show Labrador Breeders may bless you with one of their puppies starting at $4500.00!!!!!!!!!!
Yep, you read right, that’s not a typo or exaggerated, inflated numero to get your attention! No sir, that’s whistling Dixie there, there’s bears in them there woods!
If you are lucky and have that kind of dough, you could end up with a known kennel name puppy………………..but don’t hold your breath for a top choice or 2nd or 3rd……………………we are talking some where’s back in the pack for you at that price…………………maybe an extra 2 or 3 grand for a 2nd pick!
Forget about it for the best in one of their litters…………….ain’t going to happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Guaranteed, that one of those lofty positioned breeders will never, ever part with their best!
This year several of our partner/owners came up with the idea of bringing in a top show quality puppy from several of the nationally recognized show breeders. The plan was for whichever puppy came on board to have it be part of the owner’s program for the betterment of the breed, much like Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle Of Jericho did and Hogan’s Sire Ch Carmays Ruff Around The Edges did before Jericho. Those were outside dogs that were brought in and accepted into our various programs to eventually be used in our breeding and raising programs.
All three of those owners dealt with a different top show breeder and the quoted starting price for a 2nd or 3rd pick ranged from $4500, for one to $5800 for another all the way to $7000 for an 8 week old puppy in each case!
Unfortunately for our Betterment of the Breed Program none of the puppies offered by these breeders were any where’s nears what each of the those owners would have been forking out, staying within the Chambray network of top show puppies…………………all 3 cases ended up with a world class puppy from Chambray that will debut now in early 2016.
So, how does our program that is the #1 Champion producing kennel name in the USA in the last 5 years with 27 new champions in that half decade of time………..how do we compare to the pricing?
One of the vast different ‘ways of doing things’ at Chambray is our penchant for making top show quality available to the lay population…………..not to just other top breeders, but to the common folk that want the best……………we make it possible to obtain the best with one condition, that each of those new owners take further part in all of our unique Owner’s Programs.
Starting with owning the best in the country…………………..taking advantage of the only top breeder that offers free, lifetime training with each show puppy placed…………………………….to participating with the winningest Labrador show and handling team in the country……………………….to the continued mentorship leading to breeding and raising the next generation of superior Labrador Retrievers!
If those top breeders command those prices for just the puppy, maybe a 3rd choice at the best…………..no training, no mentorship, no programs for the owners to participate in for the betterment of the breed and then you have Chambray with a puppy from the #1 Champion Breeder’s Program in the USA with all those amenities, wouldn’t it follow suit that our prices would be twice as much as those lagging behind our status and ameneties?
Guess what, we place the best and we provide all of our avant garde programs and the price is half of what you would expect to pay with those that offer much, much less………………………..so we offer much, much more and the best to boot……………….for less?
Gee, how does that work?
Sharing The Wealth
Hello to all my Chambray owners. I would like to share something with each of you, each of you because without the concerted effort by all that own a Chambray puppy and dog, our collective successes would not be possible.
It takes the whole village for the following to take place…………..from the top show puppies that are on the front lines at the dog shows, to the females that produce the stellar puppies to begin with, to the males that are used to perpetuate the great qualities
and even to those Chambray dogs that are placed as loving pets………………………yes, they too contribute because without those pet owners, there wouldn’t be a place for the ones that do not rate as show and breeding quality.
So, without further ado…………………….this Bud’s for all of you!
Although 1 dog won it, BBE Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter, he represents ALL the great Chambray dogs and having been awarded the highest possible award a breeder/handler can win at the most prestigious dog show venue in the country, the 2015 Eukanuba National Championships and presented to Walter and yours truly by one of the most highly respected Labrador breeder/judges, Carl Liepman……………….folks it doesn’t get any better than this!
Thank you all for being loyal Chambray owners and congratulations for being a part of our success story.
This special medallions takes its place right next to the 2 Best In Show medallions won each by BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan” and BIS BBE Silver Gr Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter “Kika”
Round & Round We Go For The Betterment Of The Breed
The ‘PR’ exposure from the Eukanuba week of shows in Orlando can very well equal what comes in a whole month from individual weekends of shows. That’s what this dog show venue has grown to in the 15 years since its inception.
Of course, being successful there with our dogs heightens the interest level from the spectators, the exhibitors and the breeders that were there and also with all those that follow the goings on at this dog show extravaganza via the Internet.
For me here at Chambray, the amount of contacts and communications is 10 fold compared to what comes in a regular month!
Labrador fanciers and enthusiast that have heard of our involvement with the breed or that have witnessed our amazing results and successes that we have been enjoying for years chime in with all types of request to know more.
Since most of those that contact us are searching for their next puppy to add to their family, they are very interested in Chambray’s Puppy Placement Program.
What really amazes most is the fact that we have a very limited numbers of puppies a year versus most of the other show breeders that may have 5 to 10 times as many litters.
There are many that either surmise or have erroneously heard that we are large breeders………probably figuring that being the Top Champion Labrador breeders in the country necessitates large numbers of puppies produced…………………….wrong……………………..just the opposite. We would be considered small time breeders with our 5 to 6 litters a year produced (average for the last 3 years).
Now here is where it really gets different and difficult for most inquirers to grasp……………………….there have been no litters born at Chambray Acres in the last 3 years!
All our puppies are born in the home of where the mother lives……………..literally, in the home! All puppies are home born and raised until past weaning from the mother in their own owner’s home!
No puppies are ‘kennel’ born, or a succession of litters by the breeder in whatever housing they provide for them. When we state that all puppies are raised ‘under foot’, that is exactly where and with whom…………..in the comfort of their own home with their own owners caring, providing and loving the mother and the puppies, by the whole family……………..a true family experience for all involved……………….the absolutely best way for puppies to be born and raised.
So different from those breeders that are considered ‘hoarders’, that have a menagerie of dogs and a succession of litters where, due to the constraints of time, energy and effort, there isn’t the individual attention and love that a home with one dog with a litter of puppies will receive from the entire family. No matter how much these ‘succession of litters breeders’ advertise and state, they just don’t have the time to spend like an individual home-raised litter is afforded!
All these Chambray owners follow my puppy raising protocol 100%...............to the NTH degree………………..Chambray’s tried and true blue, 45 years of involvement with just one breed of dog, the Labrador Retriever. All the loving and socialization that the mother’s own family can give her puppies until they are weaning age, nothing, absolutely nothing beats that method!
Then at 6 to 10 weeks they come to me as a litter to experience the ‘litter packing’ period. This is a must if they are to be totally socialized the correct way. With our unparalleled expertise, 45 years’ worth, having trained and worked with over 35,000 dogs………………….no one, no other Labrador breeder can come close to our involvement and success level attained specializing in this wonderful breed.
Let’s back up a bit before the puppies were born……………….before the mother-to-be was a puppy herself……………..when she was just 8 weeks old and she had just been evaluated and ‘mission accomplished’………………………she rated being as good or better than the sire and dam, which were top show quality themselves…………………….which now makes the new 8 week old puppy Top Show Quality!
