May Your Days
May’s clear bright blue days
Turns into stormy weather
When least expected
June will be with us soon!
So, there's a Herzon Haiku for June too!
June sends heated frills
With the rising summer sun
Soon scorchers ahead
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.
Success, Availability & Disclosure
As more and more folk come to realize our concept of breeding and then placing our best puppies where we can be instrumental in their future contributions to the breed, there have been more of those people that are interested in having a top show puppy placed with them.
Interesting enough, there have been a few that wanted the cake and then eat it all by themselves without sharing the glory.
This type wants the best that has taken us decades to achieve, but they didn’t want to be part of the future process that makes these same puppies available to them and to the next person wanting to advance with the breed.
Being an observer of human nature, I understand fully how some folk just do not do well working in a cooperative setting. By and large, these folk are loners for the most part and just don’t seem to fit in where there are bigger goals………………..the opposite of bigger goals is possessing very narrow vision and an individualistic gratification mentality that fuels their drive, thus making them poor candidates for our ‘work in progress’ collective.
Fortunately for me and this novel, avant garde initiative, the vast majority of those that are on board or that are contemplating the possibilities have a full comprehension of the pay it forward model that is in play……………..not only pay it forward to the breed, but pay it back to the breeder that has made this all possible.
There are several things that make the whole process possible.
Success is first of all; if the whole program of breeding, raising, training, conditioning, showing and ultimately, winning was not the success story it has become, then there would be no need to write this offering because there would be diddly squat interest…………………..zilch, nada…………not a one that would be inquiring. Success has a way of attracting interested parties that gravitate towards and desire more information.
The 2nd point of interest is the availability of the program to anyone with (a) good eyesight for observation, (b) vision for the future, and (c) an open mind and the ability to project a willingness to work in a cooperative venture.
Transparency is the 3rd gem that is available to all that want to learn more. All the inner workings of the program are detailed in page after pages that are published to our websites. Plus, for those wanting to further their understanding of the programs offered new and existing Chambray owners, in-depth Q & A sessions are scheduled either at Chambray Acres or at area dog shows where those folk may live.
So success, availability and full disclosure for all to research to be able to come to their very own conclusions about the possibilities of embracing the pay it forward for the betterment of the breed movement that is now so obvious to all looking for a better way of advancing with the breed.
I have stated this on numerous occasions…………………… There’s nothing worse than second hand smoke other than the smoke and screens perpetuated by those with malicious intent!
When making judgements about someone or something, make sure that the information being used in making that judgement is not someone else’s innuendos, someone else’s slander, someone else’s slanted opinions………………make sure that the judgement comes about from real time info, preferably arrived at by pure observation and firsthand fact gathering!
There’s nothing better than fresh air and ideas and alternatives that have proven to work for all involved!
Pass The Poupon Please
Our Puppy Placement Business Model
Throughout the years there have been those with gifted vision that have looked into our Puppy Placement Program and have actually ‘seen’ the results……………the ‘end game’ and have inquired as to how they too could come up with such a great game plan for the dogs that they were producing and placing.
Now here are some very interesting facts about these really smart folk; not all were Labrador enthusiast!
Yep, there were those that may have been a ring or two over and were watching, some for years and they salivated at the thought of doing ‘exactly the same thing, with their chosen breed.
Right here in our sunny state of Florida there was the very, very successful Golden Retriever breeder/exhibitor who on several occasions through a 20 year span of time approached me as to how he could do the same thing with his breed, later modified it as to how ‘we’ could do something similar with his Goldens. The part of the ‘we’ was to have me be part of the ‘operation’……………..the dealing with the prospective new owners where I would be a co-breeder with each litter and thus the one orchestrating the placement of each puppy and the future management of the training and handling of those puppies that were show prospects.
Similar propositions have come from successful show breeders of Cockers, Pointers, Chessies, Akitas, another Golden breeder…………..more recently German Shepherds, Cane Corsos, Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Australian Shepherds………………………………all were interested in creating their very own Puppy Placement Program based exactly on our innovative and novel………………..more importantly highly successful operating system of placing the top show prospects.
I would venture to remember, that there have been over a dozen-plus folk that have engaged me with varying shades of initiating a puppy placement process that could give them the results that we savor today at Chambray.
Each and every one of those who came to me had their plans derailed by their very own admission to the following question posed by me “Are you willing and able to place your very best puppy in each of the litters that you produce?”
Without exception, the dozen and more answered with “No!”
END OF CONVERSATION!
Of course being the amicable, nice guy that I am, also the consummate diplomat for all affairs dealing with the breed (and other breeds too), I did go into details as to why what they had in mind would not work.
Simple as a dimple on an Apple Computer (gotcha, you thought I was going to end that overused metaphor, with dapple! But, hey Apple and dapple rhyme!), the ‘simple’ is that you can’t keep the best for yourself, then expect your clients to show the ones that you placed with them and then go out and beat the jellicans out of them with the best you kept!
That little choo choo train ain’t going to make it up that steep inclined no matter how much it chants that it can!
The whole ball of wax will only roll if ‘keep the best’ is left behind and ‘place the best’ becomes the humming mantra no matter how great a puppy may be!
Prime real-estate example…………….KIKA!!!!!!!!!
The highest scoring puppy ever from any litter and she was reserved for a prospective new owner that was given the choice between her and another prime puppy……….he opted for the other one, thus Kika was offered to the next in line…………………he jumped through the hoop for her and the rest is history, not only Florida Labrador history, but also on a national level!
That’s what it takes to operate this most successful business model……..the most successful Labrador Retriever Puppy Placement Program ever.
We breed for the best……………………..using only the best…………………………then we have the vision to select the best from each litter…………………………………we also have the vision and intuition of selecting the best prospective new owners…………………………….we then PLACE THE BEST in the best possible situation………………………then we give each of those owners/puppies the best mentorship, training, conditioning and SHOW HANDLING there is…………………….and just like peaches and cream, the best rise to the top...............well, maybe the cream does, leaving the peaches to savor for the very end!
That’s the Puppy Placement Program business model in a squirrel’s nut shell, now Pass The Poupon Please!
Of Curds & Whey
A topic of mass consternation, especially to those newer to the dog show scene is the ‘ends of spectrum’ selection made by those judging the exhibits.
Coincidentally or not, it is a subject that I, the self-proclaim connoisseur of everything Labrador have very little that will shed a light or even a flicker of a candle in explaining the why’s and therefore of the dogs chosen as the ‘winners’ from one day to the next. In some cases where there are four days of shows in a row, the completely different dogs chosen to take those winner’s points on each of those different days baffles all logic.
There are days when the chosen dog is so contrary to breed type that it leaves me breathless for all the wrong reasons! You would think that after the decades that I have been involved in the fancy, that I would become impervious to the odd choices being made by the DJ of the day.
Meanwhile, I have all my loyal owners to answer to………………….what do you say to them that truly and honestly believe in the betterment of the breed mission when selections are made that make no sense to even some of the senseless that abound around ringside?
In a recent blog I came up with a working conjecture that like cream that rises to the top, separating and sending the lesser desired whey (watered down component) to the bottom………so too will the best dogs competing win enough from a larger percentage of the judges and finish their titles, whereas the lesser whey-type quality dogs, who may ‘win’ occasionally or infrequently………….however not enough where most of those will drop out of competition and not attain their champion’s titles. Of course, justifiably so, since they were not the ‘cream’, thus not ‘rising’ enough as winners dog to amount to the required numbers of points and majors needed!
So, in essence, we have a ‘filtration’ system where the really good dogs will eventually rise in the eyes of the majority of the judges and those inferior dogs, that may also win from time to time, will eventually run out of time in the show ring.
Of course the preceding theory, even if it is 100% correct, still doesn’t suffice at that precise moment when one of those ‘whey-type’ dogs is given the winners dog points!
Hey, that’s my opinion.
Rode My Chevy To The Levy
Several years back I penned an article describing one of the ‘American Pie’ type scenarios…………..you know the kind that we enjoy so much that eventually it becomes an unofficial national tradition!
Since most of what I write about has to deal with dogs, the above is no different, so two plus two is four and voila, what I’m referring to is ‘driving your Chevy to the levy…………well maybe not just to the levy but up and over and across the levy to some way out in the country farm where dogs run free and puppies abound year round and it’s Mother’s Day all year long, and apple pie is served up with French fries and finger ‘lickin’ good fried chicken……………hey, hey, hey you get the institution…………….so here is where good folk take the whole family out to fetch a puppy to add to their clan!
You arrive at the farm and lo and behold there are hundreds of those puppies playing up a storm. There’s yellow, blacks, chocolate and vanilla too…………………whites ones, red ones and silvers too and even polka dotted ones…………….long haired and no haired………everywhere you look, there you will see a puppy staring back at you.
Nirvana for dogs and people alike, just as how you have it your way at BK, here too you order up your K9 of your dreams. Hey, Old McDonald had a farm and on this farm he had hundreds of puppies to choose from.
Another Great American Dream that may still be relived, however that’s not the way to augment your household numbers……………..at least not if you really, really want the best and also are looking into avoiding problems with poor breedings practices by all those McDonalds and the like, puppy mass producers.
So, what Is a person to do that wants a great specimen of any breed and wants to be able to choose the very one that strikes their fancy.
Surely (not Shirley), surely there must be top breeders of each breed that have ‘open house’ for a person or family to come on out to see the whole litter and be able to cart home the very one of their choice.
If you are holding your collectives breaths out there……………..quick, breath in! Because come Helsinki and high water guns………….that ain’t going to happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nope, not even if the capital of Finland would freeze over! Not even if the pope ordained it. Not even if the cat’s 9th life depended on it……………………………………that scenario of taking the pick from any litter from any top breeder………………will never, ever become one of those prior mentioned national traditions as American as apple pie!
No top show breeder would ever allow anyone to come take the top puppy of any of their stellar litters. That is cast in stone right next to the Ten Commandments, right next to the Rosetta Stone and the Stoned Rolling Stones.
Wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Wait a minute or two!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That just happened!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, yes, News Flash, Flash Gordon and Flashlight Galore, that scenario just occurred……………….right here, a couple of hours ago a family drove all day to Chambray………………..attended the all-important evaluation of the HIGHEST RATED LITTER EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like in all 7 puppies scores average out over 96+!!!!!!!!!
Then, the skies opened up, the Red Sea and the Sea of Tranquility (on the moon) both parted at the exact same time and they were allowed to have their choice of the three beyond astronomical females and off they went to be driving all night and get to their destination probably after the sun had set 6 hours or so before!
Lo and behold, be got and betwixt there is an exception to the ‘Not-So-Golden Rule’………………..there is a Pie in the Sky, there is a real Utopia, there is the Magic Kingdom where wishes come true…………………..and it’s right here at Chambray.
We aim to please and we breed the best, then we take on those that we feel will do right by the breed and place the best puppies with them………………….the chosen ones that get to choose the one of their choice………………..round and round we go and I don’t know when it will end, but for now it is the way it is and the breed benefits beaucoup by golly and more to boot!
Pepto Bismol Time
Labrador Retrievers and everything we do with them are my way of life. So, yes, I take everything that we are involved with, very, very serious and it is business………………………..that business is the betterment of the breed first and foremost!
Anything else is just gobbledygook!
To those that took offense at that reference, here is some more ‘GOBBLEDYGOOK’ !
You are either in it to win it or you are spinning your wheels and headed nowhere as fast as a stopped train goes.
There’s no ‘helping hand’ for those ‘less fortunate’ when breeding for the best………………either a breeder does the right thing and breed for the best…………………..or it’s best for them to hightail it to parts unknown where folk won’t take pity on them!
There’s no compromising or meeting half way with those that just don’t have the vision that it takes to be at the top of an endeavor……………..because meeting half way produces ‘half-arced’……………….mediocrity dwells somewhere in the middle between stellar and stinkpot.
The ‘For Fun Fanatics’ are at it again……………………………enough already with the ‘for fun’ mentality. The only ones having FUN are the ones that are WINNING! There is a very, very strong correlation between WINNERS and having FUN!
Do the litmus test………………………at the end of the competition, when Best Of Breed is completed, see who is happy as Larks, see who has huge smiles on their faces and are the ones receiving the pats on the back………………..those guys and gals are HAVING FUN……………………….then listen for the ones packing up their belongings, tossing their crates around and causing a commotion…………………hey that doesn’t look like HAVING FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, if it is only FUN when WINNING, then WINNING IS THE NAME OF THE GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That is what competition is all about and make no mistake, this dog showing stuff is serious COMPETITION!
I can attest that WINNING IS FUN……………………………..each and every weekend for the last 135 dog show weekends I have had immense FUN.
To prove my conjecture about WINNING IS FUN, let’s see how much fun I will have that weekend where we don’t win! Yep, watch Sandy not be a happy camper……………..but hey, it will prove my point and then some……………………you win, you are happy, you don’t win, then it is no fun.
So, stop the ‘It’s all for fun’ lame brain stuff………………………………..this is serious stuff and those with delicate stomachs better take some more Pepto Bismol before and after showing dogs.
Competition Has Its Merits
It Brings The Best Out To PLay
Competition tends to bring out the best to the table. It more or less filters out the lesser ‘equipped’ and makes the cream surface. It is a natural process where those that consistently lose drop off to the wayside and those that fare better continue to stay in contention.
In the end, the ones left are the strongest, the fastest or the best!
It is a way of life, not only in sports or dog shows; it is the way in life for all species. It is what gives strength to the next generation or at least we hope that the better equipped are the ones that perpetuate their kind, if not then that species is in sad shape for the future.
When I hear from or read what some ‘do-gooders’……………from ‘equal this and equal that mamby pamby spouting fools’ have to contribute, makes me shake my head into delirium!
I hate to shake my head into delirium!
“You complain about breeders in your area traveling out of state to dog shows and you are to blame! If they were to win more often, then they wouldn’t have the need to travel the longer distances to other states! A good idea to consider would be to coordinate at what shows your group goes to and allow the other breeders to go to shows you hold back from.”
I hate to shake my head into delirium!
No wonder society is in such a poor state! We have morons in charge!
Enough of the equality stuff! We are not equal, dogs are not equal………………….there’s a million folk smarter than me and there’s a million folk dumber than me…………………no amount of legislating nor gobbledygook compromising is going to make all those folk average out. That is making mediocrity a priority and excellence gets shackled and handicapped to allow the lesser to catch up.
So, label me an elitist or whatever……………at dog shows where the job of the judge is to select the best, there’s no room for the gobbledygooks! Bring on the best and may the best dog be left standing at day’s end.
Those that need to hightail it out of town, out of state in order to fool themselves, then can stayed fooled, but let it be known that they, by their actions have chosen to be 2nd class breeders……………breeding those lesser dogs that shy away from the places where the best come to play!
The Best Of Both Worlds
To clarify some more confusion about the Chambray dogs that are showing that are all owned by individual owners and not by us, the breeder/handlers……………….since several observers and visitors that were at the Deland shows were surprised to find out and since very frequently I receive communications inquiring the same thing.
With very few exceptions, the dogs that we take with us and those others that meet up with us at the dog shows are owned by individuals that we placed those dogs with.
We breed exclusively to produce top show quality puppies and then we take the absolute best puppies from the 5 to 8 litters produced a year and place those beyond stellar puppies with owners that are either already interested in showing or that will need a little encouragement to make the leap to be part of the fancy………………………………….hence the dogs that are seen at the dogs shows!
The few exceptions that we have shown in the last 5 years were situations were those dogs were either returned to us by owners that were experiencing hardships and could not keep the dogs or in a couple of other situations, puppies that for one reason or another had to stay at Chambray and as part of their ‘training’ were entered at shows and were exhibited there.
Our whole movement of ‘for the betterment of the breed’ entails the placing of the best puppies in each litter with either existing Chambray owners or by placing those great puppies with people that are new to our collective, new to our ways of doing things.
Once that puppy is placed with those people, they become part of the pay it forward mission where people from all walks of life can participate in the perpetuation of the next great generation of superb specimens of the breed.
Chambray Labradors and the Herzon family then become the mentors and the driving force of the whole novel enterprise…………..which ensures the continued successes that as a whole, we have been experiencing for over 26 years now at the show levels.
For the dogs, it is a major win, win, win situation!
#1, First of all they are super prime examples of the breed by virtue of our 46 year’s worth of expertise with the breed………………………….#2, then they have the absolute best chances by being part of the collective experience of producing the next great generation of the breed………………………….#3, third, they live the greatest lives of all show dogs, because they are someone’s loving pets and not ‘kennel dogs’ as are the vast majority of the dogs at the dog shows.
Let’s add another ‘win’……………..so it’s a win, win, win, win situation because, 4th…………………Chambray savors all the greatness that the dogs do because as breeders we get to sit back and enjoy what we have created knowing what great lives our dogs live!
This & That
“My female Labrador doesn’t come from show lines; however I would like to breed her to a show champion to see if I can produce a litter where I can keep the most promising puppy for show. What are my realistic chances of producing a puppy that would be competitive against the level of competition right now?”
Confidential in FL
Yes, of course I will keep your name anonymous.
Her pedigree is totally a ‘pet-type’ lineage going back to the 5th generation. There is no way of knowing nor researching any of the dogs in the last 4 generations to know what types they were, what weaknesses they possessed, so improvement breeding will be hit or miss, with ‘miss’ having the overwhelmingly upper hand in the produce. Regardless of the stud dog used, even if one of my top show champions is considered, this is a ‘no rhyme or rhythm’ breeding and the outcome will have the same results.
With puppies from this female, your entry into the show world will be several decades behind what’s showing right now, especially here in Florida. Let’s say you use our top show producer to breed to, keeping in mind that he is our top show producer because he was bred to Florida’s top show females which in turn produce the top show puppies in Florida……………………what could you expect when you breed to a female that doesn’t have a single show dog in 4 full generations and ¾ of the 5th generation were also insignificant as far as showing was concerned?
I highly recommend that you place all the puppies produced from your litters and invest in a top show-bred litter from a breeder that is successful! Not every person breeding and advertising for show is actually a winner at the show venues, so get on board with a breeder that actually wins a good percentage of the time!
“I just purchased a show puppy from a breeder here in Florida. It evaluated as the 2nd pick in the litter. How do I know if it really will be worth my time and money to get involved in showing?”
First of all, you obtained a puppy from a breeder who has never bred a champion of her own. That means that she has been producing puppies for either the pet market or her production for show conformation has been lackluster to say the least. A ‘pick puppy or a 2nd pick’ is totally meaningless as far as show conformation is concerned. It may be the best looking puppy from that litter, which when that litter is compared to a top show quality litter, that best puppy may not light a candle to the last puppy in the show litter!
Then there is the situation of who did the evaluating! Any Joe Palooka can chime in with what they deem to be the best, but what credentials does that person have to actually decipher what show quality is?
I highly recommend that you enlist a professional handler that has worked with Labradors to take a look at your puppy and see if there is hope. I can also check your puppy out at a dog show near where you live or you could make the ride down here to Miami and I will evaluate the puppy for you. I have to warn you that maybe, longshot maybe, the chances of a puppy or dog having what it takes to receive ‘thumbs up’ for showing are way against it! The way the level of competition has skyrocketed in the last couple of years, less than 1 in 20 puppies/dogs that come in for an evaluation end up getting a ‘good’ result!
"I just started to show my own dogs and was surprised at how different the AKC shows are from the UKC and the IABCA/ICE shows! It was all so fast and totally business like that I really didn’t get a chance to enjoy the moment. The other exhibitors and the professional dog handlers all seemed in such a hurry getting in and out of the ring that there wasn’t much time to socialize and get to know the breeders there. I had hoped to speak with you and a couple of the other breeders, but you all seemed so pressed for time that I was afraid to interrupt the goings on."
You are absolutely right about the processes between the AKC shows and the others being so completely different and intimidating. Yes, it is all business at the AKC level. The AKC sets it up that way as the judges are working on a time table which has each judge going over 150+ dogs in one day. The professional handlers have multiple breeds to show in different rings at different times or at exactly the same time, so yes it is business on time!
