May 2015

am

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

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.

May 31st

More Piggyback Advertising & Promoting

Should Have Left Sleeping Dog Lay

 

Update on Multiple Best In Specialty Show Best Of Breed Winner Silver Grand Champion/Canadian BISS/Eukanuba BOB Champion Gateways Nothin But Trouble.

 

Carol Wilkening who is Jericho owner (Jericho is one of many Trouble get), just informed me that Trouble just won his 19th Specialty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So add another BISS to his awesome credentials.

 

So, our black beauty of a stud dog, Bronze Gr Ch/Int Ch Summithills Jooshua’s Battle Of Jericho comes with an awesome resume and pedigree to match. For more information on Jericho go to his individual stud dog page. see Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua's Battle Of Jericho CGC

 

There’s an old adage “let sleeping dogs lay”………………..so someone awoke the dog in me and now I will take the promo and advertising………………as Tony Blake in Barreta would say ‘You can take that to the bank”!

May 30th

Trouble

 

For those wanting to know more about Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle Of Jericho’s sire………… ‘Trouble’………………………..once a dog reaches that legend status as a winner and producer, most in the know will just use the first name, much like those one-of-a-kind movie stars with one name……………….so 99% of those into showing Labradors, like really into the fancy, know that the one and only ‘Trouble’ is Multiple BISS AKC Silver Gr Ch/ Can BISS Ch Gateways Nothin But Trouble.

 

BISS Best Of Breed winner at the Potomac…………………twice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BISS Best Of Breed winner at the Canadian Nationals…………………….twice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BOB & Group III winner at the 2014 Eukanuba National Championships.

 

Plus dozens and dozens of other stellar BOBs, BOS, AOMs and more, but don’t take my word for it, visit his page at Belquest Labradors at the following page http://belquest.com/trouble.html

 

From what I understand his next destination is the world famous 'Crofts' in Engand, billed as the largest dog show in the world and certainly, a BOB win there would be a most prestigious award for a dog with a great show career as he already has.

 

May 29th 

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

 

“You boast a lot about certain dogs, but don’t give credit to others in their pedigrees. In the past several months you have made mention multiple times of a BISS Ch Gateways Nothin But Trouble son, but didn’t give credit to his sire. If it were not for the sire, you won’t have ‘nothin’ to brag about!”

 

I see I am not the only one to use wit and intended humor in their writing………………..touché twice!

 

Touché once……………..I like the double entendre with the Nothin and then the nothin………….cool!

 

Touché again……………………..yes, credit is due all those great dogs that have contributed so greatly to the Betterment of the Breed and Trouble will undoubtedly be one of those dogs that will be held in the highest esteem as a major prepotent dog extraordinaire!

 

Trust me there was no slight intended……………….keep in mind that I write in blog form………..as short and to the point as possible, so I don’t have the luxury of going major overboard…………………in fact, for advertising and promotional value, it would behoove me to mention as many of those great dogs as possible to get more search engines to index my blogs.

 

If you research my articles and blogs, you will readily see that I still today, 28 years later and into my 9th generation of Chambray bred dogs, still give credit to where our foundation dam came from back in 1988!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I still give credit to the initial lines of dogs that forged Chambray…………….from the maternal side the great Ebonylanes lines going back to Ebonylane Aslan and from the sire’s side probably the greatest English import of them all, Receiver Of Cranspire.

Along the way, other great foundation producing dogs such a Windfalls Pipe Major…………………Langshott’s Gale Force From Kimvalley……………….Ghoststones Louie Downtown………..Borador’s By George………….Monarch’s Black Arrogance and others have passed on their awesome attributes to the present day Chambray dogs.

 

Unlike others that tend to bite the hand of those that helped them up…………………..I enshrined those that came before me and give them their due credit every chance I get.

 

Today, in the golden years of my Labrador breeding & show career, I mentor all those around me with a sense of history that tends to be forgotten by those new to the Labrador ring.

 

The majority of folk showing today have no recollection of the top contributing breeders from just 20 years ago………………let alone those true giants of yesteryear when I first came up.

 

It’s important to know where we came from so that we can plan on where we are headed with the breed……………………way too many have no awareness of where they stand, thus have no vision of what is correct.

May 29th

A Stud Dog's Breeding Value

 

 

“How much does the stud dog contribute to the quality of a litter?” J McGraw

 

Great question and one that I am sure has been asked since man started to dabble in animal husbandry. From everything I have read and heard from the long gone legends of the breed, including Mary Roslin Williams, considered to be the supreme authority on the breed and author of numerous books on Labradors, including “Reaching For The Stars”……………………….she and all those other greats firmly believed that the maternal side of the pedigree brings in the lion’s share of 60 to 70% of the greatness………………leaving the lamb’s share to the stud dog somewhere in the 30 to 40%.

 

I too am of the exact same persuasion……………….not so much from idle ‘blind following’, more so from actual results over all my years with breeding and now 9 generations of the same family line that comprises the main thrust behind the Chambray lines.

 

Because most of the great producing dogs today are available as stud dogs, therefore it is a no brainer that anyone getting started in the breed today, need not delve into males, rather obtain the best foundation females and then go out and bring in whatever traits need to be introduced or strengthened from the existing lines using those available stud dogs.

 

Keeping males from the litters produced is also a longshot, as it may take 25 selected top pick male puppies to actual have 1 pan out with all the hurdles that lay ahead of any top show pick puppy.

 

The Internet has also become a breeder’s best friend in that instantaneous information is available as it happens across the globe.

 

Years back, it would take a decade to find out that a particular dog was a great producer…………………by that time, he was probably totally aged out or worse, long gone! Back in those days, the choices then were to breed to an offspring of that great producer.

 

Now, we know great producers before they are 3 years old and can order their semen from almost anywhere and have it the next morning via Fed Ex at our doorsteps to inseminate……………….with 60 days later, a potential top prospect litter on the ground.

Of course all of the above sounds jiffy quick, however there is much to learn about the breed and also a good understanding of genetics and modes of inheritance will go a long way in the success process………………avoiding all those novice and early years of learning mistakes also makes the journey so much smoother.

May 28th

Most Are Headed Southbound.......Thank Goodness For

The Few Northbound Ones!

 

Thank goodness that all prospective stud dog evaluations are not headed southbound……………..there are a few that have opted to travel in the opposite direction……..which is a good thing!

 

This to answer someone’s question or maybe to quell their suspicions that all visits to Chambray do not mean a death sentence for the dog as far as show quality is concerned or even for stud service use.

 

I know that somewhere in the recent past, I wrote a blog about everything we do is covered by odds, chances and percentages.

 

That’s what happens with those owners of dogs obtained elsewhere……………………there are odds that will more or less make themselves known over a quantity of dogs. As it has worked out for years, the odds of a dog coming here for an evaluation and receiving 2 thumbs up is minimal!

 

There are a myriad of reasons for that and that subject has been beaten like a dead horse over the hundreds/thousands of blogs and articles I have written and published. However, since I profess to educate, I will illuminate once again the main reason for that sour happenstance…………..the very poor odds of a dog obtained elsewhere coming up smelling like roses.

 

The vast, vast majority of people breeding Labrador Retrievers have no clue what the Breed Standard is, let alone read it, understand it and follow through with a breeding program for the Betterment of the Breed. That is the God honest truth…………………so it follows that with those humongous numbers of people breeding heaven knows what, that the produce of the ill-formed breeding program will reflect in inferior specimens of the breed…………………………..that then leads to those same high percentage of folk that come here not knowing what they have and then finding out from me that their beloved Rover looks more like a Plover than a Labrador!

 

Simple statistics that repeat themselves with predictable occurrences………………………..those are the odds, chances and percentages that I keep referring to.

 

Some folk liken to having a great looking specimen of the breed to finding a diamond in the rough! Yep, they get all excited when they go out in public and people make a fuss over their dog that they bought at a pet shop or ordered online from the hundreds of pet brokers, or from the thousands and thousands of backyard pet market producers.

 

Their dog is the one that will be that one in a million……………………..that’s what they figure and that’s what all those that contact me and contact other show breeders about their champion-in-the-making.............that's what they are hoping for, the one in a milion!

 

The reality comes like an unexpected slap in the face! It doesn’t take much for me or other knowledgeable Labrador person to look at any dog and proclaim their value.

 

Believe it or not, over the years the odds are getting worse at finding that potential diamond out of all the rubble that shows up for an evaluation. The Internet is to blame for the southbound trend! It is so much easier now a days for anyone to do a search for Labradors breeders and have hundreds of deceiving websites to sort through!

 

Now, to answer the person that was asking if there ever is a ‘eureka moment’………………………………………Eureka Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, over the years there have been a few, just a few, yes there have been wonderful finds at that same front gate where a plethora of bad news gets delivered!

 

The latest, almost 5 years ago has turned into a success story that really bodes well for the Betterment of the Breed.

He came to Chambray’s gate as 10-week old little Jericho and today he is Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle Of Jericho CGC…………….sire of the most show prospect offspring in Florida………..of the most AKC-pointed sons and daughters in Florida………………sire of the # 1 Breed, #1 All-Breed and #1 Grand Champion in Florida (# 10, #6 and #8 USA same categories)…………………sire of FCI Colombian champion, winner of a 5-Pt major at Specialty show and a JAMSS!

 

So, yes, there is hope and each and every time someone contacts me with a dog that they would like me to see………………….I make the time……………..however I know the odds, chances and percentages……….but I am an eternal optimist and I long for that one long shot to come my way…………for the Betterment of the Breed!

May 28th 

Heading Off East Into The Sunset

 

“If a dog of any breed reminds you of another breed, then that dog does not exemplify its own breed”…………words etched forever in the recesses of my mind stated by a truly great legend of the breed, George Bragaw…………………………….he was one of the foremost mentors of the breed, a Labrador breeder extraordinaire, AKC judge, world ambassador for Labrador Retrievers………………….in his time, the buck as concerning Labradors stopped at his feet………………………… much like the sign on Harry S Truman’s desk stated.

 

Just this month, 2 different cases reminded me of that credo to be followed.

 

Both cases involved an appointment to evaluate different dogs that were being offered for stud service. Each of their owners had visited the various Chambray Labradors websites and were very interested in having their dogs evaluated for possible inclusion in our Stud Service Program.

 

Both dogs had passed the basic DNA tests and also had hip and elbow clearances and each of the incoming interviewees had supplied me with each of their dog’s pedigrees…………………..so what was left was the visual and hand’s on evaluation to determine………………from my point of view…………………whether either/or both of those dogs were of any value to Chambray’s Betterment of the Breed mission.

 

 

 

Case #1 – Shaggy couldn’t have made a better impression! From 75 feet away, way before I opened the front electronic gates………….standing outside my property next to a very suntanned Marylyn Monroe look alike, was one of the most beautiful dogs that I have ever seen!

 

Now, each of you know that I know dogs……………….I have seen thousands and thousands of dogs! How many? I couldn’t for the life (what’s left) of me can’t begin to even guestimate how many.

 

So, you ‘gotta’ know that this dog was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l and the owner was a looker herself!

 

As I approached the gate and pressed the remote to open slightly, enough for the flaxen-hair, possible Puma-like vixen to saunter on in with the goldenrod-colored, long flowing in the wind coated dog…………………George Bragaw came to mind!

 

That is as opposite a sight as one can conjure…………………………Mr. Bragaw at 6’ 6” or 6’ 8” all 400lbs of him actually looked nothing like the Greek goddess, older version damsel and companion canine that befitted being a deities’ dog!

 

However, it wasn’t so much the visual comparison that brought the memory back, more over the phrase that still rings loud and true all these many years later about a dog needing to look like the breed it is intended to look like and here was this beautiful dog that departed so much from being a Labrador and yet was a beautiful dog…………………..but not a beautiful Labrador……………not even a reasonable facsimile of what a true Labrador should look like!

 

The Labrador breed standard calls for “short, dense and course to the feel coat”……………………..standing in all its splendor was a dog with extremely long, flowing, soft as angel hair hair!

 

Envision an Irish Setter, the most luxurious, longest coated Irish Setter ever…………now change the color to a very visual yellow (maybe Clairol induced?)……………..none that I have ever seen on any Labrador and you now have a picture of the dog right in front and center of me.

 

Of course, now the dilemma…………………………….what do you say to the owner that has been told a million times over that her dog was beautiful……………………………that it isn’t what the breed should look like.

 

Before I even begin to form an opening statement she lets me know that he has already bred to 3 different females and that she has a long waiting list for his puppies…………….so she is in the market for a ‘champion adult female’!

 

“Money is no object” she interjects adding to the ‘stuck between a rock and a hard place’ situation for me.

Needless to say that the next 10 minutes of explanations and intended mentoring fell on blond-colored hair, deaf ears was an understatement.

 

Without batting a highly colored eye lash………..perfect dentition smile, artistically sculptured lips, she thanked me and whisked off with her Adonis-like dog…………riding off into the sunset (actually were headed east) in one of those super plush Mercedes that purrs at 60.

 

 

 

Case #2 – TOTAL OPPOSITE! Not so much in the end results of 2 thumbs down for a dog to be used as a stud dog………………………..total opposite in how it all went down!

 

It starts out the same with the appointment arriving at the front gate and parking right in front of the sign that states No Parking!

However since this wasn’t a good looking member of the opposite gender……………………more of very large, rotund

man………………………….my initial impression already was turning sour at not following instructions…………….No Parking!

 

Does that make me a prejudice person?

 

Instead of a beautiful sight both in person and in canine out beyond the borders of Chambray Acres, from a distance as I approached the gate, things looked totally catawampus from the Mt. Olympus visitor of a few days earlier!

 

The dog was forming a ruckus out by the gate, barking and howling…straining on a spiked collar used for those dogs of war that used to eat the defeated combatants. All the dogs in my care were up in arms as all were thinking the worst as to what would happen next!

 

So was I!

 

A couple of the neighborhood roaming dogs showed up further down the street and were adding to the cacophony of barking, howling, growling and other guttural dog sounds.

 

This black dog stood square, much like a Rottweiler dog would………………..tail straight up over its back, hackles from neck to end of tail, totally bristled………………………from 10 feet away to the gait, I could tell that it had full dentition, because baring teeth never was better applied than it was here!

 

The most obvious and most visual part of the dog was its head! Totally a Rottweiler head if there ever was one! In fact, I would venture to say that this dog was a hybrid (mutt) cross between a Labrador and a Rottie!

 

Of course the rather large man holding the rope of a leash would beg to differ with me and he did! He had heard hundreds of time from Joe Public “Wow, what a great looking dog that is!”

 

No need to even open the gate as this appointment went south way before it arrived!

 

The super large dog, super large man in a super large twin cab, dually-wheeled, jacked-up suspension, turbo charged, extra bore dual exhaust pipes roared off into the same sunset……………..if only heading east could be accomplished!

