20 June 2021

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club’s spring working test finally came to fruition last Sunday. With so many date changes and doubts as to whether it would be able to go ahead due to the pandemic, a handful of dedicated and determined committee members pushed through everything in true Chesapeake fashion and finally won the day!

Dave Thompson found the venue, which by all accounts was beautiful, and permission was sought from the gamekeeper and the landowner. Mark Straw volunteered (was chain ganged) to be the acting working test secretary, and on the day worked with the judges to set the tests and generally organise the event.

Club member Cathy Broomfield stewarded on the day and, as an extra, produced a full report after the event. Linda Johnson, sister of competing member Carole Harris, was willingly volunteered into being a dummy thrower, and Thelma Thompson provided the yummy judges’ lunches. Joy Middleton arrived with a van load of prizes of Josera dog food (who had very kindly and generously sponsored the event)

All of the above deserve a mention because all are cogs that turn the wheel which would otherwise be stationary. I sometimes sound like an old vinyl record stuck in a groove when I say that without the workers for these events there would be no events for the people who enjoy competing in them.

The tests were all set in the same style but with increasing levels of difficulty, according to the class. Over land and water, the water entry being part of the club requirements for working tests as it is imperative that this breed be willing to enter water and Chesapeakes, as most know, are often the opposite of reluctant in this area!

In the Puppy class, Richard Playle took first and third with his homebred pups, Riptide Decoy Duck and Riptide Whistlin Duck. Second place went to Cathy Acheson running in her very first working test with her new imported puppy Great River Ticino of Eastering, a tough choice for her to have to make between the Puppy class and the Novice Dog/Novice Handler.

Yearling was a new class added this year for dogs between 18 months but not exceeding 36 months on the day of the test, being run this year only to benefit those slightly older dogs who were unable to gain experience as puppies due to the pandemic. First place here went to Peter Clark, with his young bitch, Arnac Bay Ibis, with second place going to her litter sister, Sue Worrall’s Arnac Bay Inca, both experienced Chesapeake owners and handlers but with young dogs running in their first tests. Another Arnac in third place was Arnac Bay Harvest and David Thompson, followed by Kevin Amaira (fresh from the Minor Breeds team event the day before) and his Petsalls Canuck.

Novice Dog/ Novice Handler is a class put on to encourage those who are completely new to working tests, and would like to have a go. Neither dog nor handler can have gained any working test place or field trial award, or have won a Novice Dog/Novice Handler.  There is only ever one placing of first in this class in order to allow all other dogs to compete in the same class another time. All entrants were completely new to working tests and it is great news that they plucked up the courage to have a go. I think that we gained some new enthusiasts for the game. The one (first) placing went to Joy Middleton with Arnac Bay Hebe, Joy’s first Chesapeake and Joy’s first attempt at running her in any form of gundog competition or qualifier.

The Beginner class was won by another imported male, this time Deborah Crewe’s USA import, Chesarab Saltmarsh, a dog who is proving his worth in obedience too. Second was Sue Worrall again, this time with Arnac Bay Esk, a dog whose obsession with staying in the water has caused his downfall in the past! Carole Harris did a great job to place third with Migwell Deutsher Passion, followed by Dave Thompson and his older bitch, Arnac Bay Gamble.

The Unclassified Open saw the Chesapeake stars of the previous day’s minor breed competition, Arnac Bay Grouse and Vincent Acheson come in first, with last year’s winner, Andy Kinta and his imported bitch Mattaponis Tainn at Lateshift in second place. Third place was Richard Playle with his third dog of the day, Arnac Bay Grebe with Riptide. 

A good day was had by all and the smiling faces and good sportsmanship makes for a great time, even if some of the dogs did what dogs do and some of the handlers did what handlers do, i.e. not quite as good as they would normally be at home!

A surprise guest was long-time club working test secretary, now very much retired from the job, John Battle, with his Chesapeake puppy. Surprising as he had teased that his next dog would be a Labrador! They get to us, these Chesapeakes!

Roll on, autumn test!

Christine Mayhew

If you have something you’d like to share, please email Chrissie Mayhew at bobmayhewQhorses@aol.com

13 June 2021

Despite the pandemic keeping some people away from crowds, the Club’s weekend of four shows has drawn a good entry with the Championship Show on the Saturday (judge Di Arrowsmith) drawing an entry of 49 dogs, and the Open Show (judge David Bell) 37 dogs. The Sunday shows have 43 dogs showing under Tracy Butler in the Championship and 34 under Paula Graystone in the Open Show.

When you consider that Crufts 2020 (a record number of entries) had 70 dogs but 12 being from overseas making a total of 58 UK dogs, this is a really good entry. 

Behind the scenes, a mass of work has been put into making this show possible, organising the ‘normal’ stuff, judges, sorting dates that don’t clash, changes galore and endless KC forms, etc., so when you realise the extra work caused by Covid paperwork and regulations, I think we have to be extra pleasant to our Show Secretary, Caroline Griffin-Woods and smile very sweetly to her on the day!

Hot off the press, a report from the minor breed’s competition held on Saturday 12 June. Many thanks for this report by Kevin Amaira.

Headlines: Chessies came third, Irish Water Spaniels won and Flatcoats second, with Curlies bringing up the rear.

Sadly, a couple of dogs dropped out late in the day and left Mark Straw running his own dog Woody (Arnac Bay Fleetwood), Vincent Acheson running Robin (Arnac Bay Gorse) and  me (Kevin Amaira) running Zoar (Petsalls Canuk).

Chesapeake Team running in the Minor Breeds Team Test: Mark with Woody, Vincent with Robin, and Kevin with Zoar

The first test was a shot followed by a seen, followed by another shot over a blind. Two of the three dogs did well. Sadly Woody struggled but achieved the blind on the second attempt.

In test two, all three dogs performed well in the woods on a shot followed by a seen then a blind around the corner a little further back.

Test three was over water, a team test with three dogs sitting, a shot over the water and one dog sent. Sadly Zoar decided to run in. However the judges (Elaine Whittaker and David Bellamy – not the TV personality) were brilliant. They reset the test and allowed me to keep Zoar on a loose lead, and the second attempt went well. Zoar then had a shot and a seen alongside the lake out to 75m with the judges attempting to lure him into the pond. No luck there, he went well. The rest of the test went well. 

Test four was a team test, walked up with a shot to front with a seen. Once again the judges were kind and allowed Zoar to stay on a loose looped lead. Then a shot to rear over a blind, all three dogs did well.

From all the runners of all breeds, Vincent and Robin were awarded third overall, with only 3 points separating 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Overall, a great day and a great social in a Caravan Club CC at £15/night. Tomorrow, the CBRC Spring Working Test.

Dogs 1-3 were Woody, Zoar and Robin

Well done Team Chesapeake – with Woody being thrown in at the last minute, and Kevin being very new to this game, I think the result was excellent. And what a great result for Vincent who has put in the work to train Robin to a good standard and take third overall!

Christine Mayhew

6 June 2021

Well, the entries are all in for the Club’s spring (almost summer) working test and we have an entry of 21 dogs which is really good considering that some people are still isolating or avoiding meeting too many people. Thanks to Joy Middleton who is a whizz at collecting sponsorship, each first prize winner will receive a sack of Josera dog food, courtesy of the supplier, pet food print, and each dog placed will receive sample packs. There are also dog treats for all!  Good luck to all competitors. 

This week includes news from some other countries:

First, great news for the breed in the USA where GCHP Sandbars Hardcore Hank, owned by Adam Levy and Diane Baker (who also bred him), handled by Adam’s wife Devon, has notched up more best in show wins at all-breed shows to make him the top winning Chesapeake of all time. A fantastic achievement for a dog who is not just lovely to look at but has brains and personality too. Hank has his Master Hunter title and is Field Trial Qualified All Aged. Hank is also Adam’s shooting companion. I wonder how many breeds can claim this level of being dual purpose. Sincere congratulations to all involved. 

Hank - now the top winning Chesapeake of all time
Hank out hunting

Whilst the USA shows are still going ahead, ours in the UK are limping back to normality. Sweden still has no shows although there is one planned for later in the year. Denmark recently had one show so is probably on a par with us. Still no shows in Austria. Plans keep changing every day but I cannot see a trip to the USA ACC Specialty will be easy if at all possible. I suppose we have to take each day as it comes and be grateful that we are alive!

