21 July 2024

With the Game Fair at Blenheim Palace on the very near horizon (26-28 July), the Chesapeakes will be in attendance and/or performing in all of the following:

Sporting Dog Arena
12.00 all three days – parade of sporting dogs
14.30 Friday and Saturday – Working Minority Retriever Club demonstrations

Sporting Dogs Pavilion
All three days, Chesapeakes and their owners in attendance. Please visit to chat.

Main arena
15.30 All three days – Gundogs with Jason Mayhew and friends gundog demo, which includes Anthony Ciraolo and his Chesapeake Ebb.

Marlborough Arena
9.30-16.30 Fri/Sat Euro Challenge which includes Mary Murray and one of her Chesapeakes running in the Irish team.
9.30-12.30 Sunday Minor Breeds Team Challenge
Please support our Chesapeake owners at the Game Fair by visiting and cheering!

I personally think that it is great that many more Chesapeake dogs and their owners are taking part in gundog training days and weekends as, even if you have no intention of shooting, this is great for the dogs’ minds and well being, and good healthy outdoors exercise for you humans too! It would be nice if all the people showing their dogs gave it a go. I know a lot do already.

Here is some news from Fleur Bament:

The Working Minority Retriever Club put on a superb training weekend in Shaftesbury with training on the Saturday and mock training tests on the Sunday. The Chessies were well represented with Mark and Karen Preece, Kevin Amaira and myself.

Saturday saw a cold, wet and blustery day but we had superb trainers, myself and Kevin spending the day with the infamous Nick Coates. What a privilege for us.

The Chessie contingent

Sunday’s weather was hideous with torrential rain, hail and thunder. As it was mock training tests, the judges gave every competitor a run down on how they did, how they were judged and how they can improve. This was a fantastic opportunity for all of us, especially those of us due to compete in teams at the Game Fair later this month.

Despite the challenging weather we all kept our sense of humour and had a very sociable and fun time. It was a great weekend for learning and we are so lucky to have these events organised. Ultimately, in the Open, Kevin and Zoar came 2nd and Chester and myself were awarded a Certificate of Merit – a terrific result considering the conditions.
Fleur and Kevin

Show news from Vroni, who took Togo, aka Battsrock Are You Ready, to the Thames and Oxfordshire Country Premier Open Show where they had scheduled Chessie classes. Togo took first in a mixed limit class and then went on to win Best of Breed.

Vroni and Togo

Meanwhile in Scotland, at the Gundog Breeds of Scotland, Lorna Murray’s Muireatai Miracle of Dreams (Kenzie) won 1st in the open Chessie class and Best of Breed, also winning a 3rd in Any Variety Gundog Post Graduate.

Whilst I reported last week that Sheridan Turner and her dog Mystery, had won the special beginners class at Boston Show, I hadn’t realised that she had a further major achievement in winning a Group 4 out of all the gundog special beginners at the end of the day. Certainly worth a photo!

Congratulations all

Sheridan with Mystery and the group judge

News from the Royal Kennel Club just this week is that they will not be continuing the Assured Breeders Scheme beyond the end of this year.

I think that there were only two members from our breed and, being one of them, I have to say that I had anticipated its demise some time ago. Whilst the original idea was impressive, there were too many glitches and the high standard of care and facilities expected of breeders was not being checked efficiently nor regularly according to many exposed tales.

All this whilst the paperwork we were supposed to hand out to new puppy owners was so long winded and explanatory that the scheme obviously thought we were letting our precious pups go to complete morons with no common sense whatsoever. Such is the way of the world these days.

Christine Mayhew

14 July 2024

Boston Championship Show and the big story is that a Chesapeake was fourth in the gundog puppy group which is really quite an achievement for our breed. Susqudilla Bergelle Big Apple aka Hudson, owned by Mahon-Hunns, Middleton & Haskin, was handled by Maddie in the breed and Joy in the big ring.

Hudson at Boston. Photo: At Its Best Photography

Best dog and best of breed was Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle JW, owned by another partnership of Mahon-Hunns, Hunns & Newton, with best bitch going to his sister Sh Ch/Nl Ch/Int Ch Arnac Bay Hebe WGC ShCEx Ew22, owned by Mayhew & Middleton and handled by Joy.

