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

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

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.