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  October2016  

am

what I appear to be

 

The love and passion that I have for Labrador Retrievers is what fuels my drive for my total involvement with the breed. The never-ending quest for the Betterment of the Breed is the legacy that I would

like to leave behind after it is all said and done.

 

This Blogging Off section reflects the "tell it like it is" persona that comprises one of the many hats that I wear in my daily activities with Labrador Retrievers and the people that own them. 

"Questions are the keys to understanding,
answers are the open doors that will follow,

choosing the right door to proceed through will
determine if the correct path was taken."
 
V. Sandy Herzon

The Blogging Off Experience

These blogs will cover every Labrador-related topic under the sun and then sum/some! There will be puns intended, off the cuff remarks will rule, attempts at acerbic, acidic and arsed-like humor will be on the menu. Since I have lived outside of the box for most of my life, parameters need not apply.

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October 28th

The IABCA Shows

There was some criticism at one of the Labrador chit-chat rooms because Chambray Labradors exhibits dogs at the ‘lesser’ dog show organization’s venues!

Yes, we do! Gladly ten times over!

I guess when you are the big league’s leader (AKC) in every category for Labrador Retrievers, those that just can’t keep up at that top level setting will find something to groan and moan about!

Yes, folks it is understood by all involved that the IABCA, ICE and UKC shows and other similar outfits are not in the same room with the major powers that be, the AKC.

We know beyond any delusional realm state that the champion’s titles, the rosettes and ribbons do not carry the weight of the ‘Big Brother’ monopoly that the AKC enjoys……………………..no one is fooling no one else, there’s no ‘leading the gullible over the cliff’ here folks.

Each and every one of our Chambray owners knows the tremendous ‘value’ that these ‘minor league’ shows present to our dogs!

Nothing compares to the ‘on the spot’, ‘hands on training’ that our dogs receive at the International shows………………………although all Chambray dogs receive cutting edge training at Chambray Acres in many forms………………………private one-on-one sessions with the owners and their dogs………………………..night training classes with our various trainers with the dogs and their owners…………………………….
The In-Kennel training where the dogs are left with us for intense training and conditioning……………………there’s nothing that approximates the environment of the real deal AKC shows as do the International venues, which provides our dogs the much needed socialization that can't not be had at too many other places!

While it is true that the champion’s titles, the ribbons and awards may not measure up or carry the weight as the ones that are won at the AKC shows……………………..the exposure and experience garnered at these other than ‘stellar’ settings is well worth the time, energy, effort, money and overall output that goes into the excursion.

We totally embrace the opportunity to gather all our up and coming puppies and young dogs and their owners to participate with us in providing the dogs with an extra outing that is both enjoyable and a valuable training tool for all our dogs.

We also have the opportunity to assess what each dog needs to make it an AKC contender when its time comes to join the roster and ranks at the AKC shows.

Yes, winning a Best Labrador Puppy or a Best Labrador Adult……………….maybe continuing on to take a Group Placement and even a Group 1 that will allow the puppy or dog to compete for one of the big rosettes for a Best In Show at these International shows doesn't equate to the same wins at an AKC show..............all those involved with Chambray know that they are a mere stepping stone to what comes next at the AKC level.

Now what those that can’t see beyond the end of their leashes, thus cannot fathom is that all of the preceding that we do with our dogs be it here at Chambray Acres or at the IABCA show is what makes our dogs become the winningest at the big leagues, the AKC shows!

October 28th

Winning Has Its Rewards

To make what I guess seemed like a complex endeavor easier to understand, since I have received a few “what” emails………………here’s an addendum to yesterday’s blog ‘Better Ways Create Better Outcomes’.

One of the questions that came in from the blog was, “How do you manage to finish the same exact number of dogs per year?”

The above referring to the 4 years where 6 new champions were finished each of those years.

For us, breeding, raising, training/conditioning and show handling is similar to taking a never ending trip. We are always on the move, which requires pit stops for gas every once in a while.

Although the benchmarks are noted that a dog show season commences in January and ends in December and the prize at the end of that observable period of time is ‘how many dogs were championed’………………..for Chambray Labradors there really is no beginning or ending as the whole endeavor is a continuum day after day, turning into month after month and then repeating the same cycle year after year.

While finishing the most champions in one year brings about major hoopla and accolades and of course major bragging rights, that significant number of dogs titled is but a mere notation in between two months that are 12 months apart……………those 2 months being the beginning and the end of a calendar year.

So, the never ending trip is the years that we have been involved with raising/showing our dogs, the pit stops are then the new puppies that are brought in to replace those dogs that have titled out. In the last 5 years there seems to be a notable number that title out yearly which then requires a similar number that is brought on to make up for the vacancies created by the new champions.

While the system in play is operating at the highest proficiency with the absolute best returns an unexpected dilemma has come up…………………..actually a great dilemma to have, that very few other breeder/handlers can dream about……………………we now have far greater numbers of champions available to be campaigned at the Best Of Breed competition and not enough of our handlers to accommodate all of them!

That matter will make for an interesting blog in the near future.

So, finishing 6 dogs per year is not a ‘planned’ number, but an occurrence dictated by the number of shows it takes to accumulate the needed Winners Dog/Winners Bitch numbers and the number of Major Pointed Wins to achieve an AKC title.

Since those dogs that do finish in that time period are the ones that are winning at the most consistent rate, they in essence are taking the majority of available Winners Points. Once these dogs title out, then other dogs begin the winning process for themselves.

Of course the number of shows needed varies considerably according to the conformational value of the individual dog PLUS the handling skills provided that dog!

October 27th

A Better Way Creates A Better Outcome

Looking At Winning From A Different Angle

Winning at the dog shows is paramount and anyone that says different is not whistling Dixie!

Oh, every once in a while I hear the molly grubs chirp that they are really into showing their dogs for fun and games…………………………yeah, just watch their attitude when once again their dogs are left holding the bag!

Madder than the Mad Hatter!

Grumpy from the Seven Dwarfs would seem tickled pink compared to the sour pusses that I have witnessed……………. that have right to my face have said to me that they are ‘having so much fun’, yet they fret and fume all over the place when their dogs are not thrown a bone!

I keep forgetting that I carry a cellphone with me and next time I will take some candid photos to email to them to prove how much fun they are having when they DON’T WIN!

Anyways, I guess I went a bit divergent here, because what I really had in mind was going over one of my theories of winning.

So, now that I have plowed some of the debris off the road, let’s take a smooth ride in conjecture.

Winning at the dog shows is a transient endeavor whose correlation is percentage based over a defined period of time!

That is a mouth full of jargon, so let me explain.

Say there are 25 class males of differing ages showing at a particular time and we follow those dogs for a set period of time………………..6 months, so we have the same dogs competing against each other for half a year.

History repeats itself, sort of like a perpetual deja vu!

This is how it is at the dog shows, some dogs seem to ‘catch on fire’ and finish out their titles, leaving the winning to whichever dog was coming in RWD or 2nd.

So winning is done by 25% of those dogs which seem to win at a higher consistency than the rest, which means that the winner’s points over a 6 month period will be divvied up by the same 5 dogs more so than not.

When that occurs, then one or more of those dogs are very likely to accumulate enough points to finish their championship.

Those dogs that finish out, then no longer are part of the field that started out 6 months ago.

When that happens those new champions vacate their spot as a class dog, then some of the dogs from the group that may not have been winning at the higher consistency will then move up to be included in the next and newly formed top 25%.......................by those dogs moving up, it leaves openings for all dogs to move up to the middle of the pack and also for new dogs to join in and become part of the lesser 75% that make up the whole class of dogs.

The preceding is seen on a continual basis at the dog shows. Certain dogs seem to gather most of their wins in a spurt and finish out and then other dogs begin to win and new dogs seem to come on board and the numbers at the dog shows seems to always hold pretty steady.

So this theory of mine about winning at the dog shows being a transient endeavor whose correlation is percentage based over a defined period of time has more or less been proven, however the whole kit and caboodle has biases built in and is not a clear across the board occurrence.

The biases are created by external forces that are working to make winning predictable and not a ‘by chance’ happening.

Having the best dogs as far as conformation, the best trained dogs, the best conditioned dogs and the best presented dogs immensely changes the ‘element of luck’ or the ‘by chance’ to one of precision!

Case in point is our record of winning in Florida where we have finished 6 new champions in each of the last 3 years! No other team of handlers even comes close to having finished 18 new AKC champions from the Labrador ring in the last 3 years. In fact, that goes to the last 5 years where we have finished 27 new champions. To put that in perspective……………………all of the other handlers/breeders/exhibitors added together do not come up with even half of those numbers.

So, stacking the deck with top conformation, innovative training and conditioning plus dedicated, breed-specific show handling takes the randomness and makes it a predictable outcome all boding well for the betterment of the breed and all those involved with the endeavor.

October 26th

Navigating The Waters Of Chambray Way

It is amazing how the exact same subject matter can be presented in a different way or format and the comprehension results can be so different. For years I have written countless articles and blogs to explain the breed-related variables offered by Chambray Labradors that have provided tremendous benefits to the breed, to owners and to the individual dogs produced. In the past week, I offered the same information using graphics instead of in text form and boy did it awaken the senses!

Of course having the written version all these years probably made the graphics easier to understand.

 

Sailing The Chambray Way Waters.

A new ‘movement’ or undertaking is much like a boat making its way through uncharted waters. The voyage takes some serious navigating because there are no maps or charts to follow, instead heading corrections are constantly set in motion to right the drifting that occurs when cross currents and unexpected situations  come up that are constantly at work.

When fair weather and the right wind direction presents itself, then its full sail ahead and lots of head way is made……….however when the going gets rough, an alternate bearing needs to be taken.  

