"Questions are the keys to understanding,
answers are the open doors that will follow,
choosing the right door to proceed through will
determine if the correct path was taken."
what I appear to be
The love and passion that I have for Labrador Retrievers is what fuels my drive for my total involvement with the breed. The never-ending quest for the Betterment of the Breed is the legacy that I would
like to leave behind after it is all said and done.
This Blogging Off section reflects the "tell it like it is" persona that comprises one of the many hats that I wear in my daily activities with Labrador Retrievers and the people that own them.
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.
Taking Them To Task
“How does one really know what show quality is?” The question is posed.
When that question is posed it is an 'aha moment' for someone! That is the first step in getting to know something that someone doesn’t know something!
Admitting that that there is a fault then sets up the next step to correcting that fault.
Admitting that there is no apparent difference between ‘egad’ and ‘good’, then opens the door to be enlightened upon those actual differences that could not be deciphered before the enlightenment!
From so much apparent confusion from actual people that consider themselves as ‘breeders’, it is very obvious that even the blokes that are responsible for the dogs produced, that the defining word is not known by many…………..in fact coming from the horse’s mouth………………mine……………………very few, I dare say, a very miniscule number of blokes like myself know enough to know what show quality really is.
I have stood on every soapbox that would make me seem taller, I have preached until my voice became screeched………………….dissertated, harangued, articulated, bandwagon along, ballyhooed, wrote, published, and lately blogged and any and every other platform of conceivable ways of communication of getting the word out, for years…………..nah make that decades now and we still have the ‘lost in the fog breeders’……………………………….breeders that have been at it for 15, 20 and even 25 years and we still see the same mistakes over and over again.
Don’t believe me.....................at the next dog show concentrate on just one area of our breed……………..just one, to make it simple as a dimple on a dapple! That’s all I ask, just look in one direction of the dogs in the ring!
Look at all the dog’s rears!
What you should see is NOT COW HOCKS! What you will see is COW HOCKS!
Before you go to that dog show, please read the breed standard for the Labrador Retriever. It won’t cost you a cent, only a Google search or better yet, go to the www.akc.org website and do a search there for it and you will be supplied with the official Labrador Breed Standard in all its glory.
Check out the very specific reference to COW HOCKS! It reads that they are SERIOUS STRUCTURAL DEFECTS!
Not just merely a fault………………..no it says that it is a SERIOUS STRUCTURAL DEFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And yet you will have some myopic serving as judge and jury that will actually award Winners Points to said dastardly specimen……………..of course giving false credence to the ‘non-knowing breeder’ that it is ok to be breeding these wrongly constructed dogs that deviate so far from the standard.
Still don’t believe me………………..READ THE STANDARD and then GO TO THE NEXT SHOW and I will point out those massive deviations and then you be the judge!
So, I rest my case……………..because if those breeders that think of themselves as knowledgeable breeders are breeding structurally defective specimens……………………….what does that really tell you about their supposed knowledge for all the other areas of the breed? It would follow suit that everything else they do should be questionable at best and shamefully at worst.
So, what does it tell you about them, the obvious answer is NOT MUCH! The thing is that they prove it over and over again, generation after generation, producing the same serious structural defect…………………..how is that something for the Betterment of the Breed?
You tell me.
Theory Of Relativity As Applied To Labradors
“What’s the difference between show quality and pet quality?” Another question that comes up with daily regularity………much as the sun rises and sets every day, so does this query!
What’s the difference between LeBron James and those guys you see at the neighborhood park bouncing a basketball around and shooting it towards the hoops with a flying prayer that it may hit the backboard?
Yep, same difference!
You could compare the now retired Derrick Jeter to any father/mother playing toss and catch with their little kid in their front yard……………………………………..or me racing (ha ha ha) Usain Bolt in the 100 meters! LMAOROTG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yep, same difference!
Now add 5000 shades of gray………………………..50 shades applies to humans……………………..5000 applies to dogs!
Yep, 5000 shades of gray because it then becomes a relative thing…………..much like Einstein’s theory of relatively…………………..not really, but really all at the same time.
Let me expound about that last conundrum! Relative because the ‘quality’ we speak of has totally different grading measures…………………………the 5000 shades of gray coming at you…………………because it all depends on who the breeder is that is apply the grading scale!
Yep, it is relative to what level the breeder is producing at! Think about it………………….Sally Ratty breeds a litter as she has been a breeder for all of 6 months and this is her very first litter ever. She purchased her females from Letty Ready who has been breeding for 3 years and has 6 females that she obtained from here and there, with here and there having no rhyme or rhythm for notoriety (either good or bad as no one knows their name).
So, Sally engages Letty to come see the 8-week old litter and they also include the stud dog owner, Clyde Beatty (yes of the famous dirt farmers from AR), who was given his chocolate male by someone that couldn’t keep him as he jumped fences and would race off to places unknown……………………both the dog and the previous owner!
Now the newly formed ‘think tank’ congregate over at Sally’s house to ‘look over the litter’. All of them have a stake in this venture.
Letty is supposed to take the pick of the litter puppy as part of her sales agreement with Sally when Sally bought the puppy, ‘Petunia’ which is now the dam of the 9 puppy litter.
Clyde of the famous farmers from AK, also gets to choose a ‘pick puppy’ for providing ‘Bear’s stud services.
All three of the now termed ‘breeders’ have a quandary of epic proportions………………………..Bear is a chocolate dog and Petunia is a yellow dog as Sally wanted a litter with all 3 colors.
The huge problem they are looking at is a litter of 9 black puppies and none can fully explain the perceived anomaly……………………which is really not anomaly, but a correct genetic manifestation of which none of these so-called Labrador breeders has an inkling about.
Yet, here they sit in Sally’s backyard picking out the show quality puppies from the all-black litter that they have no idea how they got that way.
Of course Clyde has his heart set on a ‘clone of Bear’………………….yep, he wanted the biggest chocolate male to replace Bear when Bear no longer was ‘useful’.
Letty was wanting a really nice yellow female like the mom so that she could show it as she was co-breeding this litter with first-time breeder Sally.
Moral of the story……………the blind leading the blind never ‘looked’ so good………………………..the Three Stooges could not have crafted a funnier plotline for one of their famous guffaw sketches………….well, you get the picture………………….now here’s the clincher……………………………this actually happened!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yep, right here in my own bailiwick, my own neck of the woods…………………..right down the street (Krome Avenue, south for 2 miles).
I know for a fact, because round and round they went at Sally’s house and they couldn’t come up with the winners each was looking for, then they all packed up, with 9 black puppies in tow and descended at my front gate with the whole kit and caboodle…………………………..without an appointment!!!!!!!!!!
Yep, there they were 3 vehicles………………….1 truck, 1 SUV and a car…………………. 9 people……………..a bunch extra came along for the ride and a big box full of scrawny 8 week old black puppies………………maybe the biggest weighing in at 8 lbs………………by comparison, my 8 week old puppies start out at 12lbs and some leave here at 8 weeks tipping the fat scales at 16 lbs.
Having finished my heaviest workload for the day and having a second or 2 to waste, I sallied on up to the gate and greeted the roving caravan.
Clyde did most of the talking since he had been over to Chambray to offer me Bear’s services as a stud dog several years back. Of course I don’t have to tell you how fast that evaluation went south and him too as he actually lives 10 miles south of me.
Yep, opened the gate wide enough for me to squeeze out of closed it right back just in case some of the traveling troupe had any of ideas of ‘settling in’.
Clyde picked up the box from the SUV and placed it in the back of his truck and turned it over on its side and out raced 9 black little lizards, scurrying for cover as fast as their little spindly legs could maneuver.
Clyde spoke up in that slow AR drawl……………..not easily mistaken for any other drawl from where there isn’t much to do but anticipate tornadoes most of the year, drought and dust storms the rest of the year. “We will pay you to pick out all the show pups as I am taking one and missy Letty is getting one and missy Sally is keeping one or 2 and she is ‘saling’ the others as show quality and maybe 1 or 2 as pets.”
Well, I don’t need to really go any further with the happenstance from above, because you all know where all that went! The moral of this blog is that show quality is relative to whomever is applying the terminology.
The burning question is……………………… is it really show quality because Sally, Letty and Clyde say it is?
Now do you see the relativity of it all? So, Einstein even knew Labradors with his theory of relativity as applied to Labrador….he just didn’t know Bo or that I would apply his quantum’s to suit my needs!
Thank you Albert!
PS: Names have been changed to protect the guilty. Of course not Alberts, Bo's Jeters, LeBrons, or Usains
Suggestions By The Truckload
Thank you all for responding to the most recent blog…………..more or less asking you, the ultimate consumer…………….from your point of view how to go about discussing the ‘other’ breeders.
Your responses varied as much or more as there are flakes in the world………………..flakes, as in snow and also humans……………….not that your responses were flaky, which some were, it’s just that as a kid in school I was always fascinated to hear that there were never two snowflakes alike. Of course living in Miami since I was 5 years old (having arrived in the Magic City* in 1955), never having seen snowflakes until in my adulthood in January 1977, the day it snowed in the Magic City……………..until that very fateful day right here at Chambrays Acres, I had to take someone’s word for the flakes all being different.
*You don’t hear much mention of Miami being called the Magic City anymore, but I love to bring back the nostalgic history that I have lived through and thought I would share something with the young whippersnappers out there that only live in today’s electronic wizardry and ‘egads’ social media.
Back to the matters at hand: Surprisingly enough, there was a healthy dose of “Say nothing because no one compares to Chambray”, maybe not the exact same verbiage, but the intended wisdom was the same. The vast majority of those responders happen to be Chambray owners. So I guess firsthand experience leads to great word of mouth!
Loud and clear came, ‘Rip those pretenders to shreds”………………from one person who had been ‘burned’ several times by the pseudo-perpetuators of the breed. That sentiment or better yet outcry was favored by many, again not the exact same wording, but the meaning was the same.
Terms such as “uncover”, “expose”, “please list”, “you owe it to the breed”, “who are these people” and other “tell it like it is” calls for action to bring these marauders to shame by disclosing their names!
To be honest, I am at square one with the subject as there are so many good points brought up by the differing suggestion factions.
I don’t know what my status really is when it comes to this situation of disclosure of other breeders, be it the few, the proud good breeders or with the bigger subset of bad breeders producing assembly line products of inferior quality.
One really great suggestion was to pen a dedicated article, piece or ‘perpetual’ blog that all inquirers could be directed to read when they first contact Chambray for puppy info. In that essay, several chapters would be dedicated to ‘outing’……………in general and not specifically the differences between the good, the bad and the ugly.
There were other well-intended suggestions which I will peruse through and maybe glean some worthwhile tidbits, collate them and then offer up a blog for my readers to sample.
Ok, thank you again and keep on truckin with your suggestions.
Dare To Be Great.