The Greek government have proposed a law to compulsorily sterilise all owned dogs which has obviously come under opposition from breeders, show dog owners, and the Kennel Club of Greece. This law is supposedly aimed at tackling the large stray dog population in Greece but if it is put through with no amendments, it will definitely bring an end to pedigree breeds and the native breeds that have existed in the country for many generations.

The proposed law suggests the complete banning of hobby breeders in Greece. Obviously our friend and fellow Chesapeake owner and hobby breeder Maria Kapsali is worried about this. Hopefully with so much opposition to the bill as it stands (even the Greek prime minister seems very much against it), common sense will prevail although sadly common sense seems to be lacking in so many areas these days. 

All this seems far removed from the UK but so many things are changing worldwide and more people are protesting about what they perceive to be wrong or cruel with a complete lack of understanding or tolerance to any one else’s opinions. It seems that whoever shouts or protests the loudest is given credence. This all makes me fear for our pedigree dogs and dog shows and even more so for our field sports. We almost have to apologise these days if we work our dogs on the real thing i.e. shot birds. Times are changing and I am glad I won’t be around in fifty years’ time to see how the way of life, especially in the country, has been affected. 

The 2020 Yearbook – Chessie Chat – is at the printers!  This exciting publication has been put together and edited by Sue Worrall for nearly thirty years and she is very ready to retire from it.  Very few know of how much work Sue puts into this and how time consuming it can be. I honestly thought Sue would have a heart attack when one member at an AGM suggested that the publication be more than once a year! I always look forward to receiving my Chat, as I know others do too – I can’t wait! 

Christine Mayhew

30 May 2021

EASTERING is the kennel name of Vincent and Cathy Acheson, and this week we have the story of how this name came to be:

It was pure chance that brought us into the world of Chessies. One of our two elderly Golden Retrievers had just died, and we needed to find another dog quickly to protect the other one from pining. We could not face the idea of another Goldie so soon, so an afternoon of very slow web surfing ensued (2001 web speeds). Our online searching for a ‘proper dog’ led to the following: “Look at these (brown dogs)!” “What’s that (strange looking brown thing)?”

It turned out that Janet Smith lived about 30 miles away, so off we went. She had a couple of two-year olds who she wanted to rehome. Daisy (Westering St Michaels Daisy) picked Cathy the moment they met, and that was that. Given the combination of ‘Westering’, our living in East Anglia, a new life arriving to assuage our grief, and our faith, ‘Eastering’ seemed a natural choice for an affix. 

Twenty years later we have only had one litter of our own, but now live with Chessie number four (Robin – Arnac Bay Grouse of Eastering) and number five (Thane – Great River Ticino of Eastering). These dogs, and more recently our active involvement in club events (thanks Chrissie Mayhew!), have changed our lives for the better.

It was great to see that Angela Ingram has joined the ranks of the Facebook group UK Chessie Owners. Angela had Golden Retrievers under her kennel name of Barklands when she bought her first Chesapeake, Arnac Bay Eventide of Barklands, a litter sister to John and Molly Barker’s Arnac Bay Endurance or Ches as he was known at home.

Eventide went on to work out picking up for Angela and had a very successful show career, winning best of breed on many outings and winning the ultimate with Best in Show at the Chesapeake Show in 1986 under USA breed specialist and judge, Karen Anderson. Had this lovely dog been alive today, I have no doubt that she would have gained her championship.(We had no CCs in those days.)

Angela bred several litters of Chesapeakes but her love of horses and riding to hounds took up most of her time and she hasn’t shown or bred for many years. It would be great to see Angela at the Chessie events again.

Arnac Bay Eventide of Barklands

The United Retriever Club’s yearbook arrived in the post and I flicked through hoping that there would be something about our breed. I was pleasantly surprised to read in the Lincolnshire area news that the very modest Caroline Pont gained the Unavale Trophy for the best show dog and the Wemdom Trophy for the best all-around dog which includes success in shows and working tests with Sh. Ch. Penrose Hash Brown (Chippy), and also picked up points with Aragame Bucks Bunny and Oakmarsh Dancing Diva. Chippy is a true all-rounder, being a show champion yet with a win in a beginner’s novice test and a judges choice award at the CBRC working test. Not only a bit of a write up for the breed, but a photo too. Congratulations to Caroline who really works hard with all of her dogs.

Christine Mayhew

23 May 2021

This week’s kennel name is SHARBAE which belongs to Sharon Baxandall who is another of our members from the Isle of Wight. Sharon explains:

My friend who breeds and shows Golden Retrievers shares a car with me when we go to championship shows and she helped me evolve my name over several car journeys. My first idea was Clatterford, the name of the road where I lived then, but we decided it wasn’t very attractive. The next idea was favourite beaches, Chiltern Chine, but I decided no as my pony is Millersford Chine. Another idea was Brook Bay but others had the word Bay in their  names and so we spent an amusing trip mixing up my name ‘Sharon’ with ‘Red’, my first Chessie, and Bea, my foundation bitch. We finally thought the best one was Sharbae. So I still had Bay in my name, just spelt differently, and Red had his fair share of letters used!

My thanks to the author, and Chesapeake owner and lover, Kelly Bromelkamp for permission to reproduce this excellent article from the Fireside Pet Lodge website.
Chrissie Mayhew

The Do’s and Don’ts to True Socialisation

When you hear the word “socialisation” in relation to your puppy or dog, it often leads you to believe that your dog must be “social”. This conjures up images of a bunch of puppies happily playing together and freely interacting in a dog park setting. This belief can lead to bad and downright dangerous behaviour. Let’s set the record straight – socialization is SO MUCH MORE than free, open interactions.

Socialization means your dog is comfortable and behaves properly in all environments. They know how to interact with and simply exist with and around other dogs, animals and people and how to be confidently left alone.

There are a few points that need some clarity right off the bat.

Socialisation is not:

  • about your dog freely interacting with other dogs at the dog park, day care, or with friends’ dogs
  • allowing your dog simply to meet other dogs on-leash or off-leash
  • allowing any and all shapes, sizes and manner of people, in all manner of mental and emotional states (scared, excited, indifferent, nervous, etc.) to interact with, pet and/or pressure your dog ‘for the experience’
  • about exposing your dog to the sights and sounds of cars, buses, motorcycles, bikes, walkers, joggers, etc., and allowing them to panic, aggress, hide, bark, etc.
  • about exposing your dog to the sights and sounds of other dogs, cats, chickens, horses and other animals and allowing them to panic, aggress, chase, bark, hide, growl, etc.

Socialization IS:

  • about teaching your dog the proper responses to dogs. It is up to us to teach what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour, and to correct the unwanted when it appears.
  • about teaching your dog to calmly walk by the barking, lunging dog(s) on walks and ignore them, completely. Our dog should be focused on us, the handler and correction may be necessary to achieve this result.
  • about advocating for your dog, first and foremost. This means that people aren’t allowed to pressure your dog by approaching, touching, crouching down, attempting hugs and kisses, etc. That sometimes means being standing up and stopping others from engaging in unwanted, uninvited interactions.
  • about exposing your dog to all types of daily life stimuli and ensuring a proper response. If aggression/arousal is present, it’s corrected; if fear/arousal is present (and causes an overreaction/fleeing etc.) it’s corrected. Ask your dog to learn to ignore and not care about distractions. Teach them to listen to you, not the world around them.
  • about teaching your dog to leave other creatures alone unless you specifically ask or give them permission to interact. The cat, the bird, the cow, the goat, the other dog is simply none of their business. If they decide those things are their business, it’s your job to correct and clarify what is and isn’t their business at this specific moment.

Socialisation has become too much of a simplified idea. The idea that free interaction and exposure is the magic gateway to having a balanced dog is just a bunch of crap. Exposure is a starting point, but building controlled and predictable behaviour through training and oftentimes correction is the end goal.

A well socialized dog isn’t fazed or distracted by the world around them. And that doesn’t come from simple exposure and interactions without guidance. Ironically, that’s precisely how you create fearful, unpredictable and anti-social dogs.