Let’s start the process there! Because it is like a continuing video loop………………………….at 8 weeks of age the Puppy Placement Program faces the most crucial, the most critical time for the Chambray Betterment of the Breed process…………………………………..PLACING PUPPIES WITH NEW OWNERS THAT WILL BE PART OF THE PROGRAM FOR THE FUTURE!
“What?” is the usual response/query I receive for those that are ‘not in the know’ about how we operate this one-of-a-kind program.
“We are just looking for a home companion” is what most of those interviewing respond with.
Then I will state, “We only breed for show purposes……………….each litter is planned months and maybe years in advance and each puppy born that meets our high standards for breeding will be designated as show quality.”
After delivering that salvo, I continue with “Since I don’t ever keep any puppies for breeding myself, I depend 100% on those puppies that I place with people just like you to be the next generation of owners that will be involved in producing the next generation of superb puppies with me mastering the whole process!”
With most sitting across from me out front under the big orchid tree during their ‘Interview’, there now emerges a glimmer of interest………………………I have stated something that resonates with them at an unspecified emotional level. They merely came for a top notch puppy from a well-documented, long established ‘reputable’ source and now they are intrigued by the novel and far reaching process.
Once I see and feel that ‘break the ice’ moment, that attentive response that means interest piqued…………………………I let them know that they have just elevated their chances of having one of our precious ‘betterment of the breed’ puppies placed with them!
That’s the perpetuation moment, when a new to be owner understands the process and how important they will be in the future for the betterment of the breed with us as their mentors, the guides in this awesome process that pays it forward to each succeeding generation of Labradors and each succeeding generation of new owners that comes along.
So much is dependent on my ability to decipher where each puppy will be better served and if their new owner will indeed participate in the perpetuation of the betterment of the breed. Choosing wisely where each puppy will be placed, based on which new owner will take advantage of all the amenities that come with a Chambray Top-Notch Show Puppy and then pay it forward themselves to that betterment credo with co-breeding a litter with producing the next superb generation of Chambray puppies…………………which in turn enables me to go through yet another interview process with people that have heard……………….probably from word of mouth, our concerted effort for producing the best……..of course the interview process allows me to share with the puppy searchers how Chambray Labradors Puppy Placement Process works!
Like that video loop, round and round we go and better and better it is for the breed and for all those that join us in the one of a kind program for the betterment of the breed.
That is a win, win, win situation if I have ever heard one………………….the Breed wins………………………….those Owners win…………………………………………and Chambray Labradors wins.
The perfect winning combination for all involved!
Steve Martin Said It Best
To paraphrase and plagiarize Steve Martin “Well, excuse me!”
Seems that when I collated and crunched those numbers for the ‘What’s Your Number’ blog I didn’t make it perfectly clear at the top of the hour that I was only considering ‘BREEDERS’ to give credit for having dogs win the Top Honor awards.
In the dog show world, that’s how the ‘regular’ cookie crumbles for those initiated enough in the ways of our collective endeavor of raising and showing dogs. Breeders are the ones that get the credit as ‘breeders’ when one of the dogs they BRED wins any award.
La meme chose for earning an AKC champion’s title………………….the AKC credits the person that bred the litter, thus the dog that achieves the required points with an official certificate decreeing them as a ‘Breeder of Champions’!
So, for those Florida dog owners that had dogs entered at the big blowout in Orlando, the Eukanuba week of shows………………..by the way the name of the affair is the Eukanuba National Championships, not anything to do with ‘Invitational’ or any other contrived name as I received in several complaining communications…………………….you need to take those dogs that you own and breed them and train their offspring and then show the progeny and have them earn their championships before you are considered a ‘real’ breeder! Up to then, those that consider themselves show breeders and haven’t produced 1 champion of their own breeding are just owner/dabblers in breeding.
It was pointed out to me that there were many more dogs that are from Florida and not just the ones from the 17 breeders that are listed in the catalogs from the 5 shows at the Eukanuba affair. No matter how many of those dogs were owned by others, still only breeders get credit for showing up and especially for winning anything if they did.
There’s whole bunch of those that have been breeding for years, decades or more, producing litters left and right and have yet to make a case for themselves as bona fide, for the betterment of the breed breeders………………….however a quick visit to their websites shows where they proclaim themselves ‘Breeders of Champions’ and yet they have diddley squat proof from the AKC or from me for that matter as I keep track of any and all that have ever shown since 1990, that they ever produced anything but little cute adorable puppies for the pet market!
Now, at Chambray Labradors that all changes, so the cookie crumbles much different over here than it does in the general population of show dogs. Here, those entrusted with the best puppies, with any Chambray puppy are mentored and educated in the ‘right’ ways of ownership and in their responsibility to the breed.
They are incorporated into the raising of the next generation of superb conformation quality, as it will be those dogs they own that will perpetuate the next level of puppies born. Those puppies in turn will be placed with the next level of owners that will benefit greatly from the collective betterment of the breed mission that all have subscribed to.
That’s why when one Chambray dog wins…………….each and every owner, co-owner, co-breeder, partner and associate wins as it is the collective effort of all those that makes the successes possible for the kennel name.
To Err is Human................To Repeat Is Arsenine!
Having something to say is human, in fact there are very few folk that don’t offer up anything. Most of the time people express an opinion or repeat something they heard just to be heard. Never mind that what they express or repeat isn’t worth the breath used in the effort!
I see it every single day with the communications that come into me, I hear it at the dog shows we attend and compete at, I read it everywhere on the Internet………………………the drool and dribble is everywhere waiting for someone else to take the hot potato and pass it around to whomever is starved for worthless or tainted matter.
There is so much misinformation floating around that it is very difficult to decipher what is real and what has an agenda or is just plain manure. The nightmare that I envision is all the blokes that take the erroneous, the soiled, the contorted, and the worthless and put it into action!
Yikes a million times!
Can you imagine the screw-ups, the messes, the unintended disasters occurring with misguided, misled folk? Boggles my mind to no end because there is always risk of things that can go catawampus using the correct procedure, using the appropriate actions…………….yes, things can go wrong when following the accepted ways and means…………………………now think about all those that are led astray with incorrect information and then act on it!
Those handpicked folk in my management programs, Chambrays Owner's Programs, those that I trusted with my best produce, my prized few puppies of the year……………………….they receive continuous mentoring………………pearls of wisdom accrued from my 45 years of involvement with the breed.
That heightened level of expertise, by now just as high as the next mentor that can lay claim to the same………..that knowledge came from exhausted years of trial and error………………………years, decades, scores before the Information Age of the Internet was just a glimmer in some nerdy, rimmed glasses, techy’s mind………………………….then layer all that groping in the dark we all did back when the computer screen was a figment of the imagination with the massive explosion of factual matter that came along with the Internet…………………of course we all know now that there is as much dark matter floating around as there is illuminative information that can be used for the good of mankind. The big problem I see is that the vast majority of those traversing all that space is that they can’t decipher the junk, the spam from the gifted sources!
So, here you have hundreds of owners that are part of Chambray Owner’s Program, where they receive the absolute best form of information from my mentoring program, absolutely free and with no encumbrances and there are still some that for whatever reason go out stumbling all over themselves and listen to some other blinded, misinformed stumbler and then act on those dark-holed nebulous, poorly conjectured ideas!