Since we bring 4 or 5 dogs of each sex to show, we are extremely busy making sure that each dog goes in the ring when that particular class is called in. You don’t want to make the judge wait even a few seconds……………….not the way to make brownie points with them! So, dogs go in the ring and come out of the ring and my team of handlers and assistants have a job to do………………….so when the opening bell clangs to start the show, we are all business to comply with the task at hand.
Now, I have never, ever turned anyone away upon completion of our job of handling dogs.
So, as soon as the Labradors are done in that ring, I make as much time for anyone to come and sit a spell with me. In fact, I perform interviews with folk from the area that are interested in a puppy placement. So, next time we are all at a dog show, say the up and coming Tampa shows, come see me and we can talk up a storm about Labradors.
The Many Faces Of Eve..................Oooppppss, Labradors!
There seems to be so much confusion about what constitutes ‘well-bred and ill-bred, American, English, British, show vs. field, and everything in between’ that when I look out at the general population of Labrador owners what I see is chickens running around with their heads cut off…………………..oooppppssssss, let me change that last descriptive lest the animal rights terrorist descend on my little Labrador heaven and burn a cross out in front of my property……………………so let’s call it ‘worse than an ant pile of black ants scurrying about with no particular place to go’……………………….oppppsssss, let’s change that last descriptive because I don’t want the race card to come into play, so let’s make it a ‘bunch of confused folk’!
I honestly think that some of the confusion comes from not being able to call a spade what it is without having some subset of people rioting and cavorting around like wild Indians………………..oooopppsss there I go again!
So, I propose that we make it simple for the simpletons out there.
Let’s have a name calling event of epic proportions! Yep, let’s join the political fracas, the revelers without a cause, all those sitting at the edge of their seats just waiting to be insulted, let’s hear from all of them, let’s hear what they have to say.
Hey if those that want to lead the greatest country on planet earth are free to go about the country insulting their grandmothers, why not open up the flood gates for the Lab loonies and have them go at it.
Let’s make it okay to call whatever anyone has, whatever they want to call it. Let’s make ‘name calling’ official, that way each person that has a whim can go and find another whimsical person like themselves and the two of them can whimafy themselves as much as they want.
I will start the roller ball going. Here are my suggestions from what I see out there.
#1 The Cow-Hock Labrador Retriever ~ Yep, that’s the first that comes to mind because it’s the one that I see the most at the dog shows and besides I am OCD about them. For God’s sake, this past weekend at the Deland shows in the Best Of Breed competition……………………..where the best of the best ought to be, there were a couple of really, really great examples of Cow-Hock Labrador Retrievers AND they were champions of records!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There must be some type of cult following with this group because their numbers are as pervasive as the people that own them…………………they are everywhere and then some!
#2 King Kong Labrador Retrievers ~ I’m talking BIG! Really, really big suckers, tall enough to leap over tall buildings in a single bound, faster than a speeding bullet and unfortunately not equipped with brakes! I receive calls and emails for this sort of dog all the time as there is a “BIG” demand for these king kongs! “Big Blocky Head”, is the call of the wild from some of the blokes scouring to and fro for the likes of the behemoths.
#3 Pigador Labrador Retrievers ~ No need for me to come up with a novel name as this fits like a T crossed twice, snug as OJ’s glove, tight where a mite couldn’t possibly slip in………………….well you get the snowdrift here. They abound as round as they come…………………it’s seems to be a regional ‘thang’ as more of them seem to be ‘rolling’ around the NE, more than elsewhere. Rotund and short to the ground makes them cute as “pig’s ears”……………………rolly polly never had it so good!
#4 Fuss Ball Labrador Retrievers ~ These I only get to see when the snowbirds head south for the winter and both owner and dog come fully fur-coated from the frozen tundra realms of the north by north west! Of course without blizzards, sleet, and the inclemency of winter’s outrageous blasts, these burly types tend to swelter and overheat in the balmy calms of our fair-weathered state.
#5 Mail Order Bride Labrador Retriever ~ Okay, so I stuck that ‘bride’ in their to create an illusion, however, la meme chose as now you can order one and have it your way from Kalamazoo to Norway……………..From Russia With Love…………from Croatia, Malaysia, and even from Fantasia………..you let your fingers do the talking on your keyboard, press send and they in turn reply to sender by sending you a puppy or dog from places that you never knew existed! Sight unseen except for the photo that is posted at the mail order website…………………..funny thing about that photo, after you receive your puppy at the airport, it really doesn’t resemble the photo and what’s more, the same photos is still up at the website for other folk to order up that same puppy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WORSE YET, there are multiple mail order websites with different people running them and they too use the SAME PHOTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#6 Cheaper Than Dirt Labrador Retrievers ~ I get this all the time, folk stuck back in the 60’s, real life Hippies still breathing air in 2016 looking for the same price that dogs sold for a century ago! Just had one yesterday……………..I could hear the poor guy gasping for air when I let him know what dogs are ‘fetching’ now a days! There are some placesthat do sell this type and even advertise a choice, Pay Full Price with PAPERS or Half Price with NO PAPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#7 Flea Market Labrador Retrievers ~ These come in all colors and even mixed up with other breeds! They come in all sizes too, not just the coat color, but different color eyes to boot! What’s really great about the source is that included in the price is a deduction for not having clearances or guarantees! “As is” is the way to go with these dogs……………..10% off for the ones with ‘scratch and dent’ on them! You can even trade tools, lawnmowers, cats, birds or your better half if the seller is keen on things like that!
#8 True Blue American Labrador Retriever ~ Some of these come in ‘blue’………….no joke here…………..blacks with a bluish sheen to them, now that’s patriotic as all get out! Nationalism at its finest, totally draped in the Star Spangled Banner……………….like in really wearing flag bandanas! Tall and proud, with amber waves of curled tails, sailing high over their backs………………………long flapping ears as they run from sea to shining sea………………………….long may that banner wave, as long as their muzzles are! Funny thing is that in the country of origin for the breed, which is Great Britain, there are the same tall, long, thin type dogs, however the English folk don’t call them ‘American’ anything over there, they simply call them what they truly are, ‘ill-bred’ dogs!
#9 Boundless Energy Labrador Retrievers ~ OCD, ADHD, Wired, Loose Screw, Crazy, Nuts are among the names that this type receives and with good cause and appropriately termed too! There’s a breeder up the road from me that breeds them this way, has been for over 15 years! Hey, I cash in because eventually dozens of them come to us for training when they have already destroyed 10 times more property than what their purchase price was…………………….after they have run away and unlike cows, don’t come home and have to be fetched over and over again from someone’s pool on the other side of town. Would you believe that there are some folk that actually are searching for ‘another one just like the one they just lost’………………….not like in 'passed away', more like in it didn’t come back the last time it ran away!
#10 WhatYouMaCallIt Labrador Retriever ~ These are the ones that don’t fit into any of the above categories. They are not reasonable facsimiles…………………no resemblance to anything remotely from the island of Labrador where the breed did not originate from. They come with a ‘no compete clause’ because they can’t compete nowhere! No means yes to them. They don’t know no or Bo. I have seen them and don’t know either! Had one come to class last week and the owner immediately stated that the ‘dogs’ that were in the class and in the runs didn’t look like Labrador Retrievers……..of course basing his observation on ‘what’ was at the other end of his rope…………yes, rope, not a dog leash per say…….a real rope!
Okay now, let’s hear from ye! Like in “what say ye?”
The Well-Breeders & The Ill-Breeders
The Labrador Retriever is the most loved breed of dog there is……………..that’s world-wide not just the USA. In the USA, there are 3 times more Labradors registered by the AKC than the breed that is in 2nd place!!!!!!!!!!!
Those are astonishing numbers to say the least, however not all Labradors are created equal!
Sadly, not everyone that obtains a Labrador puppy will have a ‘happily ever after’ fairy tale ending because there are way, way more ‘ill-bred’ dogs than the real good ones that are the right examples of the breed.
For every good breeder there are 100 ‘not so good breeders’ that produce those ‘ill-bred’ dogs.
Right here in Florida, there is a major difference and you can be part of that difference. Yes, those that are searching for the ‘right’ Labrador puppy to call your ‘best friend’………………..you can be part of the difference making process now and for the future!
There is a pay it forward movement for producing the very best specimens that are the ‘well-bred’ dogs and the breeder that is responsible for that betterment of the breed process wants you to ‘look into’ taking part for making sure that the next generation of Labradors produced is the exemplary type, the well-bred ones and not the ones that will bring grief to the unsuspecting new owners.
You have already taken the first step by contacting that breeder…………….actually being here at the Chambray Labradors website.
So, follow along to see how easy it is to be part of a ‘feel good way’ and pay it forward to the next generation of Labradors and the next generation of owners that will be obtaining those new puppies.
First of all, if you have been to the two Chambray websites, you have already seen that there is no other Labrador breeder that provides as much information to you, the ones searching for a new puppy.
In fact there are some searchers that are overwhelmed with all the information made possible by the breeder that has been involved with the breed for 46 years now. So, take time and research through all that is provided to you. You can then have all that information to compare to what the rest have to say or as in most cases, do not divulge or disclose their offerings willingly.
That ‘informative’ breeder with the well-bred dogs that has a most novel way of doing things happens to be the Top Champion Labrador Breeder in the USA.
That breeder happens to be a Professional Dog Trainer having trained well over 35,000 dogs in the last 46 years.
That breeder happens to be a Professional Dog Handler at the dog shows, with the winningest Labrador Handling Team in the USA.
That breeder is the only Labrador breeder that doesn’t ‘keep the best’; instead that breeder places the best Labrador puppies with those looking for the best and then each of those new owners takes an interest in paying it forward to the next generation of puppies produced.
So, what’s the 2nd step in learning more about this fantastic ‘pay it forward’ movement?
Well, come over for a visit to the place where it all began 46 years ago, to Chambray Acres. Come meet the people behind the dogs and while you are here, meet the dogs that are the #1 Labradors in the country.