Socialisation is all about teaching your dog how to properly and predictably behave and exist in the world. Somewhere along the line, people developed a belief that only interactions create a socialized dog. They don’t understand that existence is almost always preferable to and more valuable than actual interaction. Yes exposure is critical, but exposure without clear guidance and corrections for poor choices, isn’t socialization, it’s chaos. It’s up to us to teach our dog what’s right and wrong and that we will keep them safe.

16 May 2021

This week the origin of the Weatherdeck Chesapeakes by Gina Downin

We live with our Chesapeakes in Maryland where the Chesapeake Bay Retriever breed was developed in the 1800s. Dogs of our breeding carry the Weatherdeck prefix. There is a double meaning to our choice of kennel name. Both meanings can be traced to our nautical interests. We are recreational sailors and Thomas is a ship’s carpenter in Annapolis (the Maryland state capital and historic port on the Chesapeake Bay).

There is a funny story to what began to steer us in the direction of our chosen kennel name. Years ago, we had purchased a trailer for our dogs for travelling. Thomas used salvaged parts from the boat yard to add ports, hatches, solar panels, fans, lighting, etc., to create a functional, comfortable space for the dogs. We were visiting a nautical shop in Annapolis just as Thomas was nearing completion of the dog trailer project and we spied a brass plaque that said, “Poopdeck”. For anyone who may not know, the poop deck on a ship is the aft deck at the stern. Consequently getting hit by breaking waves over the stern came to be known as getting “pooped”. As a joke, we purchased the plaque and christened our new dog trailer, “The Poopdeck”.

The Poopdeck became well-known among our friends and when we began to think of a kennel name for our dogs, it was not surprising that our friends suggested that our kennel should be “Poopdeck Chesapeakes”. Somehow, we just couldn’t do it. It seemed too silly. So, we turned to Weatherdeck which is another name for an exposed deck that offers sailors no protection from harsh weather and crashing waves. Considering that the Chesapeake Bay Retriever thrives in harsh weather and rough water conditions, it seemed a perfect choice for a name to represent our dogs.

Ironically, the safest place for our dogs when we are sailing on our boat is the poop deck. The stanchions around the poop deck are fitted with lifeline netting so that the dogs are safely kept on deck when the boat heels or tosses around in rough seas. And, it gives them the ideal vantage point to see the sites. Their favorite thing about sailing is watching the floating crab pot buoys fly by as we are underway. It takes some training to teach them that the buoys are not to be retrieved! By sheer serendipity, when Chrissie Mayhew chose a keeper from our co-bred litter of BISS GCH Chestnut Hills Windjammer SH WDX and Arnac Bay Arapahoe WD, she named him Buoy. So, the one dog in the UK carrying our kennel name is Sh CH Arnac Weatherdeck Buoy. It was meant to be!

Gina Downin

Those of us resident in this country will know that, adders are England, Wales and Scotland’s only native poisonous snakes (there are no snakes at all in Ireland!) Adders are found in a wide range of habitats but normally avoid contact with humans. They hibernate over winter and emerge in spring and this is the time when the likelihood of being bitten is highest. These snakes often bask in the sun and inquisitive dogs that stumble upon them are most often bitten around the face, muzzle and front paws. Symptoms of an adder bite can include:

  • Small puncture wounds
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Lameness
  • Dribbling
  • Being sick
  • Increased temperature
  • Changes to the heart beat, blood pressure and breathing rate

If you suspect that your dog has been bitten by an adder, you should STAY CALM.

If you see the snake, try to remember what it looks like, or take a photo from a distance. Do not try to find the snake, get close to it, touch it or harm it. (Adders are a protected species so it is illegal to hurt or kill them, and they can bite people if disturbed.)

Keep your dog as still as possible to prevent venom spreading around the body.

Leave the bite alone. Don’t apply a bandage or tourniquet.

Call your vet to let them know you are coming to the practice ASAP.

If possible, bring a car to your dog, or depending on their weight, carry them to it.

Here is a tale of caution from one of our fellow Chesapeake owners. This happened in April this year. Thank you to Jenny Grinney for sharing this with us.

Timber, my young Chesapeake, went lame and started to carry his hind leg on a Wednesday evening.

I took him to the vet the next day and he was given anti-inflammatory and antibiotic injections as they suspected a bite of some sort. They also sent me away with some Piriton tablets. I returned the next day as he was still no better and was very lame and lethargic. There was no swelling but we were able to see some puncture wounds so immediately suspected a snake bite.

Snake bite - day 1

This time we went away with stronger antibiotics and painkillers. It wasn’t until the following day that the whole area started to swell and erupt with a seeping gunge around the puncture area. So back to the vets, where he was kept in for a week of intravenous antibiotics and anti-inflammatory.

By the Sunday all of his skin in that area had sloughed off and he was a very sick dog. We were told that there was a chance that they may not be able to save his leg!

Once again his medicine was upped and slowly he started to recover. Had he been a small or an old dog we would probably have lost him but luckily he is a large fit youngster. 

Snake bite - day 4

After a week he was allowed home with antibiotics and the cone of shame, which a month later he is still wearing as the whole episode has left a wound like an ulcer that has to heal from the inside out (granulation).

I had no idea he had been bitten. Apparently snakes wake up in April and as soon as it is dry and sunny (which it had been) they come out to warm their blood but are very dopey and full of venom. Because they are dopey they can’t move away quickly and so they attack! Later in the year this may not have caused such a wound as the venom is not as strong. I pray this never happens to anyone else but now I always carry Piriton to use if a snake bite is suspected.

Jenny Grinney

Snake bite slowly healing
Always check with your own vet about giving a couple of Piriton tablets to your dog should you suspect a bite.
Chrissie Mayhew

9 May 2021

RIVERRUN is the name that Des and Mary Murray in Ireland chose for their kennel name, and Mary has kindly submitted the following:

The development of our kennel name, Riverrun, all started quite innocently when I spotted an unusual looking puppy in a Pedigree Chum calendar over 20 years ago. We were looking for a third dog to join our family. Des had grown up with chocolate Labradors and we already had a Golden Retriever so we reckoned we were fairly experienced dog owners and truly believed Chessies were really just wavy-coated Labs. We learned very quickly that Chessies march to a completely different tune than most other Retrievers.

Our first Chesapeake from Janet Morris in Wales was Penrose Nomad, aka Chester. He was a very independent and determined little character from an early age and I think these were two personality traits that we recognized in ourselves so it was easy to identify and fall in love with him. Chester went on to become a show champion in Ireland and the UK and placed in groups in both countries. He passed his field trial qualifier and placed in many working tests but where he came into his own was in the hunting field as a pure working dog and many of our friends that shot over him still talk about the adventures we had in the field.

Des and Mary's Chester

In our first three years we got involved with the Chesapeake Club in the UK and were regular attendees at their events. We learned so much about the breed in that time and so in 2005 we added a bitch puppy to our family, Arnac Bay Winota, from Christine Mayhew in England. Very early on Winnie, as she was known, showed huge promise in the show ring; she was an exceptional mover and would self-stack without any fussing on my part. She was the first bitch to win a CC for the breed when CC’s were first awarded at Crufts in 2009. She too went onto become a UK, Irish and International Champion, having also passed her field trial qualifier. A great worker, she passed her WD, WDX and WDQ on a single day along with her son, Bertie.

Des and Mary's Winnie

Our kennel name only came into being when Winnie was 4 years old and she had, we felt, achieved enough to warrant her good enough to breed from.

Our name came from land that we were planning to build a house on. Alas the county council in charge of planning had other ideas but the application to the Kennel Club was accepted and Riverrun Chesapeakes came into being. Our first litter was born in 2008. In our 20 years, we have taken six Chessies to their Irish title and four to their UK title. We have continued to compete at open level working tests with our dogs and have dabbled in field trials.

The dual purpose nature of the breed has always been important to us and we will continue to strive for this in the dogs we bring forward as long as we are involved with this amazing breed.

Mary Murray

Some important deadlines are coming up, namely 1 June which is the last date to submit your working test entry form for the Chesapeake Club Spring Test on the 13 June, to be held in Shropshire. We still have plenty of places to fill for this day so send them in!