AAARRRRGGGG to the NTH degree!
What's Your Number?
I get so many of these bleeding heart ninnies telling me that it’s not about winning………………it’s about the dogs having a good time or it’s about how you play the game or it’s about just being there!!!!!!!!!!!
I have covered this time and time again, but for those with worse memory loss than myself or for those that are new to the blogs or those that just don’t get it……………….let me once more make it perfectly clear ( I can still visualize Nixon saying that) that it is all about WINNING (he didn’t say anything about winning, he more or less was letting us know he wasn’t a crook)!
Just ask any of my owners that probably have the best dogs anywhere and maybe, just maybe their dogs haven’t won much lately because several of our other dogs having been scooping up the wins……………………ask them if they are having fun, if they are giddy with excitement just to be at a dog show!
Never mind asking those other breeders that are perpetual non-winners, those that show up at every weekend of dog shows and leave as empty handed as they came……………………meanwhile across the ring our dogs, collectively have won at 123 consecutive dog show weekends!
Now, go ask those that just won a Best Of Breed…………………….heck there are some who are cutting a rug, dancing an Irish jig or just having spasm attacks by be handed a Reserve Winners Dog or Bitch. For those not privy or initiated enough in the ways of dogshowdom (don’t look this word up, I am in the making up words mood/mode today)……………..those naive to the real dog show world haven’t realized that a RWD or RWB doesn’t count for much…………………….it’s like losing the Super Bowl, no one remembers who lost any Super Bowl! It’s not a bragging right for anyone or any team.
Let me lay it out plainly for any visually impaired or cerebrally challenged persona. We just wrapped up the 2015 Eukanuba National Championship……………………..the largest attended dogs show ever in America………………..all totaled, more than 20,000 dogs were entered in the 5 days of shows that make up the Eukanuba week!
Numbers have a way of defining and exacting any topic. You can’t argue with numbers, you can’t impose your value system on numbers, they are what it is and taking the numbers tells a very straight forward story.
There were 597 total Labradors entered for the 5 days of competition. Those dogs came from virtually everywhere! The top dogs from each breeder/kennel/exhibitor because sure as heck, none of those folk are dumb enough to bring their worst dogs!
I counted 103 different kennel names in the 5 days of catalogs.
There were at least 17 breeder/kennels from Florida. Simple math tells us that by kennel names, the Florida breeders accounted for nears 17% of the kennel names.
Of the total 5 days of entries, those Florida breeders accounted for 183 out of the 597 dogs entered………..that comes out to about 30% of the total 5 days of entries………..of course the Chambray entries skew those numbers upwards more than the norm…………Chambray had 30% of the Florida breeder’s entries.
Now here are some interesting numbers. From the 41 Top Honors Awards during the 5 days, listed below:
BOB BBE 1
Select Males 5
Select Females 5
Judges Awards Of Merit 9
Winners Dog 5
Winners Bitch 5
Best Puppy In Specialty 1
Those 41 awards were won by 24 different breeders. Meaning that the other 79 breeder/kennels showed up and had a good time.
Chambray had 7 of those awards, that was the most awards by any breeder/kennel. Almost twice as many as the next national big winner. And almost 5 times what any of the other Florida breeders had.
The 2nd place breeder had 4
Other Florida breeders together had 2
Below are the breeder/kennel names as they appeared in the catalogs. Those highlighted are Florida names.
Chambray ........WB, SEL, SEL ,SEL, BOBBBE, JAE, BPY
Everso ...............JAE JAM
Fairlanes ............JAM BOB BOB
Lobuff................. Sel Sel Sel Sel
Loreta .................BOS BOB WB
Mtn Meadows......... JAM
Olympus .................WD WD
The names above include those that were marked absent. Only breeders were given credit for Top Honors Awards. Those that own those dogs will have to breed, train, show and win to be included in 'breeder's awards.
So, what's your number and are you having fun yet?
The 2015 Dog Show Season is now officially over in Florida and for Chambray Labradors.
Wow, what a season it was!
When the New Year rolled around 12 months ago, we had just completed another beyond stellar year in 2014. We had ascended to the highest loft for a Labrador Retriever breeder with 6 new champions and that number placed us as the USA Top Champion Labrador Breeder for 2014.
We finished the year at the 2014 Eukanuba National Championships with the most wins of all breeders congregated there, assuredly adding icing to the proverbial cake and to the actual cake that we all toasted with at a later venue.
There were other records set that seemed unreachable for some time to come. The 13 new titles for 2014 was one of those that could stand the test of time, plus the 8 Trifectas in 1 year………………the Trifecta is winning Best Of Breed, Winners Dog and Winners Bitch all in the same day and to do that 8 times in 1 year just seemed to be well out of reach. There are a slew of other records that can be viewed at the By The Number’s page at the www.chambraylabradors.net website.
So, looking ahead on January 1st 2015, the prospects for achieving just half of the accomplishments of the just ended stellar year would make the New Year a very good one.
So, just how does the about-to-end year compare? How does, compare and go beyond sound?
Yep…………………………2015 USA Top Labrador Breeder………….AGAIN! That’s back-to-back and 3 years in the last 4 years! That is crazy like a fox!
How about 15 NEW TITLES for 2015? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat???????????
Hey, I know of some breeder/exhibitors that celebrate with 1 new title in 1 year, can you imagine if one of those would have 3 new titles in 1 year, how about 5…………………..call rescue with 10!
More records were set in 2015, but the crowning achievement…………………………….the real gem that all breeders strive for………………..drum roll maestro………………………the Eukanuba National Championships BEST OF BREED Bred-By Labrador Award……………………there have only been 14 of those ever before and Chambray comes away with the 15th, the 2015 Eukanuba BOB BBE Award…………………………….adding more icing to the 2015 cake was the Chambray dogs winning more Top Honor Awards at the Eukanuba week of shows in Orlando two years in a row, than all the rest of the breeder/exhibitors there……………………7 of those high end awards, 4 of them by the same dog, BBE Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter……………………putting this accomplishment in perspective, the next breeder/exhibitor in 2nd place had 4 Top Honor awards of the 39 available, we had 7!!!!!!!!!!!!Two Florida breeders each had 1 of those Top Honor awards.
So, now here I sit planning out the first 3 months of 2016 Florida Dog Show Season and think to myself, I would be extremely happy with just half of the accomplishments, achievements, awards and records………………………….half would make Chambray #1 in Florida by a mile, so that would make me a very happy boy!
Hey, we have the dogs……………………the conformation of those dogs is undeniable as proven year after year………………3 years in a row as the winningest Labrador Breeder in the biggest dog show venue in the USA, the Eukanuba National Championships……………………….we have been the top champion Labrador breeder in Florida for so many years that that is a foregone conclusion, so in the last 5 years we have been operating on a national level and we have been on top 3 of the last 4 years and the 2 years in between we made it to USA Top 5! The 27 new champions in these last 5 years placing Chambray way on top as the number 1 Labrador breeder in the country…………….by far.