All of the preceding can also be applied to Chambray’s Owner’s Programs and the Pay It Forward Movement.

Since the inception of Chambray Labrador’s Owners Programs 26 years ago, getting it right has been the destination…………..that is getting it right for Chambray Labradors, for the new owners, for the individual puppy  for the breed.

Today, the one of a kind mission more than accomplished what I envisioned it would and the results are way beyond what I could have imagined!

To capture in a short descriptive I have taken the time honored ‘win-win’ modifier and altered it to reflect our successes by doubling that ‘feel good’ saying and making it our humming mantra……’win-win-win-win’………………. that now defines our successful state of affairs.

Chambray’s successes are measured in quasi-positiveness……………………..many more ways than one for the many that are part of the collective movement.

Win*The breeder/kennel, Chambray
Win-Win*The owners
Win-Win-Win*The puppies
Win-Win-Win-Win* The Breed, Labrador Retrievers

First: There is a Win for the breeder/kennel, Chambray Labradors.

Of course as a kennel/breeder/exhibitor, winning at the dog shows defines the status of the breeding program. Those entities that rarely win are lower on the rung than are those breeders that win occasionally…………those that win consistently are acknowledge to be higher than those that don’t quite measure up with their wins and then the top echelon status is reserved for the breeder/exhibitor that wins the most.

In our case, the 141 consecutive dog show weekends of winning is beyond what any other Labrador breeder has ever accomplished. Where some breeders celebrate winning at back-to-back weekends of shows……………..our record now spans 4 ½ years of back-to-back-years of winning at the dog shows!

From the first dog show weekend in January of 2012…………..every dog show weekend thereafter to October of 2016, without interruption and these dog show weekends are those where the whole Chambray Team and dog roster were competing. There also over 40 more dog show weekends that Chambray dogs won at, that Team Chambray was not present at.

Top Champion Breeder in the country would be the zenith that all those in the endeavor are reaching for and that is where our Dog Show Breeding & Show Management Program is currently basking at. That’s Tops in 2012, 2014, 2015 and in all probability………2016……….making it 4 times and a three-peat with 2016 most certainty in the bag!

Never before has a Florida Labrador breeder been to that Top spot in the country, never before has any Labrador breeder in the country had the distinction of achieving that enviable Mt Everest position 4 times and yet here we are at the summit with this year’s successes rimming the top and most likely taking that highest perch for a record 4 out of the last 5 years with a total of 27 new champions produced in that time span.

Second: There is a Win-Win Cooperative Venture for those owners…………..the new ones and existing/repeat Chambray owners where they benefit from the placement of the very best there is in Labrador Retrievers. The vast amenities provided through the Owner’s Programs are found nowhere else. It is a one of a kind endeavor that has no equal anywhere in the country.

Simply stated, there is no other Labrador breeder in the country that possesses the qualifications and attributes necessary to undertake and operate at the highest levels as Top Breeders, as Professional Dog Trainers & as Top Professional Show Dog Handlers and then combine all three of those superlatives and provide the unique, avant garde Labrador Retriever Owner’s Programs.

On top of all the preceding………………….those owners working in the most positive collective, also revel in the rollicking successes, achievement, accolades and top breeder status that now span 2 ½ decades. That is the epitome of a win-win consortium.

Third: A Win-Win-Win environment for the puppies. Through the Breeder-Owner Cooperative the individual puppies benefit from the best of both worlds with Chambray providing the best amenities and programs from the breeder/trainer/handler and from the owners that provide the best homes all put together through our Puppy Placement Program.

Fourth: Major Win-Win-Win-Win Proposition for Labrador Retrievers as a breed. With all the key players doing 100% of what’s best for the breed, Chambray Labradors and the Owner’s Programs for the Betterment of the Breed, setting the bar higher with each succeeding generation produced become the working model for others to follow.

That is the rare Win4  or Win-Win-Win-Win for Labrador Retrievers only found at Chambray Labradors & the Owner’s Programs for the Betterment of the Breed.

October 24

Chambray Labradors & The Owner's Program

“Your use of graphics was excellent. It really made understanding some of your methods so much easier. You should ‘explain’ more of your different programs this way!” Elrod Taylor MS

 

I read you and dozens more loud and clear! So, here’s looking at all those that like visual effects, rather than mumble jumbo words.

The following is our breeding program in a nutshell………………….making a very complex and arduous procedure ‘look’ easy-peasy.

Click on graphic
for blog
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October 20th

More On Handling Techniques

I have received several communications about the Facebook Blog from earlier today. The blog following this one describes a training session that I conducted yesterday, Wednesday during the day. I penned it and uploaded for publication later in the afternoon.

Little did I know at 6 PM yesterday that several similar situations would arise at the Wednesday night training classes a scant hour later?

In fact, after the first incident at the group training class, most of the rest of the evening’s agenda revolved around where to hold the focal point of an individual dog according to its attributes or lack thereof!

Some dog owners have asked where it would be proper to hold the bait or toy or whatever works for an individual dog.

The answer is vague because it all depends on that particular dog!

For a Labrador that has the perfect front end assembly, where the shoulders are ‘well-laid back’ as the standard describes as follows:

Shoulders-The shoulders are well laid-back, long and sloping, forming an angle with the upper arm of approximately 90 degrees that permits the dog to move his forelegs in an easy manner with strong forward reach. Ideally, the length of the shoulder blade should equal the length of the upper arm. Straight shoulder blades, short upper arms or heavily muscled or loaded shoulders, all restricting free movement, are incorrect.

If the above passage is ideal in a dog, then the place to hold the bait for the dog to focus on would be straight ahead. In other words, the dog’s muzzle would be level, parallel to the ground. If the shoulder blade forms the described 90 degree angle with the upper arm and the shoulder blade and the upper arm are ‘ideally’ equal in length, then the front end assembly will be perfectly situated for the triangle that is formed by the (A) withers, (B) the point of shoulder (point where shoulder blade meets the upper arm) back to the (C) elbow…………………..the length of A to B is equal to the length of B to C and then the length of C to A (elbow up to the withers) would be the long side of the triangle of the front end assembly. Of course, for all things to be correct in the front end of the dog, the distance from (A) withers to (C) Elbow should be the same distance as (C) elbow to ground!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if the shoulder is set ‘high on’, which means that it is not at the ‘well-laid back’ described position, then it is not set back at the 45 degrees (half of the 90 degrees that should be formed with the upper arm).

This will give the appearance of the dog possessing a short neck! This is an optical illusion created by the scapula (shoulder blade) being ‘tilted forward (upright) away from the ‘well-laid back’ position of 45 degrees. When this occurs, one or more neck vertebrae are covered up, giving the ‘short neck’ look! In reality, all dogs have the same number of vertebra.

Now if that 'per chance' and 'draw of genetics' is the situation with a given dog, then in order to make the dog ‘appear’ to have the correct length of neck and slope of shoulders, where the focal point with the bait will be held is adjusted, usually upwards so that the dog's muzzle is pointing somewhat upwards……….which stretches the neck up, giving it a slightly longer look.

Dogs with more shoulder lay back than the 45 degrees will appear to have a much longer neck and the ‘sleight of hand’ for that predicament might call for the bait being held closer to the dog and slightly lower than the dog’s jaw line, so that the dog has to ‘coil’ backwards at the neck.

So, before diving into the pool, make sure that the water hasn’t been drained, around here where I live we check to make sure the pool isn’t full of alligators!

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October 20th

Don't Do Everything You See On Facebook

Facebook is a wonderful thing……………….in many ways, thousands of ways and more………………….all those ways have been covered to be totally uncovered by now to the max, so I will dispense with all the flowery and glowing attributes……….let me just leap to my conclusion to keep it short and concise.

Don’t do everything you see done on Facebook!

There…………….short and concise!

No beating around the burning bush, no adding extra globs of mayonnaise or sprinkling of several layers of salt……………..nope, let’s whip these mash potatoes into a creamy lather using the fastest speed on a Ninja food processor!

One of today’s private training session appointments was brand new to my little Labrador world. In fact, rather new to Florida with her Labrador Retriever from a well-known kennel/breeder from the North East…………………by the way, very nice dog!

Here she was, wanting some personalized handling lessons for her to be able to handle her own dog at the dog shows. She had heard of ‘us’ (Chambray) when she was still living in Boston MA and lately she had been following us on Facebook.

In other words, she had been watching our ‘live' video broadcasts and also the videotaped dog training sessions that Jessie has been uploading, posting or whatever it is that is done to get those videos on Facebook.

The client wanted to demonstrate the things that she had learned from the Facebook videos and so she proceeded to go through some routines with her dog.

It was obvious that she is a fast learner, because with the thousands of people that I have mentored and trained, learning handling techniques is akin to learning to dance and not many get it right in a short period of time.

At times, it is not how fast or slow someone learns as long as what they are learning is right………people learn things just as fast or just as slow no matter that they are learning it right or all wrong.

I know that sounds a bit funky, but it is true.

While watching her with her dog, I asked her why she held the bait in her hand at shoulder height while getting her dog to focus.

She stopped what she was doing and went to her phone and with her thumb scrolled up, down, sideways until she found what she was looking for.

She then pressed a spot on the little screen and there was my daughter Jessie handling one of the Cane Corso dogs she handles at the dog shows.

Sure enough, Jessie held the bait high close to her ear for the big dog to look up at while she had him posed free style in front of her.

PERFECT! The dog looked absolutely awesome…………..a perfect 10!

Now, let’s delve a little deeper and see why she was doing that……………….with that particular dog!