The Club’s four shows on the weekend of 3-4 July have a closing date for entries of 6 June which will be upon us very soon too. This promises to be a weekend of fun with lots of prizes, an auction, and a raffle that is packed full of items already (thanks to Joy Middleton).

For those who have Facebook accounts, the wonderful Mike McCarthy of Chester, New Jersey, USA, has a Facebook page called Chesapeake Art for Good which features Mike’s art which celebrates The Chesapeake Bay Retriever. The great majority of the proceeds go to Chesapeake families and Chesapeakes in need. There are some great items there so take a look when you get the chance.

Another Facebook group that can prove very useful is ‘BVA/KC/ISDS Dog Health Testing’ which gives information on where to get hips and elbows X-rayed for the official schemes and information on up and coming dates for eye testing, all of which seem very oversubscribed at present.

I know that I have been a critic of Facebook in the past but, used for the right reasons, I am happy to admit that I think it can be a very useful tool. Certainly it is well subscribed by the Chesapeake fraternity in many forms from pet stories to working dog stories and it can provide a mine of information from those who have records and are willing to share them. It is also great source of advice for many from many more experienced although I have to say that I cringe when people ask veterinary advice for what are obviously (to me) conditions that need to be professionally treated by qualified veterinarians. Don’t forget that the Chesapeake Club has its own Facebook page which is worth checking out, as is the very informative website which I think is in a class of its own.

Christine Mayhew

2 May 2021

I am incorporating a few US kennel names in this regular feature, specifically the ones that are in many of our UK pedigrees. For the purpose of those who are unfamiliar with the various US kennels, I have more information about the dogs than from the UK kennels where most will know current breedings. This week features Dyane Baldwin’s POND HOLLOW kennel, based in Pennsylvania, USA.  Dyane writes:

It all started with a picture of a dog in a book.  My late husband Bill saw a photo of a Chesapeake Bay retriever. The breed’s description and photos appealed to him and he said “I like this breed.” That Christmas a gift of a Chesapeake puppy turned up for us as a gift from my aunt and uncle. His name was Tamarack but sadly at 18 months he was hit by a car by our home. But we had come to love the personality of the breed and decided we would have another. In 1977, it was not as easy to find a Chesapeake as it is today. We found Barbara and Sam Mullen in Maryland and brought home our first registered Chesapeake who became Champion Mitsu Kuma’s Saxon Pond UD.

We did not start using our own kennel name until our first solely bred litter. We chose the kennel name ‘Pond Hollow’ for the little valley (called hollows locally) that we lived in and the pond that was in it. Did I set out to make this involvement with Chesapeake Bay Retrievers the passion it has become? No. Just very lucky and grateful that the dogs we acquired and bred with Barbara and Sam were of the quality that you would want if you wanted to be serious in dogs.

Our aim in breeding has always been toward an all-purpose dog: sound mentally and physically, good looking and with retrieving desire. The majority of our dogs are bred to be hunting companions, conformation competitors and selective breeding dogs. It really goes without saying that our dogs also make wonderful companions. They are part of the family and one or more have nearly always accompanied us on our travels.

Ch Pond Hollow Casablanca - Bogey

The dogs have earned titles in all venues: Field Trials, Conformation, Obedience, Agility, etc. Soon I hope to title the 200th AKC Pond Hollow champion. Recently, when ‘Molly’ (Ch/HRCH Pond Hollow Otter Point UD MH QAA) made her conformation title, she was the first Chesapeake in 70 years to hold Ch/UD/QAA awards.

Many people associated our breeding with the deadgrass color but I have always had Chesapeakes of all colors. It was only when at a NSS in the late 80’s that I noticed very few of the dogs were of the sedge or deadgrass colors. I decided then to put more focus on ‘clear’ deadgrass Chesapeakes – meaning no darker markings on head and neck. Still, I had many brown dogs through these times as well.

Ch Pond Hollow Continental Divide - Denver

My heart dog was Ch* Pond Hollow Casablanca WD ‘Bogey’. Recently I lost my second heart dog Ch Pond Hollow Continental Divide – both deadgrass boys. Other favorites are Ch* Pond Hollow Bering Sea, Ch* Pond Hollow Morocco, Ch* Pond Hollow Ketch, Ch* Pond Hollow Cuttyhunk; among the girls Ch Mitsu Kuma’s Pond Mist JH WD, Ch Pond Hollow Bayberry Tides In, Ch Pond Hollow Three Rvrs Royalty and GChS* Pond Hollow Special Delivery, to name just a few.

I am very grateful to my late husband Bill for his support and the many friends and owners who helped me along the way.

Dyane Baldwin

Anticipating a long wait in a hospital waiting room recently, I grabbed a book that would fit into my bag and that I felt needed revisiting, namely Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Decoys and Long Guns. I couldn’t have chosen better.

Those who already have a copy (we used to sell them in the club shop) will know what a mine of information this little book holds. For wildfowlers who are interested in history, it is a must, but for decoy or Chesapeake Bay Retriever enthusiasts, it is a gem of a book with tales of the Carroll’s Island Ducking Club on the Chesapeake Bay, a history of the decoys used and a history of the dogs who lived and worked at the Club.

Numerous photographs show what the dogs of the day were like and descriptions of their work and individual characters demonstrate how much they were valued. A whole chapter is dedicated to the studbook of the Carroll’s Island dogs and reading through, it brings home how perilous it was for dogs in those days, not so much due to their work as many do the same job today (albeit not working as hard), but more so from the danger of disease. With no vaccinations, no wormers, and no heartworm preventative, it was common for dogs and a portion of litters to die at an early age. One paragraph talks of a disease that broke out amongst the dogs with seven dying, leaving just three, one of whom never fully recovered. This necessitated more stock to be brought in.

Descriptions of the dogs talk about their retrieving ability, their boldness, and their characters. Dogs that did not make the grade were given away. One excerpt talks of Fritz who had ‘turned out remarkably well, strong, active, good retriever on land as well as water.’ As an older dog he was described as rheumatic and old but still ardent and willing and is the sire of a lot of pups. With all of his qualities as a sportsman’s dogs he was also ‘kind and gentle and affectionate to the greatest degree,’ ‘dignified and quiet in the house, a gentle dog of good family breeding, his behaviour is beyond reproach.’ He is described as having a wonderful nose, would wind a wounded or dead duck in marsh a long distance, and there is a story of him finding a dead duck that had been given up for lost the previous day. This was 1889.

For anyone interested in the breed, this book is a must, if only for the two chapters about the dogs. I have looked it up and it is still available on Amazon in paperback at a current price of £16.87.

Christine Mayhew

25 April 2021

This week’s kennel name story (and quite an entertaining one) comes from Caroline Griffin-Woods:

MIGWELL (pronounced Mig-well). My first choice was ‘Dales Winds’ which was the KC (activity register) name of my first dog, Hesh. When filling the form in, I had three sorted but the fourth was a blank so Mark suggest my nickname, which is Migwell the Troll (his is ‘Woody the Warlock’ by the way). Migwell comes from him trying to say ‘My girl’ whilst very, very drunk and it stuck!

For reasons best known by the KC that’s what I got back. The first dog to carry the affix as a suffix was my Weimaraner ‘Jutta’. Three Chesapeakes have also had it as a suffix: Mudge, Tarva and Arla. To date, I have bred four Chesapeake litters bearing the name.

Caroline's Arla, Broc and Berta
Chesapeake Bay Retriever Judges Education Resource has been added to the Kennel Club Academy
Over two years ago now, the Chesapeake Club was invited to assist the Kennel Club with the development of a film for their breed-specific judges education series. The Kennel Club Academy is an online learning resource providing accessible online education to support those involved in the world of dogs.

We were to prepare various Powerpoint presentations with wording and photographs to cover the history of the breed, and the breed standard. Later we were to provide five dogs and handlers for a day’s filming at the Kennel Club’s building at Stoneleigh.

I cannot stress how much work this involved, and it was a good job that I am now retired and could spend time working on this project and answering the seemingly constant questions, providing a library of images, and eventually, for  the day of filming, arranging suitable dogs with proficient handlers to demonstrate various aspects of the breed. None of this could have been achieved without ceaseless help from Sue Worrall who provided the majority of the photos; Dyane Baldwin (USA) who provided many of the historic photos; and many Facebook Chesapeake friends all over the world who provided photos when I asked, covering underwater swimming dogs to hard hunting dogs in snowy conditions.

