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.

22 May 2022

As promised, more comprehensive cover of the Club’s working test and I think these notes from Sue Worrall sum it up: “It was a brilliant day at the test, and Saturday night sitting around the campfire was smashing too, with great company. Kay and Steve Camoccio came along with logs for the fire, venison burgers and good campfire stories.

Huge thanks must go to Mark Straw, the Club’s working test secretary, for all the work he put in before, during and after the test. Carole’s sister Julie and Kay Camoccio were wonderful first-time stewards who thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and smiled all day. And a special mention has to go to Debbie Herring’s husband, Tom who evidently only had about four hours sleep having shared a tent with two Chesapeakes. He looked a bit reluctant about throwing dummies when he first arrived as it was not what he had intended at all but he ended up throwing all day. Thanks Tom! Our judges Paula Graystone and Alistair were so patient and understanding, setting good tests and genuinely wanting everyone to succeed. The water was fantastic and we certainly made the most of it with the tests.”

Debbie tells us that Tom had intended to sleep in the car for most of the day but as it was he enjoyed watching the dogs doing the tests. I feel he was somewhat chain-ganged into this dummy throwing job, and so a big thank you from all of us, Tom. Likewise a really big thank you to Kay and to Julie without whom the day would not have run so smoothly. And of course credit to our WT secretary, Mark and his faithful Chessie, Woody who had his turn at retrieving any unfetched dummies from the water.

Although very much in the South, this was a fantastic ground for our breed with several lakes providing plenty of water to test the dogs.

I listed the results last week but forgot to mention (typing late at night!) that the judges’ choice went to the winner of the unclassified open test, namely Odhran aka Franeo Original Long Gunner at Pixierock, owned and handled by Lisa Murch. Lisa also trained and handled the puppy winner, Joss (NG Arnac Arctic Storm), jointly owned by Lisa and me. The beginner class winner, after a three-dog run off,  was also handler trained by Peter Clarke who owns Mink (Arnac Bay Ibis) with his partner, Leslie Tregunno. Congratulations again to all.

The co-judge, Alistair, although a Labrador man, showed a lot of interest in the breed, and asking about the breed standard, commented on how all of the dogs seemed to be well made dogs of a reasonably uniform type, unlike many working Labradors these days. This picture gallery I think gives a good impression of the day, photos very kindly taken by Joy Middleton.

Stop press and the main results from the Scottish Kennel Club where Carol Coode judged our breed. Best of Breed and bitch CC was Richard Playle and Tilly Thomas’s young homebred girl, Riptide Whistlin Duck. Dog CC was Katy Duncanson’s Arnac Bay Invincible at Dunakitts, and from a really good entry of puppies, best puppy was Caroline Pont’s imported puppy Amore of Ridsome.

Reserve dog CC was Caroline Griffin-Woods’ Migwell Solomons Puzzle and reserve bitch CC, Kirsty Watt’s Oakmarsh Acorn VW. Photos from this show to come next week.

Entries for the Club shows have been extended to 27 June but please note that no further extensions will be given. If you wish to include an advert in the catalogue then it will need to be submitted by the 20 June. There have been some great prizes and sponsorship donated for the club shows. So please do come and support it.

Meanwhile, preparations for the 2023 shows are under way. If you wish to sponsor a rosette or donate money/prizes please do let Joy know. The Club invites everyone to come along to the show even if you just wish to come and watch. We already have some dogs planning to come from Sweden. For any further information on this please contact Joy Middleton  (joy.midds@outlook.com)
Christine Mayhew

15 May

News from Debbie Herring who writes, ‘Our sweet girl Georgia is 13 this weekend. She is truly Chessie strong and in the last two and a half years has fought through pyometra and the removal of a large mammary tumour but is still happy and well.  She loves to bumble around the farm, go swimming and is still very much the pack matriarch who likes to have the final word.’  So typical of an older Chessie bitch, I am sure we all hope that she has a special day to remember and continues to lead the pack for more years.

Georgia, now 13

Something I recently read prompted me to give some thought to the handling of our dogs at shows. Whilst in the past, we have had reasonably sparse entries at shows, we are now having a good entry at every championship show and many open shows.

Most of us will know that a good handler can get a dog to show off their best attributes but at the end of the day a good dog is a good dog, and usually both good and not so great is revealed when a dog is trotted around the ring. Even a great handler cannot hide faults and the reasons for a judge’s placings are normally based on what he or she has before him on the day. How many times have we read claims of wins, only to find that there were so few dogs entered that those wins really didn’t mean a lot. But I digress.

We have been very lucky in our breed in as much as that there are many who are willing to help out should someone be unable to run their dog or indeed be unable to show them at all. I have, for some years now due to mobility problems, had to rely on the assistance of others. Gemma McCartney, since a young girl, has always helped out for me and others, showing our dogs to a professional level of expertise. James Newton is another who, from a young age, has kindly shown Chesapeakes for others, including Molly Barker and me. These acts of kindness are admirable.

At the recent Birmingham National show, we had several dogs who needed handlers. James was unable to help this year as he had a close association with the judge on the day and had naturally declared (way last year) that he would be unavailable to help. Luckily we were very fortunate that Joy has many friends in the show world and all was planned in advance with two lovely people from different breeds making themselves available to help out on the day.

These were not professional handlers but amateurs who show their own dogs of other breeds and are good at the job in hand. So, on the day, Joy was handling for Dave and Thelma Thompson whilst a friend was handling her own and my dog Hebe, and another friend who has Nova Scotias was handling two others of our breed. Katy Duncanson, one of our own, kindly handled my veteran entry. What a great group of people who, for no reward, jumped in to save the day. How nice that there are many lovely people in the dog showing world.

It was a good surprise to see photos of three Chesapeakes in the latest United Retriever Club yearbook, namely Sh. Ch. Arnac Bay Hebe winning best opposite sex in show at the championship show, and at the open show, Riptide Decoy Duck winning best puppy in show, and Oakmarsh Acorn winning best veteran in show. With 578 dogs in the championship show and 229 in the open show, I think our breed made a great input. The other breeds of Labradors, goldens, flatcoats, curlycoats, and Nova Scotias consist of mainly show dogs and, as I always proudly claim, ours are nearly all true dual purpose work and show.

This weekend saw the Chesapeake Club’s spring working test held at a perfect venue with lots of lovely water for the dogs, near Battle in East Sussex. Mark Straw did a fantastic job securing the venue and judges, and help was provided from many quarters for dummy throwing, judges lunches, and stewarding. Thank you all. With a venue so far South, it was a good entry and included the furthest traveller, namely Sue Worrall who had made the journey all the way from Yorkshire.

Our judges were Paula Graystone and Alistair House and they sorted through the dogs to reach the following placings:

1.  Lisa Murch and Next Generations Arnac Arctic Storm

1. Peter Clark and Arnac Bay Ibis
2. Sue Worrall and Arnac Bay Inca
3. Richard Playle and Riptide Decoy Duck
4. Joy Middleton and Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe

1. Lisa Murch and Franco Original Long Gunner at Pixiesrock
2. Vincent Acheson and Arnac Bay Grouse of Eastering
3. Richard Playle and Arnac Bay Grebe with Riptide

Leibe loves her water retrieves

As always there was a great deal of camaraderie, teasing, and sympathy when some of our dogs decided that they would be doing things ‘their’ way and this is something that I love about our Chesapeake people.

Lisa has to be congratulated on not only winning the puppy and open classes but for turning around the puppy who arrived in the UK in August last year with no gundog training whatsoever.

Peter and Mink (Ibis) have formed a great relationship, as have Sue and Inca, and the dogs are just so happy to be working with their best friends. Richard’s Deeks has been winning copious amounts in the show ring recently and has really proved his dual purpose ability.

Vincent and Robin (Grouse) have been consistently winning in working tests but now have a challenger in Lisa and Odhran and it was great to see the teasing between these two.

A good day, a good crowd, and some great results. Congratulations all.

More next week!
Christine Mayhew

8 May 2022

More show news than anything this week, and for those who aren’t that interested in shows – SEND ME YOUR NEWS!

First, however, for those who are going to the Club’s gundog working tests next weekend at Gardeners Farm Campsite, Ashburnham, Battle, East Sussex, there is a downloadable map on the Events page as the venue is not clear with the nearest postal code (TN35 9NZ). For those who have the What3Words app, the test venue is at reboulder.habit.throat.  For those who don’t have What3Words, it is free to download and is certainly worth having as it has divided the world into 3 metre squares and given each square a unique combination of three words. It’s the easiest way to find and share exact locations. When I had to telephone the emergency services from the middle of a local forest last year, they asked if I had the app as it would seem they all use it these days, especially in country areas.

Spectators to the test are welcome, especially those who are willing to help throw dummies – as many of us know, the best view is often from the dummy thrower’s position!

At Border Counties Gundog Club Open Show at Carlisle last weekend, judge Jen Millard had 10 Chesapeakes entered. With all present, Cathy Broomfield’s Fern, Nunneyswood Snow Flurry at Glaneils, won Best of Breed, with her kennelmate Lyra  (Glaneils Don’t Worry Be Happy) going Reserve Best of Breed and Best Puppy – quite an achievement for Lyra’s first outing.

The same weekend there was another celebration at Glaneils as the old lady of the pack, Elsa, was celebrating her 15th birthday. Cathy says ‘She’s getting a little doddery but wearing her years well. She celebrated with a swim in our hydropool and spending time with her best mate Ruby’. A great age for a Chesapeake, and the best birthday present ever for a swimming mad breed!

Cathy's pup, Lyra
Elsa celebrating her 15th birthday

Hot off the press, at yesterday’s Birmingham National Dog Show held at Stafford Showground, Annette Mappin, famed for her Gordon Setters, was judging our breed and giving CCs for the first time in Chessies.

Annette gave Best of Breed to Joy Middleton and my own Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe, who was handled by Nicola Cole. Nicola was also showing her own German Shorthaired Pointers but has handled Hebe in the past and formed a great friendship with her. Joy in the meantime handled for David and Thelma Thompson. The dog CC was awarded to Molly Barker’s lovely male, Sh Ch Next Generations Chesepi Range Ryder, ably handled by daughter Michelle. Ryder also went on to win best veteran in breed but trotted around the ring looking way too young to be a veteran. We all want to know his secret!

Nicola and Hebe

Reserve CC was awarded to Richard Playle and Tilly Thomas’s Riptide Decoy Duck, this young dog winning again and again now. Reserve bitch CC  went to my own Sh Ch Arnac Bay Flax from the veteran class, very well handled by Katy Duncanson who did a good impersonation of wonderwoman, handling her own dog and Flax, and coping with two small children!

Best puppy, at her first championship show, was Cathy and Simon Broomfield’s Lyra (Glaneils Don’t Worry Be Happy), this pup being from the first litter by James and Maddie’s Gus. Lyra then went on to be short-listed in the puppy group. Best Special Beginner was another success for  Vanessa and Craig Searle’s Oakmarsh Indian Dream Maker for Cravessa. With so many different handlers, it was hard to recognise the dogs normally present at a show which confused many spectators!

A good day out with friends from the Chessie world, marred somewhat by an English Setter left in its crate by itself who persisted in barking all day long. Some people seem to ignore barking dogs but surely owners can teach them to be quiet, and not ruin the day for others or at least move them out of near earshot?
Christine Mayhew

1 May 2022

Maddie Mahon-Hunns is our ‘meet the committee’ member this week.