Jessie is 5 foot 2 inches tall and the dog is 27 inches high at the withers. Now add about 11 inches for the length of neck, plus head size.

By holding the bait at the height, the dog was looking slightly above its total height, in other words, the dog’s muzzle was slightly above the parallel of the ground (not level, slightly inclined upwards.

That relationship between where Jessie held the bait and where the dog held it’s head created the perfect ‘set’ for the position of the neck to show off the required arch that a Cane Corso is supposed to have mid-neck.

So, the handler posed the dog to where it looked the absolute best for the judge to see its required attributes.

Now the Labrador owner applies that exact technique to her dog………………….the problem (many) with that is that it is all wrong for a Labrador Retriever.

But there is more, much more. This ‘handler’ is 5 foot 9, much taller than Jessie and her dog is 23 inches to the withers and less than 8 inches of neck and head!

But the biggest downer was that a Labrador is not supposed to have an upright neck as the Cane Corso should have and a Lab doesn’t have an arch in the neck either.

The Labrador neck should slope gently from the top of the head to the withers, as a ski slope would have, not a sheer cliff as a Cane Corso has.

Although the client had ‘learned’ that technique well from watching it on Facebook…………..unfortunately she had learned it wrong as applied to a Labrador Retriever.

The right way would have had her holding the bait waist high for the dog to focus straight ahead, where the muzzle would be parallel with the ground. With ‘this particular dog’, it would create the correct slope of neck, the correct position for the front end assembly to have the withers over the elbows, the front angles to be 45 degrees from withers through the point of shoulders to the ground and then the point of shoulders back to the elbows at the same 45 degrees.

Notice that I state ‘this particular dog’, because another Labrador may not have the perfect front end assembly or may have a short appearing neck…………………or other characteristics that would require a different handling technique.

So the moral of this story is ‘what you see on Facebook may not be what the doctor ordered’!

October 19th

Using The IABCA Shows

The AKC dog shows are the premier venues for the top show dogs in the country! A comparable setting in football would be the NFL and in baseball, the major leagues. There are other organizations that cater to dog fanciers; however the big bang, the whole enchilada is served up at the AKC level.

The preceding doesn’t stop Chambray Labradors from attending dog shows sponsored by those ‘other’ outfits that provide the setting and environment for us to use as training/testing grounds for our up and coming dog show stars!

Whereas the AKC shows are all business, with ‘busy’ dominating the action……………….leaving little room and even less time to ‘bring along’ or use as a training session for the puppies, young dogs and those others that are either not mature enough or haven’t had the ‘time in’ to make them ring-wise………..so, we encourage all of our show/breeding owners to take their first steps into the learning process, just as their puppies and dogs will be doing at the non-AKC shows.

Of special interest are the IABCA and the ICE dog shows. Two different organizations that travel to the different states putting on dog shows. Such an event will be taking place on November 5/6 in Ocala Fl by the IABCA group.

We look forward to these shows because it allows us to debut our newest puppies and young dogs and also to introduce the dog fancy to their owners, the vast majority of these owners are brand new to the world of showing dogs!

Although the puppies and dogs have the opportunity to garner champion’s titles and even Best In Show awards……………….for the Chambray Labradors Management Program, it’s all about the training and conditioning that can only take place in a ‘real time’ setting as these are. Although we provide dog training and conditioning 7 days a week, nothing compares to the actual show environment for putting the dogs through their paces.

Of course, we build up the prizes and titles won at these shows as a top promotional agenda, however in all reality, the hands on training that the puppies and dogs receive is invaluable and worth every ounce of effort and energy that we put into it and for the owners all the time and money that it costs is all well worth it.

Besides the tremendous amount of training, Chambray's Management Program comes away with a better understanding of each of the dogs that are there competing and also what each dogs needs to become even more competitive for future shows.

Which brings us to the next step in the show dog development program………………….which dogs are front runners and which dogs will hug the sidelines? How a dog performs and how it compares to the other Chambray dogs within the same age brackets, determines what program will be created for the particular dog and how that dog will proceed in the future.

This goes without saying, the more successful a puppy or dog is at these venues, the better its prospects are for the future! A puppy or dog winning a Best Labrador Puppy, bodes well for that dog, one taking it all the way and coming home with a Best In Show, certainly would receive huge kudos and probably a starting position on our next AKC show roster!

October 18th

The Atmosphere Seems To Be Boiling

I have received numerous emails from people that own Labrador Retrievers ‘with registration papers’ that may or may not be ‘perfect examples’ of the breed.

Self-admitted, some of the dogs were too big, others were colors besides the three cited by the breed standard as being official, some were too small; some may not look like the rest and on and on.

Everyone that has communicated with me informs me that they love their dog no matter that they may not be show type or that they don’t adhere to the breed standard, plus that they wouldn’t trade them for the highfalutin ones or for a show champion!

Well, that all is fine and dandy and I for one am glad as Saran Wrap that people love their dogs and don’t throw them out with the wash once they find out that it may not be the real deal and that they may have been duped by paying big bucks for wooden nickels.


“I bought a silver Labrador two years ago and I am now looking for another one. I have papers and a pedigree that proves he is a pure breed AKC dog with a money back guarantee if anyone can prove that silvers are not real. You show breeders are losing sales and money to those breeding silvers and want to put those breeders out of business, well it’s you guys that are going to go out of business because the silver breeders have called you guys out and made you look bad!” DM from FL

“My breeder sold me a yellow Lab with a red nose. She says that they are not dudleys and are acceptable by the breed standard. She even sent me the wording of the breed standard that covers them. She says the breed standard doesn’t say anything against dudleys, so even if he is a dudley, he is still okay. She says that the nose color changes all the time depending on the time of the year and that some dogs with black nose can change and have red noses. She says breeder like you want to make all the sales and ruin it for other breeders.” Charlotte in FL

“There is a conspiracy with you show people against those that don’t have the show types. All of you are involved, from all those in the dog clubs, the people that are dog trainers, especially the professional dog handlers and the worst of the bunch are you breeders and you all are being lied to by the judges. I have been to AKC shows and brought my silver dog there to prove to all you people that they are real and do exist. I brought my AKC registrations and photos of their sire and dam and copies of their papers too. I brought the Silver Challenge that will pay anyone a million dollars if they can prove that silvers are not real. None of those people I spoke with could deny that my silver doesn’t exist; none could prove the Silver Challenge wrong. All of them would repeat the same lies that they had been fed. One even told me to leave the AKC show grounds even if I had AKC papers on my dog!” Lacey M FL

“My silver breeder displays her AKC Kennel Approval and a USDA Commercial Breeder’s License and a business license from the State of Florida to prove that they are legitimate breeders doing business with the approval of the city, state and federal government and also from the AKC.” Bridgett and proud of my ‘different colored’ Labrador.

 

“My dog looks just like one of the silvers you posted at your website and that proves that silvers are legitimate.” Dave Fl

“My yellow dog with red nose is the best Labrador I have ever owned. He acts just like the rest and is loyal and loving. You make it sound like they are not worthy of your time. Shame on you, you liberals are all the same, this is America and we are still free to choose and have whatever it is we want!” Kate FL

 

 

 

 

From the looks and sounds of things, a lynch mob or a cross burning seems imminent! But, let me go on record before any tar and feathering takes place……………………….I am all for loving the one you are with!

If it were legal, I too would wear the flag. Nothing evokes more feelings from within, than when I see our flag and hear our national anthem.

Okay, now let’s get to Labradors Retrievers or any other breed of dog. It either is a good representative of the breed or it isn’t. Can’t make it any simpler than that!

Those that are good representatives of the breed receive the official seal of approval…………………….conversely, those that are off kilter, just don’t cut the cheese, don’t meet the muster!

This is like going to a restaurant and ordering a T-Bone steak and a baked potato and then being served tofu and wakame! Hey, that stuff is good for you, healthy and all that goodie-goodie  that the vegans extort about, but hey, you want ‘the meat and potatoes’ no matter how much kumbaya is sung when they bring you the other stuff!

Each breed is meant to look and act a certain way…………………if that wasn’t so, then there wouldn’t be any breeds at all. In order for a breed to look a certain way, breed standards are set up and certified, much like blueprints to build houses and buildings.

Breeders are encouraged to follow these restrictive dictums that will result in those dogs having the same characteristics and phenotypical, outward appearances, giving them the ‘look’ of that breed!

Any deviations, whether induced purposely or accidentally or from total lack of knowledge, then renders those specimens beyond the realm of the breed that they are being claimed as being!

That makes them, no matter how much they are loved by their owners, how much standing up for them, how much dickering and besmirching of those that do follow the rules, the guidelines, the decorum in place………………..that makes those off-wares, off brands,  not the Real McCoys…………no matter what!

Simply put, it either is or it ain’t and there’s no two ways about it………………………and the AKC will never, ever make changes to accommodate any other color or change the standard to include the silvers or red nosed yellows!

I will put up a billion dollars if that happens in my lifetime………….I just happen to have that much right now in one of my pant’s pockets!

October 18th

Win-Win-Win-Win Pay It Forward

We all know what the old, feel good, do good saying ‘a win-win situation’ can provide.

This is the Cambridge Dictionary description of 'win-win'

win-win adjective 

 /ˈwɪnˈwɪn/

​having a benefit for everyone that is involved, or a benefit for one person or group 

 

 

 

That is the Cambridge version....................here's the one in play at Chambray Labradors where we have the

Win-Win-Win-Win Pay It Forward Movement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What if someone or something could double those expectations from win-win to win-win-win-win?

 

What if there were 4 entities involved and all 4 would derive the absolute best benefits from their involvement with an endeavor?

Wouldn’t that be something worth looking into, worth spending some time learning about it and then if indeed true, pursuing the agenda?