So in 2016, do we sit back and sip Pina Coladas under a thatched roof chickee hut with the cool breeze from the beach blowing in our face? Do we use our collective laurels and vegetate with a job super well done grin and pat each other on the back until the bovines call home?
Nah, we got work to do, as proof here I am 8 days before the holidays and instead of basking in glory, I am conjuring ways to improve and perfect, to make it better as the Beetles sang in Hey Jude.
Again, we have the goods……………….we have the one of a kind service and we have the only Labrador Retriever Owner’s Program………………………now totally recognized by all those that didn’t before…………….well it’s about time……………………I mean how long does the sun come up each day for someone to realize where the heat is coming from?
So, while my owners and partners in good crime relax and take some well-deserved time off to celebrate the holidays, the New Year…………………the little old wine maker, me ……….is quietly at work making preparations for making the New Year the best that the best can bring!
Just watch us sing!
A New Day
Someone brought up a good point, “Why not dwell on the good and let the bad be bygones”!
There’s merit in them there words! The thing is that I covered that with each and every dog/owner, breeder or exhibitor that won or that merited to be praised for their dog being good!
Ask any breeder or owner or exhibitor that was there that had a good dog if Sandy Herzon did not take a few minutes to express those sentiments to them. The dog that took BOB twice over my dog that came in 2nd to him, twice………………ask that handler if I didn’t praise her and the dog. The bitch that was in for Best Of Breed Bred By Exhibitor when Walter won that super prestigious award, ask that breeder/handler if I didn’t tell her that I absolutely loved her bitch and that I also loved her as a breeder for the awesome work she has done for the breed. Ask one of the Florida breeders if I haven’t praised her and the work she has done for the breed since I first ran into her with her little Salty when he was 6 months old!
Congregated there at the Orlando Convention Center was a collection of the top Labradors in America and also from China via the USA originally. I say that because there were several consortiums from China there with a dozen or more dogs of the highest quality.
Those that have those great dogs, those that are breeding according to the breed standard and have time and time again produced for the betterment of the breed are not bothered by anything that I write or say……………………because they know what side they stand on the line in the sand!
Patting each other’s back is great, however I don’t have much time for that now a days and I would rather shore up those whose backs are not so solid, those that need the guidance and mentoring, those that maybe can’t see the light because of all those blocking their vision with incorrectness.
There are many other areas of our breed that need fixing; however I have chosen the one situation, Cow-hocks that need the most urgency before it is too late to rescue.
The over-coated dogs have been addressed and there seems to be headway there. The overdone, cumbersome dogs have been spotlighted and there is progress there. The Rottie heads are almost gone from sight and that’s great! The short-legged, short upper arms dogs are coming up in height!
The one area that seems to have wrongly endeared itself and has become accepted by way too many needs my attention the most and that’s where I will take my Custer’s stand and will announce as needed the need to take notice, to intervene, to educate and maybe, just maybe I will in due time see a small illumination, a small turnaround of the way it should be.
A New Day
Someone emailed a bit perturbed because they recoginzed their shoes in a photo I posted!
Hey, if the shoe fits, wear it! Nice shoes...............not nice rear!
It Is Heating Up
There seems to be a world of confusion out there amongst the people that are breeding dogs!
The very people responsible for perpetuating the breed don’t know what cow-hocks look like!!!!!!!!!!!
Now that’s a real OMG moment! To receive countless inquiries as to what all the hullaballoo is all about and even after posting anonymous photos with dogs displaying the structural defect, there are still those that either don’t get it or are up to their necks in the defects that the light just won’t shine for them.
Now hear this! With the dog standing naturally, not posed or stacked, the rear should look like an upside down U.
You could lineup a straightedge from the hips down to the feet and all the components of the rear assembly will be in the same plane.
That means that the distance between the feet is exactly the same distance between the hocks, the exact same distance between the knees and the same distance between the outside of the hips.
The feet will be pointing forward; the hocks will be directly above the feet also facing forward, the knees facing forward.
Now here is the description of Cow-Hocks: The hocks converging towards each other, with the feet pointing outwards! The hocks look like they were pinched inwards towards each other. So, instead of an open, upside down U, it looks more like the shape of a fiddle!
“Can a puppy with cow-hocks be corrected?”
Yes, absolutely, when it is doing something negative you can always say “No!” and hopefully it will modify the improper behavior! If the puppy is cow-hocked and that’s what you intend on fixing……………………nothing will really help because it is a structural defect that is passed down from ancestors to offspring and so on.
“The breeder I got my dog from says that everybody has cow-hocked dogs and for me not to worry about it!”
Your breeder may be right that everyone they know has cow-hocked dogs, which makes them all have structurally defective dogs! They are also right in telling you not to worry about it because there isn’t much you can do about it.
“Is there a rating system to measure the degree of ‘cow-hockness’?”
Yes! Those that don’t have cow-hocks pass and those with cow-hocks fail! There is no such thing as a degree, they either are good or they are cow-hocked (defective).
“My dog is a little cow-hocked and I intend on breeding it out of her!”
No amount of breeding or beating will take it out of her. You can breed her until the cows come home and she will still be cow-hocked! You can breed her to a male with perfect rear and a significant percentage of puppies will come out with the dastardly trait and the ones that don’t show it, will carry it to the next generation.
“Neither of my dog’s parents are cow-hocked and yet he is moderately cow-hocked, why is that?”
Mildly, moderately, severely are all structurally defective. Both of his parents are carrying the defect in the recessive mode and passed it on to your dog and probably to others in that same litter.
“What makes cow-hocked dogs so detrimental?”
Any structural defect can and will lead to joint problems sooner or later and sooner seems to be the winner of the two. The hocks being turned inwards towards each other create a tremendous amount of weight and g-force into that joint even when the dog is normally walking in a straight line. Then when the dog is running that force is magnified many fold………………………..when jumping it gets even worse and when turning suddenly, ACLs are like to be damaged at a greater percentage than with normal, good rears. So it goes beyond the esthetics and the call by the breed standard, it goes into the health and well-being of the dog.
“My handler does a great job in correctly my dog in the ring and it is not as obvious as my dog is only lacking her majors to finish!”
The greatest fool is the one that fools himself! Not looking at the defect does not make it go away; covering up the dust with the rug only hides the mess to begin with. The dog is cow-hocked whether it garners those majors or not. What you will end up with is a dog with a title in the front of its name and a defect in its rear!
“From my personal observations, there were more than half the dogs showing this past weekend that had some degree of cow-hocks. Maybe it is so common that it has become the accepted and it is here to stay. You may be beating your head against in impenetrable wall!”
Great observation all around! You are right, it has become too common and too accepted and those newer types coming up are receiving the wrong education by seeing that entire morass around them. Maybe, just maybe, if I keep beating my head again and again and beat that drum relentless, maybe, just maybe we can turn back this ugly tide! Hey, I am not going away anytime soon and I will continue to do the right thing for the breed! Cast me upon an island and I will find a way to make it a continent! I know that without a shadow of a doubt there are others out there that feel what I am saying…………………I know they see it just as plain as Jane is on a day in May! You know what, even if no one was listening I would still be making the noise!