Maddie writes: 

My initial introduction to the breed was courtesy of James Newton. I was owned by curly coated retrievers (still am, albeit only one now) and as my friendship with James grew, my time spent with Chesapeakes increased. Not only that, as most know when you are in a minority breed you tend to get clumped together, so quite often while waiting for the curly classes, the Chessies would be in the ring before us and I was able to watch from the ringside.

My interest was peaked when I met Buoy as a puppy and it all started from there. I patiently waited for a litter sired by Buoy and in July 2018 a litter was born and a few months later, I welcomed into my home a very little Gus who has taken myself, my husband and James as co-owner on a very wild ride over the last several years.

This ride has taken them all over the country, showing Gus to a high level and ultimately ending up as the top show dog for the breed in 2021.

Maddie’s daughter, Isobelle, immediately fell in love with Gus and many of us will remember a lovely video of the little pup and little Isobelle jumping around together on the first day they met.

Maddie serves on the committee as the Membership Secretary which basically entails keeping an up-to-date list of all paid-up members, a necessity for any club. Maddie is the go-to person for membership and membership payment queries but can lend her hand to pretty well anything and can always be seen at the club show dashing here and there helping out wherever help is needed.

Maddie and Gus

At the recent Chesapeake Club AGM, Debbie Crewe stood down from the committee but has offered to remain in the background ready to help where she is able, which is lovely from one so busy with work commitments and living so far north. With a vacancy on the committee, Cathy Broomfield offered herself and was duly elected. As this is Cathy’s second time on committee, she brings with her complete knowledge of the job.

Richard Playle remains the Chairman of the Club, Molly Barker as the Secretary, and Gemma Pearce as Treasurer. The general committee, some with specific jobs, now consists of Cathy Broomfield, Sue Worrall (KC Breed Health Coordinator) David Thompson, Maddie Mahon-Hunns (Membership Secretary), Ros Madden, Lisa Murch, Joy Middleton (Chat Editor), Chris Hewitson, James Newton (KC Breed Judges Education Officer) and Mark Straw (Working Test Secretary). All in all, a very forward thinking committee with new young members and new ideas, we have people who represent different aspects of club life and have the knowledge in their respective areas to make informed decisions.

As President of the Club, my report spoke of the achievements made by the Club due to the input of the committee and members, the Club now holding two working tests each year, and sending teams to interbreed tests, holding a championship show and an open show each year (two last year to catch up after covid – thanks to Caroline Griffin-Woods). We have a website (kept up to date by Sue) brimming with information on the breed, health, and events. We have an education system to educate the show judges for the breed, Breed Appreciation days being run regularly. We have a health officer who monitors any health issues that may need addressing and who keeps records of all health test results. All good for the breed and all good for the future.

The Chairman’s report to the AGM mentioned all the working events and training days held by the Club, the representations at game and sporting fairs made by the membership with their dogs, and the great weekend of shows held in the summer. He also thanked Sue who had retired from her post as Chat Editor after 29 years.

The Treasurer’s report concluded that the Club’s double show was a huge success, as was the raffle and the silent auction. The club calenders, this year organised by Lisa, made a good profit, as did the working tests, and the Club is financially secure.

Please note that these are very abbreviated versions of the AGM reports.

The annual AGM trophies were awarded as follows:

Top Working Dog or Bitch – Debbie Crewe’s Chesarab Saltmarsh
Top Working Puppy – Debbie Herring’s Battsrock Sweet Child O Mine
Top Dual Purpose Dog or Bitch – Dave Thompson’s Arnac Bay Harvest
Top Dual Purpose Puppy – Joint winners – Richard Playle’s Riptide Decoy Duck and Debbie Herring’s Battsrock Sweet Child O Mine
Top Show Dog – Madeline Mahon & James Newton’s Sh.Ch. Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle
Top Show Bitch – Christine Mayhew & Joy Middleton’s Sh. Ch  Arnac Bay Hebe
Top Show Puppy – Richard Playle’s Riptide Decoy Duck
Ted’s Trophy for Most Species Retrieved – Richard Playle’s Arnac Bay Grebe
Chessie Chat – Best Article – Fleur Bennet
Top Obedience Dog or Bitch – Debbie Crewe’s Chesarab Saltmarsh
John Battle Award for Most Improved Handler – Katy Duncanson

Congratulations to all winners.

David and Thelma Thompson were thanked for their stewardship and record keeping on the trophies for the last few years especially as all needed updating and sorting out into a system which Dave and Thelma achieved brilliantly.

The trophies are now divided into three sections and will be handled by the following stewards: working test trophies – Sue Worrall; show trophies – Christopher Hewitson; AGM trophies, Ros Madden.

Next year will be the Club’s 40th Anniversary and we will be having a Chesapeake judge coming from the USA for our championship show which will be held at the Kennel Club Building, Stoneleigh Park, Warks, on Saturday 22 April. Put the date in your diary now.

And lastly, don’t forget your working test entries – they close this week! All details on the Events page.
Christine Mayhew

24 April 2022

Our ‘meet the committee’ this week is our very own James Newton.

James has been part of the Chesapeake dog show circuit since he was a young lad. As a dog-obsessed child he first saw the breed in a book bought for him by his parents, and says that reading about them he was taken with their obvious strength, unique coat and their well-documented origins and development.

James continues:

My initial introduction to the breed was through meeting Caroline Griffin-Woods at our local obedience show. I had always had an interest in wanting to show dogs in the breed ring. Caroline was extremely generous in helping to nurture my interest and allowing me to handle three of her four Chessies at that time, mainly Migwell Cardinal River. 

James handling Migwell Cardinal River

This was the first of many Chesapeakes that James has handled successfully for various people since 2008. Eleven dogs of our breed have been steered by James to over 30 CCs and reserves, and he has taken four to their championship titles. James also handles many other different breeds in the show ring and gives very popular handling workshops to those who wish to learn how to present and move their dogs in the show ring.

With living circumstances preventing him from owning his own Chesapeake at present, James co-owns a Chessie with his good friends, Maddie Mahon-Hunns and her husband Jodie, and he and Maddie have had great fun showing this dog very successfully whilst James continues to show dogs for others too.

With an impressive show judging career for one so young, James is also an encylopedia of knowledge when it comes to KC show rules and regulations. His inherent desire to improve and maintain a high standard of judging for the breed, made him the perfect candidate for the role of Breed Education Co-ordinator,  on the club committee, a job that he accepted and which he takes very seriously. We are very lucky to have someone so incredibly competent dealing with the organisation of breed seminars, the judges lists, and the quantity of correspondence necessary for this role.

James is the youngest member of the committee.

Amazing news from Sharon Baxandall is that the lovely dog that she bred and sent to Margaret Wedgewood in Australia has just won Best in Show at the Queensland Dog of the Year Championship  Show. Rose is also Dogzonline Top Chesapeake in Australia. Australian Grand Champion Sharbae Rose of Tenarda has certainly put the breed on the map down under.

Rose at Sydney Royal

And the latest … really hot off the press this week … is that the intrepid duo of Joy Middleton and Hebe had an adventure driving to France this weekend to show at the European Dog Show in Paris, where the judge on the second day, Mr Arnaud Thiology, had an entry of 12 from various countries and awarded best of breed and the CACIB to Hebe thereby adding the title Euro Winner 2022 to her name! 

Big congratulations to all.
Christine Mayhew

Hebe winning BOB in France this weekend
17 April 2022

Firstly a very Happy Easter to all of our readers.

Lots of open show news to catch up with this week! Hampshire Gundog was last Saturday and Alexander Adshead judged the Chesapeakes to give best of breed to Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe owned by Joy Middleton and myself, reserve best of breed went to Kirsty Watts’ Oakmarsh Freedom, with Kirsty also winning best puppy in breed with her Oakleaf Manor Bay of Oakmarsh. Hebe and Joy then went on to win a huge good citizen stakes class.

Sunday was the Chesapeake Club AGM, sadly not well attended due to other commitments and covid! More about this and the annual awards next week.

With AGM commitments, Hebe was packed off for an overnight stay over with her GSP friends before they all went to Crystal Palace Canine Society where she was handled by Nicole Coe to win best AVNSC and then group two. Quite a weekend!

Good Friday and  Edwinstowe and District Premier Open Show had Nigel Egginton judging the breed where he gave top honours to Caroline Pont’s Oakmarsh Dancing Diva, and the same owner’s imported puppy,  Amore of Ridsome best puppy. Both dogs were also shortlisted in the gundog group!

On Saturday Claire Prangle judged the breed at South Western Gundog, awarding Darren Davies Jones and Jo Coppin’s Dallandor Jocasta the best of breed, with my own and Lisa Murch’s Next Generations Arnac Arctic Storm the reserve best of breed at his first UK show.

News hot off the press from the USA is that Weatherdeck Arnac Gudgeon (sister to Buoy) has just won the final few points that she needed to make her a Grand Champion  under well respected and very knowledgable Chesapeake judge, Dyane Baldwin. Congratulations to owner and co-breeder, Gina Downin.

A recent weekend of Chesapeake gundog training proved a really fun sociable event with a good crowd of dogs and people. With nine dogs running,  Jason Mayhew was the trainer and we used one of his training grounds near Midhurst on the lovely Cowdray Estate with glorious views across to the South Downs. Although cold, the sun shone down on us as Jason took everyone through their paces, covering steadying work, marking, and all the normal basic gundog exercises.

There was a mixed group of different standards and various ages of dogs, but we all still managed to gain something from the two days, and the camaraderie as our dogs did some good things, some great, and some to make us look fools, is the stuff that makes these events so appealing.

This was not a club event, it was privately arranged, but it would be a great idea for people throughout the country to see if they can book a competent and not ‘Labs are best type’ trainer to have a day of training just Chesapeakes. Most trainers have their own insurance policies but should anyone run into problems then it may be worth contacting the Club to see if a day could be run under club insurance and give the brown dogs a day to themselves.

Please don’t forget that the spring working test entries close on 4 May, so get your entries in as soon as possible.

News is always needed for the Breed News Weekly so if you have something that you wish to tell us all about please email me at bobmayhewqhorses@aol.com.
Christine Mayhew

10 April 2022

Our ‘meet the committee’ person this week is our Treasurer, Gemma Pearce, who lives with her husband Dan, their twin sons, and a family of dogs.

Gemma writes:

I’ve always been surrounded by dogs from a very young age and I’ve always been in love with them, even the difficult ones. They provide us with comfort when no one else can and equally frustrate, sometimes in the same minute!

I came across Chesapeakes by accident really. I previously had a Rottweiler called Duke who was an amazing dog but sadly only lived until he was 4 years old and died of lymphoma. I was looking for a breed that was similar in nature but that did not look the same. I wanted something athletic that was sensitive and tender as well as hardy and that could work for us. I came across the Pedigree Chum website of all things and there was a guide on there where you could put in filters about the type of dog you wanted and a list appeared. Among that list were Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and I felt like I wanted to investigate further.

I got in touch with a number of breeders and went to meet them and their Chessies. Dan and I visited Caroline Griffin-Woods and as soon as we turned up we were greeted by this huge barking devil who I found to be Hugo and we instantly fell in love. He was absolutely lovely despite the bravado at the gate!

