Welcome to Breed News Weekly – the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club’s weekly roundup of what is going on in the Chesapeake world. If you have something you’d like to share, please email Chrissie Mayhew at bobmayhewQhorses@aol.com.

21 November 2021

The latest show news is that Kirsty Watts had a good day with her Oakmarsh Chesapeakes, having travelled all the way from Essex to Merseyside Gundog Open Show. 

Daphne Bailey was the judge and had an entry of 7 Chesapeakes, with the Best of Breed going to Kirsty’s Sh Ch Oakmarsh Chestnut, and the best puppy going to Searle’s Oakmarsh Indian Dream Maker who also won reserve best of breed and was shortlisted in the puppy group.

Searle's Oakmarsh Indian Dream Maker

The ever-going Oakmarsh Acorn represented the breed in the veteran classes under the same judge and went on to win best veteran in show. This senior lady is definitely making her mark in veteran awards the whole length of the country! Congratulations to all.

Kirsty Watts' Oakmarsh Acorn who won Best Veteran in Show

Another historical report to insert some working information this week, this time a Club spring cold game test from 1989, written by Molly Barker:

The Spring Cold Game test was once again held at Mr Bruce Laughton’s North Laithes Farm at Eakring near Newark where apart from the superb ground he gives us free run of, he also provides us with toilet facilities and a large, heated room for tea and the presentation of the trophies and assists in any way he can. Thank you, Bruce.

Our judge Mr Charles Sutton was extremely patient with us and gave all time and encouragement. He even provided his own very able steward, Mrs Emily Brockes. The tests were again set up by Peter Hastings, the puppies having a water test, marked and double marked retrieves. The novice tests, of which there were some comments of being too hard, were good tests and one must always bear in mind that the winner of a novice test needs to be of such a standard to be able to compete competently in open tests. The tests consisted of a marked over water, a blind with a marked distraction to follow and a straight marked retrieve.

The open tests were again marked and blinds, the best of which I think were the water one. The first was what appeared to be (to the dogs) a straight long marked bird out into the field, but here Peter had been very devious as when the dogs had gone out about 2–25 yards they were suddenly confronted with a drop of about 15 feet down to a river where the handler then lost sight of the dog, and then across the river and up the bank the other side where the bird was about 10 feet out into the field. They soon sussed this one out and got the birds.

The other water test was over a fence out across a lake onto land but again the handler at times lost sight of the dog. This caused some problems, especially when one dog decided that a pair of Canadas on the lake were much more to her liking than the dead ducks thrown out for her. Well, Duck by name, she was going to do her best to live up to it and get what was to her after all only a large duck. She eventually decided that they moved faster on the water than she did and went about the business she was originally on but it proved to be the highlight of a very wet day, so I must say thankyou to both for a little light entertainment.

John Barker with Ches (Arnac Bay Endurance) back in 1989

A very big thank you must also go to John (Mike) Savage and Brian Campling for providing all the ducks etc. for the tests. We had a good crowd of supporters for the tests including a couple, David and Peggy Mercer, who drove all the way from Merseyside just to watch. 

Thank you to all those of you who competed and did so in such a happy and friendly atmosphere, and last but certainly not least to our test organisers Sandy and Peter Hastings for their time and effort in setting up this working test. The results were:

1 Chesabay Crystal for Arnac – Christine Spencer Smith
2 Chesabay Casein – Sandy Hastings
3 Sharland Cousin at Chesepi – John and Molly Barker

1 Chesabay Coral – Linda Partridge
2 Chesepi Amigo Mio – John and Molly Barker
3 Arnac Bay Gumboots – Steve Brown
4 Arnac Bay Ermine – John Savage

1 Arnac Bay Endurance – John and Molly Barker
2 Penrose Fullflood Gamescout – Brian Campling
3 Arnac Bay Delta – Christine Spencer-Smith
4 JOINT  – Penrose Gold Dust of Gamescout – Brian Campling and Westering Brown Sugar of Chesepi – John and Molly Barker.

PS the judge, Charlie Sutton, wrote that he was most impressed by the breed and the drive and style the dogs showed and added that he found it an extremely pleasant day despite the weather, with everyone being sporting, helpful and friendly. 

14 November 2021

Just the one piece of current news this week from Jan Debnam to say that her 11 month old pup, Rowan (Battsrock Rocket Queen with Calandrella), has passed her Silver Good Citizens award. What a great achievement for one so young. Congratulations Jan and Rowan.

With no other news to speak of, I have raided the history of the breed in the UK and have this report of the first restricted novice field trial held especially for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Irish Water Spaniels. This report by Gaynor Bailey was originally printed in the 1990 Chesapeake Chat and Year Book and the November issue of Shooting Times of that year.

Jan with Rowan and her Silver Good Citizen Award

What a pleasure to be able to report that the 12-dog stake, the first of its kind, was a great success. It was held at Abergavenny by kind invitation of Mr M Bourton and the syndicate, and was organised by the Irish Water Spaniel Association, who last held a trial for their breed in 1931!

The judges for the trial were Miss Joan Gill, Mrs Daphne Philpot and Mr Terry Bailey, who were all sympathetic to the large number of handlers and dogs who were running in field trials for the very first time.

The first drive produced half a dozen birds and gave the dogs some really difficult retrieving, mostly falling in a thick brambly unused lane. Watching Jill McAree’s IWS Fynder Della of Radicott, handled by Norman Pitts, charge their way into the thicket to produce their bird, it seemed as if there was nothing wrong with the dog work so far.

The second drive was out of a wood, with the guns, judges and handlers standing on a ride and a great number of birds flying closely past the dogs. Here we lost two dogs who ran in, a Chessie and an IWS but the rest of the dogs in line completed their retrieves extremely well.

The third drive was a continuation of the same wood with the guns moving further up the ride. Again, a large number of birds were seen and the first and second rounds competed. The judges asked for six dogs to go into the third round, four Chesapeakes and two IWS.

As there were still several birds to retrieve, the guns moved off to do a fourth drive on their own. All their birds had fallen in cover in the wood and the spectators saw some excellent dog work especially from IWS Fynder Della of Radicott and Chesaspeake Chesabay Coral with Linda Partridge, both hunting with great drive and handling well. A 19-month-old IWS Tyheulog Ad-Arwr handled by Steve Griffin, showed us how it should by done by hunting and retrieving excellently.

The judges decided that lunch was the order of the day at this point and asked for the same six dogs to go into the run-off afterwards. By the time we all arrived at the drive in the afternoon the guns had shot 14 pheasants leaving them for us to pick up and had gone on to finish their day’s shooting. Markers were there to tell the judges exactly where the birds had fallen, all into very thick undergrowth.

Number 6 was sent first, a Chessie, Westering Brown Sugar of Chesepi, handled by John Barker, who did a very good retrieve out of brambles but was a little slow. IWS Fynder Kinalea collected her bird out of a thicket, followed by an extremely fast retrieve by Chesabay Coral, which just tipped the scales for the judges between the IWS and the Chessie.

Westering Brown Sugar completed one more retrieve followed by Lady Spencer-Smith’s Chessie, Arnac Bay Delta, slow but sure, Janet Morris’s Chessie Penrose Gale Force who found her bird after some confusion as to the exact fall, and the puppy IWS Tyheulog AdArwr who hunted his heart out in the rhododendrons before eventually coming out with his bird.

The judges consulted before declaring the trial over, and back we went to the keeper’s cottage for tea. 

Speeches were made, the host and keeper were thanked and where indeed would we be without them, and prizes were presented. A most enjoyable day.

  1. Chesapeake Chesabay Coral owned and handled by Linda Partridge
  2. IWS Fynder Kinalea owned and handled by Mrs Barrington-Manuel
  3. Chesapeake Westering Brown Sugar of Chesepi owned and handled by John Barker
  4. IWS Tyheulog AdArwr owned by Mrs and Mr Griffin and handled by Steve Griffin 

Certificates of Merit went to Arnac Bay Delta owned and handled by Christine Spencer-Smith (Mayhew) and to Penrose Gale Force owned and handled by Janet Morris.