May25 Memorial Day

 

Of Bloopers, Blunders and Folk W/Blinders On

 

Someone caught a ½ blooper…………no, not a ½ grouper………………………a ½ blooper!

 

In a recent blog I stated that the Puppy Page at www.chambraylabs.com was the most visited page at our website………..it is, at that website!

 

However, truth be told the Blogging Off page at the mothership site at www.chambraylabradors.net has the highest visitation of all of our websites.

 

Goes to show how there are some that pay attention to the littlest details……………….keeps me on my toes!

 

Talking about bloopers:

 

 

 

 

Had an email asking if we bred the long-haired yellow Labrador Retrievers.

 

Sent them an email explaining the difference between a Golden Retriever (long hair) and a Labrador Retriever (short hair).

 

Received a ‘rude awaking’ reply as follows: that there is a new breed of dog that is a ‘purebreed dog’……..just has no papers yet…………………..until the AKC accepts them and then will issue them papers………………………it’s a ‘full-blooded’ Labrador with long hair just like a Golden Retriever………….they come from full-blooded Labrador Retrievers and from full-blooded Golden Retrievers…………………….so that makes them twice full-blooded!

 

All the preceding in bold italics, word for word, according to the folk writing the email! Needless to say, I had absolutely no reply whatsoever!

 

 

 

 

More Bloopers and Blunders:

 

A request came in for a ‘Bobbed-tail Black Labrador puppy’………………..because they just had to put down their Pit Bull X Labrador mixed dog and it looked like a black Labrador and had its tail docked and they wanted one that looked exactly like “Satan”!

 

Now, I have had requests for a ‘bushy-tailed Lab’ and a ‘Beaver-tailed Lab’………………..but this was the first-ever request for a ‘Bobbed Tail Lab! And what’s with a Labrador-looking dog being named ‘Satan”?

 

Opppsss, hit the DELETE key!

 

 

 

 

 

Follow-up on a recent blog:

 

Received a phone message needing my ‘services for a stud dog’. Well, being the business man that I sometimes am………………I did return the call (See Phone Protocol At Chambray).

 

The man goes on to tell me that he lives just south of me in the Redlands and that he has this “awesome ‘red male’ Labrador, all 130lbs of him and that he needs to stud him out”. Usually I interject at this point in time and give a bit of an education as to what a Labrador Retriever is and on and on……………………..but in this case the dude at the other end of the phone was running a filibuster without taking a breath of air and not giving me an opening to get one word in edgewise.

 

Now here is where it all gets downright interesting! Seems that some fellow he ran into at OK Feed Store has a female that needs breeding and his dog and that female have been running circles around his horse ranch and all they do is get exhausted and “clunk out”!

 

He goes on to say that he will ‘share’ the stud service fee with me, if I can get them to breed!

 

Does this sound like the same female that showed up at my front gate that wasn’t even a year old?

 

Told the guy that the fee for an AI was $300! The phone call ended shortly after that!

 

May  24th

Tail Ends & Scuttlebutts & Possible Butt Kickings

 

“What do you think of ‘So & So’ bringing so many of her dogs to the shows?” of course ‘So & So’ is not the real name of the breeder, so we dispense with that formality right off and get to the nitty gritty of the current waves of amber being jabbed about by those around ringside and elsewhere were well-meaning folk congregate and conversate*.

 

*I just love this new-to-be word to the American language………yep, sooner or later if enough folk repeat a word……………..it will become official, so way before that time, I’m using it, so no one write in to correct me.

 

Anyways, back to the most current scuttlebutt topic of the Labrador ring:

 

Since there has been some back-fence talk about another breeder in Florida ‘loading up the entries’ and then most of those involved in the behind the front lines chit-chat end up asking me about it, here is my take on the subject……………………………..HURRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Yep, hip, hip hurray and guns away!  

 

I have said it before….maybe a hundred times in these blogs and articles, probably been beaten the subject like a dead horse……………………….but once again, the more the merrier……………..so bring one dog, bring 10 dogs…………………….hey, I just put together the largest group of dogs at any show by one breeder, more than 28…………….at the up and coming WPB Fl shows on June 6 & &, so how in tarnation can I poo poo someone else for bringing a whole cast of their dogs?

 

No way, no how.

 

As Kimbo Slice said immediately after being knocked out in 15 seconds of the first round of his debut,  nationally televised MMA contest…………… “It’s all a good thing!”………………Well actually Mr. Kimbo*, in your case it was lights out for your MMA career.

 

*Of course now I take my life in my own hands by just writing about this since the 'real nice guy' Kimbo Slice lives somewhere down here in my neck of the woods!

 

So, I digressed a moment for a good foot-in-mouth moment………………………….a foot-in-mouth moment is similar to a Kodak Moment………………..the only difference is one tends to really hurt and the other one is only caught in a photo.

 

But again to the ‘talking behind the scenes’ subject………….I remember very vividly like if it was yesterday………..if fact it was yesterday that folk were being busy body queen bees buzzing behind turned backs, jabbering away about Chambray (really me) bringing so many dogs to the shows!

 

So, now I share the stage with someone else………………..in both bringing an entourage of dogs and also being the tail end of the scuttlebutts.

 

Welcome.

May 24th

They Are Out There

 

Just when you think no one is looking, listening or caring…………..actually reading and following along with my ways of thinking and manners of expression, I accidently open up a Pandora’s Box with a subject and out of that ajar square enclosure crawl out the banshees thirsting for blood!

 

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Speaks volumes that I am not preaching to a sleeping choir! Yes, yes, come one, come all……………let your voices be heard!

 

Speaking to the wind may leave one breathless, but it will also leave one empty handed as the wind provides no feedback that would lead the speaker to know that anything and nothing said will make a difference…………………………writing a blog that no one reads is like speaking to the wind. Expressing a thought or an opinion that others react to is what fuels anyone that writes……….. to write some more!

 

Those whose dogs have won a Best In Specialty Show……………BISS should be proud as peacocks, because the day one of my bred-by dogs comes home with that award, I will strut whatever is left in me until there is no tomorrow…………just as I have with the 2 BISs and each and every single award, title and designation that any and all of my dogs have accomplished through my decades of showing.

 

Someone wrote in asking where a BISS would place in my lineup of awards, since a recent blog detailed the Top 6, in order. Of course I haven’t had the experience yet and that euphoric moment may sway my emotions in a different way than sitting here and thinking rationally………………..but if I have to offer and answer right now………………….still in first place would be the 2 year’s of Top USA Champion Labradors breeder (2012 and again in 2014)…………….still tied for 2nd place would be the 46 home-bred champions and the 2 Best In Show at all-breed dog shows and then the BISS would enter in right behind the 2 Best In Show wins.

 

Another person wanted to know why Chambray didn’t have a BISS win to our credit yet. We have only frequented 7 Labrador Specialties in all the years we have been showing. Came close twice with a 1st Judges Award of Merit at Specialty Show in 2001 with the South Florida Labrador Retriever Inaugural Specialty judged by Labrador breeder/judge John Crooke of Balrion Labradors…………….he did indicate afterwards that it was between the bitch that won BISS and our bitch that he awarded the #1 JAMSS. The most recent close encounter of the 2nd kind came this past December at the LRC Specialty held in Orlando with Gene Leipman, breeder/judge from Triple L Labradors giving one of our males the 1st JAMSS to the eventual male that won the BISS. He also indicated that it was a tossup and the flip went the other way.

 

Close, but no banana, so we try harder and maybe frequent more specialties in the future.

May 22nd 

The Fast & The Furious

 

Whoa Nelly!……………………let’s not practice scorched earth policy on humans here………………humans like me……………………I didn’t say that a BISS show win was not prestigious……………………hey, I would love to add that one missing feather to my lifelong career wins and achievements as a Labrador breeder………………..came close a couple of times, but was left at the altar………………..but the ‘horizontally endowed woman has not sang her swan song yet and as the late great, still living, vertically challenged Yogi Berra once blurted out ‘it ain’t over til it’s over’.

 

The question that was being begged to be answered needed a real answer and I offered up the most logical real answer there is…………………….a Labrador winning a Best In Show at an all-breed show is so rare that blue moons bluish red…………………………….. Lemmings jump out of the sea and head for the hills……………….bears can barely bear it and then bare it all………………………someone finds the key to a land-locked lake and opens it up……………………….hey I can go on inventing sayings but you get the direction that I am taking this vehicle!

 

It’s much, much more difficult to win a BIS show, by far and wide than a BISS………………………so, weighing the two against the burden of proof…………………..BIS outweighs BISS in poundage……………….like I can pound that fact till there’s frost in purgatory……………………but fret not, either or both make for major bragging rights any day of the week……………………….proof positive, stay tuned to this channel, because sooner or later before my time is up, I will be boasting and a bragging big, big time when a Chambray dog finally comes home with the bacon labeled BISS!

May 22nd

BIS, BISS What's Your Pleasure?

 

“Could you please shed some light on this subject, which is more prestigious a BIS - Best In Show win at an All-Breed dog show or a BISS - Best In Specialty Show win at a dog show for Labradors only? My friends and I have been tossing this around for quite some time and we get different answers from different people we ask, so we thought we would get a definitive answer from the Labrador guru….you!”

 

Both will be extremely prestigious for the dog winning the award and also for the breeder and yes the owner, handlers and whomever else had a hand in the accomplishment……………….seems that everyone and their neighbor will get on the ‘thanks to me’ bandwagon…………….and there's nothing sinister about that, so the more merrier people we have the merrier we will all be.

 

Now, in reality……………..think about it……………….at a specialty show, no matter how many entries there are……………………there will be 1 Labrador that will end up winning that BISS. It could be a small entry specialty, with less than 100 dogs competing and one of those dogs will be handed the BISS ribbon and then be able proudly wear the BISS as part of its champion’s title and all because 1 judge, the judge for the day liked that particular dog the best of the lineup that showed up at the show.

 

Now, there are specialties shows where over a 1000 Labradors will converge at the venue and then there will still be only one dog from that tremendous roster that will be crowned BISS.

 

So, there you have 2 scenarios…………….one that would seemingly carry humongous weight because of the sheer numbers of dogs competing and a lesser significant setting where the same BISS award would have diminishing value returns since the number of dogs defeated were much less.

 

Either way, each and every breeder, exhibitor, owner and handler attending a specialty has a reasonable expectation that their dog could win that BISS rosette and title. So, if we have 100 specialty shows in 1 year, there will be 100 BISS winners that year………..that’s guaranteed unless a meteor falls in the vicinity and the show gets canceled.

 

Let’s look at the scenario of a Labrador winning a BIS at an all-breed dog show. This is going to be really simple…………………………………..it only happens once in 3000 all-breed shows!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Some years, there isn’t one single Labrador that will end up winning a BIS……………………all year at all the shows throughout the glorious 50 states!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not one Labrador able to boast a BIS rosette or title to their name!

 

Heck, I have written countless articles and blogs detailing how difficult it is for a Labrador to win a Group Placement……………..any group placement, let alone the Group 1 win needed to be allowed to venture into the Best In Show competition!

 

In all the years that Chambray has been competing at all-breed dog shows………………………we hold the Florida record for number of times that one of our dogs won a Group 1 and was able to stand tall in the Best In Show competition……………………….a measly 13 times one of our dogs was in contention for that BIS rosette………………………in all the years we have been plugging along winning more Best Of Breeds than any other Labrador breeder and so difficult it is to even get to compete for Best In Show, that only 13 times have our dogs accomplished that!

 

AND………………………………………..only 2 times……………………dos…………deux………..zwei………..dvah……….dois………………it doesn’t matter what language you speak, it still translates to a smidgeon of a number 2………………………..2 Best In Shows in all the years and shows we have been to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s twice as many as the next top breeder in our sunny state.

 

So, armed with the above information…………………..what do you think?

May 23rd

A Day At Chambray

 

Manning The Fort At Chambray Acres

 

The day starts bright and early at Chambray with my usual ‘walk around’ to see that all went well throughout the previous night and early morning.

 

Each dog that is our ‘guest’ is inspected way before the hired help arrives……………those being the interns, assistants and/or apprentices…………………… or awakens in the case of the Herzons, besides me……………………Johanna my wife, Jessie my daughter or Ryan my son………that ply their trade here with the ‘family-run dog business’.

 

Taking care of the dogs is paramount and no other business is transacted until the usual cleanup of pens, crates, exercise yards and other areas where the dogs sleep, dwell and play. Before the opening bell for appointments, the first ones of the day usually scheduled at 10 AM, all dogs will have been watered and exercised and put up in their designated ‘day’s place’. This could be the large sheltered runs, the indoor A/C pens or the crating area under roof…………..all depending on the needs of the individual dog that is here for training, conditioning, rehab or just plain visiting for the day/week.

 

Throughout the day, all dogs are each let out into the large exercise and play yards. Some of those designated dog areas ranging in size from several thousand square feet of running space to the smaller, more contained yards with 900 square feet each. All yard have deep shade with trees and also canvas and tarp covers, plus dog igloos for the dogs to seek shelter from the occasional rain and the usual sunshine that South Florida is known for.

 

For those dogs that get along and don’t play too rough, overlapping of play time is a bonus as they can have extended play time if they behave and play nice with one another.

 

Once 10 AM hits the hour, the first of several appointments for the day will usually be part of my job description. I state that because the other members of our working staff may be training or conditioning dogs or doing the required paper work inside the office or general maintenance or other dog related duties that go on throughout the day.

 

Appointments cover a wide range of subject matter. The all-important Puppy Placement Interview takes place exactly the same way each and every time someone comes out for me to get to know them and to be under consideration for the placement of one of our puppies.

 

For more years than I can remember, the Interview consists of sitting outside under the 40 year old orchid tree………………I know exactly how old it is, I planted it there as a small sprig back in 1975 as I was building the home that I have lived in for 4 decades, right here on these 5 acres that I bought back 43 years ago.

 

All the Puppy Interview Appointments go pretty much the same way………………I ask a bunch of questions that allows me to make a decision if one of our puppies will be a fit with the folk that have come out to be known.

 

The majority of those visitors will eventually end up with the very limited number of puppies that are produced yearly by our very unique and special ‘best of the best to produce the next best generation of puppies’………………a mouthful to say the least…………..but truer words could not describe our mission for the Betterment of the Breed.

 

Besides asking questions, I also educate……………dispense information about the breed, about dog ownership, about being responsible dog owners, about training and the commitment it takes to have a dog in today’s very demanding society with laws and rules galore!

I state…….’some will eventually will end up with one of our puppies’, because by the time that I have invited them out to Chambray Acres, there will have been several email exchanges were some folk are filtered out for various reasons as candidates for dog ownership and in particular, owning a Chambray puppy.