I then went on to visit a working test in Manchester to see what the dogs could do and was greeted by very friendly people and equally lovely dogs. The tests were too far away for us to see but we got more of an insight into the breed. We eventually brought home our first Chessie, Hunter, who I adored immensely.

Gemma, Dan and the boys taking a break with the whole family

Gemma and Dan trained Hunter and ran him in club working tests with success (he was awarded a certificate of merit). Gemma also worked agility with him which he loved, and he was a faithful companion, going to university with Gemma, going hiking, and even going to the odd show. Very sadly, Hunter died of accidental poisioning when he was only four which was devastating for a dog with so much in front of him, and so very heartbreaking for Gemma and Dan. Gemma continues:

At the time we also had Toggi, our second Chessie, who is a dream and also my husband’s girl. She is a perfect family dog. She works every season and when I can catch her coat at the right moment I have been known to take her to dog shows. We hike with her and adore her. She has also given us a litter of puppies from Arnac Bay Exe and we kept one from that litter, Luna, who can only be described as the most strong headed, loving, gentle, hardy dog I have ever known!

Whilst missing Hunter I imported a male Chessie from the USA, and that is Rab. He is a really hard-working dog and we’ve competed in working tests and showing. He has much maturing to do but he is showing a lot of promise!

Gemma and Dan now have three Chesapeakes and a couple of Labradors. All of the dogs have a gloriously happy family life with their little human playfriends and have their brains occupied with training and gundog work. A perfect setting for this breed.

It is so good to at last see the open shows getting decent entries for Chesapeakes when at one time they were lucky to get one or two dogs turn up.

Last weekend Windsor Gundog held their open show at Kempton Racecourse where first-time Chessie judge Sibra Sibra had an entry of eight and awarded best of breed to Joy Middleton and Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe, and reserve to Pixiesrock Queen of Hearts and Darren Davies Jones. Best puppy was Vanessa Searle’s Oakmarsh Indian Dream Maker for Cravessa.

My apologies for not giving Caroline Pont’s puppy her full name last week. I understand that the KC have now finished her registration at long last (they are taking longer than normal these days).  Caroline’s pup is named and registered Amore of Ridsome.
Christine Mayhew

2 April 2022

Deborah Crewe recently did a great job organising and running a training session and a day of working Chesapeake tests on 26 March in Cumbria, the first time that this qualification event has been held in the North.

The Working Chesapeake Tests are a series of tests designed to demonstrate a dog’s natural ability in a non-competitive way. There are three levels of the test, each with an increasing level of difficulty. They are run to set criteria each time, and are designed to show that a dog has natural ability to do his job of work as a working gundog. Even dogs and handlers who have no intention of ever going shooting, can have fun and qualify for a certificate with a minimum amount of training. For those who are interested there are full descriptions of the tests on the Events page where you can download the information.

On the day of the tests, several entries were absent due to positive covid tests on some handlers. However the judges, Claudia Atkinson and Paul Dixon sorted through a good entry of eight in the level one stage. Sadly water delivery proved a stumbling point for many and only two dogs passed at Level 1, these being Zoar (Petsalls Canuck), owned and handled by Kevin Amaira, and Cara (Irish Champion Riverrun Everybody’s Friend) bred, owned and handled by Mary Murray who had made the trip from Ireland to compete.

As per the rules, both of these dogs were able to enter the next stage  (Level 2), and along with an already qualified Level 1 dog, this made three running at this stage. Only one passed, namely Mary’s Cara. Congratulations to Kevin and Mary and well done to those who attempted this time and will be training in anticipation of a pass the next time.

Anyone in the Club is able to run these tests provided that they can source suitable judges, helpers to throw dummies, etc., and the right ground which needs to have a good sized body of water for the water tests.

Not to be confused with these qualifying tests, the Club’s Annual Spring Working Test is to be held on the 15 May in Battle, East Sussex. Closing date for entries is 4 May. Please see the Events page for all details and an entry form.

Exciting news from down under is that Australian  Champion Sharbae Rose of Tenarda is now an Australian GRAND Champion! Rose was bred by Sharon Baxandall on the Isle of Wight before making the long trip to Margaret Wedgewood in Australia where she has had an amazingly successful career in the show ring. Rose is sired by Nunneyswood Icebreaker and out of Beguiling Rambling Rose. What a great achievement for her owner and especially for her breeder.

New Australian Grand Champion Sharbae Rose of Tenarda

Hot off the press is show news from Mansfield and District Open Show today, where Joy Middleton was judging the breed for the first time and drew a really good entry of 11 dogs. Best puppy went to Caroline Pont’s imported dog Amore. Best of breed went to Molly Barker’s Sh Ch Next Generations Chesepi Range Rider, handled by Molly’s daughter, Michelle, with the pair then going on to win Group 2 in the gundog group!

Please remember that it is the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club on the 10 April at Bretford Village Hall, Bretford, Warks CV23 OJZ. Time 10.30 for an 11.00 start. Following the meeting there will be an interesting photographic presentation about the history of the breed with many old photographs of the early dogs.
Christine Mayhew

27 March 2022

Last weekend’s show news and two Chesapeakes made their presence known at open shows. Caroline Pont took the Best AVNSC Gundog at Retford Canine Society’s open show with Chippy (Sh Ch Penrose Hash Brown) and Joy Middleton and Hebe (Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe) took Best AVNSC Gundog at Chichester and District Canine Society before going on to win Group Two. Hebe had also hitched a lift with some GSPs to the Isle of Wight the previous day where she was handled by her new friends to Best of Breed. A good weekend for the breed.

Caroline with Chippy (Sh Ch Penrose Hash Brown)

For a Chesapeake or any gundog to reach the age of 15 years and 2 months is quite an achievement and I asked Karen Preece to write a bit about her dog, Tilly. Karen writes:

As I sit here in Spain, on the opening day of Crufts, my mind drifts back to Crufts 2008. Our one and only appearance. We had been cajoled by her breeder to enter Driffield Show, had a 15 minute “this is what you do, now go” and came out with a 2nd place, thus qualifying us. Hubby took her into the ring, I hid behind Sue Worrall and Molly to stop Til looking for me. She came out with two second places, and we were oh so proud. She wasn’t keen on strutting though and refused to go into the ring anymore.

We did a couple of training weekends and a working test, and she was pretty good to say we had no idea what we were doing. She was good at most things, gaining KC Bronze, Silver and Gold Good Citizen by the time she was 18 months. You had to reason with her as to why she should “go mat”, “stay”, “down”. She’d do it, but you could tell she was wondering what the hell.

Then, Sept 2008, Hubby came home with a bit of a bombshell – a job offer in Abu Dhabi. Life would be a bit different to a field on the side of Pendle Hill. We had 8 years of warm (very warm, roasting warm) years swimming in the Arabian Gulf every single morning, camping in the Hadjar Mountains, chasing jet skis, exploring deserts, climbing dunes and walking round our culturally diverse city. Tilly (and George, our choccy) took it all in their stride, amazingly so.

Tilly was the most loyal companion you could wish for. She wasn’t bothered about “being friends” with anyone except us. She liked fuss on her terms only, fiercely independent to the very end, incredibly astute, you couldn’t hide a treat – she’d know. She had an obsession with left foot shoes and boat buoys. We had quite a collection. She could hear a boat or jet ski engine a mile away.

By 2016 we’d done in the Middle East, so shipped out to Almeria, S Spain, for a winter, before relocating again to the 9 x 5 mile island of Jersey, living by the sea in Rozel Bay and spending time down at our place in Almeria. Ferry trips, no problem. As long as she knew we were there, she’d do anything. She hated thunder, and fireworks and bangs.

She loved the sea until the day she got her angel wings last Friday and we felt blessed to be able to hold her paw and stroke that curly fur till she flew away. In our eyes, a dog in a million.”

A note from Joy Middleton: “As you all tuck into reading the annual yearbook, please don’t forget to send us your stories, news and articles to include. 2022 Yearbook is already under way, and if you do wish to include something however big or small please get in touch. Adverts are £15 for a full A5 page. Deadline for all items is the 1 Jan 2023. Email joy.midds@outlook.com”
Christine Mayhew

20 March 2022

Crufts, as usual, brought together Chesapeake enthusiasts from all over the country and a few from abroad. This show, as with the club show, is as much a social event as it is a dog show.

Covering four days at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, Gundog Day was this year on the Sunday. However the ‘meet the breeds’ exhibition known as ‘Discover Dogs’ runs for the full four days, with dogs of each breed on show and their owners on hand to inform the general public about the breed, its temperament, and suitability for their needs, etc.

The hard working volunteers this year were: Thursday – Lisa Murch with daughter Elle and dogs Odhran and Joss;  Friday – Deborah and Tom Herring with dogs Jersey and Indie; Saturday – Ros Madden and her daughter Becky with Brooke; and Sunday – Jo Lycett with Quint and Sue Howell and Ian Boyes and their daughter with their dog Bonnie. Thank you so much to these lovely people and dogs who gave their time. It is always a tiring and noisy day but it can be fun too, especially with some of the public being unable to pronounce ‘Chesapeake’ and coming up with some very amusing interpretations!

With breed judging starting at 10.00 am, exhibitors with their brown dogs were arriving from 7.00 am onwards. It was so lovely to see Dave and Thelma Thompson coming in  with their dogs, Dapple and Breeze, as at one point it was doubtful that Thelma would make the day, having had a series of strokes before Christmas.

With a good entry of 57 dogs, our judge Zena Thorn Andrews set about her task and finished in good time for the next breed to come into the ring. Entries listed in additional classes were higher than they actually were as some had entered working gundog classes that they were not eligible for. It is advisable to carefully read all qualifications when entering as awards can be taken away and nullified after the show.

I won’t give a list of all winners as the results are readily available on the internet but I think that most of us were crying tears of joy when it was Thelma and Dave’s dog Dapple (Arnac Bay Gamble) who was handed the top honour of best of breed, with her housemate and daughter Breeze (Arnac Bay Harvest), handled by Maddie Mahon, winning the reserve best bitch. Dapple was brilliantly handled by our regular Greek guest, Maria Kapsali who made her second trip into the best in show ring, having handled the Chessie best of breed in 2020. The duo put on a great performance for the TV coverage.

The top male was my own Sh Ch Arnac Weatherdeck Buoy (co-bred by Gina Downin), superbly handled by Joy Middleton, and Buoy’s son Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle won the reserve best dog for owners Maddie Mahon and James Newton, handled by Maddie.

Buoy and Gamble are the parents of Huron and Harvest and so it was really a family affair, but with three different handlers the judge had no idea of the connection until after the judging.

Best veteran was Cathy Broomfield’s Nunneyswood Snow Flurry at Glaneils (bred by Margaret Woods), who trotted around the ring like a youngster. Best puppy was Kirsty Watt’s young sedge girl, Oakleaf Manor Bay of Oakmarsh, bred by Thora Eichblatt in Germany.

Thelma said on her FB page after the event, “I would just like to say how wonderful the care was at Princess Royal Hospital when I was admitted to the Stroke Ward during December and January. My aim all the time I was there was to be well enough to go to Crufts on March 13th. Well, I made it, and the girls did really well! It was a memorable day and was lovely seeing all the friends in the club again.”

As Thelma continues to progress and improve, it is a lovely thought that this dog show gave her a real incentive to get better in those early months.