A still pond only needs a speck of dust to fall and create a ripple. I will be that speck over and over again and create enough ripples that some will take notice!
Lot's of Work to Do!
The New Year is around the corner and I can’t wait to get started!
You would think that after having completed the greatest dog show year of all times by any Labrador breeder ever that I would be resting on my laurels………………………….not even close! I am excited about where we are going with our Betterment of the Breed mission and I want to take it even further.
Together we have achieved what no other Labrador group has ever done, Top Champion Breeder three out of the last 4 years is totally unheard of and yet, there we were in 2012, 2014 and again this year in 2015!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then to top all that off, we go into the Eukanuba National Championships this past weekend and we totally outshine all the other well-known top Labrador breeders from every state in the union and from countries as far away as Brazil, Colombia and even China!
Our dogs won more awards this past week at the Eukanuba week of shows than any other breeder and then at the Eukanuba event, one of our dogs takes the Top Breeder award, BEST OF BREED BRED BY EXHIBITOR!
In addition, with 50+ world class champions competing, all 5 of our special’s champions made the final cut and 2 of those received top awards!
WOW and OMG do not express adequately what we all have done together as a collective having the Betterment of the Breed as our mission. We are the model that all are talking about, we being you and me……………………….you the owners and me the one that keeps it all going in the right direction. You trusting me 100% and me leading you and your dogs as I promised I would.
We have more work to do for the breed and I am committed to keep it all going as long as I am physically and mentally able to do so. Although it would be nice to sit back and relish all the success and acclaim…………………..I owe it to the breed, to Labrador Retrievers and future owners to keep it all going for the betterment of the breed.
I need each and every one of you that has a great dog to keep paying it forward to the next generation of dogs produced and to the next generation of owners that will come along and own those great dogs that we will produce together.
We just got home from a grueling 7 days in Orlando at the greatest dog show ever in America and here it is the day after and today I have already had 2 working appointments with two different owners that have these great 15-week old puppies that are committed to being at the 2016 Orlando Eukanuba!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That’s what I call taking care of business and ‘kicking booty’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This year we had the largest contingency of owners at Eukanuba with over 2 dozen of our owners ringside cheering us on, most with dogs there and some just coming to support us……………………….next year it will be even greater, just you watch…………………actually come watch for yourself!
Although the holidays are upon us, we are not taking any time off. We will be here for private day sessions and if folk will come out at night to the training classes, I will schedule them!
Hey, the dogs love the attention they receive when you make the time for them as they don’t see it as work and for us it’s what we do good…………………..no make that great!
A Pretty Picture Is Worth A Million Words
What it is supposed to be like.
No Words Needed
You Make The Call
Rejoicing and then it's back to work!
Open Letter To The LRC Inc.
Revise the Labrador Retriever Breed Standard to include Cow-Hocks as being acceptable!
Now let me explain why I have come to this conclusion.
The insidious has crept in and has become the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge, but in reality is standing there for all to see.
Likewise, cow-hocked dogs abound in the show ring and all those around ringside would be myopic if any of them claim not to notice them. Even those new to the fancy can look in the ring and right there side by side are two perfect examples of how the breed standard states they should be and exactly how the breed standard says they are a ‘serious structural defects’!
Yes sir, no two ways about it and it isn’t just something that unsettles my innards, nope, it’s not one of the ‘personal preferences’ that can go this way or that way depending on whom is the eye of the beholder. It’s clearly stated in American English, right there in bold, easy to read language that even a 5th grader could make sense of…………………..it is a decree in the official Labrador Retriever Breed Standard that was revised in the 1990’s by the parent breed club and submitted to the supreme beings at the AKC for approval and ratification.
So don’t accuse me of blasphemy because lo and behold in our sanctified and sanctioned ‘breeder’s bible’, it specifically commands that there shall not be Cow-Hocks and if there are any, they shall be condemned as being ‘serious structural defects’!
Yet, there in our collective presence, standing before the anointed judge for the day, for him/her to pass judgement on……………………there were a bountiful collection of specimens with the dastardly sin.
Outside the ring, all around the ring, scores and scores and four score more of onlookers……………..some knowledgeable, most not……………………..all could see without a shadow of a doubt the glaring inconsistencies of what it should be like and what it should not look like.
So, does the judge point that out and beckon those with the wrong ways to convert to the ways of the well or say didley and have those breeders continue on the path of the unrighteous?
The judge does even worse…………………………………he, the anointed one bestows prizes upon the dreadful, leading that owner/breeder into more temptation!
That’s why I am now advocating that the guardians of the breed standard, the parent breed club take action and go about revising the written oracle to reflect the errors of our ways! Yes, make the old that was right wrong and the new wrong right! Make cow-hocks in Labradors acceptable so that we won’t have so many sinners!
But wait……………………..there is a better way to fix the problem! Why not issue a mandate to all those whose license is approved by the AKC to judge Labradors……………………a mandate the instructs each judge to take an extra 3 seconds to walk around each exhibit standing before him………………………walk around each dog and take a fleeting look at that rear! A fleeting look is all I ask for, a real quick look see, come on how much can that hurt or take up time?
Check out each dog’s rear and act accordingly to what the official dictum directs………………………Cowhocks, spread hocks, sickle hocks and over-angulation are serious structural defects and are to be faulted.
Faulted! That’s the operative word here…………………………………..SERIOUS STRUCTURAL DEFECTS – FAULTED!
If enough judges would follow the letter of the law, it would have a serious effect on those breeders that continue to produce the serious structural defects!
What each of us can do
Those of us that have the betterment of the breed first and foremost, we can actually have an effect on those breeders and exhibitors that continue diminishing the breed with their off wares!
Let’s let those breeders and owners that insist on deluting the breed with serious structural defects, let’s let them know that we know…………………………that we are watching them and their poor produce and that we don’t appreciate their trampling on our precious breed.
What I propose is to let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. Let’s go over there and let the elephant know that we know that he’s there. Let’s not continue to look the other way and pretend that we don’t see it or that it doesn’t affect us and bother us………………….because you all know that it does affect us and bother the betterment of the breed.
I will continue to beat the drum as there is no silencing me………………..I need others to make a difference because you each can!
The Eukanuba National Championships &
The Betterment of the Breed
The Eukanuba National Championships is now the Mt Everest to climb for the true blue, serious breeder of any breed. Befittingly it is the last dog show of the year for dog fanciers in the USA.
The crescendo builds up all year and there on the last day of showing it all comes down to what happens in the biggest dog show in this country. What happens here doesn’t stay here…………………..it is the talk of the town………………….no, let’s make that the talk of the world, because right there in the midst of all the glamour and pageantry and the throngs of VIPs, dog world dignitaries, professional handlers, breeders, exhibitors, sponsors, syndicates, and hordes of spectators are the cameras and cell phones capturing everything and beaming all the action as it happens to clear across the other side of the planet.
No sooner had Chambrays Vivacious N Counter won a Best Labrador Puppy at the LRC Specialty that a major Chinese breeder from China, in China was making an outrageous offer for her via his agent’s cell phone standing right in front of me and Viva’s crate!
