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Chambray Labradors Blogging Off

  November 2016  


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.

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November 30th

The Train Is Approaching The Station

Twenty seven years ago ‘Field OF Dreams’ (1989) filled the theater screens with every-man's dream of playing baseball…………………. “Build it and he will come” was the whisper heard to create the impetus to build the field for the games to commence…………………..and come they did!

Well, I liken the Chambray Owners Program For the Betterment of the Breed to something akin to that Iowan’s dream………………………I knew if I created a ‘field’ where those that loved Labradors as much as I did, that they would come and stay and be part of the ‘feel good’, pay it forward movement that now spans the exact same period of time that the Kevin Costner screen adaption played to millions across the nation and beyond those borders.

The Eukanuba National Invitational was still 12 years away before making its debut in 2001 right here in Florida.


Those early years were poorly attended and it would be several years before it was looked at with more than a passing Florida fancy.

The event grew and grew to where it became prestigious to drive from points north and west of the sunny state and compete for the high honor of Best Of Breed at Eukanuba!. By 2005 one of our Labradors would make the qualifications to be invited to be among the Top 25 elite Labradors in the country.

Ch Chambrays Twist Of Fate, which I personally handled to her AKC championship would receive the immense honor of ranking in the Top 25 Labradors in 2004 and our very first Eukanuba Invitation proudly hangs in the Chambray Museum today.

Back then dogs could achieve the special invite, besides top ranking, by winning a Best In Show and by being titled to all their points needed for an AKC champion’s title from the Bred By Exhibitor class!

BIS BBE CH Chambrays Out Of The Ruff would be the next dog to receive, not one…………………..but 7 special invitations for the Eukanuba National Invitational! By virtue of the Best In Show (the first ever Florida born Labrador to achieve the highest accolade possible at a dog show) he received two years’ worth of invitations…………………….by being totally owner/breeder/handler from the Bred By Exhibitor Class he received 2 more years of the special notices and then by being ranked in the Top 25 three years, he received 3 more of the vaulted memos!


In fact, he will go down as the Labrador that would receive the most special invitations to the Eukanuba venue…………………….a fact cemented in solid concrete because in 2012, Eukanuba changed their format and did away with the ‘Invitational’ and made it open to all dogs…………..class dogs included.

The new “Eukanuba” format allowed us to bring more of our dogs to showcase in front of the locals, the nation and even seen with worldwide audience via televised screenings, so we made it a tradition to attend and bring a great lineup of our dogs to all the succeeding events.

Our greatest show Labrador of all times, BIS BBE Silver Grand Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter ‘Kika’ came the closest to walking away with the coveted Best Of Breed At Eukanuba…….as it went down to the wire with her and the eventual winner for the big apple pie in the sky………. as Kika would receive our 2nd Eukanuba Select Grand Champion 5-Pt Major award (the previous year, her litter mate sister, BBE Ch Chambrays First N Counter 'Gavi' would receive our first-ever Eukanuba Select Grand Champion award).

It should be noted that only one male champion and only one female champion is designated the Eukanuba Select Grand Champion award, where as multiple dogs can be awarded Eukanuba Award Of Merits, awards that several of our Labs have won as well.

It would be last year’s show that would produce one of the top awards ever (besides the Best In Shows with Hogan and the one Kika won 4 years after Hogan’s Florida 1st)……………………………for the 2015 Eukanuba it would be BBE Bronze Gr CH Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter that would also win the 2015 Eukanuba Select Grand Champion for a 5-Pt Major over 30 male champions from across the country and foreign nations as well..................on top of that he would also win the highly prized 2015 Bred By Exhibitor Best Of Breed award! In fact, with the 2014 Eukanuba Award Of Merit, the 2014 LRC Judges Award Of Merit At Specialty Show and the two major 2015 awards, Walter will go into the Eukanuba records book as the dog winning the most prime time awards.

Those records are now also sealed forever as a new regime, with a new name and the possibility of new records to post is now the flag bearer at the same venue.


Fifteen years later, the format is the same, however, the name has been changed! No longer the ‘Eukanuba’ anything…… is now the AKC National Championships presented by Royal Canin!

So, here we anxiously await the royal fanfare with the new colors that promise greatness for those dogs and their breeders that will grace the ‘red carpet’…………………literally and figuratively ‘red’!

New awards to be given and new records to set at this new Royal Canin event…………….we are primed and ready as we bring on the most champions {8} ever fielded by any Labrador breeder, ever at the Eukanuba and now the Royal Canin……………a record already and we are still 2 weeks away from the fireworks!

All aboard for the magic of the most attended dog venue in the USA!

November 29th

By Popular Request

"Over the years, I have enjoyed your 'Herzonisms'.................lately there have been a few, but far in between, any pearl's of wisdom in the offering?" Self-admitted Chambray stalker


If you make things so good that they sound too good to be true,
there will be those that won’t know a good thing when they see it.

It is very difficult to take a man at his word,
when that man has a different word for every other man he speaks to!

Most people believe everything bad they hear being said about others,
that is until they hear the bad things being said about them!

Casting a stone upon stills waters
causes outward ripples that can’t be taken back.

You can show some folk the light until dark sets in,
then they will tell you they don’t see the light!

Blind followers are only reliable until someone else
comes along and offers them a darker place to be led to.

When the dust settles, it will be all over the complacent ones,
meanwhile the shakers and movers will be stirring it up somewhere else.

The pessimist sees the glass half empty, the optimist see the same glass half full
When I looked at that same glass with water in it, I saw my reflection on the glass,
I guess that made me an assamist…………….the professors own words!

{true story, in my senior year of college when asked about the tried and true glass with water in it, I didn’t state what the professor expected to hear as all the other students each stood up, looked at the glass and gave the teacher one of the same old, same old answers…………..until I came up and told the 100% truth………………………..I looked at the glass and saw my own face looking back at me on the side of that glass…………………..boy did I learn real fast what happens when someone has the God complex and doesn’t hear what they want to hear!

So, here I am today, no one’s yes assamist according to Mr. Steinmetz!

November 29th

Feedback On Classes, BOB & Groups

"Found out the ‘difference’ from showing our dog in the classes, then in BOB and then in Groups when he finally did win a BOB. So different, like a walk in the park in the classes compared to a 5-K run as a specials and then the Boston Marathon when dealing with the Group competition! For Labradors, winning Group Placements seems not to be in the cards as more often than not, the top ranked ‘glamor breeds’ usually are the expected winners. Great experience anyways, highly recommended it for all exhibitors to go through it, if they are lucky enough to have a top show prospect placed with them."             CJ



You seem to cover subjects that are fresh and happening at the moment and very original because I have always read all those magazines available at the dog shows and none run the gamut of interests and subjects as your blogs do. It is like you are in tune with the inner workings and thoughts that prevail around ringside and yet not many talks about. Nancy Casbon


For us it was an eye opening situation when our dog finally achieved her championship and we were advised by our handlers to ‘put her up’ until the dog they were exhibiting ran its course as a specials.

It didn’t feel right for our dog not to be showing after all the time and money we spent getting her there. Then when her time came to compete as a champion, the intensity changed and it was more evident that the ‘known’ dogs were being given the considerations by the judges. Of course the level of conformation and show quality rises tremendously at the next level and just about any dog can win the Best Of Breed awards.

The real education comes when the Groups are being considered! It is a total different agenda, with top dogs from different breeds being entered at several different show sites in one weekend and then the handlers deciding which shows to travel to according to the total number of entries in the Sporting Groups. Plus keeping up on which judge is doing the Labs and then which judge is the sporting group judge………………….so much ‘politicking’ going on as to which judges to show to! It’s like another world, especially for newcomers into showing dogs!             Pat

And a rather long one from one of our own owners.

Excellent blog on why it's so challenging for labradors to earn Group placements. Expectations are more and more difficult to manage when early success spoils owners rotten and records are being broken! Having had lots of group stage experience with Tucker the last 2 years I thought I would share some insight.  


Variables which impact group placement include...the total number of entries in both the breed and sporting groups, the quality of the sporting group winners in the ring (some are top ranked nationally), politics, judge/handler connections and the most important factor ...your dog being a well prepared stalwart show dog who brings his best effort to the ring "that afternoon". It's about the dog exemplifying the breed standard and impressing the judge(s) on that given afternoon. Conditioning and training are of utmost importance as is the dogs current health. Owners, breeders and handlers all play a vital role in the dogs preparation and ring presentation. 


Here are some interesting numbers from the web regarding group placements for labs...Most labs, including some of the top labs in the nation (some shown by local professional handlers) such as Gold Champion Blackthorn Hailstrom and Silver Babalu, had a small percentage of group placements to their total breed a matter of fact...they share just one group 1 between them!! The same applies for other top champions such as Barra and Augustus (top 5 all time in GCH points). Groups aren't easy for labs due to many judges being biased against them. This is even more notable in shows that have 150-200+ total sporting dogs with top ranked and marketed sporting breed champions vying for those 4 top awards in the group stage. This is what makes this accomplishment so special and something to cherish when it does happen. 


