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.
"Questions are the keys to understanding,
answers are the open doors that will follow,
choosing the right door to proceed through will
determine if the correct path was taken."
V. Sandy Herzon
V. Sandy Herzon
The Blogging Off Experience
These blogs will cover every Labrador-related topic under the sun and then sum/some! There will be puns intended, off the cuff remarks will rule, attempts at acerbic, acidic and arsed-like humor will be on the menu. Since I have lived outside of the box for most of my life, parameters need not apply.
Emails come in on a daily basis, sometimes as many as a dozen or so a day. The subject matter varies but certain groups of people seem to gravitate towards a particular theme more than others.
Those great folk associated in one way or another with Chambray Labradors seem to pride themselves more on our collective successes than other groups that chime in with any frequency. Their questions and observations deal more with our winning streaks, our records and our show performances than other areas of interest
This is probably due to the fact that it is their dogs that are the ones that contribute to all those benchmarks and the raising of the bar, thus the interest level naturally flows to those accolades and achievements. Most owners love it when they see their dogs on the front page of the website when it wins big and the whole world can read all about it!
The page where the records and winning streak are kept is the page that receives the 2nd most visitors at the www.chambraylabradors.net website. The number one visited page at that website is the Blogging Off page where I publish my two cents worth whenever the mood hits an interest spot. Of course over at the stud dog and puppy website www.chambraylabs.com the puppy page receives the most daily visits between both websites.
The old website that had been in existence since 1997 at and that had to be locked down because of persistent hackers taking it over still receives its fair share of visitors even though I cannot access nor update any of the information there. Eventually that site will be totally removed from the Internet.
For those that like read about our past history, there is a Reference Page that has articles and stories that date back 20 years or more. Doing some research recently, I was taken back to some of those articles and realized there is much still there that is very accessible to anyone wanting to go back and read about their dog’s family tree. The page is at http://www.chambraylabradors.com/ReferenceLibrary.htm
You will notice right away that I have not updated that page nor any of the linked articles or stories for over 2 years. All those pages are permanently locked down as the web publisher Microsoft Front Page is no longer supported by the hosting companies, thus none of those pages can be accessed to update, edit or change.
If It Doesn't Look Like The Dog At The End Of Their Leash
It Ain't Right!
Yep, a hornet’s nest has been stirred with the ‘evolution of the breed’ blog!
Homey (little old me), not being of the ‘Ostrich in the sand’ persuasion backs away from very little………….mad dogs and hell hath no fury as that of scorn women excluded……………………me likes a lively debate if one can be had………………..all be it, one that wreaks of smarts and not smells!
So, my proclamation that the breed is going through constant evolution seems to have hit a bull’s eye of interest.
From my perspective and I happen to pride myself in having the most liberal view of anyone that I know, I see that the vast majority of those that stand staunch on their views of what the breed should look like, do so from the personal observations of whatever is at the end of their leash.
That is such a narrow interpretation to have, since whatever is at the end of that leash may be as dastardly as dastard can get.
Case in point several days ago right here at Chambray Acres with a visitor bringing his female for me to ‘look over’ (his words) and to settle on a stud dog for when she comes into season.
According to the phone conversation before arriving at my little Labrador world……………….. “Everywhere I go with Dixie (name changed of course), people tell me they want one of her puppies, in fact if she has 20 of them, they will all be gone in seconds!” the man at the other end of the line would profess to me.
“She is the smartest Labrador ever, she can open locked doors if she knows there’s food on the other side………………….she can tell when a storm is coming as she hides under the bed an hour before we hear the thunder!” on and on he went about the exploits of Dixie the Wonder Dog!
Of course he wanted Dixie to pass on all those wonderful traits that she possessed to the next generation of puppies and wanted to make sure that the male he choose for her would also contribute to the ‘mix’, as he called it.
After letting him know all of the clearances that I would require of his female before I would consider using one of our stud dogs, he insisted on visiting and seeing the stud dogs before spending any money on all these ‘side’ items……………………….again his words!
So, now here was Dixie visiting at Chambray Acres, all 26 inches tall (breed standard disqualification), barking up a storm even before I opened up the electronic gate out front to let them in.
Tall and gangly………………….narrow, pinched-in elbows…………………………long, hare-like splayed feet, very down on the pasterns…………………………droopy eyes set very close together, sitting atop a very long, thin muzzle with no discernable stop leading straight to the top skull and back to the occiput bone…………………………..small ears perched very high on the head…………………………..slab-sided body with no spring of rib………………………totally upright shoulder blades with a totally straight front………………………….extremely long-coupled, roached topline…………………………….no turn of stifle, with no angulation of the rear………………………………whip-like tail, set low on the rump and curled forming a perfect C……………………….the punctuation to a completely wrong version of the breed was a cow-hocked rear described in the breed standard as being a structural defect!
I greeted the man and the dog and immediately walked them to where three of our top stud dogs were housed. Of course it didn’t take long for the man to notice the very noticeable difference in what he was holding and what apparently was right in front of him.
The first male he looks at is FCI Colombian Ch/AKC Major Ch-Pted Chambrays Maxed N Counter (12 points 3 majors), 5-Point Major Winners Dog of the December Eukanuba LRC Specialty under breeder/judge Carl Leipman, plus Judges Award of Merit at Specialty Show……………….won over 20+ top Labrador champions!
Then the lanky man with like-wise similarly built dog, move over one pen and now stand in front BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter, the USA 2014 #10 All-Breed Labrador Retriever and winner of 2 Group 1’s.
“These are those English type dogs…………..don’t you have the good old American Labradors?” piped up the pipe of a man.
“These are the official Labrador Retrievers as dictated by the official Labrador Retriever Breed Standard” I dismissed his errant observation with undebatable, unwavering conviction.
In a matter of fact manner his last word on the subject was “I prefer my Labradors to look a certain way and that’s what I want my Dixie to produce” and a minute later the man with much wrongly earned aplomb drove off with the pseudo-Labrador riding loose on the back of his pickup truck, while I hummed “Happy Trails To You”!
So, once again we see that it is not a matter of what the dog ‘should’ look like that prevails, but more of what the dog looks like that determines what the owner thinks the breed should look like. In other words, if a person owns a Labrador that looks more like a black Russian bear, then that person automatically wants all Labradors to look like that bear! Never mind that that bear of a dog actually looks nothing like the breed is intended to look like……………it becomes “this is my dog and therefore it is correct”.
We even can go to the opposite extreme of this naturally occurring phenome………………..someone obtains a show-type Labrador and that dog champions out and does rather well…………….to that owner, all dogs are measured by their dog……………since in their eyes, their dog is the perfect dog, therefore all others just don’t measure up!
I call that the “If it ain’t like the dog at the end of their leash, it ain’t right” syndrome!
There’s that word that will bring peaceful, civil folk to the edge, leading to foul words and near fisticuffs! Seems that the world is divided into 2 camps when a discussion of evolution comes up.
Well, that’s exactly what the Labrador breed has done…………..evolved…………………… in a couple of hundreds year or so.
More so, in the last half century than in the preceding thrice period.
I can personally attest to a large part of the just gone by 50 years………………back in the 1970, Labradors did not look like the brethren of today! No sir, not by a hair nor a mile!
So, evolution has taken place, mostly by manmade whims and choices…………………………. they have evolved and natural selection has had nothing to do with the apparent transformation…………………..evolution from point A (somewhere in the recent past) and point B, where we stand now looking at our dogs in the show ring!
They used to be smaller, thinner and leaner and not as bushy coated……………..that was then and today they are bigger, broader, thicker and very bushy coated or at least that’s what some of them have evolved into. The latter are those being bred by the show breeding fancy, yours truly included.
This doesn’t mean that there are not those that resemble those of the near past. Just recently I had a visitor at Chambray Acres with 2 ‘Labradors’ that look exactly like some of those in photos from the early 1930’s!!!!!!!!!!!!
Long, pointed nose/muzzle, almost no stop from muzzle to skull, narrow skull, smallish ears, slab-sided body, little angulation front or rear, long curled tail and the owner of these 2 dogs wanted to know why my dogs looked so different than the two he had with him.
Of course he immediately pointed out that his were “American Labradors”! His next observation was that the Chambray ones must be of the “English type”!
No need for me to go into a dissertation about there only being one Labrador Retriever……………the official breed known as the Labrador Retriever……………………that there is no such thing as an American Labrador, nor an English Labrador, nor a Pot-Bellied Labrador, nor Yellow Crested Sap Sucker Labrador, nor anything else that Tom, Dick or Harry wants to name……………..advertise and sell to the next sucker that comes along…………………..let alone the silvers, the charcoals, the dilutes, the champagne, the merles, the ‘whatthehellisit Labradors’.
My now 45 years of delving into Labrador Retrievers gives me an advantage over most of the wet behind the ears fanciers that seemed to have just started yesterday and only can relate to the dogs that they now own. I have witnessed the evolution of the breed and yet we still have every variation of the breed that has ever existed before us.
There is no real consensus as to what constitute a real Labrador Retriever because there are so many opinions as to what the breed standard describes. However, I can attest and testify that the breed seen in the show ring has indeed evolved. Of course only time will tell if it is going in the right direction.
Lately I have been thinking a lot of the old time breeders, those that were around when I first started, those others that were my head-to-head competition when I finally had something worthwhile to be competitive with, those that started new after I had been around for 15 years, those that started new when I had been around 25 years, those that have come and gone not leaving much behind, a few that did make a mark…………..sadly not many around today remember much of any of those.
One of the really greats of the breed…………….a legend if there ever was one, George Bragaw said once to me, “a breeder makes a champion and an owner enables it!”
Cleaning out some old drawers with major Labrador history crammed every which way that could fit, I came across a Cease and Desist letter………………………..not really something I wanted to be reminded of, but there is was stuffed with hundreds of really nice letters, well-wishing cards, Christmas cards, thank you notes, Father’s Day Card from hundreds of puppies that were born here, Birthday cards of many of those same puppies sent on their birthdays and tons of photos from grateful Chambray owners.
There in the midst of hundreds of happy camper stories was one odd one wedged in that certainly did not fit the mold.
If there are happy campers then there must be those that set fires to the forest and this individual did just that. However seeing the letter brought the memory of George Bragaw to mind and what he had said about a breeder making a champion as was the case with the dog from the Cease and Desist letter originator.