Our super star champion, BBE Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter was the winningest Labrador Retriever for the entire week of shows, besides winning Select Grand Champion at 3 of the shows, he also took home the biggest prize for a Labrador Retriever breeder, BEST OF BREED Bred-By Exhibitor and by Sunday I found myself explaining to another interested party/syndicate that Walter was not for sale for any price! That he was lovingly owned by a private owner and was their home companion………………..of course that didn’t stop the upping of the money being offered as dogs are more of a commodity to be acquired by the elite of those countries and they can’t fathom why Americans love their dogs as much as they do people! I finally changed the subject somewhere around $60,000 because I know that Walter’s family wouldn’t entertain any amount for him.
Several of the top professional handlers, in fact probably the 2 top Labrador handlers of all times approached me with offers for handling our dogs and for representing the Chambray dogs with major world players.
Of course it doesn’t hurt to have been the winningest breeder at last year’s 2014 Eukanuba National Championships and once again repeating this year as the breeder with the most dogs winning points/awards and topping it all off with Best Of Breed Bred By Exhibitor!
Certainly achieving the most coveted designation of being Top Labrador Retriever Breeder with the most champions bred in 1 year also has a way of punctuating a top status, then taking that once in a lifetime ranking and making it there in 2 different years, 2012 and again in 2014 has a way of opening up some lazy eyes…………………………….then repeating with back-to-back Top Breeder……………….now again in 2015 really seals the deal and makes it all real even for anyone that is slow to reality…………………..3 years out of the last 4 years with Top Breeder serves notice that what we do is not a passing fancy, that it is here to stay and have an everlasting effect.
The accolades and congratulations that I received all week long and especially after the awesome Best Of Breed Bred By Exhibitor at the Eukunaba National Championship, from Judges, from AKC staff and directors, from dog club officials and members, from spectators, from exhibitors………………..especially from professional dog handlers and probably the biggest pat on the back, from fellow Labrador breeders……………I share all that with all my owners, co-owners, co-breeders, partners, dog show management clients, my stud dog owners, our training clients……………………….my staff of interns, apprentices, handlers and of course my family.
This is truly the Betterment of the Breed working together and it is very obvious by all that we have made a difference.
Thank you all and know that there is more to come.
The Blogging Off Experience
From Newbie To Legend In Two Score Or More!
“I just spoke to this breeder and she claims to be a “Top Show Breeder”, what makes a person qualify to be a top breeder?”
Anyone can lay claim to whatever they wish to describe themselves as, it's the old 'talk is cheap' but can 'they walk the talk'! I have seen it all in my 45 years of involvement with Labradors and the last 28 in the show arena, having bred our first show puppies 25 years ago.
Well-meaning folk and not so well meaning folk have come and gone. Besides me, one or two left from the 1980's, a few from the 1990's, a smattering from before 2005…………………….mostly new folk, about 90% from the last 10 years.
Time has a way of bringing about experience and levels of expertise to those that have what it takes to remove the encumbrances and embrace the newness of an endeavor.
Of the multitudes that take on something new, there will be multitudes of casualties that will be left by the wayside for a plethora of reasons…………………way, way too many reasons for me to adequately cover in a glossing over blog, so let’s just say that out of 100 people that dip their feet into the waters of showing/breeding dogs, a slight sliver, say 10% that actually will continue on to make any semblance of a ding in the cosmic order of dog shows.
So, for those that are that sliver of continuance, there is a Mt. Denali of a journey ahead to actually achieve a level of acceptance.
NEWBIES: At first those enthused enough to venture forth beyond wet feet, will more or less be seen as dabblers for several years…………………say their first 3 to 5 years in the fancy. These neophytes will meander here and there, drift between mentors and false prophets, learn through trial and error……………….mostly error and somehow survive by the little ups and huge downs and still be there when the light starts to turn on for them. Most of these will probably produce half a dozen litters of below par dogs before they actually are wizened enough to move to the next level………………..if they ever do!
INITIATES: For those that receive enlightenment enough and last more than 5 years, they enter into the ‘Initiate’ level. They have paid their dues…………….more than likely starting out with run of the mill dogs and learning the hard way that those will never rise to the occasion for the intent and purpose of the dog show world. The ones that actually get that will advance through the ranks of the initiation period which would very well go from the 5th thru the 9th year. These will have continued breeding litters, but they will have gathered enough useful information along the way to actually produce a better quality dog.
INTERMEDIATES: The next level of upward mobility is the Intermediate Breeder/Exhibitor. Not many make it to this level as time has a way of culling out those that just don’t have the mental capacity to collate all that is necessary to become ‘proficient’ in all the aspects that it takes to be a quality breeder. Intermediates can now see the difference between nuances of conformation if they are directed to it. They can be made to understand that difference in what should be and what isn’t!
Those that have reached this level can make better decisions as to which dog to breed to because they now know which mentors to listen to. Before, they would ask every Tom, Dick and Harry for their opinion about everything……………………………..now they can see that maybe Tom and Dick were clueless all along and that they themselves have moved beyond Tom and Dick’s level of expertise. This is when you know that you have evolved to a higher level.
ESTABLISHED: There are an elite few breeders………………………the ones that have survived maybe 10 to 15 years and are still relevant with their produce. They make very good decisions about all the aspects of showing and breeding and are relatively successful with their produce. These are the Established Breeders………………no longer needing anyone’s advised because all those around them are of the lower echelon of knowledge, these have few peers. These make the right call 80% of the time and are always relevant.
NAMED STATUS: Even fewer of these, these are ‘known’ as the ones to best…………………the ones whose dogs can travel to any part of the country and be in the thick of things. Most of these breeders have been toiling away for 20+ years. Some of these have reached a level of almost mentors for the breed because they are operating at close to 100% with all matters concerning the breed. They just lack that one extra to get them to the highest level of being a legend……………leaving behind for others to reap the benefits of their decades and decades of service to the betterment of the breed…………….sadly, very few ascend to that legend level.
LEGEND: No description needed for these.
7 Florida Dog Shows Remain For 2015
The 2015 Florida Dog Show season is down to the last 7 shows and then we close yet another chapter in our excellent adventure with Labrador Retrievers.
This Saturday and Sunday we will be at our closest venue for the entire year, a mere 25 miles to Tropical Park where the Greater Miami Dog Club will host their 67th year of dog shows.
I remember well attending my first ever dog show in 1971 held by the Miami club at Dinner Key Auditorium. To a newbie like me at the time, it seemed chaotic and confusing………….exactly what all the new Chambray owners experience with their first venture to an AKC show. Of course each of those neophytes have me to prepare them in anticipation and to guide them along so that they have a semblance of the activities and the purpose.
Now imagine me back then not knowing anyone into Labradors, not know anything about dog shows, not knowing that the different breeds actually had a certain time and ring that they are to be exhibited at!
Well, we have come a long way since those pioneer days for me. Where there was no mentoring environment for anyone new………………….now Labrador Retrievers owners in South Florida have the one of a kind organization that encourages newcomers to step on board and learn without all the mistakes that all newbies trip all over on by themselves.