That visit is the Interview Process where we get to know each other. Where questions are answered if they weren’t covered in the total transparency offered up at the websites that are full of information.
That 2nd step is the all-important Interview Process where we get to know each other much, much better and then I have the information I need to decide where my puppies will be calling their new homes.
The above is an introductory ‘brief’ to all that visit our websites and that email us for more information on how to obtain a Chambray Labrador puppy.
It is part of the ‘information sharing’……………………….educating and transparency at its best and finest…….guaranteed that no other Labrador breeder provides such a wealth of information and knowledge for those searching to add a new member to their household, to their family.
We want all to know as much as there is to know………………we want all to peruse through our various offerings that detail all of our placement procedures………………..we want all to have the information so that they can then compare to what the other thousands upon thousands of puppy ‘suppliers’ offer or in actuality, what they don’t offer!
The 2nd paragraph of the preceding brief states “not all Labradors are created equal”! This statement covers a lot of ground because the sources providing those Labradors are from one end of the spectrum……no, let’s make that from one end of the universe to the other!
From the most dastardly places on the planet to the very best at Chambray Acres and everything in between! Of course the Britain’s say it simpler and best……………………there’s the ‘well-bred and there’s the ill-bred’! What they don’t spend a whole lot of time clearing up is that the ill-bred far and away outnumber the well-bred 100 to 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In my honest opinion based on my longevity with the breed, 46 years now, in the US, those numbers are even more hideous! I strongly believe that it is more like 1000 of the ill-breeding breeders versus 1 of the well-breeding type.
Oh know I keep beating this dead horse over and over, however every single day I receive communications from folk that have had another bad experience with the ill-breeders! So, I keep harping and harping up a storm in the hopes that it brings about some awareness that Labradors are not created equal!
The Rains Cometh
The rains are now part of our daily activity. Unfortunately they also cause the night training classes to be cancelled quite frequently.
It’s nothing new; we have been dealing with the seasonal rainy weather here at Chambray Acres for 43 years now.
Although I have built different covered areas where our trainers can still work the dogs, at times the thunder and lightning causes everything to stop and all of us head for the indoors.
Just yesterday I was caught straddling the ridge up on the roof of a new shed when a windstorm blew by with upwards of 40 mile an hour winds. Not being as nimble as I used to be and not being able to skedaddle on off the roof, I hunkered down as flat to the roof as possible and rode out the fast moving tempest right on top of that roof.
Hey, you win some and you lose some……………….I guess I won that one yesterday!
Well, no time to sit back and rock on a rocker because time doesn’t stand still for no one and here we are loading up the van and getting ready on Friday to move on up the turnpike 153 miles and then hop over to I-95 for the other half of the trip to Deland Fl for the dog shows there this weekend.
We never know what to expect as far as the other breeders, exhibitors and what the pro handlers may have at any show in Florida.
The good news lately is that there are several new faces with Labradors showing!
In the last couple of months there have been 5 or 6 unfamiliar exhibitors with multiple dogs each at some of the shows. I am not sure if they are totally new to showing dogs or just new to the Florida AKC shows.
The quality of the dogs seems to be good and there was one instance where a young bitch puppy was awarded Winners Bitch at one of the shows. This all bodes well for the Labrador scene as far too many of the other Florida Lab breeders would rather drive long distances out of state in order to avoid the more competitive dogs here in their own state.
So, we will see wazzup in Deland!
Making Sense To The Senseless Doesn't Make Sense/Cents
Somethings Never Make Sense
Just when I think I have made some headway, another cuckoo comes along and sends me into a tailspin!
Someone that has been breeding Labradors for 7 years contacts me for stud service……………………nothing out of the ordinary about that, as that happens about 5 times a week by folk looking for a mate for their females.
As customary, I ask for several clearances that the females should have, such as OFA hips and DNA testing for EIC and PRA. I also provide a ‘pedigree analysis’ to make sure that the breeding between the female and the target male is not too close to be considered ‘in-breeding’.
After responding to the inquirer about the clearances and also the pedigree she replies that she has a black female and she wants to produce all 3 colors in the litter because she already has a ‘long waiting list’ for yellows, blacks and chocolate puppies.
I then inform her that from the 20 top show champion/champion-pointed males that are part of my stud service program, that none of them will be able to give her what she wants in the litter. She would need to find a breeder that has a black male that carries chocolate in the recessive and also carriers yellow in the recessive…………………or a yellow male that carries chocolate in the recessive or a chocolate male that carries yellow in the recessive.
Bear in mind that the above 3 choices will only produce all 3 colors if her black female carries both yellow and chocolate in the recessive!
She responds that it is the female that determines the colors produced in a litter and that her female will produce all 3 colors regardless of what color the male is!
I then take the time to detail to her about color breeding and to go to some of the charts available at some websites for her to understand how genetics works!
She responds that her breeder guarantees that her female will produce all 3 colors regardless of what color the male is!
I then came to the realization that I was spitting into the wind………….that my time would have been better served by talking to a wall where at least I would be left wondering if the wall got anything I said to it!
Some people are destined for greatness and others are designed with flaws! Unfortunately, from what I have observed greatness is found far and few between and flaws abound like clutter to a hoarder!
Sense is at a premium in a sea of the senseless.
I provide a service that I hope serves the betterment of the breed. Totally pro bono, I donate my valuable time to anyone that wants to learn about the breed……………..in other words, I offer mentorship without any strings attached in the hopes that what I pass on will make a ripple in the vast ocean of Labrador breeders!
The very busy ‘Facebook broadcaster’………………………a name that I apply to those that post incessantly on this social media phenomena…………………………..sends me a photo of a puppy that she bred and is keeping for show. I had already seen the photo on many Facebook emails that I receive from her on a daily basis.
She wants an “honest’ opinion on the prospects of the now 5 month old puppy.
To begin with, that’s all I give! I don’t have the time to cut a rug, dance a jig, or hem and haw when it comes to Labrador Retrieves and the Betterment of the Breed.
You contact me, or you schedule a visit for me to evaluate your dog and I will give you the low down, the wazzup, the God’s Honest Truth, so that a decision can be made about that dog that will benefit the breed.
So, there in all its glory or lack thereof was the aforementioned puppy, all 3 photos showing side, front and rear.
I grimaced with the first photo, I squinted with the second and I cringed with the third!
Side photo: Sway back and dastardly high in the rear. Long hocks (not well let down as the breed standard dictates). No angulation of the rear and super straight stifles.
Front photo: Totally pinched in at the elbows, not spread between the legs and feet east west at 45 degrees each!
Rear photo: Yep, you know what’s coming……………COW-HOCKED! Close quartered between the thighs and of course east west to match the front feet!
Did I say a ripple might make a difference? Not even a tsunami of epic proportions will make sense to some of these blokes that consider themselves Labrador Breeders!
The sign at my front gate states “No Appointment, No Service”………………….in big bold black and white for any and all to see and get the drift…………………………so out in front of the gate was a rather large red pickup, one of those jacked up several feet off the ground……………………honking away like there was no tomorrow.
One of my trainers, working in the front with one of the dogs, stops what she is doing and walks to the gate to inquire what the urgency is. Actually, all of my workers have explicit instructions not to answer anyone at the gate unless there is an appointment expected at that time.
Dozens and dozens of people pull up to the gate looking for directions and we don’t have the time of day to serve that function.
The very insistent interloper tells my assistant that he is looking for a ‘Sandy Herzon’, so she stops what she is doing and comes inside to get me.
As soon as I am half way from the house to the gate which is about a total of 80 feet, I can see that tied to the back of the pickup bed is a rather large and very tall chocolate Labrador-looking dog!
Already annoyed with the showing up without an appointment and the loud introduction, plus seeing what a Labrador should not look like, I can sense that this was going to be a total waste of time on my part.
Sure enough, before I can address any issues, the very large man announces that he has driven over an hour from Ft Lauderdale for me to see his super stud dog ‘Hercules’ and that he is offering him for stud service because he knows that there are not many that look like him!
Without waiting for a response from me, he offers to take Hercules out of the back of the truck for me to ‘get a great look at the beast’!
“Whoa, I have seen as much as I need to of the beast!”..............................getting his attention, I continued, “He is way, way too much dog for my intents and purposes.”
Without waiting for any type of response, I head back to the comfort of my office to get some fresh cool air..................now that really made some sense!
Mind Boggling Numbers
For Those That Asked
“What is the percent of dogs that make it to champion versus the number of dogs produced and what percent are your dogs to the states numbers?”
The above question was about Labrador Retrievers.
Since the AKC no longer details how many of any breed it registers………………..they only publish the ranking of each breed……………….it is now only a guestimate as to how many Labradors are born each year, how many are registered with the AKC and how many actually make it to become show champions!
As a collector of facts, statistics and records, I have an inkling on all such matters. Since there is no ‘official’ source for the right answer, my conjecture will have to suffice.
Let’s take the state of Florida that abounds with Labrador breeders. This is all Lab breeders,show, field, backyard, mass producers, all types of Lab breeders!
Yep, hundreds of them in every niche and locale known to man and woman alike…………….from sea to shining sea, in this case from the Gulf of Mexico to the Florida Straits to the Atlantic Ocean, anywhere and everywhere a person would wish to look for there will be a person that considers themselves a Labrador breeder!
Florida has 67 counties and with a bare minimum of 10 breeders per county, that’s over 600 dabblers in the breed………………………….that is a low ball figure because in my area alone of South Florida, which includes Miami/Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and the Florida Keys, there are well over 200 people that breed Labradors!
So, let’s say that those 600 Lab breeders have 3 litters a year each, that’s 1800 litters at 7 puppies per litter……………….that’s over 12,000 puppies produced just in Florida alone. Keep in mind that this is the low end guess, because it could very well be twice those numbers!
Last year there were about 11 champions produced from Florida…………………..11 champions out of 12,000 produced………………….11 is what % of 12,000?…………………….drum roll maestro and the answer is 0.091666666666667% (round off to .092%)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That is such an insignificant, minute, infinitesimal small percent that it would come up as a ‘burp’ on the earthquake Richter Scale that wouldn’t be felt by an ant!