There is almost no way to really answer someone’s question about another breeder’s value, worth or agenda! At least not any that I have come up with that won’t sound like I am down playing that breeder in order for me to make a sale!
Bear in mind that I really don’t have to do that downplaying because we don’t have the supply of puppies for the demand that we do have. So, lambasting someone’s involvement, as dastardly as that involvement may be in Labradors really has no financial windfall for me in the least bit.
Recently a potential client under consideration for one of our limited number of puppies disclosed that they had also been in touch with another Florida Labrador breeder and that this person had used a stud dog from another Florida Labrador breeder.
Now all that is fine and dandy and I appreciate people going out and comparing what’s out there and what other breeders are offering.
The problem comes in when the potential buyer asks for information on any other breeder! That’s where the dilemma lays.
How do you go about enlightening someone that is already communicating with me, at the top levels that we operate at compared to what these other operators that are supplying the puppy pet market and are flying way under the radar with their product and services AND still have me sound professional and on the up and up when laying it bare?
If the person doing the research can’t decipher for themselves the difference between a Mercedes Benz vs. a Hyundai, then there isn’t much that really can be said…………………..or so I think and if anyone out there has a solution to the situation, please enlighten me.
I have written articles, blogs and newsletters covering all the different outlets for puppies………….from one end of the spectrum to the other and back to Timbuctoo!
There are literally thousands, hundreds of thousands of Lab puppies produced a year in the US alone!
The AKC once used to list how many of each breed of dogs were registered each year and about 12 years ago, the last time they disclosed that info, there were over 175,000 Labradors registered with them that year. Figure that there were 75,000 registered with all the other dog registries and then double those figures for all the Labradors that were not registered with any of the registry services and 400,000 a year sounds very plausible and that was 12 years ago.
Now considered the sources of all those puppies produced. I dare state that less than ½ % come from the top breeders in the country and the vast majority come from ‘dabblers’ and worse yet, the ‘mass producers’.
A Google search for Labradors will come up with thousands of pages with results. It seems that everyone including Heidi Klum’s grandmother* has a spiffy looking website with photos of Labradors galore.
*Don’t search for that because I just made that up for emphasis sake.
The old comparisons of ‘apples and oranges’ doesn’t even begin to describe the differences between those bona fide Labrador Retriever breeders and those rabid dabblers that throw 2 reasonable looking facsimiles Labradors or even 2 unreasonable facsimiles together in the backyard and have them ‘go at it” with hoots and hollers of “sic’em boy”.
So, when someone has been communicating with me and brings up someone else at multitudes of level below the average, let alone the high levels needed to be in the top rung, it befuddles my mind in how to answer their questions of “what I think of So&So”.
Anyone out there dare to be great?
What Lies Beneath
With great anticipation, I awaited the first appointment for the day.
This was to be an evaluation for a young male dog purchased from one of the top named kennels in the country (not from Chambray)……………………….where up to now I had been provided the pedigree and 2 photos of a great looking show prospect.
The pedigree alone was worth the $12,000 ‘invested’ on the dog, because the ‘trail’ going backwards on the family tree was illuminated with high-powered sky search beams!
In fact, this 15 month old had been to several ‘sweepstakes’ and had even placed well as a 6-month ild puppy at a couple of them, so breeder/judges had seen him and liked him enough to award him some nice ribbons.
Of course I am always leery when a top breeder ‘places’ a dog. My automatic way of thinking is “what’s wrong with the dog?”
No prideful breeder gets ‘rid’ of anything worthwhile because to them (like me), winning in the show ring is what validates their existence as show breeders……………..not the money that comes in from selling a dog!
So, lurking in the recesses of my mind were those creepy thoughts of ‘why sell’ a potential winner. So, with the heightened expectations of seeing this potential show/stud dog, there were trepidations knowing what lies beneath the surface in our dog eat dog business.
The van pulled up to the front gate right on time and after directing the driver to pull off to the side and not park in front of the ‘no parking’ sign…………………….both driver, passenger and dog emerged.
True to his photo was this very impressive, stocky/typey, heavy coated, sporty looking dog! I really liked what I saw standing outside of my gate!
Clicking the remote control to open the gate with much giddiness, I watched the big yellow boy bound with enthusiasm into my little Labrador niche that I fondly refer to as Chambray Acres, I called out to the owners and asked them to “let him loose”.
I wanted to see him unfettered, unrestricted as natural as the day he was born…………….running around and free so that I could soak in what I was hoping was going to be the next great dog welcomed into the Chambray Betterment of the Breed programs.
The punch to my stomach only took 3 steps by the energetic bundle of energy! As clear as any clear day in May it didn’t take long for my aging vision to see ‘something wrong’ in his gait………………something so off that he could not go into the correct gallop stride or the lope that most 4-legged animals will step into while going at ¾ speed. As excited as he was to see other dogs in their pens, he couldn’t or he chose not to go into a full speed because of the encumbrance that he must of felt coming from the right-side rear hip.
The air in my lungs went out and I had difficulty breathing any new air back in, so disappointing was the sight before me. The air in the sails means no movement forward and here I was standing in the Sargasso Sea, in the middle of the Doldrums with no wind and nowhere to go with this dog and the people standing next to me not knowing that a full blown category 5 hurricane was about to hit them!
Oh boy, been there, done that many times and the next 5 minutes are more like a hell ride through eternity.
How do you tell someone that there may be a big problem with their ‘child’…………………because that’s exactly what a dog becomes to people……………….their child!
I needed to get to the problem at hand as quick as possible “Has he had preliminaries done to his hips and elbows?” I asked.
“I imagine that the breeder has had all that done because he is a top show dog.” Was the reply I received from the apparent person in charge, the woman of the tandem.
“Do you have a warrantee or guarantee with the purchase of ‘Topper’? I detect a glitch coming from his right rear that needs to be diagnosed as soon as possible because he is favoring that leg and putting undue pressure on the other leg which could lead to ligament damage to both knees.” As clinical and professional as possible came my reply.
Needless to say, the storm hit and both man and woman where in an uproar. “I never noticed that before, it must have just happened when he jumped out of the car!” was the synchronized lament by both owners.
“Regardless of when, where, how……………….you need to address the issue before more time elapses” was my response and with the same breath, I called for the Topper to come to where we were standing.
They promptly gathered their bundle of joy or maybe ‘bundle of angst’ would be a better description at the moment and headed out of the gates of Chambray as post haste as post haste will get you.
Two days later I received a call from Topper’s owners thanking me and detailing how the right rear hip ball was not set deep enough into the socket and that there was apparent remodeling to the socket already that would precipitate early onset arthritis. In addition the left rear ACL was compromised and swollen as was the whole knee joint. The examining Ortho Vet explained to them that since there was the problem to the right rear hip that the dog was overcompensating and putting way too much weight, pressure and stress to the left side and thus the visible damage that was being caused to the left knee joint and ligaments and tendons.
They got all that news for a total of $1300 in 10 different radiological views, consultation, vet visit and whatever else is tacked on, the same thing I told them for free.
I will follow up on this case as the facts present themselves.
The AKC's Blessings
For those asking, the Chambray ‘business’ is everywhere! Those that email in, phone in or ask in person as the AKC inspector just did recently.
That is ‘everywhere’ that a Chambray dog or one from elsewhere that was included into our many programs lives at.
I can be sitting here in front of my computer ‘taking care of business’ with an owner to the north in Fancy Farm KY or to the south in Bogota, Colombia.
‘Business’ can be as varied as arranging for a stud service via Fed Ex to Fargo North Dakota and then to Puppy Primer instructions to a 5 month old Chambray show pup in Citrus Springs, FL…………………….or advising folk through my Blogging Off blog that a gastroenteritis is sweeping across our sunny state with the same colors as the rays of the sun!
I can be taking care of a potential Chambray owner right here at Chambray Acres at 9 AM, wrap up the visit with the visitor now taking home an armful of fluff and love…………………..their 2nd generation Chambray dog in a couple of decades……………………and within minutes of their departure be on the road to Lake Worth FL at one of the Chambray owner’s homes to meet up with another potential Chambray owner that is also headed in that direction coming from Merritt Island which is 2 ½ hours due north from our meeting place.
This is Chambrays Owners Programs at work, day and night Monday to Monday.
We have many dogs that split time in several locales. Right here in our own backyard there is Jericho that lives south of me in Palmetto Bay and just like that can be up in Fripp Island SC…………….ironically recently he and his family boogied on up I-95 from the sunshine state only to be greeted by the 1st Hurricane of the season that decided to make landfall somewhere near their getaway retreat in the now in the news 'bars and strips state'.
We have several of our Chambray dogs that live here in Flroida for the winter (snow birds) and hightail it back north to NY, MA, VA or NJ for the summer months…………………then there are the jet setters………………………….yes, Chambray dogs that cruise at high altitudes to hideouts in fanciful named places such as Cancun MX for a couple of months and then the next postcard (email) I receive from that dog, shows him in the highlands above Bogota Col.
Then there is a honey sweet, new Chambray champion that spends weeks and weeks in the summer with her owner in an exclusive resort in upstate NY, where only people with dogs are allowed…………..you don’t have a dog, you don’t get to come in. ‘In’ being the in place to be with miles and miles of trails, cold water lakes……..well you get the picture a resort fit for a king and his best friend, you decide which is the king and which is the best friend in this adventure.
We just had an AKC inspection last week……………….routine if you ever breed one litter……………….and the inspector was amazed at the extent of our involvement with Labradors and yet on the premises here at Chambray Acres, he only documented 3 dogs that actually live here!
His true amazement came with the realization that Chambray was the number 1 champion Labrador breeder 2 of the last 3 years………………..a fact he already knew about before arranging the visit here and then lo and behold he visits and there are only 3 dogs that are full time residents living here!
A total stark contrast to the ‘big name kennels’ he has visited, especially up in the NE area!
“Beautiful kennels and operations” according to the amicable inspector, but total different operation with dozens and dozens of dogs vs. what we have going and yet, we are standing toe-to-toe in the big arena of show dogs!
Dog name after dog name from the files that he pulled up while connected to the AKC’s mainframe during his ‘record-keeping’ part of the inspection, was a dog owned, co-owned or co-leased for our breeding or stud service program…………………..of course an explanation for each association would be coming from me although each and every record was spot on for the AKC purposes.
Needless to say that the visual inspection of our training areas, conditioning and rehab sections, our holding pens, exercise yards, clement weather undercover crating and other types of dog housing passed with beyond 'satisfactory', but as he pointed out, the form only allows for ‘compliance’ or ‘non-compliance’.