Gaynor Bailey, 1990

Linda Partridge's Chesapeake Bay Retriever Chesabay Coral
Linda's Corrie
7 November 2021

The show news continues to surprise and elate with two more group placings for our breed. With so many years of never a glance in the big ring, the tide has certainly turned and in a big way!

At Mid Herts Gundog Club’s premier show, James Newton handled his and Maddie Mahon’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle to best of breed under judge Claire Lewis, and then went on to take Group 3 under David Howarth. Reserve best of breed went to Turner’s Oakmarsh Haunting Melody and best puppy to DeKleen’s Oakmarsh Jamaica Summer. Only five Chesapeakes were present but the group placing certainly demonstrated their worth.

As I was unable to make the South of England Gundog Show, I have this report from Joy who was the show manager and therefore not allowed to handle her own dog in the ring.

Lovely wet day at Maidstone at South of England Gundog Club. Chessies were judged by breed specialist Paula Graystone. Best of breed was Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe handled by Tess Newson, owned by Chrissie Mayhew and myself. RBOB went to Kirsty Watts, Sh. Ch. Oakmarsh Chestnut who also won the AVG Champion Stakes. The best in show judge was Susan Parr who then went on to award Hebe Group 4, again expertly handled by Tess, who did a sterling job having only met Hebe a brief moment before her class!

Hebe winning at South of England Gundog Club Show

With so much show news recently, I thought a picture of an older Chessie, Helen Farahar’s ten year old Jalf, would be a nice change. Jalf now lives with his owners in Europe and loves anything to do with water … as many Chessies do! As an older gentleman, Jalf now wears a life jacket to help his buoyancy when swimming distances. 

Lots of dogs have started their work now the shooting season is in full swing, so let me have some stories and photos for Breed News Weekly. A bit of boasting about our Chessies is always good.

Christine Mayhew

Helen with Jalf
31 October 2021

Joy Middleton is putting the next Chat together, and asks ‘Please could we have all adverts and articles in by the end of Dec. If you would like to include an article or advert please could you let me know ASAP so as we can plan space and settings’. 

Also, if anyone knows of any open shows holding Chesapeake Classes next year, could they please send the details to Joy (joy.midds@outlook.com) to be included on the Shows page.

More amazing show news, this time from Lisa Murch who tells me that she took her young dog Odhran (Franeo Original Long Gunner at Pixiesrock) to South Western Gundog open show where with Lisa handling, he won best of breed under Mark Slimack. Then the reins were handed to Darren Davies-Jones who handled him to win Group 4 under Lynda Adams! Not only this but Odhran also notched up on the way 1st in the AV working gundog stakes and 1st out of a large entry of 16 in the AV open stakes, again handled by Darren. He won a total of £20 in the stakes classes and as Lisa said ‘I’ve never come away from a show with £20 before!’

Darren with Odhran

Mention must also be made of another of Lisa’s breeding, with Jo Coppin and Darren’s Mira (Pixiesrock Queen of Hearts) winning reserve best of breed, and her younger brother, Chester (Pixiesrock Maestro Cadenza) from a repeat mating going best puppy in breed for owner Fleur Bament. Congratulations all.

As we all know, our breed is one that is truly dual purpose, and Odhran, with his house mate, Autumn (mum of Chester and Mira) was out rough shooting on the Saturday before the show and out picking up the Saturday afterwards, proving the dual purpose claim!

Amazing news from Sweden is that the Swedish Kennel Club’s foremost breeders award, the Hamilton Plaque, was recently awarded to Catharina and Kaj Lindstrom of Double Coat’s kennel. 

Odhran, with his rosette for 4th in group

The Hamilton plaque is the Swedish Kennel Club’s prestigious mark of distinction for breeders who through successful breeding to a high standard have benefited the breed. To be nominated for this award the breeders must have been actively breeding for more than 10 years. Among Sweden’s thousands of breeders the SKC choose just 10 recipients every second year and this is the first time that it has been awarded to a Chesapeake breeder. The award was established in 1910 by the Swedish Kennel Club in memory of the founder of the club and its first chairman.

The Hamilton Plaque
Kaj and Catharina being presented with their award

Many in the UK will recognise the Double Coat’s kennel prefix from their dog’s pedigree, with several imported dogs over the years: Double Coat’s Huckleberry Finn, Double Coat’s Earl at Arnac, Double Coat’s Christmas Joy, Double Coat’s Chesepi Ice Shaddow at Nunneyswood, etc. My apologies if I have forgotten any.

Catharina and Kaj have been great friends of mine for many years as we all started in Chesapeakes at about the same time and have shared many ideas and experiences. In fact I am godmother to their daughter and they are godparents to mine, which takes us back many years as both girls are now in their thirties! 

The Lindstroms have imported many dogs from the USA and the UK over the years thereby increasing and improving bloodlines in Europe, and those of us who have imported dogs will know that this takes dedication and mega funds. Showing and working their dogs, they have brought the breed to the foreground in a country where they were little known fifty years ago. A well deserved award – congratulations.

Christine Mayhew

24 October 2021

Well, the Chessies are certainly featuring in the major awards at shows now. It would seem that the days where we hardly got a glance from a best in show judge are well and truly over. Thank goodness!

At the recent Mid Western Gundog open show there were sadly only two Chesapeakes present on the day, both owned by Jo Coppin and Darren Davies-Jones. Dallandor Jocasta (Freja) took the best of breed rosette, with her housemate Pixiesrock Queen of Hearts at Elwistone taking the reserve. Determined, however, to make up for the lack of entries in the breed classes, Freja stormed away in the stakes classes winning the AV Cancer Research Stakes from an entry of 16 and then going on to win the AV Gundog Crufts Qualified Stakes from an amazingly large entry of 62!  What a day for Jo and Darren!  How nice that this lovely bitch was recognised for her quality when she is so often overlooked by judges who do not acknowledge her colour as being correct (she is ash/brown). As usual, ably handled by Darren of the shiny shoe club! 

Jo and Darren's Dallandor Jocasta. Photo: Sue Worrall

The following Wednesday was the United Retriever Club’s open show, this time with a healthy entry (for an open show) of 11 Chesapeakes. Taking top honours was Kirsty Watts’ Oakmarsh Freedom, this time beating her champion kennelmate to best of breed. Dallandor Jocasta had to settle for reserve best of breed today, with Kirsty’s Oakmarsh Acorn still making her mark in the veteran classes and going best veteran. Best puppy was Richard Playle and Tilly Thomas’s lovely lad, Riptide Decoy Duck.

Kirsty's Oakmarsh Freedom
Kirsty's Oakmarsh Acorn

On to the best in show arena and what a great result for our breed, with Oakmarsh Acorn strutting her stuff oblivious to the fact that she is now an older lady, to win best veteran in show!

Best puppy was Riptide Decoy Duck, and this confident lad went into the ring and showed his worth to win best puppy in show! What a day for the Chesapeakes!

Congratulations to all of the above. 

It’s great to see that some shows are putting on stakes classes to raise money for charities such as Cancer Research. Not only does it give competitors another bite at the cherry, it is a great feeling that the entry fees are going to a good cause. Well done URC.

Richard and Tilly's Riptide Decoy Duck winning Best Puppy in Show

The American Chesapeake Club’s Specialty Field Trial has just finished in Georgia after a week. Unlike UK trials which are held on an actual shoot day, the US trials consist of manufactured tests on dead birds and ‘flyers’ which are captive birds released and then shot straightaway. We would not be allowed to do this in the UK and I am not advocating it but it obviously gives more of an even test to each dog, unlike our trials which are very much a luck of the draw situation. If anyone fancies going to see the Chesapeake Specialty Field Trial or show (held at different times) then check out the ACC website. It is definitely fun to visit the USA with a purpose and the events are held in different states each year.

Christine Mayhew

17 October 2021

The Chesapeake Club held a very successful Autumn working test last weekend. As I did not attend, Sue Worrall reports:

On Sunday 10 October the CBRC held its autumn working test at Barwick-in-Elmet, near Leeds, thanks to Andrew and Diane Nicholls who welcomed us to their farm for the weekend. The test judges were Steve Burns and Mike Pilling, who also gave us a training session on the Saturday. We had a good entry for the test, with 23 dogs travelling from all over the UK – Wales, Hampshire, Suffolk, Essex, Shropshire, Lancs, Lincs and Yorkshire – as well as Ireland.