On the day of filming, Phil Uncles, Madeline Mahon, Molly Barker, Caroline Pont and Darren Davies-Jones all stepped up to the plate and brought dogs to Stoneleigh for us to use.

The presentation covers how the Chesapeake's conformation helps it do the job it was bred for.
The dual purpose nature of the Chesapeake. These two images show the same dog in the show ring and working in the field.

This has been a massive job, and there were times when I honestly thought it would never end, but it is now finished and published and what a great job the Kennel Club team have made of it.

Whilst made primarily for judges’ education, I think this is an important series of films for all Chesapeake owners and enthusiasts and can only help in spreading the word about how practical and dual purpose our breed is.

My sincere thanks to all who worked on producing this publication.

Check it out! For more details and to access the resource, please visit The Kennel Club Academy.

Christine Mayhew

18 April 2021

At last we have some show news, after an absence of over a year.

The United Retriever Club bravely held its spring open show on Wednesday 14 April, coping so well with restrictions enforced on us all by this pandemic. Everyone attending as an exhibitor (no spectators were allowed)  filled in a track and trace form, we all wore masks and helped ourselves to our allocated ring numbers and catalogues which were  in zip-seal bags  ready for us to collect from tables. Likewise, prize cards were laid on tables for people to collect once they had won a place in the ring. There was plenty of room for social distancing between cars and plenty of hand sanitising stations.

Our judge for the breed was Mrs D Hall who had an entry of 12 with 4 absentees, making a total of 8 dogs shown. Several youngsters were attending their first show and it was a credit to their owners that they coped admirably and all behaved themselves in the ring in what was a new experience for most of them. 

Cathy Broomfield brought her young homebred dog, Glaneils Count On Me, who trotted around the ring with a spring in his step and took the top honours winning Best of Breed for a delighted Cathy. Max, as he is known at home, is sired by Caroline Griffin Woods’ dog, Migwell Solomon’s Puzzle and out of Nunneyswood Snow Flurry at Glaneils.  Reserve Best of Breed went to my own Sh Ch Arnac Bay Flax.  

Cathy and Simon's Max. Photo (c) J Middleton

Cathy and Vincent Acheson’s young imported male Thane (Great River Ticino of Eastering) won Best Puppy. Thane was bred by Cristian Paldetti in Italy and is a cousin to the BOB dog, being sired by Multi Champion Nunneyswood Iceberg who is a sister of Snow Flurry. His dam is Swedish-bred Double Coat’s Mary Quant. Both dogs put in good performances in the best in show ring.

In the AV stakes, Thane placed second in a very strong puppy class. Jo Coppin and Darren Davis-Jones’s young bitch, Mara (Pixierocks Queen of Hearts) had a double splash winning second place in a large AV Junior class, and then 3rd place in the AV graduate class. It was good to see the Chesapeakes placing in AV classes where they are so often overlooked.

Cathy and Vincent's Thane. Photo (c) Joy Middleton

It was a lovely day out, and with fewer people around the rings it was, for me anyway, more enjoyable. Sometimes it was tricky recognising friends in their masks and I for one will be glad when we can all see each other’s faces again. Facial expressions are part of our communication as we all know from reading our dogs (and our dogs reading us). Thank you to the United Retriever Club for all the extra effort made to make this day possible.

The Club’s spring working test entry form will be available to download from the Events page later this morning, for those wishing to enter (CBRC members only). It is on Sun 13 June 2021. Judges are Mr Warren Jones and Mr Mervyn Dixon, and it will be held at Leighton Hall Estate, Shropshire.

Please note that in the event of oversubscription, the first entries received will be given preference. The closing date is also set in stone and no entries will be accepted after this date.

And don’t forget the SPECIAL TICKET OFFER FOR CBRC MEMBERS for THE GAME FAIR, at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire,  23-25 July 2021, details of which are already on the Events page (just scroll down). The Game Fair is back at Ragley Hall this summer and you could be there by taking advantage of the special ticket offer that The Game Fair has kindly offered Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club members. Those of you who are BASC members can receive complementary admission to all three days of The Game Fair 2021.  Register now with BASC for tickets to this year’s event. There is also a new event at the Game Fair this year – the Gundogs Working Test Challenge. For more info, and a link to the entry form, see the Home page.

Christine Mayhew

11 April 2021

This week’s kennel name origin is from Kirsty Watts with her OAKMARSH affix.

Kirsty writes: “I’ve enjoyed reading about people’s affixes and it was interesting to read that Albert and Margaret Woods had applied for Almar as their affix, as it was also one of my choices back in 2010, along with Marjal, both after my grandparents Albert and Marjorie. I also submitted Three Acres, the name of my smallholding, and lastly Oakmarsh as the lower part of my land is marshland with some old oak trees. The KC decided that would be my affix, and I’m glad they did.”

Kirsty's Oakmarsh pack

According to the American Chesapeake Club’s January/ February Bulletin, the Board have been discussing the challenges that some overseas members have with regards to the breed standard and rear dew claws. As most will know, the USA standard states that “dewclaws, if any, must be removed from the rear legs and if left on the hind legs are a disqualification. This disqualification applies to the USA and in any countries whose judges’ judge by the USA standard.” This has caused a problem in some European countries where any cosmetic surgical intervention on dogs is against the law. In the USA, dogs can still be legally docked, ears cropped and dewclaws removed.

Here in the UK, we are not permitted to crop ears; tails can only be docked on working gundogs who are identifiable and who are declared as going to working homes; and the law states that the removal of dew claws is a permitted procedure only with the condition that “an anaesthetic must be administered except where the dog is a puppy whose eyes have not yet opened”.

Our variation of the US standard (which was revised because our KC wanted every breed standard grouped into named sections) does not have a section of disqualifications. It instead states under the heading FAULTS, “Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog, and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.” Our judges in the UK have to judge to this standard.

Of course there is no problem if puppies are born without hind dew claws and, in my experience of 31 litters of Chesapeakes, hind dew claws are rare. I have only come across a handful of pups born with hind dew claws, which was so long ago now that I cannot even remember in which litter they appeared. These were literally hanging by the smallest portion of skin and were swiftly removed before the pups were a week old with no ill effects. It would seem, however, that one breeder in Europe has come across several born with hind dew claws and, living in a country where removal is not permitted, this has obviously caused a problem for those dogs destined for the show ring.

Front dew claws rarely cause problems, are more connected to the leg, on the whole more flush with the leg, and can be used by a dog to claw up a muddy bank. I have always left them on my puppies. Some vets will say that they are prone to injury but in many years of working as a veterinary nurse, I only saw a few that had to be to surgically removed.

 It would be interesting to know if anyone else in the UK has had pups born with hind dew claws and whether it could be a case that this occurs more in some bloodlines than others.

Rare double hind dew claw

I personally am against keeping hind dew claws on a working dog where they would be a magnet for injury, and the thought of one of those little flappy claws being ripped off on a shooting day would fill me with dread. I have had enough dog injuries on a shoot day to last a lifetime! To me, it would be amiss to change the USA standard to suit the laws of another country. Maybe the countries that ban the removal could be persuaded to see the sense in lessening the chances of injury in a truly working breed. For those who work their dogs, what are your thoughts?

Sadly, the annual training weekend with Jason Mayhew at Molly and John’s home in Doncaster has had to be cancelled this year.

Bournemouth Show entries are now open with Dog Biz. Gundogs are on the first day, Saturday 14 August, and the Chesapeake judge is Mr E. English.

And lastly, don’t forget that the Chesapeake Club is holding four shows in one weekend, namely 3 and 4 July, and the entries are open on Fosse Data. The Club AGM will also be held that same weekend at the show site. See the Events and Show pages for more information.

Christine Mayhew

4 April 2021

This week’s kennel name origin is from Sweden – Double Coat’s kennel. With several importations into the UK from Kaj and Catharina Lindstrom over the years, I feel it is interesting to incorporate their kennel name in Breed News Weekly.