Well………………. ‘yeah on all counts’!

So, just what can be better than an ordinary win-win situation that actually doubles the expectations of all those involved?

For one, if the matter at hand is the search for a Labrador Retriever puppy, then here is a way it works out great for the four different parties involved when each of those work as a collective to achieve those results.

A Win situation for the breeder……Chambray Labradors

 

A Win-Win for New Owners

A Win-Win-Win situation for the Puppy

A Win-Win-Win-Win situation for the breed, Labrador Retrievers

 

(1) Chambray Labradors together with our…..(follow the arrows above)

(2) Owners produce

(3) Puppies that are the absolute best examples of the 

(4) Breed, Labrador Retrievers

 

October 17th

Advances Since 1970

Soundness, Health & Genetic Clearances

Breeding better dogs today is light years from the same proposition just 46 years ago!

Yep, in a short 46 years, breeders have been blessed with so many available aids and tools to be able to produce sounder and healthier dogs than what we had back in 1970.

I know because when I speak and write, the experiences that I had way back then are still vivid and fresh as part of my recollections. I still have super keen long term memory, even if the short term stuff doesn’t stick as well.

Forget about DNA testing………………………..NONE! Radiology was primitive and fuzzy in more ways than one and there wasn’t any OFA or Penn-Hip as central certification organizations. Yep, real cavemen times where the guessing game reigned supreme.

Heck, there wasn’t even a theory yet on the manifestation of coat color in Labradors at that time.

Al Gore had not invented the Internet yet (lol), in fact computers as big as cars were science fiction stuff we saw on TV……..so information was gathered from books that were probably printed in the 1940’s and 50’s.

No www.infodog.com to let us know that RedRock’s Yosemite Sam had just won a Best Of Breed in California three minutes ago…………….heck, by the time us breeders knew that a dog was a top champion producer, it was probably 12 years old and more than likely passed on to the doggie thereafter!

Today, with a cheek swab and less than $150, we can get the DNA makeup for EIC, PRA, DM, CNM and PNK and several others for our dogs! Back in 1970 all those abbreviations were either illegal drugs used by those with lots of hair, secretive cold war government agency spy units or college fraternities and sororities!

So folk that claim that all these dominant/recessive diseases and conditions are new…………….not so, because dogs went blind (PRA) way back then and in 1973, I remember seeing a Labrador have a ‘rear end seizure’………………..what we called it then, at a lake doing retrieves, now we know that is EIC!

 

Yep, we had all that stuff lurking in the background of all the dogs, we just had realized what they were and had not assigned a spiffy abbreviation to the malady.

With all the advances in testing, we still have to contend with all those eventualities that are part of the gene pool as is the same with the human gene pool!

I recently had a prospective puppy buyer ask me if any of the dogs that I have bred have gotten cancer! Another wanted to know if I guarantee that my dogs won’t end up with hip dysplasia.

There is no answer that can be given to those questions that will suffice, no matter how well worded or the subject clinically explained!

Someone asking that really doesn’t want to hear reality. They would rather deal with a breeder that would tell them “No, in my ?? years of breeding NONE of those dogs have ever had cancer………………they all lived to be 25 years old and all of them died of natural causes brought about by old age!”…………..there are actual breeders that make those proclamations and even worse, people that believe them!

In the real world, no honest breeder can guarantee that a dog will not develop cancer or hip/elbow dysplasia! Or, they will say they do, but it is impossible to make happen!

Maybe when there is a DNA for hip dysplasia, will breeders be able to make the claim and then back it up 100%...................until then, the best that can be promised (not guaranteed) is less than 95% when using parents that passed. However, two parents that are OFA Excellent can and do produce puppies that will not pass their certification. That’s a fact of life and anything else claimed is far-fetched and wishing and ah hoping!

I hope that in my lifetime as an active Labrador breeder, I will be fortunately enough to cross that bridge of DNA 100% with dysplasia, but in all reality, I won’t hold my breath that I will actually see that scientific accomplishment become available to breeders.

Same thing for cancer………………….let’s put this out in the open………………….with all the cutting edge research and advances into cancer with humans………………….is there less or more cases of cancer today?

Either the cancer rate is on the rise today or way back then, cancer was the same and we just didn’t know about it………………..either way, I don’t see a reduction, maybe the opposite is occurring just as it seems is happening in the people population!

So, with all the preceding, it becomes vital for us, as perpetuators of the breed to take advantage of all available DNA and even the old, outdated X-rays tests to create the best odds for each puppy produced to be the healthiest and soundest possible.

October 16th

Got Dudley?

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Place cursor over photo to widen view

For those asking what a Dudley was and also what the 5 DQ's were for Labrador Retrievers:

Disqualifications: 1. Any deviation from the height prescribed in the Standard. 2. A thoroughly pink nose or one lacking in any pigment. 3. Eye rims without pigment. 4. Docking or otherwise altering the length or natural carriage of the tail.

5. Any other color or a combination of colors other than black, yellow or chocolate as described in the Standard.

 

Additionally in another passage of the Breed Standard it states 'The nose should be black on black or yellow dogs, and brown on chocolates.'

Plus for eyes Eye color should be brown in black and yellow Labradors, and brown or hazel in chocolates. Black, or yellow eyes give a harsh expression and are undesirable

October 16th

Lunacy Running Amok

Thank you to all the ‘leads’ that have been provided to the Blogging Off blog…………..leads directing me to websites full of Dunning Kruger affected blokes.

I know, I know, I have become fixated by DK, keeping in mind here that DK is not a fast food eatery, so no, not BK, it's not Burger King!

DK doesn’t do it your way, but hey, it explains all the lunacy in our society today…………………especially those involved with breeding Labradors!

One concerned reader sent me a link to a website advertising of all things……………A Dudley Labrador Retriever for STUD!!!!!

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

You have to be kidding? OR you have to be totally out of your freaking mind and not know NOTHING (DK)!

But, right there glaring at me from a head shot photo, glaring at me with YELLOW EYES and a RED NOSE that Rudolf would have prized as the best Christmas gift he ever received was a RED NOSED, described by the owner as being a DUDLEY LABRADOR RETRIEVER!

Really, bragging that their dog was a Dudley and actually advertising it as such……….a  DUDLEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who are these people?????????????????????? What rock have they been living under?????????????

It gets worst…………………….. ‘not AKC registered’……………I didn’t just state that, that was used as part of the advertising!!!!!!!!!!! Of course, no clearances were offered to go along with not being AKC registered and being a DUDLEY LABRADOR RETRIEVER!

 

 

 

Then, there was another site advertising their dogs, which left me scratching my hairless head!

Never Been Shown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bragging that their dog had never been shown, like if that makes the dog better and that someone looking for a stud dog would consider that to be a major plus! What, do they figure that not showing the dog makes it pure and unadulterated and more valuable?

 

Of course that dog was never shown, standing at 27 inches tall, it would have lifted the wicket several inches off the floor and would have been DQ’d for breaking one of the 5 Commandments found in the verses for disqualifications in the Labrador Retriever’s Good Book, the Breed Standard.

Then there was the link to the page where the advertising read, “Our dogs will run circles around all show dogs!”

Of course they will…………………………………..they LOOK LIKE GREYHOUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I bet they are indeed faster than speeding bullets and can leap tall building in a single bound!

 

 

The real winner was the one site that had all SEVEN COLORS OF LABRADOR RETRIEVERS on display!

Black, yellow, chocolate, silver, charcoal, pure whites and champagne.

They then added, as much erroneous information suitable for a political campaign…….”AKC recognizes all the different colors of Labradors, but only have room for black, yellow and chocolate on their registration forms! 100% Proven By DNA Testing! $100,000.00 dollars to anyone that can prove otherwise! Soon, AKC will be forced to approve the listing of all colors!”

All the preceding seems to be science fiction stuff! What really, really makes it all unreal is the fact that people are actually buying all that stuff! Worst yet, they are buying the dogs that these dipsey doodles are peddling!

PT Burnham had it right a century ago, “There’s sucker born every minute”……………problem is that they are running amok and have become the non-silent majority!

Yikes!

October 13th

Passing Note

"Mr Herzon, I truly love the way you write, making things so interesting!" MA

 

Thank you, but nope, no Dunning Kruger Effect has affected me when it comes to my writing skills!

 

Let me explain.

 

I receive many compliments throughout the year about the blogs and articles that I whip up and offer at my websites.

 

Notice that I state ‘whip up’ and then ‘offer’……………..because the truly skillful writer, those that were gifted with pen and prose, would craft, author and publish………………….where as I, whip up and offer, because in all actuality, I have no formal writing skills, what so ever and I don’t fancy myself to be a smidgen of a writer.

 

I have always told anyone listening or reading, that I am a story teller first and foremost………….secondly I love to share what I know, so I combine the one thing that I know for 100% that I am great at………………….Labrador Retrievers…………….then I apply my story telling ability with my penchant for sharing and voila, you have my blogs!

 

I do like to make it interesting, so some readers have shared with me that they ‘see’ a certain style in my dabbling’s that reminds them of SO & SO or SUCH & SUCH, but those names are as Greek as Oikos yogurt is to me.

 

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have heard most of those names before, because I also have an OCD streak for trivia! Like in don’t take my bait and play Trivial Pursuit with me, a certainty that it will be a non-winning proposition for the majority…………….however truth be told, that part of my ‘knowledge’ is superficially gathered and not really profound enough to quality as beyond a ‘know it all’ on the surface.

 

I only read scientific stuff, journals, National Geographic, astronomy……………..Carl Sagan, Neil Tyson Degrasse, Darwin and the like are the only names that I can ‘drop' and ‘throw around’!