It takes a special show dog to capture the judges eye in groups. It takes a lab that brings together in those few precious minutes the full package of attributes, a stellar ring attitude, proper stacking, great movement against those quicker sporting breeds, excellent conditioning and superb handling. Chambrays 2 BIS dogs Hogan and Kika are your proof points in these factors coming together in taking the coveted big award! Tuckers latest Group 2 placement in Ocala was a special one for us. He is healthy, properly conditioned and has a great handler Eliades on him...Tucker made some mistakes in his group presentation and I thought he had no chance to place. He lost to the eventual Group winner...but he did do a lot of things well to catch the judges eye! The judge Mr. Dinardo, who will be judging BIS at this years Royal Canin National Championship, went out of his way to ask me if I owned that beautiful black lab!  I thanked him for the placement and his response was flattering.."it actually was a pleasure doing so and that it was an easy choice"!!!  BTW, the sporting group winner a black cocker spaniel was absolutely amazing that afternoon and took BIS!! Now that's a great second place red ribbon! I researched Judge Dinardo's historical BIS/Sporting placements the night before. The only other time in his 25+ years of judging that he placed a lab in groups was with a phenom called Casbars Hart to Hart whom he gave a Group 2 too. Casbar won something like 10 BISs and 20 group 1s and is recognized by many as the top show lab ever. Tucker's group 2 was something to be very proud of and made it 5 occasions that he has crossed that proverbial "line in the quicksand" and has been considered for the BIS ribbon!


Disappointment in the ring reared its ugly head the next morning. All that positive momentum mentioned above come to a screeching halt due to a conflict of interest in the ring which clearly impacted the placement selections......expectations are always sky high when your dog wins and the probability of winning breed improves the following day when it takes a top group placement in front of the judges who were watching groups the prior afternoon. It was frustrating for us and all who attended the show as it was obvious who the winning class and breed dogs were going to be due to the substitute judges connection. This happens and when it does it discredits the process. 


For those looking to achieve a high ranking what helped make Tuckers 2015 special was that he "consistently" won in large breed/count shows and placed 12 times in groups (all breed points) against top tier competition. His 26 BOBs and 45% breed/show win percentage helped his positioning in the national rankings as did the total cumulative points (points awarded from wins over total dogs). Winning with "quality" judges was also a big factor as word spreads quickly amongst them and handlers when a dog is ranked nationally. We found that the magazines didn't deliver the expected results. In all honesty...the dogs earn these placements with their ring performance. Hogan, Kika, Tucker, Walter and little Tank all did this with their group 1 placements. And let's talk some about being spoiled and managing expectations!...Tuckers (2 group 1s) and Tanks (group 1) were accomplished when they were less than a year and 8 months old!! Sandy you need to stop spoiling us!!What make Tucker and Tank intriguing to me is that they have the potential to strike lighting on any given day. Tank is still less than 2 years of age and his accomplishments are just amazing. Dazzle and Duke are also outstanding young dogs and only time will tell what the judges think of them. Evie is a beautiful bitch with 8 BOBs but surprisingly has no group placements...that's an oddity to me....that just shows that you just never know!


Final thought and this is what truly makes this hobby fun for us....Every time Tucker enters the ring we (as well as others) expect him to contend for that best of breed ribbon. We prepare him with that thought in mind...Group is a completely different ballgame and Tucker's type/style has shown to be very well received by judges in groups. There are certain days when he enters the group ring and he rises to the occasion and you immediately sense and find yourself asking "IS THAT OUR DOG!" Its a surreal feeling knowing that you have a truly special lab in your care. Thanks for trusting us with his placement Sandy. Realistically, we will all go through ups and downs...winning and losing streaks (more of these than we all want) but you have to stay focused and keep doing those things which will make a difference. The rush you feel when your lab lines up to select the breed awards is always thrilling...the only thing more exhilarating is when they line up for the Group awards!! Honestly... I don't clearly recall how I felt when Tucker got to compete for best in show 4 times...I think I was in shock and awe!! Wouldn't it be something for the ages if lighting strikes in 3 weeks for a Chambray lab at the Royal Canin National Championship! Why not!!!            Gene

There was more input from others. The one thing that really stands out for me as a long time breeder/exhibitor is the low percentage that Labradors experience in having any placements made in the Sporting Group. Less than 1 out of 10 Best Of Breeds for a Labrador, leads to any Group Placement! The chances for a Group 1 win for a Labrador is a very rare occasion, probably less than 25 per year all across the country and then a Best In Show, maybe, just maybe 1 per year for the whole USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 28th

Just 2 Weeks Away

This is it!


The last dog show week of the year now stands before us in 2 weeks. Then the curtain falls on the 2016 dog show season and we await the New Year with the Florida Winter Circuit in Brooksville for 10 days of shows there and 4 days of shows in Ocala at the end of January 2017.

Before signing off for 2016, we still have the 3 all-breed dog shows, the LRC Specialty and then ‘kaboom’  the Royal Canin AKC National Championships……………..starting Tuesday December 13th and culminating with the big one, the Royal Canin on Saturday December 17th.

The Chambray armada is primed and ready for action with 8* champions ready for primping in the stellar cast of 33 champions from all over the country and the world as well. There are 83 class dogs entered and Chambray will have a total of 15 class dogs/bitches chasing their AKC champion’s title, including 6 puppies from the Class of 2016.

*NEWS FLASH! Our newest AKC champion, Ch Chambrays Midnight Delta Lady will join the stellar seven other Chambray champions, more than certainly giving the Florida Home Team, the most champions ever assembled from one breeder under the big top of the old Eukanuba and now the Royal Canin event!

Lady was sired by Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho, the 2016 Top Florida Champion Producer with 4 AKC champions, 1 Grand champion and 1 Silver Grand Champion to his resume for the year and more than likely garnering top honors country-wide for the number of champions produced as well.

Lady’s dam is the incomparable, BIS BBE Silver Grand Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter, Florida’s most decorated Labrador ever and only 1 of 2 Labradors born in Florida to win a Best In Show.

Lady is owned by Virginia and Eddy Wilson of Nashville TN.

So, now with 14 days before we embark on the 4 hour ride north to Orlando for these premiere year-ending shows, we still have time to put in some extra training and conditioning for our starting day roster of dogs.

Besides the regular workweek, we have 2 full weekends that we are leaving open for the business at hand, getting our best dogs ready to rock and roll come the first day of all-breed shows December 13th.

In a previous blog, we listed the specials, the champions that headline and showcase our best dogs, the following is the lineup of our class dogs.

From the male’s roster we have 4 puppies from the 6 to 9 Puppy Class.

Chambrays Cool Your Jets ‘Decker’ owned by Ali Mahon
Chambrays Blazing Saddles At Southern Palms ‘Blaze’ owned by Scott Armstrong
Chambrays Southern Magnolia Beau owned by Kathy Rodgers
Chambrays Axel Avella owned by Luis and Diana Avella (3 All-Breed shows only)

12 to 15 class
Chambrays Yeti At Southern Palms owned by Scott Armstrong
Chambrays Max Tucker Shwab owned by Mila Shwab

Bred By Exhibitor
Chambrays A’Hankerin For Trouble owned by the Trainer Family

Open Yellow
Chambrays owned by Javier Lopez.

From the girls side:

6 to 9 month old puppy
Chambrays Dyna Mite owned by Ivan Toro (Friday LRC and Saturday Royal Canin only)
Chambrays Ali Gator owned by Charles Scearce

Bred By Exhibitor
Chambrays Galactic N Counter owned by Liz and Tom Jackson
Chambrays Vivacious N Counter owned by Chambray (LRC & Royal Canin)

Am Bred
Chambrays Rose On Center Stage owned by Juan Marrero (3-All Breed Shows)

Open Yellow
Chambrays Vivacious N Counter (3 All-Breed Dogs shows)
Chambrays Rose On Center Stage (LRC & Royal Canin)

November 27th

Why Ask Why

Why Doesn’t My Dog Win?

With so many of the Chambray owners going from class dogs to champions.....................6 new champions a year the last 3 years in a row and 27 new champions in the last 5 years AND the age of those dogs finishing HALF of what it normally takes a dog in Florida to finish............................many of these dog show neophytes are getting a dose of super duper evolution that most owners take 5 to 7 years to go through, so the learning curve is almost vertical for some..............too quick to really know 'what's up'!

All of a sudden, these new owners with champions are in a whole new ballgame where the game looks the same, but in reality, it's a whole new ball of wax!

Even the answer for "why isn't my dog winning'" changes! 

Believe or not there are different answers depending on whether the dog is competing from the classes, competing as a champion in Best Of Breed or winning BOB and then competing in the Sporting Groups………………we are not even crossing the line in the quicksand and discussing the why and therefore of competing in Best In Show………………nope, not going there because that’s ‘no man’s land' for Labrador Retrievers!

My ‘cut and paste’ answer for those just starting out showing dogs is “I have no answer why a judge chooses one dog over another”!

That’s really the truth, because as I have stated way too many times to have kept track of, I can answer millions of Labrador-related questions, but the ‘why’ judges choose this over that is befuddling to say the least………………at times catawampus………………….other times major head scratching…………………..many times “it beats me!”…………………………….a few times there’s the old ‘whoa Nelly!’…………………….you name it and it happens from the classes!