Catharina says: ‘We had three names that we sent in to the Swedish Kennel Club: Coots, Uncle Sam and Double Coat’s. The two first ones were already taken. So we got Double Coat’s. Why I chose that? Well, Millie Buchholz (Chesachobees kennel, USA) always talked about how important it was for a Chessie to have a double coat. I remembered that and thought well that would be a good kennel name and it is much better than Coots or Uncle Sams. We got the kennel name in 1980 and our daughter Linnéa joined 4 years ago. We had our first litter of Chesapeakes in 1986.’

Joy Middleton and Hebe had some fun with the online gundog show, winning best AVNSC under one judge and then going on to win Best in Show under another. I’m not sure that the rosette could have been any bigger but Hebe certainly looks very regal as if she considers that she deserved this size rosette!

Those who have been regularly reading Breed News Weekly will know that my dog walks are now taken from my mobility 4WD, the Terrain Hopper. This has proved to be a life changer for me as my neuropathy has progressed and left me unable to walk far. The dogs and I visit the local Forest of Bere pretty much six days a week and drive (they trot) between 4 and 5 km each time.

I could not be more impressed by the Terrain Hopper, which has carried me up and down hills, through streams, mud, and even some snow, and has far exceeded my expectations.

However, we came unstuck this week (or should I say became stuck) when a patch of clay mud turned out to be more than just a patch but had a hidden deeper area in the middle, and was a real swamp of clay that I would defy any vehicle (even my Defender) to have got through. I had been exploring in a different area of the forest, when we tried to transverse this mud puddle and became well and truly stuck. All attempts at going backwards or forwards just dug us deeper into the sticky clay. Even my crawling around and stuffing bits of wood in front of the wheels had no effect other than to get me covered in mud too. I could have won a muddy dog challenge easily Joanne Lycett!

Having conceded that I needed help to get out of this situation, I dialled my contact from Forestry England only to find that she was on vacation. Her second in command was an answerphone message. There I was in the middle of the forest with no other people around (I tend to avoid them), just me and three faithful dogs. There was nothing for it but to dial 999 – Fire and Rescue.

I  phoned my husband and sent him a screenshot from my Strava app to show where I was but one of the first questions from the rescue service was had I got the ‘What3Words’ app. This app gives a three-word name to every 3 metre square in the world … amazing. I now have it installed (shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted)!

My husband and one of the fire crew eventually found me and the dogs sitting on a bank beside the hopper who was well and truly jammed in the clay. I assured them I was fine and they returned, having assessed the situation.

After a while (I heard sirens and then voices) eight firefighters came marching down the hill armed with shovels and looking ready for business! The Chessies, who were sitting on a bank with me, not wanting to leave my side, barked and acted like guard dogs for all of five minutes and then decided that this was a rescue, not an attack!

It turned out that it only takes two strong firemen to free a stuck Hopper, and three to get the crazy woman who decided to attempt mud driving back to her Hopper. I wanted a photo and the firefighters having fallen for the dogs wanted them to join in too. I suppose it was one way to get the breed known. We then had a half hour drive (trot for dogs) back to my land rover in the car park where my husband waited to ensure I arrived back safely (bless him). The Terrain Hopper worked perfectly, even covered in clay!

And so ended an exciting dog walk that had taken most of the afternoon and had involved not just my little gang but seven firemen, two fireladies, one fire truck, one fire wagon, and a fire car. I felt slightly guilty at having to rely on these hardworking guys and girls to get me out of a situation of my own making and I was truly grateful.

I know that this dog walk will go down as one of the most memorable yet and nine more people have met and liked the faithful breed – Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Christine Mayhew

28 March 2021

I’m sure that you will have all heard by now that this year’s Crufts, scheduled for July, has been cancelled. A great disappointment to many of us, but with overseas entries and some overseas judges, not to mention the mass of visitors who would normally attend, it is hardly surprising that the Kennel Club have taken this decision.

The good news is that our club weekend double open and double championship show on 3 and 4 July is still planning to go ahead and, as one club member said, with the cancellation of Crufts, ‘Perfect time to say let’s make the Club show a big weekend of fun … 4th July, big summer party here we come.’

Entries to all four shows are now OPEN on Fossedata. Entries are online only and you can find links to the schedules for all four shows on the Events page of this website.

To tempt you all, apart from the fun atmosphere at our shows, our sponsorship secretary Joy has come up with some amazing goodies and sends the following report:

A massive thank you to everyone who has kindly donated and sponsored, prizes/rosettes so far. I’m sure this is going to be a weekend to remember! As we are almost in April, I’m always stunned by how quickly the time flies at this stage to get everything prepped and ready. 

Luckily the Club has an amazing team getting everything prepped, ready, and sorted for the shows. So here is a sneaky peak of some of the great prizes we have on offer: beautiful hand-crafted trophies, stunning glassware, embroidery surprises, bespoke gift vouchers, some knitted goodies, and a bronze dog. We have been very lucky to secure some fantastic sponsorship from Arden Grange Dog Food, Sporting Saint, Tucker Coats, Oak Warren Pet Suppliers, Felt & Dink, just to name a few, who have been very generous with the boxes of gifts they have donated. So much so, I’ve had to give up my spare bedroom as storage for them all!

As you can imagine, finding prizes and donations for all four shows has been no small task, so if you would like to donate any (gifts/vouchers/money), please do get in touch ASAP. If you are unsure what to donate or like me aren’t the most gifted crafter, feel free to donate some money. Anything you like, however big or small, is always greatly received. 

Last but not least, the silent auction. I cannot thank everyone enough who has been in touch to donate items for the silent auction, but please don’t leave it too late to let us know if there is something you wish to donate. I won’t spoil any surprises by mentioning anything here yet – let’s leave an element of mystery for the weekend. 

Contact Joy Middleton joy.midds@outlook.com

For those going to the URC show in April, please remember to fill in your track and trace form BEFORE getting to the show so as you can hand it in on the day.

The annual minor breeds working test is being held on the 12 June, and a team will be representing our breed to run against teams of Flatcoated Retrievers, Curly Coats, Irish Water Spaniels and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers.

The following day (13 June) is the Club’s spring working test, which is open to all Chesapeakes whose owners are club members. Full details will be added to the Events page soon.

Mark Straw, our acting working test secretary, can answer any queries regarding either of the above. His telephone number is in the list of committee members in the last Chesapeake Chat.

Another kennel name origin for you this week, this time Cathy and Simon Broomfield’s GLANEILS.

Christine Mayhew

We inherited our affix ‘Glaneils’ from Simon’s Mum Gladys. It is a combination of the names Gladys, Neil (Simon’s stepdad) and Simon as the ‘S’ on the end.

Gladys bred and showed Golden Retrievers. Simon would normally be her co-pilot at shows, but as he was away in the Army I sometimes went along. The very first Championship Show I went to with her was Blackpool, in the grand venue of the Winter Gardens. 

The whole venue was bursting with dogs, including the ballroom. I was amazed!  Gladys and I kept walking to our ring – upstairs in the multi-storey car park! It was so cold it took me a week to defrost but I still remember it with huge affection. All of her dogs were beautiful, but her absolute pride and joy was Glaneils Benjamin who was awarded the Junior Warrant.

Cathy with their last Golden, Oscar, and their first Chessie, Molly (Bainesfolly A Star is Born of Glaneils)

Simon’s Mum died suddenly in 1991 and we were honoured to be able to take on the affix. Unfortunately we weren’t in a position to start our own line until 1999 when we researched Chesapeakes, attending shows and Club events, and knew they were the breed for us.

When we have occasional litters I always fall back on Gladys’s puppy notes, and like to think she would be proud of our little team.

Cathy Broomfield

21 March 2021

Another kennel name and story, this time the story of Nunneyswood which is the kennel name of Margaret and Albert Woods on the Isle of Wight who have been breeding Labradors and latterly Chesapeakes for over forty years.

‘Nunneyswood’ came about as it is the name of the wood in which Margaret and Albert’s house sits. The house was built as part of the Hamstead Grange Estate and the couple bought it in 1967, from Colonel Kindersley who owned the estate and was Albert’s employer in his role as the Forester for the land.