 

Financial and economic reasons will exclude some folk that contact us for a puppy………………..those searching for a $500 pet will certainly find our quality of dog beyond their immediate budget.

 

Those others seeking ‘breeding stock’ for mass producing of puppies are also eliminated from our consideration process. So, are those that don’t have the right environment, be it physical short comings, such as not having the proper space or lack of containment system for the dog or those that seem to have way too much on their plate with rowdy children or other considerations that would make the placement of one of our puppies………..not a good choice!

 

Whatever the ‘good feeling’ or the ‘hang-up’ I feel……………….will determine ‘yeah or nay’ for the ownership of a Chambray puppy.

 

No sooner have I wrapped up another Interview that another appointment pulls up to the front fencing of our property………………..this may be an AKT………………..short for At Kennel Training……………..it could be a Chambray owner that has a show dog and pays nothing for the next hour of ‘whatever is needed’ for their dog, be it learning to train their dog, learning to physically condition their dog, or just to talk shop……………anything and everything for the betterment of their dog.

 

Or, it could be an ‘outside client’…………….a paying client coming over to have one of the trainers work their dog, condition their dog or do rehab work with their dog…………………it could be any breed of dog, not just Labradors.

It could also be a female brought in for breeding or a male that needs collecting for stud service………..par for the course as all the preceding are ongoing 24/7……………….year round!

 

The usual 8 AM to 5 PM work winds down at around that time…………..however, three nights a week we conduct night training classes for groups of dogs and their owners. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, weather permitting we have held training classes since 1990! That’s 25 years’ worth of night training classes………………over a thousand of those night sessions, with at least 20,000 dogs attending.

 

Did I mentioned that this was a 24/7 dog-related operation?

 

Now to all that activity, let’s add somewhere between 30 to 40 weekends of dog shows that we travel to, most of those right here in the sunny state, and several yearly excursions to neighboring states such as Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and the Carolinas too.

 

In between all that time and energy at Chambray Acres and at the dog shows………………..there is all the mentoring to dozens at a time, with hundreds if not over a thousand that have benefited from my open door, sharing of knowledge policies for the Betterment of the Breed. In person, up close encounters and also all those that find solace and information at the various website that I am the webmaster to.

 

Then of course, there’s the Blogging Off section of the website that draws the biggest audience of all. I can’t tell how many thousands have been following my offerings at the blog site…………..daily figures amount to several hundred visitors that peruse through my take on anything/everything Labrador related.

 

Last but not least is the tending of the emails that come from all over the world……………….that I do on my down time, my spare time, my time to reflect on the day’s happenings……………..whenever a moment of non-action comes up, emails are read and answered if needed.

 

Late, late at night, sometimes in the wee hours of the AM, it’s planning for the next day’s series of events.

May 22th 

More On Numbers

 

Numbers, Numbers and More Numbers

 

Daily, I receive emails asking about our records set and winning streaks. Most of the time,

I will direct the inquirer to a special page at the www.chambraylabradors.net site where I

keep track of those very dear to me achievements, accomplishments, awards and special

accolades.

 

Numbers define us, in competition they serve to differentiate between those consistently on top and those yearning to be winners.

We are a world of numbers and statistics……………………everything we do is defined by those parameters.

 

There are odds and chances to every single choice we make and every event we participate in. Over a period of time, percentages find their level and settle at that mark, maybe rising or falling a bit off the expected target, but assuredly there is a number that the ‘times out of 100’ will settle at.

 

Numbers then are used to define us, our tasks, our successes, whether we win or lose…………………those numbers identify who is on top, who is rising, who is lackluster and who is a perennial underachiever. In short, who the winners are and who the losers are.

 

Although there are folk that say they don’t care about numbers, statistics, records, benchmarks and winning streaks……………………..they are the very ones that will celebrate with mass hysteria if per chance they equal or best one of those same numbers/records that they poo poo when they are not in the winning mode.

 

The majority of people that compete in any endeavor, use numbers and records to aspire to………………….they set their sights on those numbers and make them the goal to best. Being #1 in a sport or fancy is the absolute mission for any competitor. An individual or team would not exist for long in any competition if they were not out to win. In fact, there are coaches that have winning records and are fired because they didn’t win enough!

 

At Chambray, I keep track of each and every record, benchmark and streak that we set………………..more to inspire us to work harder and do better to best those records that we have achieved………………………..because I firmly believe that no matter how great an achievement is, something can be done to make it even better.

 

Yes, I boast and brag about our record-setting ways………………..the old braggadocio label comes to mind…………………..but that is an emotion, a luxury that is reserved for those that are at the top, those that have achieved those records, those statistics, those benchmarks, those streaks that others can only dream about and imagine doing.

 

 

Being the #1 Labrador Retriever champion breeder in the country is a goal that every competitive show breeder dreams about………………..dreams about because it is such an elite designation……………….think about it, only 1 breeder per year in the entire USA can lay claim to that title……………………..there have only been a select few as there have only been a small quantity of years, less than 80 years of official AKC dog shows and of keeping records………………..so less than 80 have had the distinction of wearing that crown………………as people age and pass on, there may not be too many still alive now in 2015 that can get together and celebrate the feat………………………..so yes, I am very proud to be part of the super elite group, being Top Labrador champion breeder…………. twice in fact, 2012 and last year, 2014!

 

That is a record that 51% of those breeding Labradors envision…………………………the other 49% know it is beyond them………………..ever, so they insist that numbers don’t mean a thing……………..much like our society where some work at it and some live off the ones that work at it.

 

There are many other numbers/records that I get to thump my chest about………………..and I do! I know for sure that if anyone else ever reaches those numbers or best those records that they will party like there is no tomorrow……………..of course they won’t admit to it unless, if they ever get there.

 

I get asked a lot about which accomplishments rank the highest for me with our Labradors. Of course the prior mentioned #1 USA Champion Labrador Breeder gets the official top bragging rights from me.

 

There is a two-way tie for 2nd place in my heart and mind for which achievement comes next:

  1. Having bred the most champions from the state of Florida, ever…………………46 of those……………….probably twice as many as whomever is in 2nd place. I know that I will never see any Florida breeder best this ongoing record as there will be many more added to that number before it is all said and done……………..even if I am not around to see it!

  2. Having bred the most Best In Show winners in Florida (2), again twice as many as the next breeder.

 

10 Years ago, the AKC instituted the Bred-By Exhibitor championed dog title. A dog would need to earn all of its championship points solely from competing and winning from the Bred-By Exhibitor Class. In order to compete in that show class, the breeder has to be the owner and has to be the handler as well. To commemorate the specialness of a breeder/owner/handler taking a dog to their AKC champion’s title, a special medallion, the Silver Bred-By Exhibitors Medallion is awarded when a breeder/owner/handler finishes 5 dogs from that special class…………….5 Bred-By Exhibitor champions. We are the first and only Labrador Breeders from Florida to achieve that prestigious accomplishment. Since then, we have added 3 more Bred-By Exhibitors to the 5 and now only need 2 more to be awarded the Gold Bred-By Exhibitor Medallion. There are still no other Florida Labrador breeders that have reached the Silver Medal of 5 Bred-By champions.   

 

Next up: The Eukanuba National Championships, up until 3 years ago, was a qualifying event. This meant that only the Top 25 ranked dogs for the year would receive and invitation to compete, also the #1 dog from countries from all over the world. Also, dogs that had won a Best In Show, dogs that were championed from the prestigious Bred-By Exhibitor Class also would receive that highly regarded invitation to be among the other elite dogs that qualified for that year. The last 2 years that the qualifying system was in place, we set a record for the most qualifying Labradors from 1 breeder with 5 different Chambray dogs getting that special invitation…………………….the last year of qualifying and receiving the special letter in the mail, Chambray upped the number to 7 Chambray dogs that were invited to compete, the most qualifiers ever from the same breeder. That is a record that will stand forever, as now any dog can be entered and compete at the Eukanuba. So, the 7 Eukanuba Qualifiers is a very special record as it is a national, USA record and for this event, it may never be bested.

 

Winning a Best Of Breed……………..Winners Dog and Winners Bitch……………………all 3 at one show, all from the same breeder is a rare as rare can get feat! Not many breeders have ever savored the exquisite accomplishment in a lifetime of showing. If and when a breeder scores that perfect Trifecta of BOB, WD and WB, massive, emotional waves of euphoria overwhelm them having won every single award that is pointed either towards championship points (WD/WB) or for national ranking (BOB). Since 1993, our Chambray dogs have combined for an earthshattering 55 Trifectas……………………..55 shows where BOB, WD and WB were all Chambray bred dogs. There have also been instances where Trifectas were won with dogs owned/managed by Chambray but not bred by Chambrays and we don’t count those as part of the current record of 55. As super impressive as 55 Career Trifectas is, scoring 8 of them in 1 year is also a record for the ages, so both accomplishments rank even-steven for me in terms of endearment.

 

Probably the most asked about number, record or streak, the one that gets mentioned the most at the dog shows is the current 108 consecutive dog show winning weekends! Putting this accomplishments in perspective…………………………..any other breeder would brag until the cows would come home and vacuum the carpet, if and when they had 3 straight weekends with wins. Here we are forging ahead, into our 4th year, since January 2012, all of 2013, 2014 and now just finishing up the month of May 2015 with winning at every weekend of shows in that huge expanse of time. Yeah, another major bragging rights worth of accomplishments.

 

There are more records that we are very proud of and these I keep up with at the Number’s Page. I know for a fact that most folk keep up with these records and numbers because that page is one of the most visited pages from both of the Chambray websites…………………only the Puppy Page receives more visitors.

May 22nd

Let's Celebrate Good Times

 

The largest Labrador Retriever entry by one breeder at a Florida dog show……….maybe even the rest of the USA…………………..ever!

 

That’s exactly what we have in store for the Boca Raton dog shows, come June 6th and 7th!

 

That’s totally insane!

 

A true “WHAT?” moment if there ever was one!

 

What was I thinking?

 

Team Chambray………….our Dog Show Management group will account for………….count them…………………29 Chambray dogs, 11 class males and 14 class females, 4 champions…………………..plus there will more than likely be several more dogs handled by others that came from Chambray………………………..the total could be 30+.

 

At some shows a total of 30 Labradors from all breeders would be a bonanza entry for the club hosting the event. A couple of weekends ago, up in Perry GA, the total number of Labradors competing was less than 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Here we have the audacity to field 3 times as many of our own dogs, when up in a neighboring state fielded only 10 Labradors.

 

Guess what? All 30+ are worthy of making it to the big top..............the three ring circus known as the AKC shows, where only the best of the best come to be judged. Each and every Chambray dog that will be showcased at these 2 shows in Boca Raton are all contenders for the Winners Points and also for the Best Of Breeds each day.

 

Each and every dog that will be there under our auspices is an exemplary example of the breed as called for by the official Labrador Retriever Breed Standard……………………plus each has my blessing and seal of approval as having the conformation that Chambray’s Betterment of the Breed credo campaigns for.

 

WOW, what a moment it will be with the opening bell for the day’s endeavor! What an electrifying feeling it will be to have that many owners, all under one roof with one thing in common………….a Chambray dog………………………..add to that the love and passion that all those that partake in all the owner-related activities that Chambray provides…………………………and just like that we will have a celebration with no equal.

 

There is so much to celebrate and collectively be thankful about………………..past…………………….. present and future.

 

We have 1, 2 and 3 generations of dogs produced by the most influential Labrador ever from Florida, BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff 'Hogan', who recently passed and assuredly has been missed by all that knew him. Yet, his kids, grandkids and great grandkids will be there carrying his great legacy forward. His grandson, newly crowned Bronze Grand Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter, 2014 USA #10 Labrador……………….Judges Award of Merit at Specialty Show…………………Judges Award of Merit 2014 Eukanuba………………….Purina Breeder’s Showcase Best Adult Labrador……………just coming off a spectacular BOB and Group 2 win at last weekend’s show will be one of 5 Chambray champions that will vie for the Best Of Breed awards. A 2nd grandson, Ch Chambrays Stellar Thunder ‘Rico’ and a great grandson, newly crowned Gr Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck ‘Bob’ will be among the elite dogs competing for the BOB award.

 

We will have offspring from the top show producer in Florida today, Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle Of Jericho……………including his son, Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting (also a Hogan grandson), currently the USA #6 Labrador All-Breed, the USA #10 Breed and the USA #7 Grand Champion………#1 in Florida in all 3 categories will also join the Best Of Breed competition.

 

Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos will also be one of the 5 Chambray champions that will stand tall in the Best Of Breed competition.

 

We expect a packed house, not only with the current dogs and their owners…………………..with dozens and dozens of invitees of Chambray yesteryear owners, there will also be those with dogs that are not showing but contribute to the breeding program…………….those that come to the training classes, not to mention dozens and dozens of owners with dogs from other kennels that use our varied services, including the Stud Dog Program and also the breeding program.

 

Hey, it’s a little over two weeks away, I am feeling the goose bumps already!

 

May 21st

Freedom Of Choice Means..............
Choose Not To Deal With Those That Don't Give A Dang

 

 

The kingpins of Internet savvy, those that profess to know all about the things that I profess to know nothing about……………………..say that for every email that a blogger receives on any subject, there are 100 more that had the same question or thought but were afraid to email in and subsequently didn’t!

 

Well, if those numbers are a reality, then the blog about ‘having a choice on breeding whatever’, had 17 emails commending my stance on ‘not every person should be a breeder’ vs. one reply that said ‘we live in America and are free to choose to do whatever we want to do’.

 

Now, if you multiple 17 by 100, that comes out to 1700 folk that stand behind my idea of breeding strictly by the dictums of the Labrador breed standard……………..that my friends is an impressive number and I say hurray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

But here is the real scary part………..if those ITT know-it-alls are right and those ratios are true blue, then that 1 dissenting email represents 100 other folk that agree that breeding should have no boundaries and that anyone can breed whatever they conjure and brew up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

That one is 99 too many! That then is why we are in such a sad state of affairs with the Heinz 57 Varieties of different looking Labradors! With the still high percentage of joint problems, with a pervasive temperament problem mainly seen from the mass producers and pet shop dogs.

 

Give people a choice and some will eat grass from the ground instead of the salad on the table!

 

I really hate to be so cynical, but reality is what it is and no matter how nice you decorate a bathroom, sooner or later there will be a strong odor emitting from it.

 

There are way too many reasons that people will get into breeding dogs……………….unfortunately, the idea of making money, turning a hobby into a lucrative cash cow seems to be pervasive with many that leap head first into the fray without any prior knowledge, experience, expertise…………………….clueless to be more precise.

 

More unfortunately is those that obtain their pets from these fly by nights, Johnny come lately, here today and nowhere to be found tomorrow ‘breeders’, will pay huge consequences over the years with poor health and temperament problems!