For those that persist and last long enough to get those elusive wins and actually have a dog they own end up with its AKC champion’s title……………………..then the question can and does come up quite frequently at this next level of competition………….it’s the same question all over again, why is the dog not winning against the specials that are being handled for national rankings and also for grand champion points?

Hark! There are answers now……………….probably not the ones that a neophyte with a brand new champion wants to hear……………………but answers there are!

Most top professional handlers take on a top notch champion as their priority dog for an individual breed. This is the ‘go for the gold’ for the pros………………this is their ticket to handling in the groups as that is the name of the game……………………being seen by all the judges from the slate that sit around at groups and watch the goings on!

The ‘groups’……… handlers live for this part of the day……………..first toiling through the breeds earlier in the day with class dogs, then bringing in their ‘specials’ in for Best Of Breed in several different breeds…………………doing all it takes to get the judges to go with their spit and polish, highly groomed special’s dog!

Where class dogs are entered wherever the handlers are going………………….the specials, the champions are entered where the judges that have favored them in the past……………………….that’s why it’s called 'following the judges'!

Here’s the deal, showing a dog to a judge that has placed it recently gives that dog and its handlers the best odds of winning a BOB over showing a dog to judges that have never seen them before!

Then there is advertising and promoting in the ringside show magazines………………….yep, face recognition goes a long, long ways to garner many wins along the way. Unofficial statistics have it that a dog/handler that have advertising/promoting will get a 25% boast coming out of the breed ring over dogs that don’t appear in any promotions!

Simple, those magazines are distributed at all dog shows to judges and exhibitors alike and guess what people/judges do to pass the day away waiting for the groups to commence……………………go through those publications! Face/dog recognition at its finest!

What does it take to win in the Groups? Lots and lots of advertising, promoting, following the favorable judges and competing in as many shows as possible which means traveling…………..traveling quite a bit.

Whereas the class dogs are mostly showing in one state………………..maybe once in a while a sortie to a nearby state to pick up easier points and lower numbers for majors…………………….with the specials, twice as many shows need to be planned and covered to get those national ranking points that show up in all those publications that people/judges keep track of!

So, the same old, same old answer from the classes of “I don’t know”, changes radically once a dog finishes it’s ordeal to achieve 15 points and 2 major-pointed wins………………………then a whole new world opens up with all types of jockeying besides the usual training and conditioning………………….now traveling, advertising, promoting and being seen in as many shows as possible becomes the operative mode, which has a direct result on the answer of “why isn’t my dog winning?”

November 24th

Happy Thanksgiving To All

The numbers are in for the biggest hoopla dog show of the year, the newly named AKC National Championships Royal Canin event………….the used to be Eukanuba canine gathering for breeders!

A total 117 Labrador Retrievers will fill the ample-sized ring with 39 of those dogs being champions.

The Labrador Retrievers will be well represented with the top dogs from the best of the US Labrador breeders and from ports of call beyond our shores as well…………in previous years, as far away as China the Orient, Canada to the north and many top dogs from South of the border from Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and other Latin American countries bringing on their best to go head to head with the rest of the best from the USA.

Florida's ‘home team’, Chambray Labradors will more than likely field the largest entry of both champions and class dogs as we aim to show off the level of quality from Florida’s home-grown state leader in all levels of Labrador Retriever involvement.

Here is Chambray’s stellar lineup of champions and their impressive resume.

BISS Silver/Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting CGC JAE JAMSS
Sire: Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho Dam: Chambrays Queen Of Hearts ~ Breeders, Chambray & Marie Knapp ~ owned by Marissa and Gene Etzig

  • Now ranked for 2016 in the Top 20 All-Breed

  • Canine Chronical 2015 USA #2 Grand Champion Labrador

  • Canine Chronical 2015 USA # 5 All-Breed Labrador

  • Canine Chronical 2015 USA #6 Breed Labrador

  • Florida’s #1 Labrador Retriever all categories ~ Grand Champion ~ All-Breed ~ Breed

  • Dog News 2015 USA Combined #3 Labrador Retriever

  • LRC 2015 #6 Labrador Retriever

  • Chambray’s all-time leading Labrador with Group 1 Placements (4)

  • Chambray’s all-time leading Labrador with Best Of Breeds (35)

BBE Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter CGC  
Sire: Ch Aquarius Lobuff Liddle Prt Nicholas @ Brookstone ~ Breeders, Chambray & Juan Marrero ~ Owned by John McGraw

  • Now ranked for 2016  #14 Grand Champion & #4 Grand Champion Female

  • 8 Best Of Breeds & #3 All-Time Chambray Female Champion

BISP Gr Ch Chambrays Tank’d On The Boulevard
Sire: Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho Dam: BIS BBE Silver/Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter CGC ~ Breeders Chambray & Juan Marrero ~ Owners Cindy Ceballos and Yessie Munoz

  • Now ranked USA #15 Grand Champion

  • Now ranked USA #16 All-Breed & #16 Breed

  • The 2015 Purina Breeder’s Showcase Best Of Breed Adult & Group 1 winner

  • Youngest champion ever at 10 months of age, youngest Grand Champion at 13 months

  • Youngest Group 1 winner at 8 months

AKC Ch/Int BIS Ch/Col FCI Ch Chambrays Maxed N Counter JAMSS
Sire: Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho Dam: Gr Ch Chambrays Charmed N Counter ~ Breeder Chambray Labradors ~ Owners Chambray Labradors

  • 5-pt Major Winners Dog at LRC Specialty

  • Fastest finishing Colombian champions in 6 shows with wins over top champions.

AKC Ch/Int BIS Ch Chambrays Shinning Diamond Dazzle
Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho Dam: BBE Gr Ch Chambrays First N Counter ~ Breeders Chambray & Juan Marrero ~ Owners Pat and Russ Blosse

  • Finished at 16 months w/very limited showing.

  • Close to finishing his Grand Champion’s title

AKC Ch/Int Ch Chambrays Duke Destined For Greatness CGC
Sire: Devonshires Huckleberry Finn Dam: Ch Chambrays Mean Green Josephine~ Breeders Chambray & Dave Baxter ~ Owners Alyona Nikitsina and Gadi Schvarsmen

  • Finished at 11 months of age, now 14 months old

  • Well on his way to his Grand Champion’s title

AKC BBE Ch Chambrays Where Eagles Dare
Sire: Bronze Gr Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho Dam: Chambrays Queen Of Hearts ~ Breeders, Chambray & Marie Knapp ~ owned by Marie Knapp


Seven world-class Chambray champions representing the Florida home team in front of tens of thousands that will attend the 6 day event and millions that will be watching via live streaming and also international TV broadcast coverage.

A future blog will cover the class dogs that will be part of Chambray’s starting day roster at the Royal Canin event.

November 29th

It Had To Be Said







C’mon Man!

“When are you going to be judging?” A weekend of shows does not go by that I don’t hear that from judges, AKC officials and reps, from those with other breeds and from ordinary folk that have known my 46 year involvement with dogs, in particular with Labradors.

I have had all the credentials in place for over 15 years, all the hoops and hurdles have been jumped that are in place for those wanting to go to that next level of dogdom…………..judging!  

Well, those requirements and credentials will have to gather dust in the drawers and shelfs were they lay………………………..those people kind enough to ask about my intentions will just receive the same old, same old that I have been expressing for years about NOT JUDGING!

“Why not” ye may ask…………………..simply put………………..I will avoid the old bogeyman possibly rearing its ugly head…………..APPARENT LOOK OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST!

As long as I have dogs showing somewhere that I am the breeder there of, I don’t want anything to sully their achievements with the looks of impropriety……………………I don’t want to give ANYONE the opportunity to ever say that one of my bred-by dogs was given a win because of anything other than their evident attributes!

There are way too many things that can make it look very soiled when a judge walks into the ring and there are professional handlers in that very ring that have handled their dogs or are at that very weekend of shows handling dogs that are bred by that judge.

That has the look and feel and stink to high heaven and the stench affects way too many to sweep under the ring mats………………..even if there is no collusion or shenanigans going on………………………if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and smells like a duck, people will assume that it is a duck even if it is a dog!

Then lo and behold, heaven forbid that those same handlers garner up most of the wins…………..even if the breed of dogs being judged are not the breed of dog that the judge breeds! Even if the dogs that won were worthy of the wins……………….it doesn’t have the right look about it.

It doesn’t look good for anyone……………..not the judge, not the individual dogs winning the awards and not the dog fancy. If it doesn't appear on the up and up, then folk figure it must be on the lowdown.....................that's the appearance of impropriety.

The right thing to do is to is to do 'the right thing' and step aside so that those around will not get the wrong idea...............remember that looks are everything......................that's why I won't be judging as long as I am breeding and my dogs are showing throughout!

Oh, yes there are rules in the books, such as long ‘as the dog being campaigned doesn’t live with the judge’ and other sidebar stipulations.

It still doesn’t look, smell, feel, sound or taste right! It leaves a bitter aftertaste for all involved, except maybe the judge, the handlers or the owners of the dogs that won................after all, it only looked nefarious but we all know that it was all done in plain day light and there was no sleight of handling going on.

