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.

19 May 2024

With not much to report this week, I thought we could reproduce part of an article by Kat Bennett from Bay Weekly Magazine, a magazine from the Chesapeake Bay area, Volume 14, in 2006.

The article is too long to print in full in BNW but I will endeavour to give you regular excerpts. I know I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I hope you will too. The photos are not from this particular article, but from my own collection.

The Chesapeake retriever is a breed that wears three collars — loyal pet, hunter and show dog — and whose reign in Chesapeake Country has spanned centuries. Legends range from famous owners to valiant rescues, as their stories fall in line with our own. The most modern of Chessies live with us in Bay neighbourhoods. Walk down King George Street on a sunny afternoon and you may encounter Chess, a Chessie who’s made a niche in Annapolis. This Bay retriever walks herself on occasion, checking on shopkeepers or the workers up by the State House.

“She’s so friendly, people always ask me to bring her back to visit,” says owner Bevin Bucheiser. But Chess first came to live with the Bucheiser family for protection. “We wanted to get a dog for safety reasons,” Bucheiser said. “She raised our first son, who’s now in college, and now she is helping raise Aiden, who’s nine. We’ve always felt safe with her around.”  If the gate is closed, no strangers are allowed onto the property without her owners; if the gate is open, Chess knows that company is expected, and she permits guests to enter and knock at the door.

On the Eastern Shore, Bob Sheppard works to bring back the old-style hunting Chessies. Sheppard tells of a hunting trip in 1977 when his friends were debating which dog to take hunting, a Lab or a Chessie. They took both. “Each dog made a couple of marked retrieves that were around 30 yards. As the weather got worse, the flocks started to come in and the action increased,” he said. “Many downed birds later, the Lab became reluctant to get into the water as the ice started to build up on the dogs. The icicle-covered Chessie was given a mark on a downed bird.” Then the Chessie proved itself king of the Bay. “Without any hesitation, the dog took off, breaking ice, and made the retrieve. A second mark was given and the Chessie repeated the performance. That did it for me,” Sheppard says. “I decided that it was time to purchase one of these fine dogs.”

The Bay’s original dog and America’s first registered retriever was once revered for its bird hunting abilities. But today, many dog owners lean to domestic companions easy to care for and control.

“The big Chesapeake showed what a marvellous breed he was by leaping into the freezing water, swimming swiftly to the edge of the ice, then breaking a way for himself, right to the goose. Clutching the big bird proudly in his jaws, he plunged into the icy water, pushed aside the frozen chunks and returned to the blind, entering it with a mighty water-spraying leap. “That’s what I call a dog,” Jake said proudly. And the men agreed.” — James Michener: Chesapeake: The Watermen, 1972.

Bay lore tells of a time when every one of the 26,000 families of the Eastern Shore owned at least one Chesapeake Bay retriever. Maryland governor Edward Lloyd thought so highly of the breed he sent a Baltimore clipper just to fetch one. In 1964, the Chesapeake retriever was legislatively proclaimed the official state dog of Maryland. Yet today the Bay’s own dog is considered a rare breed. Fewer than 1,300 were registered in the entire United States in 2004.

Perhaps the Chesapeake retriever is too stubborn and independent for modern tastes. Perhaps the dog is too big or too smelly. Or perhaps these retrievers no longer have the skills they once had. The answer is more complex. The decline of the dynasty must be tracked through three entwined stories: one about the ducking dogs of the Chesapeake; another about the Bay itself; and a third about the people of the Bay and how they’ve changed.

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

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

From Field and Stream, March 1928

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Platte River, c. 1949

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

Un-weaned puppies were said to bring back live birds; adults were famous for the ability to mark and remember where birds had fallen. As a bonus, hunters could warm their hands in the dogs’ weatherproof coats.

Initially, fur colour wasn’t important, and Bay retrievers came in a rainbow of hues: black; browns in light cocoa to deep bittersweet; sedges in strawberry blonde to russet chestnut; dead grass shades in faded tan to a pale, creamy white. The dominant shade was a rich dark brown, and over time this became the standard Chesapeake colour.

Don’t forget the next CBRC Open Show takes place at Windsor Champ Show on 28 June. Entries for Windsor close on 22 May, so if you wish to attend both shows on the one day, you only have a couple of days to enter.

Christine Mayhew

12 May 2024

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club’s Chairman, Richard Playle, has asked me to announce that we currently have vacancies on the general Chesapeake Club committee. If anyone would like to apply to be co-opted until the next AGM please could they send their resume, outlining their interest and involvement with the breed, to the General Secretary, Molly Barker by 26 May. Applications by email to chesepichessies@gmail.com

Birmingham National Dog Show held their Championship show last Thursday at Stafford showground where Tilly Thomas was, as judge, awarding CCs for the first time. Tilly is a long-time Gordon Setter breeder, exhibitor and judge who regularly works her dogs on the moors in Scotland. She also lives with a pack of her partner’s Chesapeakes and knows the breed well.

From a good entry of 30 dogs, Tilly chose for her dog CC and best of breed, Murch and Mayhew’s Sh Ch Next Generations Arnac Arctic Storm (aka Joss). The bitch CC and best veteran was Mayhew’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Flax. The reserve dog CC went to Mahon and Newton’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron At Bergelle JW, and the reserve bitch CC to Mayhew and Middleton’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe.

Best puppy was Mahon, Middleton and Haskins Susqudilla Bergelle Big Apple, and Best Special Beginner, Hewitson’s Melseed Don’t Stop Believing.

Winner of the dog CC, Joss
Bitch CC and Best Veteran, Flax
Best Puppy, Hudson

And so it was that two USA imported dogs went through to challenge for best in the gundog group and best gundog puppy. Sadly no further placings there. It was a lovely warm day which made a change from the normally cold Bingley Hall at the show ground.

A question some while ago on a UK Chessie FB page asked about importing a dog from the USA. I don’t recall if it was answered adequately but the basic advice from someone who has done it many a time is that it is not for the faint hearted or poor of pocket!

The UK Government website gives information on the requirements of importing a dog to the UK. The USA is a part 2 listed country.

Your dog needs to be microchipped, wormed and vaccinated against rabies and you must have a Great Britain pet health certificate issued in the previous 10 days. The pet passports that we used to use are no longer acceptable.

The dog or puppy has to be at least 12 weeks old at the time of vaccination against rabies, and at least 21 days must have elapsed since the completion of the primary anti-rabies vaccination. This makes any puppy nearly 4 months old before he/she can be shipped.

The documentation is mind boggling and, once completed by a local vet, all of it has to go to the USA vet office for that area or state to be certified and stamped. Remember this is after all the normal veterinary certificates have been completed. Of course the state vet offices are not open on a weekend and so timing is of the essence.

Flights need to be booked on airlines who take animals and, if flying direct to the UK, they have to be booked and travel as manifested cargo (expensive!). Only direct flights can take animals and some airlines insist on you using a pet travel agent as assigned by them.

Travel boxes have to be IATA (International Air Travel Association) standard – all airlines have to abide by this. This includes very strict measurements to make sure your dog is comfortable, has enough head room, is able to turn around, etc., which is good news for the dog.

Once you have jumped all these hurdles and your dog arrives in the UK, he will go straight to a special animal holding area to clear customs and to be let into a kennel to stretch his legs. The UK government will then present you with a bill for import duty and VAT charged on the price of your dog, PLUS the price of his flight and the handling agent and pet holding area will present you with their bill.

I have found that the cheapest way to import a dog from the USA is to fly him to France (Paris) (where they have never charged any import duty on the trips I have made) and where he can be flown not as manifested cargo but as excess baggage which means of course that need someone needs to fly with him. So adult airfare and the extra baggage cost – usually around $200 instead of a cargo price of over £1000, plus your airfare. You can then take the Channel Tunnel home. Of course you will need to have the correct paperwork for the French Authorities too! All good fun. The hardest part, I think, is finding someone with the time and dedication to raise your pup and socialise him until he is of the age where he is able to travel i.e. 4 months and older. We all know how important early socialisation is, especially in this breed. Importing from Europe also involves rabies vaccination, and a wad of paperwork, but is not so complicated and, of course the transportation costs are much less.

As some may know, I used to manage and eventually own a large quarantine kennel where importing and exporting dogs was also part of our business. So if you think that this all sounds complicated, you would throw your arms up at the paperwork and hoops we had to jump through to export a dog to Australia and New Zealand.

Chestnut Hills Ty of Kahilani

Chestnut Hills Ty of Kahilani came from the USA as a pup, spent six months in quarantine at our kennels, then another 3 months residential (when he sired a few litters) before leaving for the other side of the world. You may find him in your dog’s pedigree.

Christine Mayhew

5 May 2024

This year, the World Dog Show was held in the city of Zagreb in Croatia. This show is an FCI (Federation Cynologique International) sanctioned 4-6 day long international dog show held annually, the venue being moved from country to country every year.

Exhibitors come from all over Europe to compete with their dogs, and this year had one Chessie exhibitor from England, namely Joy Middleton who took Arnac Bay Hebe and Arnac Bay Jellicoe. Emily Evans (who did a great job stewarding at our Championship show at Easter) and Joy made the long journey (16 hours from Calais) in a campervan to compete at the show.

The first show had an entry of only two Chesapeakes, and under a Croatian judge, Hebe was best of breed and her daughter best junior. Both dogs are co-owned by Joy and myself, and handled by Joy in the show ring.

Joy and Hebe

Next came the main World Show with 18 dogs entered from various countries being judged by an Austrian. Best of breed, CAC and World Champion was Nicole Grutter’s imported young male, Next Generations I Am Woodford. Many of you will know Nicole who hails from Switzerland. She and Woody were present at this year’s Crufts where young Woody was 3rd in open dog. Nicole’s father Steve is often in the UK training with Jason and has just competed with a Swiss team of retrievers in the Gundog Challenge at Cowdray.

Next Generations I Am Woodford
Joy with Hebe
Maria with Abracadabra

Best opposite sex CAC and World Champion was Hebe, flying the flag for the UK. The best Junior world winner was Cinnamonscent Abracadabra, owned and bred by our good friend Maria from Greece. Abracadabra has a truly international pedigree, being sired by a Penrose dog (Wales) and out of a bitch sired from frozen semen from Arnac Bay Wantuck (Norway), the bitch herself being from Greece but sired by chilled semen from Arnac Bay Exe (Phil’s Yogi). Quite some travelling all around to produce these dogs!