Having given him a total disclosure of our ‘business’ and ‘operations’ and participation by the entire Herzon family and interns and apprentices that come from the schools in the area that we serve as ‘mentors’……………..plus the dozens and dozens (actually thousands and thousands) of folk that attended our night training classes for the last 25 years, here at Chambray Acres and also at the FPL parking lot training facility………………………..with some of those folk actually learning enough from us to eventually become professional handlers themselves………………………..he needless to say was truly amazed at the extent and depth that we have taken this love and passion for one breed of dog…………………….Labradors and the movement for the Betterment of the Breed.
Although we pride ourselves with everything we do, having the official ‘stamp of approval’ from the largest canine-related governing body in the world, the AKC, goes a long way in the legacy that Chambray has amassed over all these 45 years………………something we are very proud of and know that every Chambray owner out there shares with us.
Sleep Sound My Children
At Chambray Acres, there is something always going on with the dogs……………… ‘going to the dogs’ has never sounded more appropriate for our way of life! Even ‘a dog’s life’ can be politically correct when referring to my life as well.
Now, I must tell you that ‘a dog’s life’ is a very good one if you happen to be a Chambray Labrador.
Yes, sir, you can take that to the bank and make huge sums in interest. I can honestly say that because the vast majority of Chambray dogs have humongous-ly great lives.
There are some that travel in private jets………………in 100+ foot yachts………………have their very own private island in the Caribbean…………………….have multiple houses on multiple continents………………..have their very own attendants, care-givers, attachés, servants or whatever the proper designation for someone whose whole day/night revolves in seeing that the dog has all the comforts that money/love can obtain.
Yes sir, in my next life I am coming back as a Chambray dog! I hope my daughter keeps right on with the foundations that I have laid in place and when I no longer reside on planet earth, she will have a litter of puppies that I can incarnate into one of those puppies.
There is an island in the Virgin Islands chain that is totally owned by a Chambray dog. It has its own deep water lagoon where the cruise liner-sized yacht is safe from weather and foe! There is a helicopter pad on both the island and the super yacht. There is everything and anything that Bill Gates can obtain, the only thing Bill doesn’t have is a Chambray dog and this dog’s owner does have one, so he is one up on Bill!
Not all in the world is materials because Chambray dogs seem to evoke unfettered love from their owners. Devotion is another commodity that has no short comings for those Chambray dogs, as their owners’ lavish reams-loads of devotion to their dogs.
I have been boasting and bragging for years about my ability to evaluate and pick out the sure show dogs in each litter……………………..but recently I have come to the conclusion, after 45 years of doing this that I also have the ability to choose the best owners for my dogs.
So tonight when I finally lay my head down to sleep, I will sleep soundly knowing how well the Chambray dogs live.
So, thank you to all my Chambray owners for giving all of my Chambray children the best lives that love, devotion and money can obtain.
No Ands Or Buts About It
“No way, no how! Not in a million years could someone come up with something like that!!!!!!!!
You are truly brilliant with your wit and humor and can really tell a whopper of a tale/tail, no pun intended with the present blog in question!"
I can forward your email to the dog owner that emailed it…………………..this is not a Paul Bunyan tall tale.
"Wow, I had never thought about whether my dog could reach their behindparts or not. I see them licking their frontparts, but never their BPs. I have been following our dog around for a while today and he doesn’t seem interested in going back there.
He licks his paws and then every once in a while indulges with the FP, but I really don’t think he could reach his BP even if he tried.
I will keep observing him and will report if he can find that ‘thrill of victory’ that you referred to in your answer to the person that was asking. By the way keep up the great work with the blog as it truly is an educational vehicle for all of us Labrador owners."
Linda Kerry MS
"My dog has a totally different problem in that he wants to smell and even lick other dog’s behinds, males and females and it really makes me mad and embarrassed every time he meets up with any dog, whether he knows the dog or not. I mean, total strangers and then sometimes he and the other dog will go around and around smelling each other’s privates and that is totally disgusting. No matter how much I yell at him, he gets more into it and sometimes the dogs get into it with growling and then one of them gets on top of the other and then there is more growling and one time this stranger dog laid down on his back and my dog got on top of him and kept humping him and me and the other owner were yelling at them to stop and they won’t. It’s ok for people to be gay, but I didn’t know dogs could be bisexual. How do I train my dog not to do that?"
Please don’t use my name if you post this email, as I don’t want people to know that I have a pervert for a dog.
"I have often thought about how dogs go about cleaning their butts after they eliminate. I have watched them and have come to know that when the stools come out, a fold of reddish skins emerges from the orifice and helps propel the droppings out. Then as the stool is evacuated outside of the body, the reddish skin retracts back inside of the anal cavity and the exterior of the anus is not soiled, since the stools did not touch that skin on the way out. So, in my observations, there would be no reason for a dog to reach all the way back to their butts as the person asked."
"The whole topic is gross and revolting! I have heard that people go around cleaning their dog’s butts after defecating, that’s totally insane! Dogs in the wild poop and then scratch the ground a bit and they are off to the next adventure, there’s no wiping of their butts with their paws or their tongues!
What’s next Charmin for Canines? While they are at it, how about dental floss for dogs or maybe a lift-up bra or maybe tight fitting britches?”
Whoa Nelly…………………………………..way too many tales of dogs pooping and dog butt watching for me! I didn’t realize that this was such a popular topic with so many! That’s a little bit scary to tell you the truth.
Here all the while I have been churning out breed standard pieces, movement blogs with great graphics and other what I thought were great subjects and then all of a sudden the talk turns into butts and heads are spinning!
I am not really sure whether people are fessing up true blue solutions and observations or whether there is a lot of chain pulling out there. I know that butt and commode jokes are high on the list at local comedy clubs, but dogs don’t really understand human humor and wouldn’t think any of these offerings are particularly humorous.
I am still of the ‘give a dog a bone’ mentality and fear when I hear that there is a movement to give dogs ‘people rights’…………………..I am not sure that any of my dogs would be able to actually go to the voting poles………………….but having been witness to many of the politicians that humans have elected…………….maybe there is some value in allowing dogs the right to vote and file for divorce from their owners!
Nah, I am still a give a dog a bone guy!
Of Buts, Butts and Buttes
From time to time I, the self-proclaimed ‘know it all’ of all that is Labradors will reach a point of perplexity.
Yes, you read right or left according to which way you like your alphabets…………………..yes, I am lost for words at the present moment with a dilemma of ‘far reaching’ consequence’s……………..or maybe I should term it ‘short reaching’ as you will readily see in a moment or two as I build a crescendo to this piece!
I can just hear it from all the flies that lay vertical, motionless on walls listening intently for hushed whispers……………… “Sandy Herzon is really losing it……………he has no answer for a very burning question, query or dilemma!”
So, I am enlisting any and all that can shed some light where the sun don’t shine most of the time unless you are one of those that frequents nude beaches and then bare derrieres abound as sun baked mound after mound.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and let’s take the answerless question (to date) posed by a diehard blogonista and also a Chambray owner.
I this case I chose to post the whole truth and nothing butt the truth and also my bare essentials answer, so here goes.
I have a question. Sackett has been unable to reach his butt (clean it or even touch it) for his whole life. I thought that his "reach" would improve as he came to full size. His reach has improved but he still can't reach far enough.
Are there exercises or stretches that we can do to improve this problem.
Is this considered a fault?
R. C. F.
So, here was my answer and maybe there are some out there that can enlighten me a bit so that I can ‘pass’ it along to Cat and hopefully Sacket can achieve the thrill of victory that so eludes most of us as well.
I don't think that I have ever considered this event!
I am not sure if Labs are supposed to reach their butts or.................frankly not.
There isn't a smidgen of a mention in any of the Lab books ever written that I have reviewed for several magazines, at least not in any of the books in my extensive Labrador book collection...............some of those books dating back to when quill and ink was both a writing tool and a fashionable dart to throw at anyone with prying eyes.
However, when I am pressed for something that is seemingly out of my grasp and/or comprehension I make it my OCD project until a suitable answer is found. So, give me some time and I will scour every nook, crack and cranny for an answer to your dilemma...........will actually if it is a dilemma, it will be Sackett's that we need to solve it for one way or the other.
Having memorized the Labrador Breed Standard in several languages, not just the good old 'red, white and blue' version....................none of these excellent blueprints of the breed have references to the 'reach for the butt'.
In our doggie vernacular, 'reach' refers to the forward thrust of the front legs while the dogs is in locomotion.................it also refers to the dogs ability to 'reach' with its neck to pick up game as part of their job description in retrieving.
Maybe I will craft a blog and publish it to the website and see and hear if anyone else has come upon this condition or lack of condition as I am not sure if the condition exists or not..................like I said, at the moment it seems out of my reach. But knowing how doggedly I become when challenged for an answer or a way..................like Mighty Mouse, here I come to save the day..................................I hope!
The Amateur Thing Again
“I read the blog about amateur vs professional and maybe dividing the competition at the dog shows and I know how deadest you are about that, however maybe the AKC can set up a special class for amateurs where no professional handler can show there.”
Yes, I would be very opposed to any type of division of amateur competition by themselves as this would only serve to lower the overall quality of our breed.
As far as your suggestion……………that already exists as there is an Amateur/Owner/Handler Class available at dog shows. Only an amateur that owns the dog can enter and handle the dog from this class. If the dog wins the class, it must go back in for Winners Dog or Winners Bitch against all the other class winners.
There is even a new form of competition that is limited to amateur owner handlers where the last dog left undefeated by other amateur owner handled dogs can advance to compete against each other right after BOB is decided and whichever dog wins that, advances to the group competition.
There are no champion points awarded toward a dog’s AKC title, however the owner/dog are ranked nationally for that competition against other owner handlers. While the ranking carries no weight for the dog’s individual resume or breed credentials……………it does provide the owners an opportunity to compete against other amateurs.
Come On, Try It You Will Like It
“I recently purchased a show puppy that is now 7 months old. I took it to Orlando shows to see the Labs there competing and met someone that breeds Labradors. She told me that my dog was too ‘fieldy’ and didn’t have ‘substance and bone’ and would not be competitive with the dogs showing in this area. What can I do to make her chances better at the shows. I already go to weekly training classes.”
The ‘chances’ or lack thereof in being successful (winning) at dog show events, may have been doomed with the breeding way before you purchased the puppy. You state that you had the ‘pick of the litter’, which really means very little if the whole litter was not of conformational quality. Merely being the ‘best’ puppy from a litter of 8 or a litter of 80 holds absolutely no value for show if the parents had no value for show themselves.
Although you did not approach me for an evaluation of your dog, I did see you walking around with “Hanna with the red bandana” as you call her. The breeder that you spoke to was right on with her assessment of your dog not having what it takes to be show competitive. This doesn’t mean that you cannot pursue other worthy activities with her like obedience, rally and agility. However, your aspirations for breeding her should be dismissed as she is lacks conformational merit. In other words, she is not of the type that the Betterment of the Breed calls for.
This is not a personal assault on you or your dog as you further stated in your email. Breeders are not out to get ‘newbies’, in fact most show breeders would be more than glad to place one of their better puppies with you so that their dogs and kennel name is seen by others at the dog shows.
