Becoming top dog breeders wasn’t originally in the plans for Michele and Ron Murdoch.
It really only began when they went out in search of a new dog after they lost their Labrador-German Shepherd cross.
They went looking for another rescue dog, which theirs was, but they ended up finding Sophie, a purebred Enlish lab.
It was one-third of Ron’s personal dream realized too: he wanted to have a lab of every colour, a black, yellow and chocolate.
Today they breed dogs under the banner of Kermodei Labradors.
It’s not a thrifty endeavor to be a dog breeder, taking perhaps three litters before there’s any real return on the investment.
That’s partly because of the work it takes to be what’s referred to as ethical breeders. All dogs get thorough examinations.
The dogs also get shown at championship level dog shows, which isn’t precisely a requirement but it’s a significant step to prove the quality of their dogs.
It takes about $3,500 to get the dogs to the championship level and another $1,500 in medical clearances, they say.
Ron and Michele just planned to have the dogs shown, but were not expecting to have their dogs continually win at such high levels.
Michele says it’s a continual challenge being in Kitimat which means lots of travel to get the animals to their competitions.
Michele and Ron currently have three breeding dogs — Minka, Cody, and Xavier — and none are confined to kennels and are highly socialized, they say.
Cody was selected as the top lab at the Westminster dog show in New York, and is the top female as well from the competition.
Cody is also the twelfth top dog in Canada, and the number one female in B.C.
Beyond the cost and the competitions though Michele says the reason they do what they do is simply out of love for the breed and its clear their dogs are just as much their children as their actual children.