 

So, I do appreciate the kudos that comes my way for the stuff I do conjure, then peck away at the keyboard and follow up on and offer at the website.

 

My family warns most that hang around here for any period of time, “Don’t laugh at his attempts at being funny and don’t just stand there and listen to him because it just encourages him to get worse!”

 

So, if you do desire more, keep the praise coming!

October 14th

2016 So Far: Ahead Of The Game & Behind The 8 Ball

A conundrum if there ever was one! Yet, here we are experiencing both for the 2016 Dog Show Year!

So, what is so at odds that we are experiencing?

Let’s start with the drawbacks. So far…………………….we have ‘lost’ four weekends of dog shows for 2016! That totals eight shows, which is a significant percent for the year’s totals. ‘So far’ because anything is possible with the remaining weekends of shows we have left for the year.

There was one club in the spring that did not host a show this year; recently the Arcadia’s weekend of shows were cancelled because of Hurricane Mathew; then the South Dade Kennel Club cancelled their 2016 weekend of shows in November and the Greater Miami Dog Club did likewise for their weekend of shows in December.

Losing out on all those opportunities to show those dogs, really limits the amount of times a dog has to win the needed points for their championships and also limits the number of Best Of Breeds a champion can win for national rankings. So, obviously we should be totally behind in both categories, however in reality, we only lag with one.

Ahead of the game, or in this case ‘tied’ with the last year (years) is the number of dogs finished in 2016!

It now seems that SIX is the magic number for the most dogs championed in one year. The 6 new champions in 2012 vaulted Chambray to the #1 ranking for USA Top Labrador Breeder………………….again in 2014 with 6 new champions…………………….back-to-back in 2015 with 6 champions and now the most awesomeness of awesomes…………………..a THREE-PEAT with 6 dogs finished for 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Although leapfrogging the ‘number 6’ hurdle appeared doable with several dogs on the cusp, losing out those 8 shows really has caused a little of a bottleneck for the rest of the year to accomplish finishing a 7th dog with only 11 shows left for the year.

Hey, we will take 6 any day/year, more than likely, the 6 so far for 2016, should get Chambray the ‘Numero Uno’,  ‘Top Dog’ for the number of champions for 2016!

The ‘Behind’ comes with Chambray having no champions in the Top 20 for 2016 at this date. In the real world, I would gladly give up that prestigious status and have more of our dogs become champions than I would to have 1 dog in the Top 20……………………if both occur as has happened for the last 7 years, with at least 1 Chambray champion hitting the Top Rankings, then we will take it.

Now we await the Plant City shows on October 29/30 where there is an opportunity to garner majors, since the entries were just announced and the entries more than doubled over the 2015 numbers for Labradors.

We also expect the Ocala 4 days of shows, November 17-20 to also have enough dogs entered to also be majors. Because of the cancellations of Florida shows and also our lessened number out of state weekends (not expecting to lose 4 Florida weekends), we have added 3 shows in Alabama on November 25 to 27, which by all expectations, should be major-pointed.

After these November shows all that will be left for December are the 3 All-Breed Orlando shows, the LRC Specialty followed by the newly named Royal Canin AKC National Championships…………………December 13th to the 17th.

I reality, there is still time for there to be an ‘ice-breaker’ to get over the 6 barrier and make it 7 new champions for 2016…………….however, having 3 or 4 dogs on the verge of their championship in the New Year, really bodes well for 2017 to be a continuation of our record setting ways for a ‘Four In A Row’ & Five Out Of 6 Years at the TOP.

October 12th

Damn The Torpedoes

The Fads and Trends blog from earlier today has already seen its fair share of feedback.

 

So, I need to point out something very critical. I was only referring to the show bred dogs with my assessment of the overall look of the breed!

Not much has changed with the ‘run of the mill-bred dogs’……………………………..those bred by the multitudes of mass puppy producers, clueless hobby and backyard breeders and all the others that dabble into the indiscriminate breeding of dogs!

Those account for over 90% of the Labradors being bred today! Of course, that means that there are only 10% of the dogs being bred by conscientious, somewhat knowledgeable breeders.

With over 300,000 new Labrador puppies born each year, that comes out to about 30,000 that meet the standard for the breed and were bred for improvement and for the betterment of the breed.

That’s why around 10% of the dogs brought to me actually get the thumbs up needed to qualify as possessing the correct traits to having quality! The rest of the 90% leave here wanting to behead the messenger!

By the way, to further clarify a mistaken attribute to me………………..the vast majority of blogs I pen and publish are directed at that 90% of deplorable breeders………………………..so for those others that are in the 10% ‘safe zone’……………….those that do clearances, that do DNA testing, that research and ask questions in order to learn about improvement breeding………………….those can keep on trucking as they get my approval.

Now hear this………………………………I do also pen to the 10% ‘goodie two shoes’, yes, I will direct missives at those that are doing a good job overall with the breed………………….I will push them to do even better!

 

So, don’t sit back and rest on your laurels because I will be there watching! I will point out where improvement needs to be taken with any and all that breed Labradors. As always, I will call a spade a spade even if it is not politically correct to do so………………….as Admiral David Farragut famously said a long time ago, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

October 12th

Fads & Trends Come & Go

“What new trends do you see with the breed that is occurring now, good and/or bad?”

In the last 46 years with Labradors, I have seen many fads and trends come and go…………………thank goodness that the really ‘over the top’ ones, came and were chased out of town in PDQ fashion before they could leave an indelible mark on the breed.

 

In the 70’s and 80’s, there were the terrier fronts……………….brought about because the top show dog in the country was a prime example and back then, it was the only dog that was ‘known’ and advertised and breeders flocked to him for stud service use. Today, we still see the effects of terrier fronts going back to that overly used dog.

In the late 80’s and 90’s the Rottie heads were the rage, which is where the “block head” descriptive comes from. Fortunately for the breed, that pendulum swung back and the typical Labrador head is now what is driving Miss Daisy.

That time period also saw the major division of the breed spring up……………..with totally opposite looking dogs……………..there were short-legged dogs at one extreme and at the other end (and different state) were the extremely overdone, large dogs………………………..two different breeder/kennels producing completely different breed types totally opposite of each other and at opposite ends of the spectrum!

Sides were chosen and the scale tipped in favor of the larger, bigger is better dogs……………..which really wasn't/isn’t…………..but that’s how fads and trends go.

Once again, over the years, moderation has a way of balancing things and the pendulum once again brought the general look of the breed back to the middle.

Today, I see the breed at the All-Breed dog shows with good type. No exaggeration in either direction of the continental size divide………………that’s a good thing!

At the specialties, where the overdone, over-boned, over-coated movement was headed out of town like a runaway train, that momentum has appeared to have slowed down and there is a general consensus of returning to a more moderate look........they are still a more substantial dog as compared to the All-Breed type……………….maybe some common ground to work with for the two looks!

 

To answer your question, I actually believe that the breed is at the best it has ever been with a return by both the All-Breed and the Specialty types headed in the right direction of moderation.

Of course, we all know that nothing stands still for long and fads and ‘flavors of the month’ creep in, but time and time again, I have witnessed that in due time, those off-wares, offshoots, those 'at the time variants' run their course and the breed once again comes back to its traditional and time honored niche.

October 9th

The Break Or Make It, Puppy Evaluation

The Puppy Evaluation

There are some very critical steps in reaching the lofty level of an “accomplished breeder”!

First and foremost there should be a thorough understanding of the breed. Way, way beyond the ability to recognize what a Labrador looks like, which most 5th graders are able to do.

I am referring to ‘in-depth’ knowledge of ‘form follows function’, of the paramount features described in the Labrador Retriever Breed Standard as the most distinguishing feature for the breed of ‘coat, head, tail, & eyes’ as follows from the breed standard:

The most distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense, weather resistant coat; an "otter" tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its "kind," friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament.

The above paragraph is the preamble before the official dictum goes into specifics.

Then of course a complete front to back mastery of the entire breed standard is mandatory………………..from knowing what makes a dog a great specimen of the breed and also what the pitfalls, faults and defects that are described in the bible for the breed.

The above would be step 1! Of course the vast majority that get into the breed, I would dare state that 99.9% did not take that as their first step in the journey to becoming Labrador breeders!

Most ‘back into’ becoming aficionados by the acquisition of a dog…………………then they start the long and winding road of learning more about whatever it is they possess. The best start would be to learn all about the breed and then obtain the best possible specimen, but how many do that?

Another majority-sized percent, actually start breeding their dogs before they have a working semblance of what really constitutes the breed! Most spend about 7 to 9 years dabbling about with the dogs before they can really and honestly say that they actually know more than 50% of what they should know.

Most fanciers can quote pedigrees like a verse from the Bible by the 5th year of activity with the breed, in fact they actually become obsessed with pedigrees and cataloging as far back as they can find information on for the dogs they own. For those, being able to flip off names in their dog’s background becomes an addiction. It’s interesting to observe that by their 15th year of participation, pedigrees become only important when a breeding is concerned and only going back 4 or 5 generations becomes the primary concern.

I will note here that knowledge of pedigrees is most useful, not for merely knowing the names of the dogs in the family tree, but for actually knowing what each of those dogs possessed that would make them ideal ancestors to have or to know what faults they possessed as well. Of course knowing their relationship to the dogs being considered for breeding is very important so as to not do any inbreeding or high coefficient pairings* (too many dogs in the same background of both male and female under consideration for breeding).

The preceding takes years to become ‘proficient’ with, for the real dedicated understudies, a good 10 years of participation generally suffices!