Chesapeake tests always have a good atmosphere. Nowhere are people more supportive and encouraging of each other, and eager to see progress made since the last test. Some people competing are regulars, others are new faces, and some were Chessie owners who haven’t taken part in tests for many years. We were fortunate to have dry sunny weather, and there was lots catching up to do and sharing of training tips and stories.

Richard Playle running Deek in the puppy test. Photo: Maxine Furnandiz

The tests were the same for all the dogs, but with increasing distances as the classes progressed. The first test was a single long mark, while test 2 was a blind in a small area of cover. The third test was a double mark up a sloping hillside in light cover, and the final test was a water retrieve across the pond. Some of the tests proved a little tricky for the younger, less experienced dogs and no places were awarded in Puppy, Novice Dog/Novice Handler, or Yearling. Other results were as follows:

1. Dave & Thelma Thompson’s Arnac Bay Harvest
2. Dave Compton’s Franeo Fowlers Lone Ranger
3. Dave & Thelma Thompson’s Arnac Bay Gamble
4. Caroline Griffin-Woods’ Migwell Deutsher Intrigue

Unclassified open
1.  Vincent & Cathy Acheson’s Arnac Bay Grouse of Eastering
2. Des & Mary Murray’s Riverrun Everybodys Friend

John Martin setting Maizie up for her water retrieve at their first working test. Photo: Shirley Martin

The Judge’s Choice was awarded to the dog that had received the most points throughout the day: Vincent and Cathy’s Arnac Bay Grouse of Eastering.

The Club has a new trophy for the Unclassified Open class, which was awarded for the first time at this test. It is in memory of our wonderful friend, the late Iris Whalley, who is much missed. It was especially nice to have Mark Poulton there to award the trophy.

A few people came along to watch and find out more about the breed – such events are a really good opportunity to chat to a variety of owners and meet lots of dogs.

Vincent Acheson with Robin. Photo: Mary Murray

The Gundog Society of Wales put on classes for the breed but unfortunately there were only two dogs present on the day for the judge Mr T. Graham to go over. Both dogs owned by Kirsty Watts who had travelled all the way from her home in Essex. With Kirsty attending so many shows both large and small with all her dogs, she must virtually live in her van these days! Anyway the best of breed went to Sh. Ch. Oakmarsh Chestnut, and the reserve to Oakmarsh Freedom. 

Hopefully more Chesapeakes will attend next year as we know that there are plenty of Chesapeakes in Wales and the Gundog Society of Wales has been putting on classes for the breed for many years.

Christine Mayhew

10 October 2021

The Scottish Kennel Club Championship show is held every (non-Covid) year in Edinburgh. With so far to travel for many, it is often very sparsely attended by competitors of Chesapeakes. This year, however, more had made the trip, some making it a weekend away. Maybe the lack of available destinations for holidays due to Covid had some influence on a taking time out for a trip north of the border. 

Our judge for the breed was Mrs Jill Peak, a renowned international judge of hound breeds, and understandably someone who places importance on a good moving fit dog. This was her first time of awarding CCs in Chesapeakes and she chose for her dog CC winner, Newton and Mahon’s young male, Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle (his 5th CC), with the reserve CC going to my own Sh Ch Arnac Weatherdeck Buoy. The bitch CC went to Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe (her 6th CC) co-owned by myself and Joy Middleton with Joy handling, and reserve bitch CC went to Kirsty Watt’s newly crowned champion, Oakmarsh Chestnut. The best of breed finally went to Huron with his sister Hebe in reserve BOB place. 

With everyone wanting to make their long journeys home, James Newton was left with co- owners of Gus, Maddie and her fiancé Jody, and of course his Gordon Setter friends to support him and make the long wait for the group judging. 

Well that wait was certainly worth it when the gundog group judge Mrs C. Sevastopulo pulled the cocker for best in group and the Chesapeake for reserve! For those who don’t show, this is an amazing achievement for one of our breed who, as we all know, are workman-like and not flashy as many show breeds are. My driving companion was watching the judging live as we motored along the motorway and the cheer that greeted the choice of award was probably heard by all around us!

Gus winning Group 2 at SKC

There is only one more Championship show awarding CCs for our breed in 2021 and that is LKA on 11 December at NEC.  Entries are now open via Higham Press, so let us make it a good entry.

Kay Camoccio reports that after start/stop, start/stop, start/stop training for The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme, the youngest of their two Chesapeakes, Mucker (aka Chesepi Xamaxatowmy) completed the course. Brilliant news for a young dog bred by Molly Barker, who, I am hoping will tell us the history behind this long name! Molly?

Anyway, congratulations to Kay, Steve, and Mucker, who is proudly posing with his awards.

Kay also says, as a non-Facebook user, “Please may I take this opportunity to personally thank all involved with helping to raise funds for Muddle’s treatment. It is a miracle that he pulled through. I like to think it was because so many people were willing him on. It meant such a lot to know that so many people cared. He went on to lose 80% of his fur through the trauma of 5 months of problems. A Chessie without his coat, let me tell you, now there was a sight to behold! I’m glad to report it has all grown back now. THANK YOU.”

Hopefully we will have further news of Muddle’s recovery in due course. 

Christine Mayhew

Mucker and his awards
3 October 2021

Exciting news this week is that two female pups from  a litter bred by Thora Eichblatt of Oakleaf Manor Chesapeakes, have arrived on these shores. One for Tim Hall and the other for Kirsty Watts. The pups were sired by a lovely deadgrass male, Ch Voyagers Once in a Lifetime (Drum) and out of Thora’s pretty sedge bitch, Amy (Ch Coolwaters American Oakleaf). This brings some new bloodlines into the UK and incorporates some well known lines already here, including Pond Hollow, Silvercreek and Rockrun. I look forward to seeing them at the shows and working events.

Tim's puppy from Thora's litter

Some may be aware that the American Chesapeake Club has a new(ish) website that is packed full of information about the club and the breed. If you go to the ACC Facebook page you will find that they have a verbal tour of areas of the website every week on a Wednesday (aptly named Website Wednesday). I recently went for a tour and re-visited the Illustrated Guide to the Breed  Wow, what a fantastic selection of photographs to demonstrate the breed standard. 

This has to be of interest to everyone in the breed or anyone thinking of having a Chesapeake. It is also a very valuable learning tool for any judges of the breed. And to those purely ‘working gundog’ guys, there are some great pictures of the dogs working in all conditions and situations along with a reason as to why we need the design of dog that we ask for in the show ring. 

Take the time to have a look. You don’t even have to move from the sofa as long as you have internet connection! 

Brief news this week as many of us are in Scotland for the Scottish Kennel Club show. News of this next week!

Christine Mayhew

26 September 2021

Birmingham National Championship show drew a good entry of Chesapeakes, especially considering it was held on a weekday when many cannot attend. Mrs Jinty Gill-Davis chose for her bitch CC and best of breed, Dave and Thelma Thompson’s Arnac Bay Harvest, aka Breeze. This was Breeze’s first CC and was quite an emotional moment for her owners Dave and Thelma when she was handed the best of breed rosette. Everyone was so pleased for them, they are such a lovely couple. 

Maddie Mahon handled Breeze in the breed ring but had to return home before the group judging, so Joy Middleton took over the reins. Under the group judge, Becky Johnson, Breeze was shortlisted from a full gundog group of 32 different breeds and eventually placed 3rd (group 3). This is an amazing achievement for one of our breed and there was more emotion and more cheers. 

Becky wrote of Breeze: Group 3. Arnac Bay Harvest (Chesapeake Bay Retriever).  Just what I look for in this breed. She impressed me on the first walk round and lived up to my expectations. There is nothing flashy about this breed and I feel they are often overlooked. This is a very well made bitch of correct proportions. Good breadth of head with moderate stop. Strong neck leading to well laid shoulder. Elbows close to body. Good length of leg. Well sprung rib with short loin and powerful well muscled hindquarters. Coat of dense oily texture. Excellent bone and feet. Covered the ground well on the move.