Maria also owned the reserve CAC winner, Weatherdeck Polo at Cinnamonscent, bred by Gina Downin in the USA and sent to Greece as a puppy. Polo is out of Weatherdeck Arnac Bay Gudgeon (Buoy’s sister). It’s a small world in the breed when we look at all of these pedigrees.

The next show was the Croatia winner show, with Hebe again going best of breed, Polo best opposite and Jelli best junior. This time the judge was from Serbia and had an entry of 9.

Maria with Polo

Lastly came two Retriever Club shows, with judges from Finland and Sweden, each having an entry of 6. Jelli beat her mother to best of breed in one show, and Hebe won the other. Brigitte Rast from Switzerland won best junior with Cinnamonscent Masterpiece at Bbs, a litter brother to Abracadabra.

A very international show though not the numbers that we would normally see at a Championship show in the UK. Next year the show is in Helsinki (Finland) which would be a nightmare in terms of travel from the UK but maybe someone will be brave enough to attempt it.

Joy with Hebe and Jelli

Debbie Herring reminds us that there are only a few weeks left to enter the Working Minority Retriever Test to be held on 26 May 26 at Oak Farm, Honey Lane, Selbourne, Hampshire GU34 3BY. The CBRC has used this ground before and it is perfect for a working test.

Entries close on the 18 May 2024 and the cost for entries is £12 members, £15 non-members. Judges are Vicki Ruston and Nick Coates.
To enter, please complete a working test entry form from the downloads page on the Minority Retriever Club website: https://workingminorityretrieverclub.com

Debbie adds that she is also looking for dummy throwers if anyone would like to volunteer for the day – and she can pay with wine or beer. I have to say that throwing dummies at a test is a great way to learn the ropes and a great way to see the dogs working close up.

Christine Mayhew


28 April 2024

The Club’s Spring Working Test and training day was held last weekend in a beautiful area of Cumbria and every report of the weekend has been very positive. A big well done our new working test secretary, David Rigby who was running his first event.

Sue Worrall, who was training and competing at the weekend, gives us this report:

Our trainers and judges for the weekend, Emma Stevens and Adam Peace of Cunningshot Gundogs, had clearly put a lot of thought and preparation into the weekend. We split into two groups for the training on the Saturday, which was excellent and really stretched the dogs. They had also planned some very varied retrieves for the tests on this excellent ground. Many thanks to them both for all their hard work, patience and encouragement. The landowners were so lovely and embraced the whole event.

Our four classes – Puppy, ND/NH, Beginner and Unclassified Open – had similar retrieves, with the distances, and difficulty, being extended for each class. Only dogs who completed all the retrieves could be in the awards, which on this occasion meant there was only one place awarded from each class.

In the Puppy class, the winner was Richard Playle’s Roly (Riptide Gentleman’s Relish), and Novice Dog/Novice Handler was won by Mark Preece and Toby (Glaneils Catch Me If You Can). Katy Duncanson’s Thor (Arnac Bay Invincible for Dunakitts) won Beginner, and Anthony Ciraolo won the Unclassified Open class with Ebb (Franeo Ebbing Tide). Ebb was also awarded Judges’ Choice, after running well all day, and topping off the day with a spectacular very long and tricky retrieve over undulating ground. It was the last retrieve of the day, and one the rest of us won’t forget watching it! The trophy for the veteran scoring the highest marks went to Vincent and Robin (Arnac Bay Gorse).

We had 18 entries for the test, with two withdrawals. It really felt like a gathering of the clans, with Tracy Boyles travelling all the way down from Argyll for Gibbs’ first working test, while Carole Harris and her sister took two days to drive up from Portsmouth just to help out, after Liebe came into season prior to the event. It was great to see John Battle who was the club’s working test secretary for so many years. Wigan isn’t quite so far from Cumbria, but we haven’t seen him in a while, so that was a treat too.

Thanks to everyone for putting in so much effort for this very memorable test weekend, especially Dave Rigby for taking on the role of Working Test Secretary and working so hard over both days. 

To add to Sue’s report here are some lovely comments from those who were there on the day:

It’s been a fantastic weekend spent with great people. Whenever I bring friends along they always go away feeling welcomed and always say what a fantastic bunch you all are. Ebb did well, gaining the spring Unclassified Open shield and most importantly the Judge’s Choice. Tests were set out exactly how they should be, challenging but achievable. Adam and Emma at Cunningshot are great to be around and put on a great training day in which we were pushed and they love working with this breed. The test ground was really good too with many obstacles all in a small area. Let’s keep pushing them boundaries. – Anthony Ciraolo

What a wonderful weekend! Take 20+ brown dawgs and owners, add a North Cumbrian farmhouse nestled in the hills, stir in some dedicated volunteers and a pair of gundog trainers, sprinkle it with peacocks, sheep and horses, topped off with good pub grub and lots of laughs and you have a CBR Working Test. Hard work, frustration, giggles, successful dummies to hand, not so successful dogs looking at you in disbelief. We had a bit of everything. We are super proud of Toby (and Mark) who held it together (most of the time) and came away with a win in the Novice Dog/Novice Handler class. It was fantastic to watch more experienced gundog folk handling their dogs and see what we could perhaps one day strive for. Congrats to all the winners. – Karen Preece

And from David Rigby himself:

Well that’s my first weekend completed as working test secretary. Thanks to Mark Straw, Sue Worrall and Debbie Crewe for all the help in the smoothing running of the weekend, plus huge thanks to the landowners James and Felicity Hester and our trainers and judges Emma Stevens and Adam Peace from Cunningshot Gundogs.
Congratulations to all the prize winners and to everyone else who attended the weekend which we all took something away to learn from.

Our Dogs has just published the points for top puppy in each breed so far this year and leading in Chesapeakes is Richard Playle’s Riptide Gentlemans Relish (aka Roly). As the next show where points will be counted is being judged by Richard’s partner, Tilly, Roly will not be allowed to be entered (KC rules), so all may change by next month. Such is the fun of point counting!

News from Scotland and Lorna Murray and Mureatai Miracle of Dreams won best of breed at Selkirk Canine Society Show where kennelmate Takoda Nathan, won a worthy 2nd in AV veteran gundog and £2 for his piggy bank!

Christine Mayhew


21 April 2024

Sad news from the USA. Ron Anderson of Chestnut Hills kennels died last week. Ron and his wife Karen bred some lovely Chesapeakes were the people who helped me with some great dogs over the years. I imported a total of 11 dogs from their kennels.

Ron was an avid car collector, most especially American muscle cars. He also collected guns of all types and his collection would make every shooting man drool. Every gun and every car was pristine and each was wiped clean and kept free of dust and fingerprints. They really were something to behold.

I was hoping to see Ron again in August when Sue and I go to the States to watch the American Chesapeake Club’s Specialty show, where Karen will be judging the sweepstakes. Alas he will not be with us but I know that he will be there in spirit looking proudly on his wife as she judges.

RIP Ron.

Most of you will find a Chestnut Hills dog in your own dog’s pedigree as Chestnut Hills Windjammer is the sire of both Molly’s Ryder and my Buoy and, of course there are many Chestnut Hills dogs from the earlier days from imported dogs.

Gr Ch Chestnut Hills Windjammer SH
Windjammer winning Best of Winners at Westminster

Pictured above is Gr Ch Chestnut Hills Windjammer SH (Senior Hunter) and Specialty Best in Show winner.

Happier news is that Karen Preece has let me know that her young Chesapeake Tabatha has recently passed her KC Good Citizen Gold Award. This is the top award in the KC Good Citizen tests and no mean achievement so big congratulations to Tabatha and Karen.

For those interested, the Working Minority Retriever Club have the following events coming up that are suitable for Chessie owners. Entry forms and all details can be downloaded from their website www.workingminorityretrieverclub.com

26 May 2024 Working Test at Oak Farm, Honey Lane, Selbourne, Hants GU34 3BY  

6/7 July 2024 Training Weekend at Stoney Stoke, Wincanton BA9 8HR

Karen's Tabatha

The first day is a training day working through a number of scenarios to prepare you and your dog for working tests. On the Sunday two experienced judges will assess the tests and offer feedback and training tips on ways to improve your handling or dog, to improve your scores.

There are a few Chessie people already attending this weekend who will be camping together locally, so if you are interested and want to make a weekend of it, message Debbie Herring (Debbie.herring99@gmail.com) to find out more information about the campsite and who else is attending (maybe you can share transport if coming down from the North?)

Following last week’s Breed News Weekly and the training weekend report, Fleur Bament contacted me to let us know that a local gundog trainer has just taken on some wonderful ground and is starting up a syndicate shoot.

Nigel Partiss (who is also going to be one of the judges at our Chessie autumn working test) is at the top of his game in field trials, one of his spaniels even coming third in the KC Field Trial Championships. But down to business, Nigel is going to organise live training days in September and October where there will be two/three guns and maximum six dog handlers. The guns will shoot purely for the training of the dogs under his tuition.

Nigel gives a rough description of what the days will involve: it is actually a shooting day, but for the dogs and the handlers where it will be in cover crops or in woodland. Obviously in September it will be on partridges, and come October, a few pheasants. These days are designed to get dogs that are ready to get onto live game to learn to retrieve game. A lot of people use them as a warming up session before trials.

It is usually groups of about six handlers and obviously the dogs need to be at a fairly good level, i.e. already doing some retrieving, have learned a stop whistle, and have already started pistols and dummy launches fired over them. The price is roughly between £100 and £120 per handler.

Fleur says “It would be great if we could get six for a day. We need to roughly get an idea soonish. I’m sure anyone could camp at mine the night before. It’s 11 miles from me, on the Quantock Hills in Somerset. I thought it might be a nice idea as a new thing for training and I’m happy to organise if we get enough interest.” Fleur’s email is dairyhousefarming@gmail.com. 

Christine Mayhew


14 April 2024

The setting – the beautiful newly green countryside in Cowdray Park, Midhurst, West Sussex; the gundog trainer, Jason Mayhew. Add a small group of Chesapeakes and their lovely owners seeking to improve their training skills, a good dose of sunshine and you have a recipe for the perfect weekend.

Sadly Carole’s Leibe decided to come into season and had to stay at home, but Carole and her sister Linda, determined to join in, came with Carole’s camper van acting as a refreshment base supplying endless cups of tea and amazing home-made cake. Rhian bought out a bottle of bubbly at lunchtime and nothing could have been more perfect other than a real shoot day!