 

Over and over I preach…………………educate yourself………………do research……………..Google that person, that breeder………….ask for credentials………………look for long-established, well-rooted in the community types…………………those in the business with the most years are there because they have what it takes, those that are in a relatively short time have the greatest odds of not being around sooner than later.

 

 

You can only lead a horse to water and we all know what happens when we get there……………………..worst yet, some horses will actually pee in the water!

May 21st

It's Termite Season, They Are Coming Out Of The Woodwork

 

The floodgates of breeding purgatory must have just been pressed open……………………..another aimless visitor to Chambray Acres…………….this one an unannounced drive up to the front gate…………..mine are kept closed and locked!

 

In fact, I am now in the process of having signage made that will clearly state…NO APPOINTMENT-NO SERVICE!

Back to today’s melodrama.

 

As a scheduled working appointment exists the front gate and walks towards her SUV, another SUV pulls up in the driveway in front of the gate and starts talking to the just-finished appointment.

 

Seeing the exchange, I mosey over to the gate and the Chambray owner points towards me as says “That’s Mr. Chambray there”………………….gee whiz, thanks!

 

Out from the driver’s side of the vehicle steps a rather tall young man, maybe in his late 30’s and tells me he has a female he wants to breed.

 

“Do you have a pedigree on her and have you done her clearances yet?” was my reply, as usual to anyone with the same question.

 

"No, I don’t have either, but I have her in the back of the SUV if you would like to take a look at her” came back the retort.

 

“Ok, since you are here, take her out and I will give her the once over, however I only conduct business through scheduled appointments” I more or less let him know for future reference.

 

Upon the dog jumping out of the back of the SUV, I see that she can’t be over a year old and besides she is as far away from breeding quality as a mixed breed would have been.

 

“There’s a long way to go before you could even begin to consider her for breeding”, I began my usual dissertation-like sermon.

 

“There are a series of DNA tests that you could be doing on her before she turns 2 years old and then after she is 2 years old, you would need to have her hips and elbows x-rayed and sent to OFA for certification” I rambled on like one of those sight-seeing tour guides does with without missing a beat!

 

“Of course before investing in all that expense on her you need to know that she is not a great example of what the Breed Standard dictates to be and that many stud dog owners will opt out from breeding their dogs to her!” I give the coup de grace and figure that he gets the drift that I would not allow any of my stud dogs to breed to her as well.

 

Unfazed by anything that I had just dissertated about, he announces that “She isn’t a year old yet, but she is now with her first heat and I want to breed her today!”

 

“Whoa Nelly” in the recesses of my mind I can plainly hear legendary sports announcer Keith Jackson belt out.

Without giving me a chance to get a word in edgewise, he continues “I have $200 cash right here in my pocket that I will give you to use one of your champion dogs.”

 

Whoa Nelly indeed because ‘educating’ seems like a very long stretch of the imagination here, there has to be a semblance of ‘thought’…………………….in farming, ‘soil’ to plant a seed………………………..in this case the layers of soil seemed to be very thin and no amount of deliverance of facts was going to enlightened the immediate path here.

 

“First of all, you will need 5 times more of that cash to breed to one of the stud dogs that I manage, but more importantly, you will need a dog that exemplifies the breed and has had all the clearances, including hips/elbows done after it is 2 years old”………………..I was prepared to deliver more goods, but just as quick as he pulled into my driveway, let the dog out……………….he jiffy quick snapped the dog up, helped it into the back of the SUV, hopped back behind the wheel, backed up unto the street and was on his merry way to find some other male dog owner to give his $200 cash to. 

May 21st

The Interview Process & Inclusion

The Interview Process

 

Hundreds, if not thousands have gone through it in the last 45 years. Those that own a Chambray puppy, those whose dogs have participated in one or all of our Labrador Retriever-related services of training, conditioning, rehab, breeding, stud service and/or show management went through it and obviously had the credentials to come on board with us for the Betterment of the Breed.

 

There were those that did not have the same visions for the breed that more than likely, mutually came to the conclusion that they were not a good fit for our offerings and went elsewhere.

 

So, just what is the Interview Process and what purpose does it serve?

 

The old wives’ tale of driving way out into the countryside, to a place where dogs are bred and puppies abound all year round……………………or driving to the local strip mall, to the pet shop with the cute puppies and kittens in the front picture glass display window……………………………..those ways of obtaining a new member of the family is as passé as the word ‘groovy’ is to several generation removed from the now ‘oldsters’ that once used that phrase to mean everything great!

 

So, it’s not ‘groovy’ to use a pet store or a pet mass producer to enhance your family’s numbers. Nope, not the way to go in 2015.

The way in South Florida, Florida and actually any state where the prospective new owners are willing and able to…………..as Bob Barker of the Price Is Right, would exclaim, “Come on down!”.

 

Yep, come on down to Chambray Acres and meet up with me. The one and only me, the same me that has been involved with Labradors since 1970…………since 1973 right here at the same 5 acres west of Miami FL……………………way out in the farming area, right next the Everglades.

 

But wait, isn’t that what people conjure about obtaining a puppy………….driving way out somewhere to where puppies are bred and then driving back home that same day with a bundle of fur that is now a new member of their family?

 

Well, yes and no! Yes we are way out away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but the process after driving out to Chambray changes radically.

 

In fact, way before making the trek to where we are from where ever it is that someone that contacts us will come from…………………..there is plentiful of two-way exchanging of information.

 

The initial contact comes from those searching for information about the availability of puppies, or training for their already obtained dog or even wanting to know how to go about breeding their existing dog. Because of time constraints and other ‘life situations’ 99% of those contacting us do so via email, in fact we make that a requirement (see Chambray Phone Use Protocol). click hyperlink for more information.

 

So, there is exchanging of emails to filter out those that for whatever reason will not fit our criteria’s of inclusion. Then, that’s where the ‘Live’ Interview Process becomes necessary for us to get to know each other on a much better level.

 

Most of those interested in learning more, will set up an appointment to visit us with us at our home and place of conducting Labrador business, Chambray Labradors. There will be some that will meet up with us at a dog show near where they live and either way, we get to know each other and our mutual interests in this great breed of ours.

 

Since there is a very limited number of puppies produced each year and more importantly, since we only will consider a breeding if it will perpetuate the great qualities of the breed………………even more importantly, the top show qualities that we have been producing now for 9 generations, then and only then will a litter be produced…………………………..there are not enough puppies to go around with the hundreds/thousand or so that contact us each year looking for a puppy.

 

So, we entertain those folk that have done their due diligence in educating themselves on dog ownership………………..on the ways of Labradors………………………on the different sources producing and marketing puppies…………………………….and very specifically the vast difference on the Chambray way!

 

The all-important visit with me, gives me the facts so that I can decide where/who those few puppies, less than 80 per year will be living with in the future.

 

Using my 45 years with the breed, having trained/worked with well over 30,000 dogs, mostly Labradors in that huge expanse of time………………knowing my dogs and puppies inside out…………..I know for 100% what’s best for each of my charges, my puppies, those that I brought into the world…………..I know where they will fit best, where they will thrive and maybe even be contributors to the next generation for the Betterment of the Breed.

 

That’s what the Interview Process is all about.

More May 20th

 

“Everyone should be able to do their own thing when it comes to breeding their own dogs!”

 

ARRRGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

That’s exactly the reason that Labradors as a breed are in the pickled mess they are in!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No, no, no………………..no one should be able to breed unless:

 

  • they pass a written test about the Labrador Retriever Breed Standard

  • they attend Breed Standard seminars from at least 3 well-known top champion breeders

  • they are ringside mentored by at least 2 of those top champion breeders

  • the breeding stock they acquire comes from dogs that have had the proper clearances

 

Then and only then can they breed so that their puppies are accepted for registration. If they don’t have the proper credentials, then their litters will not be given the official seal of approval.

 

Wishful thinking comes in all colors and the rose-colored postulate above is just that…………..wishful thinking on my part, but I honestly believe in making ‘breeding’ a licensed privilege not the whimsical right that any Tom, Dick or Harry can get into at the spur of the moment.

 

For some bloke to tell me that people have the right to breed whatever they please smacks of moronity (just made up word).

 

Any moron can pen up a male dog with a female dog that’s in heat and presto, 60 days later there will be 10 or so more dogs in need of homes!

 

Guess what? That’s exactly what some blokes do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I know, I just interviewed a potential puppy owner (didn’t pass the litmus test) and that’s what he has done. Bought a male Lab from Craig’s List for $250 and then learned of a family that was moving out of town and needed a home for their female pet dog……………………………………………..within 2 months of the female being in his ‘care’ she came into season…………………….bred her with the Craig’s List dog and there you have it, 60 days later and an instant breeder is born and now he is looking to ‘grow’ the ‘business’.

 

A $250 investment turned into a $6000 windfall in less than 6 months (8 puppies sold for $6000). Very little expense as the puppies were turned over to the unsuspecting buyers at 7 weeks of age (state law requires them to be 8 weeks old), no shots (state law requires a set of shots, worming and vet health Certificate, plus microchip).

 

Guy figures he can have 10 litters a year and retire from his present job as a security guard, which makes half of what he figures he can make being a ‘breeder’!

 

So, heck no, everyone shouldn’t be allowed to breed indiscriminately just because they can lock up a male and a female and “watch them go at it”! 

May 20th

Movement & Fallacies & Raised Hackles

 

“You seem to base your entire breeding program on movement, shouldn’t other features of the breed come first?”

 

First of all your question is based on an erroneous assumption……..actually you are making a statement that is baseless since my breeding program is based on way more things that you or anyone else would comprehend even if I wrote a treatise on the subject.

 

However, I will shed some light on the movement subject just in case there are others out there that read my blogs, that compete against our dogs………………that may have the same notion about my steadfastness about breeding for the Betterment of the Breed using ‘movement’ as one of the guiding beacons that illuminate the road ahead.

 

For the few remaining ‘purist’ breeders left among us……………… ‘form follows function’ is like a verse from the bible or better yet, a missing commandment! ‘Missing’ because there are not many anymore that use the phrase or that even know the meaning. It has been lost in the shuffle of way too many people breeding dogs, Labradors in particular that have no clue what the breed is all about, let alone what it should do and actually look like.

 

Let me explain that old time-honored saying, ‘form follows function’ the traditional mantra that was the credo of yesteryear’s greatest Labrador breeders. The function of the dog, over generations of doing what it is intended to be doing, through selective breeding for that function, will eventually determine the look (form) of the dog.

 

The ponderous Labs that are being bred by so many now a days have no semblance for the function of the breed. Their form…………………… WHAT SOME ARE - humongous, ploddy, cumbersome, grossly overweight, out of shape………..WHAT THEY SHOULD BE - ‘Strongly built, medium-sized, sound, well-balanced………………..WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING - ‘to hunt game for long hours under difficult conditions’……………………….. those dogs that cannot get around the ring without breathing heavy after one go around are no longer fulfilling their intended purpose of working anywhere under any condition!

 

UNDERLINE BOLD TEXT - Straight from the Labrador Breed Standard

 

Understanding a wee bit about anatomy will go a long ways for anyone involved in animal husbandry. It is simple physics that structural faults, defects, anomalies and deviations from true compass heading, will create glitches in the dog’s movement. Those quirks of structure will show up, magnified many times over when the dog goes into work mode………………………….moving from point A to point B.

 

Labradors are a ‘movement’ breed. Their intended function is to work the field or the water in their job description of ‘retrieving’ that entails the dog to go from point next to the handler out to where the game has fallen and then bring it back in the most efficient mode possible (cover ground).

 

The term ‘cover ground’ doesn’t include the ground in front of a TV or on a couch………………………it means traveling distances over and over again doing an intended day’s work.

 

This past weekend at the Deland shows, several dogs had a problem keeping up on their first go around in the ring…………………….never mind the 2nd time around and on the 3rd request from the judge to move out…………………….those dogs were now ‘creeping’ around the nice smooth ground provided inside the nice A/C building after having been laying or sitting comfy in their crates for a couple of hours.

 

I heard one of the breeder/owners of one such dog complain that her dog was ‘too much dog’ for the judge! Well, the judge happens to be an avid sportsmen having bred sporting dogs for decades and having shot over those dogs just as many years. So, yes, it probably was way too much to see an out of shape, poor moving dog, tip toe through the tulips instead of moving out as the breed is intended to be doing!

 

I love inquiries, I love people that want to know more about the breed………………however when I get a ‘loaded’ question from a clueless observer or worst yet, someone actually breeding Labradors……………….the hackles on my back get the better of me.

May 18th

Wamazing Walter

 

Great opportunities come ‘aknockin’ as rare as snow falls in Miami…………………..been here 60 years and only happened once way back in 1977!

 

This weekend our newest Bronze Grand Champion Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter made it to the magic 100 points for that super of a duper title……………………winning a Best Of Breed, his 18th worth 4 Grand Champion points which added to his up to the moment 97 grand champion points…………..and there you have it, Chambray ups the ante to a state record 5 bronze grand champions.

 

That is a fortuitous situation, however it was what transpired next that led to the ‘great opportunity' mentioned in the first paragraph!

Walter has won 18 Best Of Breed, which now places him in sole possession of 3rd place on Chambray’s BOB All Time Winners, that’s behind the legend of his grandsire BIS BBE Ch Chambray’s Out Of The Ruff (20 BOBs) and a wee bit behind the all-time leader BIS BBE Silver Grand Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter (33 BOBs)……………………yet that 3rd place distinction is not the super opportune moment that I am teasing with!

 

After winning that benchmark Best Of Breed, Walter waltzes into the Sporting Group competition later in the afternoon and walks away with his 12th Group placement………………….a Group 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now that’s what led to the following sequence of events that I consider a ‘true blue moon’ of none-frequently-happening-occurrences.  

 

In previous attempts at ‘educatin’ those folk that follow this blog section, about the ways of Labradors, I made mention that Labradors that win a Best Of Breed are more than likely to come out empty handed from the next level of competition in the Sporting Groups……………..maybe ‘empty pawed’ fits better since our dogs don’t have hands……………………they come out with nothing from the groups 9 out of 10 times.

 

Yep, 10 trips to the sporting congregation and the sportiest breed of dog, comes out empty-pawed……. way, way more than not!

However, now here comes Wamazing Walter and the record books have to be revisited! He’s been slapping tradition around when it comes time for receiving Group Placements………………..he even has two Group 1’s to his credit, making him one of only 7 of our Labradors to ever reach the finals of the day at a dog show……….the Best In Show competition.

 

So, winning that next Group 2 is where the opportunity came ‘aknockin’………………….not just once, not twice, but three times I had the rarest of opportunities to elucidate upon the happen stance with 3 long, long-time handlers………….not just ordinary famous type handlers…………………..what I’m talking about are 3 old-time legends of the Labrador ring as handlers with one of them as still judging, another a longtimer retired from both professions and the 3rd a current handler.