Yes, it was about a dog bred (made)…………..yes the act of breeding a male and a female together is where the breeder makes it happen that puppies are born……………..the making of a champion is the birth of that dog if the breeder of that dog is the breeder of champions!
So, way before an owner spends a second or a dollar on a dog, it is the breeder that is the creator, thus the maker of that dog……………regardless of how much credit the owner wants to take for anything that comes next…………………….which of course is the enabling part of the equation.
There are millions of dogs born each year, alone there are probably over 250,000 Labradors born yearly………………….and very few of those will ever make it to be a champion…………………..that’s because those overwhelming numbers were not bred by breeders of champions. So, no matter how much time, energy or money owners could spend on those multitudes of dogs born……………….no amount of enabling could make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear!
But there was the old creased up letter in all of its ugliness and rudeness………………………….Stop Claiming Our Dog As Your Champion!
A Chambray dog that was created by me, trained with private ‘at the farm’ sessions, trained at Chambrays Night Training sessions……..twice a week most weeks…………….and exhibited for its first year by the Good Hands of Chambray…………………………and there in all its audacity was a demand from an errant owner claiming that the dog in their possession was somehow a product of an immaculate conception ‘sans breeder’!
For those that truly know………………….I mean really, really know what’s what and what ain’t, everyone else in the know, knows who really gets the credit for a champion. What’s more……………..even a person that breeds a dog and produces a champion from that bought dog, owes the breeder of the bought dog more than they are willing to accede.
In fact, I still give great kudos to the breeders of what we now know is Chambray’s foundation bitch, 9 generations later!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She being Beaver Creeks Crystal Chambray from Dr Carol and Dr Francis Rabalais. The year we obtained her was 1988 and Crystal produced a champion offspring from her first litter in 1993………………………….the first generation Chambray champion……………….however in reality 99% of the credit goes to Crystal’s breeders for all the superior quality she came with. I thanked the Rabalais evry chance I had and I still do today……………posthumously as they were in their golden years when I first received Crystal from them and within 12 years after that they were no longer around.
Crystal’s daughter Ch Chambrays Indian Summer, produced her very own champion in 1995, Ch Chambrays Caleb at SSS, a Chambray 2nd generation champion and I sent the good doctors a thank you note.
Here it is 2015, 9 generations removed from that gift from above named Crystal and with each new generation of champion that Chambray produces…………………. ‘Thank you Carol and Francis Rabalais’!
March Madness 23rd
Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio?
I came to a realization in communicating with a Labrador owner recently……………………an owner that is relatively new to the fancy, with a now 2-year old Chambray dog that has done quite well at the dog shows…………quite well like in finishing his AKC championship way before he was 2 years old………….his AKC Grand Championship 2 months before that 2nd birthday……………..winning 2 astonishing Sporting Group 1’s and ranking in the USA Top 5 for the 1st month of the 2015 show year…………….all those wonderful exploits under our tutelage.
The realization being that I couldn’t mention any of the ‘known’ Florida breeders of the last 20 to 30 years because he wouldn’t know who I was referring to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In fact, not many of the fine folk that are into showing from the last 5 years could compile a list of more than 3 names from those 20 or so diehard breeders that were a mainstay of the Florida Labrador ring in recent memory (I guess in this case my memory).
Of course, forget about those long gone Lab breeders of the early 90’s, all of the 80’s and the 70’s when I came on board………………………………all those are long gone, leaving homey here as the lone survivor from those ‘good old days long gone by’!
There are maybe one or two folk that could come up with breeder names from those ancient times 30 years ago and before.
Not all of those ‘well-known’ breeders have gone to the other side, to where grass is green the whole year round, there are still many recognizable names that dabble at breeding however their produce seldom makes it to center stage. Some of those are now in their late 50’s and 60’s so more could be expected of them, however the fierce competition for those championship points takes an exacting toll on most………………not winning is of course the biggest deterrent to continue to show.
So center stage now a days only see Chambray as the sole survivor with more than 15 years on the circuit. All the rest that I see ringside I consider to be newbies, whippersnappers and one or two hardened souls with less than 15 years into the fray!
Center stage being the show ring where it’s truth or dare with the best wares. Where time has passed many of those breeders by and they no longer can spruce up their produce to compete at the higher levels required today in the Labrador ring.
Of course, for these blogs, I don’t mention names because of respect for their contributions to the breed in the past………………………….even if I did, there wouldn’t be many that would know who I was referring to!
Round Up Of This & That
Thank you very much judges in NC. You just sealed the deal. You more than validated what I have been ‘stumpin’ about way down in Miami Nice!
Proof positive of my conjecture that dogs that are worthy enough to show, but that don’t win against the heightened level of competition stoked up by Chambray, can and do win against dogs in other areas of the country.
Same dog that came in 4th place 2 days in a row against our formidable lineup of dogs wins 2 Winners Dog in a row and then proceeds to take a 3rd WD, BOW and…………………..drum roll maestro………..a Best Of Breed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Keith Jackson where are you when we need one of your famous “Whoa Nelly” shout outs!!!!!!!!!!
Makes me look much better then the one and only Jimmy The Greek handicapper! Better yet, Howard Cosell with his tell it like it is, could not have said it better, saying as it was back then and me saying it as it is now a days…………priceless!
Now, I rest my case for the jury to mull over and come to the only conclusion that anyone with vision past their nose can come to. Can’t win here, pack up and head for the hills!
On another front: One of my show management owners got an ‘evaluation’ from another Labrador breeder owner about her dog’s attributes and ring performances.
“Not performing well because your dog is out of shape!”
Sounds innocuous enough, maybe even worthy……………………………………..NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you have ghosts in your house, who are you going to call, Tiny Tim to tiptoe through the tulips or Superman with X-ray vision?
In this case in one corner you have a real lightweight bloke who breeds an occasional litter and is not into showing, never pointed a dog, knows nothing about handling and I even question their breed standard knowhow.
In the other corner, you have me, Superman with X-ray vision about the breed! If I have your dog in my show lineup and I tell you it is world class conformation, has the training, is conditioned and has the best handling………………..then take that to the bank and start drawing interest PDQ!
There’s no one in these parts (USA) that knows Bo like I do…………………….all the others combined don’t know Didley! Why waste time listening to the wind when the wind blows every which way but loose!
Nothing tells me more about at person’s wit or lack thereof……………then when they open up their mouths and let fly with their ‘thinkin’! Here’s a prime example “The judges down here seem to like your dogs better than the other dogs being shown by other people!”
Yep, that tells me that the person can see……….but…………..it is also very obvious that the person can’t fathom!
They can see the results at the end of judging, yes our dogs win, but they don’t get that the judges ‘ain’t’ from down here………………………judges come from all over the country. Those judges travel weekend in and weekend out to every state in the union and also are invited to foreign countries to judge FCI and World Federation shows. The majority of the time, I have no inkling who the judge for the day is and what preconceived notions they have of the breed until they start their selection process from the classes.
The next appointment pulls up to the front of the property right on time and obediently follows the sign hanging right dab in the middle of the gate “No Parking”, backs up and parks to the side of the gate………….so far so good.
They are here for an Interview to see if they make a perfect fit for a Chambray puppy.
Introductions go well and they pay attention to my preamble that all good folk endure when they come here for appraisal. At some point in time when I feel that they understand how the Chambray Puppy Placement Process works, I then begin to ask questions and encourage them to add their 2-cents worth.
As the preceding blog clearly detailed, you really don’t know much about a person until they began to speak and let you know what they don’t know. Having just covered with them how a female Lab matures much quicker by 3X than a male, how males have way less attention span, very little retention if any until they are well over a year old………………………..the man proceeds to inform me………………..yes, inform me that males are much more tranquil and docile and make better companions!
I take a deep breath and conjure how I will address the errant persona sitting across from me, when he continues on to tell me that males ideally should weigh around 75lbs and that the male in the exercise yard adjacent to where we are seated is way too large for the breed “way over done”, was the exact verbiage!
The dog in the adjacent yard is BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter who ended up the 2014 show season as the #10 All-Breed Labrador in the country. JAMMS……………….Judges Award of Merit at Specialty Show at the 2014 Eukanuba LRC Specialty under breeder/judge Gene Leipman…………………JAE #1, Judges Award of Excellence #1 at the 2014 Eukanuba National Championships………………………..Winner of 2 Sporting Group 1’s, a total of 17 BOB and an astonishing 11 Sporting Group Placement and other significant conformation accomplishments.
Of course, there was no need to accept a deposit from someone that wasn’t having a Chambray puppy placed with them.
No Words Needed
I have been privileged with my lifelong involvement with Labrador Retrievers.
Just being with them has been a blessing beyond any expectations.
Our combined efforts in all the activities that the dogs participate in has brought about awards, accolades and titles that have set benchmarks for those that come behind, will set their sights to equal or better.
Earning Breeder of the Year, twice in 3 years is one…………..no make it two feathers in the proverbial hat to wear proudly.
One of our dogs winning a Best In Show is a career high that very few breeders even after 4 decades will ever savor. Two dogs achieving that thrill of victory moment is totally euphoric where few men or women can ever imagine, let alone accomplish
To have a dog that is considered a legend is reserved for an elite few in the history of the breed.
Receiving the recognition that comes with the success after 45 years is amazing.
All of the above I relish each and every second that I breathe, but I have to share something very special with all of those that love Labradors as much as I do. There is an involvement with Labradors that I keep very personal…………………no Mr. Braggadocio here, no boasting, no bragging…………………no king of the hill stuff! However an involvement that brings me as much joy as having all of the aforementioned accomplishments.
For 25 years my contributions to therapy and service work has been by choice, totally under the radar as these have been special moments between those that have benefited from having our services/therapy dogs and myself. A very private offering not advertised nor promoted to the masses. A very individualized, one-on-one, person to person experience for me, my dogs and those owners.
The 300+ that had dogs that were kept as puppies here at Chambray, trained for upwards to 18 months or so and then specially placed with those that would make the best fit was my pay it back to the breed and to the community.
By special permission from my newest Chambray owner, for the first time ever I share one of these 300+ awesome stories of the placement of a very special Chambray dog with a very special family and in particular a super special 10-year old boy named Zack.