Kevin and Zoar
Richard and his puppy, Roly

Anthony with Ebb and Sue with Inca travelled all the way from ‘up north’ (Lancashire and Yorkshire respectively), with Sharon and Isla coming from across the water way down south (Isle of Wight). Mark, Rhian and Otto made a real holiday of it from their home in Cheshire to their favourite bed and breakfast complete with heated indoor swimming pool! Even Richard managed some time away from the farm in Essex to bring young Roly for his first training day. Others, more local, consisted of Kevin and Zoar, Ross and Cooper, and lastly, me with Buoy and Flax.

Anthony and Ebb
Chrissie with Buoy and Flax

The day started with seen dummies up a hill, with Carole and Linda doing the job of throwing and trying to hear instructions from way down the hill. During the day Jason covered memory and blind retrieves over a variety of terrains and dogs were exposed to the dummy launcher which provided long retrieves and the sound of shot. One of the important exercises was designed to give the dogs an opportunity to use their initiative to hunt two small dummies in an area without constant handling. As usual, Jason gave verbal reasons for each exercise and examples of why it is important to train dogs to be exposed to same. A great learning opportunity for those to listen and learn even if they were not running a dog. I think everyone went away having learnt something. Carole even learnt how to open a dog poo bag without licking her fingers: use the dog’s saliva instead!

Ross and Cooper
Mark and Otto

The day was not a club event as such but included many club members. History relates that in the past complaints were made that the club used the same trainers and so those who liked those particular trainers decided to organise their own days. Jason has another training day arranged to be held at Molly Barker’s later this year.

If anyone would be interested in organising a day’s training with their local trainer, please let me know and we can advertise it in Breed News Weekly. We can never stop learning and every opportunity for our dogs to use their brains is a good one.

Sharon and Isla

Don’t forget that it is the Club’s working test next weekend near Penrith. If anyone would like to come to watch or help out (no previous experience necessary), please let our Working Test Secretary, Dave Rigby know on 07734 396193 or email rigbydn@virginmedia.com.

Christine Mayhew

7 April 2024

I continue from last week reporting on another very successful Club show at the Kennel Club Buildings on Easter Sunday.

Starting with the Championship Show with judge Mike Blay, we had 50 dogs entered with 4 absentees on the day. Best bitch was awarded to Mayhew and Middleton’s Sh Ch, NL Ch, Int Ch Arnac Bay Hebe WGC ShCEx, with Mayhew and Murch’s Sh Ch Next Generations Arnac Arctic Storm winning the best dog (male). As both dogs had been handled by Joy, Hebe was handed to her friend, Maddie for the challenge between the two for best in show. Hebe came out tops. Reserve bitch was Thompson’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Harvest, and reserve dog, Newton and Mahon’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle, his kennel mate Susqudilla Bergelle Big Apple confidently trotting around to win best puppy in show.

During the lunch ‘break’ the specials classes were sorted by an up and coming judge for the breed, Claire Lewis, who had fun going through the dogs and coping with novice and experienced handlers alike.

On to the open show in the afternoon, this time judged by Ger Philpott who had flown in from Ireland that morning especially for the job.

Three main Champion winners from the first show were sportingly not exhibited in the open show where we had 41 dogs entered and 4 absentees. Ger chose for his best in show, Thompson’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Harvest. This was the third time in a row that Harvest (Breeze) had won this top honour. Best male and reserve best in show was won by Boyles’ Pixiesrock Mr Tumnus By Bleyos. Best puppy and probably the best imitation of a kangaroo (although there were a few close contenders) was Allen’s Arnac Bay Juno. Helen and James won’t mind me saying this!

I think that we all thought the best class of the entire show (brilliant idea, Joy) was the wildfowling class where exhibitors were encouraged to wear their camo wildfowling clothes. It was fun to see four men having a good time in the ring, one in ‘urban camo’ and the others looking very much like walking bushes. Lots of laughs for competitors and exhibitors alike.

Other competition included champion easter egg hunter –Vroni’s daughter Ali, who also won the Junior handling class. And in the scurry, 1st placed Chesapeake was Fleur Bament’s Chester who ran the course in 8.49 seconds; 1st in the any other breed was Tain, Rhian and Mark’s working cocker who ran a very speedy 7.43 seconds. The human competitors were not so speedy, with Ali running in 12.31 seconds, and Joy the fastest adult winning with 11.6. Fun was had by all. A big thank you to David Rigby and Mark Straw for manning this event all day.

The main details of all class results can be found on the Shows page. The judges’ reports will be added when we receive them.

The show is a success because of the effort put into the prior organisation and the procurement of sponsorship, all of which is down to the amazingly efficient Joy Middleton. The actual day is down to Joy and her hive of worker bees, namely the committee, all of whom have individual jobs to do and who throw themselves in with gusto.

Anyone who is part of a club that holds any sort of events will know how important every single person is and how those workers keep the club running. Be warned – if you form a club you need workers far more than any number of bigwigs!

The Gundog Club of North Wales held an open show on the same day as the club show. Many entries were obviously complimentary as the same dogs were entered and present at the club show. This, along with genuine absentees, led to 19 dogs listed who were not present, which must have been very disappointing for the judge, Jim Richardson.

Of the 9 dogs present, best of breed went to Janet Morris’s Baymoss Tweed of Penrose and best puppy to Ms K Niemczuk’s Penrose Union Gold.

The next event on the list is the Club’s spring working test and training day on 20-21 April, to be held in Brough, near Penrith, Cumbria. Do come along to watch or help out – all offers of help appreciated, with good throwers especially welcome!

Christine Mayhew

1 April 2024

Our apologies for the late issue this week. As most of you will know, it was the Club’s show weekend at the Kennel Club Buildings, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire and most of us were late home on Sunday evening, tired and ready for our beds.

First, some late news from the previous weekend where at East Anglian Gundog Society, Maddie Mahon took both of her brown boys under breed judge, Mrs Tolladay. Gus (piloted by James) took BOB, and his kennel mate Hudson, piloted by Maddie, took BPIB and RBOB. To go one step further, James took Hudson into the RBOB Stakes and the American won overall at just 8 months old, and gained £10 in his piggybank under judge, Mrs R Barney. Hudson was imported from Robyn Haskins in the USA and is owned by Robyn, Maddie and Joy.

James with Hudson last weekend

Back to the breed show weekend. On the Saturday we held a Breed Appreciation Day with a seminar and some hands-on mentoring for judges organised by James Newton who is in charge of the breed’s Judges Education.

The day started with a powerpoint presentation on the history of the breed, which led onto the Kennel Club breed standard and how it translates to the job of work the Chesapeake was bred for and the importance of keeping it this way.

Chrissie presenting the seminar on breed history, the breed standard, and how the standard produces the working dog.

The Saturday ‘gang’ consisted of Cathy, Dave, Lisa and Sue, who all handled dogs for the judges to go over. I talked more than I have done in the previous six months, giving a running commentary explaining each picture and the breed standard (and we now have some amazing pictures of dogs working at the job they were bred for). Several candidates took their multiple choice exam and we finally finished at about 3 pm, having taken up the whole day other than a short break for lunch which consisted of a delicious table of sandwiches and snacks made on the spot by Lisa.

Dave and Flax sitting on the back row at the seminar

Time to take our own dogs for a stroll in the spacious outside areas of Stoneleigh Park and a quick nap for the oldies amongst us (including James) before a very entertaining and fun evening meal with others who by then had joined the party.

Up bright and early (remembering to alter our clocks) and after breakfast, we headed off to help to lay the ground for the show, feeling slightly guilty that others had left home that morning and were already ahead of us putting up rings, seats, tables, decorations and preparing everything for the show day.

Once again the show was a sight to behold with a real Easter theme everywhere in the décor. Joy had planned all with her usual efficiency and besides the two shows, we had an Easter egg hunt, plenty of cake, bucks fizz, and the normal catering in the next hall. All of the committee were involved in setting up the show and making it run smoothly and it was great to see so many ‘worker bees’ going about their jobs not only on the show but at the scurry too.

With apologies for keeping you in suspense, I will give a full report on the show along with results next week – watch this space!

Last year’s show was an absolute wow and this one was equally impressive. As I drove home I reflected on how this year seemed much nicer. The decorations, the hospitality, the smooth running and the great judges were all equal and yet this year seemed so much more like a big family with everyone happy and friendly and having a good time. There were a few dogs who barked for a reason but none of the constant barking that took place from a few crates near the ring last year. Maybe this made the difference as there is nothing worse than dogs constantly bark, bark, bark. All dogs, especially Chesapeakes, can be trained not to continually bark. But I digress, whatever, it was a fantastic, friendly show with many laughs. More next week!

DON’T FORGET, entries for the CBRC Spring Working Test need to be in by 6 April, which is next Saturday.

Christine Mayhew

24 March 2024

First this week, the story of a Chesapeake hero, namely Sharbae Absolute Beginner (aka Rufus). Rufus is his owner’s assistance dog and his breeder Sharon Augustus recently received the following message:

Rufus is absolutely gorgeous and cheeky as usual. Every day he is a gift that keeps giving. He’s also a local hero of the street!

There was an arson attack in the flat above mine. Fire had broken through my hallway ceiling. It was 4 am and I was sleeping. Rufus saved my life and he alerted the rest of the flats to the fire. He was quicker and louder than the smoke alarm detector! A fireman said 5 more minutes and we wouldn’t have got out. Rufus treated it all like a game and was totally content with the 10 kg bag of carrots as a reward for his heroics. I’m so proud to have him and call him my friend, love him.

Rufus the hero

Sharon says, ‘After my dear Bea’s passing three of her kids have done her proud this week, two girls in the show ring including Sharbae Prettiest Star who stood beautifully at the IOW Canine Association monthly match and won Best Veteran and best in match.’

Sharon lost the beautiful Bea (Beguildy Rambling Rose) on the 14th of this month at the age of 14½. A great age for a great dog and a great brood bitch.

Sharon and Bea

Exciting news from Debbie Crewe who says:

It used to be that the only titles that dogs could attain from the Kennel Club in Obedience were Obedience Champion and Obedience Warrant. However the Kennel Club have in recent years introduced another goal in issuing awards of excellence.

This is a great incentive for people to have a go at obedience as there are Obedience Excellence awards for each competitive class, starting right at the start in the pre-beginner class. All the dog needs to do is gain 20 points in order to qualify for the award.

The points are awarded as follows:

  • 1st place = 10 points
  • 2nd place = 4 points
  • 3rd place = 2 points
  • 4th place = 1 point

We all know that the Chesapeake is a very versatile breed and one of the advantages of owning a Chesapeake is that you need not settle for one activity with your dog. In the past, I have been told by well-meaning gundog people that all my dogs should have just the one job. However all of my previous Chesapeakes have been multi-disciplinary.