So, the next time someone asks me about my judging intentions, I will just defer to the same old, same old…………….. “As long as I am breeding dogs, I will avoid the LOOK of CONFLICT OF INTEREST to give my dogs that benefit of the doubt!”

The preceding had to be said as many have been riled and very discouraged with what may appear to be a transgression......imagined of course. Feathers get ruffled and tempers go flaring.


That’s one man’s opinion in the land of the free and the home of the brave where freedom of speech is revered by one and all. Maybe now the natives won't be so restless since there were so many circling the wagons and now someone has spoken up for them!

November 23rd

Movin On......We Have Lots Of Unfinished Business Before Year's End

The countdown to the climax for 2016 Dog Show Season is on, as today is the deadline for entries for the last dog shows of the year here in Florida.

These ‘last’ are definitely the ‘best for last’ because they are not ‘just’ any dog show week of shows………….yes siree Bob, Bill and Bruce, these are really, really the big ones………………the regal affair with all the pageantry of royal implications, not to mention the new ‘name’ as well………………………….five days of shows with the grand finale show now aptly named the Royal Canin event in Orlando starting on December 13th through December 17th!

For Chambray Labradors and our Owner’s Program for the Betterment of the Breed, we still have a precursor of three dog shows this Thanksgiving weekend in Alabama before the Big Bang in Orlando that eventually brings the curtain down for 2016.

So, where do we stand for all of this year’s showing……………. before hitting the road later today for Alabama?  

Well, how does at the top sound?

Quite a feat because it would make it three years in a row where  our involvement and efforts with the breed takes us to where few ever ascend to……………..more dogs finished than any other breeder/handlers in the entire ‘from sea to shining sea’ 50 states!

This “Energizer Bunny” consecutive dog show weekend winning streak is now way past my favorite TV show of all times, Star Trek’s………….. ‘Where no one has gone before’ opening monolog………..this  remarkable voyage streaking steady at warp speed to the Alabama three days of show, is now heading into 144 dog show weekends that started at the first weekend of shows in January of 2012.


It has to be mentioned that just before this record setting achievement began, there was one a 79 consecutive winning weekend streak that was interrupted by one NONE WINNING WEEKEND, December 2011 at the Eukanuba week of shows…………………….we had a 79 consecutive winning streak going before that dudley weekend at Eukanuba 2011!

Mind boggling 79 weekends of winning, then one BLANK weekend followed by 143 record setting for the ages, above zenith, Mt. Olympus record.

Right now we have 6 new champions for the year, which ties 2012, 2014 and 2015 for the same number.


These 6 new champions for 2016 gives Chambray Labradors a state record of 56 champions bred…………….no one breeding Labs today in Florida is even 1/3 of the way there, so that number will stand the test of time………..well past my time……….although the next 8 dog shows left for 2016 could very well see a 7th and even an 8th new champion for the year, which would certainly make Chambray the #1 champion breeder in the USA for 2016, making it 3 years in a row at the top.

Besides the finishing of new dogs, several of our existing champions are well within grasp of their Grand Champion’s title and one Gr Ch is within striking distance of making it to the Bronze Grand Champion’s level.

Gr Ch Chambray’s Tank’d On The Boulevard is now just 20 points away from the Bronze title.

Ch Chambrays Duke Destined For Greatness at 15 months old is just 6 points shy of his Grand Champion’s title and Ch Chambrays Shining Diamond Dazzle is 11 points away from the same.

BBE Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter ‘Evie’ with 129 points is just 4 points behind BBE Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays And The Beat Goes On ‘Cher’………………when she surpasses Cher, she will then be Chambray’s 2nd highest Grand Champion behind her own dam’s BIS BBE Silver Grand Champion Chambrays Celestial N Counter ‘Kika’ who has  275 points. In all likelihood, this weekend’s shows in Alabama will have Evie will leap frog into that 2nd place on the all-time Grand Champion’s marquee.

So, the drum roll is in effect and the crescendo mounts for the ending to yet another stellar year for our collective. We can’t wait for the grandeur of this newly sanctioned Royal Canin event preceded by the Labrador Retriever Clubs Specialty the day before and the three all-breed shows leading up to the super nova event in Florida’s O-Town, the Magic Kingdom playing host to the biggest doggie celebration in the country.


November 21st

Winning Ways

Let me count the ways! How about 143 Consecutive Dog Show Winning Weekends!


Yep, this last weekend at Ocala marks the 143rd dog show weekend that Chambray as a team wins BOB, WD, WB, Gr Ch Pts with our dogs going back to January 2012!

That is a total validation of the entire breeder/owner program in place for the betterment of the breed.

The measure of any endeavor is its success! Can't beat success no matter how it is painted. spun or tilted by those that either envy it or just plain don't have what it takes to see it, experience it and ultimately, get it!

Can't squeeze blood out of a turnip, can't make gold out of lead.


“What?” you may be asking……………….isn’t this about breeding better dogs………………Labradors in specific? What’s this all about with the ‘triangle building’ stuff?

Well, humor me a little here and I will spin you a tale that may make some sense to some and if it doesn’t for others, then we can summarize it by saying that curiosity indeed kills the cat!

So let’s start this yarn with someone that wants to build triangles (breed better dogs). Not just any triangle……………..they are interested in building specific ones (individual breeds).

Now, in order to build anything that is specific, there must be a blue print (breed standard). So a blue print is consulted so that every triangle that is built is up to code and has the same angle, dimensions, ratios and so forth that set that triangle to be specific to its blueprint.

Ah, now you get where I am going with this……………..and if you don’t let’s see if I can illuminate the path here a bit.

We all know that triangles have three sides and where each of those sides meet creates an angle.

This specific triangle about to be built has one side that is a perpendicular, vertical line and it has a range of length that it can be to meet the building code.

So, this one side of the triangle can be 10 ½ inches to 12 ½ inches long. No longer or no shorter because there are penalties (disqualifications) to be paid if it is longer or shorter than the specified dimensions stated in the blueprint.

So, we have just established one side of the triangle that has to be up and down and a certain range of length.

The other two sides are equal length to each other. That’s simple enough to follow. Now let’s add that they must also form a 90 angle where they meet………….which also means that they will also form a 45where they each meet the long side of the triangle.

So, now we have a triangle that has a vertical long side that is anywhere from 10.5 to 12.5 inches long and the other two sides are equal length to each other and where they meet they form a 90 degree angle and where each of them meets the long side, each forms a 45 degree angle.

If you followed along and understand the dimensions and angles of the triangle that was just built, then you too now know the dimensions and angles of a Labrador Retrievers front end assembly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep, one and the same!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You now can build your very own correctly build (bred) Labrador Retriever according to the blue print for the breed……………using the breed standard that is specific to Labrador Retrievers.

The long side of the triangle as called for by the breed standard is the line from the top of the dog’s withers down (shoulder blades), vertical to the elbows. It must be perpendicular to the ground, not slanted away from the perpendicular……………….straight up and down.

Now let’s add some jalapeno peppers to the mix and also state that the exact same length of the long side of the triangle also extends down from the elbows to the ground!

Yep, the same distance from the ground to the elbows is the exact length from the elbows to the withers! Code tells us that it can’t deviate, but a smidgen or else there’s going to be a price to pay.

Okay the stew is steaming so let’s keep on rolling………………………the equal sides of the triangle that form a 90 out in front is just like the 90 formed by the line coming from the top of the withers forward to the front of the dog’s chest (point of shoulders) and the other equal side of the triangle is just like the one from the chest back to the elbows.

That’s it! That’s the correct, as called for by the blueprint, the breed standard for the right measurements, ratios and angles that would build the correct Labrador Retriever’s front end.

Let’s explain a bit about the lengths and angles stated above. The length of the long side of the triangle, plus the length from the elbow to the ground gives us the height of the individual dog!

Yep, if we used 12.5 for the long side of the triangle and the equivalent length drops from the elbow to the ground, the dog would then be 25 inches tall at the withers. That is the maximum size that a male Labrador can be before a ‘wicket’ is called into the ring and if the dog is taller than that, it receives a DQ………………remember the ‘price to pay’ from up above!

If the long length of the triangle is shorter than 10.5 and the distance to the ground is also shorter, then the dog would be DQ’s because it would be less than 21 inches tall, which is the shortest a female can be.

So, what are some of the deviations we see with dogs that have not been built incorrectly?

There are two super evident deviations that can be classified as structural faults.

Short Upper Arms & Overdone Shoulders!

If the length from the withers to the front of the chest is way, way longer that the distance from the chest back to the elbows, then the dog has overdone, over loaded shoulders!

If the upper arms, which is the distance from the front of the chest back to the elbows is less than 1/3 the distance from the elbows to the ground, then the upper arms are too short!

There are other deviations to the lengths, ratios and angles other than the breed standard calls for such as dogs with longer sides of the triangle than the long side is supposed to be, they end up with huge over developed chests.

Bottom line is that knowing what is correct goes a long way to building according to the specific breed standard that defines each individual breed.

While it is true that dogs can be championed with glaring structural faults and defects, it is up to the individual breeders to be able to sift through the incorrectness and only use those dogs that have been built correctly and that possess the correct attributes.