So, without further ado, here's the whole story:
Zack and Chambrays Tikki.
The shortest story I have ever written
You Either Get It Or You Don't
Hey, if you step out in the rain without proper weatherproof protection…………………..you will get drenched! No way Jose can you argue that point unless you belong to the Fraternal Order of Morons!
So, if 2 + 2 equals 4 in your planet……………………….a dog that can’t win here and travels out of state and wins there proves beyond any biased observation that the dogs showing here are much more competitive than that dog in question and therefore also much better than what’s showing way over there!!!!!!!!!!!!
That doesn’t mean that the dog or any of the dogs that it competes and beats elsewhere are not worthy or are not show quality……..what it does show beyond any figment/filament of the imagination is exactly what I am saying……………..can’t make it any clearer………………..dog can’t win here with the exact same judges that travel everywhere else…………………proves my point to where even a visually impaired person could see, a hearing impaired person could hear and where anyone with any sense can understand!
Then a reality sets in for me………………………. seeing how some lately are totally beyond that capability of understanding, of getting how things transpire, how things are………………….I may have way too much expectations for mankind! Not even worth the time wasted in dealing with the correspondence I received on the subject, no way, no how can anyone claim any different!
Call it what it is and quit wasting time complaining and bellyaching…………….it is what it is and that’s the real deal!
“I am so upset that my dog isn’t winning!” was the lament of one of my Chambray owners just a few hours ago while sitting out front under the old orchid tree.
When a dog’s conformation is awesome, the training and conditioning is as good as it gets and the presentation in the ring has no equal…………………what answer will make sense to the owner of that dog?
On the flipside , how can another dog that comes in 4th place out of 4 dogs in the Open Yellow Class……………..both Saturday and Sunday, 3 days later and 1000 miles away be awarded Winners Dog & Best Of Winners?
Brings to my mind a conundrum if there ever was one………………..why a great dog isn’t winning and why a dog that can’t win, drives a gazillion miles away and it wins?
First let’s see how the dictionary defines what a conundrum is:
a confusing and difficult problem or question
So to the ordinary folk, we have 2 conundrums:
#1. Why a dog that should be winning, isn’t?
#2. Why a dog that can’t beat its shadow here, packs up and heads for greener pastures and wins there?
So, I propose the answer my friend is written in the wind………………..simple as a dimple on a dapple……………………………….the competition here is loaded!
The level of quality is so heightened here and the proof is seeing how dogs that are in the middle of the pack here or even lower, can and do go out of state and rack up the wins elsewhere.
So, does explaining the obvious really make a difference to the person asking the question?
Bottom line is that their dog isn’t winning and that’s all they see and feel. Never mind that their dog would gladly be taken over by the competition as stated to me by the actual competition! Of course the competition’s dogs are not winning either because one or another of our dogs are taking those few wins available!
So, if I field a lineup of dogs that is the absolute best ever and the proof of that is in the astronomical 103 straight winning weekends of dog shows, which now includes 3 years of Florida Winter Circuit weekends………………………….2 out of the last 3 years with more dogs championed than any other breeder in the country…………………….major wins/awards at the Eukanuba week of shows & accompanying LRC specialty…………..that means that those great Chambray dogs are going head to head with each other and since only one male and only one female can win those points per show…………………..there will be those dogs that are absolutely great that will not be winning!
Now, in my infinite wisdom and patience, I explained that to the owner…………………did she get what I was saying…………………………..NO!
So, I offer to buy the dog back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “Jessica, bring me my checkbook!” I yelled out.
At 9 months of age, the dog at her world class conformation status is worth minimum $4000……………but I know for 1000% surety that none of those other Labrador breeders at my level in the country would part with such a dog for less than $8000, if they would part with her at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seeing that she was somehow perplexed and may even take the offer, I let her know that I would be stealing the dog at that price, and even still at double the price!
So, does that make things feel better for someone with a world class, awesome, fantastic dog that would be whopping up the competition anywhere else but here in Florida?
Maybe things will change when the puppy………………………..yes ‘puppy’ wins her first points. Can you imagine how I have upped the ante where my spoiled owners are whining and bawling their eyes out if their puppy doesn’t have any points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh my, what have I created?
From Masterpiece To Legend
My good friend Rosie Feeley, Hogan's eternal owner reminded my forgetful state with a post to Facebook that I had already penned those sentiments just a while back after our annual trek to the Eukanuba National Champions this past December.
So I take the liberty to reprint that blog below from December 26th 2014.
A Legend Is Born
Folk Lore Legend
In my 45 years of involvement with Labrador Retrievers and more importantly the last 25 of those years with breeding show dogs, there have been dogs that contributed more or less, with some more than others.
With 2015 looming less than a week away, officially making this my 25th year in conformation with the breed, we have crowned 44 different dogs as breed champions that were bred by us. Some of those dogs sired by top producers of the breed from elsewhere, a few sires revered as ‘legends’ of the breed!
Names like Receiver of Cranspire………….Ebonylanes Aslan…………….Langshott Gale Force From Kimvalley………………….Ghoststones Louie Downtown………………..Monarch’s Black Arrogance……………Davoegs Irish Gold…………………Dickendall Arnold……………..names that appear prominently in the who’s who of Labradors today. Prepotent dogs that stamped the best of their genes on their progeny and to succeeding generations thereafter. Dogs who’s names people, exhibitors and breeders toss around as if though they knew them personally.
I often wondered what it would be like to be the breeder of one of those ‘legends’. How it would sound to toss around a name that others knew and appreciated it for the contributions it had made to the breed.
How there would be some newer type owners into the breed that had never seen that dog in person, however the ‘legend’ effect had somehow reached them and they spoke of that dog with the highest regards……………………….almost godly, if there is such a thing for a dog.
Well, that moment has arrived for me as a breeder. I guess better late than never. But no complaints from me because the vast majority of breeders never ever have a ‘legend’ dog to call their own. Up to now, in Florida there really had not been any one dog that had risen to that lofty status reserved for the infinitesimal few.
The breakthrough, eureka moment came at the recent Eukanuba shows in Orlando. Following the LRC Specialty on Friday December 12th, after judging of Labradors there was a breeder/exhibitor gathering that took place at a designated location. A rather large turnout of some of the top breeders in the country that had come down for the specialty and for the Eukanuba show that would follow the next day.
No sooner than I had joined the celebratory function, the conversation towards me from different ‘top breeders’ revolved around ‘the Chambray lines going back to Hogan’…………………..not one, but four different one of these breeders mentioned up about the same thing!
So, needless to say, without me being around, this must have been the topic of conversation. Folks within the breed speaking of a dog as a producing legend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I had arrived as a breeder with my own bred-by legend.
To those that know him and love him, he is known as Hogan, his official AKC name BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff CGC THD TDI NFP NJP
Hogan is owned by Rosie and Bill Feely of Boynton Beach Fl and is now in his golden age of 10 ½ years old.
It is not necessarily his titles that make him great, although being the first-ever Labrador born in Florida to win a Best In Show in Florida would certainly give him major kudos………nor leading Chambray’s record books for males with Best Of Breeds, with Sporting Group Placements and other stellar achievements………………………no none of those makes a folk lore breed legend!
What does and what is doing it for him are his kids, grandkid, great grandkids and whatever comes next!
The big winner breeder at the 2014 Eukanuba/LRC/Orlando shows was Chambray………………………..with each and every one of those dogs that contributed to the winning spree………….were descendants of Hogan. Out of the 19 Chambray dogs showing at this year’s Eukanuba week, 17 were descendants from Hogan!!!! Four out of the five Chambray champions showing were attributed to Hogan.
Chambrays Maxed N Counter a grandson………….won a 4-pt major at the 1st day Orlando show……………a 5-pt major at the LRC Specialty PLUS an LRC Judges Award Of Merit at Specialty Show.
Chambrays Grace Of The Field a Hogan granddaughter…………………4-pt major at the 2nd day of Orlando shows……………………….LRC Best Bred-By Exhibitor Labrador.
BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter (the USA Top 10 Labradors for 2014) another grandson……………….LRC Judges Award Of Merit at Specialty Show………………………..The 2014 Eukanuba 1st Judges Award of Excellence.
Chambrays Black Diamond In The Ruff a Hogan grandson…………………LRC Specialty 1st place 12 to 18.
Merely having a troop of offspring does not make a legend……………………..having people, exhibitors and breeders speak of that dog in that light makes it so! Having so many there referring to his contributions to my lines and in general to the breed makes it official.
A legend is born and his name is Hogan.
For all those emailing in asking about our Hogan, here is a timeless piece that I penned and published to the old website back in 2009. There are some updates that were posted to the article before that website was locked down for security from hackers.
When I collect my thoughts and go beyond the emotions that I am going through now, there will be a finishing touch, the masterful brushstroke that takes a masterpiece to the status of a legend.
Meanwhile enjoy along with me, as I read and re-read A Masterpiece Emerges.
BIS Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff "Hogan"
August 2004 ~ March 2015
I could not have asked for a better Labrador Retriever or for better owners than Rosie and Bill Feeley.
Chambray’s Betterment of the Breed credo started with our boy Hogan and it will continue on with the legacy he left all those fortunate enough to have a little piece of him in the dogs they have today.
I hope are you are waiting for me when I come to be with you.
We Are Good To Go
Well, here we go with another weekend of dog shows……………..ok, not until tomorrow morning, but we are busting at the seam to get there and get started with the day’s activities.
Last night’s training class was the largest attended session in years! Proof positive of the anticipation by our owners for these shows right in our own backyard, Davie FL.
Davie is a ‘western’ town in Broward County, 40 miles north of Chambray Acres. By western I mean both geographical in reference to where it is located outside Ft Lauderdale, the main city in Broward and also western in the sense that it still maintains the horse country aura that it was founded on over 100 years ago. Just the venue where the show is held tells the story.............the Bergeron Rodeo Arena!
At the Thursday night training class, not only were there a record number of our Labradors and their owners taking part in the 2 hour session, so too were other breeds, including 2 German Shepherd Dogs and 2 Pharaoh Hounds too.
Pressing our conditioning and exercise equipment into action with all the participants, kept everyone busy and at all times, plus the dogs themselves enjoy the training sessions so much more with all the different activities provided by the differing workstations and apparatuses.