It was so pleasing that Crufts went ahead this year (having been cancelled in 2021) and we can only hope that the world’s ups and downs allow us to have this great show again in 2023. Win or lose, it is normally a fun day out.

As often is the case after Crufts, I am asked by non-dog showing friends and acquaintances how a judge makes their decisions and how they can compare say a Poodle to a Great Dane. The answer is that they don’t compare them. Each breed is judged according to its own breed standard, and it is the percentage of accuracy to that standard that sorts the wheat from the chaff.

The breed standard is a description of how the dog in each breed should be constructed, how it should move, and what its temperament and character should be like. The breed standard for our breed can be found on the About Chesapeakes page for anyone to see (along with links to other great information on the breed standard), and judges will always study the breed standard before their judging appointment (if they don’t already know it off by heart).

We are very lucky in that our breed standard is very descriptive and is totally designed as a blueprint for a working waterfowling dog. Every part of the standard has a purpose, e.g. ‘A well-proportioned, active worker with a strong muscular appearance. A distinctive oily, double coat, which is very important. Capable of working in adverse weather conditions, including ice and snow. A courageous and keen worker with a great love of water. Independent, affectionate, but not extrovert with strangers, he makes a good guardian of home and family. Temperament: bright and happy disposition, alert and intelligent and showing a willingness to work.’

Obviously, we cannot show a willingness to work in the show ring, but by judging the breed according to the standard, we should have a dog that is fit for purpose in the shooting world.

Therefore it is so important that the Club’s Judges Education Programme continues to bring in new judges who know what they are looking for and can judge the dogs both standing and moving (sometimes knowledge of movement could be improved) and, most of all, to have the courage to place the dogs honestly and as they find them.

I would strongly recommend that ALL Chesapeake owners read and digest the breed standard as this information is part of owning a dog and is certainly knowledge that is needed when considering breeding from your dogs. All those who show their dogs should ideally also attend a seminar on the breed and gain an insight as to how and why judges place dogs in a certain order. They may not agree with that order, as we all sometimes don’t, but at least they can form their opinion with their acquired knowledge.
Christine Mayhew

13 March 2022

Christopher Hewitson is this week’s ‘Meet the Committee’ profile.

Chris joined the committee in 2016 and is one of the workers at events, so often seen at the club show, putting up the ring or gazebos, moving chairs for the AGM, and doing a lot of the basic work that people often forget needs doing. Chris is also always there clearing up when others have gone home and always happy with a smile on his face. He is a pleasure to work with and to be around. From this year he will also be taking on the responsibility of the club’s show awards, keeping track, dishing out on the day, and chasing for the return of same!

Chris got his first Chesapeake, a bitch, in 2006 named Kenmilix Queen of Milan at Melseed. She was from Tim Hall in Berwick-upon-Tweed, on the Scottish Border. Tim regularly works his dogs.

Chris says, “I was 16 when I got my first Chessie and wouldn’t change it for the world. I wanted something hardy, robust and substantial that would keep up with my active lifestyle living in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. With the moors on one side and river and woodlands to the other, what better environment for the breed that would steal my heart!”

Chris and his family regularly enjoy rambling in the Yorkshire Dales with their current mother and daughter duo Ruby (Melseed Ruby Roo) and Skye (Melseeds Skys the Limit). The two dogs enjoy long walks in the Chevin woods and regular dips in the river. Although not yet tested on an organised shoot, Chris has trained his dog to both dummies, fur and feather but they are mainly the household’s pets and companions.

Over the 16 years that Chris has been in Chesapeakes, he has bred four litters, the pups from these going to working, family and show homes. When choosing studs he says he looks for dogs that would better our breeding, to ensure we have strong working lines coming through, and that the breed is fit for purpose. He is currently planning a litter for later this year.

Last show results news before Crufts is that Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle won best of breed at Coventry Gundog last Sunday, and reserve in the Champion Stakes, and, the same day in a different part of the country, his litter sister Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe won best of breed and group 2 at Folkestone Hythe and District Canine Society, both open shows.

Discover Dogs is held over all four days of Crufts and gives people a chance to meet the different breeds and chat about them to those who are the representatives on those days. On the first day, Lisa Murch assisted by her daughter manned the stand with Odhran and Joss who had a great time meeting the public. Thank you Lisa.
Christine Mayhew

6 March 2022

This week’s committee member profile is David Thompson.

David is often our ‘sensible head’ on the committee, often adding a dose of common sense and some wise words. David joined the committee in 2010.

Working his dogs picking up, David started with Labradors in 1966, his first dog being from a gamekeeper. His second Labrador was a bitch he acquired from a farmer, and he later bred this black bitch to a black dog only to find that she had a litter of 4 black, 1 yellow, and 2 brown, and the brown ones had wavy coats! David kept one of those brown puppies that looked so like a Chesapeake and says that they were not big, but they were strong and good at everything in the shooting field.

It was in 1996 that David went to Crufts to look at curly coated retrievers but was not impressed, so he wandered on and came across the Chesapeakes. His immediate thought was ‘I’ve had one of these dogs before!’  He chatted to the people there and decided that this was the breed for him.

David and Thelma soon acquired their first Chesapeake, a deadgrass bitch they named Saskia (aka Penrose Barley Twist). David describes Saskia as a cracking dog who would retrieve anything, including some really challenging diving ducks in open water. He says, ‘she was the most powerful swimmer and would happily break through ice and never missed a duck’. She earned her American Chesapeake Club WD and WDX qualifiers.

Dave (in the middle) with Saskia the day she got her WDX

David found that he needed a different approach to training Chesapeakes as opposed to Labs and took things forward with a kind and friendly system. He says that he learnt to take notice of what the dog said as the dog often knows more than you do. I loved his quote, ‘you can catch a lot more flies with a pot of honey than a gallon of vinegar’.

When Saskia was bred, Dave and Thelma kept a good looking male, Bogie (Chesepi Ze Saginaw). Another deadgrass, Bogie did great things in the show ring including five reserve CCs and an open show group win. He was a playboy and loved the attention in the show ring. He also sired some lovely pups including Dave Lowther’s Mr Cree.

When Bogie was getting older, the search began for a new dog. The search proved difficult: a litter sired by Mr Cree was all sold, much to David’s disappointment. Good news came 8 months later when one of that litter was offered to David and so he and Thelma acquired Dapple (Arnac Bay Gamble). Dapple later returned to her breeder to have a litter and these pups proved to be outstanding in many ways.

The pup that David and Thelma kept was Arnac Bay Harvest, pet name Breeze, who has been an outstanding dog in both the show ring and in the field. With a championship show group three win to her name, she has also won the Club’s Beginners working test with David one year and has also won the Novice Dog/ Novice Handler for Thelma who had never run a dog in a test before.

David says that Breeze is everything you could want in a dog: good looking, a fantastic nose, fast and biddable. And so the tradition continues with a great-great granddaughter of David and Thelma’s original Chesapeake, Saskia.

Breeze at Birmingham National Dog Show

News of another Chesapeake gaining a Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze Award. Riptide Dabblin Duck aka Fin, bred by Richard and Tilly and owned by Lesley Cumper, is a handsome 16 month old lad.

Lesley says, ‘He is predominantly a much loved and very spoilt pet, and we love to attend general obedience and gundog lessons. He is going to start scent work training in August. Following his Bronze award, he will begin lessons for his Kennel Club Silver award after the summer holidays and other commitments we have. He is our first Chesapeake as we generally have Labradors, but I had researched the breed and spoke to a few owners and knew I wanted one for four years before I found Fin and now own my own 40kg lapdog.”

Congratulations Lesley and Fin. I look forward to reporting on his future awards.

Lesley's Fin down by the river

Great news from our treasurer who tells me that we are now fully functioning with online banking. Gemma said that it has taken a long time and a lot of forms and messing around but we’re finally there. She adds that it will take a few more weeks to get PayPal set up, which should hopefully support our overseas members and move us firmly into the modern age of banking! Well done and thank you, Gemma.

The CBRC show schedules for the annual Championship and Open show are now live to enter with Fosse Data. The show will take place at our usual venue of Bretford Village Hall. However, we have some exciting news that this year we have introduced for the first time three “Special Award” classes, with their own separate judge.

The Special Awards classes are a little added extra fun for you to take part in. They will have their own unique rosettes and treats for all entries – for the dogs! A great chance for you to walk away with even more gifts and prizes from the day! What could be better than an entry fee of only £1!

The Special Awards will run as independent ‘extra’ classes held over the lunchtime period. Anyone who wins will not be disqualified from challenging in the Champ or Open show.

Our Judges are:
Championship Show: Chris Bexon
Open Show: Lauren Gilder
Special Awards: Richard Stafford

Don’t forget to get your entry in before the deadline of 19 June 2022. Links to the schedules and entry forms are on the Shows page.

27 February 2022

This week’s ‘Meet the Committee’ features Mark Straw.

Mark has been on the Chesapeake Club’s Committee for many years, so many that he could hardly remember when he had joined! My investigations put it at some time in the year 2002! Mark is now our acting working test secretary, arranging the twice-yearly working tests, and arranging teams for interbreed competitions.

Mark is an avid wildfowler and in 1993 he was gifted a partly trained Labrador to help him on the Wash where he would go for weekend expeditions. Whilst his dog proved a good retriever, Mark hated to see him shiver with the cold and wet conditions and decided that next time he needed a hardier breed of dog who could take the life of a wildfowling companion.

Karen, Mark’s partner at this time, was a Quarter Horse enthusiast and exhibitor, and it was when Mark had accompanied her to a horse show at Arena UK in Grantham, that he saw a brown dog loose but seemingly at home in the car park. He was impressed by the dog’s thick coat and so followed him to a horsebox where he met the owner – me!  I have to say that I don’t remember this meeting as I used to have so many people, come and ask me what breed of dog I had. Anyway, we evidently chatted about the breed and shooting, and I let Mark have details of the secretary of the Chesapeake Club with the suggestion that he leave his details with her to let him know of any up-and-coming litters.

The dog Mark saw was Jetsam (Arnac Bay Jetsam) and when a litter was born, sired by Jetsam in 1996, Mark bought a bitch puppy (Arrival at Fleet) who he named Trigger. Mark admits that he thought he knew how to train a dog, but discovered after a year or so that he didn’t know quite as much as he had thought! He did the right thing and joined a local gundog club and decided to get involved with the Chesapeake Club’s training days. He obviously did a very good job as he trained Trigger to pass her ACC Working Dog qualification and a year later in 2000, he and Trigger won the Chesapeake Club’s Beginner class at the spring working test and then won it again at the autumn cold game test.

At about that time Mark said of Trigger, ‘she was a loving, protective, biddable, quarry retrieving, mud loving member of the family. She was also my best mate.’

Mark and Trigger

Mark’s next Chesapeake, Pepper, was from the then gamekeeper, Andy Kinta who Mark had met at a Chesapeake training day. Mark worked Pepper and ran her in the Club’s tests and when she became older, he gained his present dog ‘Woody’ who carries on the Chesapeake tradition accompanying Mark, as did all his others, wildfowling on the Wash and spending many days pigeon shooting.

As many will know, it is less than two weeks until Crufts Dog Show, the world’s biggest dog show, held at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. Spanning four days, with a total of 16,396 dogs entered this year, the gundog day is this year on the last day, namely Sunday 13 March.