Besides altering the look of the dog with all these possible deviations, which of course to the trained eye and to those that have been through a proper mentorship program……………………there is considerable repercussions that dogs will pay for having many of these structural anomalies, faults and even defects.

Early onset arthritis is prevalent with dogs that have severe overdone shoulders where an overburden of excess weight, wrong joint alignment and undue pressure caused by the incorrectness ends up costing each of those dogs lost years in quality of life.

So for those breeders that don’t know any better, the price for ignorance is paid by the dogs they produce and for those that do know and yet still breed because they look ‘impressive’ with all the bulkiness and visual ‘substance’, albeit totally wrong for the breed………………….those dogs too will pay dearly for someone’s ill arrived at choices.

Those that are breeding those dogs......................................Do they not see it for themselves…………………maybe they don’t get it, in which case they shouldn’t call themselves breeders, maybe ‘hackers’ would suit best………………………maybe they just not know it or is it the ‘who cares’ type mentality that prevails and then it’s a price that the individual dog pays, the breed as a whole pays and of course the owner that pays out of their pockets when the inevitable goes wrong! That’s lose (the individual puppy/dog), lose the breed, lose the owner and then ultimately the breeder because what goes around comes around to bite those in the derriere.

That’s the total opposite of our win, win, win, win ways of doing things where the puppy/dog wins, the breed wins, the owners wins and of course, Chambray the breeder wins!

November 16th

Some Dilemmas Are Worth Having

It seems that it has become fashionable to name call at will these days! I guess the country is in a bickering mood and there is a no holds barred in effect.

“You are truly an elitist by only have a few litters a year and then offering those puppies to the selected few!” came the most recent eye opener with intonations of giving a black eye to whomever the rant was directed to………………….well, I guess that would be me!

Oh, there was more, but the gist of the tirade was admonishing me for limiting the production of our puppies and offering them to those that fit the bill!

Gee, I thought that was the right thing to do! Here I have toiled for years to produce the best possible puppies from the best available sires and dams and then going all out to find the perfect setting for each of those few puppies produced.

I have always believed in quality over quantity. I have always done my best to find the best homes for each of those puppies produced and have taken pride in the tremendously high success rate for both of those ideals!

So, pray tell, where have I gone wrong to elicit the preceding admonishment? Or, is it that others are going off the deep end.

Believe it or not, I have even contemplated whether there is some truth to the accuser’s lament! What if I were to produce more puppies per year instead of the 56 puppies produced in 2016 (there are 2 litters that have not been placed that are part of the 56), so 38 have been placed in the first half of the year and 18 from the summer/fall litters are to be placed before the fireworks go off for the New Year!

We have the means and certainly we have the quality of dogs to produce at the exact same level of what has been produced in the last 5 years. The success of those dogs produced is self-evident……………can’t rise to the top  4 out of 5 years without having the best.

So, the dilemma is staring me in the face, not only from lamenters as the one that dared to be heard and from me having to deal with deciding which females WILL NOT BE BRED!

It used to be a task to find the few, the proud that were good enough to be considered for the breeding program…………………that was then and now, well breeding the best to the best not only has produced more champions per year than any other breeder, breeding the best to the best has provided way beyond the usual females available to be bred.

It has become one of those inverted pyramids…………………..where it starts with 1 at the bottom row, 2 at the next level, 4 at the next, 8 after that, with 16 following and then there are 32……………….the exponential growth where doubling of the preceding row eventually leads to numbers beyond imagination.

There was that wizard that tricked the king into paying him twice as many from one day to the next with grains of rice instead of with money or gold. The king laughed and thought the wizard was an idiot……………….until one of the ascending rows reached a number of grains of rice that did not exist anywhere in the world and the king realized that he couldn’t pay up, that all that rice was worth more than all the gold in the world……………………….so he had the wizard beheaded!

Well, truth be told, I am not at the ‘beheading ‘ row level…………..yet! But it’s becoming a daunting task to pick out which top females are the chosen ones for the year’s breeding program……………..not because we are lacking in that top quality, nope, more because there are 3 to 5 times as many females that are worthy that will not be called into action.

Now here comes the hammer…………….more like Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The next level will hit me this coming year because there are twice as many young females that will make it to the 'choose or dare level'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Will the king come and lope my head off or do I make the adjustments and please more of the 50 or so ‘happy as larks’ that do end up with our greatest hits?

Do I make the lamenter/complainer from above wish come true and offer more puppies to the 1000+ that contact us each year?

Like I said, we have the ways and means and the quality to boot!

Ah, to have such great dilemmas to deal with.

Let's see what the great wizard comes up with!

November 15th

It Doesn't Add Up

Here we are once again, loading the truck and heading up the pike or in this case I-75………   ………something we have done now for 40-some years to yet another weekend of dog shows! This time it is to Ocala Fl for 4 days of shows.

We are the ‘habitual’ Labrador breeders/exhibitors of Florida! That means that we support each and every dog show weekend with the exception of the ones in the far out western Florida Panhandle, those take way too long to get to and the attendance is rather low in number, thus the points to be had just don’t make sense for the extra-long ride and added expense to our owners (our partners).

So, we knock heads with any and all that brave all the fully-loaded dog shows in the north central, central  and southern part of the state where the entries are bigger and the competition is at its best.

Now occasionally we will plan an out of state weekend or two, three or four per year when some of our dogs are lacking the needed majors and the entries here in Florida are rather lacking because many of the other Florida Lab breeders would rather not rough it out here in Florida where the tough get going!

It is interesting to hear that some of those flying the coop north and west out of Florida collect the booty over there meanwhile back at the ranch (Florida shows), their luck just isn’t the same. Goes to show beyond any doubt cast this way, that there is a reason that not too many from other states will venture down to the sunnier-than-thou state and vice versa, there are flocks of birds of a feather that flit to where the grass seems greener for plucking  the easier wins and points.

For us, those that line up for the competition through heat and rain, sunshine and pain (the judging at times), it’s a major win, win situation because we can thump our chests and cockadoodledoo all we want and brag until the nag nags no longer because we win regardless of who the competition there is no tomorrow right here where those that don’t will get up and go and win elsewhere.

That is the true measure of the competitive state we are in here in Florida.

Then to load the cart beyond its loading capacity, 2 months of the year Florida hosts the nation’s top dogs!

Coming soon, December 13th to the 18th, come one and come all to the newly named AKC National Championships Royal Canin extraordinary extravaganza canine event to end all other canine events including the Grandfather gargantuan Big Apple event of Westminster.


Yes, you read right, the old Eukanuba now to be known as the Royal Canin is the real, regal, royal doggie event in terms of total numbers of dogs competing! Labs from all over the world are invited to join the top champions and class dogs that the USA top breeders can field!

After that most grueling competitive meeting of the best dogs in the country-plus, we take a breather for 3 weeks and then it’s the traditional Florida Winter Circuit in January with 2 weeks of 12 shows followed by 4 more shows the 3rd weekend, first in Brooksville for the 12 shows, then Ocala for the 4 shows at the end of the month.


This Winter Circuit, talk about a competitive venue! The top dog handlers will descend like snowbirds do to Florida, however these carpet baggers come fully loaded with truckloads of the best Labradors from as far north as Maine, NY, NJ, MA, MD, RI, CT, VI down the 1-95 corridor, from the Michigan, KT, TN, IN, OH and the  Carolinas down the I-75 breezeway, from the west on the I-10 speed trap from TX and the Mississippi valley and states adjoining……………………………………..they all come down to the warmer weather away from the blizzards, sleet and drifting snow……………..picking up the best dogs from the breeders and top kennels that they pass by along the way and all end up down here in the orange juice state where Mimosas are a breakfast drink!

So, some of you are wondering why the dander is flying this morning with the tone of this blog. Well, let me tell you!

A communication I dealt with yesterday implied that we at Chambray finished so many champions because we have Florida ‘cornered’!

I honestly think that the recent presidential elections have turned people topsy-turvy more than normal!

If the competition is greater how can it be easier to finish dogs?

If the professional handlers that work the Labrador ring in Florida are out grabbing the top dogs from the better Florida breeders and also bringing down the top dogs from breeders/kennels from other states……………..on top of all that there are two whole months out of the year where the top dogs and breeders from all over the country and from China, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Korea and even from some Eastern European countries  are sending their absolute best dogs with the top Labrador handlers in the business…………………………… does all that make it easier for Chambray to finish more dogs than any other breeder in the country, year after year………… 3 years running and 4 out of the last 5 years?

Yep, we are living in very confused times, because it just doesn't add up what some people conjure up................meanwhile our champions do add up against the toughest there is in the country. Those are iron-clad results that do add up be it the popular vote or the electoral college way.

November 12th

Is There A Better Way?

Last weekend Team Chambray was doing its thing at the IABCA International Dog Shows in Ocala FL. For those competing against our dogs, it probably looked like business as usual, the same ‘business’ that we have been employing at these very same venues for the last 19 years that IABCA has been hosting shows in Florida.

That seemingly 'business as usual' was anything but, because all those dogs competing for the weekend were all owned by brand new owners to the dog show world! Although the 'process' looked the same, the ways and means behind the scenes are the result of our never ending quest of bringing new people into the fancy, giving us the opportunity to perpetuate to new generations of dogs and of owners the best there is for the Betterment of the Breed.