Although somewhat intimidating at first, the doughnut wobble board unit seems to be the dog-crowd favorite once each gets the hang of being propped on an incline on an inflatable with a platform on top. The wiggle action seems to be the payoff in getting their attention.
Of course the mainstay of Chambray training tools is the block-stations with varying inclines and heights and this is also another doggie favorite as many of the dogs will on their own go to the blocks and set themselves up wanting praise and/or treat reward.
The low and also the high rocking horse unit are another of the apparatuses that most of the dogs like once they learn to navigate the desirable actions after they learn to manipulate and find stability on both of those units.
Of course the one training tool/apparatus that has made a world of a difference in movement………..right after the block stations the most influential tool in the Chambray arsenal of exercise and conditioning training aids is the gaiting chute. The results in both dogs and their human counterparts has been miraculous in achieving the desired straight as an arrow front and rear movement.
So, now we are less than 24 hours away from the Labs entering the ring and doing their thing. All the training, conditioning and grooming is done and what’s left is for us to put it all together for the judge to see and hopefully reward all the hard work of breeding, raising, training, preparations and show presentation that we at Chambray are so proud of.
The Evaluation Process Explained
Whoa Nelly……………………..it didn’t take long after publishing the last blog about the Kika litter evaluation about to take place later that day, to begin to receive feedback, questions and requests to be considered for a puppy from this litter.
I will use the feedback and the puppy requests for future blogs, however I will address the questions regarding what we use to evaluate and what traits we consider that are the most important during an evaluation of an individual puppy.
So, here’s a synopsis of the process:
To start with, temperament plays a very important role in the conformation evaluation, so I will start there. Timid, overly shy, non-associative puppies are very difficult to deal with for show purposes, so even if any of those have great show looks, their attitude will weigh heavy against them in the conformation scale. So will high-prey drive, hyper active and willy-nilly puppies as these too will be very difficult for most owners as they grow up and seldom make great show candidates!
For over 15 years, my daughter Jessie and I have teamed up for the evaluations of all those litters that have been part of Chambray Labradors.
A score is given to 7 different traits. Scores start out with a 92 being the cutoff for show quality. Any score on any individual trait below a 92 relegates that puppy to being non-show! To demonstrate how we have upped the ante in the 25 years of show involvement, back in the day a 70 was a passing score.
Back in 2004, our top puppy that year and one of the highest scores ever posted to that date received an overall 92.8. Four years later that puppy went on to become the first ever born in Florida Labrador Best In Show winner and today is one of the most influential stud dogs ever in Florida with 8 champions, 4 grand champions, 3 Master hunters and scores of champion-pointed get to his credit, that dog is BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff CGC THD ‘Hogan’.
So, 7 different traits will receive scores and those scores are also weighted according to how important the trait is to the overall look of the dog. The individual scores are then multiplied by the weighted number and then all the scores are added together and divided to arrive at an individual total number. We use Excel as a spreadsheet to compute the number for us.
We start with all the puppies in their large puppy play yard and it is Jessie’s job to pick out the showiest, flashiest, most social puppy…………………..the one that would take over a ring with their performance.
Jessie then does ‘her magic’ handling each puppy on the work table. I won’t go into detail of that procedure because it would take 10 pages to describe, so ‘her magic’ will suffice for now.
She sets the puppy on the table and the first thing I look at is the overall type………….the outline of the dog. For the outline to be correct, all the individual components have to complement each other without any single one of them over-shadowing any of the others traits.
So, type receives the first score on the evaluation master sheet. Type is crucial, out of the 7 different traits evaluated it is one of three that is weighted the most. So whatever score is given for Type, it is then multiplied by 5.
Looking closer at the dog’s side view, we then concentrate on the Topline and Tail. The Topline starts at the Point of Withers and proceeds ‘level’ to the start of the croup, there a slight indent downward where the croup and the tail become one line. So, there are parallel planes between the withers to the start of the croup which forms the first level line and the croup and tail also form a level line but slightly at a lower plane.
In recent years, there has been a fad movement where breeders are prizing dogs that have a total straight line from withers to end of tail without the slight indent at the croup. Theoretically. This would cause dogs to swim with their tails out of the water along with the topline whereas the lowered croup to tail plane would have the tail slightly below the water to act as a rudder. Topline/Tail receive a multiplier of 2 since that area was already consider with the type as seen from the side view.
The next area evaluated is the Side Front which encompasses the front end assembly as seen from the side which would consist of the point of withers, to point of shoulders (front of chest) and back to the elbows. This front end assembly forms a triangle with equal distance and angles of wither to point of should equals point of shoulder back to elbows. The long side of the triangle is a vertical line dropped down from the point of withers to the elbows, which continues down perpendicular to the ground. There is also the dimensions that are called for the breed standard of which requires the distance from ground to elbows to be equal to the distance from elbows to withers. The multiplier for this trait is a 3.
Next we look in depth at the front of the puppy as seen from the front. For this blog, I will just say that the multiplier is 4.
Next we consider Head/Face. This is the only area out of the 7 categories where personal taste comes into play. This area is weighted with a 5X.
We then consider Side Rear………….looking at the rear assembly from the side view. Side Rear receives a 3X.
The last category for this evaluation is the Rear as seen from the rear. The Rear receives a 5X multiplier.
Each category receives a conformation number which multiplied by the weighted multiplier, then those products are added together and divided by the sum of the multipliers, which in this case is 27 and voila, we have final number for each puppy that was evaluated.
It should be noted here that if along the way while a puppy is being evaluated, any of the categories receives a value of less than 90, the evaluation seizes at that moment for that puppy and that puppy is designated as ‘pet”. Only the best continue on.
Movement is something that is not considered at this age, however if all the components are in place, then movement follows form, so the evaluation on form (conformation) at 7 ½ weeks is a precursor to great movement………….that is if the form is there!
Before we have people leap off the Grand Canyon………………yes, the accepted phrase from those that think they know it all is “Form Follows Function”………………………I agree but if you go one step further (requires liberal thinking)…………………. if the form is perfect, then it follows suit that the function will also be what is desired………………………so Form Does Follow Function and Function Is Dependent On Form. A very desirable Catch 22.
The Best To The Best To Produce The Best At Its Best
Great things come from great things! Breed the best to the best to produce the next generation of the best. It’s that simple!
Breed mediocre to mediocre and you have perpetuated the mediocrity syndrome. Do that and those dogs have to hightail it to places with weird sounding names to be able to compete.
Since the day that the breeding took place between BIS BBE Silver Gr Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter ‘Kika’ and Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho there has been a constant buzz from those in the know…………………………….leading to this day electric-charged day 7 ½ weeks after the litter hit the ground.
Those patiently/impatiently on the waiting list waiting to find out how it all went have been chaffing at the bit for any morsel of information about the celestial eleven.
So much so that several of those folk have fudged a bit and moseyed on over to Chambray days in advance to get a pre-evaluation day peak.
We have the owner of one of our top show dogs come over for a visit and hang around several hours associating with the eleven……………….another Chambray owner that drove 5 hours from Brooksville and spent a bunch of hours rolling around the sand puppy yard, playing and taking photos, before heading back another 5 hours home…………..another Chambray owner who lives up the coast not being able to ‘hold back the anticipation’ and drive south 3 hours to see the now banshee-like tribe of puppies knock each other around asserting themselves as 7 week old puppies do.
Each training night, the class attendees are more interested in seeing the puppies rather than working their existing dogs in the class as several of those owners are also on the bubble for being selected for ownership too.
This is the famous day of reckoning at Chambray…………….the day when all the cards are put on the table………….. when either it’s a bust and the pairing did not work out or once again the Betterment of the Breed is served and Chambray Labradors again perpetuates yet another generation of stellar quality to pay it forward to the breed and to those chosen to own one of the 11 puppies now scampering about underfoot at Chambray Acres.
The extra hour of daylight on this Tuesday, two days after the yearly Daylight Saving Times was once again put into effect will add to the already existing brightness and obvious excitement by those that will be present for the all-important litter evaluation about to take place.
Most of those that were invited and that will make the time to come and sit in the audience to witness the process of identifying the top show prospects have more than a passing fancy interest in the event to unfold before their very own eyes………………………………..most are anxiously awaiting to know if one of these squirmy 12 to 14 pounders will to be placed with them…………………..the old ‘winning the lotto’ eureka moment for someone anxiously waiting for their next show champion!
Before diving in head first into the actual evaluation, a little background on why the high expectations for this particular litter.
Jericho, the sire of the litter comes fully loaded on both sides of his pedigree with the ‘who’s who’ of the breed. Jericho’s sire, BISS GR Ch Gateways Nothin But Trouble is the current top Labrador in the world………………………winner of everything under the sun and then more…………………..BOB Eukanuba 2014……………………….BOB LRC Nationals………….BOB LRC Potomac…………………2 times BOB Canadian Nationals…………..need we say more? Also prominent from this family tree, Ch Boradors By George, as well as Ch Lobuff’s Bobwhite At Chucklebrook and other name poppers of the breed.
Jericho’s dam side of the family features one of the top females of all times Ch Sunspots Lace’m Up and a cast of champions with folklore galore.
Pedigrees give the purist breeder the substance needed as the building blocks for success, however the dog itself must be able to perpetuate the great qualities that are present in its genetic makeup. The dog must pass forward those features and traits that his ancestors bore and hopefully cast forward to him. He must be prepotent with the ability to stamp his get with those awesome conformational qualities that his genes are laden with.
Well, Jericho passed the litmus test for all the above as he now is the top show producer at the Florida shows. His offspring have been winning at each and every weekend of shows that we travel to. Winner’s points and BOBs and Gr Ch points are now the standard fare for his get……………..so prepotent he is!
Of course, the dam Kika needs no introduction, no build up……………….she is Best In Show/Bred-By Exhibitor/Silver & Bronze Grand Champion/#1 USA 2012 Female Labrador/Eukanuba 2013 Select Grand Champion/2013 Purina Breeders Show Winner/33 BOBS/15 Groups/2 Gr 1’s……….on and on, so simply put, she is the most decorated Labrador ever in Florida. However the question also remains…………..can she produce?…………………Can she serve up on those ‘out of this world’ qualities that took her to all those extreme wins reserved for the truly great?