Our judge for this year is Zena Thorne-Andrews, who has drawn an entry of 57 Chesapeakes. This figure is down somewhat from 2020 (Crufts was cancelled in 2021) when Pam Blay drew a record entry of 70, but I suspect that the present climate of worry about Covid restrictions and associated paperwork for travel, has deterred many who would normally enter.

Our breed is in Hall 5, Ring 36 and judging for us starts at 10.00 am. Hopefully we will have our regular overseas visitors, Margunn from Norway, and Maria from Greece, to name a few, but anyone attending for the first time, please do make yourselves known.

The show will be televised on Channel 4 and More 4 from Thursday 10 March, the Sunday timing being 15.00 to 17.30 and then 19.00 to 21.00 for the final day, the Gundog Group and Best in Show. Clare Balding will be hosting the TV coverage.
Christine Mayhew

20 Feb 2022

An article by Janet Horn in the AKC Kennel Gazette in 1976 has a section that I think perfectly helps to understand the difference between a Chesapeake and a Labrador for those who are not familiar with the breed. She says:

The Chesapeake Bay Dog was bred to be a superb hunting companion and all-round dog, especially designed for waterfowl retrieving in adverse weather conditions, and as a specialist it was and is without peer. The Chesapeake excelled at work which was not asked of the English retrievers who were employed in a way unknown to most American hunters of the day. A Mr Weems said, “I was in England in 1902, and I was shown the kennels where the King’s Labradors were trained. Who was training Chesapeakes in 1902?” That is a good question. It was said ‘as soon as game was down, Chesapeakes, from their very beginning were expected to work out their own problems with minimum assistance from their handler.’ The Chesapeake had been bred for intelligence, bird sense and initiative, and with responsiveness and desire to please and cooperate which made only a minimum of training necessary to the development of a peerless companion at home and afield.

Still today, not only is the breed perfect for wildfowling by virtue of its construction and coat, but his inbred character and determination, along with a love of water, makes him ideal on the foreshore. Of course, this can work against him in present day field trials where he is not so easy as a ‘pushbutton’ Labrador. Horses for courses, and come the cold and wet with an injured duck or goose making his way across thick mud and tidal water, I know which dog I would put my money on!

United Retriever Club’s recent open show drew an impressive entry of 19 dogs for Jean Collins-Pitman judging our breed for the first time. The Kennel Club buildings in the National Agricultural Centre at Stoneleigh provided the venue and was perfect for this size of show.

Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe was the eventual best of breed winner for me and Joy Middleton, handled by Joy. The reserve best of breed went to Jo Coppin and Darren Davies-Jones’ Dallandor Jocasta, handled by Darren. Best Opposite Sex was won by Richard Playle and Tilly Thomas’s Riptide Decoy Duck, who also won a very large mixed-breed stakes class. Best puppy in breed was Kirsty Watt’s Oakleaf Manor Bay of Oakmarsh.

Hebe relaxing after her Reserve Best in Show at URC this week

Kirsty had hers and a friend’s dog in the brace stakes class and provided the alternative entertainment for the day when the dogs decided to play with each other, having a great time leaping around and totally ignoring the fact that they had an audience. Well the audience loved it and at the end of the performance all started clapping!

Di Arrowsmith was our best in show and stakes judge and the Chesapeakes featured with good placings in pretty well every stakes class. The icing on the cake was when Hebe ended the day winning reserve best in show.

It is the CBRC AGM on 10 April, and there will be trophies on offer for points gained during 2021. It’s an honour for your dog to win one of these trophies, so please don’t forget to submit your points. They are open to all club members. All the details of how the points system works is on the Home page, where you can also download forms to submit points. Please send your completed forms to Ros Madden by 20 March.

Don’t forget you have just one more week to enter the Working Chesapeake Tests that are taking place in Cumbria in March. Another date for your diary is the CBRC Spring Working Test, which will be in East Sussex on 15 May. All details and entry forms will be on the Events page.

Christine Mayhew

13 February 2022

This week’s ‘Meet the Committee’ is our unbelievably great multi-tasking Sue Worrall.

Sue spent the first 24 years of her life wishing for a dog but walking other people’s while she researched what breed would suit her. Having read about Chesapeakes in books, and seen one on the TV, she took herself off to Crufts to meet the breed and talk to some owners. Sue says it was the Chesapeake character and independent way of thinking that appealed, and the fact that she did a lot of hiking and obviously wanted a dog that would enjoy being out in the hills as much as she did.

In 1990, Sue got her first Chesapeake and named him Joss (aka Chesepi Flash ‘Arry). He was the perfect dog and companion. Sadly, Joss had to be put to sleep when he was eight as he had developed degenerative myelopathy (DM). We had no genetic test for this horrible debilitating disease in those days and as several of his littermates were also affected Sue started gathering information on other dogs with the condition. Many years later when the Kennel Club asked every club to have a breed health co-ordinator, a role that takes considerable time and effort, Sue willingly volunteered.

Sue collecting her first Chesapeake in 1990

Sue joined the Chesapeake Club and in 1992 and went to the Club’s working test in North Wales. She has rarely missed a club working test since that time and says that she enjoys talking about Chesapeakes, and watching how different dogs work. In 1993 Sue was asked to help out with the Club’s newsletter and that was that! Sue ended up editing the ‘Chessie Chat’ for the next 29 years and has only just managed to retire from that job. She cannot remember when she joined the committee, only that she had a gap for some years before once again, with a certain amount of persuasion, taking the plunge for a second time. The club website was another job that Sue took over, revamping the whole thing and keeping it up to date weekly.

Blue and Sue taking part in an agility display

With an interest in photography, Sue has been taking photos of Chesapeakes for the last thirty years. She has built up a photographic record of the breed and most of us will have one or more amazing photographs by Sue who uses the name ‘Watersplash Photography’.

More dogs followed on from Joss, and more heartbreak when her next dog, Blue started to go blind from PRA (again the genetic test was in its early stages). However Sue continued to work him in agility as he really loved it and he learnt commands for jumping and stepping over things such was his trust in Sue.

Kes, her next dog, Sue gained as an adult as Kes supposedly was not interested in retrieving. Sue and Kes made a team however, and they turned out to be extremely successful in working tests, both winning and placing.

Sue is now owned by two Chesapeakes, her older dog Tor and young prospect Inca.

Sue with Kes

Joy Middleton and Hebe are still notching up wins at the open shows around the country with last weekend at East Kent taking best AVNSC from 29 dogs under judge Sue Knowles. The breed has made so much progress in mixed competition since we came out of lockdown. I know I have said it before, but we never used to get a look in!

There is a Working Chesapeake Test (WCT) near Kirkby Lonsdale on 26/27 March, with entries closing at the end of February. Please see the Events page for more details. 

The Club desperately needs grounds on which to hold working tests. Requirements are a decent area of land (any terrain) but must have some water for the dogs to retrieve from or go through. Car parking on a field is fine as long as cars can get in and out. Any area in the country would be considered and the landowner is always rewarded with a good bottle of something alcoholic (options available). If you know of anywhere, please contact Mark Straw or get in touch with the Club.

Christine Mayhew

6 February 2022

Good news is that Thelma Thompson is home from hospital and with some planning and assistance is going to come to Crufts. I am sure that everyone will be delighted to see her again. The champagne will be ready!

The ‘Meet the Committee’ this week features our long-time secretary, Molly Barker.

Molly’s first interest in the breed came when she saw a Chesapeake in the Shooting Times in 1983 and got her first puppy later that year. ‘Ches’, aka Arnac Bay Endurance, went to Lincolnshire to live with Molly and John and their family, and two years later was joined by another Chesapeake, Westering Brown Sugar.

At that time Molly applied for her kennel name ‘Chesepi’ which means Big Rivers in one of the Native North American languages in the Chesapeake Bay area.

John and Molly worked their dogs on local shoots ‘picking up’ and the priority in those early days, as today, was for a good-looking working dog. 

CBRC Gen. Secretary, Molly Barker

In 1984 Molly and John went to the Chesapeake Club’s AGM where Molly volunteered to go on the committee, and over the years, she took on various roles from Chesapeake Rescue, Show Secretary, and General Secretary, finally taking a break only to be persuaded to take over the job of secretary again when the secretary resigned some years later.

By this time the Chesepi Chesapeakes were being represented and winning at shows with Molly, who says that she likes the camaraderie and friendship  of the Chessie owners at the shows. At the same time the dogs were being trialled and run in competitive tests by John who trained them to a high standard of work. Three of their dogs won UK Field Trial Awards and seven competed in breed and AV retriever tests to win many awards. John could often be seen with a Chesapeake representing the breed at interbreed team competitions. People visiting John and Molly would often see a pack of Chesapeakes, both their own and rescue dogs, surrounding the couple with happy wagging tails and no sign of any jealousy or bad behaviour.

Molly judging the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club Show

Molly has judged the breed at Crufts and many other times in the UK, and in 2001 had the honour of judging the Sweepstakes classes at the American Chesapeake Club’s National Specialty Show, held in Tacoma, Washington State, USA, where she had an entry of 71 dogs.

She and John (who still goes out picking up) continue to be enthusiastic about the working side of the breed and often hold training days and weekends for Chesapeake people and their dogs, incorporating guest trainers on their land in Lincolnshire. 

John Barker running Ches, Molly and John's first Chesapeake

Since that first Chesapeake in 1983, John and Molly have never been without one of the breed, and are currently owned by four Chesapeakes and a few picking up spaniels.

As if to demonstrate the dual-purpose Chesapeake from Molly and John’s breeding, the most recent best of breed show win was at Border Counties Gundog Club’s open show in Carlisle where Chesepi Waco aka Gunnar, took the award, handled by his owner and wildfowling partner, David Rigby.

For anyone thinking of importing a dog from overseas, please be very careful and research your breeder and bloodlines as much as possible. If you are able, ask someone experienced in importing the breed for any advice they can offer. These days, Covid restrictions allowing, it is not too difficult to visit the breeder and dogs in Europe, but the USA, where we would naturally look for new bloodlines, can be restrictive.  When you are the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and unable to visit (as was the case last year with Covid banning all travel to the USA) you have to have a great deal of trust in the person breeding and looking after your puppy. Sadly there are some for whom, it would seem, money is more important than trust and it is very easy, even for the experienced, to be taken in by a ‘sweet talking’ trainer.

Christine Mayhew

30 January 2022

I thought it would be interesting for readers and club members to know who is representing them and working for them on the Chesapeake Club Committee.

And so this week we start with the Club Chairman, RICHARD PLAYLE.

Richard caught the shooting bug at a very early age, his first ‘gundog’ being a GSD x Labrador. His introduction to the Chesapeake breed was from an article he read about wildfowling dogs, but it then took him two years to track one down, finally finding them on display in the Sporting Dogs tent at a Game Fair.

In 1981 he bought his first Chesapeake puppy ‘Custer’ (Arnac Bay Cool Customer) who joined Richard and his young family on the farm in Essex where Richard farms. Custer became Richard’s companion around the farm, his retriever when out shooting on land, and, when Richard’s main passion of wildfowling became clear, on the Essex marshes.

Richard was one of the founding members of the Chesapeake Club, and he and Custer attended all the Club events from shows to working tests and has, to this day, consistently had successes in both. 