There is one thing that really comes into play and will ‘make or break’ those that last long enough. That one thing is the ability to be able to select the best of their produce! To be able to have a litter of puppies and have the acumen to look at an 8-week old litter of puppies and actually see the value and worth of each one and to be able to project which from that litter is actually as good or better than the sire and dam are.

That ability will determine if the best puppies are kept to produce the next generation which will either indicate improvement or more of the same!

So, the evaluation process is paramount for all breeders to be able to move forward or not! Breeding better is part of the ‘improvement process’, selecting those that are the best will determine if that breeder moves forward on a consistent basis or becomes a hit or miss proposition.

Most that have been into the breed after about 12 years will develop the eye for what ‘breed type’ is in full grown dogs, then it will take another 5 to 10 years of breeding to be able to really, really have the ‘evaluation eye’…………….the one needed to ‘see’ at 8 weeks of age if a puppy has ‘it’ or not!

October 7th

Here's Hearing From You

“Your blogs are so informative. I actually have learned more from reading them than from the collection of books on Labradors that are in my bookcase. Once I read your blogs on a certain subject, I can visualize what it is that’s either right of wrong on one of my own dogs. Really helps when planning a future breeding.” Regina Wyles

 

I have always said that if I can reach just one person before they set about breeding indiscriminately, then the time I put into this ‘educating and mentoring’ is mission accomplished!

Others have asked if I would cover some of the more obvious faults and defects seen in the Labrador ring. So, this Buds for those following along with the old bouncing ball (Google ‘Mitch Miller’)*

*for years I have used Mitch Miller’s bouncing ball as a reference, thinking of course that everyone knows what/who  I was referring to………………….But as the population becomes younger and the oldies become less, most of those under 50 years of age have never heard of Mitch Miller, or Jackie Gleason, or Ed Sullivan, Roy Rogers, Howdy Doody, Woody Woodpecker, and dozens of other household names and icons of yesteryear, so my writing seems antiquated at times, not hip for the times! So, to all the younger whippersnappers, bear with me as I indulge in nostalgia…………………………..so, if at any Petticoat Junction along the way, you don’t know what I am talking about………………………..Google that shitzky!

Below are some of the observable conditions, faults and defects with some dogs at the Florida shows.  

 

*Low Tail Sets – High Tail Sets* - both of these are considered structural faults because the breed standard calls for the tail to come off the croup, which is slightly lower than the rest of the topline is. The tail completes the balance of the Labrador by giving it a flowing line from the top of the head to the tip of the tail (taken from the Labrador Breed Standard). This doesn’t mean that the top of the head and the tip of the tail are in a straight line, it refers to there being a certain look of it all flowing without any observable breaks along the entire distance.

With high tail sets, the tail looks like it was stuck on top of the back and it doesn’t flow naturally off the back, rather it sits on top of the back, more or less creating a pooch look. A pooched tail detracts tremendously when the dog is gaiting because it appears not to be working in conjunction with the rest of the dog's moving parts!

With low tails sets, the tail is way below the croup and the tail just hangs there with no purpose and intent. When the dog is being gaited, the tail either dangles or switches from side to side, not in any positive rhythm with the forward movement of the dog.

Both of these conditions affects the dog’s ability to gait correctly…………………..more so with low tail sets because the tail actually hinders the dogs natural smooth looking gait as the low tail just dangles between the dog’s legs and adds nothing to aid the dog in moving forward.  There are several dogs showing right now with both of these conditions and it really becomes obvious when each of them is gaited around by their owners. On males, it totally detracts away as the dogs look more like females in their side profile when gating.

*High Tail Carriage – Notice that this condition is NOT part of the previous faults of Low or High Tailsets………….that’s because this is not a structural defect! High Tail Carriage is more of a psychological situation than it is a structural defect. A dog with a perfect Tail Set can also have a High Tail Carriage. If the tail can be taken and held perfectly where it follows the natural lay of the back and croup, then the ‘Set’ is correct, even if when let go, the dog ‘holds’ it high and not straight back! It is not a fault and should not be held against the dog.

Tail-The tail is a distinguishing feature of the breed. It should be very thick at the base, gradually tapering toward the tip, of medium length, and extending no longer than to the hock. The tail should be free from feathering and clothed thickly all around with the Labrador's short, dense coat, thus having that peculiar rounded appearance that has been described as the "otter" tail. The tail should follow the topline in repose or when in motion. It may be carried gaily, but should not curl over the back.

According to the last sentence from the breed standard, it may be carried gaily, but should not curl over the back………………..leaves a lot of room for interpretations! ‘Gaily’ can mean different things to different people……………………..what does it really mean? Now add the next 7 words, ‘but should not curl over the back’…………………does ‘gaily’ mean that it can be curled and held high, BUT not over the back! This is one of those parts of the standard that is very ambiguous and left to too much individual interpretations and varied and at times erroneous enforcement!

In my estimation, a tail that is SET correctly and CARRIED anywhere from about the height of the topline (3 o’clock) to about 1 o’clock gives a real nice look while the dog is moving. A tail at 12 o’clock seems to take away from the dog’s side profile too much and then of course a tail that is carried curled up over the back of the topline seems to be way off.

There may be one dog right now showing that at times seems to be at 12 o’clock (straight up), about 75% of the dogs carry the tail either at 1 or 2 o’clock and about 25% totally straight off the back at 3 o’clock………………the latter two would be fine according to the breed standard as long as the “TAIL SET” was correct!

WRONG COATS – Coat: The coat is a distinctive feature of the Labrador Retriever. It should be short, straight and very dense, giving a fairly hard feeling to the hand. The Labrador should have a soft, weather resistant undercoat that provides protection from water, cold and all types of ground cover. A slight wave down the back is permissible. Woolly coats, soft silky coats, and sparse slick coats are not typical of the breed, and should be severely penalized.

The tail should be free from feathering and clothed thickly all around with the Labrador's short, dense coat, thus having that peculiar rounded appearance that has been described as the "otter" tail.

SHORT, STRAIGHT, AND VERY DENSE, GIVING A FAIRLY HARD FEELING TO THE HAND! Plus, THE TAIL SHOULD BE FREE FROM FEATHERING AND CLOTHED THICKLY AROUND WITH THE LABRADOR’S SHORT DENSE COOAT, HAVING THAT PECULIAR ROUNDED APPREARNCE THAT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS THE ‘OTTER’ TAIL.

That’s totally opposite of those wide open-coated dogs being shown in the Lab ring by a couple of breeders…………………..with Foxtail coats, that instead of being short and dense and clothed thickly around, these have long hairs that bristle out and look ‘bushy’, rather than dense. The tails are totally not what the standard describes and on top of that the owners are blow drying them backwards creating more of a bushy tail and body than the short dense and clothed around dictums of the breed!

Years back, the incorrect sparse, seal coats were much more prevalent, whereas today we see more of the woolly mammoths coats………………. the thick, luxurious long flowing coats and the wide open coats, bushy, Foxtail coats which are all wrong as called for by the breed standard for Labradors.

Your Comments:

“What difference does it matter if owners want to show a dog that doesn’t exactly confirm [sic] what you read in the standard?” MJP                    [sic] 'conform'

 

Well, this would then ‘confirm’ and validate the Dunning Kruger Effect (DKE)! (click on name for more info)

Unless of course said owner was exhibiting said dog and KNEW that it was wrong, thus that owner would be excluded from the DKE verdict!

Get it? If they know it’s wrong, then show it, thus it tells everyone that they know it’s wrong……..which means they are not delusional and thus not suffering from DKE!

However, if they show it and don’t know it’s wrong, then tag they are it, sufferers of DKE!

So, if they are breeders and know it’s wrong and still show it then breed it, then something is wrong with them besides DKE!

 

Maybe we need those two brainiac psychologists to study some more and come up with other abbreviated labels to pin on folk that act that way! I can come up with a few, but dumb oss (spelled wrong on purpose) has already been in use for a long time and just seems too passé and antiquated like some of my references!

So again, how much stock do we place on breeders that either don’t know or that do know and still persist in making osses (continuing with the wrong spelling theme) out of themselves by either showing up with what they don’t know or maybe even worse, showing up with what they do know is wrong, but still perpetrating an ‘on purpose faux pas’!

So, now that Columbus………………..surely all the younger whippersnappers have to know who Columbus is……………………….so now that Columbus has discovered America and DKE, we now have two camps of litigants………………….those pleading their cases that are breeding and don’t know (DKE) and those bleating their cases with the wrong goods and they do know they are wrong and still insist/persist on doing it bass awkwards!

 

What’s worse, knowing and doing it wrong or not knowing and doing it wrong?

With which would you trust in obtaining your next puppy from? Who would you, the ultimate consumer do business with?

Either way, the results are the same!

 

Here is a case where two wrongs equals a whole litter of little wrongs that grow up to be big wrongs that go on to produce exponentially hundreds of more wrongs and either the perpetrators knew it and was wrong or they didn’t……………..but still the whole ball of wax turns out to be silly putty!

The proverbial DKE lost in the headlights deer or the bleating sheep ‘going to do it their way’ no matter what!

So, who you gonna call?………………….Call OSS BUSTERS!

October 9th

The Merry Go Round

To set the record straight, breeding dogs is not 100% foolproof for anyone, including for me, yours truly!

Putting a breeding together with two seemingly great dogs……….2 dogs with very few observable faults does not guarantee a blissful outcome! I know, because I have had disaster litters from two great parents!

Anyone conjuring a litterful of show puppies from any breeding can be accurately labeled as ‘wishful thinking’ or if they really, really believe in Santa Claus, then they are delusional (DKE affected)!

