Career Year To Remember





Just how big is a Best In Show for a Labrador Retriever?


Well, let’s put it into a timeline perspective; since 1986 I have been to well over a thousands shows, figuring that we do about 40 to 50 shows a year and 22 years have passed since our very first conformation competition, not to mention that for 4 years before that we competed at the obedience trials and in that lengthy chunk of time we had never personally witnessed a Labrador Retriever taking a Best In Show!


In fact, for Chambray Labradors, there were only 3 occasions where one of our bred-by Labradors even made it to the supreme ring for the day, the Best In Show competition.


The first foray for a Chambray dog to compete for Best In Show came in the year 2001 with Ch Chambrays Franco taking a Group 1, thus earning the right to enter the ring with the other “chosen” examples of their groups. Of course Franco did not win that day, otherwise this article would have been written way back then.


Fast forward several years and it would be one of our bred-by females that would receive the nod from the Sporting Group as the Group 1 winner and be allowed join the other 6 Group winners and vie for the ultimate ribbon of the day.


Fact is, Ch Chambrays Mad About Madeline was to make it to that desired designation twice in her show career, however just as Franco before her, she too would only savor the thrill of being there and would also exit the ring without the proverbial icing on the cake.


So, the claim to fame for most Labradors Retrievers that win a Group 1 is just that, winning a Group 1! That becomes the major bragging rights for that dog’s show career.


For a Labrador breeder saying “My dog just won a Group 1” is as good as it gets, since they are not really expected to actually win the highly coveted big prize for the day, a BIS, short and sassy for Best In Show. Short and sassy, but unforgettable and certainly for a Labrador Retriever, the ultimate feather in the cap for the breeders, owners and handlers! I dare say that at the absolute most, only 1% of all Labradors breeders will ever achieve a Best in Show, so rare is the feat!!!!


So, now we have Am/Int Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff (Hogan) vying to become the winningest Best Of Breed winner for Chambray Labradors, handled by now 19 year old Jessica Herzon. He needs to win 20 Best Of Breeds and he surpasses Ch Chambray Caleb who amassed 19 BOB in 1995 on his way to a #9 National Ranking.

Hogan arrives at the 2008 Miami dog show with 17 Best Of Breeds, tied for 2nd with Ch Chambrays Mad About Madeline. Hogan has already received a Eukanuba National Top 25 ranking for the second year in row, with the year 2007 at #17 and 2008 ranked #23 and these shows may be his last as a campaigned specials dog.


The judge for Saturday at the Miami show is Col. Purkheiser, who in previous judging assignments in our area had not been favorable to the Chambray dogs. There were a total of 33 Labradors competing for the day, with 6 champions vying as specials, including another top ranked dog.


It would be Hogan that would receive the final nod for Best Of Breed and would head over to the Sporting Group competition later in the afternoon. This BOB would propel Hogan into sole possession of 2nd place among all Chambray-bred dogs winning Best Of Breeds.


Col Purkheiser was the Group judge as well and he would designate Hogan as the Group 1 winner, giving Hogan his first-ever Group 1!!! Hogan joins the elite Group One Club, with the other two Chambray-bred dogs, Ch Chambrays Franco and Ch Chambrays Maddie as the third Chambray dog to be able to walk into the Best In Show competition.


Of course, that win allows our superstar of the 2000 decade to strut his stuff in the Best In Show competition. Knowing the track record of Labradors in BIS, we were super elated to have him there and the usual eventuality became the reality when the Best In Show judge presented the super-sized ribbon to another breed other than the Labrador.


As we say in the show dog business, there is always tomorrow, and that seems to be the apropos mantra for a Labrador, there is always tomorrow, for rarely is there a great today for a Labrador to win that pot at the end of the rainbow, the Best In Show!


The next day, the judge was Carl Gene Liepman, a Labrador breeder himself in years gone by, of the famed kennels Triple L Labradors. Liepman had just presided as one of the judges at the most prestigious of judging assignment for a breeder judge, the National Labrador Retriever Club's annual specialty in October in Atlanta Ga.


Mr. Liepman would assess the field before him and award Hogan his second Best Of Breed in row. This BOB would then make a total of 19 and tie Hogan with Ch Chambrays Caleb from 1995 for the most BOB's.


Liepman would also be judging the Sporting Groups later in the afternoon and he too would award Hogan a Group 1!!!!!!!!!!!

Two Best Of Breeds in a row and TWO GROUP 1’s IN A ROW!!!!!!!!!!! A new record for Hogan, with the first-ever 2 Group 1's in a row, wow! That feat is almost like walking on water, however we will reserve that designation for when he wins his #20 Best Of Breed and stands alone on that most revered plateau for a Chambray dog.


Hot diggity dog! A super weekend to remember for Hogan and for Chambray, as now Hogan ties the mark for the most Group 1 wins. In all our years as show breeders and exhibitors, Chambray Labradors had only logged in 3 Group 1 wins and now we would add 2 more to that total in 2 days of showing!!!!! How incredible is that?


As the famous sports commentator, Keith Jackson would say "Whoa Nelly!" Hold on to your seats as the day was not over with yet and the weekend to remember was about to become the Career Year to Remember!!!!


Hogan strolls into the Best In Show competition and entertains the home crowd with his usual antics of greeting everyone at ringside as the dogs make their way around the ring. He would play his usual games with Jessie of jumping up and hugging her and of course act like a fool and roll over on his back on the runway matting, all of this to the delight of the entertained crowd. When it was his turn to perform for the judge, he would strut his stuff and would receive the loudest ovation, much to his delight as he revels in the cheering and applause.


The Best In Show judge was Col Purkheiser, the Breed and Group judge from the day before. It looked like he had taken a liking to Hogan and so it was that at the conclusion of his judging the seven Group winners, he was to bestow Hogan and Jessie the highest accolade for the day, a Best In Show!!!!


Certainly the biggest win ever for a Chambray dog, a Chambray owner, and a Chambray handler and a befitting ending to a very exciting year for our dogs and our owners, 2008 will now be appropriately referred to as a Career Year To Remember.


NEWS FLASH: March 2009 Hogan wins Best Of Breed #20 and also his 3rd Group 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EPILOGUE: *There are no official records kept by the clubs hosting these dog shows, so in most instances recollection is the next best things to actuality.*

According to the longest active member of the Greater Miami Dog Club, going back to 1959, Hogan's win above is the only Labrador Retriever Best In Show winner at any of the Miami shows ever.  


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