I was delighted to learn that the reserve best dog was won by Jason and Julie Hayes’ Tideflight Floki, presumably handled by Julie, as this young dog has been knocking on the door of success for some time. The reserve best bitch was Caroline Pont’s Sh Ch Oakmarsh Dancing Diva who also won best veteran. Last but not least, Best Special Beginner went to Miss S Turner with her own Oakmarsh Haunting Melody. Big congratulations to all.


No other news in this week and so a repeat of an article first printed in Dog World many years ago:

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, by virtue of his gundog sub-group is sometimes mistakenly likened to his more popular cousins; the Golden and the Labrador retrievers.

Whilst his job of finding and retrieving game is the same as all of the retriever breeds, he is designed both in conformation and character as a specialist in one field – that of

His colour, any shade of brown or deadgrass (straw coloured), provides camouflage in mud and rushes. His webbed feet provide an increased surface for swimming in water and for walking on soft marsh ground. His slightly higher or level rear assembly and strong free moving shoulders, along with his powerful hind movement provide the outboard motors in water. His double layered oily coat is his overall hull, strong and water repelling. The bow is his strong head and pointed but strong muzzle, the rudder, his tail. He is a boat by design, and an icebreaker in severe weather.

One of Richard Playle's dogs out fowling

The tenacity necessary to follow and find his quarry in the most punishing conditions make him a dog with determination and a natural instinct that is not ideally suited to the dictatorial obedience sometimes asked for in modern field trials.

He is utterly faithful to his master and family and would give his life to save or protect his human friends. I find his relationship with his master to be more comparable to that of a good German Shepherd than that of a Labrador or Golden Retriever.

He suffers strangers and will be friendly once introduced or if he is with his master. He is not extrovert or necessarily friendly when alone on his property and will guard in no uncertain terms.

This is a breed for the enthusiast – you either love them and would have no other, or you cannot relate to them. He is no snob and it matters not to him whether he lives in a mansion or a shack. He craves companionship, work, and an understanding of his special qualities. Given the right master he will never stray and will rarely leave even an unfenced property.

A Chesapeake has to admire you and accept you as his peer or he will walk all over you. A working relationship is formed on respect and disciplined lessons. Push him too far and he will quit on you and look for a master elsewhere as he has no desire to be totally subservient.

I love this breed and would never be without one or more, but I do not promote him as the ideal breed for everyone and I consider that I would be doing him a disservice to do so.

Christine Mayhew

7 July 2024

This week we have our last new committee member introduction – Anthony Ciraolo who writes:

I first became involved with Chesapeakes almost 14 years ago, when I was searching for the ultimate wildfowling dog to accompany me on my shooting adventures. I was looking into the different breeds of dog, not wanting one of the mainstream dogs but something a little different. The Irish Water Spaniel was top of my list and it wasn’t until I had arranged a viewing at a litter that I was told, ‘It’s not an Irish you after, it’s a Chesapeake!’ I did an internet search and found a wildfowling family over the border with a litter that were 3 weeks old. I arranged a viewing, picked a pup and the rest is history, as they say.

What attracted me to the breed was the fact that they were bred to be the ultimate wildflowers tool. I needed a dog I can take out in the worst possible weather conditions , icy cold water, wind, sleet and blizzard conditions. It’s not always like this but I wanted a dog that could cope and still want to work no matter how bad the weather would be when out chasing the fowl as these are usually the most fruitful times to be out.
Anthony with Eider and Ebb

I didn’t want to have to push my dog to breaking point as I’ve seen with other breeds. To this day I’ve not had to cut a shooting trip short due to the welfare of my dog, and that’s due to me making the right decision buying a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

A bit about my first Chesapeake. As I said, my first pup was from over the border from the North Solway kennels, from Kevin and Donna, both of whom shot the shore regularly and this was important to me when looking for my dog. I needed to know that the dog I was buying came from real working stock as you are more likely to produce a good hard working dog that’s trainable.

Eider and Ebb
I called this pup Eider, after the hardy sea duck we find on our shore, and she lived up to her name. The stories I could tell you and the people she amazed when out shooting were countless. I couldn’t have asked for more. Having her got me into working tests obviously with help from the Club and she did really well considering I was a newbie and probably held her back. In reality, she didn’t need me. Unfortunately she had to be put to sleep last Christmas at 13 years old as she had cancer and is missed dearly.

My main interest within the Chessie world is in keeping these wonderful dogs working first and mostly in the field and on the shore but also in working tests and I think I can help the Club because of the knowledge I’ve gained through working my dogs.

I’m here to help promote the breed in the field, on the shore, and at working events whether it’s Club-run or at game fairs and county shows. Hopefully I can help push the working side of this breed and get more people to use them in the way they were bred for.