Well, the old ‘proof is in eating the pudding’ as the desert was served at the most recent dog show……we just got a taste of what she produces with her 8-month old puppy daughter going Winners Bitch/Best Of Winners/Best Labrador Puppy/Group II Sporting Puppy!
Yes sir…………….the apple did not fall far from the great tree! All those great Kika qualities……………………beyond phenomenal looks and incomparable movement are present in Chambrays Eventful N Counter “Evie”.
The ‘great expectations’ by our guests as well as by all of us at Chambray are truly justified with the caliber of conformation that both sire and dam and their illustrious pedigrees that could not shine any brighter bring to the table.
Stay tuned later today, tonight or early tomorrow for the update everyone is waiting for……………….the verdict of the evaluation of the Celestial 11……………….of course we already know from being with them for 2 weeks now that this group of 11 will surpass any and all previous litters ever produced at Chambray Acres.
Breeding the best to the best to produce the best…………….gee what a novel idea!
The Betterment of the Breed at work and play at Chambray.
What's An Opinion Worth?
"I don’t get it, why in the world do people that own Labradors go to you for an evaluation? You make it plain and simple that that very few dogs will get a passing grade from you!" Deb C.
The truth is very hard to take when it doesn’t go a person’s way.
Yes, people can go elsewhere and receive glowing reviews of their beloved Fido and proceed to pay up the yin yang to have the dog exhibited at dog shows. Without exception, each and every dog that came to me and I was brutally honest with their owners and passed up the almighty buck in the name of the betterment of the breed………….each of those that went elsewhere and paid umpteen dollars for training, traveling, show entry fees and then the handling………………………each and every one of those owners received diddly squat for their time, effort and mucho dinero spent!
Even the lady that got in my face at a dog show months after the ‘not so good evaluation’ I had given her dog, came to gloat that Mr. Prime Banana (not real name) had taken her dog on and he was a ‘real’ handler. That day, her dog was 5th out of 5 dogs competing in his class………………..same the next day, which means not even a ribbon worth a nickel…………………….never a 1st place in 3 months of showing and never a ribbon when there were more than 4 dogs in the class! Like I said, wasted time, wasted effort and money badly spent!
But hey, that didn’t stop a runaway train as that dog was bred to a female they leased and they kept what they thought was the pick puppy and would you believe that a year later a deja vous scenario occurred with the offspring……..of course minus an evaluation from me……………..but exact same results with the long and gangly offspring with the severely cow-hocked rear………………………..just like the sire, going nowhere as fast going backwards will take you!
Now, there have been ‘happily ever after’ stories once upon an evaluation. The most recent Cinderella fairy tale/tail was our main man Jericho. Mind you, Jericho was not bred by Chambray……………..in fact he didn’t even come for an evaluation!!!!!!!!!!!! He came along for the ride with his owners that were visiting Chambray’s training classes and wanted me to look at their champion Labrador.
I didn’t know the people that owned Jericho and actually had forgotten that I had spoken to them over the phone and that I had invited them over for a visit!
Fast forward 4+ years and the rest is Florida Labrador Retriever history…………………that 12-week old puppy that received 4 thumbs up from me that fateful night………today is Bronze Grand Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho CGC…………………..Top 25 Labrador LRC for 2013 and even more important a prepotent perpetuator of the breed with the most show offspring in Florida, sire of Grand Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting (winner of 2 Group 1’s and ranked in the Top 5 Labs USA 2015, and also FCI Col Ch/AKC JAMSS Major-Pted Chambrays Maxed N Counter plus 6 more champion pointed get.
Not only did he receive glowing reviews from me, we took him on in our Show Management Program and also Stud Dog Program and the rest is in the history books.
Labrador owners have a choice and they don’t have to hear it from the most credible Labrador Retriever source………..little old me…………..yes they can skedaddle on down the road to the Pug breeder, the Poodle breeder, the Frenchie breeder and get their opinion on a Labrador……………………that would be like asking me which hotdog is the best at Publix! What do I know about frankfurters? What do breeders of other dogs know about Labradors? Didley squat!
Remember the old “got milk” commercials……………………..well with me it is “got Labrador”……………….come to me and I will give you my two cents worth about your Lab……………….and like Tony Baretta (Robert Blake) used to say………… “And you can take that to the bank”…………..because it’s worth some money!
To Breed Or Not To Breed
“Thank you for your time in evaluating our Labrador. We appreciate your honesty with our dog and understand your commitment to the betterment of the breed. Would it be a good idea to do shows away from the Florida area so that the competition will not be as high as you say exists in Florida?”
Part of my contributions to the betterment of the breed is to provide free breed standard conformation evaluations to any and all that would be interested in breeding or showing their dog. In the last 25 years, I know that I have done well over 100 a year, so about 2500 evaluations of dogs obtained elsewhere.
There have been very few of those owners that I told they have a diamond in the rough…………..which is what most expected to hear from me or anyone else they go to for an opinion. Of course that fact doesn’t make me a popular guy with those receiving the bad news.
There have been a handful, say 5 or 6 in those 25 years……..over 2500 dogs with 5 or 6 that did make an impression with me, but by and large, the overwhelming majority left my presence as very unhappy campers with evaluations that the owners did not want to hear.
The validation to my evaluation prowess is that not one single dog given the thumbs down ever proved me wrong. There were easily 300 of those owners that left here feeling scorned and then turned to other evaluators. Those dogs ended up being handled at dog shows………………….all failing miserably due to poor conformation as was pointed out during my evaluation.
Taking a dog that is average at best to compete at lesser than stellar venues only perpetuates the mediocre syndrome. Of what value is it to have a title on a dog when it does not exemplify the breed standard to the fullest?
We see this happening all the time where breeders/exhibitors right here in our state pack up their bags, vans, trucks and other forms of transportation and head for the border! At times bypassing a weekend of shows right here and then driving an extra 600 miles to venues where the competition is expected to be watered down.
So, the questions that begs to be asked is, do we have a dual system of champions being produced? Those that hightail it to regions were it takes less dogs to make the needed majors and where dogs that normally do not win here in Florida can have their apparent way in those far and out of the way places.
My recommendations is to find a useful activity to get involved with your dog besides the conformation ring and have fun with him. Your dog doesn’t possess those traits that would make him a great perpetuator of the breed, so there would be no need to actually show him. In fact, the faults far outnumber the positives and the structural defect that I pointed out according to the breed standard should not be passed on to another generation.
It would be very selfish to breed the dog in order to ‘produce another just like him’ as you stated, because he doesn’t reflect the breed standard as a breeding dog should.
Hot Topic Of The Month
Dear Mr. Herzon
"Thank you so much for inviting us to the recent show in WPB. We met so many wonderful Chambray owners that had great things to say about you, your family and this owner’s program that was so evident at the show. We had been into Goldens when our children were young and now that we are empty nesters, we so much would like to get back into showing and maybe breeding as well. We were so impressed with your dogs in particular and how you have incorporated the owners into the scheme of things. We did notice that some of the Chambray dogs were also handled by others while in the ring. Do you offer your program to all your dogs or just selected ones?"
You are welcome and so are the other 20+ folk that have also called or email thanking me as well..........all came and visited us at the 2 days of shows in WPB. Some were on the lookout for puppies, others came to see some of our top stud dogs, while a few were die-hard Chambray owners without dogs showing that came to root on the home team………….Chambray!
The crowd was large at the Labrador ring, the largest ring gathering all day for Saturday’s West Palm Beach dog shows last weekend. There were folk sitting around all 4 sides of the standalone ring in a section way to one end of the sprawling building that housed all of the grooming which was setup in the middle areas and then another ring set up way to the other side of that same building. There was a main expo center where the rest of the rings were setup for all the other breeds and also for the Group competition and for the eventual 7 group winners that would prance in front of the Best In Show judge.
There was an entry of over 1000 dogs each day for this weekend, with close to 40 Labradors doing their thing with their handlers in the designated ring. So, this sets the picture for what would transpire the rest of the day.
What transpired weeks, months and even more time before we actually step into that ring was the training, conditioning and preparations all for those fleeting 3 minute presentation in the ring in front of the anointed judge and presto that dog’s time in the spotlight was done with.
It all comes down to that fraction of time compared to all the work that is put into play way before arriving at the designated show venue. However, without all the effort put in advance, the 3 minutes in the ring would be a waste!
All of those dogs that you saw winning Winners Points, Best Of Breed, Select Gr champion points and also Best Bred By Exhibitor Labrador/Group III were dogs that were placed as top show prospects from each of their respective litters.
In fact, the Winners Bitch, Willow was the #1 show puppy from her litter as was the Winners Dog, Tank (kept by Marie Knapp Viper’s owner and my co-breeder), the BOB winner, Tucker was the littermate to the Winners Dog and Marie narrowed it down to those 2 pick boys out of the whole litter and kept Tank.
The Select Gr champion, Walter was the top male from his litter as was Gracie the Best Bred By Exhibitor Labrador, being the top show pick female from her litter.
All of the prior mentioned dogs were placed with owners that wanted the best and demonstrated to me that they owed allegiance to the Betterment of the Breed credo. All were placed through the special Puppy Placement Program and all have received our special tutelage in training, conditioning and showing to win all or most of their points.
A couple of those dogs are now handled by other professional handlers which works out well for all involved as their goals as show dogs are to be realized as if we were doing the handling.
The main ingredient of conformational quality is there from day zero and will continue with those dogs regardless of who handles them.
The initial training, conditioning and mentoring of all those owners with those dogs is irreversible, again regardless of who is at the other end of the leash or show management.
The winning and titling to championships and other achievements will come with well thought-out plans and strategies.
We breed for the best, we provide the absolute best mentoring/training/conditioning/show management environment in existence anywhere in the country…………….maybe the only Labrador Owner’s Program in existence in the country period!
We take extreme pride in all of our dog’s successes, whether they are handled by Team Chambray or by other competent handlers. We celebrate each of the wins and awards regardless of who is on the dog or who owns the dog.
In 99% of the cases*, we still provide our Lifetime Support System and Mentorship to all who own one of our dogs.
*There may be a 1% that chooses not to participate with Chambray even though they own a Chambray dog, which is totally up to those individuals.