 

All three at one point in time or another came to me to talk ‘shop’, more so about Walter and his BOB that led to the Group II.

Seems that all 3 and probably more folk have been conversating about Walter and his extraordinary ratio of Best Of Breed wins to Group wins! Simple mathematics between the BOB’s and the Group wins equals an astonishing 66%.................in baseball that would be batting 666, the greatest hitter in history! In Florida, that is the highest percentage in the last 55 years for a Labrador from the combined memory of the 3 gents that spoke to me………………… one of them, a superstar sporting breed handler of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s…………….long retired judge George Lemay (84 years young and crystal clear mind) and the other 2 well-known and respected handlers, one now a judge.

 

Yep, Walter indeed has stepped where no Labrador Retriever had been to before…….his numbers don’t lie, they actually speak volumes about his presence, not only in the Labrador ring, but more importantly as a legitimate competitor………………………….and winner in the sporting dog arena………………the place where the best of each breed meet up at the end of regular breed judging…………………..the presiding judge will bestow placements from 1st through 4th from that elite group of sporting breeds. For the vast majority of Labradors competing in the Groups, it’s the end of the day without a paycheck from the Groups.

 

The statistics for a Labrador receiving a Sporting Group Placement is 10%, once in ten times at bat will a Lab get a placement..................and yet Walter is 6 ½ times more likely to be bestowed a placement than any other Labrador in Florida ‘history’, if not ‘recollection’ from 3 well-established authorities and of course from a 4th that goes back almost as long as those 3 gents, me!

 

Way to go ‘Wamazing’ Walter……………………………….now newly crowned Bronze Grand Champion………………BBE Bronze Grand Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter.

May 19th

Head Tail Coat & Movement & Walter

 

Good Morning Sir,

 

I have been following your blog for over a year now, and always await new post, its like a treat to me.  I read the last one about Walter.  What makes him special that he gets the recognition?  From previous blogs I know that judges decision is basically a shot in the dark, we can’t really tell what they are looking for, all your labradors meet the breed standard, they are all trained the same way, they are conditioned by the owners and trainers, they are shown by professionals, so what makes "Wow Walter" stand out? Is it his personality?

 

I know this is a hard question to answer, but I am sure with all the owners whose dogs don’t always get points even though they are beautiful and trained and show in the ring, you get asked that a lot. Eve J.

 

 

Thank you for your feedback and your question about “why some dogs win and others don’t”, as it reflects a large portion of the emails I receive.

 

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” fits show dog judging as perfect as a great fitting glove!

 

You would think that with my 45 years with Labradors, my experiences, expertise, knowhow, training, conditioning, rehab work, handling and probably the most obvious credential after all these years, winning at the highest percentages of any Labrador breeder ever……………………..that I would have the answer for any and all that ask!

 

Truth be told……………….I don’t!

 

From my own lineup of dogs, there are those that are at the top of the charts in every which way and yet, the dog at the bottom of my list for chances of winning……………….wins over the dogs with the best odds of winning!

 

Same thing happens to other breeder/exhibitor’s dogs. At the most recent dog show weekend, another competitive breeder with multiple dogs showing, the dogs that won points were not the best from that breeder’s lineup as well!

 

Now here’s the common thread to the vast number of dogs that do win…………………..they adhere to the written blue print for the breed, they are what the Labrador Breed Standards calls for.

 

Since there isn’t a photo, diagram or physical depiction of a Labrador for judges to go by, they read the standard and then apply at their discretion what they comprehend from what they read to what they see in front of them.

 

A good percentage of judges, go by what seems to be winning……known as ‘consensus judging’. They select what they see other accredited, knowledgeable judges of the breed put up.

 

Some judges use the ‘odd man out’ method. From a group of dogs, the ones that don’t look as much as the others are culled out and not considered, thus leaving the majority that look similar and then they choose from there.

 

Some judges tend to see who is the handler on the dog, because they feel that if a top, well-known professional handler takes on a dog, then it must be a ‘good one’.

 

Some judges like a dog that stands perfectly still as a statue and looks awesome doing that.

 

Some judges base their decision on movement.

 

Some on the pure look of the head.

 

There are some judges that are swayed by the breeder……………usually a breeder that has had an impact on the breed and that carries the reputation of breeding great dogs.

 

Oh, the list of ‘why’s and therefore’s’ could cover the entire gambit of human nature, quirks and opinions.

 

The bottom line is, as long as the dog meets the breed standard, we are ok with the selection of the day.

 

What rattles me to no end is if there are multiple dogs that are extemporary of the standard and a dog with glaring ‘structural faults’………………defects and other breed inconsistencies is awarded a win over all those other dogs that were a much better candidate for the points.

 

This is why I mentor those around me that a breeder should never breed to the whims and foibles of day to day judging……………….instead a long range consensus should be formed from those dogs that seem to be placed by the majority of the judges they face and that finish their championships in a relatively short period of time. For Labradors, those finishing before they are 3-years old, would be a good indication of their value as seen by a large group of judges.  

 

As you can very well read and see, there is no real great answer to your question.

 

In particular…………….with Walter (BBE Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter), we have a great example of the breed in overall general looks.

 

Taking the more recognizable traits of the breed which traditionally call for:

 

1) Head – this is the first ‘hallmark’ of the breed. He is exactly what the standard calls for in head. Clean-cut head with broad back skull, with kind, friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament…………………………..yep, all that and more! When you look at Walter’s head he is what we want a Labrador to look like.

 

2) Coat – Short, straight, very dense………giving a fairly hard feel to the hand with an undercoat…………….Walter, yes, yes, yes, and yes!

 

3) Tail – perfect set, perfect carriage, perfect coverage. Perfect Walter!

 

MOVEMENT – as paramount as the preceding 3 entries are for Labrador Retrievers………………..movement is the telltale of structure! If there is an observable ‘glitch’ anywhere in movement, then there is a structural deviation, fault or worse, defect somewhere! If movement is perfect, then rest assured that structure is exactly what it should be……perfect…………………in the case of Walter……….PERFECT! No other dog that competes at the same venues moves better than Walter.

 

His wins come from the broadest spectrum of judges. Case in point, the 2014 LRC Labrador Retriever Specialty in Orlando Fl…………………………renown Labrador breeder judge, avid sportsmen Gene Leipman awards Walter a Judge’s Award of Merit at Specialty show………………next day at the 2014 Eukanuba National Championships, highly respected all-breed judge Houston Clark awards Walter the #1 Judge’s Award of Merit at Eukanuba.

 

Walter is the only Labrador we know of that creates a ‘movement’ when entering the Sporting Group competition………………….most of the other great moving breed handlers will ‘move’ several spots away from him because they don’t want to go head-to-head when all the dogs are moving around the ring. That is as great complement as there is for awesome movement!

May 108

Oooppps May 18, Winning Weekends Up To 108

 

“Well, the machine keeps it going another weekend” was the semi-congratulatory offering fessed up by one of our ‘friendly’ Labrador Retriever exhibitor/competitors.

 

‘Semi’ is the operative word in that sentence because the other part of the ‘meaning’ felt more like ‘I can’t wait until you guys don’t win a weekend’……………..of course that was the feeling I got and usually, I am real good at reading in between the lines or in this verbal case, listening to what ain’t being said!

 

In overwhelming fashion the streak is well and going strong as our newest Bronze Grand Champion sizzled both in the Breed competition and the in the Groups later in the day by grabbing the 2nd highest placement in the sporting ring, a Group 2 worth 140 All-Breed points, assuredly keeping Walter in the USA Canine Chronicle Top 20 All-Breed Labradors.

 

Our weekend winning streak has lots of folk buzzing. The rarity of the accomplishment is indeed worthy of notating and what adds huge amounts of fuel to the fire is where the winning is occurring………..the Florida Labrador ring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Nationwide considered to be the toughest Lab breed ring in the entire country to win anything, let alone 70% of the BOBs wins so far this year with Walter, Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting and Ch WinQuest Chambray Famous Amos, Gr Ch Chambrays Razor's Edge Thunderstruck (Bad Boy Bob) grabbing up those breeds in dominating fashion.

 

So, between the BOBs, the class males and class females have been rocking the house weekend in and weekend out since January of 2012………………….winning without missing a single dog show weekend.

 

Like the old Timex watch commercials of yesteryear the streak ‘keeps on ticking’ and the more recently Energizer Bunny ads, the streak keeps right on ‘running’ with the May 2015 Deland shows raising the bar to 108 consecutive winning weekends in a row…………………………..yep, I kind of like the ‘machine’ reference even if it was a semi-complement!

 

108…………………..Where no man has gone before……………….where no dog has gone before winning weekend is dedicated to Walter, BBE Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter for giving us the win at Saturday’s show and for posting those outrageous Best Of Breed wins to those Groups win!

May 15

A 3rd Alternative

 

‘Showing dogs’ can be a very rewarding activity to get into. There are so many levels of participations that allows anyone, neophyte or professional to have a hand or two into the sport, fancy or whatever else it can be labeled.

 

Yesterday’s blog was not meant to deter anyone from joining in with the festivities, on the contrary ‘new blood’ is needed just as in any other endeavor where the more the merrier is best.

 

Like in anything else in life, the more you know, the further advanced you will be and showing dogs is no different. You can’t waltz in and then take a bulldozer and have your way………………trust me, it has been tried many a times and the end game for those with that mentality is to run aground pretty darn quick!

 

There are ways and means and bucking the system always has the exact same result……………….wasted time, wasted energy and wasting money………………… but the biggest waste of all is the opportunities that may have come in the future.

 

With the recent case, showing totally untrained dogs, that have never had any conformation training…………..quadruple that erred way with the fact that the person that will be doing the deed in the ring has never, ever handled a dog……………………………………combines for a recipe for disaster!

 

Never mind that the dogs are conformational- average at best when compared to the dogs showing in Florida…………………….that then materializes into the Triple Threat of Calamities! Untrained dogs, untrained handler and lackluster dogs………………………that’s an off-the-track, wrecked train going nowhere as fast as stopped can go!

 

What can be done?

 

Well, there are folk that love showing their dog and yet, never ever set one of their feet in the ring. They may not even be the ones that train the dog……………………they let the professionals do all the hard work, while they provide all the love and support the dog needs to satisfy its quest to be the best of its breed in the show ring. Of course this method is the preferred way to go with the professional dog handlers.

 

Bring them the dogs and they will let you know if it is worthy of being shown, then let them apply their expertise in all matters related to achieving the goal of presenting the dog in the show ring. This includes the proper conditioning, the correct training for that dog and then the expert, professional presentation in the show ring. That is a recipe for success! In fact it is the most successful way of show dogs……………….with one exception in one state, in one breed ring!

 

There are other folk/owner/exhibitors that have been around a while and through time served have learned the ins and outs of the business and have decided that they have accumulated some of the knowhow to be able to condition their own dogs, train their own dogs and then handle their own dogs in the ring. There is a modicum* of success with this method.

 

*Modicum definition: particle, speck, fragment, scrap, crumb, grain, morsel,shred, dash, drop, pinch, soupçon, jot,      iota, whit, atom, smattering, scintilla, hint, suggestion, tinge;

 

It may not be the winningest way to go at the dog shows, but time and time again, the people involved in this alternative swear on stacks of bibles that they are having so much fun doing what they love to do…………show their own dogs! So, who is anyone to knock someone else when they are having so much fun?

 

There is a 3rd way of being involved in showing dogs……………………….it is very localized so before hundreds buy boarding passes for this train…………………it only happens in Florida and only in the Labrador Retriever ring……………..well, that’s the way it has been for decades until recently! I will expand upon the ‘recently’ further down on this blog!

 

For years, in fact over 3 decades now, Labrador Retriever owners in Florida have enjoyed a 3rd alternative for joining in with this very rewarding activity of showing dogs!

 

They could join in with the most successful show dog, Labrador owner’s community ever in existence.

But being part of a club or busy body group is not what this 3rd alternative is about………………..this is about the Betterment of the Breed through innovative methods of associations and contributions that payout major dividends for all those involved……………..way too numerous to delve into here, so only the gist of what’s different on the surface will suffice for now.

 

The Chambray Show Management Program encourages owners to be part of the show dog equation!!!!!!!!!! Yes, that’s the biggest and most obvious difference for those getting to know us.

 

Of course the opposite of the above is the “Getting the owner out of the equation” as religiously practiced by the old traditional way of doing things, the professional way…………………remember that’s the most successful way of doing things anywhere else but Florida and the Labrador ring!

 

Allowing owners to learn how to condition their dogs…………………how to train their dogs……………to be able to travel with their dogs to the dog shows………………to participate at the dog shows by caring for the dog while at the dog shows…………………this is the Chambray way of doing things, not to mention all the other things too numerous to mention in this blog/essay.

 

Did I mention that we are the most successful Labrador handlers in Florida? Opppsss, let’s not exclude the other 49 states……………………….the most successful Labrador breeder/handlers in the good old USA, is what it is!

 

Expanding on the “recently” statement………………………….since 1990, that’s the way it has been at the Florida Labrador ring, a 3rd alternative that pays off real big………………..like in being the #1 in all the country. So, what’s happened recently?

 

My 25-year old daughter Jessica has taken my premise of bringing in the owners and making them part of the equation…………………………and she has spread that very innovative method to other breeds and she is winning big time with those breeds and those owners that she is teaching how to condition, how to train, how to be more involved in the ins and outs with the dog and together they are kicking booty over at those other rings.

 

So, yes see you in the ring.

May 14th

See You In The Ring

 

The Interview appointment was right on time, something that I like very much. This wasn’t one of the usual Interviews for someone searching for a new puppy, this was an owner that has a couple of Labradors that she email me about as being from show stock and that several professional handlers and dog trainers ‘wanted’ to handle in the show ring.

 

As it turns out, both dogs have some potential because of their adherence to the breed standard, so a minor plus for them and the owner. They both however, need lots and lots of work! Both in conditioning and also in show training.

 

Whatever the owner had been doing with the dogs in both sectors, conditioning and show training was lacking to the extreme!

According to the owner, she worked both dogs out religiously every day, 3 and 4 times a day!

 

Delving a little more as to what these workouts entailed, she offered up that she “would let them out in the backyard for an hour at a time and that they would both come back in ah huffing and ah puffing!”

 

“What about your conformation training” I asked, already knowing full well what the answer would be.

 

“I take one of them or the other to the local high school where one of the teachers conducts socialization classes” she beamed and then she really went up several notches of pride-hood and proclaimed that both had earned their “Paws” at the Supermarket of Pets Manners and Obedience Training!

 

Ok! So, we have a 19-month old male and another male, an 11-month puppy/dog that the owner wants to get ‘into showing with'………………………not in any other state..........................here in Florida!