Margaret at home with her dogs

Gemma McCartney, who is Margaret and Albert’s granddaughter, joined the affix officially with the KC in around 2002 having been involved with dogs all her life and been in the show ring from 4 years old. Many of us will know Gemma and many of us have ‘used’ her to handle dogs for us as she is a top rate show handler. 

Gemma says about the estate where she grew up: “Parts of the estate are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest and so we all feel very blessed to have been able to freely roam the paths of this beautiful area of woods, river and beach of the estate. As you can imagine with Labradors and Chesapeakes and a river a couple of hundred metres from the back gate, any day is a potential swimming day but with a tidal muddy river some days are more eventful than others!”

Margaret's granddaughter Gemma

The other choice Margaret had submitted to the KC was ‘ALMAR’ (an amalgamation of their first names) but “the KC choice was Nunneyswood and that’s what we’ve been for the last 40ish years of breeding.”

My thanks to Julie Reardon of Hope Springs Farm, Virginia, USA  for letting me reproduce this great article  about smiling Chesapeakes.

Christine Mayhew

If you’ve read my column often or only occasionally over the past 30 years, you’ve no doubt seen or read about my Chesapeake Bay Retrievers that appear frequently in photos and stories. I currently share my farm with six of them, and have owned many generations of them since I got my first in 1981.

As I type, Pottsy is smiling at me — I know this without actually seeing her goofy grinning maw because I can hear her snorkling under my desk. That’s what we call the snorting noise they make breathing through the scrunched up nose and peeled back lips. The doggy smile is actually a gesture of submissive surrender, as in, “You mean that wasn’t my dinner? That trash can just tipped over right in front of me and oh, I’m so hungry!” and is also seen when the dog sees you after a brief absence, even if only for five minutes. “I thought you left for good and were never coming back!” In the case of Pottsy, who smiles all the time for any reason, she’d been reprimanded for garbage surfing and now I am the recipient of her supplicating smile.

But perhaps they know what we owners learn quickly: you simply cannot stay mad at a smiling dog.

Smiling is not a breed-specific trait although it does seem more common in some breeds, including Chesapeakes, than others. And it definitely runs in families. Although the toothy grin can be a bit unnerving to those not familiar with it or dog body language, it’s unmistakably harmless and indeed, submissive. An aggressive or fearful dog might bare its teeth in warning, but the look is completely different from a smiler with stiff upright posture including erect ears, hackles up, and wide, staring eye showing whites, often referred to as whale eye.

The smiling dog will have cupped or folded back ears and squinty happy-looking eyes. Instead of standing erect at attention, the dog’s body gets low and wiggly. It’s just so incongruously goofy you cannot help laughing at the dog, which tends to make it smile even more!

Julie Reardon

14 March 2021

Continuing with the origin of kennel names amongst the UK Chesapeake breeders, Molly Barker has a perfect name for our breed of dogs. She says, ‘I chose my kennel name from three American Indian words: CHE (big) SEPI (rivers) OOK (many) – Chesepiook from the Chesapeake Bay Area as I wanted something Chesapeake related. At that time we lived just a mile and a half walk away from the Humber River, and as it was only one river I just used the first two words CHESEPI and the kennel name was born.”

My own kennel name ARNAC is not nearly as glamorous or clever! I wanted Rifeside or Riverside and couldn’t think of anything for my third choice so wrote Arnac as it was the name of a kestrel that I was watching on a TV programme. I never thought that I wouldn’t get my first or second choice – but I didn’t and Arnac it was!  Arnac is also a place in France that I have no connection with whatsoever –  but the name has come to be part and parcel of me and my dogs, and at least it’s at the beginning of the alphabet so gets listed pretty early on!

A date has been set for the spring working test – 13 JUNE – to be held at Leighton Hall Estate, Shropshire. More information and entry forms will be made available to download on the Events page as soon as the details are sorted.

Christine Mayhew

Continuing the article written by Kat Bennett, and reproduced from Bay Weekly Magazine:

New Times, New Values
Throughout the 19th century, demand for Chesapeake retrievers remained steady. A good hunting Chessie commanded several hundred dollars in the mid-1800s, the equivalent of $1,000 or more today.

From 1860 through 1904, Jay Towner on the Western Shore’s Bush River advertised his dogs to hunters all over the country. He classified the colors of coats as light or dark and would ship either as requested.

But changes loomed. Just before World War I, western breeders of the Chesapeake retriever began focusing on upland game hunting, where the oiliness of the coat was less important. They favored a smaller dog with lighter, dead-grass shades, better to blend in with the western grasses.

After the wars ended, many men found that hunting was a good outlet for their military training. Upland game hunters favored Labs as their weekend gunning companions. The population of registered Chesapeake retrievers remained constant as the population of Labrador retrievers skyrocketed.

As Labs dominated, competitions changed to favor their skills. Instead of being free to retrieve all downed birds one after the other, new rules required a dog to retrieve one decoy, then sit awaiting direction. Instead of ice-choked rivers and frigid conditions, water trials were held in sunny ponds during summer and fall. These trials did not fully test the Chessies’ skills.

“On a warm autumn day, with a plastic decoy, there is one sort of competition,” Butch Goodwin wrote in 1997. “But when it is windy, minus 10 degrees with three-foot seas and the goose is alive and unhappy about getting grabbed by a dog, that is another test entirely.”

To be continued.

Jo Coppin has sent in the following:

Last October a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Eve was stolen in the UK. A Chessie was discovered in very poor condition in a dog pound in Spain in February 2021. The UK Chessie community all hoped we had found Eve but sadly the dog was not Eve and has now been named Betsy by her wonderful UK foster mum and UK Chesapeake club member, Tracy Colohan.

(Tracy rescues dogs with the Cordoba Three, a non-profit group of people who visit the perrera (dog kennel) and rescue dogs, bringing them back to England where Tracy fosters them and assesses them before they are matched with the right owners.)

Betsy is now out of the dog pound in Spain and being cared for until she is fit enough to travel to the UK, where she will be fostered and eventually adopted.

I would like to thank the wonderful Carmen Bilton for agreeing to me holding a raffle on Chesapeake Bay Retriever Forever. I have donated 3 lovely prizes to raise funds for Betsy. Tickets will cost £2.50 an entry, maximum entry per person will be 4 tickets for £10. Please pay via my PayPal account.

1st prize Wooden plaque
2nd Prize Made to measure Tucker dog Coat
3rd Prize ActiveK9 Rust Brown Lanyard with a brown Acme 211.5 whistle

£2.50 a ticket. Maximum of 4 entries for £10.

All contributions will go towards Betsy’s adoption fee, medical fees and transport costs. Any additional money will be donated to a CBR rescue centre of the contributor’s choice. I am hoping to raise £600 for Betsy.

Please state the CBR Rescue you would like to receive any additional funds on the PayPal message option.

Please feel free to ask me any questions. Good luck and thank you.
Jo Coppin   jcoppin1968@gmail.com

7 March 2021
The subject of how people chose their kennel names prompted Debbie Herring to send in the following about her kennel name BATTSROCK.

As many people may know we are extremely lucky to have family living in Barbados and we try to get out there as often as we can.  Over 20 years of visiting the Island we have explored and spent time on most beaches.  Our favourite haunt however is Battsrock, a quiet beach on the West Coast, fabulous for snorkelling, beautiful coral reefs with hammocks and beach BBQs to chill out and take in the sunshine.  So our kennel name simply comes from enjoying being reminded of our favourite place.

We also enjoy festivals, concerts and rock music. Sharon Baxendall named our girl Jersey’s litter after David Bowie’s songs, so we wanted to keep the songs tradition for our litter. Jersey is Sharbae Rebel Rebel which caused great amusement at Crufts when we ended up with the show number 666 a couple of years ago.  With a name like Battsrock we decided it had to be the heavy metal route, so our first litter is named after Guns n Roses and AC/DC songs.

Battsrock, Barbados

Allen Musselwhite is a dedicated wildfowler and has a real passion for punt guns, even going to the lengths of restoring four. He has also written a book about wildfowling and so PUNTGUNNER was an obvious choice for his kennel name and reflects his passion.

Continuing the article written by Kat Bennett, and reprinted from Bay Weekly Magazine:
Presidential Chessie

Chesapeake retrievers reigned as top dog for generations in many prominent families. Their more famous owners included our 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt. In his autobiography, the famous Rough Rider described his dog in terms that suited himself equally well.