Following the Trivial Pursuit path, out of those 11 champions crowned for 2015 from Florida, 6 were bred by Chambray…………………now that percent really racks up some commotion and can be felt all around, maestro the drum roll again……………………and the answer is>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 6 is 54.5454545455% of 11…let’s round it off to 55%
Comparing the state percentage of dogs produced to champions which is 0.092% to the Chambray percentage of champions produced in Florida which is 55%................. is like comparing a minnow to a Blue Whale (the largest animal to have ever lived on earth).
So, Chambray Labradors produced more than half of the champions in Florida in 1 year, yet only produced 50 puppies from the low ball figure of 12,000 produced by the rest! Comparing 50 is like a drop of water in a swimming pool!
"Now I Get It"
Wow, more lights have come on! There are more folks jumping on the "Now I get it” bandwagon!
I guess the constant pounding of the drum, the never-ending repetition of how it is done, the total transparency made available by all the different blogs, pages, articles and essays are finally hitting close to home……………….beyond home sweet home, all the way around the bases with HOME-runs if you will!
Of all those responding with high fives and eureka moments that now understand our ‘pay it forward movement’ for the betterment of the breed, there is an overwhelming number of them that have had the ‘before and after’ affect to wake them up, like in “thanks I needed that!”
The majority have shared that just as I was bowled and rolled over way back when I was starting out in the conformation realm by those breeders that kept the best and sold the rest, so too have they been bitten by the forked-tongued and razor sharp-toothed vixen breeders that unload their off-wares on trusting and unsuspecting neophytes.
Nothing like experiencing something to have a greater appreciation of how it has been done for eons (not really sure how long, but eons covers a lot of ground). Those that have tried it their way now have an alternative to those medieval torture chamber devices and chose which way they want to go.
Of course the decision making process would be so much easier if all the information gathered was all done by the most reliable method ever devised…………………………the up close and personal way, the first person experience has no equal when trying to come to an educated choice and the only way to receive that education is to delve deep and gather as much information possible using the most secure server……………..YOU!
Yes, no one serves you better than yourself! No one tells it like it is like you can! It is 100% reality if you are the one realizing it!
There are always multiple versions of the truth, so what you perceive as being is your version and not someone else’s. Of course nothing is worse than second hand smoke and screens. Anything retold by the masses and added to along the way to make it more news worthy loses the real elements and then becomes adulterated and beyond what it was to start with.
An Interview visitor today summed it up as well as could be stated “This is nothing like I envisioned!”
The difference was that the preconceived notions he came saddled with were an accumulation of layers of ‘she said, he said’ and none of what he perceived coming in had a semblance of what he saw and experienced in person.
“I have been to half a dozen or so Labrador breeders and none have anything comparable to what you all offer with your dogs! In fact, all those have you as the one to beat because every one of them uses you and your dogs as the example of ‘their dogs are better than your dogs’!” he would continue with.
“Fact of the matter is, a couple of those people started out with your dogs and each was successful with those dogs!” more attributes dispensed this way by the visitor.
Of course, truth be told, no amount of harping, bragging, boasting, chest thumping can ever come close to success! Success has a way of drawing the bees to the honey. It is the shining beacon that illuminates the way for those that are in a fog, those that don’t know which way to turn…………………the light in front of them is validation through success.
So, put success and education side by side and nothing can light a candle to that winning combination!
Paying It Forward or Paying It Up The Ying-Yang
What's Your Pleasure?
There were several that wrote in asking what the ‘Chambray Way’ is!
I have dedicated 3 websites full of information that details in easy to understand language what is that we do that makes our ‘way’ so successful.
The greatest thing about it is…………………..it’s totally wide open for any and all to come and ‘look around’, ‘ask around’, ‘talk to those that chose to be part of it’, ‘read, read and read some more, yes read all about it’…………………then if everything that is seen, heard, felt and whatever else is used to come to some type of conclusion to those searching about…………..then and only then will there be a ‘meeting of the minds’………………………like in the seeker’s mind and what mine I have left after 46 years of ‘making a difference’ with the breed!
I cannot make the above any easier to understand. Of course I know that there are those that resist the new…………….that prefer to be taken advantage by the ‘same old, same old’………………….that instead of joining a great pay it forward movement, they would rather still be paying up the ying-yang………………….that instead of having the best of the best placed with them, they would rather have the ‘leftovers, the 3rds and 4ths' after the breeder has kept the best and pawned off the rest!
Yep, there are folk that still think that paying massive dues is the way to get ahead…………………that kissing up to the Queen Bees is the way to go to get something worthwhile that in 3 to 4 generations may produce something competitive……………….never mind that in that span of time that it takes for them to produce those 3 or 4 generations, the mentor breeder is still 3 to 4 generations ahead of them with their ‘keep the best and unload the rest’ ways of the past, present and continued future as long as blokes and folks keep on feeding their meters!
I can attest to that last sentence because in the last 46 years, since 1970 when I got my first Labrador……………..NOTHING HAS CHANGED with the old guard, the old ways of the past, the traditional KEEP THE BEST AND TOSS THE REST!
46 years with BUSINESS AS USUAL! With the buyers blindly paying the price for the ‘lesser’ product produced by the seller, the breeder! Meanwhile the breeder has been keeping the best while the buyers have been footing the bill for them to succeed!
OOOPSSSSS, I just made a mistake……………………………..an honest one, but still I erred in stating that NOTHING HAS CHANGED!
SOMETHING HAS CHANGED IN THOSE 46 YEARS THAT HAVE ELAPSED SINCE I WAS ABUSED, TAKEN ADVANTAGE BY THOSE IN POWER AT THE TIME…………….THOSE THAT ‘EMPTIED THEIR GARBAGE CANS’ ON THE FLORIDA BREEDERS/EXHIBITORS!
Empty Their Garbage Cans – Back in the 1980’s through the late 1990’s, early 2000’s, that was the ‘mot du jour’, the word or saying of the day………………for those from Florida that wanted better dogs and dealt with the northern Queen Bees that had the best dogs in the country……………….they would dump their refuse, their worst products on the kiss-up Florida breeders that would gobble up whatever crumbs were sent down here! Hey, I know first hand, because it happened to me, not once, not twice..............6 times by 6 different breeders!
Well, that changed PDQ when the Chambray Way came into being and started to dominate the wins here! Yep, send garbage no more down here because it will look real, real bad in the ring getting tossed around by the Chambray Way! So that old practice of emptying garbage cans down here died a very deserving end!
The best answer I have for those still in the dark, still on the fence, still not sure if the new is better than the old………………………..the best thing for those is to come in an sample the wares, test ride the premise, it’s all there in plain, easy to understand language. No hidden agendas, no tricks up the sleeves, no smoke and mirrors…………………………………..and here is the best for last……………..it doesn’t cost a cent to inquire about!
Yep, no paying up the ying-yang or wherever it is that people get hoodwinked nowadays in!
Making Sense Of Large Numbers Vs Small Numbers
Ah, I was wondering how long it would take before someone would respond that actually ‘read in-between the lines’ of the Clear Day In May blog!
“How is it that your kennel can field so many top contenders that can routinely beat the best one or two dogs from all the breeders that put those professional handlers on their dogs?”
Eureka, someone just stumbled upon the motherlode! It’s been plain as a clear day in every month including May! Elementary my dear Watson!
Anyways, great observation! So, here’s Johnny……………..well, maybe not Johnny, but as reasonable an explanation as I can whip up.
Winning against the rest is the difference between those breeders and the program at Chambray Labradors.
Say there are 20 of those breeders that routinely send dogs to compete in Florida against the Chambray lineup of dogs, then add another 10 Florida breeders that frequent same said shows……………….20 + 10 = 30 of those competitors.
Now, say each of those breeders produces 5 litters a year……………that would be small change, because most breeders average about 8 litters a year and there are several that produce +15 litters a year…………………..now if you multiply just 5 litters a year by 30 breeders that would equal 150 litters a year to choose their top 1 or 2 dogs that they select to compete against the Chambray dogs!
Stay with me here! Sometimes math and numbers seem to overwhelm some folk, so a respite is in order.
Ok, break is up and back to the point at hand!
We…………………like in me and my owners produce 5 litters a year for a total of less than 50 puppies a year (5 x 10 = 50) while our competitors produce 150 litters times 10 puppies in a litter equals 1500 puppies!
So, do the comparison, our 50 puppies a year against 1500 puppies a year produced by all those others………….NOW HERE IS THE DEAL……………………….our 50 puppies beats those 1500 puppies hands down, hands up and hands up the wazoo!
So, when someone else’s dogs win at a dog show………………..they had 3000% more dogs to choose from to send to the dogs shows and yet they don’t win at the same percentage that they produce dogs.
Their combined production in numbers is way lopsided pitted against our production in numbers, yet our winning is overwhelmingly, humongously, overbearingly in our favor that it just doesn’t make sense to most that are seeing it and not getting it!
So, just how does any reasonable minded person looking in from the outside, from the sidelines rationalize the disparity in how many dogs are produced by those competing in Florida to the small number of dogs produced by the one breeding program, Chambray’s that is light years ahead in the winning department.
The only logical explanation is that the Chambray Way of only breeding the best to the best to produce the best………………….then by placing the best of those produced with folk that will be part of the ‘for the betterment of the breed’ movement makes a huge difference in the final say………………..the final say is what the judges have to say when looking at those top dogs from theirs versus those from ours!
What I say is for all comers to keep sending their best this way, which makes winning in Florida that much better. That way, if someone wants to really boast and brag about beating some worthy competition, they can use all those numbers that I cast a light upon up above, meanwhile the Long Distance Haulers, those that ferry their dogs on out of here now know that their wins are suspect at best and the titles on those dogs just don’t carry the weight that the ones that bump and grind where the big boys and big girls come out to play.
As they say in France, can’t have your cake and then eat it too……………………….cream puff wins and titles just don’t have the weight that winning where the numbers are high and mean something!
A Clear Day In May
I used an analogy in one of the blogs recently and several folk had a problem following along, so in remembrance to Mitch Miller……………………follow the bouncing ball here!
There are 10’s of thousands of people breeding Labradors!