Ramses has again proved those well-meaners wrong and now has official KC recognition of his achievements in two working disciplines. His obedience win in November 2023 actually took him to 29 points, thereby gaining his Beginner Excellence award. In addition to this he had already gained his Working Gundog Certificate in 2022. I am proud that he is now registered as Chesarab Saltmarsh WGC Beg Ex (Imp USA).

Why not give it a go with your Chesapeake?

Big congratulations to Debbie and Ramses – the first of our breed to gain this title and one for the history book.

Ramses and his Beginner Excellence certificate

Meanwhile, another Chesapeake has completed his Good Citizens KC Puppy Foundation Course. Congratulations to Richard Playle and homebred Roly, who also happened to win best puppy in breed at Crufts this year! Not a bad start to 2024 for one so young – the dog that is. Richard won’t mind me saying that he is a little longer in the tooth!

Richard and Roly

I was thrilled this last week that Dill (Sh Ch and Swedish Ch Arnac Bay Ardent) had earned his American Chesapeake Club Register of Merit Excellent.

The Register of Merit (ROM) is a programme that rewards those sires and dams who have made outstanding contributions to the Chesapeake Bay Retriever breed through their offspring. The ROM programme, unlike other programmes, does not reward the individual dog based on its achievements, but rather on the achievements of its offspring.

Dill, who now has an ACC Register of Merit Excellent

Although Dill is no longer with us, his ‘kids’ in the UK, Sweden and the USA had earned points for him in conformation, obedience, agility, hunt tests and health tests. Dill is the first UK-bred dog who has achieved this award. Hopefully there will be more. A truly great dog who is sorely missed.

To find out more about the Register of Merit programme, visit the American Chesapeake Club website.

And last but far from least it’s the club shows this coming weekend! Exciting! Please don’t forget that we have a silent auction and a raffle. Bring money and unwanted gifts! There is also a scurry and an Easter egg hunt. Don’t forget the photo booth too. There will be some refreshments consisting of home-made cake and the catering by Elijza Catering. Oh, and no need to bring your own chairs (unless you want comfort) – there are lovely plastic ones provided by the venue!

Christine Mayhew


17 March 2024

Firstly a correction to last week’s Crufts results where I mistakenly credited the ownership of Muireatai Life Journey at Daki to Lorna Murray when in fact he is owned by Charlene Chapman but was bred by Lorna. My apologies to Charlene. Incidently, this lad is sired by the eventual best of breed winner on the day – Gus.

As promised last week, a report on the fantastic educational experience that is ‘Discover Dogs’ held each day over the four days of Crufts dog show. Every breed has a booth with a small pen to show off the dogs and dedicated people are on hand to introduce and talk about the breed to the general public.

Lisa Murch runs this programme for our breed (very efficiently I may add) and Lisa is at the National Exhibition Centre on the day before the show starts, setting up the booth with information, photographs and general decoration – even down to the Maryland flag!

On the first day of the show (Thursday) Lisa manned the stand in the morning with dogs, Joss and Cora. Then Lisa was relieved in the afternoon by Cathy and Simon Broomfield with their dogs (Max, Ruby, Chilli, Lyra), the dogs taking turns in the pen so as to not tire them for the following day of competition exhibiting. Friday, which was Gundog Day, saw Gen Malcolm with Malin and Helen Blackhouse with Major taking the ropes as they were not showing in the breed classes. Saturday it was the turn of Sue Worrall with Inca and Vroni Royle with Togo. Finally, on the Sunday, it was the turn of Deb and Tom Herring with Indie. Deb and Tom then dismantled the stand to be stored for Lisa until next year. A great job by all as this can be a very, very tiring day. Many thanks to these volunteers, without whom the Club could not have a booth.

Indie in the Discover Dogs booth

To give an idea of the day’s work, Deb Herring has kindly written this report:

It was a very early 5 am start on Sunday morning to return to Crufts (after the breed classes on the Friday) to cover the Discover Dogs Stand and Indie snoozed for the whole car journey in preparation.

We arrived at an amazing display stand, set up by Lisa Murch who had also done a fantastic job of co-ordinating all the volunteers to cover the weekend. As Sunday is Best in Show day it was another sell-out day and the Discover Dogs stand saw plenty of footfall.

Ali with Inca and Togo in the DD booth on Saturday

There was lots of genuine interest in the breed from existing gundog and outdoor terrier people. Indie was her usual sweet natured self and was more than happy to be hugged, stroked and sit on laps of adults and children alike.

We had plenty of questions aimed at us about the Chesapeake best of breed winner, Gus, who they had seen on the TV, wanting to know about his personality and I happily pointed out all his relatives in pictures on the wall. Several people considering the breed were referred to the club website to find out more. Indie also had her own fan network of visitors who had seen her on the ‘spotted at Crufts’ Fairfax and Favor Instagram page.

Indie at the Fairfax and Favor stand

If anyone is interested in manning the Discover Dogs stand next year, please do contact Lisa who holds a list of volunteers (and presently needs someone for the Sunday). You don’t need to be an expert; you just need to tell people what the dogs are like to live with as a breed and what type of household they suit. You also need a friendly dog who can cope with people and noise.

All the breed history and information is available to hand out and available to be read on the display and providing you have a stock answer for ‘what is the difference between a Labrador and Chesapeake?’ (which you get asked about 100 times) I am sure that you will thoroughly enjoy spending the day bragging about this wonderful breed.

For those who have yet to experience Crufts, I have asked Rhian Poulton who, along with her gamekeeper husband Mark, attended their first Crufts this year. Thanks Rhian and congratulations to both of you. Rhian writes:

As most of you know, Mark’s old dog Oscar wasn’t for the show ring! So when we got Otto I said to Mark I would like to try showing him, as it’s something neither of us had ever done. We did our first show at last year’s Club show and qualified for Crufts! We were over the moon.

Roll on almost a year and Crufts came round. We entered three classes: one breed class (Post Grad) and two BASC (British Association of Shooting and Conservation) classes, the AV retriever for gamekeepers and AV retriever working gundog. We were in a small class in his Chesapeake breed class and he was second to a lovely dog.

Mark in the BASC classes at Crufts

The BASC classes were much bigger. I rushed into the Gamekeepers class that had already started early, and apologised profusely to the judge for being late! Otto strutted his stuff and was pulled second to a beautiful Flatcoat. No time to waste as the working gundog class followed on next. There were 21 in this class and it was Mark’s turn to handle. It was also his first time in the show ring! He and Otto were against a mix of Curlycoats, Tollers, Golden Retrievers, Flatcoats and Chessies. Both of them did a wonderful job and again, pulled second to a Flatcoat.

We did say we would do Crufts just once for the experience, but Otto has now already qualified to go next year – I guess we’ve got the Crufts bug! The Chessie community is a wonderful place to be. There is always someone pointing out ways to help you improve.

Mark and Otto at Crufts

A request from our Show Trophy Steward, Chris Hewitson: please can everyone who won a trophy at last year’s club show bring them back to this year’s show in a clean condition. Get out that silver polish and the elbow grease!

From our Club supply organisers, Cathy and Dave who have opened up another bill delivery window for the club shop. Orders placed by this Sunday (today) will be produced and shipped to Cathy in time to hand out at the club show. All the information on how to order is now on the new Shop page.

STOP PRESS. The Club is booked in with WINDSOR Championship Dog Show for our second open show of the year, so please enter Windsor Show (which is a lovely venue and has rather smart neighbours in the nearby castle). The date for your diaries is 28 June.

The judge for the Championship classes is Chesapeake person and our Club’s Vice President, Sandy Hastings, with a different judge, Marion Saragent judging the Open show straight after the championship classes, and Ros Davies judging the Specials classes.

Christine Mayhew

10 March 2024


First, the pre-Crufts show news from Lorna Murray where at South East Scotland Gundog Show, in a freezing equestrian centre, Muireatai Miracle of Dreams won open and best of breed, with kennel mate Muireatai Teris Love coming 2nd and reserve BOB.

And onto the week’s big event – CRUFTS!

A few brave volunteers and their dogs have been manning the Discover Dogs pen for Chesapeakes starting on Thursday and will continue until the end of Crufts today. They really do a great job so I will give all information and write up on these lovely people next week when the show is finished.

With our breed scheduled on the Friday, when it is normally not as busy as the weekend, I was hoping for a reasonably low showing of the great general public. Alas even our hall, which is the quietest in terms of footfall, there were people everywhere. To get around from one hall to another was a logistical nightmare, especially if you had a dog in tow.

The show is always popular for visitors and exhibitors from all over the world and this year was no exception. Of the 65 Chesapeakes entered, 12 were from overseas.

A few Chesapeakes were entered in the BASC classes which started the day at 9.00 am, luckily in the rings adjacent to us, as our breed judging started at 9.30 am. There were a few sprints of people and brown dogs between the two rings!

I do not have a record of the BASC results which have not been posted online and so I am relying on the results relayed to me by those exhibiting. Hebe, with her seasoned handler Joy, picked up a fourth in a large class of 24 working gundog bitches. Mark Poulton who had never shown a dog before did an amazing job and placed second with Otto and the AV retrievers for gamekeepers, topping it by winning another 2nd in a class of 21 for working gundog males. A great result for our breed. Well done, Mark. Mark’s wife, Rhian took Otto in the breed classes to pick up yet another second. A lot of blue cards heading back with this duo!

Mark and Otto in the BASC Gamekeeper classes

On to the breed classes, this time being judged by Dr R James. First class in the ring was veteran dog. The class winner was Sh Ch Arnac Weatherdeck Buoy, with his half-brother, Ryder, a close second.

Next up was puppy dog, with Richard Playle’s youngster, Riptide Gentleman’s Relish (Roly) taking top honours. Roly went on to eventually win best puppy in breed.

Junior dog sadly only had one entry, Penrose Tay, who, irrespective of the lack of competition was a worthy winner for the Earles.

Graduate dog winner was Lorna’s Muiratai Life Journey at Dkai who had made the long trip from Scotland.

Richard and Tilly with Roly

Limit dog was young Tideflight Floki who has already won one CC and has a bright future. He is owned and bred by Jason and Julie Hayes.

Open dog and the battle of the grown ups was won by Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle, aka Gus, who has a very impressive CV and went on to win his 20th CC for owners Maddie and James.

Special working gundog was Caroline’s Ch Migwell Solomons Puzzle, and the Good Citizen Class was won by Vroni’s Battsrock Are You Ready.