The biggest difference why there are not as many Chambray dogs showing with dastardly faults and defects as there are dogs from other breeders, is because I am adamant about which dogs actually will make it to the AKC shows! BUT, the biggest reason there are not many ‘off kilter dogs’ is that to begin with that I put into effect ‘improvement breeding’ and unlike all those suffering from the DKE thingamajig, I know that I know, where most others think they know but really don’t!

First of all, we have an evaluation process at 7 weeks of age that grades each puppy and identifies the truly top puppies in each litter, if there indeed are any! This is not a one person operation………………….two other highly skilled people (my wife Johanna and my daughter Jessie) are involved besides me and each comes with varying perceptions that make the consensus all the better!

This is not merely selecting the better looking puppies from an individual litter, which could really be less than stellar in comparison to previous or what succeeding litters may have. Chambray’s Litter Evaluation compares each puppy to the breed standard and then compares them to great puppies produced from the past!

Every litter evaluated is performed in from of an audience of invited folk with an interest in mentoring with us at Chambray. It is conducted as a learning seminar where each puppy is covered and discussed as a teaching tool for those in attendance.

The entire process is videotaped and photographed where at a later, all by myself time, I go over the entire process one photo at a time and freeze frame, backup and slow motion on the videos to get the best in-depth view of each puppy that was gone over in detail during the ‘live’, hands on procedure.

That evaluation process continues as each dog participates in our Show Management & Development Programs. Only the best dogs that are participating will actually make it to the Show Roster, the first team, the starting lineup if you will! So, the best of the best will be selected to go to the dog shows.

With other breeder’s dogs at the dog shows, what is showing may not necessarily be the best that the breeder/kennel has produced because most of the dogs showing were sold to and are owned by individuals…………..purchased from breeders that practice ‘keep the best and sell off the rest’………………so that the dogs showing were by that very practice, not the best to start with.

Even if the breeder is showing their own dogs, not many people are versed to be able to actually select at 7 weeks the best puppies in a litter. That is something that is proven time and time again with the dogs that some breeders bring to the shows! You would think that they know better! Sadly, they suffer from (DKE) and just don’t know what they don’t know!

Proof positive of the preceding can be observed by watching the Bred By Exhibitor class competition. Won’t you think that a breeder would be proudly displaying their absolute best produce from this prestigious class?

If so, why would a breeder be showing dogs they produced in the BBE class that possess super obvious, glaring faults? Can’t they look at the dog and see that it is not breed indicative because the dog has highly observable faults and defects?

There are dogs in the BBE class with faulty, totally wrong, woolly, open coats……………..some with remarkably low tail sets …………..that actually are so low that it dangles between the dog’s legs and others with severe high tail set, which destroys the dog’s outline while moving…………………..there are some with cow-hocks that are so severe that when standing, the hocks play tag you are it with each other!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are those with totally upright shoulders, not at the desired and described 45 degree lay back and then also have straight rears legs, both that render the dog with poor movement.

So, they either know and just can’t produce better or don’t know and won’t produce better because they don’t know what better is!

A massive conundrum of ‘around and around we go’ and the tail will always be slightly in front of the mouth, never to be caught because that’s the way it has always been and will always be……………………………….unless the tail is one of those that is way too long, hangs below the hock joint and gets bitten by the chasing tail dog……………………..which by the very breed standard dictums is a fault, as that tail should not drop below the hock!

So, to get back to the gist of this blog………………..everyone produces off wares, me included, it’s just that the percentages of those off wares are fewer when knowledge outweighs the wishing and a hoping method used by others, plus the on-going evaluation process filters out those that just don’t have it either as puppies or that just don’t develop into their potential. Those dogs will not be in the mix to produce the next generation of puppies, which will lessen the unwanted traits in that succeeding generations…………..so a GOOD CONUNDRUM……………………….where better will produce better and around and around we go with better being the operative word!

October 6th

Comments & Complaints

“From reading all your blogs, it seems that you spend too much time digging up stuff to criticize other breeders. People got to start somewhere so they will be making lots of mistakes along the way, that’s how people learn stuff.”

Well, I am glad that I can be of some service to the breed if you read my blogs every day!

Now, you can look at things from various angles! That criticism only goes out to those that warrant it, which means that all those great breeders that have the betterment of the breed first and foremost never get the “Wrath of Khan” (me)!

On the other hand, all those blokes making mistakes left and right and catawampus too, they then ‘dump’ their mistakes on folk that don’t know any better…………………so who pays for all those mistakes………………not the blokes making them, because they get paid royally when they sell those mistakes to the unknowing!

 

Now, if they were made to give away all those badly bred, non-reasonable facsimile dogs, then maybe, they would look into things a bit more before getting into these ‘money-making schemes’ without knowing didley.

 

 

 

Recently had a person semi-complain and tell me that I am always bashing other breeders, until I told him that he wasn’t included in those ‘bad breeders’ that I am always bashing………………………….well then the tone of the conversation become peachy keen and sunny side up!

Had a lady tell me that every time she reads one of my blogs she thinks I am referring to her and then I asked her if she was committing all those atrocities……………..she thought about it for a bit and said, not really……………….so then all those blogs she was reading didn’t pertain to her!

Another breeder accused me of ‘blackballing’ her dog………………………….an AKC punishable by drowning in dog poop offense………………………..until I disclosed to her which dog I was referring to and then she relaxed and agreed with me of that other dog’s poor attributes were indeed worthy of the offensive blog!

So, she read my blog and applied it to her dog, thus thinking that her dog did possess all those out of whack attributes……………….so guilty as sin until the sin is cast at another entity, then it’s okay!

There’s the perennial complainer that chides me for bringing up the subject of cow-hocks! After each and every blog on the subject of wayward hocks, she responds with something along these lines “If you didn’t bring it up so often, people would forget all about them!”

Yep, let’s not talk about the 2 headed elephant in the room, maybe it won’t poop if we don’t acknowledge it being there!

There’s the silver breeder that challenges me to prove that silvers are not real! Every time I write a blog stating what the breed standard has been stating since before I was born………………….there are only 3 colors of Labradors………………..BLACK……………………CHOCOLATE………………………………YELLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No blues, greens, oranges, pinks, mauves, or silvers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOPE & NO SIREE! Can’t prove what don’t exist! It just doesn’t exist and even if it did……………………..like red nosed yellow Labradors………………..it is a DISQUALIFICATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 5th

Dunning Kruger & Labradors

In my ever, overly-insatiable desire………..beyond bordering on obsessive compulsive disorder-driven state and constant never-ending quest for answers and ultimately (hopefully) knowledge, I have come across Dunning Kruger!

Nope, it’s not the flavor of the month chilling, blood curdling mystery writer nor is it one of those slip and fall law firms constantly hawking their services to those seeking riches through nuisance and tart litigation.

It's not even a Labrador Retriever breeder!

Nope, none of the above, they instead are two Cornell psychologist…………….David Dunning and Justin Kruger, that through studies of various groups of people came up with the concept that certain people are not able to recognize their own incompetency’s which creates very unrealistic or highly inflated self-assessments.

These people then tend to hold super favorable views of their abilities (which they don’t have), areas of expertise (which are non-existent) and fields of higher intellectual levels (which they do not possess).

Dunning Kruger also suggest that this occurs because most of these people are unskilled in these areas and domains and thus reach erroneous conclusions that leads them to make unfortunate choices.

However, their incompetence and total lack of in-depth understanding of the subject matter robs them of the cognitive ability to realize their inadequacies! 

 

They grossly overestimate what they know about things and then totally underestimate what they don’t know. This is the old, they don’t know what they don’t know, but they think they do know it, which they prove over and over again that they don’t know it!

So, what does Dunning Kruger have to do with Labradors?

Well, everything!

Dunning and his partner-in-psych, Kruger, studied groups of people to come to their valued theories and conclusions that earned them the 2000 satirical lg Nobel Prize in psychology with their piece “Unskilled and Unaware of It”: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Leads to Inflated Self-Assessments.

I too have for years marveled at the ‘hit or miss’s of the majorities of those that get into breeding, training and ultimately showing Labradors and it is now that I actually understand how it all falls into a syndrome that has actually been observed, catalogued and written about with the outcome of this study being received and actually acknowledged with world-wide acclaim.

The vast majority of those people that are into the breed actually can be clumped into this named and highly pervasive human frailty and fault-laden subset, the Dunning Kruger Effect!

Here are 3 cases from the past 2 weekends of visits to the farm, dog shows and also from extensive communications with a couple of folk via email or the rare phone conversation I have now a days.

Case A. Deland Fl. Husband and wife schedule a visit to the dog show for me to see their ‘breeding pair of Labs’.

The dog world vernacular of ‘breeding pair’ is totally off when it comes to dog breeding! So, right off the bat the level of knowledge detectable is nil as there is no ‘breeding pair of dogs’! In another endeavor, say bird breeding, there could be ‘breeding pairs’…………………not in dogs! So, their command of the language spoken around the dog world was totally off-kilter, which leads to making the assessment that they were in effect in the newly named, yet old as the hills group of 'Dunning Kruger’s', much like those in the “Mickey Mouse Club”.

Here is more ‘it just isn’t done this way’ in the dog fancy! This breeding pair of dogs was sold to them for $5000 with the idea of having a litter that would produce 10 puppies, sold at $1000 each and they would double their ‘investment’, which would pay off the ‘initial startup cost’…………………thus getting their money back and then making $5000 in less than 4 months once the breeding was done.

Since they ‘understood’ that show dogs sold for more money, they were interested in producing show puppies from this breeding pair. This was done under the assumption that ‘more’ money could be realized from their initial investment, thus making more money than originally planned!