 

That last statement carries a real double whammy! First of all, ‘getting into showing’ sounds like a barrel of fun for anyone that has never gotten their feet wet before. Standing outside a ring and watching the goings on seems like Howdy Doody time……………………..fun and games and like the Cheer’s bar, everyone knows your name!

 

There are people running around the ring, while others are just standing around with their dogs, there’s a ‘judge’ that seems to be directing traffic and then some dogs get handed ribbons of different colors and then some people outside the ring seem to be very happy with whatever the judge has done inside the ring by giving some dogs better ribbons than others.

 

Where do you start with someone as naive and uninitiated as the lady sitting under my old orchid tree wanting the ‘get into showing’…………………….but wait, there’s more………………………………she wants to be the one showing the dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Had I known that part of the equation, I would have never set up the appointment so as to not waste a precious hour of mine. My idea was to see what worth these dogs had for the Betterment of the Breed and if by a long, long shot either of them had the salts to be considered in the Chambray master plan!

 

Well, upon the conformation evaluation, both dogs were indeed worthy as good representatives of the breed……………………….however neither-nor came anywhere nears the level that the dogs in Chambrays Show Management and Breeding Program were at…………………………so a major no-go to be invited to be part of the Betterment of the Breed we have going………..which also means that I would not be interested in the handling of either dog at the dog shows. Neither dog has a semblance of a chance to win at the nationally acclaimed ‘toughest’ state to win with a Labrador.

 

So, what would be left, would be the offering of our training facility for her to learn how to properly condition the dogs……………………..to learn how to train the dogs……………………….and maybe, just maybe if all the planets and stars would align in her favor, for her to learn to handle her own dogs!

 

Paul Bunyan and Babe would have had a super tall order facing them with the preceding and here was this rank novice with 2 totally show-untrained dogs, letting me know that she had already entered the dogs at a dog show coming up and she has going to handle them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

"I will be doing all their training" she firmly stated,

 

Thank goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Spared me from having to go through mountains and mountains that she would be facing.

 

Without a clue, she thanked me profusely for my time and bid me adieu with the following “See you in the ring!”

 

Yes, assuredly………….see you in the ring!

May 14th

Summer Is Almost Here, Let's Celebrate Our Good Fortunes

 

We’re Back!

 

Back to our own backyard that is, at the Boca Raton dog shows come June 6th & 7th.

 

The actual venue is the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Pam Beach off Southern Blvd and close to US 441.

 

We want all our top local area dogs to come out and participate, especially the boys. The boys because I am sending out invitations to any and all Labrador breeders within a 2-hour ride of the show site. So, showcasing our Stud Dog Force for the “ladies in waiting” would be a very wise, economically fortuitous point of compass to be at!

 

Of course for all the Girls of Chambray that will eventually be having puppies in the future……………..that also gives me a perfect showcase site for all the visitors that will descend from the massive mail out that I propagate and send to any and all that touch base with us in search for that perfect puppy!

 

Having as many of our Chambray owners present at these South Florida shows gives us the Perfect 10 of referral and recommendations………………….from each of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Word of mouth from the source cannot be bought at any price, so each of you becomes the perfect ambassador/representative for Chambrays Owner’s Programs.

 

All of the preceding is part of the business at hand and it is necessary to keep the train moving in the right direction………………….however nothing compares to the impact that having the largest turnout by dogs from the same breeder has at these local shows.

 

It creates a truly ‘WOW’ moment to have such a strong showing of the best Labradors in Florida if not the country………………….validated by our #1 Champion Breeders status last year, 2014 and also 2 years ago in 2012!

 

Right now, we are into the longest winning streak ever for any Labrador breeder in the USA! 107 Consecutive Winning Weekends Of Dog Shows!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If we are successful this coming weekend at the Deland shows, we will all meet up at the Boca Raton Dog Shows in the hunt for the 109th!

 

That would call for a massive celebration……………………so we will bring the champagne just in case……..actually either way as we all need to pat each other’s backs for being part of the most successful Labrador breeder and also winningest handling team in the country.

 

There may be other reasons to celebrate as several of our dogs are on the verge of their Champion’s title,  one nearing his Grand Champion’s title, and another of our boys close to his Bronze Grand Champion’s title………………in addition, there are a couple of our champions that are Top 20 ranked with one of them in the Top 6……………….so bubbly time from many different sources for many different reasons and for being part of Chambray’s Show Management Program for the Betterment of the Breed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

For those dogs that have been out of the loop, we have plenty of time to get some of these hibernating dogs up and at them……………..get them in shape and give them some more training so that they can join us all at this, as Ed Sullivan used to say “A really big show”!

 

Get back to me as soon as possible and let me know that you want to be part of the Beginning of Summer Celebration.

May 13th

Phones Are Ringing Off The Hook

 

Our Phone Use Protocol

 

There is only one person that answers any form of communication at Chambray Labradors.

 

That’s me, V. Sandy Herzon!

 

That’s the way it has been since our very beginnings and 45 years later, that’s the way it still is.

 

In the beginning…………live, person to person conversations and phone usage were the rule. There was no Internet, no email, no texting………………………snail mail (known back then as postal service), smoke signals, drums, phones and live talking was the way to go………it was what we had at the time!

 

Well, the caveman times are over and we now have zip, at the speed of light ways to make ourselves known.

 

There are phones and there is email! Way out here at Chambray Acres………way out at the outer edges of civilization……….as far west as can be traveled from Miami and still be in Miami, but right before stepping into Everglades National Park……………..literally less than a mile away………………..there is very poor cellular coverage. That’s because alligators don’t have a need for a cell phone, so no need for cell towers any further than we live! Poor or no cell coverage means no need for a cell phone for me either.

 

Ok, bundle that with the fact that I love to be outdoors all day with our dogs and those dogs that are stationed here for training, conditioning, rehab and whatever else is needed by our client’s dogs………….that adds up to no one being inside the house to answer the ‘land lines’.

 

Now, let’s add piles of gravy to the preceding and count the number of phone calls that come in daily………….more than 40!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Doing simple math that even a 5th Grader could figure out……………………..way too many calls to return by the little old wine maker………..me!

 

There isn’t enough time in a day to call back all those calls even if I hired someone just to man the phones, because it would still be me providing the information.

 

So, that has led to the following procedure to contact me and for me to answer anyone with any questions……………….EMAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Yes, Email is the way to go. I do it at my leisure, my spare time, when I come in for a drink of water, late, late at night when it is not proper to be calling sleeping folk back………………anytime and from any place I will read my email and answer the appropriate ones.

 

PLUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After 45 years with Labradors, having started with them at 20 years old……………doing simple math again, most would surmise that advancing age is ‘catching up’ to me………….actually ‘caught up’ would be the better descriptive. I just don’t seem to remember phone conversations from the morning to the afternoon………………the guys in the white coats have a name for that…………. ‘Short term memory loss’………………..that comes with the aging process and I am dealing with it!

 

So, if anyone really, really wants to communicate with me, do so with email so that everyone has a record of the communications including Johanna (wife) and Jessie (daughter) that routinely monitor all my emails and file them away under the author’s name in case we need to go back and see what I have email-discussed with anyone.

 

There are no exceptions to the above protocol for communicating with me…………be it a long, long time Chambray owner or someone searching for a puppy…………………even those wanting stud service for their females must use the email function to let us know what’s up.

 

Emails are picked up hourly and answered PDQ!

 

Any inconvenience felt by anyone about the lack of phone use is more than made up by the fact that their communication will be read and answered for sure!

 

Thank you all in advance for your cooperation.

 

V. Sandy Herzon

May 13th

Luck & Success

 

Being successful in the Labrador ring, more so in the Florida Labrador dog show ring……………..winning has nothing to do with luck………..there are no smoke and mirrors and no hocus pocus to achieve the desired goals……………………..it’s really a no brainer, no science rocket higher mentality needed to understand what needs to be done to come out ahead……………..nothing comes close to good old fashion hard work and that’s the Colonel’s secret ingredient to consistently be in the winner’s circle.

 

I make the preceding statements because weekly I receive inquiries on how we do it, how we can maintain a winning streak that spans years, not just weekends in a row, now the 107 weekends in a row have amounted to 3 whole years of winning every weekend, that’s the whole of 2012……………the whole of 2013…………………the whole of 2014 and now half of 2015!

 

It takes a whole lot more than luck to produce generation after generation at the top levels……………………we now have the 9th generation of superb show quality dogs and champions…………………..there are not many Labrador breeders in the entire country that has even bred 5 of their very own generations and here we are into our 9th…………..not just any 9th, but another knock’em out of the ball park generation of great puppies. Some of those will make their debut this summer at the Florida dog shows.

 

Taking those awesome puppies and dogs produced to the next level is our exclusive training and conditioning environment. There is nothing that compares to what we provide all those dogs in our show management program.

 

To begin with, the premise of including the dog’s owners into the equation of training and showing is totally against the grain with all the other professional handlers out there. Giving each owner a game plan and prescription to follow………….those things that they can do with their dogs that lessens what we will have to do with the dog, goes a super long way in our system of show dog management.

It frees us to include more dogs into the programs and that leads us to have the awesome luxury of picking and choosing which dogs are front runners and which dogs are in the developmental program.

 

Each and every aspect of our Show Management Program creates those sought after ‘winning edge’ assets that add up and create the successful program that just purrs along seamless and without interruptions.

 

Luck is always great to have as a fall back to good old fashion hard work. The more work we put into it, the more it seems that we are lucky…………………very nice situation to be in……………….a major win/win situation if there ever was one. 

May 11th

There Is Always A Home Back At Chambray

 

All puppies/dogs placed through our very special dog and Puppy Placement Program always have a home back at Chambray if for any unforeseen reason they need to be re-homed!

 

I just spent the morning with the current 5 dogs that are living here at Chambray as a result of them coming back home.

 

Alone in the last 12 months there have been 15 puppies/dogs that needed to come back to their original birth place if that was here at Chambray Acres or their 2nd home of they were born at my co-breeder’s place. The reasons for their returns vary as there are stars in the sky………..you name it and the unexpected comes up for the best intended new owner of a sweet puppy.

 

Marital discord accounts for many returned dogs……………….financial disaster for some means cutting back to the bare essentials, like feeding the family and paying the rent for a roof overhead………..illnesses in the family will mean a total change of routine and a new puppy or dog is usually not part of the new time-line equation……………………sudden deaths are also a major game changer for most……………………….relocations to parts unknown where dogs are not accepted has also caused many a dog to come back to the farm.

 

Since the first case of a returned dog going back to 1985 and the subsequent several hundred since………………………..add to that number another 157 rescued/rehomed dogs from other sources that we have been part of over 400 cases of taking in dogs.........................each and every one of them had Chambray Acres as part of their new-life process.

 

From the 11 show Labradors that were left for me to take in and re-home when one of our Chambray partner/owner suddenly passed away 4 years ago to the recent group of dogs from another one of our show owners that has fallen on financial hard times………………………to the 45 dogs that were rescued and re-homed following all those hurricanes that hit Florida 7 to 9 years ago.

 

I do my best to follow up on all dogs that I find homes for, the vast majority of the time, it’s the new owners that stay in touch through visits or with annual greeting cards or emails. Since I extend free training with each puppy/dog placed or re-homed, most new owners take advantage of that amenity.

 

One of our current top champions is a perfect example of a dog being returned following the passing away of the initial owner. Placing that dog in another one of our Chambray owner’s home gave it the opportunity to continue to show and ultimately attain his AKC championship and now he is a contributor to the Betterment of the Breed. There are 3 other dogs that were owned by the same person and each one of those dogs was re-homed and each lives a great new 2nd owner-life.

 

Besides taking our dogs back when in need, I also field numerous adoption proceeding on a monthly basis for Labradors not related to our breeding program. A week does not go by that someone will not call wanting to put up a dog for adoption. Since there are special rules, regulations and laws for running a rescue organization, I can’t accept dogs here through that channel, however I still go to bat for those dogs in that I take down all their information and then I match them up with the dozens that call here as well looking to adopt and older dog……………….so more or less I put up my time and energy as a go-between with dozens and dozens of relocation cases a year as well.

 

One of the great things about our Chambrays Owners Programs is that we have a build in rescue organization among all the Chambray owners. A large percentage of dogs that are re-homed have ended up with existing Chambray owners…………………….also another large percentage of people that come to Chambray to adopt dogs in need are recruited by existing Chambray owners.

 

When I speak or write about the Betterment of the Breed……………it is not all about showing and winning at shows……………………..it also includes the responsibility that all those connected to Chambray feel about all Labs, not just show Labs………………..all Labs…………..not just Chambray dogs…………………any and all Labradors that need a helping hand or home.

Mother's Day Eve

 

Phew! We just completed one of the busiest Saturdays in a way, way long time! Solid one-hour appointments commencing at 10 AM………………plus two unexpected drop by’s and finally wrapping the curtains up at 7 PM on an all good business day at Chambray!!!!!!!!!!

 

Mostly AKT’s (At Kennel Training)……………………..where Chambray owners and non-Chambray owners alike schedule working training appointments, by the hour throughout the day………………………………of course the Chambray owners get them for free and the others………………..well they pony up to the ante box to the tune of $50 an hour with yours truly holding court!

 

Weekends are at a premium because most of the time we are away to dog shows on weekends…………………..so on those rare as earth weekends when the happy Herzon campers are home, the block forms all the way around the block to come into Chambray Acres for a doggie tune-up!

 

There were 2 INT’s (Puppy Placement Interviews)……………………where pre-approved puppy seekers come by appointment for me to get to know them and for me to fill them in on the ways of Chambray! These all-essential meetings of minds and bodies……………..because up until then it was just meetings of minds over email……….now, live and in person with no holds barred………………..nah, it doesn’t get all that physical because Homey Herzon’s mouth doesn’t stop long enough for any physicality! I have way too much to say…………………….. ‘conversate’ as today’s white urban youth slangerize…………………. ‘chew the fat’ as some older white country folk may be saying………………………more like ‘educate’ when it comes time to parlez vous Labradors with me!  

 

Yep, by day’s end I am ready to………………………come inside and work some more! Now, it’s working in front of a screen……………sometimes on a soap box (the Blogging Off blogs)…………………….more often than not, answering emails………..countless emails from every Tom, Dick Harry, Mary, Marie, Marianne and even Maria’s! They stream in like salmon swimming upstream………………..over hill over dale, we have hit the dusty trail and those caissons keep rolling along………………….lemmings pouring their little sweet hearts out to see the shining sea, and then they jump in for God knows what reason…………………….well, you should be getting the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ here………..without the ‘Horror’, so go back and delete that word from the title.

 

When I finally go to bed and can’t sleep, I count little Labradors jumping over little fences…………………..because we don’t want little Labradors getting hurt, I make sure the fences are less than half their height at the elbows!