Chambray Labradors has facilitated hundreds if not close to a thousand new owners since those early days in the 70’s, then through the 80’s, the 90’s, the turn of the century and now 15 years into the 21st century……………….that’s 45 years serving the community and still going strong.
The last 25 years of our existence we have dedicated ourselves to the conformation ring and to the betterment of the breed through our insistence of only breeding the absolute best to produce the absolute best and not accepting anything less!
Nowhere else in Florida or the rest of the country has such an endeavor ever been undertaken…………never…………………nothing like it!
So, we now look forward to closing out the year with these 2 shows here in Miami and then heading up to Orlando for the real big show……………………….the Eukanuba week of shows!
There will be 3 days of all-breed shows starting on Tuesday December 8th where we will see well over 100 Labrador congregate from the top breeders in the country with several dozen champions competing for the big prize of Best Of Breed.
On Friday December 11th the national parent club, the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. will host a Labrador Retriever Specialty and then the following day will be the crowing jewel for the week, the AKC Eukanuba National Championships!
Chambray Labradors will once again be well represented by a stellar group of dogs that will be competing for Winners Points and also for Best Of Breeds, including 5 of our top champions.
We look forward to seeing many of our loyal owners this weekend at the Miami shows and also to all those that will make the trip up to Orlando to be part of the biggest dog show ever in the USA!
“You criticize people breeding their dogs that are just learners. How is someone supposed to learn if they don’t breed?”
It’s a good thing that brain surgeons go to 8 or 10 years of specialized medical school before they are allowed to chain saw someone’s skull open to see if the spark plugs need replacing!
Maybe the analogy is a bit cumbersome for some to decipher and wrap whatever amount of grey matter they may or may not have…………………………..just the same, la meme chose folks!
I was an apprentice for 3 years to an old German master carpenter before I struck out on my own building homes for a living…………………and that was after working in my father’s furniture factory since I was 10 years old……………..having learned heavy carpentry machinery from the ground up.
What I am getting at is that far too many blokes are breeding dogs with no forethought or experience what so ever! Nary a clue to be had and they producing the next generation of a breed of dog that will end up being someone’s responsibility for 12 to 14 years.
Now, in construction, if something I build wasn’t up to code, it would be whacked down and built again correctly. If in breeding you goof by pairing the wrong mates, you have a long lasting reminder that could be a burden to an unsuspecting puppy buyer for a decade or more!
Time and time again I have seen the results of those wrongly coupled dogs and what they produced or maybe ‘ill-produced’ would cover the results in a more adequate fashion.
Case in point:
Towards the end of last year an appointment was scheduled for a dog owner with a female they intended on breeding! This owner waited to do the research when the female came into heat! So, in actuality, they were looking for a stud dog to breed the female to.
My instructions were to bring me the dog and her pedigree and I would perform a conformation evaluation to determine if the dog was truly an example of the breed that should be bred.
From 75 feet away……………that’s the distance from my house to the front gate where the man and woman were standing holding their ‘prized possession’ Honey, I could very well tell where this evaluation was headed!
Due south by south some more! That’s what 9 out of 10 dogs that comes for me to evaluate, head to when I am done with my prognosis.
This evaluation appointment was no different; in fact it was not even close!
Cow-hocked, sickle hocked, totally not to type (tall and lanky)……………………red nose and yellow eyes……………let’s just stop there because that’s exactly what I did and then pronounced the unworthiness of the dog as a perpetuator of the breed.
The man told me that he would give me $500 cash on the spot to breed to one of my champion males!
I informed him that when I approve of a breeding, the fee is $1200 cash before the breeding takes place.
End of story!
Fast forward a year now and just this last weekend at the Davie show another person contacted me for potential stud service! Since they lived in Broward County, I invited them to come to the Davie dog show and bring the female that they intended on training and eventually breeding.
Coincidentally she too was in heat and they too wanted to breed her NOW at 12 months of age! So, the education process actually began over email…………………………YOU DON’T BREED A DOG UNTIL IT IS AT LEAST 18 MONTHS OLD AND IT HAS HAD ALL THE PROPER CLEARANCES!
If you know didley and me, you know that I am all business right before we enter the ring with our roster of dogs. I tune everything out…………………………..my 100% is focused on our dogs and our handlers. I tell my owners to sit a spell and not make themselves known until we finish the #1 task at hand……………………showing their dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A few minutes before the first male puppy is called into the ring, out of the corner of my eye up in the bleachers I catch a glimpse of what a Labrador should not look like! Tall lanky, roached back, long curled whip tail over the back…………………………..but just as quick as the apparition showed up, my mind went back to all our dogs and all our handlers and everything that needed to be done by me and Chambray Team of handlers, apprentices, interns, holders and the rest of what it takes to keep our operation as smooth as glass.
When it was all said and done…………….mostly done……………………….all the Labs had been shown and all went well as planned, then I take a deep breath and make myself available to my owners or to visitors that are interested in our dogs.
Just at that moment the long and lanky Labrador wannabee approaches me with her owners in tow……………….yes, she was pulling them where ever she wanted to go.
The couple stopped right in front of me and introduced themselves to me as the people that were looking for a stud dog. The man exclaimed that he really like the one that had just won Best Of Breed………………..that being Gr Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos and that’s the one he wants to breed Blondie to!
Now Amos is a nice sized dog, standing somewhere around 24 inches tall at the withers and Blondie would tower a good 2 ½ inches over him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Where did you obtain her from?” I asked..................the usual prelude question that opens the door to educate people some more!
“From a guy down in Palmetto Bay named Mickey Mouse!” (not real name of course).
A flash came to my now age-failing mind……………….yep, recognized the name well as the blokes that showed up at my gate 15 months before wanting stud service on a very similar female named Honey.
They say the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree…………………….of course we all know that fruit is good, so in this case I have to say that deadwood doesn’t fall far from the tree either!
Needless to say that Blondie will not be having a ‘play date’ with Amos!
Of Going Around In Circles!
Having something to say and saying it comes with lots of responsibility, especially if there are multitudes that listen or read those out loud statements that are laid bare for the many to see.
The opposite of the preceding are those that have tons to say……………. say those heavily weighted conjectures about those whose backs are turned and take absolutely no responsibility for any of those words uttered.
Whatever I post at the Blogging Off section comes fully guaranteed! Yep, you read right, my fullest backing each and every time you read or hear something that comes directly from my agape mouthpiece or that you read at my online soapbox!
Now, if you get it second hand, even from well-intended flock followers or passed through the tell-all grapevine……………….probably from a lost and beleaguered prophet………..then the guarantee does not apply!
I mention all of this because today I received a blasting and blasphemous email mentioning my poor ancestors that really didn’t have no inkling that a full grown man would devote his life to dogs………………….heck even my mother criticized me to no end for “going around in circles all day with dogs”…………………………..that’s how she viewed me out the picture glass window in front of our home while I worked with dogs all day!
I can imagine those elders that came before her who toiled all day out in the country as peasant farmers, “A real man plows the fields and plants the seeds that will bear the crops that will put food on the table” was something I heard all the time from my grandparents……………may all of them rest in peace as they watch down on me still at 66 years old going around in circles all day with the dogs that I still work with every day!