On to the challenge for best male and the dogs trotted around before the judge pointed at Gus and handler James. As is his prerogative, the judge then asked for the second placed dog from the open class to come back into the ring to challenge the other first place winners for the reserve CC award. In this case the dog was Lisa Murch’s Sh Ch Next Generations Arnac Arctic Storm, co-owned by me and handled on the day by a very competent young handler, Katie King who was handed the reserve ticket.

Maddie and James with Gus

On to the bitch (female) classes, starting with a very large veteran class where Dave and Thelma Thompson’s Arnac Bay Gamble took top honours, handled by Gemma McCartney, and eventually won best veteran in breed.

Next up were the puppy and junior classes, both of which were won by Arnac Bay Jellicoe
co-owned and handled by Joy Middleton.

Post graduate bitch saw Ros Madden bring out her Arnac Bay Hawthorn from a long spell away from the show ring to win from a large entry of 8. She then went on to place 2nd in the next class (Limit bitch) where Janet Morris’s Baymoss Tweed of Penrose took top honours.

Open bitch saw last year’s best of breed, Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe take the 1st place after a run off (literally side by side) with her sister Sh Ch Arnac Bay Harvest.

On to the Special Working gundog bitch and this went to one of our foreign visitors, from the Czech Republic, CZ/SK/PL Ch Daisy OD Hostalky who won the reserve CC at last year’s Crufts.

The last class of the day was the Good Citizens Scheme bitch and this was won by my own veteran Sh Ch Arnac Bay Flax.

Onto the challenge for best bitch (CC) and this went to the special working gundog winner, Jana Kucharova’s Daisy, with Hebe winning the reserve CC. A reversal of last year’s placings.

Jana's Daisy

The final showdown was now between Daisy and Gus for the top honour of best of breed and it was lovely to see the two of them striding out in the challenge. There was a huge whoop of excitement from the crowd when the judge chose Gus to go forward to ‘the big ring’ for the gundog group judging. A long wait as usual but the group finally started just after 7 pm.

For those who watched the gundog group on Channel 4, you will all know that Gus and James put on a great performance, striding around the ring, and was shortlisted in the final decision.

Crufts Best of Breed winner Gus, with owners Maddie and James

Gus and last year’s winner, Hebe, are littermates and have both now won 20 CCs. With great young handlers, James, Maddie and Joy, the friendly rivalry continues.

Please let me have any news for inclusion in BNW.

Christine Mayhew

3 March 2024

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club held its AGM last weekend via Zoom. This was the first time that the AGM had been held online and it proved a great success. Whilst a live meeting is always sociable and is preferred by some, the saving in time for those who would normally have to travel a long distance is so worthwhile. It also makes the meeting accessible to every one of our very spread out membership, from the North of Scotland to the Isle of Wight.

Following the AGM, we are thrilled to have a new member co-opted onto the committee, namely Tracy Boyles who writes of herself:

Workwise, I am a registered nurse now working in the community, having worked in the hospital wards on medical and high dependency for too many years.

I am married to Graham who suffers me and my dog obsession with grace most of the time. Living in the Highlands near Loch Awe gives me plenty of opportunities for walking. I haven’t bagged any Munros yet though.

I have been around the show rings since being at school, beginning with a Golden Retriever then Irish Setters, and a Springer Spaniel.

There were a few years after getting married that I did not show any dogs, but I did have a Dobermann and a Jack Russell. In those days I used to get around on a motorbike, always keeping within the speed limits of course!

Long haired pointer at a dog show
Tracy judging German long-haired pointers in 2017

I have shown dogs all over Europe and Ireland and have managed to get to two world dog shows with German Longhaired Pointers taking BOB. We did some work with them both: Breac was used for wildfowling and Affie really enjoyed being out in the field. I took her to HPR training every month. She really excelled at retrieving, attaining a third place at a working test. We also had a day out working before completing a natural aptitude test with flying colours. She never failed to find a retrieve out of water.

I no longer have any pointers. I currently have an English Setter without any brain cells, three Portuguese Podengos of which two are International Champions, one a Belgium champion and the other one a Luxembourge champion – and then of course my gorgeous Chesapeake, Gibbs.

Tracy cuddling Gibbs

I have served on a few committees over the years: the Northern Portuguese Podengo Association, the English Setter Club of Scotland, and Working and Pastoral Breeds of Scotland for a short time.

I am currently secretary for the Portsonachan Bowls Club and have been doing this for the last ten years. I am also secretary for the local village hall and have been in this post for the last two years.

Thank you Tracy and a big welcome.

At Yorkshire Gundog and under judge, Mr Graham Erving, Maddy Mahon-Hunns took Hudson (Susqudilla Bergelle Big Apple) on his first solo outing without big brother Gus. Although still a puppy, the boy did good, winning best puppy in breed, then going on to beat the ‘grown-ups’ to best of breed! It would seem that great future beckons for this young Yank!

The American Kennel Club is always coming up with new titles for owners to aim for with their dogs, and the latest is the AKC Fetch title which was created as another activity in which owners could have fun with their dogs.

The AKC says: “Earning AKC Fetch titles provides opportunities for both physical and mental exercise. While some dogs are natural retrievers, AKC Fetch, especially at the advanced levels, will involve teaching new skills such as retrieving.”

AKC Fetch is a pass-fail non-competitive test. The four levels of titles (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Retriever) assess the ability of the dog to retrieve.

AKC Fetch logo

In the Advanced and Retriever levels, the dog must respond correctly to signals. There is also a memory component in Advanced and Retriever where a retrieving bumper or ball is dropped (or thrown) behind a blind so it cannot be seen. For each of the four titles, the dog must pass the test twice under two different approved AKC Fetch judges.

Of course, this is a title that our breed will find easier than the non-retriever breeds, but it would also serve as a starter for gundog work and competition. What another great idea from AKC. It would be lovely if our KC could follow suit as this sort of thing gives owners the incentive to do more with their dogs, which in turn is great for the dogs themselves. 

Christine Mayhew

25 February 2024

A quick but important veterinary note for your information is that Xylitol, the sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs is now being labelled as ‘birch sugar’. Although this has been used as a sugar substitute for decades, its popularity has increased dramatically in the last decade. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of Xylitol can cause hyperglycaemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, or even death in dogs. So if you use products containing this substance (chewing gum, for instance), make sure they are stored safely out of reach of your dogs.

The latest Chesapeake Chat and yearbook is now printed and ready to be distributed. The editor, Joy Middleton, will be taking copies to Crufts and to the club show for people to collect in person. Any that are not collected at these events will be sent out but all collected will naturally save the Club in postage so please look up Joy on the Chesapeake benches at Crufts or at the club show.

Also available at both events will be the new UK Book of Champions which gives details of ALL UK show champions since the breed was awarded CCs and able to make up Champions. Each page names the dog, gives its pedigree, details of where and when it won its championship qualification awards, and every dog bar a very few, has a photograph or more. This is a great source of information for now and for years to come and will be of interest to every Chesapeake enthusiast. More so, it will be a fantastic resource for those who like to study history and pedigrees of the dogs or for anyone thinking of breeding or just looking up their own dog’s relatives. So much information is lost over the years if it is not documented. Copies of the book can be obtained or ordered from Joy who spent many hours compiling this and will be offering them for sale at £15 each.

Book of Champions cover

Show news and at the Dukeries Gundog Club’s Premier open show James Newton handled his and Maddie Mahon’s Gus (Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle) to take best of breed and then go Group 3 for best in show from 26 other gundog breeds. Reserve best of breed and best puppy in breed was Maddie, Joy and Robyn’s young import, Hudson, quite an achievement for one so young! Congratulations all.

James and Gus
James and Gus
Puppy Hudson peeking
Maddie, Joy and Robyn's Hudson

Fantastic news from Sweden is that the judge for their club show this year is our very own committee member and judges co-ordinator James Newton. James is now passed (certified) by our Royal Kennel Club to award Challenge Certificates in Chesapeakes, Gordon Setters and German Shepherds, and this will be his first overseas judging appointment for Chesapeakes. The Swedish Club Show is on 27 July for anyone wishing to incorporate a holiday in Sweden with a dog show. The event is normally attended by Chesapeake enthusiasts and exhibitors from all the Scandinavian countries and from other European countries as well. I am sure that James, being a Chesapeake owner and exhibitor himself, will draw a great entry, as did our UK judge and breeder, Caroline Griffin-Woods when she judged in Sweden last year.

Swedish Chesapeake Show

Wildfowlers take note – there is a special class for you and your dogs at the upcoming club show on 31 March. Camouflage gear optional but it would be fun – please join in. Entries on the day or in advance (links to the show entries are on the Shows page). Anyone not knowing how to enter, send me an email or FB message – Chrissie Arnac Mayhew, and I or one of the committee can talk you through or do the entries on your behalf. Last year we had some first-time handlers who had a great time and some good laughs (Steve Camoccio). The club show is like that, very friendly, fun, and not too serious, with Chesapeake owners from all over the UK joining in. Come along even if you don’t want to enter your dog in the show. You will have a fun time.

This year we have another great cake made by the talented Julie Gifford and gallons of bucks fizz that needs drinking on the day before the bubbles fade. The Hungarian Wire-haired Vizsla Club is sharing a hall with us and we are sharing catering facilities with them with Eliza Jade Catering. Once again there are masses of goodies for the classes sponsored by Sporting Saint (gundog equipment), Josera dog food, Acme whistles, the rosette shed, Variare leads and collars, and many others. A scurry, a photobooth, a raffle and another great auction, it promises to be a fantastic show once again.

The judge for the Championship Show is Mike Blay who, us oldies will remember, used to handle a Chesapeake for Sandy Hastings back in the day when he was a youth handler. Mike is now an all-round gundog judge but has continued to be interested in the breed and has judged them many times before at both open and championship level.

Entries close on 11 March for the regular show classes.

Please note – the spring working test information and entry details are now available to download from the Events page.

Christine Mayhew

18 February 2024

News from Cumbria where Debbie Crewe’s imported lad, Ramses (Chesarab Saltmarsh WGC) has passed his Kennel Club Good Citizens Gold award. This is the highest level in the Good Citizen scheme and is not handed out willy nilly, so a big congratulations to Debbie and Ramses. Details of the scheme can be found on the KC website.

Whilst in the North, the Club’s spring working test now has a fabulous new venue. With a training day to be held on Saturday 20 April, and the tests the next day, our trainers and judges are Emma-Louise Stevens and Adam Peace who many of you may already know.