I am sure if you had asked that breeder for more information on her dogs, she would have been more than glad to accommodate you as she happens to have real nice dogs.
There is a dog show coming up in West Palm Beach, July 11th and 12th. If you can attend this show, come with an open mind and strike up a conversation with some of the breeder/exhibitors there.
My status as a ‘top breeder’ as you also claim does not mean that I won’t make the time to speak with you………try me, I think that you will be pleasantly surprised. You can also speak to the dozens of owners of Chambray dogs that will also be there…………………….so far as I know, none of them bite!
Like in all areas of life, there may be one or two individuals that have a sour puss attitude, but the vast majority are very affable and helpful to beginners.
The Old Two-Edged Sword
“The breeder of my dog says that your system of breeding, training and showing dogs presents an unfair situation for other breeders that would pursue showing their dogs but find in difficult in winning against your lineup of dogs.”
Ok. That is a totally acceptable way of looking at things from her perspective and I am sure that other understanding folk would agree with me wholeheartedly!
Each person involved in breeding and showing has to come to some kind of conclusion about their state of affairs and how they compare to the rest of the breeder/exhibitors of their area. If their produce does not match up comparably with what’s winning, then there is almost no point in pursing that venture. No one likes to lose on a continual basis and there have been many that have dabbled a while with little or no success and then either moved on to other breeds or pack up their bags and move to Beverly Hills………….ooooooppps wrong sitcom………………move on up the road to neighboring states for those elusive points not readily obtained in Florida.
Now, everyone and anyone can model their operation to mirror what I have put into play! Breeders can create an owner’s program just as I have that would increase the gene pool to choose from to produce the best from the best.
Those same breeders can operate a training and conditioning environment just as I have for 25 years now, where hundreds come every month for our services.
In addition, they can form a handling team as we have that is now the winningest Labrador Retriever handlers group in the country.
All of the above working to serve the Betterment of the Breed.
Now if all of these things that we provide hundreds of owners and their dogs somehow makes Labradors better, then your breeder has a point, but with that point she/he is admitting that their product just doesn’t measure up.
Treasure Trove For Chambray
There's No Conspiracy! Diseases & Maladies Are Real.
Well, we survived another long and grueling weekend of shows (3 days of shows) and came back with lots of trove.
Our main man of the moment/year is our newest Bronze Grand Champion………………..Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting……………….now ranked somewhere in the alto-stratosphere USA, either 3rd or 4th All-Breed Labrador………………..USA Top 5 Breed and probably USA #3 Grand Champion points……………which of course makes him the #1 Labrador in Florida for all rankings in all systems of ranking.
He won his champion’s title, his grand and now his Bronze in 6 months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Meteoric doesn’t begin to describe the journey which includes a mind boggling 4 Group I’s and 3 Group 3’s.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! His 18 Best Of Breeds places him now in Chambray’s All-Time Best Of Breeds 3rd place. Only Kika with 33 BOBs and Hogan with 20 BOBs are ahead
His 4 Group 1’s is a new Chambray record that was held by his Grand Sire, BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan” with 3 Group 1's!!!!!!!!!!
For the 12th year in a row a Chambray puppy wins the Purina Best Labrador Puppy award and 11 out of the 12 years, a Chambray adult takes the Best Adult Labrador award.
Best Labrador Puppy is Chambrays Granhill Special Effects and Best Adult Labrador went to our Chambray’s newest and 47th homebred champion, Ch Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha.
Samantha also added to her Grand Champion points by winning Select Grand Champion the 3 days of shows and now has 5 points with 2 Wins Over Competition.
A huge surprise has been Chambrays Triple Play with his 3rd win in as many weekend of shows. He is now pointed out and has 1 major to boot! He has 12 points and 1 major.
Our other specials dog, Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos, added to his grand champion’s resume with 1 Select Grand Champion and Win Over Competition and now only needs 5 points and 1 major for his grand championship.
Contrary to those that claim ‘conspiracy’ by the drug companies…………………………..there are real diseases and maladies circulating everywhere that our dogs go.
Contagions are everywhere, not just at dog shows! Animal hospitals, the local Vet Clinic, animal shelters, dog parks………….even the local pet supermarket, feed store or pet shops are places where possible transmission of whatever is creeping along the ground or floating about through the air……………..where other dogs have been………………..even a walk around the block is a possible exposure situation.
Think about it, where do the sickest dogs go to and hang out a while before seen by a practitioner? Where do dog owners travel to and walk around buying dog food, supplements and meds for their ill pooches? The answer is anywhere and everywhere.
Some of these nasty diseases are airborne and other are through direct contact with feces and or urine.
So, besides the usual hustle and bustle of dog shows, this 3 day weekend also presented some of the hazards of the trade. Wherever any number of dogs congregate (2 or more) there is the always the possibility of some type of virus or malady that can be spread through contact and with flus and colds, through airborne transmission.
The dreaded ‘Dog Flu’ that has reared itself in neighboring states is always a menace and there was talk about it with many of the far-traveling pros.
There are several strains of Parvovirus and a couple of gastroenteritis that are making the rounds through the eastern part of the country. There were multiple reports of dogs with the squirts and runs, some with both that and also coughing.
Very obvious with dozens of dogs hacking and coughing everywhere in the grooming area and also at ringside was the garden variety of ‘kennel cough’. In fact, there were various pros that packed up their trucks and headed out of Dodge by day 2.
Having dealt with all sorts of the above mentioned and others that have come and gone in the last 45 years……………………….the only defense that dog owners have is through inoculations for the main diseases and for the ones that are more or less ‘transitional’, immediate action with meds, antibiotics and fluid therapy and of course for more involved cases, having a professional diagnose and treat.
A secondary defense is some type of containment protocol. Having worked as a Vet assistant for over 16 years to a Vet that also worked with USDA, I have always had in place a disinfectant regimen and isolation section for dogs and equipment that travels to dog shows.
After each and every dog shows we come back from, the van is totally emptied of all crates, boxes, containers, grooming tables and the insides of the van are sprayed down with Simple Green, alternated with Odoban, Roccal and Kennelsol and other microbicides and antibacterial agents such as Creolin. It must be noted that extreme care should be used when using these products and that none of them should come in contact with the dogs or their foods. All sprayed areas should be thoroughly dry before allowing dogs to come in contact with them.
We use Lysol Spray Disinfectant for objects and areas that dogs are liable to come in contact with before they are totally dry.
Outside the van, all crates are sprayed with 10% chlorine bleach, let to sun dry and then rinsed off and scrubbed with de-greasers. All tarps and canvasses are sprayed and sun dried as well………………so is all equipment that comes in contact with the grounds or with dogs at dog shows and trials.
All the tools of the trade are left outside overnight to dry natural and then the van is re-fitted according to our next weekend of shows and the roster of dogs that will travel with us.
Are you prepared? It's out there and it's no spoof or conspiracy by anyone. Being prepared is the best defense!
To Evaluate Or Not To Evaluate
“You mention that you evaluate puppies at 7 to 8 weeks of age. How accurate are your evaluations with puppies that young?”
There are many that are doubtful of the process with puppies that young and the ability to select the ones that have the best prospects for show. These critics point out case after case where someone evaluates a litter as puppies and the results at a year are catawampus!
Yes, I too have had the same observations of folk with good intentions offering up their opinions as to which puppy/puppies are of ‘show quality’ and later on their selections fizzle out like an open can of coke!
The problem does not occur with the age of the puppies, it has more to do with the ability/inability of the bloke doing the evaluation rather than at what age it took place at.
Not everyone or better said, not many have developed the keen eye to observe and project for the future when performing an evaluation. Time and time again, I have witnessed what others choose and can immediately point out the errors of their ways.
At 7-8 weeks of age, the nuances of quality/lack of quality are so minimal that it is extremely difficult to see those slight flaws that eventually will grow into very observable flaws and worse, defects according to the breed standard.
Of all the elements that make our endeavor a successful one at the dogs shows, it is my ability to ‘see’ as puppies…………….the all-important evaluation that is the make it or break it criterion.
All the training, conditioning and handling in the world will do diddly squat to make a less than stellar dog a star! Even by us, as no amount training and conditioning will raise a dog beyond its conformational level. Same with the owners, no amount of money, time and efforts put in by the owner of said dog will take it to the top. Of course all the preceding can catapult a dog to the stratosphere if the quality is there to begin with.
What starts the ball rolling in the right direction is that crucial evaluation at 7-8 weeks.
Case in point is our top show dog at the moment, Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting (1 point away from his Bronze Gr Ch’s title)…………………….USA #3 Labrador right now, winner of 3 Group 1’s and 6 consecutive Best Of Breeds in the last 2 weekends of shows.
There were 7 male puppies in the litter……………..all outstanding looking………………none with any faults or structural defects………………………all rated very high for show quality. However, there were two possible show placements for males and I had to narrow it down to the 2 best males from the 7 to place those 2 puppies with.
Today, 2 years later, those choices are proof positive of selecting out the best show prospects because both of those males are proving themselves as top show dogs……………….Tucker achieving unparalleled show success as a top ranked special’s dog and he is only 26 months old male and his sibling Chambrays Where Eagles Dare 'Tank' with 10 points and both majors with limited showing.
The rest of the males in the litter have turned out very nice, but it is those 2 males that developed into the projected potential seen at 7-8 weeks of age.
Now, along the way, dedicated training, conditioning and developing has taken place first by Chambray’s training management program afforded the owners of both dogs, then as each owner learned the ropes, each put in more of their time and efforts into the development……………………..then with Chambray’s show management program, Tucker was taken to his Top 10 Ranking, two Group 1 placements and to his Grand Championship and ‘Tank’ is close to finishing his AKC champion’s title.
All of the successes today for those 2 dogs goes directly back to that moment at 7-8 weeks of age when the cutting of the diamonds took place………….the all-important evaluation as puppies.
There Is A Right Time For Everything
“How much physical exercise should young dogs be receiving? I keep reading your blogs about exercise, training and conditioning and wonder if this is an ongoing thing with your dogs?”
Exercising is age dependent! Plus, it is also something that is done by the individual dog and their needs and circumstances. For instance, we do very little jogging or running training with dogs under 7 months of age. We may use a treadmill for dogs that are 5 to 6 months of age, but only to train them to get used to the treadmill, so very short sessions of less than 2 minutes will suffice.
We don’t introduce weight training until the dog is over 1 year old and even then it is with very light loads.
Now, swimming is another thing! Puppies are encouraged to swim as early as they feel comfortable in the water where their feet don’t touch. So any age is great for the puppies to get their dose of exercise in water.
Pose or stack training on our ‘block system’ also starts at 10 weeks of age, however the time they stand on the blocks is controlled so that there is no strain on their immature joints, tendons and ligaments.