The lady in red flames me with all sorts of things that I was supposed to have said about her dog that she offers for stud service.
“Whoa your horses missy!” ask me first what I said and then we can discuss the matter…………………like in “What’s the matter with your dog!”
Here’s the real deal………………………… “Your dog has totally upright shoulder placement…………………..period!” Everything else that I was supposed to have said is fabrications of falsehoods by fools with no forethought other than those with tomfoolery for facts!
Nothing said about ‘cow-hocks’………………because I will call that spade a spade every single time I look at a dog’s rear and see those hocks playing dueling banjos with each other!
If your dog is out in public displayed for the world to see, especially at a dog show where we as breeders and exhibitors are supposed to be showcasing our best produce for others to see, to want to breed to it or in the case of females, to want a puppy from one of her litters…………………………then you knowingly expose yourself to open criticism.
I, as self-appointed guardian of the breed…………………if there is anyone out there that feels more qualified to fill my shoes, wants to apply for my ‘job’, please stand up and be counted…………………………..until that time that I have been supplanted, I will express my expertise to any and all that request that knowledge about any and all dogs showing or being advertised for stud service or females that have produced a litter………………………..and take 100% responsibility for all the contents expressed.
Of Goulash, Pot Luck and Gumbo Stew
The 'Wishful Thinking’ and ‘Pot Luck’ method of breeding dogs still rules with the majority of the ‘dabblers’ out there.
This week alone I have ‘seen’ via Facebook or through direct communications to me, 7 different breedings of which 6 were totally a hit or miss proposition at best and a wayward disaster in the making at worst!
The 7th pairing was actually one that was suggested by yours truly to someone that preferred a ‘natural breeding’ and she lived several states over....................too far a drive down to my sunny side up neck of the woods.
So, instead I recommended the owner to supply me with possible suitors that were within reasonable driving distance from her location.
Out of a list of 5 stud dogs, there was one dog that offered a 3rd generation line breeding and in addition from the photos supplied of stud dog and bitch, it was also a good ‘type’ breeding, besides being an ‘improvement breeding’ to certain areas that needed building up on.
So, we had 3 different agendas all working towards a major positive with this breeding.
The other 6 breedings that I looked over were smacked with ‘what were you thinking’!
First of all, the fact that a dog is a champion means diddly squat in a breeding program!
Any ‘average Joe’ dog can have a front end adornment gracing its name and that abbreviated decoration could have been had with a lengthy campaign and a deep pocket bank account. Worse yet, one of the highest ranked champion dogs ever from Florida was so dastardly riddled with structural defects and faults that said dog was never cleared for any of the required joint clearances and of course has never been used to produce any subsequent progeny………………………………..the best thing that could have ever happened.......not reproducing!!!!!!!!!!!
The terrible downside to that sad sack, sorry story was that the dog was campaigned mercilessly for an eternity grabbing up breed awards that could have been awarded to truly deserving breed specimens that could contribute to the betterment of the breed.
So, in perusing the promos and social memos circulating amongst the clueless were several more that made me wince, shake my head and even gag!
No wonder there are so many half-arsed dogs showing. Most of these breedings will not be in the competitive loop here in Florida.
However, 2 of the breedings will produce offspring that the breeders will keep ‘something to show’ and sadly to place the left overs with folk that may have an inkling of showing in the Sunny State, which of course will not be so sunny with the 'good results' department.
Of course, by show time at 6 months or older those ‘kept’ or ‘placed’ dogs may have already proven to be a bust and no one will ever know the results of those haphazard pairings and those ‘wishing and a hoping’ breeders will be at it again whipping up another Cajun gumbo stew, crossing their fingers that ‘something good’ comes of it so that they can once again keep ‘something to show’!
Repetition Has Its Place
The Blogging Off page at the www.chambraylabradors.net website receives close to 1000 hits every day from all over the world.
The majority of the visitors are from the USA, with Florida leading the pack by twice as many as all the other states combined. That means that our Chambray owners and also the rest of the Florida Labrador enthusiasts come to see ‘what’s new pussy cat’………………..actually what I have to say is more like it.
Here is an interesting note, about 1/3 of the visitors are classified as ‘unique’. In SEO (search engine optimization) lingo (language) that means that the IP address is totally new to the data that is being collected by the tracking program.
In case some of you don’t know, every time you visit a website, you leave behind an ‘electronic footprint’ that is documented for posterity and whatever other shenanigans those that are peeping want to do with.
Yep, George Orwell has a big grin on his face as he warned us back in the year I was born (1949) that Big Brother would constantly be watching everything you do with his 1984 book (actual name of book). So, here we are in 2015 and what he wrote in 1949 has come to be a way of life in exactly my lifetime!
Now, that’s spooky! In exactly the same 66 year period we go to the extreme in Fascism and government control and I go and become the exact opposite, outside the box free thinker and liberal to the max! Spooky indeed!
Now before I get censored for admitting to be a free thinker, the reason I am penning (actually pecking) this blog is because there have been a few good meaning folk that have written in letting me know that I tend to repeat a lot of the subject matter.
Well, in reality, that’s very true. Many reasons for the seasons, but the biggest reason is that 1/3 of our visitors are brand spanking new to my little Labrador realm. By perusing through my logs of visitations from all of you and all those that are new and all those that come every single day and all those that never come back and those real retentive ones that visit 10 times in 1 day…………………………….repeating is a good thing!
First of all the retentive ones will come no matter what, come hellish shellfish or tsunami walls of H2O, I can post the same blog every day and they will still come……………………..hey, I built it and they are still streaming in!
For those more discriminating ones, those that want something new, something unique……………………hey, this is a freebee, like it ain’t costing you a cent/sense so relax and re-read what I have to say. Besides, they will come too as they don’t want to miss a single jungle beat from that congo drum that I keep banging on each day or so!
Now here is the real deal folks, for those newbies that arrive at my website and especially the Blogging Off page…………………………those with the wide open eyes, deer in the headlights look, those that may not know any better or better/worse yet, may know everything bass ackwards………………………….those need the most enlightening (for those in the know, that term really means ‘leading by the nose’).
Finally there is the old, the more you hear it (read it), the more it becomes a memorable idea…………….whether it is right or catawampus………..it does become part of a person’s ‘reality’, be it real or totally wrong, none the less it is stored in that person’s brain filing cabinet (the Hippocampus) and like clockwork orange, it is then streamed back to that person as a ‘real sequence’ for them to blab off to the next bloke willing to listen.
Of course you all know that I would not lead anyone astray by filling that precious cargo space with erroneous mumbo-jumbo, so the ‘stuff’ that I stir up each day and offer on a glistening plate at the Blogging Off section is the real meat and potatoes that can be ingested, digested and then regurgitated to others with assurances that it is a near 100% the truth and nothing but the truth about Labrador Retrievers.
So, to answer the few, the disgruntled that all is not new every day, yes repetition has a way of being very useful…………it gets the point across once, twice and as many thrices as I can repeat.
Keep coming back, sooner or later there will be something that stirs the imagination, even for those hard to please soul searchers.