The whole preceding premise is no where’s near being part of dog breeding for the betterment of the breed or even a reality in the mass production of dogs. It just doesn’t work that way! So, that in itself demonstrated the lack of knowledge about the activity they were getting involved with, especially ‘breeding for show puppies’ with dogs that probably had no show background what’s so ever!

The couple came to the Sunday show and watched the Labradors compete. They waited until it was over before approaching me, as I had instructed in emails. When they did come to speak to me, I asked them if they had seen the dogs competing in the rings and which dogs they had liked. Both stated that they were confused about the goings on but that they would consider getting involved and showing their newly bought two dogs.

The clincher to the Dunning Kreger Effect diagnoses was when I went outside to their truck to see the breeding pair. These were the actual dogs that were brought to the show grounds for an evaluation to determine if they could produce puppies for show and after they saw the Labradors compete in the ring, they now also wanted to train the breeding pair to show in the ring.

Nothing could have been further from the real world!

Neither of the dogs possessed a semblance to the breed standard for Labrador Retrievers. In fact, the chocolate male that the man had taken into the building with a rope for a leash, had been mistaken for a German Short Haired Pointer by the Show Chairman. Since the dog was not entered in the show, they were asked to leave the building with the dog.

Both dogs were very long-legged, long, snipey muzzle, and the yellow female had a red nose, which is a disqualification for the breed.

Not knowing that neither dog looked anything like what had been showing, also confirms the Dunning Kruger Effect. If you are at ringside and you see the top show dogs that come from Florida and from surrounding states and then you look at your own dogs and can’t see the difference, then the ‘effect’ is in effect!

For me, since I long ago leaped that hurdle of knowing/not knowing (Dunning Kruger Effect), I can see the difference as if there were apples in one basket and oranges in the other. In fact, night and day look more alike to me than these dogs did to what a Labrador retriever should look like!

Needless to say, nothing I had to say made sense to the two people standing there with huge glares on their faces. I could have been Einstein explaining the Theory of Relativity and the looks on their faces would have not changed an iota!

True blue Dunning Kruger Effect.

 

Case B. A show exhibitor having a conversation with me about their dog as to what they could do to make the dog move out better.

My answer was “nothing”! Then I described the dog’s gait and how it related to the dog’s structure. Below is a descriptive of the optimum front end assembly and what I more or less detailed to them. 

  • The correct front end assembly would have the shoulder blade laid back at around 45 degrees.

  • The uppermost tips of the shoulder blade would form the withers.

  • The withers would be directly over the front legs with a perpendicular line from the withers dropped down at the back end of the elbows.

  • The distance from the withers to that point on the elbows is half the distance from the elbows to the ground.

  • The point of the shoulder blade in front of the dog is the same length as the point of the shoulder blade back to the elbow.

All those things being right on would facilitate the dog to reach out with the front leg at a 45 degree forward, which creates front reach. If the rear assembly has similar angulation, then front reach should equal the length of stride by the rear leg, thus reach equals drive and you have the most efficient moving gait a dog can have.

This cannot happen with their dog! Their dog has straight shoulders, not at a 45 degree. So, the dog cannot reach out at a 45 degree which shortens the dog’s reach considerably. By its incorrect structure, the dog doesn’t have the proper length of stride. The dog also has very little angulation of the rear, which shortens the rear drive considerably as well. The dog gaits at the most comfortable speed according to its structure, that structure being incorrect for the breed which makes the dog move at a much slower speed with a much shorter stride.

If the dog is made to move faster, it will have a very choppy and stilted gait, which would not look too desirable, plus because of incorrect layback of shoulder, it’s head would dropped way below the wither’s horizontal line, once again, causing the moving profile of the dog to be all wrong for the breed.

After having explained all that, the owner asked if using a treadmill would ‘fix’ the problem!

Whoop there it is……………..Dunning Kruger Effect!

However, it won't end there, because as sure as 1 mouse + 1 mouse = 1000's of meeses, that dog will be exhibited enough and it will finish because of the Dunning Kruger Effect that also ails judges and then that dog will be used for breeding! Creating more generations of Dunning Kruger dogs!

 

 

Case C. Upstart Breeder, probably no more than 5 years into Labradors with maybe 3 or 4 litters produced already. Their initial dogs were totally lacking in breed type when they first showed up at a dog show with 2 puppies to show in the BPUP events. Neither of those puppies had any real value as shows dogs which was explained to them at the time. Of course, as the vast majority of beginners do, they went ahead and bred those dogs producing another generation of the same level of conformation.

They then went out and obtained more dogs from another beginner breeder with no show record what so ever, so the blind leading the blind syndrome that now I see is really the Dunning Kruger Effect leading more Dunning Kruger ‘Effected’ blokes!

“So, what do you think of my girl?” they proudly came and asked me.

Here’s the deal, if after 5 years in the breed, already producing several litters and even exhibiting those lower grade dogs…………………………………wouldn’t it be somewhat expected for them to have garnered some insight as to what they have as opposed to what’s required at the show level? I mean, come on, 5 years is a long, long time to be doing something and have absolute nothing to show for the time, energy and what’s worst, the production of more of the same old, same old!

Hi Yo Silver! Dunning Kruger Effect rides again……………….they don’t know what they don’t know and what’s worse is that they don’t know any better! Let’s give them another 5 years and re-visit their status or lack there of.

 

October 3rd

Things That Go Bump In The Night & Things That Don't Add Up

On a seven day daily basis……………….let’s add 24 too, so 24/7………………. I wear so many different k-9 hats…………..that’s dog endeavor-related headdresses, that at times I’m not sure what, when or where!

99% of the time, I am right on the nose with whatever it is I am supposed to be on top of………………..be it the the leader of………………………..be it the know it all of……………………………..be it the go to guy of……………………that’s for hundreds and hundreds of the Chambray owners, those that I have taken under my wings and provide my collective wisdom about all things Labradors……………….that also includes thousands that follow us through Facebook, the Blogging Off blogs, the webpage and that use email to request information.

Now, there’s a 1% of the time that I am totally lost for words about the one subject that I know I reign supreme over………………..yep, that’s my take on all things Labrador, there isn’t anyone else that’s still left standing that knows this breed inside out as I do……………………..left standing because all my mentors, that great legends of the breed are gone and by default, the buck/puck stops here!

So, just what is this stumbling block that keeps me from reaching that Nirvana altitude of 100%? What is it that would keep me, the ‘prima donno’ (prima donna are girls) of innovations and coming up with a way to make it better from making it 100% and not be stuck at the precipice of 99%?

Dang it, they ought to take a rope and hang me……………………it’s the ‘ends of spectrum judging’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s having a judge one day select ‘this’ and then the next day another judge selects ‘that’ and ‘this’ and ‘that’ do not resemble hide or hair of each other let alone what the breed standard describes what a Labrador Retriever should look like!

So, what’s a mentor supposed to do and say to all the minions that are trying their best to find their way? How do I, that knows it all………………………..how do I explain to those inquiring minds what just transpired with the judging when it doesn’t add up?

How does a teacher explain to their students that 2 + 2 = 7? It doesn’t add up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can’t explain what doesn’t add up! Now way, no how!

2 + 2 = 4…………………..no matter how many times you add those two numbers up, it always equals FOUR!

NOT IN JUDGING! FAT OVER-WEIGHT DOGS NEVER EVER EQUAL the following:

Official Standard for the Labrador Retriever General Appearance: The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled, dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion.

Above all, a Labrador Retriever must be well balanced, enabling it to move in the show ring or work in the field with little or no effort. The typical Labrador possesses style and quality without over refinement, and substance without lumber or cloddiness.

Approximate weight of dogs and bitches in working condition: dogs 65 to 80 pounds; bitches 55 to 70 pounds.

Labrador Retrievers shall be shown in working condition well-muscled and without excess fat.

If it jiggles between the front legs………………….if it bounds to and fro underneath the brisket………………………..if it swaggers back and forth and side to side over the shoulders than it is EXCESS FAT!

Can you imagine those fat, overweight dogs making a couple of passes in the field………………….never mind that the standard calls for LONG HOURS UNDER DIFFICULT CONDITIONS?

Nowhere and I mean nowhere does 'rolly-polly' show up in the breed standard for Labradors, neither does 'blubbery', 'girthiness', 'pudgy', 'lumbering' ……………..in fact it states the OPPOSITE!

Plain as day folks, dog can’t do its job, no matter how impressive it looks standing there heaving and a huffing because it just went around the ring inside an A/C, comfy building………………………then that dog doesn’t EQUATE!

If when going around the dog can’t hold its head up, how in the world is it going to hold its head up carrying any type of fowl without stepping all over it and shredding it into pieces along the retrieve!?

Nope, the old 2 + 2 = 7…………………….no way in heck and high water does ‘Labrador Retrievers shall be shown in working condition, well-muscled and without excess fat’ equate to those portly pooches that have been put up for the points lately.

So, there’s my dilemma! How in tarnation or Gator Nation do I teach that wrong addition to those that want to know? How do I justify making dozens, hundreds and thousands to follow the teachings of the Labrador Retriever Breed Standard when right there before their very own eyes things just don’t add up………………don’t add down, don’t add sideways!

I can look across the ring and see their face and some scratching the top of their heads when the judging is all said and done and the numbers just don’t add up!

Makes being a breeder doing it the right way and teaching and mentoring that right way a bit of a tough to sell to others that don’t know any better, but are looking for the way! In fact, it makes it doing it the wrong way so much more attractive with the wrong way gets rewarded!

Your Comments:
Is there anything the AKC can do about making the judging more uniform? Can’t there be someone supervising as the judges make their selections? JC
 
I will take this idea up in a future blog because so many of the replies had to do with the above.