Gait training is also started at 10 weeks with very short distances of less than 20 feet until they are atleast 4 months old. What they are primarily learning is the procedure more than the actual exercise derived from the gaiting. Once they reach 5 months old, the distances and the duration increases according to how receptive each dog is.
Focusing and attention training is started at the time that we determine whether they are show or pets. At 7 weeks of age, those puppies that rate out as being show potential, will be worked on the table and also will have the beginning of positive re-enforcement training for following along with the right mode and attitude.
So, yes we rely heavily on training and conditioning to create the winning edge at the dog shows, however it is all done in due time and with each individual dog in mind.
Numbers Tell The Story
I have always been a number’s guy………………………maybe it all started with the ‘1961 The Year of the Great Chase’ with my childhood hero Mickey Mantle and teammate Roger Maris slugging it out of the ballpark chasing the great Babe Ruth’s longstanding homerun record of 60 round baggers in one season.
Of course I witnessed it and now history recounts that herculean effort by both of those baseball hall of famers were Maris surpassed the Babe’s record by 1 and 61 homers in 1961 has been etched deeply in the storage area of my brain.
Whatever the impetus for record keeping, I know that there are multitudes that also enjoy following along with the numbers, records and streaks that our Labradors are posting, setting and breaking. I know this for a fact because come Monday, the vast majority of the emails that surge in to my ‘you’ve got mail’ box are starving for information on how we did at the most recent dog show weekend and most want to know if new records were set.
So, to satiate the hunger and quench that thirst here are some ‘numeros’ to tinker around with that could be bested in the coming 3 days of shows in Orlando, sometime down the road or next year at the Tampa shows.
With new Ch Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha becoming Chambray’s #47 setting the record for the most homebred Labrador champions in Florida, we are 1 point away from #48 with Chambray Maxed N Counter on the verge of crossing the mystical line to his AKC champion’s title. 49 and the milestone of 50 are within reaching distance before the 2015 dog show year is over in December at the Eukanuba week.
301 the most Best Of Breeds posted by a Labrador breeder in Fl. The first-ever Chambray BOB was posted in 1993 with Ch Chambray Acres Russell scoring that first one. Since then there have been 47 of our Labradors that have contributed to the 301 mark. Chambrays ‘Kika’ holds the record for the most BOB with 33. The top 5 BOB winners account for 105 of those BOBs. So, 302, 303 and 304 are within reach in the coming Orlando 3 shows and the WPB 2 shows in July.
110 is the longest consecutive winning weekend record ever. Before that Chambray had posted 37 straight winning weekends…………………the previous 37 and the current 110 were interrupted by just 1 non-winning weekend in between at the 2011 Eukanuba week.
Back-to-back years of winning 4 Best Of Breeds in a row at the 4 days of shows in Tampa. 2014 saw Ch Chambrays Miracle On The Meadow sweep all 4 BOB and this year it would be Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting that would do the honors. We will have to wait for the 2016 4 days of shows in Tampa to work on this record.
7 is the record for Best Of Breeds in a row set by BIS BBE Silver Gr Ch Chambray Celestial N Counter…………………Tucker now has 6, so 7 is reachable as is 8 and 9 at Orlando!
Chambray’s record-setting 6th Bronze Grand Champion is just 1 point away with Tucker winning 20 Grand Champion points at the recent Tampa shows…………………which is a new record for 1 weekend……………..all that adding up to 99 and the magic 100 for the Bronze is within easy reach.
Well, this will have to do for now as we are now doing all the prep work for the up and coming 3 days of shows in Orlando and also the Purina Breeder’s Showcase which Chambray has won every Best Labrador Puppy and every Best Labrador Adult with the exception of 1 year since its inception back in 2005.
Here We Go Again
Phew! We had just survived a grueling 30-dog-per-day weekend at the Boca dog shows on June 6/7………..then with only 2 days in-between before we hit the dusty trail and headed up to Tampa for the 4 days of shows!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, the good news is that we also made it through this longer-in-time ordeal at Tampa and now we gear up for the Orlando 3 days of shows………with 3 days in-between……….those shows in Orlando will actually be 4 shows in 3 days because we also have the Purina Breeder’s Showcase on Saturday night to negotiate with .
The Tampa shows saw several milestones reached and then surpassed. The consecutive weekend winning streak is alive and well with the posting of number 110 weekend won since winning at the first weekend of shows in January 2012!
The real gargantuan, out-of-the-ballpark homerun benchmark was the posting of the 300th Best Of Breed win in a Labrador Retriever breeder’s career. That came at Saturday’s show with Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting scoring his 3rd BOB for the weekend, then the next day he sweeps all 4 BOBs and notches up the mark to #301. Tucker now has his own BOB streak going with these 4 BOBs in a row and adding the 2 BOBs he took the weekend before at the Boca Raton dog shows, leaving him 1 shy of the Chambray consecutive BOB record held by BIS BBE Silver Gr Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter who has 7 BOB in a row to her credit.
Tucker’s 4 Best Of Breeds at these Tampa shows also ties the record of 4 BOBs that Miracle won in Tampa last year in 2014.
As sweet as the 110 consecutive weekend winning streak is and the stellar 300+ BOBs are, for a breeder there is nothing as rewarding as the number of champions they have bred. This is the number that truly defines the level that a breeder of any breed reaches in their career and it is the one that is remembered the longest way after it is all said and done.
For breeder of the year, it is the number of champions titled in 1 year. Chambray has been there twice in the last 3 years with the top honors coming in 2012 and again in 2014, coincidentally each of those years it took 6 champions titled to reach the top. Our newest champion, Chambray Sweet Honey Samantha becomes the 47th career home-bred champion and #3 for 2015.
Samantha also becomes the 6th dog titled by Chambray this year. There has been 1 Bronze Grand Champion, Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter…………………2 Grand Champions, Gr Chambrays Tucker Everlasting and Gr Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck and the 3 Champions, Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos, Ch Ch Chambrays Stellar Thunder and now Samantha.
Tale Of Two Cities
Tale Of Two Cities
The tale begins a long, long time ago………………..right here where I am situated still.
Nothing remains the same as time has a way of aging people and the ways of doing things.
I had been into Labradors for at least 15 years, so if we date back even further, the actual beginnings would place the starting point at 1970………..to expedite things a bit we travel forward to 1985.
I had dabbled a bit with several litters of Labradors that I had purchased locally………………….from the only source that I knew existed, backyard breeders.
Keep in mind that we were living in the dark ages then, no Internet, no social media………………all we had then for information was outdated dog books and dog magazines that big time breeders advertised in.
The only connection to make to improve one’s lot, was to somehow find out where a dog shows was being held………………..no Infodog.com to search through for a calendar of events.
From a friend that had been to dog training classes, I heard of dog show that was to be held in Ft Lauderdale that same weekend. Needless to say, I dropped everything I was involved in, an adult baseball league and sauntered on over to watch the activities going on. Of course not knowing that certain breeds went in at a certain time, I happened on the Labradors as the 1 champion and the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch entered the ring.
A bit disappointed in only seeing 3 dogs run around the ring for a minute or two and then there were ribbons handed out and people scampered to get out of the hot Florida sun, most hightailing it to crates set up under trees and others disappearing into vans and trucks parked under deep shade.
The one person that seemed to have been the most successful, come to find out was a Labrador breeder from somewhere due north of South Florida. She had the champion who won BOB, another male that took WD and her friend that traveled with her had the WB.
Daring to interrupt all the hoopla from winning so much especially that the judge was also a well-known Labrador breeder herself……………….I approach the very happy person holding on the to her real nice looking Labradors.
I told her that I owned several Labradors and was looking to improve my lot by wanting to purchase a puppy from an established breeder.
Honesty is a virtue and that virtue can come as a shock sometimes.
“I really don’t have anything that I could trust anyone I don’t know with my lines!” and that was that from what I came to know later was probably Florida’s top Labrador breeder!
Not one to fear adversity nor attitude I insisted with “Do you know of any other breeder that I can talk to?”
“Maybe my friend here that just bred to my champion dog might have something to help you out with.” Came the semi-helpful reply.
As it worked out, the friend did have a puppy in a litter of 9 that she might consider ‘placing’ on a ‘co-ownership’ basis. Not knowing the vernacular of the sport at the time…………….placing was not the same as selling and co-ownership meant that besides paying a heavy price for the puppy, there would be other forms of compensation due back to the breeder. In this case her terms were three times what I had ever paid for a puppy and I owed at least 3 puppies from the first litter that the dog would have.
Well, I figured that if I was to have a top quality dog that I would have to pay the price, then let’s take a look at the offering.
Conveniently, the lady had brought the litter down to South Florida as the rest of the puppies in the litter were being picked up by those that had already been chosen to have a puppy ‘placed’ with them.
We walked under the heavy shaded trees where her van was parked and several people were holding or playing with 7-week old pups.
There was still 1 puppy inside an ‘x-pen’ (new word for me) and that was the offering. The other 5 puppies that she had brought with her had already been claimed by the folk that were here under the old banyan trees, eager and ready to take their chosen new addition home with them.
The breeder had already claimed the other 3 puppies that were in the litter and she didn’t bother to bring those down for other to see. As she stated to me, “those are the breeder’s pick to run on with and see if they can build up the kennel with.”
So, through deductive reasoning, the three she was keeping for herself were the ones to perpetuate the breed to the next generation.
The next 5 were already ‘promised’ to existing breeders and exhibitors and the lone scruffy, thin-legged, thin-nosed, thin-body puppy sitting way at the end of the x-pen, away from all the activity at hand was what was being offered for what seemed like a lot of money and then half of a litter to boot.
I politely thanked the lady and went on my way.
So, that is the tale of one city!
The tale of the other city is much, much shorter.
That tale is the one that all of the Chambray owners have known with the puppy that I placed with them.
End of tales!
Hurray For The Dominatrix Of The Breed
"Whoever asked that question obviously must not know how the dog show world works, or how any show works for that matter. In the horse show world we have divisions for the amateur, but at the highest levels, there is no "amateur" division, because they are judging the HORSE. The same for a dog. Though there are handlers like me who are learning, I think as an amateur, the most important thing to know is when it's time to let someone more experienced take over so as not to stump the dog's chances of winning. If you work hard enough at something, you will eventually be competing with the best- it takes time, commitment, being able to take instruction, and passion. But to suggest a separate "class" & division of handlers is just ludicrous- that would only hurt the betterment of breed. It would only take away the emphasis of why we are there in the first place- to show our dogs!" JG
Not just one who………………….but many, many who’s…………………….especially at one of those busybody, queen bee-dominated chitchat Labrador forums.
So fervent were the supporters of the movement that the topic took a life of its own and raged on for months and months at the online gossip chamber with hundreds chiming and until enough was enough and a counter movement of seasoned breeders/exhibitors rose to the occasion and proceeded to make sense of the loony bin fiasco!