The starting lineup for the 4 shows (2 shows per day) was an interesting one to say the least! There were 10 Chambray-bred dogs in the competition ranging in age from 3 to 6 month old Baby Puppy (6 of them), Two 6 to 9 Junior Puppies (2 of them) and 2 Adults……………….one whose 1 year old birthday was celebrated at the end of August and the 2nd dog celebrated his year birthday in September.

So, in essence a van full of babies and youngsters venturing at with the majority debuting at their very first official dog shows, all owned by new people to the dog show world!

All 10 of these awesome specimens of the breed are part of Chambray Labradors Owner’s Program and each was there because of our commitment to the breed………………the commitment to the breed to only produce each succeeding generation of Labradors from the very best sires and dams available to us.

Most of these dogs that perpetuate the absolute best qualities forward are already participating with us in our unique Owner’s Program, while others, mostly the sires that we choose to breed our top females are standing at stud with other top show breeders across the country.

So, just who are these owners that have co-produced this brand new wave of excellent Labradors which by the way had a most awesome outing with all procuring their International champion’s title, many achieving Best Labrador Puppy and Best Labrador Adult, some taking Sporting Group Placements and a few going all the way to Best In Show and Reserve Best In Show……………………………..and against world class competition as there were a total of 23 Labradors in competition, some of those already AKC champions and in the Sporting Group were several AKC Top 10 dogs of other breeds.

As can be seen, it was no easy walk in the park or the taking of candy from babies, each and every award and title was well-earned the good old fashion way…………………..with lots or work and major cooperation using the Chambray Way.

The Chambray Way……………………………a village of Labrador enthusiasts, true blue lovers of the #1 breed of dog in the world, each doing the right thing with their dog by participating in the one-of-a-kind endeavor to produce the absolute best Labradors in conjunction with the breeder (Chambray Labradors) and then Pay It Forward to the next generation of new owners with the produce of those excellent bred puppies. Once that cycle has been completed, those new puppies with those new owners then become the next candidates to co-produce the next generation of puppies to make available to the next generation of new owners………………………..all for the Betterment of the Breed.

Let’s meet some of the owners that helped produce this new wave of co-bred puppies.

From the 3 to 6 month old Baby Class:

  • We had 3 puppies from the litter of AKC BBE Grand Ch Chambrays First N Counter “Gavi” bred to BBE Ch Chambrays Where Eagles Dare “Big Tank”.

Gavi is co-owned with Olga and Juan Marrero (who also co-own with us Kika, Rico, Tatiana and Sasha). All of these dogs are part of Chambray Labradors Owner’s Program for the Betterment of the Breed and the Marreros are an integral part of our collective successes.

Gavi’s dam, Chambrays Ellie co-owned/co-bred with Val Till………………Ellie’s dam, BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Charm was co-bred to produce Ellie……………….Charm was produced from a co-owned/co-bred litter from Ch Chambrays Chancey (co-owned with Martha Chisholm)……….Chancey was produced from a co-bred litter from Chambrays Amber (owned by the Senra family)………….Chancey came from a co-bred litter from Ch Chambrays Indian Summer (owned by the McGown family)…………………Summer came from the foundation dam, Beavercreeks Crystal acquired from the Rabalais’ Beavercreek Labradors.

Big Tank is co-owned with Marie Knapp, who also owns his dam, Chambrays Queen Of Hearts, “Viper”.

Viper came from a co-bred litter between BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Hogan bred to an imported bitch owned by Chambray Partner, Geraldo De Souza.

These 3 new puppies that are now part of the new wave of Chambray show dogs are:

Chambrays Decker owned by Ali Mahon

Chambrays Leo owned by the Mendoza family

Chambrays Riley owned by the Trainer family

All three of these puppies excelled at these shows earning their Int ch’s title and also receiving Best Lab puppies, Sporting Group Placements and even Reserve BIS

  • Three other puppies in the 3 to 6 month Baby Class were produced by Chambray Jolie who is owned and was co-bred with her owner Charles Scearce. Jolie was bred to Big Tank from above.

Jolie’s dam is Gavi from up above as well. Gavi was bred to Ch Blackthorns Rock U Too for the litter that produced Jolie.

These 3 new puppies that will contribute to the Betterment of the Breed are

Chambrays Gracie owned by Aimee Falcone

Chambrays Axel owned by the Rojas family

Chambrays Willow owned by Jolie’s dam, Charles Scearce

All three of these puppies excelled at these shows earning their Int ch’s title and also receiving Best Lab puppies, Sporting Group Placements and even Reserve BIS


  • There were 2 puppies from the breeding of Chambrays Summer Thunderstorm bred to Devonshires Huckleberry Finn.

Summer is owned by Fr Darrell Venters and was co-bred producing:

Chambrays Dyna owned by Ivan Toro

Chambrays Rayne owned by the Trainer family

Both of these puppies sexcelled at these shows earning their Int ch’s title and also receiving Best Lab puppies, Sporting Group Placements.


  • There were the 2 adults that participated at these IABCA shows. Both dogs are already a fixture at the AKC shows, with one of them having finished his AKC champion’s title in record time of 11 months of age!!!!!!!!!!!

New Champion, Ch Chambrays Duke Destined For Greatness is owned by Alyona Nikitsina and Gadi Schvarsman and was produced from Ch Chambrays Mean Green Josephine "JoJo" owned by Dave Baxter. His sire is outside stud dog Devonshires Huckleberry Finn.

JoJo goes back 28 years to the original foundation bitch, Crystal

Chambrays Max Tucker Shwab is owned by longtime Chambray owner, Mila Shwab and he is the product of the breeding between Chambray Titanic N Counter “Tatiana” bred to BISS Silver/Bronze Gr Ch Chambray’s Tucker Everlasting owned by the Etzig family.

Tatiana goes back to the original foundation dam, Crystal back in 1988.


As can be seen and followed by in most cases………………….the dogs evident today at the dog shows, be it AKC or IABCA, UKC, ICE or others are but the tip of the proverbial iceberg, with some dogs going back almost 30 years using the Chambray Way of only producing the very best puppies from the very best dogs ever produced by our innovative collective ways of pooling our resources for each succeeding generation of Labradors produced.

Now most of these new puppies/owners will be the ones counted on in the future to continue the perpetuation of excellence for the Betterment of the Breed.

November 13th

Some Feedback & It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

"Absolutely what the doctor ordered! The photos that you posted of what a dog in motion that has the right structure, thus the right movement is priceless. Then to follow that blog with the photos of what poor structure that results in poor movement, thank you it made things crystal clear that for years I was confused about." DL



"I have been breeding Labradors for 7 years and knew about straight and upright shoulders, but I never knew that the results of that condition would be until looking at your page and seeing how they are supposed to be and then seeing what happens if they are not where they are supposed to be." Dale


"OMG, I have seen dogs walk that way and now I know why!" TD


"Don’t the people that breed and own those dogs know that they are wrongly built? Then they go and breed those dogs and have more of those dogs that are not right and then they sell those dogs to other people that don’t know they are not right and the breed gets worse all the time." Mary


"What an important asset you are to the breed. Keep it up you have many that appreciate your efforts."  Kim



One of the breeders that I have been talking to about a show puppy told me that no Labrador breeder in his right mind will place the top show puppy from a litter of theirs. She will place what she considers her 2nd pick puppy with me.

Mindy C.

As can be seen and read from the above.............seeing is believing! So, without further ado, let me show you!

Meet Charlie Mosley. I placed him with his new owner, Danna Mosley in California. Today he is 6 months old. He is what the top breeders in the country consider a 'KEEPER', yet I kept my commitment to place the best with who I thought would be the best for the BREED (Labrador Retrievers), for the PUPPY (Charlie), for the NEW OWNER (Ms. Mosley) and ultimately for the BREEDER (Chambray, me) 

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This!

November 14th

Nay & Yea Red-Nosed Labradors

In some recent blog, I made mention of a red-nosed Labrador not being acceptable within the breed standard guidelines, which is a valid point. What I didn’t state was that I ‘hated’ red-nosed Labradors! That’s because that is as far from the truth as an astronomical unit is………….which by the way for those not into astronomy, is the distance from the sun to our dear old earth.


There is a huge difference when we are having a conversation about breeding correctly as opposed to those that indulge in producing indiscriminately without regards to stipulations and guidelines that make each breed unique.


Personally, any dog that is well behaved is as good as any other dog regardless of breed, color or any other difference or attribute! In fact, mixed breeds or be it pure breeds are as equal as all get out with me.


In my 44 years of living at Chambray Acres, I have had my mix of just about all breeds as my father used to ‘save’ strays and outcasts that were the result of ‘dumping’ dogs out in the country. A real bad habit where folks living in town will drive out to rural areas and abandon dogs that they no longer wish to care for.


So, my so called ‘elitist’ views on Labradors that do not adhere to the dictum's of the breed standard are only evident when I am mentoring those that wish to do the right thing in perpetuating the breeding for the best qualities of each breed.