The dog CC went to Janet Morris’s Penrose Nosmo King, with reserve going to Peter Milner’s Polotter Pickled Piper who also won best veteran in breed. Reserve bitch CC went to Breeze’s litter sister, Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe, owned by myself and Joy Middleton, handled by Joy.

All in all, a good day out and a fun atmosphere at the side of the Chesapeake ring.

Dave and Thelma's Breeze winning her first CC. Handled by Joy in the group

The Minority Working Retriever Club held a working test at Broad Oak just yesterday, Saturday 25 September, and we have some hot off the press reports. Joy Middleton says of the day, ‘It was nice to meet up for a working test. The club events are always friendly and welcoming. A great raffle was put on at the event where pretty much everyone walked away with some goodies. The judges were Helena Sully and Dick Pettitt who were kind and understanding to some novice handlers (like myself), offering a few words of encouragement and a couple of tips to help improve. Everyone walked away with something from the day.’

Debbie Herring reports:

It was a good  Chessie turn out with 9 handlers and 11 dogs, 26 entries in total. There were some challenging tests for all levels. The puppies had a marked shot with straight forward out and back retrieves, then back to the same spot for a blind. Next came a walk to heel and a blind hidden slightly behind a bush for them to hunt for.

The older pups sat quietly in a row of 4 being asked to wait patiently off the lead for their turn to bring back a dummy to the line. This caused a lot of excitement and a few unfortunate run ins. All the pups tried hard today and although there were a few niggling frustrations for some of us handlers, in general the group seemed pleased with how their pups are progressing. More on the novice tests next week.

Sadly no Chesapeakes featured in the awards this time and it would seem that a plan had been hatched by the dogs themselves to just have a good day out. Chesapeakes have a great sense of humour!

How fantastic it is to see more people and their dogs having a go. This is so very good for the breed to get out and about, to be seen, and for the handlers to have fun and realise that these tests can be a social event.

Those who ran, and posed for the photo, were from L to R: Vincent Acheson with Robin, Cathy Acheson with Thane, Darren Davies-Jones with Mira, Kevin Amaira with  Zoar,  Debbie Herring with Jersey and Indi, Peter Clarke with Mink, Joy Middleton with Hebe, Carole Harris with Liebe, and Gary Thomas with Ida and Denver. Well done all!

Christine Mayhew

Chesapeakes taking part in the Minority Working Retriever Club's test yesterday
19 September 2021

Richmond Championship Show, held in the South at the lovely Loseley House near Guildford, saw Joy Venturi-Rose judge the breed for the first time at a championship show. Joy and her husband, Chris, breed dual-purpose Labradors and work their dogs so have an appreciation of what a working dog should be capable of doing. Joy is also a qualified veterinary nurse and has an eye for a healthy, fit dog who fits the standard. Joy Venturi-Rose was recuperating from a significant operation but was determined to fill her judging appointment, her first one for our breed at a Championship show.

Joy drew an entry of ten dogs (no CCs on offer at this show for us) and chose for her best of breed my own Sh Ch Arnac Weatherdeck Buoy, with Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe taking the best bitch, handled and co-owned by another Joy, this time Joy Middleton! The best puppy award went to Battsrock So Fine, aka Denver, owned by Garry Thomas and ably handled by her proud breeder, Deborah Herring. Denver is proving to be a true dual-purpose puppy even at this tender age, winning her first working test recently and now making a great debut in the show ring. Denver went on to win reserve best bitch, the reserve best dog going to Mr and Mrs Barber’s Oakmarsh Gelena Gunner. It was lovely to see some new faces in the show ring.

A very disappointing entry for Darlington Championship show, where CCs were on offer, a central location and a weekend show. With only 13 Chesapeakes for the judge Janet Morris (Penrose) to go over. Best of breed went to Kirsty Watt’s Oakmarsh Chestnut which I believe makes her up to her championship and the first Oakmarsh-bred champion – congratulations. The dog CC went to Caroline Griffin-Woods Migwell Solomon’s Puzzle, the reserve bitch CC to another of Kirsty’s, this time Oakmarsh Freedom, and the reserve dog CC going to David Rigby’s Chesepi Waco, which I believe is his third reserve this year. Obviously a family day out with five people taking two dogs a piece! As this is very stop press news I have no photo of Oakmarsh Chestnut this week – next week hopefully, Kirsty?

Hebe and Joy continued their winning ways from Richmond the following week by winning the best AVNSC at Thame and Oxford Canine Society’s show and, at the same venue, gaining their KC bronze certificate. Well done both!

I know I have mentioned a few Kennel Club Good Citizen awards before but if anyone else has gained bronze, silver or gold – or any other award with their Chesapeakes – please let me have details and if possible a photo. Boast of your achievements!

A few of you may know that our lovely Chesapeake person Paula Graystone has been in hospital for over two weeks with the dreaded Covid virus. Paula works and shows her Chesapeakes and judged the club open show on the Sunday this year. Along with a full time job, she is also Field Trial Secretary for Hampshire Gundog, organises many aspects of her partner Roly’s shoot and is always busy training her own dogs and running her dogs in working tests and trials.

This virus is no joke and Paula has been on oxygen for most of that stay in hospital. Now starts the recovery as she is going to her sister’s home this weekend. I am sure that we all wish her the very best for a speedy recovery.

When it happens to one of our ‘own’ it brings it home how horrible this virus is and how important it is to find the time to get vaccinated.

The club’s autumn working test weekend is on 9/10 October. You can find all the details of the weekend on the Events page, where you can download a booking form for the training day and an entry form for the working test.

Christine Mayhew

We all wish our lovely friend Paula a very speedy recovery
12 September 2021

Sadly Catharina and Kaj Lindstrom’s lovely dog Double Coat’s Christmas Joy has passed away at the good age of 14.

Joy made history when he became the only European-bred and -owned Chesapeake to win best in show at the American Chesapeake Club’s Specialty in 2011. I and others were there to witness this event, and a big cheer sounded, along with congratulations and tears of happiness all around! Catharina says of Joy:

He was very special Chessie boy with an outstanding temperament and working ability. He was a very happy go lucky boy, very friendly to both humans and dogs, so self-secure.

He was my best friend. We have travelled together to many places around the world for shows and picking up game on many estates.

He has his own fan club. Joy has left a huge void, and still he will live in our hearts and minds. We miss his happy smile that he gave us every day. His legacy will go on living in his offspring and grandchildren.

Many in the UK will have his grandkids too as Joy was the sire of Phil Uncle’s Yogi who has sired several litters, and of Sue Worrall’s Tor, who has sired two litters. Joy’s progeny are spread across USA and Europe.

Joy had a big smile!

More European news: at a working test for retrievers organised by the Swiss  Retriever Club, our friend Steve Grutter ran his young Chesapeake, Weatherdeck Yoomee, in her first test. With 35 participants in beginner and five exercises Yoomee placed a very creditable 10th place with the qualification “very good” and a score of 83 points out of 100. 

Switzerland, like the UK, is dominated in working tests by Labradors. Yoomee was bred by Gina Downin in the USA. Owner and trainer Steve often runs for the Swiss team at the UK Game Fair, and will no doubt be flying the flag for Chesapeakes in UK competition in the future. It is great to have one of our breed in serious competitive hands to highlight the qualities of the Chesapeake at public events.

Steve and Yoomee

And to end on a bit of UK news, at the Isle of Wight Gundog Club’s recent limited show, on a sunny day on this southerly island, Sharon Baxandall’s homebred Sharbae Prettiest Star shone as only a star can to win reserve best Not Separately Classified Gundog and then the first place in the Open Gundog Stakes … and at Kent County Canine Society, Joy Middleton handled Arnac Bay Hebe to reserve in the Any Variety Not Separately Classified AVNSC. The Chessies are rarely represented in these classes and, once again, it is so nice that more and more are being shown in them and thereby being seen. 

We WILL get them noticed!