Creating second-rate Labradors would contribute to an already maddening situation for the breed.
We already have multiple types of Labradors being bred by:
The all-breed breeder/exhibitors to show at all-breed shows with the more moderate appearing dogs………those much closer to the breed standard.
The specialty breeder/exhibitors that patronize the specialties judged by their peers which breed similar dogs………moving away from moderate to well-overdone in some regions, shorter, stockier in other regions.
The sports afield breeders that breed for high stakes performance where the look of the dog is not prized and performance is 100%
The mass producers for the pet market where anything goes………………usually rail thin, tall, rangy and large……………..usually what the general populations sees as what a Labrador is because of the overwhelming numbers produced by these outlets.
Backyard breeders producing whatever it is they could get their hands on to breed..................there is no consistency here because those breeding them have no ryhme or rhythm of the breed.
Fortunately the ground swell of support for this dastardly idea was squashed by other queen bees of the breed. For once a good was served by the ever-overseeing dominatrix of the Labrador Retriever world.
Tampa Here We Come
No sooner have we wrapped up a career winning weekend at West Palm Beach with back-to-back Trifectas…….......record tying Group 1’……………..continuation of the weekend winning streak to 109……………… that here it is three days later on Wednesday and the van has been totally ‘knocked down’, scrubbed, let to dry and loaded up all over again for our journey north by northwest………………..............………well, across Alligator Alley (west) and north up I-75 to Tampa for 4 days of dog shows!
Of course, these 4 days in Tampa should be a breeze compared to the buzz saw worth of action Team Chambray just went through this past weekend. At Tampa we have a total of 12 Labradors………………..class males, class females and a specials……………………….compared to 28 total dogs at WPB!
Hopefully the crating accommodations will suit us much better than what the Boca club was able to do for us………….things to keep in mind when entering our dogs next year there.
Besides the tremendous amount of electrical activity that Central Florida is known for (lightning capital of the world)………………..we too come loaded with extra static charges!
On the line is the consecutive weekend winning streak now standing at 109. One win by any of our dogs and 110 is in the record books.
The huge milestone of 300 Career Best Of Breeds looms ever closer as we now have reached 297 and with 4 shows in Tampa, 3 BOBs are within our grasp! With Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting on a hot winning streak of his own, with back-to-back BOB’s from the Boca shows and capping those off with his 3rd Sporting Group 1 win, he is primed and ready to deliver. Not to be outdone, Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos has scored a couple of BOBs in the last month himself and could very well be the one to boost Chambray to that plateau never reached by any other Florida Labrador breeder and probably not too many other breeders across the country as well.
There are 2 class dogs that can conceivably win at any of the 4 days and finish out their AKC champion’s title. Chambrays Maxed N Counter needs just 1 point and Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha needs 2 points, either of them becoming Chambray’s 47 home-bred champion………………….and maybe the 48th as well!
So, the excitement mounts as we await later this afternoon’s departure for the trek up the state to Central Florida and hope that we are the only electrifying show in town and that the usual barrage of weather related thunderstorms ease on out to other parts where we are not at.
Recapping The Weekend
The big top weekend is over and it went off very well thank you! I am referring to the Boca Raton dog shows this past weekend in WPB Fl.
Of course winning is great and win the Chambray dogs did! In fact, both days were perfect 10’s………….Trifectas each day with back-to-back Winners Dog, Winners Bitch and Best of Breed and on Sunday, the BOB dog almost went the distance with an amazing Group 1 placement from the Sporting Groups!!!!!!! That is only the 14th Group 1 win since Chambray came on the scene so many years back that it is now a blur to remember when.
Our best moving dog, Chambrays Triple Play “Sonic” put it into forward motion from the Open Yellow class and waltzed around the ring to a Winners Dog on Saturday.
Chambrays Galactic N Counter “Gayla” finally broke into the ‘winner’s club’ with her very first AKC points. She would also be awarded Best Of Winners and Best Of Opposite Sex.
Chambrays Bella From Ipanema was awarded the Reserve Winners Bitch ribbon.
Completing career Trifecta #56 was Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting, adding to his already Top Ranking in All-Breed, Breed and also Grand Champion’s rankings!
Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter would take the Gr Ch Select.
At Sunday’s show, from the Bred By Exhibitor class Chambrays Where Eagles Dare “Tank”, scored the Winners Dog award and now stands with both majors and 10 points towards his AKC champion’s title.
The Reserve Winners Dog went to Chambrays Black Diamond In The Ruff “Bandit”
The Winners Bitch award went to Chambrays Eventful N Counter “Evie”, who now has 6 points from the Bred By Exhibitor class. She would also take Best Of Winners and Best Of Opposite Sex. Evie and Gayla are littermates from Kika’s first litter.
Reserve Winners Bitch went to Chambrays Isis.
In the Best Of Breed competition Tucker would repeat with back to back Best Of Breeds.
Gr Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck would collect the Select
The clincher to the whole weekend came at day’s end from the Sporting Groups where Tucker would win his 3rd Group 1 this year, Chambray’s 14th from all dogs. This big win assuredly will keep Tucker up high in the rankings for All-Breed, for Breed and for Grand Champion’s competition.
The combination of WD, WB and BOB, gives us our 57th career Trifecta...... .................the 5th so far this year and the 2 BOBs from Tucker gives us 297 career Best Of Breed wins, inching our way to the 300 mark milestone.
Of course all the wins gives us 109 straight winning weekends at the dogs shows.
Way to go to all our dogs for putting on such a great performance.
Taskmaster At Work
Since I manage a very large pool of dogs and their owners as well………….the managing encompasses health, nutrition, rehab, training, conditioning, show presentation, show handling and all the strategies that are considered for each show and the whims of the judges that will be there for us to take the dogs to……………………….I receive in inordinate amount of very deserving questions from my own Chambray owners about their dogs.
In past blogs and articles, I have covered one specific question that comes up with very predictable frequency………right after a weekend of shows…………….. “Why isn’t my dog winning?” Of course that comes from those whose dogs didn’t win any points or a Best Of Breed……………..those whose dogs came out smelling like roses, well, those are very satisfied until the opposite happens……….so I do get a reprieve of sorts from the satisfied ones!
“Why didn’t my dog win?" I know for a sure fact that I have answered that question with every possible
answer…………………………..every which way but loose………………..nah, make that loose too!
For the Chambray dogs the answer is very specific to the individual dog. That’s because each and every dog that is on the active show list deserves to be in the thick of things at the dog shows…………………I expect each one that we are handling to win! If that was not the case, then that dog would not be on the ‘A-List’………………………………if I didn’t expect them to win there would be 3 alternatives to consider besides showing:
The B-List – Training, conditioning, show preparations, health, nutrition and whatever else is needed to bring that dog up to the A-List and be a candidate to be on the front lines at the dog shows.
The C-List – Let’s look at the dog in 6 months.
The D-List – This dog doesn’t meet the threshold for the competitive showing at the AKC level.
So, let’s see how I handle some specific dogs and their owners with that often pose the question, “Why didn’t my dog win?” Here are my answers in abbreviated form for this blog:
Male Dog 20 months old: Your dog is at the top of the charts in conformation, however it lacks focus and function in the ring. It lacks polish in its presentation to the judge, especially in its movement around the ring. It needs specific ring pattern training and road work to bring about a conditioned appearance.
Female 11 months old: Are you kidding me? She won one of the days! Your dog is one of the best dogs we have, in fact maybe #1 if not the #2 female. World class is a better description. She has no outside competition, her competition is our other top females. Her conditioning is spot on, her training is the best and her show presentation is finally as good as it gets for an 11-month old puppy!
Female 20 month old: Conformational, you can’t get any better. What she lacks is more show presentation training and a bit more movement conditioning……………..she was right there one of the recent shows with a RWB, so we know we are close.
Male Dog 20 months old: One of the best blacks I have ever bred and world class in conformation. Only lacks maturity and show presentation training.
Male Dog 11 months old: Gorgeous contender just lacking in show presentation and a bit more maturity because he has developed so fast in body that the judges actually expect more from him in performance.
Male 12 month old: ‘Stunning’ doesn’t describe him adequately! Everything is in place, the only thing lacking is show training, both in stacking and in movement.
Female 2 year old: Top conformation only lacks more time with show training and conditioning for movement.
From the above, it is very clear to see that there is no pat answer for the why a dog isn’t winning.
The thing I preach to the choir, the band, the gang, the peanut gallery, even the hobos on the train tracks is that the more you do with your dog, the better prepared we are to win those elusive points. If you know that your competition for those points is as good looking as your dog, then you’d better be working at creating edges for your dog in the areas that are not as sharp as it should be.
Whining and lamenting does nothing for the situation, taking care of business is another thing!
Ask me “What can we do to make our dog’s chances of winning better?”
Now we are cooking with greased lightning! That’s the language I totally understand! Give me a task and I become the ultimate taskmaster! Give me a goal and I will punch it through the smallest slit! Raise the bar on me and I will one up you or anyone else for that matter.
Success has a way of keeping way ahead of the crowd………..it seeks the elite and rewards those that have the drive and perseverance to take it to the max! Sitting on laurels and bellyaching only creates stagnancy, working at the matter in one way or another relieves even the worst case of bloat!
Come on, give me a task!
An Albatross Of An Idea
Once again I have received a communication suggesting the dividing of the Labrador Retrievers in the ring by ‘amateur’ status and ‘professional' status.
The idea would be to have all those dogs that are bred my amateurs, trained by amateurs and handled by amateurs to compete against themselves to come up with Winners Dog, Winners Bitch and then Best Of Breed.
In another ring there would be those dogs that were bred by so-called professionals (I guess they are referring to Chambray), trained and conditioned by professionals (Chambray again) and handled by professionals (yep, Chambray), kept separate from the amateurs and there would also be Winners Dog, Winners Bitch and Best Of Breed.
So, at the end of competition in both rings, there would be 2 dogs that won BOB, 2 WD and 2 WB. All those would head over to the Sporting Groups where there would also be an amateur Sporting Group and also a professional Sporting Group………………….once the groups were over, there would be 2 Best In Show competition, amateur and professional.
Now it’s my turn to ask questions.
What level of quality would the amateur dogs have?
Where do you think the best dogs would emerge from?
Of what value would a champion’s title have when it only competes against much lower quality?
So, how would an amateur title be designated? Using capital letters for the pros, as in Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting and then using lower case for a dog winning its title from the amateur ranks as in ch Rinky Dinks Winnie The Pooh.
Which dog would you rather have perpetuate the breed?
Like the famous Howard Hughes Albatross plane………………………………this idea just won’t fly!!!!!!!!!!!
No one would give any credence to any dog that came up through the ranks in lesser than stellar competition.