Young Tom (at 7 years old) releasing ducks with his Chesapeake Custer

With land available on the farm, Richard has hosted many a field event (we even held a KC Working Gundog Certificate event), the club show, and fun days for everyone and their dogs to enjoy. 

Richard has bred his own dogs for some years under his kennel name, Riptide, and presently has five Chesapeakes at home, all successful in the show ring and all genuine working dogs. Richard’s partner, Tilly, has her own dogs, dual purpose Gordon Setters, and the pair work well together to produce good looking working dogs.

Richard and Tilly always give a warm welcome

A glutton for committees and putting wrongs to right, Richard is presently Chairman of the Dengie 100 Wildfowling Club, Chairman of the Essex Joint Council of Wildfowling Clubs, and sits on the Wildfowling Liaison Committee. Such is his passion that he is also a member of numerous other wildfowling clubs up and down the country. He would rather be in mud with his dog, listening and looking for duck or geese, than anywhere else!

As Richard says, when he first read that article about Chesapeakes “I knew immediately that I had to find this breed which I have owned, or rather has owned me for the last 40 years plus. During all these years I have had a family of Chesapeakes wend their way through my life, many never meeting but seemingly to be part of the last one. All from that first quest to own a proper wildfowling dog!”

Thank you for the many years of work for the Club, Richard, and may they continue for many more.

Richard doing what he loves best

If anyone has any unwanted Christmas presents, could they please tuck them away and save for the Chesapeake Club show’s raffle (17 July). If you cannot come to the show or you would like them out of the way beforehand, let me or Joy Middleton know and we can either take them off your hands or arrange for someone nearby to store  them.

Christine McDonald is trying to track down her file of Chessie articles and cuttings. If you have it, or know who might, please contact Christine via Facebook private message or email her at christinemcdonaldnorthey@btinternet.com

Don’t forget that Club subs for 2022 are to be paid by 1 February 2022. If paying by cheque please do inform Maddie, our Membership Secretary as soon as possible. If paying by standing order, please check that it’s been paid. After this date membership lapses and you will need to reapply. There is more information on the Membership page.
Christine Mayhew

23 January 2022

Julie Condron judged our breed at Manchester Show on Friday, in a very cold hall at Stafford Showground. Julie had a Penrose Chesapeake some years ago, as well as Chesabay Carroway in the 1990s. She has judged the breed many times before, most recently at the Club’s Championship show in 2019.

Julie chose for her best of breed and dog CC Mahon and Newton’s Sh. Ch. Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle, a dog that she gave best male puppy in show to in 2019. The bitch CC went to Morris’s Penrose Let Fly, with the same owner taking the reserve dog CC with Penrose Nosmo King. Reserve bitch CC went to Middleton and Mayhew’s Sh. Ch. Arnac Bay Hebe, and best puppy to Bament’s Pixiesrock Maestro Cadenza. Best veteran went to Watt’s Oakmarsh Acorn VW.

Despite Thelma Thompson still being in hospital, David managed to get to the show with his two brown dogs. The best of plans were scuppered due to a lack of phone signal in our hall, but as soon as David made it to the ring, a team effort took over, with Ros Madden handling one dog and Maddie Mahon handling the other, both winning their classes. Thank you to those who helped and especially to Ros who escorted David and the dogs back to his car.

David Rigby is flying the flag for our dual purpose breed with a recent best of breed at Goyt Valley Gundog Show for his lovely dog Gunnar (Chesepi Waco), followed by a day out goose shooting on Cockerham Marsh with fellow Chesapeake owners Anthony Ciraolo and John Battle. John was the Club’s working test secretary for many years and did so much to promote the training of our breed. 

Anthony and Dave with their dogs

It was nice to hear that these three ‘musketeers’ had a successful shoot and brought back three pinkfoot geese. With the wildfowling season ending on 20 February and the pheasant season ending before on 1 February, I shall miss the shooting tales of our club members on Facebook, especially those of Steve Camoccio, Anthony Ciraolo, Richard Playle and Phil Uncles who have given us all good reading and photos throughout the season. Keep it up next season please guys!

Steve and Muddle

The American Chesapeake Club have a programme – the Register of Merit Program – which rewards those individual sires and dams who have made outstanding contributions to the breed through their offspring’s achievements rather than their own. There are a series of points based on sons and daughters who have made significant achievements by gaining field trial awards and show awards. I personally think it is a great idea. It is to me a nice thing to acknowledge significant sires and dams and ensure that their names go down in history. I would like for us to look at running a similar award for UK dogs. What do you all think?

At the AGM this year, would anyone be interested in seeing slides of historic photos of the Chesapeake breed, along with the history of how the breed evolved?

Please give the Club your input on these ideas.
Christine Mayhew

16 January 2022

Fantastic news that long-time Chesapeake owner and club member, Mark Poulton is engaged to his lovely new lady, Rhian. Many of us will know that Mark’s previous partner, Iris, sadly lost her battle with breast cancer some time ago. Mark and his previous dog Oscar (Penrose Keen Machine) would often run in the club tests and in 2018 won the Open test with some great work.

Now a headkeeper on a small syndicate shoot in Cheshire, Mark has Rhian as his underkeeper and general dog’s body (his words!) but they both have full-time jobs as well. It is so nice when two people have the same interests  and the couple, who both shoot, presently have four dogs – two cockers, a Lab and a new addition of a Chesapeake puppy named Otto. Otto is destined to be trained for picking up and to run in tests, and Rhian is hoping to show him too. It will be good to welcome them both to the Chesapeake shows. I am sure that everyone will join me in wishing Mark and Rhian all the happiness for their future life together. 

Mark and Rhian

I was puzzled to read recent breed notes in Our Dogs where the writer says, “I am always disappointed when there are gundog shows on days other than a Sunday throughout the shooting season – a tough decision for those who are truly dual purpose.” Is the writer implying that those dogs shown were not dual purpose, I wondered? Surely the writer does not think that a working gundog must work six days a week in order to be ‘truly dual purpose’? My definition of a dual-purpose gundog is one that works with the gun but also shows, and when I say works with the gun, it could be wildfowling, rough shooting, picking up or even being a peg dog. A Chesapeake should be capable (and many have proven this) of working hard one day and showing in the ring the next. Coat and condition in the show ring should not be affected by work if well fed enough to cover the extra energy used. In fact, the opposite will often apply as a dog will show much more muscle during the shooting season. In the same notes, a report on the LKA show was also inaccurate, by suggestion almost malicious. I can find no reason for those who have a voice in the press to use it in a way other than to report news or educate.

At the recent Taunton and District Canine Association Open Show, Jo Coppin and Darren Davies-Jones’ Freja (Dallandor Jocasta) won yet another big award from the AVNSC classes and was reserve under judge Jane Eyeington. Freja is being worked this season and perfectly proved the show/work possibilities.

For those who are going to Manchester show at Stafford showground next week, don’t forget that you humans will need to show covid vaccination status!

From our KC Health rep:
“It is strongly recommended by both the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club and the Kennel Club that all Chesapeakes are genetically screened for PRA and DM, have a current clear eye certificate, and have their hips and elbows scored, before breeding. All of these results will be recorded by the KC and shown on the KC Health Test Results Finder. Some people are also choosing to have further health tests done, such as the genetic test for EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse). Lots of people are also testing for the long coat gene as whilst having a long coat is not detrimental to a dog’s health, it is undesirable in a working breed, so it makes sense to avoid producing long-coated puppies. The KC is not currently recording results from these additional tests, but the CBRC is. 

If you have had your dog tested for EIC, ED/SDS or the long coat gene, please email copies of the test results to Breed Health Coordinator Sue Worrall at chesapeakeblue@btinternet.com and we will share all results in the yearbook from next year. 

Don’t forget that CBRC members can get the DM/PRA/EIC tests done at a 20% discount from Animal DNA Diagnostics when ordered as a bundle. New this week is that you can now get the long coat gene from the same company with a 20% discount too – for club members only. Ask us for the discount code when you are ready to order.”

From the ACC Judge and Breeder Education Committee 2021, a comprehensive piece about the outline of our breed:

Outline is the basic form of a dog in profile, and any judge, breeder or fancier should immediately be able identify the breed from outline alone. For the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, originally developed as a water retriever and bred to hunt under the harshest conditions, the outline or silhouette should convey soundness, power, stamina, and overall balance.

The CBR head is distinctive from other retriever breeds, with a broad, round skull, medium stop, and a tapered muzzle that is pointed but not sharp. The tapered muzzle, as opposed to square, lessens the amount of lower jaw submerged in water when performing water retrieves. The muzzle should be approximately the same length as the skull. Lips are thin, not pendulous, and ears are set well up on the head so water does not easily enter the ear canal when swimming. The neck is medium length but muscular to facilitate carrying birds of all sizes and weight on water and should transition smoothly into the shoulders.

Body is of medium length and slightly longer than tall. The forequarters have strong, sloping shoulders with straight, medium-length legs showing good bone and muscle. Pasterns are slightly bent. A strong, short back is well-coupled at the loin. Stifles are well-angulated, with the rear showing as much power as the forequarters with no tendency toward weakness. Powerful hindquarters are necessary for swimming, especially under the harsh conditions the Chesapeake is bred for, and working difficult terrain. The tail should be medium length with, as the Standard states, a “medium heavy base.” Standing, in outline or silhouette, the tail should appear straight or slightly curved with no tendency to curl.

The Chesapeake topline is unique when compared to the five other retriever breeds in the Sporting Group, all of which require a level topline. The CBR Standard allows the hindquarters to be as high or a trifle higher than the shoulder. Note the phrase trifle higher as the rise must not be excessive or extreme. For the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, a level topline is also acceptable, and both toplines are equally correct. The topline should not show any weakness such as a dip or swayback; topline should be straight and strong with the allowance of a slight rise toward the top of the hip. Coat can be thicker over the withers and hips which may cause an optical illusion of a dip, but physical exam and movement will determine correct structure.

In underline, the depth of chest should extend at least to the elbow or slightly below. Flank should be tucked up under the loin. Skirting or feathering at the flank may hide the tuck in profile, but that, along with a well-developed barrel ribcage, can be determined upon examination.

Outline reflects the entire dog by bringing together all parts that support a breed’s purpose. The outline should clearly convey overall balance and the hallmark characteristics required to perform the work the Chesapeake Bay Retriever was originally bred for and still excels at today.

9 January 2022

First, a bit of human news … the beautiful Maddie Mahon finally managed to marry her man this last weekend, having had the pandemic cancel previous plans. Maddie and her new husband Jodie, are co-owners of the Our Dogs Top Chesapeake for 2021. Sincere congratulations to this lovely couple.

Congratulations to Maddie and Jodie

Sadly, following her strokes, Thelma Thompson remains in hospital receiving physio to get her right hand and leg working properly again. I asked Thelma for an update this week and she says that she is improving slowly and will let us all know when she’s up and running! Typical of Thelma’s determination and positive attitude, I know that everyone will wish her well. Sadly it means that she will be unable to come to Manchester dog show which is a great disappointment.

Boston Championship Show was the first show for this year. With no CCs for our breed, we rarely get a good entry but the judge, Bill Orzel had eight dogs to go over and chose for his best of breed, Newton and Mahon’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron for Bergelle, with Playle and Thomas’s Arnac Bay Grebe for Riptide as best bitch. The best puppy went to Oakleaf Manor Bay of Oakmarsh owned by Kirsty Watts. This sedge puppy was imported from German breeder, Thora Eichblatt.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Calendar 2022 was a great success, and a wonderful £100 has been raised for the breed club from donations.