 

Yes, that’s a day at Chambray……………………which will lead into another day the next day with equally Labrador-related stories, activities, visitations, drop-bys, you name it, we have had it on tap, top, tip and wuzzup!

 

What started as a tiny step for mankind in 1970 for me with a little black Labrador puppy has evolved, endured and existed now for 45 years with hundreds………………thousands………way too many for me to remember and each day that etches by in my history more exploits and adventures than several tomes of writings could even recount.

 

Well guess what? Tomorrow the gates of Chambray will not be open for business as usual! It’s Mother’s Day and we are headed out to a Mother’s Day Brunch thingamajig!

 

So to all the mothers out there……………………have a great Mother’s Day from Sandy at Chambray.

  

 

 

May 9th

The Heat Is On

 

“This is going to be rather long!
 

We have been searching for a qualified Labrador breeder for over 18 months now to obtain a new puppy from, both here in Florida and also out of state as well. A web search yields hundreds and hundreds of pages with 10 to 15 breeders listed on each page.

 

We contacted over 2 dozen just here in Florida and the response from those that replied ranged from absolute no accounts to brazen individuals with major attitude attached. One crazy lady wanted a financial statement before she would consider the placing of one of her puppies and another one wouldn’t place a dog unless someone was going to be home all day with the dog!

 

There were a bunch that never returned our emails and a few that were so illiterate that reading their emails made no sense. What an ordeal this has been and we thought it was going to be easy.

 

We just left your farm after visiting for your Interview Process and without a doubt you have the only real game in town, the state and the country. Your entire program revolves around breeding for the best and then taking those puppies and placing them in the best possible situation to further the breed.

 

Why in the world would anyone else choose on purpose to deal with any other breeder out there? True to your website, your kennel provides the only real professional training facility along with the quality of what you breed and from your show track record, there is no other breeder or group that has the successes that you and your group post at every show you all compete at.

 

In my profession of providing the highest quality surgical and medical equipment to hospitals, clinics and practitioners, we cover all the bases for our clients, from start to finish, from product to service to support………………………your organization is the one and only, most comprehensive that I have seen or heard of in the Labrador breeding world!

 

We would be honored if you would consider the placement of one of your puppies with us for the Betterment of the Breed.” Ellen and Ken

 

Hey, say no more, I’m was sold at hello! I was sold even more when you could see the difference in the Chambray dogs you had seen before visiting Chambray Acres…………………..sold several times over when you shared your encounters elsewhere and could validate those difference from your own experiences.

 

As you now know and everyone else knows about me, I take the placement of one of my puppies extremely serious. That defining conclusion usually comes after restless days and sleepless nights of forethought, thought and more thought………………..of reading emails and re-reading the same emails to make sure that I read right and that what I replied was understood…………………of going over the notes that my assistants and interns take at each of the interviews that I conduct here at Chambray Acres or at ringside in Wachula, Zolfo or Elkton and other similar-names of venues off the beaten path and those other sites where the paths have been beaten over and over again……………Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Miami again!

 

When someone takes the time to read through my various websites……………………..familiarizes themselves with the way I do things, the way I conduct business, the way I express myself……………..that comes to me already knowing that there are major differences from just being a ‘dog breeder’ to being an ambassador for the breed…………………..to knowing that dogs are not SOLD here, rather the owners-to-be are chosen to be recipients of those puppies being made available to the qualifying few.

 

Then and only then has my mission been accomplished…………………the mission for the Betterment of the Breed with the placement of another great generation of superior-bred puppies with the next generation of owners that know a difference when they see it………………….when they feel it…………….when they experience it.

 

Those will be the new owners of a Chambray puppy.

May 9th

Batter Up

“We own a Shalala Labrador (not real name used) and were wondering if we could sign up for whatever programs you think will fit him. We purchased him as a show quality puppy and have had several people tell us that we should be showing him!”

 

Set up an appointment with us, either here at Chambray Acres in Miami FL or at a dog show near you where we will be showing our dogs. I will be more than glad to evaluate your dog at no charge.

 

The first part of the evaluation is to determine the showability* (made up word) of the dog. This will determine whether the dog has what it takes to be a perpetuator of the breed by having those physical qualities that can be passed on to the next generation.

 

We will take that one step further and determine how competitive the dog will be at the conformation shows and whether it is worth it to train, condition and eventually enter the dog at competitive dog shows.

 

Taking that even a step higher, I will inform you if the dog has what it takes to be included into our Show Dog Management Program…………………..then another step higher, the ultimate step in the Betterment of the Breed…………………… as to whether the dog should be included in our very exclusive Stud Dog Management Program.

 

Before you attempt to jump all those hurdles with your dog, your first step is to contact your breeder and determine from them what they see in your dog, the dog that they bred.

 

Do they see your dog as a ‘show dog’……………..is it a dog that they wish to see out showing, listing them as their breeders?

 

Do they put their stamp of approval with your intentions of showing the dog?

 

Do they approve of your plans to have another Labrador breeder evaluate your dog and do they give you their blessing to have the dog being developed by another breeder.

 

All of the preceding to avoid problems that arise when breeders and owners are not on the same page with dogs that were bred (by a breeder) and dogs that are owned by you, the owner.

 

 

Once those obstacles have been cleared, then we can go to town with all those great programs that we have in in place for those special dogs that are a credit to the breed, regardless of who the breeders are and can begin the process of developing them to contribute to the Betterment of the Breed.

May 7

All Aboard!

 

 

“How does someone join your various programs for the betterment of the breed?” Nancy Goodman

 

There are many ways to get on the train and the only ticket that is necessary is the single minded goal of the Betterment of the Breed as your boarding pass!

 

The vast majority of folk that have partaken in our numerous breed-related programs, started out as puppy owners………………..Chambray puppy owners more often than not. I state that because there have been many that obtained a puppy elsewhere and were welcomed in just as though their puppy came from our exclusive breeding program.

 

In the last blog posted in this section, I covered how a 10-week old ball of black fur showed up one night at our nightly training classes and eventually grew up to become Bronze Gr Ch Summithill Joshua’s Battle Of Jericho through 4 ½ years in all areas of participation with Chambray's Owners Programs.

 

In the last 25 years there have been several dozen other ‘outside puppy stories’ similar to what Jericho’s and his owners the Wilkenings experienced with our organization……………..however more than 95% of puppy owners had their baby steps into dog ownership, especially ‘show dog ownership’ with Chambray Labradors.

 

For over 25 years we have offered 2 and 3 night a week training classes and we have seen thousands upon thousands of dogs and owners come through all those years. There have been some folk that attended those classes with dogs of other breeds and many of those also used our professional dog show handling services for their dogs at the shows. Besides other breeds, there were numerous Labrador Retrievers from other breeders and kennels that participated at those years of training classes that were also professionally handled by us at the dog shows.

 

The Stud Dog Program has also been an entry point for many to join our organization. Owners of quality females have used our top champion stud dogs to bring about improvement to their breeding programs.

 

Also, top dogs from other breeders/kennels have joined our Stud Dog Force through our management of their stud services.

 

The co-breeding program has also seen quite a few new entrants to our many offerings. This is where someone with a high quality females is accepted into the breeding program to produce a co-owned litter that will be placed through the Puppy Placement Program.

 

My way of seeing things is…………………whatever will work for the Betterment of the Breed is worth trying, so I keep all the doors open, all the options and alternative available and all the roads wide and clear for anyone with the same vision for the breed.

May 6th

Open Door Policy

 

"My husband and I have visited your website on various occasions and quite frankly what you all do showing your dogs is out of this world. There is no other Labrador breeder that even comes close to your astonishing record of winning! Year after year you all put up such high numbers that your immediate competition must be folding up and heading for parts unknown. Congratulations on your successes and if we move down to Florida like we have been planning to for some years now, we will assuredly be meeting up and joining with you and your organization with our Labradors."

 

The Maas Family & Labradors

 

Thank you for sharing your observations with me, I will make sure to pass them on to our immediate Chambray handling team and to the rest of the Chambray Dog Owner family via this blog section and also through the monthly newsletters and the many email memos that are sent out keeping everyone on the loop.

Our doors are wide open to any and all that have the Betterment of the Breed as their first and foremost mission/goal. There are some that use every one of our programs for advancement within the breed including the following:

 

  • Mentorship in all aspects of the breed.

  • The Show Management Program for showing dogs.

  • The Development/Training/Conditioning Program to prepare dogs for showing

  • The Breeding/Raising Program for owners with females for breeding

  • The Stud Dog Program for owners with viable stud dogs that will perpetuate the Betterment of the Breed

  • The Puppy Placement Program to take the absolute best puppies produced and place them in the best possible environment for possible inclusion in all of the above mentioned programs.

  • The Sit Under the Old Orchid Tree Program for all those that share the love and passion that I have for this great breed of ours.

 

So, if any or all of the above sound like it may be something that we can work together with, then by all means come visit with me anytime, whether you move down to the sunny state or even if you are a couple of states over.

 

We have great partnerships with people in many states, nearby and also those a drive away.

 

Case in point, our next offering for the Betterment of the Breed litter, now 6 weeks old are being raised in Fancy Farm KY, by one of our Chambray owners that has 2 of our show females. This is the 2nd litter that he has bred/co-bred and will be placed through the Puppy Placement Program with the next set of Chambray owners.

 

The first litter, now 18 month’s old……………………….all 5 of them are in show homes! 3 of them are AKC champion pointed, one of those with major points at the 2014 Eukanuba week of shows and also a Best Bred-By Exhibitor Labrador award at the Eukanuba LRC Specialty!

 

We have partners that obtained their Labrador elsewhere and came to our training classes and the rest is history. Bronze Grand Ch Summithill Joshua’s Battle Of Jericho CGC is the prime example of an outside dog coming into our programs and contributing his great assets into our breeding program. Jericho visited our night training classes as a 10-week old puppy……………………meeting his owners for the very first time as well……………………from that moment they and their black ball of fur would be included in everything we had to offer and today he is the top show producer of get in the state of Florida with one of his Chambray offspring ranked #8 in the USA………………..another of his boys, the fastest finishing champion ever in Colombia and on his return to the USA, winner of a 5-Point Major at the Eukanuba LRC Specialty…………………..PLUS a Judges Award Of Merit at Specialty Show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are an additional 7 more of his get that are AKC champion pointed!

 

How’s that for an open door policy for the Betterment of the Breed!

May 6th

 

Vive La Difference....................If There Is One!

 

A special request from a Blogging Off follower: “What’s with All-Breed shows and Specialty shows?”

 

All-Breed or Specialties, what’s your pleasure? Can the two co-exist with one another or is it a duel to the death of one?

 

There is a line in the sand that divides the two, almost as fervent as the old Mason Dixon line that divided the north from the south back in the ‘un’-Civil War years. There are die-hards in each camp and lopping of the head of those with contradictory sentiments will happen at the drop of a dime.

 

So, what’s up with these occurrences that seemingly are identical to the uninitiated eye…………..to someone that happens upon either of the stages, they look the same, they smell the same and they quack the same…………………..so they must be the same duck!

 

NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Let’s define each and see where the animosities arise from, why birds of a feather don’t fly together, why brethren are at each other’s throat?

 

Let’s begin with the bigger and more widely held of the two events………………..with All-Breed dog shows.

 

Here dogs of as many breeds as are sanctioned by the governing body, (let’s use the AKC for our ways and means for this blog), will congregate and approved and licensed people will act as judges and select the best specimen of each breed. Then each of those breed representatives will head into a subdivision called ‘groups’, in the Labrador’s case, the Sporting Group, because that’s the function of our breed…….sporting, like in working with man/woman in activities of hunting and retrieving what’s been hunted.

 

So, supposedly, all breeds used for hunting will be sorted into the Sporting Group. All breeds that are Terriers will meet up at the Terrier Group…………hounds have their group………………the wee little dogs have the Toy Group……………………those dogs that perform what’s consider ‘work’, will meet up at the Working Group………………………breeds of dogs that are used as shepherds for herding flocks of animals are the Herding Group and then there is the oddly named Non-Sporting Group for dogs that don’t know what they are doing (a little humor just in case my writing is getting boring).

 

So, if my math is still good for the now of today, we should have 7 groups of dogs that need further whittling down to just one representative from that one group. That 1 dog from each group now head over to the last hurrah for the day judging………………Best In Show!

 

That will be the designation of the last dog left standing after all the judging that preceded………………one dog is declared the Best In Show winner.

 

Now, let’s delve into the Specialty variety of dog shows, where only one breed of dog goes through a similar judging gauntlet, lengthy if there are large entries of dogs, however with maybe just one or 2 judges officiating and doing the trimming down to where only one dog of that breed is left as the supreme specimen of that breed for the day…………………….a Best In Specialty Show winner!

 

So far, lots of similarities between the two venues, so let’s look at some of the differences.

 

There are thousands of judges that are eligible to judge at All-Breed shows, including people that are considered breeder/judges……………………….the same folk that can and do judge at specialties. So, judges that judge at All-Breed shows are also the same that judge at specialties! So, that doesn’t sound too much like a difference, but I will expand on that anomaly.

 

We will now just refer to Labradors for the rest of this offering.

 

For a Labrador to champion at All-Breed dog shows, it must go through many different set of eyes (judges) with varying opinions of what the breed should be, at specialties the vast majority of judges are Labrador breeders themselves with varying opinions of what the breed should be. So, even Steven here as well for the All-Breed shows and the specialty shows!

 

Exhibitors get to choose which judges to take their dogs to at the All-Breed shows……………….if they don’t like what the judges chooses from previous encounters, then they don’t enter their dogs under that judge.

 

At Specialties, exhibitors more or less know what type of dogs that breeder/judge breeds, so the exhibitors will get to pick and choose which shows to take their dogs to that may look like what the breeder/judge prefers………………….so once again it becomes a near identical system with exhibitors choosing which judges to show their dogs under.

 

Some folk claim that it is more prestigious to show at specialties because the judges should know their own breed better than an all-rounder judge can know a breed that they don’t breed…………………..however, with the varying set of opinions witnessed by the huge differences being bred by those same Labrador breeder/judges, that claim seems to be watered down considerably.

Take the ponderous Labradors being bred by breeders that are also judges………………….what do you think they are likely to put up at the shows they are contracted to officiate at?

 

Yep, you guessed it, they will side with the dogs that look more like what they breed………………………so those other breeders that partake in breeding the same type of dog as the chosen breeder/judge for the day will swamp the entries with likewise type dogs……………..so we have a perpetuation of the same old, same old depending on the whims of the judge, which more than likely will be exactly what they are breeding themselves……………….round and round we go in the merry go round.

 

So, what are the differences between All-Breed shows and Specialty shows?