Guestimates have it at over ½ million Lab puppies a year are ‘Born In The USA”! That’s 500,000 each year!
There are hundreds of show breeders all over the country, maybe about 500 or so.
The majority of show breeders use professional dog handlers at the dog shows.
Since it is a costly proposition to hire the pros to ply their trade in the ring, those show breeders can only afford to show their best dog or two.
Professional dog handlers take on what they consider the best dogs from those breeders.
So, professional handlers will take on dogs from several of those show breeders at a time.
If the above makes sense, which means that those professionals are handling the best dogs from those kennels.
Since many of the Florida breeders avoid showing in Florida, most of the dogs showing in Florida are from outside of the state.
So, when Chambray goes to a dog show, we are up against the best dogs from multiple breeders/kennels from across the country, not just against the best dogs from this area/state/region!
So again, in essence, it’s us against all comers! Which means that our top show roster of 8 to 10 dogs goes head-to-head with the #1’s from all those kennel/breeders that hire the pros to handle their dogs down here in Florida.
That’s all nifty and neat, however when I know that there won’t be majors at any given weekend, then I go down the depth chart and call up our young whippersnappers that are not in the top show roster of 8 to 10 dogs to go to the dog shows and go up against those same top dogs from all those other kennels that hire the pros to handle those dogs down here in our state!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Think about that for a minute or two.
So, our 1st, 2nd, 3rd through 10th dog againts the top 1st dogs from each kennel/breeder and then we also send in our 2nd string dogs against the top dogs from all comers!
Now, does that make the analogy a bit clearer?
Now here’s the real big deal………………………………it really doesn’t matter which dogs we send in to be on the front lines because weekend in and weekend out…………………………………THEY ALL WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As validation to that last statement, witness the monstrous winning streak of 134 straight, consecutive, in a row, one after another, come rain……come sun………………come blizzard, come sunstroke (Orlando 2014), come hypothermia (Brooksville 2013), come what May, June and July, come high water and drought…………………………………since January of 2012…….our 1st string, our 2nd string, our puppies…………..whatever dogs we bring in have ‘been representing’!
For those still foggy, let me know if I need to be using Claritin?
I Heard It Through The Grapevine
So I heard it through the grapevine that the Deland shows wouldn’t amount to much…………..much in the case of Labradors is that there wouldn’t be enough of an entry for males or females to make a major-pointed event for either gender!
The grapevine called it right, much to my chagrin!
Like clockwork orange and right on time, the numbers for males and females did not add up to Bo Didley or Bo Derek for majors and the only far-fetched way to make it to a major is going all the way and either the class dog or class bitch taking Best Of Breed……………………………if all the dogs are there and there are no absentees or teetotalers sitting in their crate with the intention of staying there while breaking the only way possible to achieve that major!
So, somewhere under the rainbow sitting silly are those afflicted types rejoicing that they once again pooped on the party by not contributing numbers and what should smell like roses instead smells fishy rotten in Denmark!
Yes, the Party Poopers have had their way once again.
Let’s not blame it totally on the bossa nova, because there are those other wayfarers that would rather walk an extra mile and skedaddle out of state to compete where Slim is no longer Pickens!
Instead of accepting the challenge to go head-to-head with the heady headmaster here in their own state, they opt out and cover great distances in search for where the grass doesn’t grow as green and at times it’s easier winning there than taking candy from a sleeping baby!
Then they creep back into the state with the loot and booty in tow and hark up a storm at their websites about all the winning they just perpetrated in those lean locales………………….meanwhile back in their own neighborhood, they can’t whip up canned cream against real competition.
Hey, for those (in the words of the Trumpster) 'lightweights' an AKC champion’s title looks good on any dog regardless of how it was achieved. Of course you can fool the fools that don’t know Heidi from Hellacious, but everyone in the dog fancy, especially those in the Labrador-know…………. knows the games people play and the value of lesser dogs sporting cream puff titles!
At Chambray, we earn our titles the good old fashion way, with lots of hard work and going up against the best that any and all are willing to bring on!
So, we get a real bad batch between the habitual Party Poopers holding out their dogs and the Long Distance Haulers hauling their dogs to far away places, both depriving the Florida breeders, exhibitors and handlers the numbers that rightfully belong to this area and region.
Now we will be off to see the wizard or whoever is judging Labradors at the Deland shows, actually Christine Calcinari on Saturday and Robert Slay on Sunday with barely 2 points on the line!
But hey, we will gladly take two points, hopefully twice each day and there is also two Best OF Breeds up for grabs that any of our 3 champions showing would relish and add to their impressive resumes.
However, once again we leave behind are top guns and will have to rely on our up and coming youngsters to do our bidding for the judge’s favors!
No complaints here from Homey, because those still wet behind the ears youngsters and puppies have been bringing home the bacon, the ham and the good old ‘country cookin’ grits! Although going head to head with what the professional handlers are contracted to show from each of the kennels that hire them to handle their blue ribbon prized best, makes the wins that much more impressive from our second in line and other backups to our big guns back home that just need those pesky major-pointed wins!
We are still either up to or slightly behind last year’s dizzying pace to reach top champion breeder, going into June we had the same amount of new champions for the year with 3, same as we do right now, however last year we did have more dogs perched higher with more points than we have right now.
We have one dog lacking 1 major-pointed win for his AKC title, Chambrays Triple Play………………………………one female lacking 2 majors to finish, Chambrays Galactic N Counter…………………………………another female just needing singles to finish out, Chambrays Zeta Lady and one other male coming on strong with wins the last 3 weekends out, now sitting on 8 points and needing 2 majors and a single point to lay claim to his title, Chambrays Black Diamond Out Of The Ruff.
Hopefully the June shows will provide the fuel for the majors to surface and we can get ahead of the game with at least one of the above crossing the finish line for the champion’s title.
Party Pooper Syndrome
Party Poopers Prevail
Ah, there they are.............at it again, the dreaded Party Poopers of the dog show world!
Yep, for those in the know…………………those of us that have been around the block…………….nah, by now make that around the world a couple of times over…………….I am referring to those beastly and nasty types that take great pleasure in both breaking majors and also in seeing that major points do not materialize at up and coming shows!
No need to expound upon for the crusty old sailors like me and most of my cronies who have been stung by the previously mention beast-like personas on more occasions than we would like to remember. However for those that have not been initiated in the ways of shenanigans, subterfuge, chicanery, vindictiveness, vendetta and other evil vice-like misdeeds, educating is in order!
There are those, that we all know well………………………..in every locality, state, region or wherever dog show folk congregate for the purpose of exhibiting their beloved show dogs……………that you will find the odd shaped, squarish-type that just doesn’t fit into the regular round holes that normal folk fit into.
Yes sir, yes ma’am we all know one or a few of these peg-like people that just don’t ever go with the flow, in fact most of them derive great pleasure in splashing their way around in calm waters just to show their arses off! They go in reverse where traffic goes forward, they march to the beat of galloping jackasses, they say nay when all around civil minded gents and ladies say yeah!
Well, I know as sure as tootin that you know who I am referring to, so let’s let the sleeping dog lay before it wakes up and starts to growl and bite everyone in sight!
In our Region 4 which includes the sunny side up state of Florida, the peachy keen state of Georgia, and the real peach state, South Carolina (produces more peaches than any other state!)……………….it now takes 19 male dogs and 20 females to make a major pointed show………………….that’s a whole lot, tied for the most with several other regions!
If we were loaded with buckaroos it may make sense to load up the truck and head out to Beverly…………….actually to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and some of those humongous expanse states where there’s millions of miles of corn every which way and loose too, where the AKC Point’s Schedule is half or ¾ what it takes here is sunnyville to get a major pointed show.
So, “Where’s the beef?”…………………………the beef is with those obtusely formed folks that go about breaking the majors at dog shows, while their dog sits in their crates and do not make it out into the ring, all the while the sourly-pussed bloke stands around with crossed arms smirking up a storm, taking extreme delight with the scenario at hand with the decent exhibitors running amuck counting the arm band numbers that haven’t been picked up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then there are those others that announce on Facebook and other gabfest social media gossip grapevines that they won’t be entering their dogs so that other breeders, exhibitors and handlers won’t have the opportunity to achieve majors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Shivers me timbers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At times those old tales of the Winston Salem witch hunts sound very doable in the here and now of the 21st century! Yep, tar and feathering never sounded so appealing! Bring back the scarlet letter! Blackballing should be in play!
You would think that those with reasonable and those with semi-clear, beautiful minds would want dogs to finish and get the higher pointed dogs out of the way for those dogs that are showing and not winning against those dogs!
But lo and behold, the old ‘cutting their noses off to spite their faces’ takes over and somehow in that far, far below Mensa-minded mind these obvious misfits conjure otherwise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How they can justify such wayward and forlorn thoughts is way, way beyond any reasonable way of thinking!
“What are you thinking?” comes to mind………………for those that have a mind, because too often it is impossible to fathom how anyone with a mind can come up with the absurdities that they perpetuate.
Payback would be a beach, but then we would be stooping ourselves to the lowered depths that these rhyme-less and clueless individuals dwell in. In the big picture and justifiable end, we know who they are and we, as calm and rational human beings realize that they are afflicted with the Party Pooper Syndrome!
It's The Season For The Nasties!
I am not talking about nasty people....................because them there kind are available all year round!
I'm talking the nasties that affect our dogs!
Here we go again! It’s steaming outside and all the nasties are brewing in that stew!
Yep, it’s the season for all the things that can and will affect our dogs! Bacteria, Viruses, germs, parasites, protozoans, sunburns………………………..you name it, they are lined up waiting for a break in the skin, waiting for stress to lower the immune system, waiting for the ripe and right opportunity to inflict major damage to an unknowing and unwilling pet of ours!
HOTSPOTS are being reported to me daily from everywhere, not just local yokel south, but also far away west as a young man can go, due north by northwest and some nor east dwellers too have pondered ‘what to do’ with the season return of the unsightly and yucky skin infections, abrasions and contusions that come with warm and wet weather.