Christine Mayhew

5 September 2021

At the recent North Riding Gundog Club open show, the judge was Jo Baines who many will remember from her Bainesfolly Chesapeakes. Jo chose Molly Barker’s Next Generations Chesepi Range Rider for best of breed, handled by James Newton, with the reserve best of breed going to Cathy Broomfield’s homebred young male Glaniels Count On Me.

The American Chesapeake Club’s specialty show was held last week in York, Pennsylvania. So many of us from the UK and Europe were planning to go but disappointingly the USA are not allowing anyone into their country at the present time. With a week’s worth of obedience, dock diving, trick dog and conformation classes, the show culminates with the best of breed and best in show from the conformation classes. 

From a total of 281 dogs in the conformation classes, the winner of the top honour this year was a deadgrass female Grand Ch. POND HOLLOW SWEET VICTORY JH, bred by Dyane Baldwin and owned by Jennifer and Tom Martin. Best male was Grand Ch. SUSQUDILLA’S DARK SHADOWS owned by Robyn Haskin & Paul Campanella, bred and handled by Robyn. Best veteran in the sweepstakes classes was the sire of both of the above dogs, namely Grand CH CHESTNUT HILLS WINDJAMMER SH, bred and owned by Karen and Ronnie Anderson. For those who may be unaware, the JH title after a name is Junior Hunter and SH after a name is Senior Hunter, both working gundog titles that don’t come free in a packet of cornflakes but have to be earned and really worked for. Windjammer certainly proved his worth as a sire, and we know as much in the UK as he is the sire of both Molly’s Ryder and my Buoy, both  UK champions and excellent workers themselves.

Grand Ch Pond Hollow Sweet Victory JH

Well the wildfowling season has started as I am sure every fowling owner and Chessie already knows. News from Jo McCoy who was out on day one on a Lough Beg in Northern Ireland. Jo says ‘it’s a flood plain for Lough Neagh and we finished off with 1 teal and 8 mallard. Tara had a lovely retrieve on the last mallard that was shot by my mate. A good 50 yards run out through 9 inches of water then another 50 yards in three foot of water with really heavy weed, only for it to take off and fly to the right where she had to keep swimming in the weeds for another 70 yards for the pick up. She never gives up! 

Our chairman Richard Playle, meanwhile, is still gathering hay on the farm … sorry Richard!

Christine Mayhew


Tara out on the lough
29 August 2021

American Chesapeake Club’s 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award


This week the American Chesapeake Club held their National Show Specialty. At the annual banquet lastnight, the American Chesapeake Club announced our very own Christine “Chrissie” Mayhew of Arnac Chesapeakes as the ACC’s newest Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Chrissie is the first member of the ACC outside of the USA to receive this huge honour. You can read more about Chrissie’s accomplishments and her great service to the Chesapeake breed on the ACC website. How wonderful that the American Chesapeake Club have recognised Chrissie’s dedication to our breed in this way. We are so proud of you, Chrissie!

It’s good to receive so many reports of working successes with our breed, please keep sending them in. This week, more news from Debbie Crewe who reports that Broad Oaks Gundog training held their first charity working test and scurry and writes:

The event was open to all breeds of gundog, with the Labrador being the most popular breed present, followed by the English Springer Spaniels. With an entry fee of £5 per go, attendees could enter as many times as they liked.

The first test was a marked retrieve from the pond followed by a short length of heel work, a dummy was thrown as a mark, then heel work back to the starting point before sending the dog for the dummy. Each of those two exercises was worth 20 points.

The second test was two dummies thrown in succession into heavy cover, each retrieve again worth 20 points. The third test was two marked retrieves, one thrown along a path that bordered a pond, and the second at 90 degrees over a fence into a wooded area. Again each retrieve was worth 20 points.

The scurry was over a jumping lane of four fences with the clock being stopped when the handler held the dummy in the air.

Four Chesapeakes entered: Thor (Arnac Bay Invincible) with Katy Duncanson, fresh from their showing success the previous day, Ebb (Franeo Ebbing Tide) with Anthony Ciraolo, Stella (Franeo Golden Shot) with Jordan Bull and my own Ramses (Chesarab Saltmarsh).

The final winner was a Labrador with a score of 119/120. Anthony and Ebb did really well finishing their second run with 114/120, placing them joint 5th overall. Ramses acquitted himself well with a single run that scored 108/120 finishing 10th overall.

Jordan and Stella also had a second run and improved their score on the second run to 91/120. Katy had family commitments and had to leave without having a go at a second first run.

Katy and Thor receiving instructions
Stella on test 3
Ebb waiting to be sent down the scurry
Ramses on test 1

Photos courtesy of Janet Fox Photography

Well done everyone – how great to have so many Chesapeakes now making their presence known and showing that they are a breed to take notice of, and what a great idea to have a charity working test. With a multiple entry, I hope a substantial amount was made for a good cause.

Show news and Driffield Championship Show sadly without CCs, Anne Orzel judged, giving best of breed to Caroline Griffin-Woods lovely lad Migwell Solomon’s Puzzle (aka Broc). Best bitch was Kirsty Watts and Oakmarsh Freedom, with her kennel mate Oakmarsh Chestnut taking reserve bitch, all the above being home-bred dogs. Reserve dog was Debbie Crewe’s imported lad Chesarab Saltmarsh who is regularly featuring in BNW with his versatility.

Blackpool Championship Show, again without CCs, and Mike Gadsby awarded best of breed and best bitch to Kirsty Watt’s Oakmarsh Chestnut. Best Dog was Katy Duncanson’s Arnac Bay Invincible, reserve best bitch was Cathy Broomfield’s Glaniels Cut Your Groove, with her litter brother, Glaniels Count on Me taking the reserve dog place.

The non-CC shows rarely get a good entry but we need to keep supporting them and hopefully CCs will be awarded in the future. Kirsty’s Oakmarsh Acorn always supports the veteran classes and, although she often stands alone, she nearly always goes home with her rosette as she did at both Blackpool and Driffield. Congratulations.

Christine Mayhew

22 August 2021

News from different disciplines this week!

Firstly, following on from successes in the CBRC working test and at the CBRC show weekend, Ramses (Chesarab Saltmarsh) and owner/handler Debbie Crewe competed in their first Competitive Obedience show for 18 months. On the first day they tied for second place having lost 2 points out of 100, however due to an error by the human part of the partnership, they did not attend for the run off and so were awarded 3rd. There were 32 dogs entered, so that is an unbelievably great placing in a world dominated by border collies.

On the following day, again there were 32 dogs entered and Debbie and Ramses were awarded 7th place and Best Gundog. On the final day there were 31 dogs entered, and Debbie says ‘but we could only achieve 10th place and the Best Gundog award.’ I’m not sure why Debbie said ‘only’ when anyone who is knowledgeable about obedience competition in this country will realise that this is a fantastic result.

Debbie adds, ‘Due to the continuing Covid restrictions, there have been no obedience training classes for the past 12 months, so I am proud of how Ramses has retained his ability despite us training on our own and also how he is able to switch between disciplines.’ Certainly a great achievement for this duo, well done!

Ramses with his obedience rosettes

On to gundog work and I have news that Garry Thomas and his Chesapeake Ida, has just won the Novice Working Test at the Wiltshire Game and Country Fair this past weekend. 

Two dogs drew for first place after the test and were tasked to run a tie-breaker. This turned out to be a tough double dummy to shot with dogs directed to take the first dummy first whilst distracted by the second. I understand that the other dog was a Labrador.

My roving informant, Kevin Amaira tells me that Ida was very responsive to commands and thereby won the day.

Again, a great achievement in a field dominated by Labradors. The Chesapeakes are certainly beginning once again to make their presence known in all-breed competition and all credit due to those handlers who are getting there and getting the job done. Many congratulations Garry.

Garry with Ida

Another dog show, this time Bournemouth Championship show where our judge was Mrs H. Male. With no CCs on offer at this show, the best of breed and best bitch went to Joy Middleton and my own Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe, with the best male going to her brother Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle, owned by James Newton and Maddie Mahon. Reserve best bitch was Kirsty Watt’s Oakmarsh Freedom, and reserve dog was my own Sh Ch Arnac Weatherdeck Buoy.  