March 7th 2015
Getting To Know You
The appointment was right on time and they parked their car as the sign out front of the gate boldly states. So far, so good! That's what I call starting off on the right foot with me.
This Interview session was for the future placement of a show prospect puppy. I state that because 95% of those fine folk that travel out to Chambray Acres know very little of dog shows, in fact most of those coming in for the ‘get to know’ appointment arrive with an ill-conceived notion about what show dogs/dog shows are all about.
So, the education process differs for those that visit our little Labrador realm that already know about dog shows. However, not many of those ‘experienced’ in the ways of showing dogs really ‘know’ how we do it at Chambray Labradors!
So, in a way, it probably takes as much effort on my part to adequately enlightened the total neophyte as it does those that have already have had their feet wet with the dog show world.
In fact, I encounter as much resistance from the novice as I do with those that think they know how it works. The resistance comes in not wanting to navigate through something new, something novel, something foreign sounding. Most people like to have it their way even if their way is old, stale and not as successful as something as avant garde as what Chambrays Labradors offers its owners.
So, the old timers………………….these old hands at breeding and showing that came right on time and parked as directed were of the latter type……………………..they thought they had it all figured out, however to their awesome credit, they both were totally open and receptive to all the differences……………….great differences that they were listening to and actually watching being put into play right before the very own eyes.
Nothing like hearing and seeing to make something come to life and become a tangible reality.
As we sat under the beautiful 40-year old wild orchid tree (I know exactly how old as I planted her from seed 40 years ago), that shade provided us some protection from the usual Florida warm weather……………….yes, warm weather in March…………..sorry to the rest of the country reading this blog.
There we sat and caught the small breeze swirling about from the Everglades easterly daily wind pattern (Chambray Acres is situated right next to Everglades National Park). The guest were able to watch as several of our trainers, assistants and interns were working with different dogs that were in our charge for individualized training, conditioning or re-hab as the case called for.
They were also privy to some of our exclusive training and conditioning apparatus and equipment that is only in use at our facility. I know this for a fact as I am the one that invented and perfected these training tools that each is used to contribute to create the Winning Edge in all of our handling exhibits (dogs).
Kind of interesting where recently one of our show dog’s owners moved up to the Gainesville Fl area and were attending a training facility run by a well-known professional handler…………………..when my owner asked if they worked the ‘blocks’ with the dogs……………..she got a huge blank stare and an equally puzzled retort “What’s the blocks?”
Of course if she had asked about the ‘gaiting chute’, the balance boards, teeter tooter, rocking horse, weigh pulling sled or any of the other innovations in play at Chambray……………..the quizzical looks would have persisted. Needless to say that the answer she received was more in the lines of “We don’t do those things around here!” and that’s all she wrote to that tune.
So, seeing becomes believing and it certainly doesn’t hurt a bit that Chambray Labradors has been the top champion breeder in the US two of the last 3 years. That in Florida and other southern states that we travel and show at, we are the most successful Labrador breeder/handlers with 102 straight winning show weekends dating back to 2012……………..that’s every single weekend for 4 years running were our dogs/handlers win points……………..totally unheard of and not to be duplicated anytime soon. Most breeders brag if they win at 2 consecutive winning weekends!
Well, we now have another family, a show experienced family on board for one of our show prospects. Proof positive that a great product with a great service speaks for itself and actually needs very little persuading to those in the know and even to those coming to get into the know.
March 5th 2015
Numbers Is The Name Of The Game
I am a number’s guy! My first obsessions with numbers and records was way back in the 1960’s!
That was the year that Roger Maris hit 61 homeruns and broke the Babe’s record that stood for what seemed like an eternity for a young whippersnapper like me at the time!
Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle (my boyhood hero), known as the M & M Boys both outfielders for the New York Yankees went on a homerun hitting rampage that was the talk of the country and kept me enthralled for that whole 1961 baseball season.
Maris of course won that swing fest derby with 61 homeruns to Mantles 54, but in the end, that 61st blast over the fence gave Maris sole possession of being the greatest homerun hitter ever. That record stood for another eternity, being bested by what many now know was external fuel-induced performance enhancing substances.
Back to me and the numbers. I love numbers and records because they give us something to measure by and they cause others to want to best them. A day does not go by that someone from who knows where will not ask about our growing numbers! Be it the Weekend Winning Streak, the Trifecta record, the Breeder of the Year record, and on and on.
The one number, record or streak that seems to have a life of its own is the Dog Show Consecutive Weekend Winning Streak………………now up to an incredible 102 of those dog show weekends with at least one win of Winners Points, Best Of Breed or Grand Champion points. Some of those weekends there have been other numbers that were even more impressive.
In 2014 we had 8 occasions where all the major awards were swept up by our dogs. That’s Winners Dog, Winners Bitch and Best Of Breed, all in one show won by Chambray-bred dogs………………the highly prized and seldom achieved Trifecta! So, on top of extending the weekend winning streak, more records were added as 8 Trifectas in 1 year tops all our other yearly Trifecta numbers. So far in 2015, we have posted 2 more trifectas bringing us to an incredible 54 which is about 50 more than any other Florida Labrador breeder.
2014 also saw 6 new Chambray champions crowned, a state record. That number ties our previous record set in 2012 which gave us USA Labrador Breeder of the Year and as the statistics now bear, the same number 6 new champions also propelled Chambray as the 2014 Labrador Breeder of the Year!
The 102 weekend winning streak has also augmented the Lifetime Best Of Breeds accumulated, giving Chambray 285 Best Of Breeds, a state record, with the Mt. Everest number of 300 looming in the horizon, well within reach in the coming months with the top Chambray specials dominating the breed wins in Florida.
The last 6 shows, 3 of our boys have divvied up those BOB’s with Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting sweeping up 3 of them, BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter with 2 BOB’s and our newest breed winner, Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck taking the last show’s BOB.
Numbers provide an iron-clad validation for an individual dog’s resume, they also all add up together to provide an irrefutable documentation of a breeders worth to the breed itself. It is what sets part the novice, weekend dabbler, hobby enthusiast from those that make a huge contribution to the breed.
I really take pride in our successes and know that all the numbers, the records, the streaks are making that indelible contribution to Labrador Retrievers and to those that own them.
The AKC's Canine Good Citizen Program
Last night at the Chambray Wednesday Dog Training Classes we completed the 5-Week AKC Canine Good Citizen
training course. Since being approved and accepted as an official AKC CGC Evaluator (one of the first from Florida)
way back in the beginning when the AKC first launched this very valuable program for dogs and their owners,
we have conducted hundreds of CGC courses with well over 1000 participants.
The vast majority of those taking part in our special offering have passed the 10-Item test and each were conferred the title CGC by the AKC which can be proudly added to the dog’s official name.
Since the very beginning we have offered the 4 weeks of training and the test free of charge to all Chambray owners as our contributions to the Betterment of the Breed and to the community so that the Chambray dogs and their owners become ambassadors for Labrador Retrievers in general and for Chambray in specific.
We look forward to all of these fine examples of their breeds and of course their owners to take part in the Advanced CGCA to be offered in September.
Chambrays Merlins Cosmic Chaos Him CGC ~ Labrador ~ the Padget Family
Yoyo CGC ~ Mixed breed ~ Jacqueline Echeverri (our Intern)
Chambrays Honey Dew CGC ~ Labrador ~ Ivan Toro
Enzo Vom Notredame CGC ~ German Shepard ~ Julia Taborda
Chambrays Little Miss Magic Stella CGC ~ Labrador ~ Tim Kroll
Chambrays Thor God Of Thunder CGC ~ Labrador ~ David Solis
Chambrays Perfect N Counter CGC ~ Labrador ~ Gabriela Loewenstein
For those that didn’t pass the test last or that couldn’t be there last night, we will be having make up night sessions to work on those areas that need shoring up……………….however the important thing to keep in mind is that all of the 15 dogs that started the class over 6 weeks ago are doing so much better and are a credit to their owners, to the community and of course to all of us at Chambray Labradors Dog Training.
I May Be Swept Away!
I’m not sure what has been transpiring across the country with fertility in dogs in the last 18 months with other dog breeders, but in this area our females have not been coming into season on a timely basis, most are 3 to 4 months late, some have totally skipped their cycle and others have come in and conception has been running about 50%. That is about 30% below our normal success rate.
Normally, I will receive about 10 emails a month requesting stud dog information be it from the outside market or from our own Chambray Owner’s Program, however in the last year or so that has dropped to less than half the inquiries which would lead me to believe that the fertility problem was nationwide.
However, just like that, everything has changed. In the last 2 weeks, I have been receiving a flood of calls and emails requesting stud dog information on a daily basis. So much so that I have had to postpone some of the Chambray breedings to limit the number of puppies later in the spring/summer!
This last year our normal 8 to 9 litters was down to 6 litters that produced 43 puppies or about half our annual output, with the number of Chambray females now lined up, we could very well see our normal numbers come back and then some!
Now the good times seemed to have arrived. Sometimes a good thing turns into a busy intersection which in my case needs major directing.
Our mission to produce only the best, using the best has experienced a huge increase in the number of those dogs that are considered the ‘best’. As each generation produces better individuals and also a larger percentage of those desirable ‘best’ in each litter, so grows our breedable female’s numbers that qualify as candidates that will be considered for the breeding program. This gives me many more females to choose from to produce the next generation.
With the rise in the numbers of upper tier quality dogs that are now available to perpetuate the next generation of stellar puppies, so too will increase be the number of females to be included for each year’s production of puppies.
The demand for quality puppies is ever increasing as well as our collective successes has received so much validation from every sector of the fancy. Producing quality the old fashion way, through hard work, a great product and a service program that has no equal brings about those that want those qualities.
Meanwhile back at the ranch……………Chambrays Acres that is, we are having to fight off those wanting a peek at the Kika X Jericho litter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 11 puppies and 10 times as many fine folk interested in obtaining one of these treasures!
I guess all of those that know me know what I am now going through and will be for the next 2 to 3 weeks or as long as it takes me to make decisions about the awesome eleven. We have decided to give them fairy tale names as this truly is a fairy tale litter.