When folks come to my place for dog obedience training, it doesn’t matter an iota that their dog doesn’t quite meet the standards for the breed they purportedly represent. I take each and every one of those owners and their dogs and give them the exact quality time for them to have a well-trained, well-socialized dog that they can be proud about.


The treatment a dog receives from me is no less and no greater whether a dog is a ‘pure-bred’, a mixed breed or a top show quality dog.


Now, things take a dramatic turn if the person comes to me wanting to breed a dog and that dog is a poor example of the breed…………………especially if that breed is a Labrador Retriever!


Yep, that’s a total 180 and my hackles will take a stand each and every time someone wants to get into breeding dogs and they bring out one of the ‘deplorable’ ones! Heaven forbid that it is a red-nosed Labrador.


In the words of one of our presidents, “let me make things perfectly clear”, I LOVE RED-NOSED LABRADORS…………………………BUT………………………NOT FOR BREEDING!


So, for those that have been boohooing me for being a ‘racist’ against red-nosed Labs……..let’s get it right……………………’s ‘nay’ in general and ‘yea’ in specific!

November 12th 

The Way It's Supposed To Be

The Way It Is On Many

I guess the best way to 'see' what is right is to 'see' what is not right!

The photo on the left is perfect movement and how it is supposed to look like when structure is correct.
Photo 1. Upright shoulders prevent the upper arm from reaching forward adequately, thus the dog's front reach is restricted creating a short and choppy movement. There is no convergence of the front feet with the rear feet underneath the dog's body. Rear drive is is not deep enough underneath the body, which doesn't allow for the dog's rear end to drop down to the level of the topline. The whole cadence of footfall is totally off creating a back and forth rocking of the dog's body.
Photo 2. This dog has excess lay back of shoulders (opposite of straight shoulders), which causes the dog to reach out too far forward. The backward movement of the front leg goes way beyond the end of the rib cage, causing the dog to over converge and crossover (X), creating an overlap with the rear legs to avoid a collision with the front and rear feet. The dog's left rear leg ends up crossing over the medial line to the right side of the dog. As seen from behind, the dog has a weaving motion towards the right and then towards the left as it attempts to move straight forward, which it cannot.
Photo 3. Extreme upright shoulders prevents this dog from being able to raise its head above the withers as it moves. There is no convergence between the front and rear feet underneath the body because the cadence of footfall is totally off. The rear drive is too shallow, where the legs don't drive enough forward underneath the body. This dog also crosses (X) over where the right rear leg is way over on the left side of the dog, away from the medial line.
Photo 4. Upright shoulders severely limiting the forward reach where the upper arm and is not swinging sufficiently forward forcing the dog to do the reaching forward with just the lower arm (ouch!). The backward motion of the front leg is also affected where it stops way short of where the rib cage ends. The rear drive is very short creating a bunched up look to the loin and croup. There is no convergence of front and rear feet under the rib cage

November 11th

Great Movement Is 100% Dependent On Great Structure

See graphic below

The line ABC is crucial for a dog to have the effortless movement that is so highly prized in sports afield breeds. 

ABC......Lets take a look at the 3-point line. First look at where the front feet converge with the rear feet underneath the dog. If the dog's structure is correct, then that convergence will take place right below where the rib cage ends. That is exactly the midway point of the dog's body. If the feet meet at that point, then the dog is balanced between front and rear. 

Here are things that could go wrong. If point B is further back on the dog, then the dog's rear end will be high, because that means that the dog has a shortened rear drive as compared to its front reach.

If Point B is closer to the withers, then the dog will appear to be much higher in the front and the topline will not be level as called for by the breed standard, this will result in a severe sloping topline.

Line BD is the dog's reach.
Line DC is the length of reach.
Line BE is the dog's rear drive
Line CE of the dog's length of drive
DE is the dog's total length of stride
Z is the dog's topline being level while moving
X represents the dog's proper head position, held confortable above the dog's topline.
The dog in this depiction is 6 months old and her structure is as good as it gets. She is about 55% rear drive and 45% front reach, so the rear has developed ahead of the front which is common for a puppy her age.
With all the above points being right on, this dog carries her head above her shoulders and topline, her topline is totally steady throughout her show gait. There is no bobbing up and/or down of the shoulders or the rump.
This is maximum efficiency, covering ground effortlessly.

November 10th

Never A Perfect Game

A Labrador breeder recently was approved to judge Labradors. Another person was recently approved to judge Labradors, not a Labrador breeder, but someone that has owned Labradors in the past and is involved as an exhibitor with a couple of breeds.


So, these two folk will be added to the cadre that already possesses a ‘license’ to stand in a ring and adjudicate to select the best specimens of the breed.


I have a list of about 120 other folk that happen to be Labrador breeders that also possess that same ‘issuance’ that entitles them to express their supposedly ‘learned’ opinion as to what constitutes the correct specimens of the breed.


Then there are a bevy…………actually hundreds and hundreds  more ‘all-breed’ judges that can also be hired by the dog clubs that put on the dog shows and they too have the same entitlement to be counted on to stand in judgement of Labrador Retrievers.


Each of these fine folk have accumulated the needed requirements that are imposed by the AKC to apply for that license and they all passed whatever hurdles were needed to receive that license to judge Labradors.


They all have one directive………………..use the breed standard to ascertain which dogs are the best examples of the breed.


It is the same breed standard for all……………………….but sure as tootin, each of those holding those licenses are free and able to interpret and apply what they think they know and anoint whichever dog strikes their fancy!


So, right about now you are thinking that I am about to unload a diatribe here about ‘bad’ judging!


Well, you would be wrong. Nope, I won’t label it ‘bad’ judging…………… sir, I will name it ‘individualized’ judging!


Like in the each his/her own!


Each and every one of those judges has an opinion and they will express that opinion in the way and form that they see fit.


Remember, they hold that license that allows them to do that and ordinary folk such as breeders, owners, exhibitors and even professional handlers will pay good money to enter their dogs under these licensed good folk.


The preceding creates a huge dilemma for me. Yep, because if it weren’t for this one smidgen of an item, I could brag that I am totally 100% proficient about Labradors…………… ‘Individualized’ judging comes along and blemishes what could be my perfect score and relegates me to be 99% proficient with Labrador Retrievers!


That is the equivalent of pitching a PERFECT game in baseball for 9 ½ innings and then the next to last batter comes along and hits a ball that goes perfectly to the shortstop and he then commits an error and the perfect game goes down the tubes and becomes a no-hitter when the last batter makes the last out right afterwards.


Even if no one scored or even got a hit, that one error prevents that game to go down in history as a PERFECT GAME!


So, here I sit knowing that I will never, ever pitch a perfect game with Labradors!


You see, I have an answer for everything Labradors……………..the right answer to boot! Yep, I know all there is to know about the breed. But, I can’t claim that PERFECT GAME!

The ‘error’ that prevents me from having that perfect record is that I don’t have an answer for the judging!


I totally admit that I am befuddled and dumbstruck with no explanation whatsoever when it comes to some of the judging that takes place in my field of dreams venue, the Labrador Retriever ring!


I admit that I am deficient in that one area of the one thing that I know beyond any runs, drips or errors……………..the one thing that I know that I am the Lord of the Rings…………….the maestro of the concerto………….the virtuoso with a Stradivarius…………….the Rembrandt of the canvas………………..I am all those with Labrador Retrievers and yet, I know that I will never, ever be at that summit of Mt Olympus because I will never be able to have an explanation for the judging!

So at the next dog show when the judge for the day makes their pronouncements for Winners Dog, Winners Bitch, Best of Breed and none of those awards were bestowed on your dog...........................remember, that I don't have an answer for the judging!

The Blogging Off Experience

Okay, let’s do a re-cap since I am receiving so many questions on the how, what and why we operate Chambray Labradors Owner’s Puppy Placement Program.

First, here is the graphic that makes it all so simple to follow along.

  1. Chambray Labradors together with our existing owners produces top show potential puppies.

  2. Those top show puppies are placed with specially chosen new owners that will take advantage of all the amenities, mentorship, management program and breeding program.

  3. When those dogs reach adulthood, they and their owners will be chosen to participate in producing the next generation of Chambray Labradors.

  4. The puppies produced from those co-bred litters will be placed with specially chosen new owners that will………………………….pay it forward to the next generation of puppies, new owners and the Betterment of the Breed and of course to Chambray Labradors.





November 8th

1 Step Forward 2 Steps Back
& The Breed Suffers

Just when I think that major advances..............those, 1 step forward type have been made, I will receive one of those 2 steps back scenarios!

This past weekend at the Ocala IABCA shows I had a visitor drop by to show me a dog she had purchased recently from a ‘known Labrador breeder’ (her words).


She wanted an evaluation for ‘show worthiness’ and of course to breed and start her ‘own lines’!


Before diving head first into this tar pit, let’s regress 2 years here.

Come to find out, the lady in question here had contacted me about the placement of a ‘show prospect’ those two years ago. This she reminded me while we sat by ringside watching one of the new Chambray puppies go all the way and win a Best In Show. A Chambray puppy that I recently placed as a top show prospect with the conditions that I mentor the new owners and when that puppy is a breeding age adult and has passed all it's clearances, it will be bred in the Chambray Labradors Management Program for the Betterment of the Breed.