Lisa Murch who organised the whole thing in record time says, “Thank you all who donated. The 2023 calendar is already in the creation stage, photos are very much needed for this one so please have a dig around and send them over. Photos of late dogs, puppies, and any working photos will be gratefully received and considered for the calendar.” Please send to l.murch@icloud.com throughout the year.

More history from the stud book of Ferdinand Latrobe at Carrolls Island Duck Club. It is so interesting that language and terminology has changed over the years and whereas we in the UK will call a female dog a bitch, the men of the late 1800s would call them sluts. Both words have since become a derogatory term in general use which to me seems an insult to dogs. Whilst we still use the word bitch for a female dog in the UK, it is rarely used in the USA in current times.

Anyway, in July of 1888 the records show that a slut pup was given to the breeding programme and then sent to a Mr Roebling to have ‘broken for the Island’. Of course, nowadays we would say ‘trained for wildfowling’. 

Two dogs who were celebrated on the island were Turk and Juno, and Juno was described as ‘one of the best’ but sadly she died from ‘dog shore sickness’. I have looked this up and it seems to be salt toxicity probably caused by drinking too much salt water while working in the Bay.

One of the sires, a dog named Nero, was evidently a great fighter, something that seemed to be a badge of honour in those days. Evidently Nero attacked a tramp and bit him so severely that he died. Not something we would be proud of these days!

Pride of Maxwell, 1887

Another dog, Sprigg, is described as “a fine large dog red in colour with white frill. He is good all around, works well on the bar [a bar of land in the bay] and over decoys and is the fastest swimmer ever known on the Island and the most intrepid and longest distance jumper from a blind.” (Maybe this gave rise to the sport of dock diving?) Sprigg was obviously a firm favourite as he was described later as being old and infirm but has done good service and will be well cared for. Remember this is in the days where animals were normally disposed of at the end of their working lives. Sprigg died in the winter of 1894. 

Mention of a dog named Zip, born in 1888, interestingly adds that her dam, Mary won first prize at a dog show in Baltimore in 1890. Zip was bred by Mr Mallory who lived on Back River, below Twin Oak. It would be fun to find out exactly where this is. Maybe our Maryland friends can do some detective work?

Christine Mayhew 

2 January 2022

As we enter the new year, I hope that we can all look back on 2021 and remember the good times that we have had with our dogs. I am sure that you will agree that however depressing the world around us can be at times, there is never a day when our dogs don’t make us smile.

2021 started with optimism, only to have various events fall by the wayside due to the pandemic. Four championship shows with Chesapeake classes were cancelled, including Crufts. Never before have I known a year without Crufts. Our working tests had to be cancelled and re-juggled and our AGM finally took place in July when the normal date is in February.

Restrictions and extra requirements were placed on so many of our events and yet the Chesapeake Club’s committee eventually managed to incorporate every new rule and run two working tests, two championship shows, two open shows, and two breed appreciation days.

We were lucky that the majority of the championship and open shows went ahead, which was a breath of fresh air having had virtually no events to attend during the previous 12 months.

The spring working test finally proceeded to run on 13 June. The Club ran an extra class ‘Yearling’ to accommodate those young dogs who, due to the cancellation of the previous year’s events, had not had the opportunity to run in a working test. The winner of this class was Arnac Bay Ibis, handled by Peter Clarke. The puppy class was won by Riptide Decoy Duck, handled by Richard Playle, Novice Dog/Novice Handler had Arnac Bay Hebe winning with Joy Middleton running in her first test. The Beginner class winner was Chesareb Saltmarsh with owner Debbie Crewe, and the Open class saw Vincent Acheson handle Arnac Bay Grouse of Eastering to the winners podium. Judges’ Choice went to Sue Worrall’s Arnac Bay Esk. 

Next on the Club’s calendar was the weekend of four shows, something that took a great deal of organisation by Caroline Griffin-Woods and her helpers.

The first championship show on 3 July had an entry of 49 dogs. Phil Uncles’ veteran dog Sh. Ch. Arnac Bay Exe won Best in Show and the dog CC, with Joy Middleton’s and my own Arnac Bay Hebe taking Best Opposite Sex and the bitch CC, which earned her her Championship. Best Puppy in Show was Richard Playle and Tilly Thomas’s Riptide Whistlin Duck.

The open show held in the afternoon had an entry of 37 dogs, with Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle JW going Best in Show for owners James Newton and Maddie Mahon. Reserve Best in Show and Best Opposite Sex was Caroline Pont’s Oakmarsh Dancing Diva and the Best Puppy again went to Riptide Whistlin Duck.

On 4 July, the second day’s championship show had an entry of 43 dogs, with Best in Show and her second CC of the weekend going to Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe, with the Reserve and the Dog CC going to David Rigby’s Chesepi Waco, his first. This time the Best Puppy went to Riptide Decoy Duck, litter brother to Whistlin Duck.

The open show on the same day had an entry of 34 dogs, with top honours going again to Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe, with her sister Arnac Bay Harvest owned by Dave and Thelma Thompson going Reserve Best in Show and their brother, Arnac Bay Huron taking Best Opposite Sex. Riptide Whistlin Duck reclaimed the Best Puppy in Show award. 

The 10 October was the date for the Autumn Working Test, again with a good entry. No awards were made in Puppy, Novice Dog and Handler, or Yearling, due to the fact that everyone failed one part of one of the tests and the KC rule that a zero score in one test means a dog cannot be placed.

The Beginner class was won by Arnac Bay Harvest, handled by Dave Thompson, and the Open class was yet again won by Arnac Bay Grouse of Eastering who also took the Judges’ Choice.

Vincent Acheson with Robin, winner of the Open class at the CBRC working tests. Photo: Mary Murray

Back to the show arena and the Judges’ Education Co-ordinator, James Newton ran two Breed Appreciation Days in November via Zoom. These covered the history of the breed and the breed standard followed by a multiple choice exam for those who wished to judge the breed. With 33 people passing the exam, it increased our list of judges at the early stages who will now continue to gain more experience. 

This past year the Chesapeake Club’s committee have been as busy and have structured Puppy Buyer’s Guidelines (see the Litters page) which will hopefully help those thinking of buying a puppy.

The Club also allocated from club funds generated by the online seminars, £15 each to several show societies to sponsor classes at their club’s open shows on the proviso that they use judges from the Club’s judging lists. This will give our new judges experience in the breed and is a win/win situation.

Three new show champions were made up this year, namely Arnac Bay Hebe, Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle, and Kirsty Watt’s Oakmarsh Chestnut. 

The relatively new KC award of Veteran Warrant was won for the first time in our breed by Kirsty’s Watt’s Oakmarsh Acorn.

Of the challenge certificates available to win this past year, Arnac Bay Hebe won five, with brother Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle JW winning four, and the following winning one each: Sh. Ch Arnac Bay Exe, Chesepi Waco, Oakmarsh Dancing Diva, Sh. Ch. Arnac Bay Flax,  Franeo Original Long Gunner at Pixiesrock, Sh. Ch. Arnac Weatherdeck Buoy, Penrose Let’s Fly, Oakmarsh Chestnut, Migwell Solomon’s Puzzle, Penrose Nosmo King, and Arnac Bay Harvest.

Two championship group placings were won by Chesapeakes, namely Huron winning Group 2 at Edinburgh and Harvest winning Group 3 at Birmingham National.

The Our Dogs Top Dog for the breed for 2021 with his group placing bringing up his points ended up as Sh. Ch. Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle JW, with the Top Puppy going to Deborah Herring’s Battsrock Sweet Child O Mine.

Our Dogs Top Chesapeake for 2021 was Sh. Ch. Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle JW. Photo: Sue Worrall

With the successes of my ‘H’ litter, I was honoured to be the Top Breeder for the year and the sire and dam of that litter, Sh, Ch. Weatherdeck Buoy and Arnac Bay Gamble ended up as Top Stud Dog and Top Brood Bitch respectively.

In open shows some Chesapeakes made great strides in group placements, with Darren Davies-Jones and Jo Coppin’s Dallandor Jocasta winning a Group 2 at Royal Cheshire, and a Group 4 at Coventry Gundog. Caroline Griffin-Woods’ Migwell Solomon’s Puzzle went BIS 4 at North Riding Gundog. Lisa Murch’s Franeo Original Long Gunner at Pixiesrock was BIS 4 at South Western Gundog. Huron went BIS 3 at Mid Herts, and sister Hebe went BIS 4 at South of England Gundog Club. Never before have there been so many group placements for the breed in the UK.

How good it is that so many of the same dogs appear in the working tests and the shows with good results, the same names reoccurring, something that, as a breed, we should be proud of as there are very few gundog breeds who can claim such a good dual purpose record.

Thank you so much to the Chesapeake Club committee for their hard work in keeping things going during the pandemic, struggling with the technology of Zoom meetings, yet getting the job done and providing opportunities for our members and their dogs to have fun, test their skills, and get out and about.

And so ended the year, with our breed certainly having gained in popularity in the show ring and once again in the hands of the shooting fraternity.

Wishing everyone a successful and happy 2022.
Christine Mayhew

25 December 2021
19 December 2021

Two lovely Chesapeakes have both celebrated their 15th birthdays this month. First, on the 6 Dec, Dave Lowther’s Mr Cree whose wildfowling escapades have been entertaining us for many years, and secondly Karen Preece’s Tilly who has a perfect life on the island of Jersey and who had her birthday just ten days later on the 16th Dec.

Tilly with her birthday cake
Mr Cree with his birthday cake

As you will see, they celebrated in style, complete with birthday cake and candles. Both very special and much loved dogs – what a great age. Whilst I have no desire to record every Chesapeake’s birthday, I feel our oldies always deserve a mention and will include any in “The Golden Oldies Club” who have attained a good age. Let me know of any candidates.

News that I missed reporting last week was the successful placing of a group 4 Best in Show at Coventry and District Gundog Club’s open show, where Freja (Dallandor Jocasta) who was ably handled by Darren Davies Jones achieved this success from the Best of Breed ring. Freja is owned by Darren and his partner, Jo Coppin, and was bred by Rachel Herbert. 

Darren and Freja in Best in Show line up at Coventry

Freja is sired by Phil Uncles’ wildfowling and picking up dog Yogi (Sh Ch Arnac Bay Exe) and I met up with Phil recently when we both took our dogs to have semen collected for freezing. Our ‘bait’ for the boys was my little Border Terrier who was in full season and approached the job with the enthusiasm of a professional! Doggy people do meet up in unusual circumstances, in this case a car park outside a veterinary practice!

Phil was busy with the shooting season and his pack of picking up dogs but made the time for this appointment that we had been planning for several years. Luckily both dogs produced excellent samples, with Yogi producing an outstanding number of sperm in each collection. I mention this purely because this dog has had several bitches who did not get into whelp and it becomes worrying as a stud dog owner when this happens.