So, if you don’t hear from me, if the blogs are slow in coming after this one, if I seem to have been swept away and totally incommunicado…………………………blame it on the bassanova……………..actually blame it on the Awesome Eleven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you haven't seen them, check them out at the following site facebook.com/chambray.labradors
Jessie and Johanna keep up with the Facebook and other social media sites, so you can follow the litter there with them.
Membership Has Its Rewards
One of the most asked questions both through email and at the dog shows pertains to our training and conditioning environment.
This not just from the lay person, lately more and more of the professional handlers have also been inquiring as to how we proceed with our ‘block training method’, our ‘physical therapy routines’ and our innovative ‘chute gaiting method’.
Besides these 3 mentioned training techniques, there are many more ‘tricks if the trade’ that are put to use on a daily basis with our staff trainers on the dogs that are left at Chambray for training and also those that visit on a daily basis. All those methods are instrumental in achieving the head and shoulder above the competition successes those dogs that have been through our training programs are achieving at the dog shows.
Just this past weekend at the WPB shows, both Best Of Breed winners, the Winners Dog from Saturday, both Winners Bitch, the Best Bred By Exhibitor, the Best Labrador Puppy all have been through our training and conditioning programs and each carries with them the Winning Edge that 45 years of experience with Labradors brings.
Truth be told, it all starts with the breeding program. That is the ‘make it or break it’ deal maker! Without the conformation that each Chambray dog brings to the table, none of the awards, titles, or rankings would be possible. The old ‘you can’t make a silk purse from sow’s ear’ resonates with 1000% validity! Nothing anyone does after the dog is born makes for better conformation. The dogs either have it or they don’t!
Conformation is where it all begins and ends………………..without that most vital ingredient, all the training, all the conditioning, all the handling would turn into ‘all the wishing in the world’!
Combining that all important part of the puzzle, conformation with innovative and individualized training and conditioning for each of those dogs in the Chambray Dog Management Program galvanizes 2 out of the 3 elements needed to be successful in the show ring.
That 3rd gem in the crown of glory is the show presentation……………the handling! That is where it all comes together and is totally visual to all those at ringside. For the novice and uninitiated watching a dog show, that is the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
For most handlers, it is what they claim makes a dog win when in reality, most of those winners win in spite of the handling or the handling goes along for the ride with the winning edge created from the get-go with conformation and the polishing up with training and conditioning.
Of course there are hundreds that have requested for us to video tape our training sessions and to detail our equipment and apparatuses used to achieve the results we have accustomed ourselves to (102 straight dog show winning weekend)……………………..but we would rather save all those goodies for those that are part of our Chambray Labrador Dog Owners Group.
Observations & Comments From The Dog Show
Observations From This Weekend’s Shows:
The old timer Labrador breeder approaches me at the WPB dog show and with an epiphany look on his face tells me “You know the secret to your success is you are breeding the best to the best!”
Of course I thanked him for his validation and acknowledgement of the quality that we are producing, especially coming from someone with that level of expertise.
To be honest I really don’t think that is a secret because I have been broadcasting that Chambray protocol for as long as anyone would stop long enough to listen.
There is a massive amounts of truth to that gentlemen’s observation, it all starts with the breeding program! Without the great product, no matter how good the service, it would always fall short of being top drawer………………………with the best product and the best service…………..the cream rises to the top!
The family with the “service dog”………………..really a dog that is used for therapy visitations, however the owners prefer to use the label ‘service dog’. Service dogs provide their owners a legitimate medical/mental service that facilitates their ability to function in society.
Looking from one end of our crate setup to the other end by ringside, the man holding the dog’s leash says to me “It seems hardly fair for you to bring so many great looking dogs while the rest of the people here only can bring 1 of their dogs!”
This was obviously something that had been lamented to him by one of those thinking that they had the short end of the number’s stick.
My answer “It is a matter of perspective………….the judge will get to see 40 dogs today and select out the best male, Winners Dog, the best female Winners Bitch and at the end of it all, the best Labradors of them all, Best Of Breed.
The judge doesn’t know from Adam who owns what, he/she doesn’t know who bred which and he/she doesn’t know how many anyone brought to the show.”
An hour later the judge had selected a Chambray male for BOB, one of our males for Winners Dog, a Chambray female for Winners Bitch and a Chambray champion for Best Of Breed, each brought by their own owner………………….from the judges perspective, these were the best dogs from each category, regardless of who brought them or bred them!
Now isn’t that the way it should be………………the best dogs winning regardless of who brings them, regardless of who owns them. Now that’s accountability!
From the new Chambray puppy owners (there were 6 new families that came to visit and watch the show activities). “How is our puppy going to win against all these awesome looking Chambray dogs that you all showed today?”
Answer: Your puppy rated as one of the highest puppies from a litter that has to be in the top 3 of all times! Her dam is the mother of the dog that just took Best Of Breed (Bob) and he is not even 2 years old yet! Your puppy’s sire is the father of the male that took BOB (Tucker), also the Winners Dog yesterday (Tank), also the sire of the dog that took Best Bred By Exhibitor, Group III & RWB yesterday and again RWB today (Gracie). When your puppy starts to show, she too will be among the rock stars that these dogs are right now!
From another old timer Labrador breeder/judge: “Let me congratulate you even before the show starts, you are the man to beat!” and continues to add “What a pleasure to see this great lineup of dogs that can compete and win in any part of the country!”
From a puppy searcher: “I want a puppy that looks exactly like this one that just won all those ribbons, with Best Puppy and Best Adult!”
Well, in reality that was Chambrays Eventful N Counter “Evie”, she actually is a 9 month old puppy and she won Winners Bitch from the Puppy Class, which means that she defeated all the adult females that were competing at the show. Then she proceeded to defeat the Winners Dog (male) for Best Of Winners, picking up the 2 points that were also awarded him, by virtue of beating all the class males and class females, she was declared Best Labrador Puppy and then proceeded to compete in the Sporting Group Puppy competition and take a Group II there as well.
Our goal is the Betterment of the Breed and with each breeding we put together, we aspire to produce better and better. Evie’s dam is Florida’s winningest and most decorated Labrador ever, BIS BBE Silver Gr Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter “Kika”. First female Labrador to ever win a Best In Show, the only female Labrador to win a Best In Show in the entire country in 2012 (there was only 1 male to tie Kika for that honor that year). Kika was the #1 Female Labrador and #3 Labrador USA for 2012. She was the 2013 Purinas Breeder Showcase Best Labrador, the 2013 Eukanuba National Championships Select Grand Champion…………………………………………so do we expect that Kika’s puppies will be as good or better than she is………………..you darn tootin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Evie is proof positive of our mission to produce the best from the best. So watch for Evie to equal or surpass the great accomplishments of her mother. In fact, keep an eye on Kika’s newest contribution to the Betterment of the Breed at facebook.com/chambray.labradors There you will find the Kika X Jericho litter of 11 astronomical puppies!
March 2nd 2015
Pro Way ~ Chambray Way
There has been so much discussion and talk in the last couple of weeks from within the Chambray Labradors Owner’s Group that I thought I would do a blog to clarify for those that have been around the block a couple of times and educate those just hitching a ride on the world wind ride known as Chambray Labradors Dog Management Program.
The first place to start at would be a synopsis of how the professional dog handler operates.
The top professional handlers take on clients in several ways. The preferred client by a long mile are those that hire the pros for a long length of time (under contract) to take their dog and fully campaign it to its championship. The pro handler provides everything the dog needs to accomplish that goal, from all the training it needs, the conditioning, the transportation, the housing and everything to do at the dog shows, from ‘priority’ handling to backup coverage if conflicts occur. The fees for this service can very well run from $3000 dollars a month to some that go as high as $8000 a month.
There are many variations of the above arrangements where some dogs may not receive top preferred/dedicated handling and the fees will reflect the lessened attention. But the majority of those dogs that receive some type of priority from the pro handler are those that travel and are constantly in their care and charge.
The opposite of the above scenario is what is termed as ‘ringside pickup’ handling. This is where the dog’s owner provides most of the essentials of transportation and care while at the show venue and the pro handler provides his services as the handler for the dog. These dogs are way down on the totem pole of priority for handling and when handling conflicts arise for the handler, backup handlers are designated by the pro handler to ‘cover’ that dog in that ring at that time. The pro handler is totally in charge of who the designated backup handlers will be as that is their responsibility as the contracted manager of the dog for those shows. The pro handler receives the stipulated handling fees regardless of who he directs to handle the dog and it is his responsibility to compensate the backup handler in whatever way is agreed upon between the pro and the backup.
The professional handler’s protocol for taking clients on is for the dog to be independent from the owners, so they highly prefer that the owners remain as detached from the dogs while in their possession, including while at the dog shows. In other words, removing the owner from the equation as much as possible.
So, that is the professional dog handler’s way.
The Chambray Dog Management Program is vastly different in that we encourage active participation by the dog’s owners in the training, conditioning and even in the transportation of the dog to the dog shows.
We include the owners in almost every aspect from the day the puppy comes for its first private training session to the day it takes its first steps in the ring……………………all the way to Westminster and/or The Eukanuba National Championships!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Been there, done that many times over!
We mentor each owner to take part in the development of each of their dogs. We teach them how to work and condition their dogs at home by giving them very specific guidance for their individual dogs.
We provide all the private one-on-one training sessions at Chambray Acres and then we encourage each owner to take part in the 3 nights a week of group socialization and conformation training.
We also take dogs on for In-Kennel Training and Conditioning when that task is beyond the owner’s capabilities.
Then we provide the most successful Show Management handling of Labradors anywhere in the country.
That is the Chambray way. There is no other Labrador breeder that offers anything even remotely close to the services we provide……..none.
Some of the protocols at the dog shows for handling are similar as the pros have in place. Once the dog is in our charge at the show, we determine everything that follows for showing.
We come in with a game plan that has been gone over for almost every eventuality including ‘assigned handlers’, ‘backup handlers’, ‘coverage handler’………………………..and then we make changes at the spur of a moment as circumstances present themselves.
As an example of the above, this past weekend at WPB we had a game plan on for handling and it was followed flawlessly for Saturday’s show…………………..all went well and the results were somewhat satisfactory for most of the dogs and the handlers on them.
Not one to rest on my laurels, I decided to switch up more than 60% of the handlers for Sunday’s shows, especially in the Best Of Breed competition.