Our working test secretary, Dave Rigby, writes:

The training day and tests will be held just outside the Cumbrian village of Brough with its old castle ruin. The location is shortly after the village heading east on the B6276. The farm where it is being held is at the bottom of a steep farm track with camping available behind one of the barns.
There is a variety of terrain, from flat fields to steeply banked ravines and a fast flowing stream to make for interesting training and tests.

To add to experience, there are roe deer wandering around the farm with sheep, horses, hens and peacocks. Along with the farm dogs it is essential our dogs are kept on leads in the grounds when not training or competing in the tests.
There will be a pub meal arranged for the Saturday evening.

Ramses the Chesapeake
Debbie's Ramses

Entry forms and all the information you need to come along and join in will be on the website shortly.

So everyone, now is the time to get your dogs accustomed to peacocks although I am sure they will stay well away from the tests! I can remember one time on Chilgrove shoot when I was quietly standing on a track during the drive, marking birds down and sending for runners, when suddenly this ‘thing’ landed in the bushes beside me. Yes, a full grown peacock. It gave me a big surprise as I was expecting pheasants, not peacocks. The dogs looked pretty surprised too! Luckily the bird regained its composure and ambled away seemingly uninterested in the likes of us and we returned to concentrating on the real thing! On asking about it later, I discovered that a very large and impressive house not too far away had several just wandering loose on the South Downs.

Show news and at Barrow and District Kennel Association’s Centenary Open Show, Cathy Broomfield showed Lyra (Glaniells Don’t Worry Be Happy) to best of breed, with David Rigby handling his dark brown dog, Gunnar (Chesepi Waco) to reserve best of breed.

Roll onto United Retriever Club’s open show held last Wednesday at the Kennel Club Buildings, Stoneleigh, and what a day for our breed. The United Retriever Club has been in existence for as long as I can remember and caters for the six retriever breeds in the UK, namely the Labradors, Goldens, Curly Coats, Flatcoats, Nova Scotia Duck Tollers, and the Chesapeake Bays. The Club holds field trials, working tests, and has two open shows and one Championship show every year.

With 242 dogs of the retriever breeds entered for the show on the day, we started off with the Chesapeake classes where Hebe (Sh Ch and International Ch. Arnac Bay Hebe WGC ShCEx EW22) won best of breed with her daughter Jelli (Arnac Bay Jellicoe) winning best puppy. Cathy Broomfield handled her own Max (Glaneills Count on Me) to win the best opposite sex and reserve best of breed.

Chesapeake at dog show
Kirsty winning Best Veteran in Show

Next up the variety classes where all of the retriever breeds are eligible to enter and compete against each other. The best in show judge will go through these classes and our breed’s first success was in the brace class where Joy Middleton bravely handled Hebe and her daughter, Jelli, trotting along together and threatening to have a good rough and tumble game in the middle of their performance, which is what many of us expected and were looking forward to seeing. However they stayed on track and won!

URC Brace class
Joy with Hebe and Jelli in the brace class

Kirsty Watts was the next one to fly the flag by winning the special working class and then best veteran (which automatically gave her best veteran in show) with Oakmarsh Acorn VW SGWC.

Onto best in show where the six best of breed dogs challenged each other and, much to our surprise and elation, the judge Carole Coode picked Hebe for best in show. A great celebration for me and Joy as owners, and for all of our friends who stayed to watch Joy handle her to perfection. Another tick in the box for the breed.

Christine Mayhew

Joy with Hebe winning Best in Show
11 February 2024

It has been necessary to change the venue for this year’s CBRC spring working test, which will now be held at Brough, near Penrith in Cumbria. Full details of the venue will be in next week’s BNW and on the Events page, from where entry forms will also be available to download early next week.

The entries are now all in for Crufts Dog Show to be held at the National Exhibition Centre over four days starting on Thursday 7 March, with our gundog day being Friday 8 March. Our judge Dr R W James is an all-round judge who judges many different breeds and was in fact due to judge Best in Show at Crufts in 2019. A retired veterinary surgeon, and beagle breeder, he pulled out of judging on that occasion due to his previous association with a medical research establishment. I believe that he has judged our breed three times before at championship level although he judges many other breeds in all groups.

Whilst I personally would always prefer a breed specialist or gundog judge, Crufts, by virtue of its fame, will always draw a good entry and this year we have an entry of 65 Chesapeakes. Entries made by our breed total 94 including second classes entered and, of course, the gamekeeper classes where last year’s show saw Chesapeakes winning both the dog and bitch classes for Any Retriever Other Than Labrador.

We are first in the ring (Ring 36 in Hall 5) so an early start. The gamekeeper classes are normally in the adjacent rings which is perfect for those having to dash between the two. Spanish Water Dogs follow us in the ring. A great social event, Crufts is always worth a visit with so many trade stands and many other competitions, from flyball to agility and obedience, and there is too much to take in on one day alone.

Other show news from Cathy Broomfield who is flying the flag for the breed and says

We have had local Gundog open shows for two weekends in a row. First of all Border Counties where Max was awarded best of breed under judge Jim Richardson. Then last weekend at Merseyside Gundog where Max was best of breed and his sister Ruby was reserve under judge Jane Howarth. This was topped by the variety classes where both dogs gained second places in big classes of limit and open respectively.
Max, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Cathy and Simon's Max

Hudson is a male puppy recently imported from Robyn Haskins in the USA and is owned jointly by Robyn, Maddie Mahon-Hunns and Joy Middleton. At only 6 months old, Hudson recently went best puppy in breed at Isle of Ely Open Show and then went on to win Puppy Group 2. A couple of weeks later and Hudson went to Stoke on Trent Gundog Show where he not only went best puppy in breed but also best of breed! A bright future for this young lad and, looking to the future, some new bloodlines for the breed in this country.

Puppy Chesapeake Bay Retriever at a dog show
Maddie, Joy and Robyn's recently imported puppy Hudson

Sad news from Richard Playle is that he has lost his old dog, Sh Ch Riptide Beaver after a short illness. Beaver was bred by Richard from Riptide Islaurona, and she was sired by Riverrun Away In A Hack.

Born in June 2011, Beaver was a lovely looking Chesapeake who earned and easily deserved the title of Show Champion. Like so many of the breed, Beaver was also a fantastic working dog, heading out to the marshes of Essex and beyond on so many of Richard’s wildfowling trips.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever at a dog show
Richard's Beaver

Tilly tells me that Beaver was the most determined scavenger, hunting out anything edible around the farm, and emptying any refuse bag she could find. There is even a story of when some campers put a bag on the roof of a car, assuming it would be out of reach from Beaver. Wrong! She managed to climb onto the roof where she happily laid down and sorted through her ‘treasure’.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever retrieving from water
Beaver doing what she loved best

A great life for a great dog but it is always sad when they leave us. Our thoughts go out to Richard and his family. Happy hunting geese and garbage across the rainbow bridge, Beaver.

Christine Mayhew

4 February 2024

An exciting last weekend for me. I had been invited by the Norwegian Retriever Club to give a seminar about the breed to their judges and student judges. So it was that I flew out of Heathrow to Oslo last Friday.

I landed in a thick snow covered airport with snow still falling at an impressive rate (the airport was later closed for 1½ hours) and was met by Maud, one of the Chesapeake breed council. Luckily Maud hailed originally from the very north of Norway and thought nothing of zooming through very white roads. Being a Brit from the South, I was loving the winter landscape.

I was very impressed by the Norwegian Retriever Club as they had organised a weekend of education for their judges to cover three breeds, and had seminars on the Nova Scotia Retriever, the Chesapeake, and the Curly Coat, all numerically small in Norway.

Accommodation and education was all held in a glorious hotel with perfect facilities to show powerpoint presentations, lovely rooms, and excellent food. We even had soft ice cream and popcorn on tap from the foyer near the lecture room! Perfect!

Chrissie presenting at the seminar in Norway

Over the previous months, I had put together a presentation using the Federation Cynologique Internationale breed standard for our breed, which differs from our UK one in slightly different use of wording and breakdown but is almost identical to the American standard.

Luckily most Norwegians speak and understand English as both my presentation and that of the Nova Scotia (given by a lady from the Netherlands) was spoken in English. The Curly Coat presenter was Norwegian and naturally used his native language.

I had used photographs from my (very) vast collection to demonstrate each part of the breed standard and to demonstrate why the standard is so effective in describing a dog designed for his work. Thanks to many wildfowlers worldwide working their dogs in cold, icy and muddy conditions, and to others who patiently took photos of dogs’ fronts, rears and every other part of their anatomy. I hope to think I covered everything with photos. I certainly had very few questions at the end.

About forty judges attended, some of whom I recognised from international shows. The Norwegian Chesapeake Breed Council printed and gave out a full copy of the American Chesapeake Club’s illustrated guide to the breed, and we had 12 Chesapeakes present at the end of the talk for me to assess and the judges to go over. All in all a fantastic learning opportunity. I and the Chesapeake Council had many compliments, with the main question at the end being ‘why is this breed not more popular?’ Hopefully it now will be in Norway!

Roll on the next seminar to be held the day before our club show, when I will be reverting to the UK Breed Standard wording with a collection of interesting photographs to include the history of the breed and some really impressive retrieving pictures.

Vroni Royle writes about her first season out shooting with her Chesapeake ‘Togo’:

Togo and I are new to the gundog and Chessie world. I’ve been taking him to gundog training since he was little and done the tests but I had so little trust in myself that I always thought we would be laughed at. Gosh, the first day I arrived in leggings!

Early this season however, Deborah Herring offered that I could come and join the beaters to see what it is like. I loved it! The following week I brought Togo and many treats and a line … he soon surpassed my expectations. He loved being out working, coming back, beating! He loved being with other dogs and we both discovered a new side of us.

Togo and his partridge
Togo and his partridge

Fast forward to today and it was beaters day! By now I hardly needed treats but with birds coming down everywhere his urge to retrieve overcame the better of him as he spotted a clipped partridge, followed and retrieved it. Super proud human here! We shall not mention that he held on to it longer than desired but with the bird perfectly intact, it’s just something else we can train for next season. Thank you UK Chessie world for welcoming us.

I think this perfectly demonstrates how inbred the desire to work is in our breed, and how the experience of seeing your dog just switch into work mode when faced with the job is something to experience and never fully described. Long may it continue.

Debbie Herring tells us that a gundog trainer and Flatcoat owner, Andrew Durrant, has written an ebook for people who are new to minority breeds, offering hints and tips from choosing a suitable puppy through to puppy and adult training advice. Andrew wants to raise the profile of minority breeds and encourage new owners, so is offering the book free of charge. To get a copy you just send him an email and he sends a link back to download an e-copy of the book. His email is glenturret.ad@gmail.com.