Of course, the reasons for an unsuccessful breeding are many, but success is so very dependent on the timing of ovulation in the bitch. With blood tests to establish this being very accurate these days, I cannot understand people not taking advantage of this tool, especially if they are travelling long distances. It is very frustrating as a stud dog owner when people waste precious time and resources without checking that their bitch is ready to be bred. Not only this but also frustrating for the dog himself and can often damage an inexperienced male’s attitude to breeding if a bitch is aggressive because she is not ready to be bred. Of course there are some who are aggressive even when ready (usually because they have their own idea of who their ‘husband’ should be) but if the time is right then artificial insemination can always be resorted to in experienced hands.

Another little bit of history this week. Those who have the book Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Decoys and Long Guns will probably have read that in the early days, the breed was in the hands of wealthy landowners and of the Caroll’s Island Ducking Club where the stud book of Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe was a masterpiece in recording every litter, sire, dam and the progeny they produced, along with how those progeny performed in their job of work. Dogs that did not make the grade were given away and only the best were used for breeding – rule that should be applied by every serious breeder today in my opinion.

The first entry in the stud book is in February 1883 and reads ‘Lady had 10 puppies by Champ’, the next in April 1884 reads ‘Lady had 4 puppies by Rock – No good.’ A new stud dog ‘Dan’ arrived in an unusual way when one of the attendants at the duck club met a wagon on the road with a thin distressed looking dog tied behind it. The dog was a stray that was destined to be abandoned by the wagon owner as he didn’t have the heart to kill him. Recognising the dog to be of a Chesapeake type, the attendant asked to be given the dog who was named Daniel as he looked as though he had come from the Lion’s den, half-starved with worn-out teeth from gnawing bones. This dog was destined to become one of the best sires of the early dogs and was described as being small in size with long coarse hair of a dark liver colour and with a great endurance and intelligence who, once trained, would face up to any ice and wind to get his quarry. Dan died in 1888 of ‘old age and hard service.’ More on the stud book next week.

The lists of health-tested dogs is currently being updated for the Club’s 2021 yearbook. Results are taken from the KC Breed Records Supplement, but not all results are automatically sent to the KC, and not all are published in the BRS. If you have had your dog health tested recently, or think that your dog’s results will not be in the BRS, please email a copy of the results to Sue Worrall at chesapeakeblue@btinternet.com.

Please let me have your news if you wish for it to be included in BNW. Whilst I cannot guarantee every report will be published in full, I will try to mention everything that may be of interest to our members.

Christine Mayhew

12 December 2021

Hot off the press is news from the last Championship show to be held this year, namely LKA at NEC Birmingham yesterday, where our judge was Martyn Rees. Martyn owns working retrievers and certainly put the dogs (and handlers) through their paces to assess movement, something so important in a working dog. It was a pleasure to see Martyn concentrate and study each dog with obvious determination to do his job thoroughly. One of my pet hates is watching a ‘judge’ in the ring with our breed who is busy gazing at something happening in another ring while our dogs are being moved individually. 

The bitch CC was won by my own and Joy Middleton’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe, as usual expertly handled by Joy, who went on to beat her brother, the dog CC winner, Maddie Mahon and James Newton’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle JW to best of breed. It has been a year-long friendly competition between these two as to who would come out top dog of the year and although Hebe won most of the best of breed awards, including this last one, Huron’s successes in the gundog groups made him the final winner of Our Dogs Top Chesapeake for 2021. Great work by all involved and a proud moment for all.

The Reserve Dog CC was awarded to Caroline Griffin-Woods’ homebred via imported semen, Migwell Soloman’s Puzzle to add to his one CC and numerous reserve CCs. I predict he will be knocking on the door to gain his championship in 2022. 

The Reserve Bitch CC went to a lovely junior bitch, Riptide Whistlin Duck, again homebred by Richard Playle and Tilley Thomas who ventured way north to the Orkney Isles to use the stud dog they had chosen, and this youngster and her brother certainly prove that their efforts were well worth it. 

Best Dog and Best Bitch at LKA yesterday were littermates - Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle JW and Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe

Best Puppy went to Fleur Bament’s Pixiesrock Maestro Cadenza, bred by Lisa Murch. This was their very first championship show, and Fleur handled her own dog. A great achievement – big congratulations!

Best Veteran was my own Sh Ch Arnac Bay Flax who, once again, only came along for the ride and the fact that she just enjoys dog shows like an ancient actress enjoys the stage. Gemma McCartney, stepped up at the last minute to handle, leaving Freddie her PBGV in capable ringside hands!

And so ended the show season for 2021. Champagne, nibbles and friendly banter added to the day until we can all get together again, probably at Manchester show in January.

Fleur's Pixiesrock Maestro Cadenza was Best Puppy

Some dates for your diary: Crufts Gundog Day will be on 13 March 2022. The entries are open now if your dog is qualified and you wish to enter. Let us all hope that Covid rules do not restrict any of our regular overseas Chesapeake friends who like to come to visit. 

On 27 March there will be a CBRC Working Chesapeake Test (WCT) day in Cumbria, with a practice day on the day before (Saturday 26 March). These tests are a pass or fail test and are NOT a competition. They are a series of tests designed to demonstrate a dog’s natural ability and are great for people to ‘have a go at’ with their dogs without the pressure of a competition. 

There are three levels of the test, each with an increasing length of retrieve, the later tests involving double retrieves. Full details of each test are on the Events page. Dog and handler who pass each test get a rosette and certificate and can progress onto the next test if they so wish.

So far we have several who have passed the first stage but only one who has successfully passed the second. Many of us (me included) have failed at one level or another so it’s a fun day with everyone in the same boat, i.e. being made a fool of by our dogs!

WCT Level 1 Certificate

All details can be downloaded from the Events page. You DO need to be a member to enter (see the Membership page) OR you can join the club on the day (£10 single membership). Simple!

Last date for now is the 10 April which is the Club’s AGM. Again, see the Events page for further details.

Christine Mayhew

5 December 2021

Each year the American Kennel Club recognises breeding programmes from the Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding groups, with the winner of each going forward to challenge for the AKC Breeder of the Year. The AKC President and CEO says,  “It is our pleasure to honour this group of esteemed breeders. These individuals have made important contributions to the sport and to the betterment of their breeds. They are committed to ensuring the healthy future of their breed, and dogs bearing the honourees.”

The 2021 AKC Breeder of the Year award winner will be announced during the livestream of the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin on Sunday evening, 19 December 2021.

All group recipients receive a medallion in recognition of their achievements and this year the group recipient for the sporting group (the equivalent of our gundog group) is a Chesapeake breeder, namely Dyane Baldwin of Pond Hollow Chesapeakes. 

As many will know, Dyane has visited our club show twice and whilst in the UK on the first occasion, gave an informative slide presentation and talk on the breed. On her second visit in 2016 we were very honoured that she had agreed to judge the show.

What people may not know is that when I am compiling presentations for educational purposes for our judges seminars and for our KC guide to the breed, I have often had to resource photos and literature regarding the early days of the Chesapeakes. When I have needed any information or photos, I have often contacted Dyane and have always had a prompt response with information and material. I have had many occasions to be very grateful for her help. 

Dyane Baldwin

Together with her late husband, Dyane has been breeding Chesapeake Bay Retrievers since 1976. Her kennel, Pond Hollow Chesapeakes, has produced outstanding dogs for hunting, conformation, field competitions, obedience, tracking, agility and most importantly, healthy and temperamentally sound companions. 

Pond Hollow is highly regarded in the United States and abroad, with its name on many top-winning Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Her dogs have achieved many titles, such as Best in National Specialty Show, numerous Awards of Merit, Best of Opposite Sex, and overseas Best in Show, Best of Breed and World Championship titles.

Dyane judging at the CBRC Show in 1998
Dyane judging the CBRC Championship Show in 2016

In addition to conformation, Dyane has bred hundreds of AKC-titled dogs in all types of venues, including performance and companion events. Three Pond Hollow males are in the all-time top ten sires in the breed.

Health has always been important to Dyane in her breeding programme. She is actively involved with health research. She has served the American Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club in many capacities, having held the positions of Secretary, AKC Delegate and Historian, among others.

Congratulations, Dyane, from all of your friends in the UK.

And some last minute news from Kirsty Watts who says:

“Super proud of our homebred girl, Tia, Oakmarsh Acorn (Sh Ch Devonshot Indian Goes Brave x Jamaica Beach of Oakmarsh), bred by Miss K Watts and Mr I Lawrence. At 11 yrs old she is the FIRST Chesapeake Bay Retriever to be awarded the KC Veteran Warrant. Tia has 2 CCs and 4 RCCs. 

Since we have started showing again this year (post Covid), despite her age, she has had multiple Best Veteran in Breed, Group and Show! 

A true dual-purpose dog, as well as doing lots of shows since July, we have also been out beating / picking up twice a week since September.”

Tia's Veteran Warrant Certificate

I am sure that everyone will join me in congratulating Kirsty who has put in a brilliant effort by going to virtually every show where Chesapeake classes were on offer, driving the length and breadth of the country. Goodness knows what the cost was in fuel but Kirsty never faltered and achieved her aim and made her Tia THE FIRST!

If you are interested in sponsoring a rosette for the CBRC champ and open shows on 17 July 2022, please get in touch with Joy Middleton at joy.midds@outlook.com. Your sponsorship can include free wording on one of the rosette tails with your kennel name, surname, etc. If you’re interested in donating or sponsoring anything else for the show please do let Joy know.

Christine Mayhew

28 November 2021

Great news from Katy Duncanson that her deadgrass lad, Thor (Arnac Bay Invincible), went best Any Variety Not Separately Classified Gundog at Whitehaven and District Canine Association’s show. Really an achievement for a Chessie to be placed in AVNSC (although more achieving this year than ever) and to win the top spot is something special. Well done.

Katy's Thor

Whilst preparing for a judges’ presentation this weekend, I realised that many who are not interested in judging never see our presentations which are full of great historic illustrations and photos of the dogs working. This is so that we can emphasise the reason for the Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s existence and ensure that judges keep a working dog constantly in their minds as they judge the breed.

And so I thought that I would share some of this history for you, although I am sure that most enthusiasts of the breed will already know some of these factual stories.

George Law who was on a US ship ‘Canton’ writes that in the fall of 1807 we fell in, at sea, with an English brig in a sinking condition and took off the crew. The brig was bound for Poole, England having sailed from Newfoundland. A boat from the US ship went to take off the English crew (who were in a state of intoxication!!) 

Found on board were two Newfoundland pups which were saved and purchased for a guinea a piece. Each pup was given to a local landowner. The bitch pup was named Canton after the rescue ship, and the dog pup was named Sailor.

Both pups were selected on the orders of the brig’s owners who wished for ‘two dogs from the most approved Newfoundland breed but of different families.

The male was a dingy red colour and the female black, neither dog was large but had short very thick hair. Both dogs became famous as water dogs especially useful with duck hunting.

Whilst these two dogs were not known to be bred to each other, they were bred to the local hunting dogs on the bay, water spaniels and the like, and the resultant dogs were known to be unrivalled in their job as a wildfowling retriever.

A description of Sailor was that ‘he was of fine size and figure, lofty in his carriage, built for strength and activity, muscular and broad across the hips and chest, head large, muzzle rather longer than is common, colour a dingy red with some white in the face and chest, coat short and smooth but uncommonly thick. More like a coarse fur than hair, full tail with long hair, always carried high. His eyes were very peculiar, they were so very light as to have an almost unnatural appearance, something which is termed a wall eye in a horse. I saw that many of his descendants were marked with this peculiarity.’

Christine Mayhew