Jeff Moore plays with Echo in East Hopewell Township. Echo, a Labrador retriever, is ranked sixth in the U.S.
Jeff Moore plays with Echo in East Hopewell Township. Echo, a Labrador retriever, is ranked sixth in the U.S. (Bil Bowden photo)

Jeff Moore grew up with Labrador retrievers.

The Felton resident loves their happy disposition and knew that someday he wanted to "really raise a good one."

That "good one" turned out to be Echo, the 2-year-old Labrador retriever Moore is taking to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at New York City's Madison Square Garden.

The competition airs live on Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. on the USA Network, or at 9 p.m. on CNBC.

Echo is ranked sixth in the country. His professional handler is Heather Bremmer.

He began competing in dog shows when he was 6 months old and became a grand champion at 20 months, said Moore.

Connor, an English springer spaniel, is owned by Deb Kirk of York Township, and Kirk will be showing the dog for a final time at the Westminster Kennel
Connor, an English springer spaniel, is owned by Deb Kirk of York Township, and Kirk will be showing the dog for a final time at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City next week. Kirk said Connor is the most accomplished springer in history. (Shelby Seaton photo)

The dog has taken at least 18 best of breeds in the American Kennel Club and three best of show in United Kennel Club shows. He is AKC Grand Champion, UKC Champion and Canadian Champion.

He is one of 54 Labrador retrievers competing at this year's Westminster show,

said Moore.

"I am really excited that he has qualified to make it there," Moore said. "He is young and just turned 2, so he will be up against 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds."

Echo also will be competing against his father, who lives in New Jersey and is the No. 1 Labrador in the history of the breed.

Moore breeds and shows English style Labradors under the AKC Kennel Name Rambo Run Labradors.

He owns eight other Labradors and co-owns two with Diane Ammerman of Casbar Labradors in New Jersey. Ammerman has served as a mentor to him.

Springer spaniels: Echo is not the only York County dog competing in the prestigious dog show.

Deb Kirk of York Township has three dogs going to Westminster.

Her family breeds world class English springer spaniels.

One of her dogs, Connor, is making his final appearance at Westminster as a 10-year-old veteran.

Deb Kirk of Kay N Dee English Springer Spaniels poses with Connor, 10, right, and his offspring Viktor, 2-months, and a newborn puppy at her Best In Show
Deb Kirk of Kay N Dee English Springer Spaniels poses with Connor, 10, right, and his offspring Viktor, 2-months, and a newborn puppy at her Best In Show Pet Grooming in York City. (Bill Kalina photo)

"And they are usually favorites," noted Kirk.

She is also entering Simon, who is Connor's son and 2 years old; and 1-year-old Bravo.

Connor is the most accomplished No. 1 springer in history because he is the only No. 1 show springer that has earned AKC obedience titles, rally titles and hunting titles, she said.

Connor has been a therapy dog for the past year for seniors in assisted living at Cloverfield Apartments in York Township.

Kirk will be the handler for Connor, and her sister, Kathy Kirk, will be the handler for Simon.

Kathy Kirk was the handler for 2006 Westminster best in show Rufus, the colored bull terrier.

Bravo will be handled by co-owner Kim Mitchel.

Pennsylvania has 210 entries in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this year, the third-highest behind New York with 287 and California with 228, according to www.westminsterkennelclub.org.

-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or cshank@yorkdispatch.com