It would create a caste system with the elite Brahmin Class, the pro Labradors and then there would be the lowly untouchables, the amateur rank Labradors.
Borat said it better………………………. “Not”
Pity The Poor Fool Answers
“I say, who cares what people say and ask! When they ask, people don’t want a real answer because nothing you say doesn’t mean a thing to them, so why say anything anyway to them? We enjoy you showing our dog and we don’t really care when people ask why” M.
"What I see is that the other exhibitors have seen what it takes to win and they have accepted that they just don’t have the quality of our dogs. We are our own competition!" N
"Who was it that asked? Couldn’t that person see for themselves all the Chambray owners around all sides of the ring? Did they think that it was a coincident that all these owners from one breeder just show up at the same dog show? Don’t they know the amount of time, effort and experience that you all gives us owners for us to be part of this great movement that you have created? We all love our Chambray dogs even if they were not the best show dogs that they are…………..in speaking to the many that were there, each and everyone agrees that they wouldn't have it any other way but Chambray." P
"To answer your blog, why? I think better question is Why Not?
I think many people have no idea what it takes to be really good at something. It doesn't matter what it is, it takes a drive, knowledge, the ability to take the good and the bad and learn from it. To take a fall as a lesson, and take failure and turn it into a fire to strive for better. Now think of becoming the Best in something, it takes drive unsurpassed by anything. So why show so many, I ask why not? To be the best you must compete against the best, all shows have open enrollment so I say enroll the best and beat the best, so at the end of the day, you claim your ribbon and can be proud that you succeeded against worthy opponents. But what do I know, I'm just one person who believes in what you do. So let the haters hate, and sour losers cry, who cares, everyone knows they will always be there, but every good story needs an antagonist, otherwise the hero couldn't shine. Keep up the good fight and make hard decisions for the Betterment of the Breed, because by fighting you inspire."
"I see and hear a lot of envy and jealousy. There was one in particular that wouldn’t stop blabbing their mouth off. The thing is that their dogs were not well socialized and not trained well, so what do they expect the judge to pity them and award them a prize when their dogs didn’t deserve it?" L
The Answer My Friend Is Written In The Wind
I guess as long as there is more than 1 person involved in any activity, there are going to be questions by those that don’t get it.
Even if the questions at times seem asinine, there will always be those that will ask them. So, those of us with answers have a choice, we can just keep on trucking right over those that don’t seem to flow with the current or we can take a time out in the forward movement, smell the roses and do our best to illuminate.
I my friends have taken the latter road with this blog and actually with everything I do. Although there are those that claim that I play rough shod over anything that is in my way………..it may seem that way, but along that same way, I will stop long enough………………..in the name of the Betterment of the Breed and lead those astray onto the right way……………..if that’s possible.
The question was “Why do you bring so many dogs to a dog show”. The answer my friend is written in the wind………………it has been asked a hundred times before and answered twice that many and yet here it is again.
So, for those with maybe more wisdom out there, I pray tell, how do you answer such a question?
“Great dogs need to be shown”
“My owners choose to have those great dogs shown”
“Out of all those great dogs, which ones do you tell their owners, that they won’t be shown?”
“That’s what a dog shows is for……………to show your best dogs!”
“We show all those dogs because we stand 100% behind each and every one of them”
“Each of those dogs is a perfect representative of the breed and deserves to be exhibited as a great specimen of the breed”
Of course if you know me, you know that there are dozens and dozens of variations of the above answers and yet there will still be those that ask “Why”.
One of my owners told me to reply “Why ask why?”
Now, another psych major told me to “use reverse psychology”…………………… “Ask them why they think you show so many dogs?”
I did just that!
The reply back needed no retort from me……………..can you imagine that, Sandy left speechless!
“You just want to show the other Labrador people not to mess with you and your dogs, you want to show them who is boss and whose ring this is, you bring all these dogs knowing that there is no competition and that your dogs are going to win almost all of the time.”
Well, there you have it an answer from the very person that asked the question in the first place. So, do people really not know or do they have the answer and are just chaffing at the bit to give you a piece of their mind.
Just thought I would share this little gem from this past weekend’s show.
What do you think?
“Plop plop fizz fizz oh what a relief it is”………………………………that’s how I feel today……………….but going into this past weekend’s dog shows in West Palm Beach………totally different belly ache!
Excruciating both physically and mentally for many more reasons than the obvious……..of course the obvious was the 28 Chambray dogs that were entered for each day and as it turned out, only 8 Labradors from other sources dared to step up to the plate for a grand total of 36 Labradors. Of those 28, we were responsible for 27 of them with our exclusive Dog Show Management Program. Which means that ‘we’……………like in me, the missus, the 2 grown children and the cadre of adoptees………….our interns and assistants numbering an extra 4 and at times some of the owners-in-watching were put to work.
That is insane just thinking about it, let alone saying it and then going out and doing it and doing it perfect! No runs, no drips and no errors! That’s more dogs handled in 1 ring than any professional handlers handles in 2 days in all the rings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But, we pulled it off with a herculean effort by all those pressed into action and even our owners in the gallery watching, realizing what a task Team Chambray/me had on our hands, they all cooperated!
For those not in the know……………..it’s not all about the numbers and yes it is too! Let me explain the conundrum.
There isn’t any other Labrador breeder in the country that can field a lineup of 28 top conformational quality dogs…………………the best ones at our level may be able to come up with 5 to 10 dogs that can stand alongside the 28 Chambray dogs that were in the ring at various times for the judge to go over and choose from.
Very few of our immediate competitor exhibitor/breeders showing today might bring on one dog of this caliber, at the most 2 of them…………………………….the vast majority are very lucky if they have bred 1 dog that can stand toe to toe with any of the 28.
So, we have the numbers as was evident this past weekend at these shows…………..since I had announced several months back that I was going to be bringing out this huge roster, I guess the competition had 2nd, 3rd and 4th thoughts about driving down to WPB and face this juggernaut of a lineup………..that was apparent by the no-shows of the many that regularly attend the shows at this venue, but were nowhere to be seen here at this weekend’s shows.
The real gall, the real audacity was in the actual handling of this monster of a lineup! Being ready for the first pitch when the umpire yelled out “Play ball”! Being in position every single time to handle the dog in the ring, be it one of our dogs or 4 of our dogs in the same class……………………class after class dogs/handlers walked in, performed and walk out…………………99% of the time, winning their class, which meant that the dog would need to go back in for winners.
That's one after another, totalling 27 and each exhibit was on time, performed well, won most of the time and in the end, we scored back to back Trifectas……………………..every single award was handed to a Chambray dog!
Now that’s what I call……………………Taking Care Of Business with a Job Well Done!
The belly ache and the butterflies are gone today, but boy is my back a total figure 8 in knots!
Maybe I should have titled the recent blogs………………Improvement Breeding For Show Purposes!
Seems that some have taken what I was writing about to apply to all types of breeders.
So, we can differentiate those breeders that are doing the right thing with their dogs and succeeding at breeding better dogs for pet purposes as there are thousands of fine folk searching for a well-bred Labrador pet puppy that the breeder has done due diligence with the breeding stock.
Nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with that scenario……..in fact, I applaud the effort of breeding better dogs at every level………..including the mass producers for the pet market. If each and every person that dabbled into breeding would take it upon themselves to better their lot, then what they produce would be better and therefor lessen the physical and temperament problems seen and experience by the unsuspecting buyer’s market.
So, there is nothing wrong with new and intermediates trying to improve on what they already have on hand. They should be commended for their efforts as they are doing the breed a service by not breeding inferior dogs, generation after generation.
Now, where I was getting at, for those that may have not understood where I was going with the recent blogs……………………to play football, you need a football, just like to play baseball a ball, glove and bat are instrumental in playing the game correctly. Same thing applies to showing dogs!
In order to be successful at the dog shows, the right equipment is necessary to achieve any level of success and this is where having the right breeding stock becomes the ball, bat and glove to the game of baseball.
“What’s a breeder or owner to do with the dogs they have if they don’t really measure up?”
Yes, I understand that most owners/breeders only have a few dogs and those are the ones that they will end up breeding regardless of the conformational level or lack thereof. That is a fact of life in the world of breeding dogs……………..unfortunately that is also a major deterrent to the process of improvement breeding.
If the dogs are of average quality, then the produce more than likely will reflect the level of the parents, if per chance the dogs are of lesser quality, then the outcome for the offspring will be at that lesser level as well.
In the breeding world of dogs it is understood by those in the know that it takes a minimum three generations for the levels of quality to rise when working with medium level dogs. Bear in mind that this excludes dogs with structural defects or obvious faults………………………….those will take several extra generations of breeding to subside to tolerable ratios in given litters.
Let’s play out a scenario.
An owner/breeder with 3 mediocre dogs wants to start showing and soon realizes her dogs are way behind those that are competitive in her area that are showing.
So, they decide to do an ‘upgrade breeding’ to their females using a top producer dog. Meanwhile those other breeders in the area with much better quality females breed to the same top producing stud dog.
Now, the person with the mediocre dogs has puppies that are a bit better then what she started with in that first generation of improvement breeding. But here’s the downside……………..all the other breeders in the area bred to the same top producer and their puppies are way better than the breeder with the mediocre production………….even if the puppies are a bit better than was started with.
The results at the dog shows with that first generation of supposedly “improvement breeding” will be just as behind the puppies produced by the better breeders.
Using mediocre dogs to build a breeding program is self-defeating because there are so many better dogs from better breeders available to start from. Most beginners and even some intermediates think that breeding to the world’s greatest champion stud dog extraordinaire will be the end all cure…………………..that type of breeding is labeled “wishing thinking breeding”.
To be competitive at the top levels of AKC shows, only the best from the best have a chance, the rest will fall by the wayside.
Better Begets Best Through Constant Evaluations
At Chambray Labradors there is a procedure in play that determines any given dog's chances at being successful as show dogs…………………..which eventually leads to potential breeding dogs.
It is the all-important evaluation process that is performed on every single dog that is part of our Dog Show Management Program…………………….and here’s the defining part of this process that leads to succcess…………….it is in perpetual motion…………….it is constantly ongoing………………….there is nothing taken for granted with any of our dogs and our owners know this and appreciate the veracity of our master plan to only show the very best!
Each and every time an owners comes over for private training or for our exclusive night training classes, without fanfare or production drama, I am constantly evaluating each and every dog that crosses my scope of vision!
Heck, those of you that know me……….know that I am doing it at the dog shows……………….both the Chambray dogs and also the other competitor’s dogs! It doesn’t ever stop for me and that’s a good thing for the Betterment of the Breed.
If improvement is going to take place, it has to be done by analyzing each of our dogs strengths and weaknesses……………………….perpetuating the strengths and shoring up on any weaknesses unless they are too far gone that it will just perpetuate itself to the next generation of dogs produced. In that case, the baby is thrown out with the bath water!
