Cared for by
Harvey and Penny Kent
2535 Salem Church Rd.
Hodgenville, KY 42748
(270) 358-3268
sunburstchows@gmail.com



American Kennel Club Breeder of Merit

Chow Chow Club, Inc. Breeder Circle of Gold Award

"Man is not born to solve the problems of the universe,
but to find out what he has to do;
and to restrain himself within the limits of his comprehension."
Goethe
Philosophy
Breeding, owning, and exhibiting purebred dogs is a passion that also comes with responsibilities.
History
The love of dogs has been a constant in my life. Childhood hours were spent studying dog books, dreaming about which breeds I would have. Fortunately at the time I was able to have my first dog as an adult, I had a passion for chows (a few months earlier it had been another breed, one that poops everywhere and barks constantly). Although not knowing who the prominent chow breeders were, I acquired a pet chow with quite an impressive pedigree and off I was studying everything I could find about my dog’s ancestry. This led me to the Pandee dogs and the Poppyland dogs, a good start I would say.
Harvey had chows and bulldogs as a child and in adulthood the chow won out. His first chow was a full sister of the famous BIS, BISS Ch. Starcrest The Lemon Drop Kid. This bitch,”Taffy”, was bred to BISS Ch.The Coach of Poppyland, thus beginning Harvey’s mentorship with Pete and Howard Kendall of the Poppyland Chows.
We agreed from the beginning on our philosophy of purebred dogs and our efforts have been combined for more than twenty years. In that time we have bred two “Best In Show” winners and quite a few more champions. Our OFA certification depth is impressive with hip dysplasia being one of the genetic problems we have concentrated on controlling. The pleasure of watching our chows increases with each forward step. Through experience and critical examination of what we have done, we grow in our understanding of breeding.
With the first 15 years being active with careers, raising our family and just enjoying each other, the dog passion was kept in moderation. There were times that important breedings could not be done and important shows could not be attended. Always, though, our passion was directed toward breeding and acquiring the best dogs that we could, preparing for the future when we would have more time and a larger facility for the chows.


With the beginning of 2000, the time is now. With relocating 2,000 miles across country and Harvey’s expert design skills, we have the facility.


AKC Breeder of Merit

Breeding
Breeding is the aspect of purebred dogs that we find the most interesting and challenging. Each litter produced brings the hopes of a better dog. Harvey and I have owned and bred chows for over thirty years and with each litter are reminded how much more there is to learn. At the very least we have learned how complex genetics is, humbly accepting that we can only make a small contribution to guiding the pieces of the genetic puzzle together in an attempt to engineer a better dog.
Because the breeding of dogs is where our interest lies, we don’t feel that a “better dog” is merely one that wins a lot in the show ring, or wins more than another. So what is a better dog?
Free of genetic problems
Anyone who has studied purebred dogs knows that there are genetic problems in all breeds, problems that often compromise the dog’s prospect of a happy and long life (not to mention causing heartache to the owner). Honestly, however, we realize that we will never have a dog free of all genetic problems.
A knowledgeable breeder recognizes the fact that eliminating genetic faults not only takes time, it requires large numbers of breeding stock. Just study how cattle are bred to understand this. Most of us agree that we want our dogs to have more human companionship than the average cow gets, so a very large number of dogs for one breeder to work with is not an option. And when I speak of the elimination of faults taking time, I mean many years. To understand this, consider the evolutionary process that has occurred over thousands of years. With this understanding, we still hope that a breeder with a conscience is at least attempting to decrease the number of occurrences of those problems through selective breeding. With consideration to both the strengths and the faults in our dogs (of which we are aware), we selectively breed the dogs that most likely have a chance of that healthy, happy long life.
Conformation to the American Kennel Club Standard
In 1990 the Chow Chow Club, Inc. wrote a description of what the ideal chow chow should be, the standard by which all chow chows exhibited in AKC shows are judged. Although discussions of the merits of this standard continue and argument can be made that this ancient breed should not deviate so much from its early beginnings, we agree that the standard “guides the imagination of breeders, dog show judges, and students of the breed.”
We realize that we will never have a dog that matches the AKC standard perfectly and openly agree that maybe that wouldn’t exactly be the dog we want. As a whole the standard does describe with accuracy the animal that we hold in such esteem. So our breeding program strives to produce dogs that continually come closer to meeting the standard, thereby breeding a “better dog.” This is accomplished again by “selective breeding.”
The final paragraph of the AKC standard perfectly summarizes the paradigm from which we breed chows.
“In judging the Chow, the overall picture is of primary consideration. Exaggeration of any characteristic at the expense of balance or soundness shall be severely penalized…There should be proper emphasis on movement which is the final test of the Chow’s conformation, balance and soundness.”
Exhibiting
To sum up the sport of showing dogs in two words, it is very competitive. Opinions abound, egos are inflated and deflated, and sadly friends are made and lost.
With this observation Harvey and I have strived to maintain the principal upon which exhibiting dogs is based according to The American Kennel Club’s premise. “Competition in conformation and performance events can best demonstrate the progress that has been made in breeding for type and quality…” This does not necessarily mean the winner always demonstrates the best. As we believe there is no perfect dog, there is also no perfect handler or judge. By exhibiting, the progress we are making as breeders can be recognized by viewing our dogs at the shows whether we win or lose.
Although we find breeding the most challenging, exhibiting dogs is exciting and fun. In the past we have not always been able to, but our preference is to exhibit the dogs ourselves. Showing in and winning from the Bred By Exhibitor class is especially rewarding.


Eleven Years Later
2011 is here and eleven years in Kentucky have flown by. We’ve discovered that we live in “paradise”. The beautiful country-side, small-town healthy living and wonderful friends we’ve made have made the move so worth while.
The past eleven years have brought us much success with breeding and showing good dogs. We’ve continued our pursuit of breeding soundness through the available health screenings and we feel we have gained better chow type.
Much of our success has been due to our special friends: Cathy Clapp (FlamingStar Chows), Gwen Benz (GeeBee Chows), George & Carol Janes and granddaughter Ashton, Michelle & Don Barker (Elegant Chows), Bambi Walden (VIP Chows), Phil &Vicki DeGruy (Thunderhill Chows) and Joan & Ken Dunsire (Robinhill Chows). Through sharing our breeding and showing resources we have all enjoyed the success.
Since arriving in Kentucky we have built a second house on our property and moved Cathy Clapp from Dallas to be our partner and to enjoy the good life in small-town Hodgenville. Thanks to her computer expertise she manages our Web Site, something neither Harvey nor Penny have the patience to do. We all share in the care and upkeep of the dogs and kennel allowing us all to more easily show and breed.
by Penny Kent

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THE SUNBURST CHOWS
ARE NOT AFFLIATED
IN ANY WAY WITH
HEAVENLY CHOW CHOWS
Linda, Dale & Gary Hornback
2595 Salem Church Road
Hodgenville, KY  42748



The Sunburst Chow Chows
2535 Salem Church Rd  ~ Hodgenville, KY 42748
Tel. (270) 358-3268

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This page was last updated on 13 January 2011