A nice touch at this show is that all breeds had special beginner classes and all were represented in the big ring at the end of the day where they held a competition for the best special beginner. An idea that must help to bring more entries to the show ring and one that I hope other shows will adopt.

Best beginner in the Chesapeake classes was Chesepi Wapahani, ably handled by owner Helen Bartlett. The duo also came 4th in their breed classes. Congratulations!

AND … stop press … the show reports from the two championship club shows are up on the Shows page. Go there to see the write up on your dogs.

Christine Mayhew

15 August 2021

Please note everyone that we are only too pleased to have your news. Email me at bobmayhewqhorses@aol.com. This week we have a working test report from Deborah Herring. Thank you so much Debbie.
Christine Mayhew

On 7 August the Working Minority Retriever Club held their first working test of the year on new ground at Greywell, Hook, Hampshire. The land was kindly donated by The Earl of Malmesbury.

Our judge was Robert Worrall, a FT panel judge,  supported by non-panel judge Neil Varney. It was our first test at Hook and allowed itself to lots of challenging tests, including up and over logs and water dykes. We hope to offer more sessions at this site next year including a weekend training camp/working test.

Due to a deluge of rain early in the day, it was very wet and muddy under foot, but the judges did a fabulous job of testing all our dogs and helping us as handlers with the finer points of competing in a test, and for those handlers who were new to entering tests, the judges took time after each test to explain how to move on with their individual training needs and areas to focus on in order to improve their scores for the future.

The test saw a good entry of 26 dogs in total, with all minority breeds represented: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, Flat Coats, Curly Coats, Irish Water Spainels and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.

Our Classes were Puppy 6-12 Months, Puppy 12-18 Months, Novice Dog/Novice Handler, Novice and Open.

There were 9 Chessies entered:

  • Debbie Herring – Battsrock Sweet Child O Mine (Pup 6-12) & Sharbae Rebel Rebel (ND/NH)
  • Gary Thomas – Battsrock So Fine (Pup 6-12) and Crabley Sunrise (N)
  • Vincent Acheson – Arnac Bay Grouse of Easterling (N) & also Cathy’s Great River Ticino of Eastering (Pup 12-18) (who was run by Vincent due to Cathy sustaining an unfortunate injury a couple of days before)
  • Peter Clark – Arnac Bay Ibis (N)
  • Linda Sams – Oakmarsh Haunting Whisper (N)
  • Anthony Ciraolo – Franeo Ebbing Tide (N)

There were some challenging tests along the way, but the two that caught most people out were an up and  over small log fence, followed by crossing a water dyke and a shot with marked retrieve on the far bank, followed by the dog being sent back for a blind retrieve in the same area. There was very little visibility for the handler once the dog had crossed the dyke into the field, so the handlers were very reliant on blowing the hunt whistle and using the dog’s own ability to hunt up themselves for the blind. Two of the dogs thought they would take the easier option of crossing a bridge down to the right rather than crossing the water dyke and a couple of the younger dogs got into the water dyke and then wanted to play in the water rather than climbing the bank to the far side. The judge Robert Worrall was heard to say at the end of this test, ‘Well that sorted the wheat from the chaff as they say.’

Many others were unfortunately caught out by the walk up in groups of 4, with a shot and marked retrieve in front, followed by a shot and blind retrieve behind, with dogs getting over enthusiastic while waiting their turn and running in, resulting in an unfortunate 0 score for many. However, all in all the dogs tried very hard for their handlers and everyone came away with something to work on for the future. The star of the day though, was undoubtedly Anthony Ciraolo and his lovely girl Ebb, who was on form, despite a 6 hour journey down the night before, dropping just 2 points from max overall score.

Final Results for all breeds:

Puppy 6-12 Months (3 entries)
1 Battsrock So Fine – Handler Gary Thomas(CBR)
2 Battsrock Sweet Child O Mine – Handler Debbie Herring (CBR)
3 Tollpepper Aku Aku – Handler Zoes Phillips (NSDTR)

Puppy 12-18 Months
1 Famous Crowd Secret Parade – Handler Judy Hempstead (IWS)
2 Undercliff Skylark – Handler Beverley Snudden (FCR)
3 Sloetree Dashing Delma – Handler Thibauilt Leclerc (NSDTR)

Novice Dog/Novice Handler (5 entries)
1 Ripplerush Averbode – Handler Sarah Akehurst (NSDTR)
COM Sharbae Rebel Rebel – Handler Debbie Herring (CBR)

Novice (11 entries)
1 Franeo Ebbing Tide – Handler Anthony Ciraolo (CBR)
COM Crabley Sunrise Peak – Handler Gary Thomas (CBR)

Open (1 entry) 1 Riverforest Irish Eider – Handler Judy Hempstead (IWS)

So a nice mix of breeds in the final awards, but the Chessies definitely held their own. For anyone who fancies having a go, the club’s next working test is on 25 September at Broadoak Farm, Turners Hill, Nr Crawley, East Sussex, FT Panel Judge H Sulley. Entry forms can be downloaded from our website www.workingminorityretrieverclub.co.uk
Debbie Herring

8 August 2021

Lots of show news this week with three Championship shows in five days. Whilst it is great to be showing again I personally think it will be nice when we are back to having our shows more spread out as we would have in a ‘normal’ non-Covid year.

First on the list was Bath Championship where our judge, Richard Bott, chose for his best of breed my own Sh Ch Arnac Bay Flax, who came from winning the veteran class to gain her 16th CC. The dog CC went to Lisa Murch’s happy lad, Franeos Original Long Gunner at Pixiesrock, ably handled by Darren Davies-Jones for this, his first. Roll on the next two! Reserve Bitch went to Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe owned by myself and Joy Middleton, with Joy superbly handling, and finally, the Reserve Dog  was handed to a delighted Cathy and Vincent Acheson, for their young imported male Great River Ticino of Eastering.

Lisa's Odhran, handled to his first CC at Bath Championship Show by Darren

The very next day was National Gundog Show, held at the beautiful Three Counties Showground in Malvern. This time judge Patsy Collings gave Best of Breed and the Dog CC to my own Sh Ch Arnac Weatherdeck Buoy and the Bitch CC to Janet Morris’s Penrose Let’s Fly, her first I understand. Reserve Dog CC went to James Newton and Maddie Mahon’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle JW and the Reserve  Bitch CC to Kirsty Watts-Perou’s Oakmarsh Chestnut. Best Veteran was young Peter Milner’s Polotter Pickled Piper, owner and handler flying around the ring!

Flax, who won her 16th CC at Bath Championship Show last weekend

Wednesday saw another show at Malvern, this time the United Retriever Club where our judge was Sharon Pinkerton and this time the top honours of Best of Breed went to Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe, co-owned by myself and Joy, the Reserve Best of Breed and Reserve CC going to her litter sister, Arnac Bay Harvest, owned by David and Thelma Thompson. Keeping it in the family, the Dog CC went to litter brother, Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle. The judge didn’t know any of the dogs but certainly kept with the same type! Reserve Dog went to Dave Rigby’s lad, Chesepi Waco, who, many will remember, won his first CC at the club show. Hopefully he will gain his championship soon. Best veteran was, once again, Sh Ch Arnac Bay Flax. Several  Chessie people stayed to support Joy and Hebe in the best in show ring and were rewarded when Hebe won Best Opposite Sex in Show – quite an achievement for a Chesapeake against the more popular breeds.

Joy with Hebe, who won Best of Breed at URC Championship Show on Wednesday, before going on to be awarded Best Opposite Sex in Show

Lisa Murch reports that her  local gundog club ran an AV Novice Retriever test on Saturday where Odhran (Franeos Original Long Gunner at Pixiesrock) had to switch from show mode to work mode but  didn’t fail to deliver and came 6th place out of 36 starters, mostly Labs with one flatcoat. Those of us who have run in AV retriever tests will know what an achievement this is, where Labradors rule the roost and tests are very much designed to their way of work. So a great big congratulations to Lisa and the lovely Odhran.

Christine Mayhew

1 August 2021

This week we have two reports from the Game Fair, kindly submitted by Debbie Herring and Kay Easton whose partner Steve Camoccio keeps us entertained with stories of  their dogs. Enjoy!