MITES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, April/May/June are the wake call for these little critters that like to make a mess by eating out hair follicles all over the dogs……………which in turn can turn into mange infections. There are all kinds of mites that playhouse on our dogs. Sarcoptic mites , Demodectic mites, ear mites, and others are just salivating to get to our k-9 friends.
KENNEL COUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!OMG……………..the scurvy or all airborne infectious diseases…………….not just one kind, there’s about 21 different types of these colds/flus that make their way around EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVERYWHERE is the operative work here folks, because that’s where they are, at your vet’s office, at the grooming salon, at the dog shows, at the dog park, at your neighbor’s house, at your familiar’s house………..anywhere and EVERYWHERE. Dogs cannot hide from the exposure! Even if your dog never sets foot/paw out of your house…………………..you will bring it to them in your clothes and shoes!
PARVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!The word no dog owner, breeder, exhibitor, handler wants to hear! This is worse than the A word, the B word, the C word, the N word and on and on…………………….the P WORD is absolutely NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR is happening! To make matters worse, where it used to take 10 to 15 years for new mutations to appear and make themselves known, now we are dealing with 3 to 5 mutations per year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BUT HARK…………GREAT NEWS……………….there is a CURE, NOW that has an 85% survival rate used at home by the owners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If anyone is interested, I have gone through the study and research and have the most up to date information on this and will share it with anyone that contacts me.
Anyways, if anyone has a problem with any of the bad nasties above and would like to learn what I have been using that works on 99% of the hotspots, mites, kennel cough and even parvo…………………don’t hesitate to contact me personally. For legalities beyond the normal realm, I cannot publish any of the cures that I use, but I can share individually what I have success with on a one-on-one basis with those people that have common sense. Of course the person asking has to assume 1 million % responsibilty if they are so inclined on repeating what they hear I do. In other words………………………each person has to take responsibility for their actions or they can just take their dog to a vet after any hiccup or burp!
My word of advice is to keep your eyes and ears totally wide open on a daily basis with your dog and act as soon as the first sign of ANYTHING shows up.
Time For Some Feedback
Sure as shootin, each and every time I offer up an article or blog detailing what it takes to reach a high level of success, there will be those that will lament and fuss up a storm with something to this nature:
“It should be all about the dogs and not about training or conditioning and certainly not about a professional handler getting gobs of money to make a dog look good!”…………..actual communication from one of the lamenters!
This is comparable to an Olympian not training, not conditioning and then not performing and wondering why he/she flubbed it!
Le meme chose with a concert piano player, not practicing and then trying to perform………………..just not going to be as good as it should be!
It is about the dogs...................the best dogs………………………………….of course, the quality has to be paramount because after all, the reason we are showing dogs is to bring out the best to compete that will be the ones that will perpetuate the breed to the next generation.
If all the dogs that arrive at a dog show venue are dead-on equal, then it will be the ones that have been trained and conditioned that will ‘look’ the best among all those with equal conformation value!
Then to take it a step further, the actual presentation will separate the great ones from the superb ones!
Another Top 3 response that comes across loud and clear:
“How can I get ahead with the breed, when none of the breeders in my area are willing to place a top notch show puppy with a novice?”
This one subject is bound around with tradition! Like traditionally it has been advocated by the great’s of the breed to ‘keep the best and sell off the rest’………………..in fact in one of the most revered books by one of the legends of the breed, the author clearly states that as a way to get ahead in the breeding/showing world!
Of course the practice does have merit for the breeder, but at the same time it does a major disservice to the breed as a whole. It polarizes into 2 camps those with an interest with the breed, the haves and the have nots! The haves are very reluctant to share what they have because they are afraid that those same dogs will come back and compete against them, so they keep the best and sell of the rest on Limited Registration.
This self-serving action causes the old ‘opposite and equal reaction’…………………those searching for a top-notch show puppy must go outside the area and contact breeders and hope that someone will sell them a decent puppy. The majority of the time, they end up ordering a puppy sight unseen, ‘a wishin and a hopin’ that they end up getting something decent!
Unfortunately for the buyers that bring these sight unseen, shipped puppies that bring them to me to evaluate , evaluations that I make available ‘gratis’, ‘pro bono’ as a contribution to the betterment of the breed, I get to see up close and personal the results of this ‘pig in a poke’ way of obtaining a show dog………………….the vast majority of the time, to the tune of more than 25 to 1, with 25 being “NO SHOW” and just ONE……………………..like in ‘One is the loneliest number you will ever do’…………………………one out of 25 is 4%.....................so 4% of those brought to be that were bought sight unseen actually get at least 1 thumb up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All I can say on this particular subject is to do your very best to find a show breeder that has some level of success showing dogs and that will part with something decent from their breeding program. There are a few of us that take delight in sharing our successes all for the betterment of the breed.
Here is another ‘real winner’ that comes in with predictable frequency!
"It’s not fair that amateur hobby breeders that are into this for fun have to compete against professional breeders like you that do this for a living. Of course you people are going to win most of the time! You stack the deck with your dogs that have better training and better handling!”
My reply…………………………. “Now hear this…………………………dog showing is a big, big business! Lots and lots of money is involved at all levels. Big, big money for the AKC……………….large amounts of money for the superintendents that put on the shows………………..although non-profit, the clubs harvest their fair share that is put into a spendable kitty……………………………vendors make lots of money…………………professional handlers make tons……………trainers make beaucoup…………………………the food companies are overflowing with their end of the cash collecting…………………………..vets live in super-duper homes and drive big named cars from all of it and there are still some that want to call this showing dogs a hobby!”
Hey, dipsy doodles wake up and smell the dog poop as this isn’t a game or a lark in the park. Just ask anyone that has a dog that is showing that is spending the time, energy AND money for their dog to be out weekend in and weekend out! Make sure to ask them that question the day their dog doesn’t win points or Best Of Breed. Ask them if they are having fun yet?
So, to answer your lament…………………………the best dogs win 80% of the time, that’s the product end……………………………..the dogs that have been trained and conditioned will win over the fat and out of shape dogs 10 to 1, that’s the presentation end of it…………………………….the dogs that are handled the best have the edge almost always, that’s the presentation end of it!
Yes, your observation that those that treat this as a fun hobby and don’t take it serious will not fair well against those dogs which have been primed with the Big 3 Ps! So, let’s add another P, for Professional!
#1 Professional Product
#2 Professionally Prepared
#3 Professionally Presented
If I was a betting man, my money would be on the provider of the preceding 3 Ps!
Step 3, The Icing On The Cake Presentation
Ah, now we come to the showcasing of the final product! The presentation at the dog show arena.
This is where the best of the best arrive from each True Blue Breeder and from lesser sources as well, all coming to do battle.
Each to stand tall bearing that breeder’s crown/name which in most cases represents years, decades or more of toil, sweat and many tears……………………and the last dog left standing at day’s end is declared the best!
For class males, it will be the Winners Dog………………for class females, the Winners Bitch and then the grand finale, the best of that breed……………one dog will be awarded the grand prize of Best Of Breed!
The culmination of this process is what separates the ordinary breeder from the truly great breeders. The truly great breeders are the ones that win at the most consistent level and the ordinary breeders make the trip over and over and mostly leave empty handed.
As detailed in the two previous installments to this blog, #1 Product and #2 Preparation, the combination of the 3 P’s (Product, Preparation, Presentation)………………..of course all 3 done correctly can propel a True Blue Breeder to the highest level of Top Champion Breeder of a given area, a state or for the truly great, the country!
So, just what comprises presentation?
Why not just let a bunch of dogs run around in a large enclosure doing whatever comes naturally to a bunch of dogs running around a large enclosure and have a bunch of folk sitting around the enclosure munching on peanuts, drinking whatever quenches their thirst and have them come to some type of a consensus…………….much like is done in the Olympics, as to which dog is the best?
Well, I don’t have an answer to the above question I just asked………………just like I don’t have an answer to what the judges that are used in the system that is in place do to arrive at the same conclusion as to which dog is best…………………..we would hope that those sitting/standing in judgement actually have the capability to choose using the ascribed dictums, the breed standard to come to their godlike conclusions…………………but once again, being at the mercy of human nature, we bear through the good, the bad and the ugwhat does ly and truly hope that the best of the best do rise above all the clutter.
In order to ensure the above optimistic rambling, as a True Blue Breeder that I fancy myself to be, I make sure that all 3 P’s are at the top of the charts with the best Product, the best Preparations and then the best Presentation at the dog shows.
We pride ourselves with the best of all 3 P’s! We take the best produce and prepare it as no others do and then we go into the show arena and over the last 5 years showcase that product with the winningest presentation in the entire country by winning like no other Labrador handlers have ever done.
Witness the current consecutive dog show weekend winning streak of 134 weekends with wins at every weekend dating back to January 2012 and the icing on that cake is Top Champion Breeder in the USA for 2012, 2014 and 2015 and now leading the pack in 2016!
True Blue Breeders coming through with the best Product (conformation, the best Preparation (training and conditioning) and the best Presentation (handling). That's what it takes to be at the top.
Cinco De Mayo
The 3 P's Continued
Step 2, Preparations
Preparations involves taking that great product that a True Blue Breeders puts out, generation after generation……………………………….honing it to perfection, then take it to the battlefields where other True Blue Breeders have arrived at with their top of the line produce and all go head-to-head for the top prize offered to the best product!
Okay, so maybe I am being a little bit of an idealist, but hey, in an idealist world that’s the way it should work! Of course, we live in a realistic world filled with the unexpected, the hidden agendas that also come with human nature so that the results are not always what the ideal calls for……………………however over a period of time as described in a previous essay/blog, the cream will eventually rise to the top!
So those guys/gals as myself breed for the very best, ‘us’ being from the True Blue Breeder types………….we are the ones that have the best ‘products’……………we then go about ‘preparing’ them for what is to come next………………………………the actual battleground show presentations!
However, there is much that goes into this Preparations part of the equation………………….much! To get a newborn puppy to the dog shows is a long and arduous process! It is the mother of all Point A to Point Z journeys.
Not many of the half million Labrador puppies born each year in the US make it from that ‘Point A’ of being born, to making it through the long and winding road ending in ‘Point Z’, an AKC Show Champion!