Roosevelt’s Sailor Boy may have descended from ducking retrievers owned by General George Armstrong Custer, an avid hunter who even took his dogs to war.  “Much the most individual of the dogs and the one with the strongest character was Sailor Boy, a Chesapeake Bay dog. He had a masterful temperament and a strong sense of both dignity and duty. He would never let the other dogs fight, and he himself never fought unless circumstances imperatively demanded it.”  Gen. George Custer took his Chesapeake retrievers into battle with him. Legend holds that President Teddy Roosevelt’s own Chessie, Sailor Boy, was descended from Custer’s own dogs.

President Teddy Roosevelt out with his Chesapeake

On the Bay, Dr. Charles Tilghman bred dogs descended from Sailor and supplied ducking clubs along both shores of the Chesapeake including the Carroll Island Club where Duck, a descendent of the breed’s matriarch Canton, originated.

Holding Its Own
In the 19th century, the Chesapeake Bay was a maritime version of the Wild West. There were gunfights over oysters, waterfowl, terrapins and fishing. Crabs were restricted to local consumption, because they were too delicate, but with the advent of new canning techniques around 1865, crabbing also added to the industry mix.

Guarding skills made a hunting dog more valuable to the men who supplied oysters, fish and waterfowl for local and big-city markets.  The Chesapeake Bay dog fit the bill. Still does, owners say.  “You can tell a Chesapeake retriever to stay in the back of your truck and come back three days later and he’ll still be there guarding it,” says Jim Suite of Anglers Sport Center. “You may find an arm or two, but the dog will not appear to have moved.”

Unfortunately the Scottish Kennel Club has felt it necessary, in line with the current  Scottish and UK Government guidelines, to cancel its May show. 

The United Retriever Club open show on 14 April at Three Counties Showground in Malvern is, to date, still going ahead and they have published the entries with Chesapeakes having a total of 12 dogs going to compete.

The Chesapeake Club is still planning to hold its spring working test in May in the Shropshire area … watch this space!

Christine Mayhew

28 February 2021

News from Jo Coppin is that she and Darren have decided on their kennel name: Elwistone – which is what the village of Pontrilas, where they live, was called in the Doomsday Book. With such an original and thought out name, I started wondering how various people had decided on a name.

I asked Lisa Murch who has the Pixiesrock name and she explained that Pixiesrock is her favourite drive over the reservoir at the shoot. The down over rock formation are Pixiesrocks and have the phrase ‘believe in miracles’ etched in them. Lisa says that no one knows how or when the words were added but folklore says there are still pixies living there to this day. She adds ‘I have spent many hours there but have never seen one’.

The photo shows two of Lisa’s dogs standing on the rock with the writing on. She says that this is a really fast and high partridge drive, and I can well believe it!

Be warned, I will be chasing people for their kennel name story so it would be lovely if you all sent them in to me to save the chase!

More history from Kat Bennett, reprinted from Bay Weekly Magazine:

A New Job for the Red Chester

By the late 1870s, geese and ducks had been over hunted. By 1918, the problem was so severe that the migratory bird act was passed, restricting the hunting or sale of migrating ducks.

The days of the commercial duck hunter were essentially over; duck hunting shifted from job to sport.

Sport hunting was not new. Throughout the 19th century, gentlemen and politicians flocked to the Bay seeking the best guides and dogs. Every creek had a hunting club. Hotels rose all along the Chesapeake. At one hotel on Cobb’s Island, from 1874 to 1882, dude hunters from 27 states and Canada came to shoot ducks. For these sports shooters, birds were trophies. Ducking dogs delivered for the paying client.

So important were the dogs that most hunting clubs had their own kennels. At the clubs, Chesapeake breeders like O.D. Foulks helped standardize the breed. Shortly after the Civil War, Foulks was promoting his “red chesters,” boasting that they were the only real ducking dog bred for that purpose.

Joe Batt, an English researcher, found that between 1914 and 1933, Chesapeake retrievers and flat-coated retrievers had been bred into Labrador bloodlines. The records had been removed to obscure the out-crossings, especially in chocolate labs.  Other Chesapeake breeders regarded their bloodlines as a secret recipe.

Bob Sheppard has spent 22 years researching the Chesapeake retriever. “Even today, I can’t get some [local] breeders to talk about their dog’s lineage,” he says. “They just won’t say.” Distrustful of government, registrations and licenses, most old-time watermen never registered their dogs, and many modern men maintain that tradition.

Still, in 1878, through the efforts of Foulks and other sporting hunters, the American Kennel Association registered the first retrieving breed, the Chesapeake Bay retriever. That first dog was Foulk’s Sunday. The other retrieving breeds were recognized later: flat-coated retrievers in 1885, Labrador in 1903 and golden in 1932.

Christine Mayhew

21 February 2021

Sadly Julie Condon, has lost her old Chesapeake Truffle just ten days short of her 13th birthday. Julie, as many will know, has had the breed for many years and is an honest and knowledgeable CC judge who judged our club show in 2019. Julie is active in the Hovawort breed and presently  has one Hof and one Flatcoated retriever.

With so many incidents of dogs being stolen recently, especially gundogs who are typically friendly and more likely to be kept in kennels outside,  BASC have issued some guidelines to help keep your dogs safe and I reproduce here some that I considered to be good ideas.

  • If your dogs are kennelled, then their location is one of the most important points to think about. Keep your kennel in view and in close proximity to your house. Try to minimise vehicle access to your kennels and think about the overall security of its surroundings. Is there a low fence that could be made higher?
  • When travelling with dogs,  always make sure they are in a secure transit box that you are able to lock. Consider using alarmed padlocks and having tinted windows. These can help obscure the view of passers-by looking in.
  • When parking your vehicle with a dog inside, try to reverse up against a secure area such as a wall. This will make access to the back of your car or pickup much harder to gain entry to. Also avoid taking multiple dogs if they won’t be with you all day. This may not always be possible but you should minimise the time that a dog will be alone for.
  • Install gate sensors or bells.

Congratulations to Joy Middleton with her Hebe who recently won the CC and best of breed in an online show. Hebe already has two CCs in ‘real’ life but it was nice for her to have a bit of competition during lockdown.

Chrissie Mayhew

This week more history than news, with another excerpt by Kat Bennett, reprinted from Bay Weekly magazine.

A Dog for Its Time

In the 19th century ducks were so numerous they darkened the sky. With the birds, professional hunters also flourished, harvesting flocks of waterfowl to satisfy appetites and to adorn the hats of the upper classes.

Demand from Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia was so great that a pair of birds would bring $1 to $7. Hunters used punt guns and boat-mounted cannons that could be fired repeatedly along long lines of flying birds. Firearms could bring down 100 to 200 birds in a day.

Chesapeake retrievers could track, swim and bring back all those birds — proving themselves royalty among hunting breeds.

That’s the job Chesapeake Bay retrievers were bred for.

Until the late 1800s, any bird or duck dog was called a retriever. Along the Chesapeake, retrievers included water spaniels, straight- and curly-coated retrievers, otterhounds, coonhounds, bloodhounds and the old English spaniel.

Mixing retrievers to get certain characteristics was like seasoning a stew. Enterprising breeders would pick dogs with friendly temperaments and the right build to produce the hunting dog they hoped for.

The defining feature of the new breed was the “true Chesapeake coat”: thick fur with a dense curly undercoat and oils so thick they could be squeezed out by hand. Oils provided waterproofing and insulation, allowing Chesapeake retrievers to work long hours without getting cold.

At a New York dog show in the 1880s, breeders seeking to prove the endurance of the breed brought in tubs of ice water to better test each dog’s water and cold tolerance.

Oily dense coats and webbed feet make the retrievers take to the frigid waters of the Bay as if they were ducks. Braving choppy waves, strong currents and floating ice, these 80-100-pound dogs were powerful enough to break through thick reeds and shallow ice shelves again and again to bring back their catch.

Working alongside the hunter as a partner, Chessies learned with few commands — some say they knew instinctively — to first seek out injured birds, then the dead, working until the last duck was recovered.

Hunting legends of the breed were the stuff of campfire stories.