 

Not much from what I covered above, however I did leave out that the number of dogs competing at most Specialties will be much greater than the entries for a particular breed at the All-Breed dog shows.

 

How important is that in the big picture?

 

The breeders and exhibitors attach more significance when their dogs ‘win’ in a large entry, thus the Specialties have traditionally been hyped up more, but in reality, it is still comes down to one person (the chosen judge of the day) pointing at just one dog as being the ‘winner’ regardless of how many dogs are competing. If there were another show the very next day, the chances are greatly that a totally different dog will be the winner on that next day, regardless of how many dogs were competing. Once again, according to the set of eyes doing the judging.

 

So, which dog is really the best if someone else were to be judging the exact lineup of dogs and the results are totally different from one instance to the next?

 

Which type of shows, the All-Breed or the specialties…………..will select the best examples of the breed?

I have been to umpteen All-Breed shows and the verdicts have been about 75% favorable to the Betterment of the Breed……………………I have been to dozens of specialties and the verdicts have been about 75% favorable to the breeds just as well……………..more even-steven stuff!

 

Each venue has the shock value of 25%....................like in ‘what was that judging thinking!’

 

In a foot race, the fastest cat will win…………….at a dog show, be it specialty or All-Breed, it’s a big surprise until the anointed judge points at one dog.

 

Hey, I’m supposed to be the expert in all Labrador matters and the only difference I see of any fathomable significance is that at specialties there may be a larger entry for us breeders to go check out what is available for our breeding programs in terms of stud dogs available and what their get look like……………………………..we get to see which breeder has the most consistent produce.

 

Anything else is just folk picking sides and squaring off like the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s!

 

If it looks like a Lab, walks like a Lab and barks like a Lab.....................it must be a Lab, Specialty or All-Breed....same difference!

May 5th
Happy Cinco De Mayo

 

A Best In Show win by one of our Labradors ranks as the biggest thrill for me in the dog show world! That is the Mt Everest of achievements, accolades and awards. Of course the extreme rarity of this occurrence makes the happen chance all that alluring.

 

On a national level, with all the great Labrador Retriever breeders showing at over 3000 shows annually, it may happen once! Yes, you read right, so rare is it for a Lab to win an AKC Best In Show, that there are years when nary a Labrador scores the really big rosette reserved for the lone dog standing after an exhausting days’ worth of competition.

 

In all these years that Chambray has been raising, training, conditioning and showing………………..we have hit the jackpot of an AKC Best In Show only twice! Of course no other Labrador breeder in our state has ever had the ‘thrill of victory’ that comes with this anointment, so two is indeed the loneliest number since the number one!

 

So, a Best In Show is the ultimate feather in the cap for a breeder of any breed.

 

There are a few other ‘happenings’ that come in second place to a Best In Show win. I would say that for me the finishing of a brand new champion and the debut of our newest contribution to the breed, those puppies that emerge at an International show come in tied for second!

 

The exaltation of the very first of our home-grown champions came back in March of 1993................5 years after our initial beginnings in the dog show arena!

 

WOW, OMG and other shouts of joy emitted from me that day…………………………….our very first bred-by champion! That fantastic feeling has occurred 46 times since that fateful day 22 years ago! 46 new champions that were bred by Chambray, born and brought up right here at Chambray Acres…………………brought up and then most of those placed with the eventual owner that would do the things to would take each of those dogs to that level that very few dogs ever reach……………….an AKC champion!

 

You would think that after the first couple of those champions, that the awesome feeling would subside and that all the rest that followed after would just be a blip on the radar…………………..Not! No siree, not the case at all, because each and every time that a new crown was bestowed on a Chambray dog, the elation, emotion and the shedding of a tear or two came at the same level of intensity.

 

There have been a couple of years (2012 and 2014) where we championed more Labradors than anyone else in the country and I celebrate each and every one of those as if it were the very first one! I know without a doubt that when the next Chambray Lab becomes #47, that I will party like it was 1999!

 

So, what could be as exciting as a brand, spanking new champion?

 

Believe it or not, the dog show debut of our newest group of puppies!  Those specially chosen puppies from the most recent litters that assuredly will be on the front lines for Chambrays Show Management Program at the AKC shows in the near future.

For 15 years now we have used the International shows for that one purpose of bringing out our best produce from the last year, especially those puppies in the 3 to 6 age class, the intermediate puppies in the 6 to 9 class and the senior puppies in the 9 to 12 class.

 

This past weekend up in Ocala we had the special thrill of seeing a super exciting group of up-and-coming stars. A total of 11 puppies made the trek up to central Florida for this special occasion. 10 of those were from Chambray Labradors, a space was made for a puppy from an outside kennel.

 

Included in the mix were a couple of outstanding chocolate puppies from our breeding program. Both served notice that we would be seeing much more of them at the AKC level of competition.

 

Chambrays Stone Crusher now residing at Chambray Acres, one of the chocolates that made the trip had a very favorable impression on all 4 judges and of course the 5th wheel judge, the one that really counts…………….me……………….needless to say, I was pickled tink with the awesome potential he possess at the next level of competition. Of course it doesn’t hurt to be the only one of our puppies to take a Best In Show Puppy. That all bodes well for what comes next for Crush.  



Chambrays Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, owned by Sam Knobler also gave an outstanding performance and also passed the ‘Sandy’ litmus test for future development and inclusion into the Dog Show Management Program. Both Lucy and Crush were sired by multiple BISS Gr Ch Big Sky Stone Kutter ‘Mason’, with Lucy coming from Chambrays Two Cents ‘Penny’ and Crush coming from Chambrays Eau De Chanel.

 

Both Crush and Lucy have the type of movement that Chambray’s yellow/black lines are recognized for and in addition, each has the typey outline that will do well with the majority of the judges that will see them at the AKC shows coming up soon.

 

There was a 3rd puppy from our chocolate breeding program that also made the trip and that was Chambrays Riley owned by the Connors, a black female from the Chanel X Mason litter. She has all the same attributes that Crush and Lucy have, the only difference is the color. All three of these puppies will bring an added allure to our Betterment of the Breed credo because up to now Chambray was exclusively known for our stellar production of show quality yellows.

 

The dynamic sister duo, Kika and Gavi (BIS BBE Silver Gr Ch Chambray’s Celestial N Counter and littermate BBE Gr Ch Chambrays First N Counter) were responsible for the other 7 of Chambray’s puppies at these 4 shows in 2 days.

 

Each one of the 7 puppies proved out to be worthy of being in the top of the late 2014 and first part of 2015 super class of puppies. Each possess the beyond awesome movement of both Kika and Gavi.

 

One of those puppies was sired by Ch Aquarius Lobuff Prvt Liddle at Brookstone from Kika’s first litter back in June of 2014. Chambrays Perfect N Counter ‘Pepita’ owned by the Loewenstein Family made her show debut and came through with an awesome performance.

 

Gavi had 4 of her most recent litter puppies there. These were sired by our super star black stud dog, Bronze Gr Ch Summithill Joshua’s Battel Of Jericho. Topping the charts with the judges was Chambrays Dazzle owned by Pat and Russ Blosse of Flagler Beach Fl and also NY, ended up with the 2nd highest award for the weekend, a Reserve Best In Show.

 

Littermates Chambrays Pepper owned by the Gonzalez family of Kendal Fl……………Chambrays Whisper owned by Luis Alvarez of Milton Fl…………………… and Chambrays Hank owned by the Trainer family of Crystal Spring Fl all proved out their worth and future considerations at the AKC shows coming up soon.

 

Kika’s 2nd litter bred to Jericho also provided us a couple of future stars. Chambrays Tank owned by Cindy Ceballos of Miami Fl and Chambrays Lily owned by the Deleeuw family were the youngest of our competitors but each held their own against the older puppies.

 

We really look forward to what come next for this super stellar group of Chambray puppies that will soon join our most successful Dog Show Management Program.

May 4th

The Tip Of The Proverbial Iceberg

 

 

What you can’t see, can be fathoms deep………………………….would have been a great cautionary advice to the captain of the Titanic on the trajectory to the fateful encounter with the tip of the iceberg that was miles deep!

 

Why do you all show here at the IABCA shows? You already are the winningest Labrador breeders and ‘show-ers’ at the AKC shows!” came the unsolicited question/statement from the stature-challenged, rather portly, ruddy-faced woman standing right in front of me first thing in the morning as I made my way to my crate setup at this past weekend’s Ocala IABCA shows.

 

Just her using the term ‘show-ers’ to mean handlers indicated to me the lack of layers of understanding accrued by those into ‘showing’ dogs.

 

The indignant manner of speaking to someone as she had just done to me, someone that you have never spoken to before also ‘showed’ the lack of civility and uncouthness brought about by having a poor upbringing and education.

 

However, being of a liberal and understanding mindset, I take all those things under consideration when dealing with all sorts of people and I always set a higher standard in the hopes that it would raise their levels as well.

 

The way I figure it is, that if she had that thought and it came to her all by itself, then there must be others that may have been thinking the same thing…………..or maybe, just maybe the busy-bee group she had just emerged from before stepping in front of me, were all ‘conversating’ the exact same thing.

 

So, for her benefit and the ‘others’ within earshot away, I composed myself and delivered an educational thesis worthy of an Oscar/Nobel award.

 

“What you see here at these venues is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg for a much bigger picture that encompasses dozens, maybe over 100 people that participate in many different programs with Chambray Labradors. This is the entry point for the majority of new owners to come and learn about show dogs in a much more relaxed, family-type setting where most of the dogs received ribbons and awards according to their breed value.” I professed and she seemed to digest.

 

From the look on her face, she seemed to be following the bouncing ball, so I continued. “The puppies that you will see here today are some of the best from the past 12 months from our very exclusive breeding program. They are all owned by the people you will see that are part of our group here and there are some of those dogs that traveled with us because their owners could not make the trip.”

 

Remember those EF Hutton commercials of the past? The minute that someone mentioned “EF Hutton”, everyone around would stop and listen! Well, there are Kodak moments and there are EF Hutton moments…………………………and this was classic EF Hutton, because the peanut gallery to my left, the group she immigrated from, were all quiet as ‘meeses’ and a tiny feather could have fallen at the end of the sprawling shelter/building and you could have heard it quite clearly!

 

Seeing that I had the undivided attention from the oddly shaped, somewhat cherub-faced one and also her cronies close by, I rambled on, “The hand’s on training that these puppies receive at these 4 shows cannot be duplicate even at our training facility back in Miami if we tried. We get to observe each and determine what their weaknesses, their strengths and what is observed by the different ‘judges’ that will be evaluating them at the 2 days/4 shows before us.”

 

WOW! That sure was a mouthful and I still had her intently listening……………….maybe I had somehow converted her over from the ‘dark side’!

 

So, I forged on. “Plus, having them all here in this competitive environment gives me the opportunity to determine which ones will proceed to the AKC shows and what each of those needs to become more competitive there. So, hopefully you now can see why these IABCA shows are so important to my organization and the way we do things. The payoff for me and my owners comes from the ‘stamp of approval given by the judges with the highest rating for the breed for each puppy by each receiving their IABCA International champion’s title."

 

So far so good, so I finish up with, “The icing on the cake for the owners will be if any of the puppies wins a Best In Show, however for me, all the preceding takes major precedent over the ribbons and or rosettes that that may or may not win!”

 

Drum ending set please, as I had wrapped up another educational treatise and assuredly the recipient now fully grasped and understood the ‘why’ we were here at these seemingly lower-status dog shows.

 

“Well, you and your dogs take all the available awards from the rest of us and that’s not right!” to my ‘higher expectation of the human race’ way of thinking, she protested!

 

Seeing that I had made absolutely no headway in a very fog shrouded, minute-minded person’s perception of how the world turns, I begged for mercy by saying, “I need to tend to my dogs right now, when there is a clearing in the horizon, I will address this issue with you so that what lies beneath becomes more apparent!”

 

As it turns out, my good fortune was the fact that I did not have to negotiate with this person again.

 

After the 2nd show on Saturday, having received such poor reviews and critiques from the 2 judges about her dogs (another breed, not Labradors), she packed up the truck and did not return for the 2 shows on Sunday.

 

Meanwhile back at Camp Chambray, we wrapped up our 30th International shows, at first once a year, then twice a year and recently three times a year ………………..since 2001. That means that hundreds of our puppies have started their show beginnings here and a good many of those went on to stellar AKC show careers!

May Day

Homey Knows Best

 

How do you explain the ‘unexplainable’? What do you say to someone that asks a question, that you fully know the answer to and yet the reply to the person asking will seem like Twilight Zone stuff!

 

Yep, that’s the dilemma that I encounter on a daily basis with some of the owners that are part of my Dog Show Management Program.

 

“Why doesn’t my dog have any points?”…………………..I wish a had a thousand dollars each and every time I have heard this lament………………Johanna would be a very happy rich person if that were the case!

 

What makes that question even more difficult to answer is that maybe that particular owner has heard me say many times over, “Your dog is one of my top dogs!”……………………..and yet it hasn’t won a single point or maybe just a few scattered wins here and there.

 

There are several class dogs showing right now in our lineup of show dogs that are in that exact predicament. They are as good as or even better than some of the champions on our roster and yet, they are still fighting it out for the much needed champion points from the non-champion classes.

 

That just doesn’t sound or feel congruent and yet it is what it is………………….the problem I encounter is trying to make sense of the panorama to the perplexed owner of such a dog. Nothing I say really quenches their thirst for the reason Fido has no points or Pooch can’t win against Such&Such.

 

Judges are licensed individuals that pass ‘judgement’ on which dog wins for the day……………….they however are not the final word on a dog’s greatness or lack thereof……………………….that verdict comes from me.

 

With my accrued and accumulated credentials, I can now apply and be accepted as an AKC judge, not just for Labradors………………….for as many breeds as a apply for, especially in the sporting groups where I have handled and pointed/finished many different breeds, in addition I have master-trained well over 40,000 dogs of all breeds………………………yet, even with those credentials and expertise I would only feel my supreme mastery over just one breed………………….Labradors.

 

The exact scenario happens with the vast majority of judges we face at the dog shows……………………they are licensed to judge Labradors and many of the other breeds, but they assuredly are not the final word on Labradors as I am.

 

So, when I tell one of my owners that their dog is in the highest levels for the breed…………………….that should suffice and yet sadly it doesn’t because to them the mark of greatness is winning points and the feather in the cap………….an AKC championship!

 

Hey, Homey loves winning too………………………….and don’t even mention a new Chambray AKC champion! That’s super-duper braggadocio………………….chest thumping, rooster crowing….............walking the walk & talking the talk material!

 

However, the bottom line to all this dog show, show dog stuff is the Betterment of the Breed and if I say a dog is great, then that dog will be front and center on the stage for perpetuating the next generation of super stars regardless of whether it has points, a champion’s title or not!

 

Homey Knows Best!