Well, what a weekend at the Game Fair, Ragley Hall, with the Working Minority Retriever Club. The weather was much hotter than we would have liked on Friday but thankfully the site had lots of water cooling areas for dogs. Saturday and Sunday were more overcast with a breeze, and we were lucky enough to avoid the rain that was forecast.  

The Club had been asked to do daily displays in the Working Dog Arena to demonstrate minority breed dogs of various ages and stages in training. The Chessie gang consisted of Kevin and Zoar, Vincent and Robin, Cathy and Thane, Sharon and Isla, Gary with his pup Denver and Ida, and myself with pup Indie and Jersey. We joined in with Tollers, Irish Water Spaniels, Curly Coats and Flat Coats. It was great to see all the breeds working together for the demonstration.

The Demo was run by Judy Hempstead, who talked the audience through the various training activities, and we started with a puppy in each corner of the arena, showing some steadiness work, sitting them up, walking out and placing dummies and then going back to the pups before sending for the retrieve, and a few other simple exercises.  

Gary and I then had to run to the entrance to hand pups over to Kate who was patiently waiting on the sidelines with our older dogs, and swap for the next part. The demonstration then went into a novice group who stood back to back and had shot and were sent for dummies in unison in different directions either end of the arena, finishing with some retrieves over bales in the corner.

Sharon and Isla

The more advanced group had the back-to-back set up, but sent some dogs out and stopped them. They then sat and waited while other dogs were sent past them for a retrieve, finishing the demo with them being sent back behind them for a blind retrieve. 

All the dogs were really well behaved and there were lots of people crowding around afterwards to ask more information about the breeds and make a fuss of the dogs in the demo. It was a big ask of some of the young dogs to go in a big arena, in front of crowds with the tannoy blasting out, bearing in mind it was their first ever big event and most of the dogs working together had never met previous to the event. But every single one of them performed like a professional and I couldn’t have been prouder of all the dogs and their handlers.

Debbie and her puppy Indie

We all camped together on site, so once the dogs had been exercised and fed, and all the wandering and shopping had been done, we settled down for pleasant evenings of wine and chatting in our camp chairs amongst the caravans and tents.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we look forward to the next event.

If anyone is interested in training days or working tests down south, then please visit the Working Minority Retriever Club website for our events.  Chessies of all ages, and handlers of all levels of experience are welcome.

Debbie Herring

We have just returned from an amazing weekend at the Game Fair which went ahead, albeit on a slightly smaller scale than usual! We were representing the breed in the Sporting Dog Pavilion. It was a very busy couple of days. Work commitments meant we could not appear on Friday but thank you to Kevin Amaira who had prepared our pen ahead of us.

There was a constant stream of people all eager to hear about the different gundog breeds. Genuinely interested people can’t help themselves and we found that an hour or two later they had gravitated back with a few more questions or just to have another stroke of a brown dog. It was also great to be visited by other owners with their Chesapeakes. It is still a fascination for me to see another Chessie.  

Steve and I are overwhelmed that against all the odds we had Muddle with us, having had the most horrific five months of medical dilemmas with him. New to the crew, we have Mucker, who took to this adventure in his happy little stride. Thank you to Katy Duncanson and her family who also came to help with their Chessie, Thor.

All of the gundog breeds join together daily for a parade in the Working Dog Ring where visitors can hear a brief description and history of each breed, as turns are taken to be centre stage. Quite a sight to see the vast differences between the breeds, all in one arena.

Kay Easton

25 July 2021

Well, a real ‘hot off the press’ report this week, with Moray Armstrong judging the breed at Leeds Championship Show this weekend. Best of Breed went to Maddie Mahon and James Newton’s Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle JW after winning the dog CC, his third, making him a show champion (subject to KC confirmation). This came just three weeks after his sister Hebe was made up. Both of these dogs left the show ring before all the Covid cancellations with two CCs each and there was a friendly competitive spirit to see who would be the first to get their crown.

Gus - winner of the Dog CC and Best of Breed at Leeds Championship Show

The Bitch CC went to Caroline Pont’s Oakmarsh Dancing Diva, which I understand is her second. Hopefully her third will be just around the corner. The Reserve Bitch CC went to Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe, handled and co-owned by Joy Middleton and the Reserve Dog CC went to Janet Morris’s Sh Ch Penrose Incredible.

Hopefully the Game Fair is in full swing this weekend, with the weather not as bad as anticipated. Debbie Herring, Sharon Baxendale, Kevin Aimara and Cathy and Vincent Acheson, accompanied by their Chesapeakes, have been in the Gundog Arena each day at 2.30pm as part of a gundog training demonstration being run by the Working Minority Retriever Club. Steve Camoccio and Kay Easton with their two Chessies have been representing the breed in the ‘meet the breeds’ area. Full news of the Game Fair to come.

Diva - winner of the Bitch CC at Leeds Championship Show

A date for your diaries – the Club’s autumn working test will be held on the 10 October 2021 at the home farm of club members Andrew and Diane Nicholls in Barwick-in-Elmet near Leeds.

Christine Mayhew

18 July 2021

In days gone by we used to have several Chesapeakes regularly competing in AV working tests and field trials. Sadly this no longer seems to be the trend. Whilst the Chesapeake Club’s tests and Working Chesapeake Tests are still very well attended, there seems to be reluctance amongst our members to fight it out against the more popular retrievers. This I can fully understand as to me AV retriever tests seem have evolved to suit a push-button obedience dog whose natural ability at game finding is often stifled by an insistence on 100% obedience to the whistle.

Some may think that a good idea but I consider that a gundog has a good nose for a reason, birds move, and both birds and dummies are often mismarked by handlers. I have said often enough that to train a dog to rely on the handler to such an extent that he cannot veer an inch off a line will mean that we will eventually breed out natural ability. Time will prove me right or wrong.

I have seen first-hand many a field trial Labrador that does not know how to hunt in the field. It often doesn’t take too many days for them to figure it out but he needs to have that inherited ability to hunt. A picking up dog that needs directions to find a bird and cannot hunt without direction is no use whatsoever on a big bag day.

Anyway enough of my bug bear, I can remember many a time turning up at a working test knowing that I was at a disadvantage before the start purely because I didn’t have a Labrador. Many owners of other breeds felt the same, from Irish Water Spaniels to Goldens and Flatcoats. To win or place in an all-breed retriever test with a minor breed is quite an achievement.

Having said all this, it was great to learn that Dave Thompson ran his young bitch Breeze in an AV working test this last weekend with moderate success, and also to have the following report from Gemma Pearce:

“You’ll never be bored when you try something new. There’s really no limit to what you can do!” Dr SUESS

Well today we tried something new … but I’ll get to that. It was the Lincolnshire Gundog Society Novice Working Test at Stubton Shoot, Grantham, and Rab and I were entered.

The first test was a walk up. There was limited scent and the judges had to change the test after the first run, but Rab did well hunting with no direction from me. I let him be a dog and he succeeded!

Rab at the working test

The second test was on water. It was a mark in water to our left and a blind on the bank to the right. I warned the judge beforehand that Rab likes water a bit too much, but he insisted we try. On the mark he messed about a bit but he retrieved it and brought it back to hand so I was really pleased.

With a new found confidence I sent him for the blind … and 15 minutes later he wasn’t out of the water and had not retrieved the blind. So I tried something new, I de-kitted and swam after him! Needless to say, he was shocked and the competitors had some entertainment! I was congratulated on my effort and it was commented that if there had been a trophy for human swimming,  I would have won it!

The third test was a double on land. The fourth test was water. Oh my, another mark and a blind. I decided to send Rab for the mark which he retrieved with great gusto but I declined to send him for the water blind!

If we don’t try new things how can we test the limits of our dogs and us. I took a lot of positives away today and will rest and recoup, and spend some more time in water with Rab (thankfully it’s summer and the water is warm).

What we all wouldn’t give for a video of Gemma’s water retrieve! Well done, Gemma!  Rab is Gemma and Dan’s imported lad, Cal-i-Co NGD U Got The Look.