With this lady, it seems that she was undecided between obtaining a puppy I offered to place with her and the one that she ended buying from Brand X Labradors.  Brand X being a backyard breeder with no connections to show dogs other than having bought a reasonable facsimile and having it handled at a few dog shows and now she advertises all her litters as being sired by top show dogs!

According to the visitor, she was reluctant to have a puppy placed with her that she didn’t have full control of (the Chambray puppy)……………………this being the puppy I would have placed with her with the provision that the first litter that the puppy would have, would be a co-bred litter with me making all the critical decisions about the breeding and all of the puppies in the litter being placed through Chambray’s Puppy Placement Program. That by the way that's mentorship and guidance that no other breeder offers.

That is the price to pay for having a 'world class puppy' placed with anyone and then receive amenities beyond what a newbie would take 12 years or more of making mistake after mistake.

The preceding is the arrangement by which all of the Chambray top show puppies are placed. That’s because no one…………………….NO ONE, no top Labrador breeder will place a top show prospect with ANYONE! Those top show prospects don’t go very far from the breeder’s home or control.

So, instead she opts to buy a 3rd rate pet puppy from a 3rd rate breeder that supplies the pet puppy market and now she wants to know if the dog is ‘show worthy’ and if she can use Chambray’s top show champions to produce her first litter as a show breeder.

Right off the bat without even going over the dog…………………………………DQ……………………..that’s short for DISQUALIFICATION! Yep, the old Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, but in this case a red-nosed yellow Labrador Retriever.

Second…………………..yellow eyes!

Third…………………total Terrier Front with upright, straight shoulders!

Forth, drum roll maestro…………………yep, you know what’s coming…………………..COW HOCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, hey the silver lining here for the dog owner is that she has total control of the dog!

Yep, she will be breeding that ‘totally outside of the breed standard’ dog to whatever stud dog that she can come up with the stud dog fee……………………but rest assured that it won’t be a top champion Chambray stud dog.

Nope, ain’t going to happen on my watch! The major downside to that is that in a few months there will be another litter of 'less-than-run-of-the-mill' puppies being offered for sale to yet another newcomer looking to get into breeding their very own lines!

November 8th

Dog Show World May Be Entering The 21st Century

New cutting edge concepts are a tough sell to those with traditional mindsets. There is a most comfortable slot that the vast majority like to park themselves on; knowing for the most part what is to come since time and time again there is an expected and repetitive outcome to their investment. Even if there is seemingly something better in the midst, the old ways seem to rule in spite of their lowered returns.

The dog show world is very similar to the above. There is a tremendous hesitancy to newness or to change. For the most part, things have been major status quo since I first got into the fancy……………46 years ago!

Everything else on the planet has evolved at the speed of light………..a new millennium, space travel, the Internet, modern medicine……………….you name it, it has done revolutionary and radical to the nth degree change for the better.


Same old, same old doesn’t begin to describe the cavemen times that the fancy has barely evolved from to now using the old horse and cart era!


The hare (rest of the world’s endeavors) has gone around the Nascar track thousands of times, while the tortoise (dog show world) is yet to complete one lap!

There is this reluctance to anything new………………..I know because the Owner’s Program that I put into play 26 years ago in 1990, during the last century………………………with all its rollicking successes, beyond anything I could have imagined, is still today in the new century causing upturned nose-types to turn their heads the other way.

The old ways having their way against the better way……………..go figure!

In the last 5+ years, there have been some winds of change……………….there have been those that finally…………finally have seen enough or maybe ‘felt’ enough to at least acknowledge the existence of the endeavor.

I state ‘felt’ because it has taken just that……………………..because there is nothing like ‘feeling’ it where it hurts, competing against something and not winning against it has a way of feeling the ‘burn’!

The above was shared with me recently by someone that had been reluctant to even concede that there might really be a better way and of course I am referring here to the Chambray way.


Yep, a stalwart of the old guard, the venerable Stone Age ways of the dog show world and now almost 3 decades later, he nods his head and congratulates me for “sticking to something that I believed in and staying the course even in the thickest of adversities” (his own words)!

‘Adversities’ being the operative word here………………like having an uphill climb…………….nah, more like a Mt Everest torturous battle to finally reach the summit of success that we have been savoring for close to 10 years now.

I guess better late than never can be ascribed to those that finally get over whatever ‘hump’ has been preventing them from moving from the archaic ways of thinking and looking over at something and realizing and accepting that it really provides value to all those that are involved with it!

Maybe there is hope that the rest of the dog show world will someday make it to the 21st century.

November 7th

IABCA International Shows


Wow, What A Weekend Outing


We could have not designed the total weekend package any better than what nature provided for us at this past weekend’s IABCA International Dog Shows in Ocala!

Nice, cool, breezy weather greeted us after the 5-hour ride north to Central Florida from Miami.

Of course there’s nothing better than to travel a long distance……………put in all the hard work that’s involved in transporting 14 dogs and 6 people in a caravan of a car and our van……………follow all that up with handling all those dogs (10 Labs plus 12 other dogs of different breeds) and then be rewarded with a humongous celebratory successful outing with those show-debuting puppies and dogs!

The handpicked 8 Lab puppies that comprised the show roster, plus the 2 barely-adult Labs, all had stellar performances showing off their beyond exceptional conformation. That all bode rather well because there were a total of 23 Labradors entered representing 6 different kennel there was formidable competition to test our debutante’s first foray into the dog show world.

One of the remarkable outcomes was that all 10 of our dogs were awarded their International Champion’s titles……………………….so a 100% success rate for the entire roster! We now have 6 brand spanking new Int Baby Ch’s, 2 Int Junior Ch’s and 2 Int Adult Ch’s to our credit!

The 8 puppies are a product of the 2016 breeding season. These are among the elite puppies from each of the 3 out of the 4 litters that Chambray Labradors and the Owner’s Program for the Betterment of the Breed co-bred for the year.

These International shows become the testing & proving grounds for each year’s best puppies. It gives us the opportunity to see each puppy in action and make decisions as to their future involvement at the next level of competition, the AKC shows!

Well, we had a major accomplishment because every one of the 8 puppies and their owners will be encouraged to continue on as all showed their tremendous breed conformation to be able to make it at the AKC’s heightened level of competition.

Together with each of their owners, plans will be put into play for more training and conditioning to have them ready for the eventualities that will present themselves in the future.

We look forward to taking this next great generation of Chambray puppies all the way for the Betterment of the Breed.

November 3rd

Hectic Times @ Season's End

Hectic doesn’t begin to describe the ‘dog world atmosphere’ around here this time of the year! There are only 6 weeks left before the Florida dog show season is caput for 2016 and there are 4 weekends of shows left that are as different as rats are from bats!

Entry deadlines loom for a host of dog shows with each of those weekends sporting different starting day rosters…………………….which in itself becomes a Rubik’s cube…………then to sort out…………then to explain to the dog owners…………..and then to get them entered before the toll of the bell knells!

We have puppies that have never been out to dog shows, now here they are going to their very first IABCA shows …..….after that there’s a weekend with 4 days of shows where the judges are more of the fair-weathered friends, making the likelihood of majors iffy ……………………..then there is a weekend with 3 days of shows in Alabama which will probably be majors and give some of our dogs the needed AKC majors to compete at, so going out of state becomes the mission for those few dogs…………………………then comes 5 days of shows with the grand finale, the real big show, the canine extravaganza that tops all other dog events, the newly named Royal Canin event (formerly known as the Eukanuba).

So, this weekend, November 5th and 6th we travel to Ocala FL for the International dog shows hosted by the IABCA organization. For the last two decades, traditionally these 4 shows in 2 days have become the venue to debut our top puppy prospects from the most recent litters.

These shows serve us well because it allows us great hands on training opportunity to work the newest additions to Chambray Labradors Show Management Program. The puppies showing this weekend are the best prospects from 3 out of the 4 litters that we have had in 2016. This will let us see which ones have what it takes to continue on into the higher levels of competition at the AKC shows.

Two weekends later we will be back at the same show site in Ocala for the 4 days of AKC shows, starting on November 17th to November 20th. The deadline for entry was yesterday and we now wait to see what the total number of dogs entered hoping for majors at these last of the ‘regular’ Florida dog shows.

No sooner than we get back home on Monday, November 21st from these Ocala shows, that we have to unload, cleanout and reload the van to get ready on Thanksgiving Day to hike up the pike to I-75, then to I-10 to make our way to Alabama for 3 days of shows starting on Friday the 25th to Sunday the 27th.

We return back home on November 28th and have 2 weeks to get ready for the ‘Super Bowl’ of dog shows…………………………..3 all-breed dog shows in Orlando, starting in Tuesday December 13th to December 15th…………………then the LRC Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Specialty on Friday the 16th and then on Saturday the ‘piece de resistance’ of dog shows……………….the grand finale that caps the whole dog show year…………….now newly named the Royal Canin AKC National Championships!

So, we load up the truck and head north tomorrow with our young whippersnapper puppies to Ocala IABCA shows to see which ones will be leading the parade for the coming 2017 Dog Show Season.

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