Christine Mayhew


Front cover of Andrew Durrant's ebook
28 January 2024

First, the Our Dogs top puppy for the year is confirmed as Pixiesrock Green Kirkle, and not as published by another breed writer. Congratulations to Lisa Murch who is both owner and breeder. Cora, as she is known at home, is sired by Sh Ch Arnac Weatherdeck Buoy and out of Chesepi Utica.

When I saw Lesley Cumper’s post recently about her Chesapeake Fin doing Hoopers, I was intrigued as I had never heard of it, and so I asked Lesley to write a little bit about the sport. Lesley writes:

Fin began Hoopers training in July last year with Froghall Hoopers and he loves it.

I chose Hoopers as an activity as it is low impact and teaches the dogs distance handling skills so anyone can do it as there’s no need to run with your dog. Hoopers teaches you to negotiate a course of hoops, barrels, tunnels and a mat using verbal cues. It’s fast-paced but no tight turns or jumping involved.

Fin has really taken to it, and after a few months of learning the foundation exercises, he was soon putting the exercises together to run a course, and he’s fast! We are looking forward to trying out some competitions this summer.

Lesley's Fin

This sounds great fun and so good for the dogs’ brains and fitness, maybe some more Chessies will try?

A fun day was had at Manchester dog show held at Stafford Showground. Thankfully the temperature was reasonable as this venue can be so, so cold depending on which hall you are in. Our benching however was a considerable distance from the ring and so many of us stayed ringside (we only saw the notice saying not to put crates ringside halfway through the day – oops).

The well known and very experienced judge, Frank Kane had the job of judging us but we all had to wait until the completion of judging of first the Bracco Italianos (and how popular they have become with 76 dogs entered) and then the German Wire Haired Pointers (entry of 38), both of whom were in the ring before us. Needless to say, the wait was long, and made the day very long. Whilst waiting and watching, I tried to learn something about the Braccos who move in such a loose and free way – but I digress!

There were 31 Chesapeakes entered and it was lovely to see some new kids on the block (or in the ring), including a new US imported male pup from Robyn Haskins, owned by Robyn, Maddie and Joy. It is always good to have some good new bloodlines for the breed here in the UK.

Waiting for the judging to start

Frank Kane, always efficient, went through his classes decisively until it came to choosing best of breed between the dog CC winner, Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle, and the bitch CC winner, his litter sister, Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe.

Frank moved them, moved them again, and moved them again. Thank goodness both handlers (James Newton and Joy Middleton) are young and reasonably fit as it was an exercise and a half, and kept us all guessing as to how it was going to end. These two have often met in ‘the challenge’ and have swapped places many a time but today it was the turn of Gus (Huron) to take the top honours.

Gus with James and Maddie

Unbelievably Gus went on to win Group 4 (4th) in the gundog group. A great honour as not many Chesapeakes have been placed in group judging over the years. Gus is owned by Madeleine Mahon Hunns and James Newton, and Hebe is owned by Joy Middleton and myself.

Reserve CC winner for dogs was the veteran dog winner and the best veteran Sh Ch Next Generations Chesepi Range Rider, and reserve bitch CC winner was the best veteran bitch winner, my own Sh Ch Arnac Bay Flax, both beating a stack of youngsters and proving that the oldies can still do it! Ryder is owned by Molly Barker and was handled by her daughter, Michelle.

Molly's Ryder

It was really great to see and chat to Angela Corcoran with her new puppy. Angela lost her old Chesapeake a while ago and this was her first show with the pup, Oakmarsh Kingsley Adsila who won the bitch puppy class, the pair then going on to win best special beginner.

Best puppy overall, however, was Richard and Tilly’s home-bred dog, Riptide Gentleman’s Relish, known as Roly, who certainly made an impression. A very successful start for this lad who was being shown for the first time.

Richard's Roly

Overall a good day for the breed made special by the Group 4 placing. Home time and we all had to battle storm conditions on the way, with wind and rain playing havoc. Luckily everyone got home safely but with some tales to tell!

Christine Mayhew


21 January 2024

Not everyone has the opportunity to go picking up, so first this week Anthony Ciraolo reports on a smashing day a few friends had last weekend:

Following on from our little get-together back in October when a small group of Chessie owners from up north got together for a training session, we got an invitation to make up a Chessie-only picking up team, to be worked on a small shoot that Mark Poulton, who is the gamekeeper and owns and works his Chessie Otto on.

Mark’s wife Rhian came up with the idea that a picking up team that consisted only of Chesapeakes would be a good opportunity to show off our breed to their guns, and also some of the dogs invited could gain from some quality experience in the field, picking up freshly shot game.

Siddington Syndicate Shoot is a friendly shoot where the guns mingle with the beaters and dog handlers, which made the Chessie owners, who might have been a little nervous, feel welcomed and relaxed.

We met up in the morning at the shoot barn, where we got acquainted with the guns and beaters over a brew. The shoot captain went through some dos and don’ts, and we were on our way.

Caroline with Broc and Rina, Rhian and Mark with Otto, Sue with Inka, Anthony with Ebb, and Dave with Gunnar and Trigger

The first drive was a short distance away. On our arrival we were placed out to cover the line of guns. The handlers with less experience paired up with a regular picker upper who helped and directed us on where to stand and what to do. It was a great opening drive and a good warm up for what was in store. Most of our dogs had the opportunity to retrieve pheasants.

We went back to the barn, from where the rest of the day’s shooting was within walking distance. The next drive saw more pheasants shot and Sue’s Inka retrieved her first freshly shot birds. I also believe that Caroline’s dog Broc made a fantastic retrieve from a gulley.

Mark and Anthony

On the third drive I noticed a partridge that had been lightly shot, but on coming down, made its way to a wood valley. Ebb and I went off to go and find it which meant I missed the rest of the drive, but I knew Sue had my back covered with Inka. Said partridge took around 15 minutes to find but we did, so that meant the guns had to put some money in the charity box, as partridge was classed as a fineable bird on this shoot.

The next drive was action packed and saw ducks and pheasant shot. At this point the guns had got their eye in and the picking up became more frequent. The following drives were equally as productive which gave Dave Rigby’s two dogs plenty of work to do. All dogs did a fantastic job of retrieving the mixed bag, which consisted of pheasants, partridge, ducks, woodcock, a crow and a jay. We went back to the shoot barn where one of the beaters had prepared a meal of coq au vin made with the previous shoot’s pheasants.

A huge thank you goes to the Siddington Syndicate Shoot for allowing this shoot to go ahead, and to Mark and Rhian for organising it. It was said that the bag was above average, and we like to think it was down to the Chessies not missing many birds.

It was a fabulous day and so great to spend it with friends. Thanks so much to Mark and Rhian for making it possible.

If you haven’t yet entered the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club Championship and Open shows at the end of March, now is the time to get your entries in. The day before the show, there is also a great learning opportunity anyone who wishes to learn more about breed history and the breed standard. Aspiring judges will have the opportunity to complete the MCE (providing they meet all criteria of JEP Level 1) and to potentially partake in a Group Mentoring session – subject to passing the MCE. Our breed speaker is the highly experienced breeder/owner/judge Chrissie Arnac Mayhew!

For more information, please contact James Newton at cbrbec@gmail.com to ensure your enquiry does not get lost.

Please don’t forget that subscriptions were due on 1 January. There is a grace period until the end of January, after which membership will need to be reapplied for. If you have any questions regarding membership, please get in touch with Maddie at

I gave my email to someone today, and as he read it, he said to me, ‘Chesapeake Blue – is that a cheese?’ Those who know me will not be surprised that I was oblivious to his joke, and started to tell him about dogs on Chesapeake Bay! Chrissie will be back next week and she will no doubt bring her sense of humour with her.

Sue Worrall

14 January 2024

Well, no news this week so I will revert to history instead, as found in my endless library of cut outs and photocopies. American Field magazine/paper, pronouncing itself to be ‘The Sportsman’s Journal’, published an article on 24 January 1931, some 93 years ago, which I reproduce as written:

There is a commendable movement under way to bring about recognition of a single Chesapeake Bay Dog standard. The American Field is eager to give space to any news which will add impetus to this undertaking. The striking photograph of three undefeated Chesapeake Bay Dogs, which is reproduced as the cover illustration for the present issue is particularly interesting from the viewpoint of the breeder of this remarkable canine, unquestionably America’s foremost retriever and a gundog of quality.

The dogs depicted are Lake Como Beaver, Lake Como Sprig and Bud Parker’s Prince, all three the property of that keen Philadelphia fancier, Charles W. Berg. The latter has been prominently alive in the effort to reconcile the stands of the East and the West in so far as Chesapeake Bay color and type in concerned. It has been his constant aim and endeavour to breed the best specimens procurable from all sections of the United States and Canada in order to develop a type that would be satisfactory, not only to sportsmen in all parts of the country, but to judges of bench shows as well.

The dogs shown represent three distinct types. Lake Como Beaver is typically an original eastern specimen. His mother, Lake Como Sprig, the centre figure in the photographs, is representative of the western dog. Bud Parker’s Prince, pictured on the extreme right, is a pure-bred Canadian Chesapeake by Champion Bud Parker out of Champion Bell II. Even one with little knowledge of, or experience with the breed will notice the difference in the type of these dogs, regardless of the fact that their ages vary somewhat. At the time the photograph was taken about a month ago, Beaver was eleven months old, Sprig three years of age and Prince, eight months.

We have Mr Berg’s word for it that western fanciers would tell you Sprig is the perfect specimen, the ideal type. In the Chesapeake Bay section from whence comes the breed name, breeders would affirm that Beaver is a marvellous eleven month old puppy. But if you chanced to ask a Canadian Chesapeake Bay enthusiast, he would most likely inform you that Prince would be hard to excel for a puppy. Yet the difference in the type of each dog is easily discernable.

In the reading columns of the Kennel Department we publish a communication from Anthony A Bliss of Westbury, New York who has been authorised by the American Chesapeake Bay Dog Club to canvass the fanciers of this breed in an effort to bring forth a universally recognized standard. Mr Bliss has mailed circulars to a large list of Chesapeake breeders many of whom have courteously sent their views of the present standard and what they consider the ideal type. It is to be hoped, earnestly, that this campaign will not only do away with the present dissension in the ranks of Chesapeake fanciers, but elicit a standard that will have the united support of the entire country.

Concluding this brief editorial on one of the most popular of American sporting dogs, it might be remarked that the hope of breed betterment and improvement depends upon the recognition of a single standard. Sportsmen like Messrs Berg and Bliss are to be complimented on their sincere efforts to spread appreciation of this noble animal.