At East of England Championship Show, no CCs for our breed but judge Nigel Egginton had a good entry and gave best of breed to Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle JW, owned by Maddie Mahon and James Newton, handled by Maddie. Reserve dog was Caroline Griffin-Woods’ Migwell Solomon’s Puzzle. Best bitch went to Arnac Bay Gorse at Eastering owned by Vincent  and Cathy Acheson and handled by Vincent. Reserve best bitch was Caroline Pont’s Oakmarsh Dancing Diva, and last but not least, veteran bitch went to Molly Barkers Sh Ch Chesepi Santana. 

Christine Mayhew

Gus, who went Best of Breed at East of England this week

11 July 2021

Well the considerable preparation that went into the Chesapeake Club’s weekend of four shows produced a smooth and efficient event that went off without a hitch despite the horrendous weather. Even in the face of the heavens periodically drenching us, everyone seemed to have a great time.

Each exhibitor was presented with a goodie bag filled to the brim with all manner of doggy treats, chews, food samples, travel bowls etc., which was a bit like Christmas all over again. In addition, catalogues were given out in a lovely cloth bag with a Chesapeake head motif on the outside (designed by Mike McCarthy and drawn by Caroline Griffin Woods) and tucked away were a few practical bits and bobs like a face mask, and a pen for marking catalogues. What great ideas from the show team!

The hall perimeter had tables stacked full of raffle prizes and items for the silent auction which must have tempted everyone in one way or another, with lovely pictures, hand-made decorations, decoy ducks, game bags, and a beautiful patchwork quilt to name just a few. Truly amazing! These two fund raisers combined made just under £1000 which will go towards club funds and towards bringing a judge over from the USA for our anniversary show next year.

All exhibitors received a bag full of goodies on arrival

The hall perimeter had tables stacked full of raffle prizes and items for the silent auction which must have tempted everyone in one way or another, with lovely pictures, hand-made decorations, decoy ducks, game bags, and a beautiful patchwork quilt to name just a few. Truly amazing! These two fund raisers combined made just under £1000 which will go towards club funds and towards bringing a judge over from the USA for our anniversary show next year.

Prizes for the classes too were amazing and more bountiful than I have ever seen before. Sacks of dog food, training dummies, beautiful Chesapeake metal silhouettes, etc. In fact a separate gazebo was erected just to hold all of these goodies, so that exhibitors could collect their prizes on their way out of the ring.

On the Friday evening, the show team and some committee members were busy bees getting the show ring and the many gazebos set up. Katy Duncanson and Cathy Broomfield also dived in to help which was much appreciated. Many of us were staying on the showground and the preparation continued the next day at 6.30 am in preparation for a 10.00 judging start.

With a typical field sport attitude, rain never stopped play and everything continued as if the sun had been shining all through. We had two new judges being mentored during the first show which should help to boost the numbers of knowledgeable judges for future years.

At the end of the day the rain finally stopped in time for us all to eat, drink and socialise with what was left of the evening. Poor Caroline Griffin-Woods’ tent had been completely sabotaged by the weather and she had wet everything – including her bed! Such was her reward for all of her hard work as show secretary; Mother Nature obviously hadn’t taken this into account!

As a new day slowly dawned, I looked out of my campervan window to see Joy Middleton ‘planting’ stars and stripes flags all around the show ring. Of course, it was the 4 July, American Independence Day.

The next day’s shows went without a hitch and the weather was marginally better. Sue Worrall took photographs ringside throughout both days of shows, and some indoor shots of the winners too. 


The junior handling classes had the largest stuffed toys as prizes, and little Toby Duncanson, having pestered his mother to buy him a huge bear from the auction, promptly won another (this time a lion) and went home with two giant furry friends to add to his furry Chesapeake friend. An apt reward for going around selling raffle tickets!

Toby with his prizes

As much work as was put into setting up the show, now came the time to take the whole thing down! And then the heavens opened and it poured!  Most of the work was completed that afternoon and evening, and some very kind volunteers came from those staying another night to finish the chores the following morning.

I think the main reason that our own shows are so special is the fact that not only are they very family-orientated affairs, but that so many of the dogs shown are basically shooting companions who have been brought out for the day. The best in show winner on the first day’s championship, the best dog and CC winner on the second day’s championship, and the reserve best male in the Sunday open show are all basically working wildfowling dogs. The best puppies in show on both days, and many others notching up wins, are all shooting dogs. And to another example of the dual purpose nature of the breed, the best in show winner for both shows on the Saturday recently won her first working test. I doubt that there is another breed that can make those sorts of claims.

All in all a weekend to remember, the best Chesapeake shows I can remember (and I have been around a long time) and all down to the hard work and enthusiasm of those involved. AMAZING. A big thank you to all who worked hard to make this such a monumental success.

All the results from all four shows are listed on the Home page.

It was good to see that the July/August BASC magazine had a picture of a Chesapeake in a line up competing at the Game Fair in an article to promote the event, which as every shooting person will know is 23-25 July at Ragley Hall. The Chesapeake is one belonging to and handled by club member Ursula Molliet. 

Christine Mayhew

27 June 2021

From our show secretary, Caroline, we have a few bits of news about the forthcoming club show weekend:

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we cannot have the group buffet that we have had previously. People will need to supply their own packed lunches or picnics.

There will be a tea/coffee/ drinks DIY station available. Please help yourself and make a donation.

Anyone wishing to spectate must either complete the track and trace form or use the NHS Track and Trace app.

Camping/overnight parking is still available. Could anyone interested please fill in the form and bring along with payment to the show. Caroline Griffin-Woods will also need an email so she can add you to the list for emergency contacts/details for the hall.

And from Joy Middleton:

There will be a silent auction taking place from 12 noon Saturday onwards. Now the show is less than a week away, don’t forget to bring some cash for the silent auction. We have some fantastic donations on offer: handmade candles, shooting vest, glass brooch, dog hampers & Goodies collars, Teddies Handmade wooden designs, shoot vest, game bag, bottles of bubbly, gin tasting tour, handmade feather art brooch, print by Michael Steddum, place boards. The auction will be opening at lunch time on Saturday and close at the end of lunch time Sunday. Please remember to use the pens in your goodie bags, and keep checking throughout the day on your bids. Anyone who is unable to attend on the Sunday, if you could please leave your bids and details we will let you know how the auction gets on.

Lastly, don’t forget that the club AGM is being held as planned after the open show on Saturday.

Great news from Jo Coppin  as Darren Davies-Jones handled Freja to win Best of Breed at the Royal Cheshire County Show and then to add icing to the cake, went on to win Group 2 in the Gundog Group! Quite an achievement for a Chesapeake as we are normally overlooked in the groups.

Freja is sired by Sh Ch Arnac Bay Exe who, as many will know, has the most prestigious UK show placing; having been reserve in the Gundog Group at Crufts. Jo discovered that the Setter who won that group had the same handler as the Setter beating Freja in the group this past weekend. Certainly a coincidence!

Jo and Darren's Freja

On 20th June, James Newton and Madeleine Mahon hosted a handling workshop exclusively for Chessies at Maddie’s beautiful new home in south Lincolnshire. James reports:

We had ideal weather for running an outdoor event with ample space for everyone to space themselves out. There were nine handlers with their Chesapeakes, with a variety of experience, skill levels and problems to work with, ranging from completely ‘green’ and who had never set foot inside a dog show to the seasoned exhibitor.

We worked on generally improving the stack (show standing) and also how easily the gait can be assessed while incorporating the new rule of handlers correctly presenting the dog’s bite to the judge. The improvements were almost instant with a few minor tweaks in lead choice, approach and/or use of bait food. An important factor was emphasising the importance of understanding the breed standard and the faults/merits of your own dog to be able to present to best advantage in the show ring.

We had a lovely picnic at lunch time thanks to the contributions of everyone who attended, and at the end of the day we ran a mock dog show to put into practice what each handler had learnt. This was particularly useful for those who are attending one or both days of our showing bonanza next weekend – which I am incredibly looking forward to!

Thank you to everyone who attended and made it such a rewarding day, and to Madeleine and Jodie for the use of their beautiful home. Good luck to everyone attending next weekend – see you there! 

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

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.