From Pet Owner To A Show Dog Enthusiast

July 2009


How do regular, ordinary people like you get into showing dogs?


How does anyone make the perceptionally giant leap from owning a household pet to actually show up at a dog show, traipse around a ring among all those prim and proper, highly coiffured, pampered pooches? 


Well, sit a spell and I will spin a yarn or two and bring you up to speed on the transition that has been made by hundreds of folk like yourselves going from ordinary to show-oriented.


Here is an eye-opening statistic to bolster this essay, 99% of those participating in our Labrador Owner’s Community were “ordinary folk” when they first approached me about a puppy! Now we have close to 80 (200+ in the last 20 years) “used-to-be-ordinary folk” that somehow made the choice to get involved and into the show dog world and now are part of the fancy.


“How does that happen?” you may be thinking or maybe as many have stated to me, “I don’t think that I am interested” or more simply “I just want a dog for a pet”.


Here is my theory;

It actually happens very simply, on a gradual basis of accumulated interest over a natural occurring period of time; of course you have to have the right tools in the first place to be able to sustain the interest that will follow.


So now you have my theory in the evolution of “wanting a pet dog” which eventually turns into a “dog show person”.


Let me elaborate a bit here. Most of the folk that come knocking at my door (actually email/phone) for a pet puppy have done their homework of research and made comparisons between what is being offered at Chambray Labradors and what might be found elsewhere. They have asked around and inquired and the majority have been directed by others that have had positive and rewarding experiences with Chambray Labradors.


Word of mouth reigns supreme as the oldest and probably the most powerful sales tool for buyers and sellers and is incalculable in value as a source of information. Word of mouth for us is the absolute best form of testimonial and it comes from dog owners, dog trainers, veterinarians, dog groomers and other sources related to dogs. In the sales industry positive word of mouth is worth a 100 billboards, full page ads in the newspaper and even better than a one minute commercial on TV. People love to share their good fortunes and expressing a great experience that they may have had and this becomes the best form of advertisement for us as hundreds and have experienced our unique endeavor with Labrador Retrievers.


Now that is a very good thing, because most that contact us already come somewhat educated and ready for more information. Once they peruse the they then have it in writing as the website provides invaluable info on all aspects of dog ownership, puppy facts and other useful and pertinent information for puppy buyers to learn from. The website is an accumulation of our 40 year's worth of involvement with the breed.


So, now we have these educated consumers that know that there is a difference between well-bred dogs, with warrantees and with decades of expertise behind them from all those others offered at street corners, pet shops, puppy mill operations, puppy brokers, hobbyist and backyard breeders.


Those differences are tallied in (1) health & soundness, (2) temperament and in (3) conformation. Let’s take a look at each one of those attributes from Chambray Labradors or in most cases, lack of attributes from those other sources mentioned above.


1.   Soundness and health are essential for the longevity of the dog. Everyone searching for a pet wants one that will be healthy and sound for the duration of its lifetime. How does a person searching for a pet puppy know that a puppy has the potential to be either healthy or not? The health and soundness of the parents of that puppy have a direct correlation to the eventual health of the puppy. The chances and percentages are way in favor of a puppy being healthy and sound that came from healthy and sound parents. So having sires and dams that are certified in those areas that are known to be a variable will greatly increase the chances that the puppy will also be free of those conditions. There are no guarantees whatsoever when purchasing a puppy from a pet shop, puppy mill or backyard breeder that those parents are free for genetic diseases, thus the chances for the puppy to develop those same diseases is greatly enhanced. In other words, not very good odds to play with and since acquiring a dog is a 12 to 15 year investment of emotion and money, not good odds at all!

2.   Temperament of the dog is paramount as it is breed indicative. Each breed has a standard and temperament is explicitly covered in that written blueprint. In other words a Labrador Retriever must act as a Labrador Retriever and if it does not, then it has deviated from the expected norms for our breed. When breeding a sire and dam, the temperament of each must be exemplary of the breed so that warrantees may given each new owner that their newly acquired puppy will have those same behavioral qualities known for that breed. Dogs acquired from puppy mills, pet shops, backyard breeders and other non-show breeder sources tend to have the most behavioral problems of all dogs attending our training facility.

3.   Conformation deals with how the dog is supposed to look. Each breed has definable characteristics that make them unique; otherwise all dogs would look alike or be Heinz 57 varieties! A Labrador Retriever must look like a Labrador Retriever and not resemble or look like another breed of dog. Once again, those dogs obtained from unknowledgeable sources tend to have the greatest variances in looks. We have had people come to our training classes with Labs that looked like Great Danes, Grey Hounds and even Whippets, others that were sold as “purebred” had Terrier or hound mixes in them. Although they were provided with “papers” and “mile long pedigrees”, these dogs were not indicative of their breeds in conformation. Conformation is validated at venues such as dog shows, be it AKC, UKC or IABCA. Dogs with titles are dogs that have been presented to knowledgeable judges and have been rewarded with these accreditations as being exemplary specimens of the breed. Chambray Labradors titles more dogs with the AKC, UKC and IABCA than all the other Florida Labrador breeders combined!!!!!! These are not fanciful claims, we provide hardcopy results at the Dog Show Scene At these pages you will find all the Florida dog show results, show by show from 2004 to the present. The proof is in the pudding!


Ok, so how does all the preceding translate into a person going from ordinary pet owner to being the proud owner and exhibitor of a show dog?


Once a person knows that they have a top-notch specimen of the breed, pride and joy take over and the next step is to do something worthwhile with that dog. There is a tremendous sense of fulfillment to be able to participate at the upper levels of any endeavor, so that starting out with the highest caliber of quality makes the interest level that much more intensified and valid.


The rest of the story can be taken as “word of mouth” from those that are part of the Labrador Owner’s Community, ordinary folk that once upon a time where searching for a pet puppy and today are participating in the one of a kind program with Chambray Labradors.

see the Visit the Owner's Photo Gallery now active!

As they say “the proof is in the pudding” and the pudding in this case is all those that are part of our Labrador Retrievers Owner’s Community. These fine folk may be found participating and winning at AKC events throughout the state of Florida, from all-breed dog shows, to agility trials, from obedience competitions to hunting/field events. Besides the AKC, there are also several other organizations that provide similar events for owners to participate in. The UKC has been around as long as the AKC has and they too have a stud book registry and also provide competitive events throughout the year. A newer organization, the IABCA provides twice a year gatherings in Florida for conformation competition. They are based out of the state of Washington and sponsor all-breed & rare breed shows throughout the country as well. Besides dog shows, many of the members of our Labrador Retriever Owner’s Community participate in service and therapy work with their dogs. All of them have a great family pet that also participates in the betterment of the breed.


The sky is the limit when you don’t limit yourself to a plain pet obtained from unproven sources. Research, investigate and come to your own conclusions about the best place to secure your next “best friend” from and maybe you too will evolve from being ordinary folk to show oriented as have done hundreds in the last 20 years with Chambray Labradors.




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