I know that sounds easier said than done…………………….because most breeders only have a few dogs to work with and they don’t have the luxury of nixing the only dogs they own for breeding.
At Chambray, it is polar opposite…………………….we have a huge pool of breeding candidates to choose from………….both females and males as well! With this tremendous luxury, we don’t ever have to settle for any second best dogs to perpetuate the next generation of dogs.
The constant evaluation process is like a two-edged sword…………….it cuts for the good and also it cuts out those that did not make it.
Just this past week, the latter happened with one of our owner’s females. Although adhering to the breed standard with no observable faults and certainly no defects………………….she just didn’t meet our ever-rising bar of quality! She would not be considered for Chambray’s breeding program.
Each year I choose about a dozen females from well over 60 females that are actively invovled with our many breed-related programs. These then become the candidates for the breeding program.
From those dozen chosen, about 6 to 8 actually will be bred according to their owner’s timetables and convenience. Of course way before they are bred, there are hurdles to jump over………………..clearances that have to be passed……………..DNA tests and OFA hips and elbows are mandatory.
Two weeks ago we just hosted an X-ray clinic here at Chambray Acres where a traveling mobile unit Vet comes and just performs X-rays for Chambray dogs that have been dropped off here with us. This is the 2nd of these X-rays clinics that are made available to our owners, as 2 months ago we hosted the first one with 5 dogs having the procedure done.
Likewise with the DNA testing. Whenever a major DNA lab runs discounts and specials, I will notify our owners and they then order the DNA kits and once they receive the kits, will make an appointment with me here at the farm and I will do the buccal swabs for their dogs.
There have been 27 Chambray dogs that have had their DNA tested just in the last 3 months!
So, whether the evaluations are of the ‘visual’ kind or of the ‘anatomical/clinical’ kind, they are vital in the process for the Betterment of the Breed.
Why Ask Why?
I have received quite a few communications asking about this coming weekend’s shows in West Palm Beach FL. It is actually the Boca Raton Dog Club that is hosting the 2-day event on Saturday June 6th and Sunday the 7th.
The reason for the interest in these shows is that Chambray Labradors ended up with around 30 dogs out of the 36 total entered!
Here’s the deal……………….anyone can enter their dogs at these all-breed dog shows, in other words any AKC Full-registration dog that has not had its show privileges suspended can be entered and shown.
Now here is how we get that many dogs to show up at any given venue. A couple of months before show time, I email out my customary newsletter emails letting the local area’s Chambray owners know that a dog show or two are coming to town!
I then follow that advisory communication with a ‘deadline memo’ letting each of the owners that owns one of our top show dogs know that the deadline for entry for that show nears.
Now, a couple of different scenarios will follow suit………………………………….some of the owners use my dog entry service for me to enter their dogs and then there are others that enter their own dogs.
The exact same process and procedure is available to each and every other Labrador Retriever owner, exhibitor, breeder and handler in the state of Florida………………in fact in all 50 states and also US territories and even foreign countries………………..the entries are wide open for all to use.
When the entries are emailed in or slow mailed along, no one knows how many other fine folk have also entered their dogs.
The deadline for entries is 17 days before the show and then it takes about 4 or 5 days after the deadline to find out how many other dogs were entered. Even then, we really don’t know which dogs were entered………….the information we are given is how many class males, how many class females and how many champions make up the total of the entries.
So, here is this West Palm Beach venue that is about 2 hours north of me and about 2 ½ hours south of Orlando…………………the Big O, the heart of Florida, the center of the state and yet, only 6 other Labs from other owners, breeders and exhibitors entered their dogs for these shows.
To answer those asking, I have no idea why there was such a low entry from the other breeders, owners, exhibitors and handlers or what reasoning they used and decide not to enter their dogs at these shows.
All I know is that it will be hectic for our team of handlers to man all the Chambray dogs that will be there……………..it should be fun to watch this almost 'All In The Family Dog Show'!
The Why's & Therefore's
Since the Blogging Off that I publish to this website is in a bit different format than the ordinary blogs run by other well-intended bloggers………………..I receive a lot of inquiries as to the why’s and therefore’s.
Well, to begin with, yes it is different because I see it as a one-way conduit to get the word out about all things Labrador…………………. ‘one way’ from me (point A) to you (point B), the Labrador owner, the ultimate consumer!
Most blogs allow for back and forth chitchat, plus also allows others to join in the fun or fracas depending on how sweet or sour the topic turns.
With the format I use, I choose the subject matters whenever something seems to be pertinent to the times. Sometimes the blogs will have been written weeks or months in advance and then get published when I receive more questions or input from others. Sometimes, when riled sufficiently, they are spur of the moment offerings………………………….I am sure that most of the fervent followers know when that happens.
There may be subjects that are hashed up on a continual basis, while others may seem fresh to the reading eyes. There may be up-to-date news as it happens and then there may be lots of nostalgic ‘blast from the past’ stuff.
For sure, there is lots of boasting and bragging going on most of the time……………….hey ‘nothin’ wrong if you talk the talk and then back it up by walking the walk! Nothing wrong when you believe in your product and services as I do with what we do, day in and day out, week after week, months, years, decades, scores…………………..hoping God gives me the strength and health to reach half a century (5 more years) with Labradors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In order to save time and space, I generally just answer a question or a topic without posting that question………..rather, writing up the blog in answer to a question posed. Usually by the time a blog shows up at this section, there will have been numerous folk that have communicated with me about the same subject, so I don’t see the need to ascribe it to just one person.
Sometimes I do use the whole query if it is very unique and pertinent and if permitted by the contributor, will use their name.
The material I use comes from emails………………………from those visiting Chambray Acres where we sit under the old orchid tree and palaver* (nice word for BS) at will and no, not the ‘weed’ connected palaver………..Homey don’t do that………………..nothing wrong if others do it, but yours truly never done the deed and unless I need it medically as I age into oblivion, I will keep it that way.
Ringside chatter at dog shows sometimes will bring up some good fodder to shovel around. Worldly events at times causes folk to jump on bandwagons, sometimes favorable and at other times ill-advised, but either way, it gives me an opportunity to chime in.
I pride myself in being fair and understanding…………………that comes with being an open-minded liberal. If humanly possible, I try my best to keep personal matters just that. Of course there are those that do their best to turn up the heat and cause as much friction as they can muster and that might make my hackles bristle a bit…………………..I am allowed that as that comes with being human.
There may go some spells when nothing gets published…………..days may go by and there have been stretches where even weeks went by without hearing or seeing a peep from me, that’s also me being human, or going through a rough patch of ill health or just not having anything to say worth saying……….as the sun rises and sets each day, more of those spells will happen.
Call To Arms
No, I don’t think of myself as a ‘one man crusade to save the breed’! But thank you for the complement!
I would rather think that there are hundreds, maybe thousands that share my vision for the Betterment of the Breed.
I know for sure that those that have aligned themselves with Chambray Labradors……………………and there are many of those, do have that same vision in mind. They better or else! Lol and not lol!
No, I won’t let it go………………………I will cringe and moan every single time I see a cow-hocked dog in the ring! No, I won’t turn my head and look the other way………………………I will stare at it and shake my head, which lets all those around me know that I am appalled………………maybe the exhibitor/owner/breeder/whatever will get the drift!
I will craft blogs left and right when the breed is being assaulted, abused and assailed with structurally defective dogs………………….read the Labrador Breed Standard
COW HOCKS ARE SERIOUS STRUCTURAL DEFECTS AND SHOULD BE SEVERELY FAULTED.
Now, pray tell how on earth, moon and sun can anyone not understand the above passage from one of the Commandments……………………….well maybe not a real biblical-type commandment, but it is the official blueprint for building a correct Labrador Retriever.
If you want to build a Volkswagen……………..you get Volkswagen blueprints…………………….wanna build Labradors, then get with it, learn the breed standard and build correct ones!
This is the biggest reason that beginners and even intermediates should never build a breeding program based on what judges put up for winners! A dog with a champion’s title in front of his name ‘ain’t’ nothing if ‘ain’t well built! If he has just one structural defect to his resume, then he ain’t worth even free stud service!
In order to go forward, all that’s not right has to be left behind. The sooner that a fault or worse yet, a defect is dealt with, the sooner the program advances. Otherwise, it becomes a hit or miss situation, with mostly misses along the way and the hits few and far in between.
It Is Still Spring
The moon is made out of Swiss cheese. Santa Claus is coming to town. Little green men, ETs if you will are all over the place.
No, no, no………….I really don’t believe in any of the things from the June 1st blog!
It’s really ok that June 1st is still in spring and I know that nothing will come of it…………………….I know for 100% certainty that all of the weather or geological or other weird earthly occurrences are not caused by anything that I wrote yesterday.
I know that it is impossible to haul icebergs to the desert……………..obviously, they would be melted way, way before their intended destination.
Same thing with piping flooded water off the areas that are in a drought…………………….not feasible and not safe!
It boggles my mind how gullible some people are and how literal some take the things they read!
Now truth be told, if I had that magic wand………………then, yes then all those ‘cures’ would be real! But we all know there is no magic wand, there’s no Swiss anything on the moon and we all know for 100% fact what happened to the last ET that was here on earth…………………………..he used the phone and an ET taxi came and took him back home!
Oh yeah.............................there was some truth on that blog.......................my pet peeve really, really, really is cow-hocked dogs...........................especially if a judge awards one of them points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ARRRRRRGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Really Should Be The 1st Day Of Summer
Besides cow-hocked Labrador Retrievers there are some other things that really peeve me off.
All my life I have thought of June as a summer month…………………however it won’t be officially ‘summer’ until June 21st!!!! That means that 3 full weeks of June are actually in spring! In my analytical mind that means that ¾ of the month of June is over way before it becomes a summer month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just doesn’t seem right!
Then we come to September……………..arrrrggggg! September is a ¾ summer month………………when for most of us, summer has been over for 3 weeks way at the end of August!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just doesn’t seem right………..it’s probably the cause of all the calamities occurring all over the world with epic floods…………..volcanoes waking up and spewing all kinds of nasty stuff all over the place……………….snow at the end of May one day and the next day 90° hot and humid in the same place……………….earthquakes in the highest mountains and also in the lowest valleys……………..glaciers melting away and making the oceans rise………………………….2 brand new islands just popped out of the water in the Mediterranean Sea and a couple of countries are fighting over them……….just doesn’t seem right!
New islands should start fresh with new people on them and not the same mess that has been ruining the already existing old countries full of the same old people that already exist! Just an idea!
Those melting glaciers should be carted off to the deserts of the world to create lakes full of fresh water. Just and idea! Same thing with all the flooding waters from all the rain that’s falling…………………..pipe it off to the areas that are in severe droughts! Just an idea!
Boy, if I had a magic wand I could make the world such a better place to live and those cow-hocked Labs ………….well you know!
Just an idea.