American Field Magazine, 1931.

Christine Mayhew

7 January 2024

A significant LKA win that I omitted to mention in the last breed notes, was Katy Duncanson with Thor (Arnac Bay Invincible at Dunakitts) who really made a mark for the breed by winning a huge Good Citizen Stakes class and walking away with £50! For those who are unused to show prizes, we normally get absolutely nothing! The fact that a Chesapeake beat some top winning dogs in more commonly seen breeds, is fantastic.

Katy's Thor

At the very end of last year, Caroline Pont and Diva (Sh Ch Oakmarsh Dancing Diva), won first in open and BOB under Julien Barney, at Ashbourne and District CS open show where they were classifying the breed for the first time. Diva then went on to win Best Gundog Veteran, and to top it all Group 3, a fantastic result.

Preparations are already under way for the club show on the last weekend of March so just a reminder to put the date in your diary and to save any unwanted Christmas gifts for the raffle!

Caroline and Diva

This week saw Kevin Amaira mentor Joy Middleton on the ‘art’ of wildfowling by taking her out on grounds managed by Langstone and District Wildfowlers. The birds obviously had heard of their arrival and flew well out of range so no shots were made but by all accounts the two humans and dogs, Hebe and Zoar, had a good time out in a lovely setting, and watched a very beautiful dawn.

Joy and Kevin with Hebe and Zoar

I have been rummaging through old letters, paperwork, and cuttings recently, all relating to Chesapeakes and the early days of our breed in this country (and some abroad). So much fascinating stuff, much of which I had forgotten. I had to rack my brains to remember what BFSS stood for when I read a report of a country show where I and others had some Chessies present for the early ‘meet the breed’ events. (The Chessies also won the scurry on that particular day.) Then I remembered – British Field Sports Society – of course, the name had to be changed to provoke less antagonism from those early ‘woke’ people and is now known as the Countryside Alliance. I wonder how many less physical attacks the shoots would have suffered in those days had the name been different then.

In a similar vein, a report from a show relates the story of how Angela Ingram won so much in the way of dog food and prizes from Pedigree Chum, with her very successful Arnac Bay Eventide of Barklands, that she could barely stagger back to her car with the goodies. This was in the days when Pedigree Chum sponsored all of the championship shows and it was exciting to make your way to their stand with your best of breed, best opposite sex, or best puppy voucher to pick up food and a variety of prizes, from engraved glasses, to Pedigree Chum towels and umbrellas, dog bowls, etc.

All that changed soon after a very one-sided TV programme ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’ altered the attitude of the day and made us (dog breeders and people who showed dogs) out to be the bad guys.

I could understand and have always agreed in the opinion that some breeds have been bred for exaggerated features and are causing problems, for example bulldogs that can’t breathe, Shar Peis with entropion, skin problems, and other conditions in an assortment of breeds. I suppose that the programme did some good in forcing the Kennel Club to act on those specific breeds, but sadly the producers tarred us all with the same brush and public opinion turned against us. Ever aware of what the public think, Pedigree Chum stopped sponsoring dog shows.

Of course our breed is very healthy, and the Chesapeake breed standard by which the judges judge asks for the type of dog that is fit and healthy and capable of doing a day’s work, but no mention was made of the ‘good’ dogs or their owners. Maybe the word ‘gundog’ would have sparked another anti-shooting debate anyway?

Christine Mayhew

30 December 2023

Well 2023 is coming to a close, and what a fantastic year it has been for our breed.

More shows have classified the breed so we are not always the ‘any other variety gundog’, more dogs have been competing at the shows and in the working tests, and more dogs going to genuine wild fowling homes than I can remember. And the breed continues to be a true dual purpose breed. Long may it continue.

The club has been very active again this year:

At the end of April, we held a championship show, an open show, and a special award show at the Kennel Club Building in Stoneleigh. The following day we had a breed appreciation and judges educational day at the same venue, with our judge from the USA giving a seminar.

On to May and the club spring tests were held at Selborne, Hampshire, running four classifications, namely puppy, novice dog/novice handler, beginner and unclassified open.

In June, in Dorrington, Shrewsbury, and the Club held a day for the Chesapeake Working Certificate day with six dogs passing level one, five passing level two, and two passing level three.

There was yet another working event the following day when the Chesapeake Club hosted a friendly minor breed working test at the same venue with teams of Chesapeakes, Irish Water Spaniels, Flatcoats and Curlycoats.

August saw the next club open show, held in conjunction with the National Gundog Show at Malvern, Worcestershire.

In September it was time for the Club’s autumn working test, this time at Roanlodge, near Buxton, with a training day on the Saturday and the actual test on the Sunday.

All Club show and working test results will be reported on in full in the yearbook.

‘One-off’ awards for 2023:

Passing the Kennel Club Working Gundog certificate:
Pixiesrock Maestro Cadenza

Gaining CBRC Chesapeake Working Certificates:
Level one:
Show Champion Arnac Bay Harvest
Arnac Bay Invincible at Dunakits
Glaniels Catch Me If You Can
Chesarab Saltmarsh
Riverrun Finnegan’s Wake
Pixiesrock Maestro Cadenza.
Level two:
Petsalls Canuck
Arnac Bay Invincible at Dunakits
Glaniels Catch Me If You Can
Riverrun Finnegan’s Wake
Pixiesrock Maestro Cadenza.
Level Three:
Irish Champion Riverrun Everybody’s Friend
Petsalls Canuck

Three new show champions were made up:
Petsalls Pride Beech at Glaniels
Arnac Bay Harvest
Next Generations Arnac Arctic Storm.

One dog gained his Junior Warrant:
Pixiesrock Mr Tumnus by Bleyos

One Show Champion gained a Show Gundog Working Certificate:
Champion Migwell Solomon’s Puzzle (making him a full champion)

Passing Show Gundog Working Certificate
Oakmarsh Freedom

Gaining a Show Veteran Warrant:
Show Champion Oakmarsh Chestnut

Subject to confirmation, the Our Dogs top dogs for the year:
Top winning show dog: International Show Champion and Dutch Champion Arnac Bay Hebe WGC, Sh Cex
Top Stud Dog:
Show Champion and Dutch Champion Arnac Weatherdeck Buoy
Top Brood Bitch: Arnac Bay Gamble
Top puppy: Pixiesrock Green Kirkle
Top breeder: Arnac kennel

Christine Mayhew

25 December 2023

17 December 2023

Entries for next year’s Crufts on Fosse Data close online on 22nd January. Don’t forget to enter! I know that many readers are not ‘show’ people, but Crufts is always worth a visit with so many things to see besides the breed judging, and trade stands galore covering all sorts of canine things. Not only canine but also clothing, art, leather bags, and much else for humans! What I love is that many overseas visitors come to the show and make a beeline for their respective breeds, so we see and meet Chesapeake owners from many other parts of the world, often year after year the same visitors.

The Ladies Kennel Association held the last championship show of 2023 at Stafford Showground on the 10th of this month. Tracy Butler was our judge. Tracy had a Penrose Chesapeake some years ago and is an experienced judge of both Chesapeakes and Border Terriers. Needless to say, she drew a good entry.

Best of breed and bitch CC went to Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe WGC, with her daughter, Arnac Bay Jellicoe winning best puppy at just over six months of age. Both dogs owned by Mayhew and Middleton. The reserve bitch CC and best veteran was my own Sh Ch Arnac Bay Flax, still notching up the wins at age 10, bless her.

Jelli - best puppy at 6 months old

The dog CC was awarded to Tideflight Floki, owned and bred by a very delighted Julie and Jason Hayes, with Julie handling. I have to say that this young dog well deserved his win and although he is a ball of energy, Julie did a great job and finally got him to trot in a civilised manner! It was so lovely to see two people so chuffed and I am not ashamed to say that I had a tear in my eye when the card was handed to Julie. Floki is not only handsome but is a worker too.

The reserve dog CC went to another chuffed owner and handler, Charlene Chapman with her Muireatai Life Journey at Dkai, yet again a working gundog … thus making all four top winners, genuine working gundogs.


Joy Middleton, wearing a very festive outfit, took Hebe into the best in group ring and expertly handled her to be short-listed the final line up for best in show.

A good showing of Chesapeakes and some festive moments. Caroline Pont brought a selection of her beautiful home-made Christmas baubles and wreaths and several of us went home with some. It is hoped that Caroline will have a stand at the club show as these items, made with feathers, are just incredible.

Caroline's feather baubles

We all start gundog work with our dogs at training sessions, on dummies, eventually cold game, and then hope to get some sort of introduction to the real thing. That is often the sticking point these days, with so many shoots ceasing to exist, picking up places are like gold-dust and shoots usually need an experienced picker with two or more dogs.

I was lucky in having Dennis Izzard as a mentor when I had Flat-coated retrievers, and I was out picking up from the age of 19. This hobby became a lifestyle every shooting season and I was very fortunate to have several large commercial shoots in my area who paid me to have a team of dogs doing the thing both they and I loved most.


It is very hard to get that sort of introduction these days, and so I was pleased to learn that Debbie Herring has enabled several Chesapeake owners to bring their dogs out working on her local shoot. Joy and Peter joined them last season with Hebe and Mink respectively and are now regulars, and then today I learn that Vroni and Togi are getting their introduction to a day’s shooting. Brilliant!

If there is anyone who is able to invite another Chessie owner (dogs must be under reasonable control) to experience a day’s shooting, please do try to do so. I know that one of our gang is going to experience wildfowling for the first time later this year. This is all so good for the dogs and keeping our dual purpose claim well and truly alive, and I have never met anyone who hasn’t enjoyed the whole experience.

Joy, Peter and Vroni out beating

For those shooting folk amongst us, a recent headline caught my attention, namely that Chris Packham has been sacked by a bird charity for becoming too political and doing no work for the organisation.

The BBC star and naturalist was let go by bird of prey rehabilitation centre Raptor Rescue because it was reported that his environmental campaigns were “splitting” its membership. The charity’s chair said some members didn’t like the “political side” of Mr Packham’s activities and it couldn’t support his advice on breaking the law for environmental reasons.

I do not know what was involved with regards to his breaking the law suggestions, but all country folk know how anti-shooting Mr Packham is and how he has tried to use his BBC exposure to drum out his personal opinions on shooting. I for one am glad that some have realised how political he is. He also seems to be very ignorant on how the countryside works in real life. Such is society these days that anyone in the public eye considers it acceptable to preach to others on all manner of things.

Christine Mayhew