The last year (2009) that the AKC made those records available it was less than 100 new AKC Labrador champions per year versus 500,000 Labs born each year…………………………..WOWSER of a ratio……………………….100 or so to 500,000 or so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That sad sack ratio is directly connected to the first installment of this essay/blog, the PRODUCT! This all goes to show that not many are True Blue Breeders, whereas there are overloads of RODs (Repeat Offender Dabblers) producing the off wares that make up the lion’s share of the dogs produced yearly across the good old USA.
Ok, I think I beat that old ‘product’ nag to death by now, so let’s delve into the preparations that are needed before showing up on the frontlines with our dogs in tow.
Taking that finely tuned, honed to perfection dog for the ultimate test at a dog show where it will be ‘presented’ against a bevy of other dogs that also came from other True Blue Breeders, not to mention those other dogs that came from the RODs and others that show up not knowing what, where nor when, well you get the drift here……………………so what’s it take to get a dog through the 2nd major hurdle after passing the muster of the 1st level………….. the ‘production’ line?
The first step in preparations is actually selecting the best possible candidates for competition.
Sounds easier said than done and this is where most breeders fail. This is where the evaluation process comes in and the vast majority do not have the vision to project into the future the attributes that each of the puppies in a litter have and will continue to exhibit as they develop.
Next comes the ‘where and with whom’ to place those puppies with the stellar conformation that will lead them to that last Point Z, an AKC champion.
The majority of breeders end up keeping for themselves what they consider to be the best show puppies in each litter as in “keep the best and sell the rest” type mentality. The biggest problems with that is when that breeder brings those puppies to the dog shows and they compete head to head with those they sold off to other show exhibitors.
Which puppies will have the best chances of being successful? Since the breeder kept the best 2 or 3 of the litter, those puppies that were sold off were at the least the 4th or worse in the litter and their chances of success are greatly minimized, making their journey to the promised land of Point Z seem like a Mt Everest climb!
Step 2 is the Correct Training Methods and Proper Conditioning takes over as the ways and means to have the dog ready for Step 3, the Presentation.
At Chambray Acres we go all out in the preparations department! Using our proprietary methods and tools of the trade that I have innovated, plus of course good old fashion elbow grease, footwork and plenty of sweat, we make sure that each dog gets exactly what it needs to be in shape and in the best show presentation mode possible.
The training sessions are a 7 day a week routine here, with individual workouts each day and then 3 nights a week training classes where all 7 of our trainers and handlers come to work with the dogs on the show roster.
All these sessions gives me the opportunity to decide what each dog is lacking so that special routines are developed for that dog.
When considering the lineup for the up and coming dog shows, what I see in class and with the private sessions determines which dogs will be entered into those shows with deadlines looming. Dogs that are out of shape, overweight or just not performing well, will be sidelined and another dog will take its place in the show roster.
So, no we have covered 2 of the P’s, next will be Step 3, the Presentation!
The 3 P's
The First Step, The Product
Product, Preparation & Presentation
It doesn’t get any simpler than the above!
A great product is the most essential ingredient to create longevity. In breeding dogs, it is the end all, because without the great product, there can be no continuity at the highest levels.
Of course continuity involves knowing how to reproduce that great product, generation after generation. That is the litmus test for whether a person becomes a true blue breeder or a ‘repeat offender dabbler’!
The ‘repeat offender dabbler’ also produces, however that product is fraught with frailties, faults and worse……………………..defects (read the breed standard).
We see these types all the time at the dog shows, as they comprise a good part of the show folk population……………….probably around 50% of those showing partake in this subset party.
I coined this term ‘repeat offender dabbler’ because that’s just what they do………………..they ‘repeat’ the same mistake over and over again……………………..thus making them an ‘offender’ of mistakes and since they refer to themselves as ‘hobby’ breeders………………thus the ‘dabbler’ label which is what a ‘hobby anything’ does. Hobby=Dabbler, simple enough!
Repeat offender dabbler=ROD
These RODs come about by many ways. There are those that arrive at the show venues with ‘pure pet puppies’……………………from pet shops, pet brokers and mass puppy producers. Of course, those of us that have been there, done that know what the end ‘product’ of this venture will be. Sooner or later, most of the time……………….later, the neophyte will become aware of their surroundings and realize that there is a great difference in the ‘product’ that they have versus what is needed to be successful at the higher end of conformation………………………………at the dog shows!
Notice that I stated, ‘most of the time’……………………..that’s because there is always one or two blokes that insist on doing it their way, which in this case is the ‘wrong way’ and persist in using the wrong product to make a statement! They are there as part of some sordid sub group, lurking about and making their presence known.
Then there are those that never, ever will get it, like in they never, ever get anything…………………come on we all know some of these types…………………..bumbling and stumbling, blindly following the blind, listening to the wind or a distant drummer without a drum……………………..you know what I’m referring to…………………they exist............at times we wish they didn’t………..at times we wish that they would just go away, but there they are showing up when you least expect them, bumbling and stumbling along as usual and forever!
Then there are those RODs that are much like the lyrics by Stealers Wheel (1972) ‘Stuck in the middle with you’………………………perpetually stuck in the middle not going anywhere that the current won’t take them. Not much we can do with these other than acknowledging each of them for participating and creating numbers. If a person doesn’t have the initiative or the drive, then they dwell in the land of 'drifting hither and thither', never destined to arrive at any chosen locale, maybe by chance a wee taste of success, and then back to the aimless pursuit of nothingness.
There is another rather large subset of RODs that actually get somewhere because they are fortunate enough to have been given a ‘chance’ by a TRUE BLUE BREEDER (TBB)……………………………yep, one of the few that actually get it and make it, will share their good fortunes with one of those that are newbies, that are existing RODS or that maybe have been trying yet not making it……………….anyways a TBB will take in a ROD and get them kick-started with an advanced, successful product.
This gives the incoming ROD a huge boost in the right direction with a produce from a successful TBB. Launching the ROD to the stratosphere where other TBBs operate.
Now the mission for the ROD is to learn enough to be able to sustain their production in succeeding generations to make them one of the cast members of the TBBs and be able to stay aloft in the highest levels of True Blue Breeders and not descend down to the masses where the Repeat Offender Dabblers dwell.
Here’s the sad fact about the preceding paragraph…………………………..only 1 in 5 of those that are indeed fortunate enough to be entrusted with great dogs to start their journey to lift them out of the ROD crowd…………….only 1 in 5 are able to ‘get it’ and stay above the fracas that lurks underneath.
Yep, 4 out of 5 do not have the vision for perpetuating that great product, generation after generation and those will eventually return to the wallowing in mediocrity that claims those that do not have what it takes to produce consistently at the higher levels.
Which of course leaves the True Blood Breeders to maintain the course and provide the great product for all those that are searching for the best.
For me, after 46 years of witnessing the ebb and flow of the tide, the entrance and exit of the many, the rise and fall of the produce………………..it’s like watching a sitcom with the many cast of characters that make up the scenery………………………then watching the reruns every so many years, however the cast of characters change…………….and the results stay the same!
Okay, we have covered the ‘product’ end of the three P’s (product, preparation, presentation) with today’s blog, stay tuned for the other 2 P’s coming up shortly in future blogs.
Teeth-The teeth should be strong and regular with a scissors bite; the lower teeth just behind, but touching the inner side of the upper incisors. A level bite is acceptable, but not desirable. Undershot, overshot, or misaligned teeth are serious faults. Full dentition is preferred. Missing molars or pre-molars are serious faults.
Cowhocks, spread hocks, sickle hocks and over-angulation are serious structural defects.
The preceding two paragraphs are direct from the official Labrador Retriever Breed Standard. Nothing has been added, deleted or edited. For emphasis sake, I did make SERIOUS STRUCTURAL DEFECTS a bit larger!
It is the exact wording, word for word.
So, here’s my beef!
The rear quarters of a dog are what propel it forward and if there is a serious structural defect, then that dog will not be able to function in the activity that it was meant to do. Especially a sport afield dog as a Labrador Retriever is!
No way, no how is a dog with a structural defect going to be able to do its job for very long before its wheels fall off!
Cow-hock dogs are ten times more prone to ACL and other knee and pastern joint injuries than normal hocked dogs! Not to mention the abnormal wear and tear that the hip joints suffers from the misaligned (defective) joint formation.
A dog with missing teeth in no way hinders its job in retrieving a bird.
So, where’s the beef?
When a judge puts up a dog that is dastardly cow-hocked over a dog that is missing a tooth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is truly a “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?” moment for me!
Like in WTF Mr. Judge? (since there's no room for vulgarity, WTF stands for Where's The Fire)
The dog with perfect hocks will keep on trucking, retrieving until the cows come home while the cow-hocked dog while run itself into the ground after a few up and backs in the ring!
Hey, come slap me on the hands until they bleed, but I am going to call it as it is, come purgatory and knee deep high water.
Any bloke with a fetish for counting teeth while at the same time overlooking serious structural defects needs be given one of those “Thanks I needed that!” slap across the head! Or maybe a kick in the rear end to set them straight in case they are bent over warped!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not an advocate for hooligan-type activities or inciting riots, no sir, not me. I am a liberal pacifist that sees the good in everything there is…………………….except when someone treads on the breed that I have been an advocate for more decades than I have left on this third rock from the sun!
There are all types of ‘side bar’ agendas used in judging, most of which have absolutely nothing to do with the task at hand of selecting the best specimens of the breed.
Hurts me to no end to see that type of judging in our breed!
Although I am totally concentrated at the task at hand while at a dog show……………..that is making sure that all my charges get into the ring on time and are presented in the best possible way…………………..having to accept the skewed judgment of any individual that openly flaunts the way it should be according to the breed standard…………………the breed standard that is used as the blueprint in building each of these exhibits…………………it irks me to no end to have the person judging change the criteria when judging to suit wayward whims or whatever other ‘agenda’ that judge has in mind or up their sleeves!
Now, I know that this type of language and expression can land me in warm water, but there has to be someone that speaks up and takes a stand for what’s right for the breed. I can’t think of anyone else that’s better suited for the task.