Alan Kalter and Chris Lezotte acquired their first bullmastiff in 1982. This exuberant male, while hardly a show dog, not only sparked Chris and Alan’s love affair with the breed, but his ‘happy legs’ became the inspiration for their kennel name. Since obtaining their foundation bitch in 1984, Chris and Alan have bred or owned 175 titleholders; these include specialty winners, best in show winners, Westminster winners, top producers and five generations of group first winners. In 2016, they were named Breeder of the Year by the American Kennel Club.
Alan and Chris have endeavored to give back to the sport of purebred dogs in a number of ways. Chris has served as secretary, Bulletin editor, and on the judges education committee of the American Bullmastiff Association; Alan is past ABA president and the club’s AKC delegate. Chris is president of the Ann Arbor Kennel Club; Alan is past chairman of the American Kennel Club and served on the AKC Board of Directors for eight years, is the AKC Reunite chair, and serves on the AKC PAC board. Most recently, Alan was elected to the boards of the International Partnership for Dogs and the Theriogenology Foundation. Beyond the purebred dog world, Alan and Chris established the HappyLegs Fund at the MSU Veterinary Hospital which provides financial help for those with dogs requiring life-saving care, and contribute to the Vapor Wake breeding program at Auburn University. They also founded the Kalter/Lezotte Wildlife Rescue Fund at the Detroit Zoo.
As Chris and Alan wind down their breeding program after 30 plus years in the sport, they hope to be remembered not for their dogs’ accomplishments, but for their efforts to incorporate soundness, structure, and ‘happy legs’ into the bullmastiff breed for generations to come.