At Saturday’s show I was on Amos and I felt that he could use a change for Sunday, so we switched to Ryan on Amos. Meanwhile Jessie had been on Walter and I made myself his handler for Sunday’s show with Jessie moving over on to Bob, replacing Johanna that handled him on Saturday.
All these changes were made for the benefit of each dog and I was 100% responsible each of those decisions. Since each of the dog’s owners trust me and the entire program, all the changes were made right before ring time and none of the owners knew until they saw the action in the ring with their dogs.
The same thing occurred with many of the class dogs, with handler ‘assignment’ switches to see if there would be better performances from each of those dogs from one day to the next. Some worked well and some didn’t seem to make much difference. However the show goes on without a hitch and that is the way that I prefer to work with.
Besides all the differences stated above with the professional way and with Chambray, one huge difference is the economic side which vastly favors those in the Chambray Dog Management Program, to the tune of paying half the going rate of the pros.
So, we provide the most successful handling management in Labradors at half the price…………….sounds like a major win, win situation for those taking advantage of the Chambray offerings.
March 2nd 2015
Long & Sweet
What an awesome dog show weekend for our champions and class dogs, for our owners and for all the visitors that came to watch and cheer Team Chambray on.
Both of the Best Of Breed winners this week were Chambray youngsters, both under the age of 2 years, yet winning against top ranked Bronze Grand champions and other top specials, including the #10 and #17 2014 Top Ranked Labrador champions and several other notable specials in the ring.
At the Saturday WPB show, Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting, owned by the Etzig family won his 4th career Best Of Breed and added to his 2015 year credentials another 35 breed and all-breed points. At the end of January at the Ocala shows with Jessie as his new handler (I had been in the ring with him since the December Eukanuba weekend), they teamed up to a Chambray tying record of winning back-to-back Group 1’s, giving them the ticket to compete in the Best In Show competition both days. Those 2 Group 1 wins propelled him into the USA Top 5 All Breed Labradors for the new 2015 show season.
Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck, better known as “Bob” and when he is really bad, “Bad Boy Bob”, scored his very first Best Of Breed at Sunday’s WPB show in what we know will be many more to come as he is now 21 months old, finally showing what he is capable of doing as a fully developed, mature-minded champion (we hope, lol). Bob is now being specialed by Jessie in the Best Of Breed competition. What an added treat it was for Bob and all of us to have his owners, the McGraws there for this very special win as they normally send Bob out with us to most of the shows.
Our top ranked champion for 2014, Gr BBE Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter (2014 #10 USA All-Breed), is owned by Judith and Mickey Baker. Walter, coming off back-to-back Best Of Breeds and back-to-back Group III wins at the last weekend of shows in Lakeland Fl, picked up 6 more Gr Ch pts by winning Select Grand Champion both days to Tucker and to Bob. These added points brings Walter oh so much closer to his Bronze Grand Champion, needing a total of 100 and he now has 91. He could very well attain his Bronze Grand Champions title with 2 Best Of Breed wins at the very next weekend of shows in his own backyard, the Ft Lauderdale Fl shows on March 14/15 at the Davie Rodeo arena. Keep an eye on Walter and yours truly as we do our thing together towards that Bronze Grand Champion’s title…………………..get the champagne ready Judith!
Winners Dog and Winners bitch at Saturday’s show were both Chambray dogs and together with the Best Of Breed winner, Tucker………………that gave Chambray the 54th career Trifecta of winning WD/ WB/BOB all in one show by the same breeder. That is a state record that will hold up way beyond what I will ever see. 2nd place may have 3 or 4 so catching up and besting is not in the cards anytime that I will witness.
Taking Winners Dog Saturday was our Bred-By Exhibitor boy, Chambrays Where Eagles Dare aka “Tank” owned by Marie and Bear Knapp. This win gives Tank a total of 5 points and 1 major towards his AKC champions title. He was very close to another WD win at Sunday’s show with a RWD. Jessie was handling Tank for the weekend.
Winners Bitch went to Chambrays Cover Girl “Willow” owned by Paddy McGee. This win gives Willow a total of 14 points and 1 major, needing only 1 more major-pointed win to attain her much deserved AKC title.
Taking a Reserve Winners Bitch at both Saturday and Sunday’s shows was Chambrays Grace Of The Field owned by the Bakers (Walter’s owners). She also won Best Bred-By Labrador and a Group III in the Sporting Bred-By Exhibitor competition at Saturday’s show. Gracie now has 5 points and 1 major. Johanna and Gracie team up from the Bred-By Exhibitor class.
Coming close again on Saturday with a RWD after winning a 3-point major at the last shows was Chambrays Recurrent Dream N Counter owned by Jenna Gardner. For the past 3 weekends of shows, Dreamer has been consistently in consideration for the points by all 6 of those judges. We know that he has arrived! Dreamer and Johanna have been teaming up for all the winning lately.
For the females Winners Bitch competition, we could not lose as all 5 girls that won their individual classes were Chambray girls and thus all that entered the ring for Winners Bitch were all in our Show Management Program. The nod would go to 8-month old, first-timer WD winner, Chambrays Eventful N Counter, “Evie” owned by the McGraws (Bob’s owners). Evie is from our super star of all times champion BIS BBE Silver Grand Ch Chambray’s Celestial N Counter “Kika”. She was handled from the classes by Jessie, to her Winners Bitch by yours truly and eventually to Best Of Winners by Johanna. She also won Best Labrador Puppy and was handled in the Sporting Groups to a Group II by Jessie again.
Winning is the exclamation point that validates all that we put into this endeavor. All the preparations, training, conditioning by the owners and by Team Chambray for those dogs that we manage and then the show presentations by our handlers leads to those points won. However we also take into account the actual performances by each dog in our charge whether they win the points and the BOBs or not.
Every Chambray dog that was competing at these shows deserved to be there with their beyond outstanding conformation! All were at the top of their game in development for their age. Of course some could use some more training and conditioning to enhance their performances, thus increase their chances of being in the Winners Circle! That is something we can do about………………..not so with conformation. So with all our Chambray dogs having that conformation in place all that is needed is their performance taken to the next level.
We were especially proud of 8-month old Chambrays Galactic N Counter “Gayla” owned by the Jacksons. She finally put it together with her awesome beauty and a very good performance. Jessie did the handling this weekend. There were several Labrador breeders and breeder judges in the audience and Gayla was a consensus favorite of theirs.
Chambrays Black Diamond Out Of The Ruff “Bandit” owned by JC Rodriguez seems to have it down pat with the ring routines and his conditioning and now needs to assert himself in the ring that maturity brings. This weekend we teamed handled him with Jessie and I alternating each day in the ring. This boy was also highly talked about by the Lab breeders and breeder judges.
Chambrays Big Dog 4 X 4 Diesel owned by the McCubbins was perfect in the ring and now needs to fill out to the legs that he has grown lately, when that happens this is one to watch for him to go all the way to the top. Ryan and Jessie alternated the handling the different days in the ring. Another dog that caught the experience Labrador breeders atttention that were in the audience.
Chambrays Chaos owned by the Padgetts has been a late developer and together with the owners, we have been working with him bringing him along. With some time, we feel he will arrive and become competitive. Ryan and Jessie alternated the handling with me taking him in for winners one day.
Chambrays Triple Play “Sonic” owned by Javier Lopez has always been our best moving and performing ring dog, however his real slow physical development has kept him from showing as much as needed. He finally has started to fill out and is putting on a much better account for himself in the ring. He was in the ribbons this weekend including a 2nd place finish at Sunday’s show. Ryan was Sonic’s assigned handler for the weekend.
Two of our awesome boys, each needing just one more win to finish their championships, Chambrays Maxed N Counter (12 points and 3 majors) owned by Mark Von Reitzenstein and Chambrays Stellar Thunder owned by Juan Marrero (14 points and 1 major) also were part of the roster. Both dogs look exceptional, both were so close at the recent Florida Winter Circuit in January with a combined 5 Reserve Winners Dog to majors and yet this past weekend were not in the judge’s eye. Like I tell all my owners, there is always next week with different judges and different results.
Our newest champion Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos owned by Jean and Phil Eslinger, handled by me at Saturday’s show and then by Ryan at Sunday’s show gave a satisfactory performance both days, however both the owners and ourselves feel that at this level of competition, we need much more honing of performance, so it is off to Camp Chambray for intensive show presentation training.
On our girl’s side of the line in the sand, we had ‘good’ performances from our top point winner, Chambray Sweet Honey Samantha owned by Neil Merin. Could we use more? Sure, will we get more………of course, as Sam can be there on one day and be hard to beat and other days she is just there in all her glory but not shinning as she can be. Sam was handled by Jessie both days.
Chambrays Little Miss Magic Stella owned by Dawn Sloan and Tim always gives a good performance and seemed to be in consideration for the win one day. Stella was handled by Jessie both days. Sam was the favorite female of the Labrador breeders in attendance.
Chambrays Isis owned by the Padgetts also gave an outstanding performance out of the Open Yellow class. She was team handled by Ryan and Jessie on alternate days. Isis is in our special development program with training and conditioning for show with special In-Kennel day sessions.
Chambrays Luna, our resident ‘practice’ dog, handled by our intern, Jackie won her class one of the days and she is also 10-year old Taylor Thomas’ junior handling dog and they teamed up for Taylors first win as a junior!
We had a huge crowd on hand with many of our owners, both those that have dogs currently showing and many others that either have retired dogs or that are waiting in the wings to have their dogs shown. Walter seemed to be the Chambray crowd favorite of all those in the crowd that I had a chance to talk to.
We also entertained quite a few folk with dogs to be evaluated for future consideration for showing and or breeding. The evaluations took place at the show venue this weekend with 4 out of 6 dogs evaluated having very favorable critiques to work with in the future.
Over a dozen folk searching for a puppy took me up on my invitation to come visit and watch the activities at a dog show. The majority were very impressed and will leave their options open for a show quality puppy.
There were another dozen breeders/female owners that also dropped by to see our stud dogs for future use. Of course winning the majority of the awards, points and BOBs really sells our dogs as future perpetuators of the breed.
I even had family members that I hadn’t seen in years come by and visit with me!
All in all it was a very Chambray Labrador weekend with so much positives happening all around us as a Labrador community and in particular our Chambray Owner’s Program being in the spotlight and coming through!