Anthony and his dogs

At the moment I’ve got Ebb, a Chesapeake I bred from Eider. I also have an old lurcher who’s 16 and a Bedlington who I also bred who is 10. All are working dogs and have all earned their keep and I’m hopefully going to have another Chessie join the family soon.

Windsor Show continued – So much in last week’s BNW that we didn’t have room for the photo of Richard and Tilly’s puppy, Roly who won best puppy in both the Championship classes judged by Sandy Hastings, and the CBRC show judged by Marion Sargent. Big congratulations Roly.

The show day itself ended with the three special award classes. These classes give up and coming judges chance to put their hands on, assess and place a number of dogs, which not only gives them experience but also helps them on their way to ticking all the boxes needed by the Kennel Club in order to progress further up the ladder towards their judging career. The classes on this day were judged by Ros Davies.

Tilly with Roly. Photo: J Middleton & K King

I was amused to hear that John Spencer-Smith recently jumped fully clothed (boots and all) into his swimming pool to ‘rescue’ his very old and wobbly Chesapeake, Curlew who had tottered in the wrong direction and fallen in. Of course, all Chesapeakes can swim and Curlew is no exception, but John acted instinctively and clothes or no clothes, the sides of the pool would not have allowed Curlew to get out of her own accord. Sadly I have no photos of this event!

Christine Mayhew

30 June 2024

Fantastic news from Leslie Tregunno is that Mink (Arnac Bay Ibis) and Peter Clarke won a 2nd in West Berkshire Gundog Club’s open working test, the test having being run like a shoot day. It is always great news to hear of dogs of our breed running in AV tests and, believe me, it is quite an achievement to even win a placing in a test, so big congratulations Peter and Mink.

Another in the series of introducing new committee members, this time Gemma McCartney (nee Price). Gemma writes:

I first came across the breed when my Grandmother (Margaret Woods – Nunneyswood) decided to buy a Chessie to work on the shoots she picked up on, alongside the Labradors she bred. After growing up with both Labradors and Chesapeakes and doing obedience as well as showing both breeds, I soon realised what a special breed Chessies are. I truly believe the Chesapeakes we’ve owned within the family have taught me as much I’ve taught them. From watching my first very own Chessie dive after a wounded duck in a pond to showing her great granddaughter to best of breed in the show ring, they have been with me through so many special moments and can turn their paws to anything. Sensitive, stubborn and clever is such a fun package.

The first Chessie of my very own was Chelsea (Nunneyswood Chelsea – out of Wight Wizard at Nunneyswood by Arnac Bay Jetsam). She was born in 1995. We wondered what she was when she was first born as ash grey wasn’t a colour we had seen in the UK, but we kept her and her brother from the very first Nunneywood Chessie litter. She did everything with me from day one. She was my Show dog, junior handling dog, my first picking up dog, we did working tests, obedience and agility. She was special in every way, gentle yet protective, clever yet silly, a brilliant mother and my best friend from 1995 to 2007. She had multiple Championship Best of Breed awards as well as Best in Show at the CBRC club show (pre-CCs).

Gemma with her first Chessie, Chelsea

I love everything about the breed and I am a big advocate for the success and improvement of the breed itself within the UK, whilst retaining their working ability and working on health matters. I enjoy showing, working and agility but since losing my last Chessie last year, I have to live vicariously through others and the enjoyment from showing other peoples Chessies.

Gemma winning BOB at Crufts

I am happy to put in hard work to the running of the Club. I have previously been on both show and executive committees as well having been a show secretary. I can generally turn my hand to most things within the dog world but also have skills in IT and social media that will be useful.

I currently have two Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen (I only do breeds with fabulous names!): Freddie (Ch Soletrader Freddie Mercury JW) who is now 5 and Ed (Soletrader Ed Sheeran) who is 15 months, and hope the plans are for another Chesapeake in the future.

Gemma with Freddie and Ice

Show news and David Rigby tells us that Gunnar (Chesepi Waco) took best of breed at the recent Royal Cheshire Show last Wednesday under judge Su Carlin.

Sandy Hastings, of the Chesabay affix, has been a Chesapeake owner and breeder for many years although she no longer has a brown dog at home. This year Sandy judged Windsor Championship Show where, this last Friday, she awarded best of breed to Sea’nland Master of The Sea for Riverrun (owned by Des and Mary Murray). Yeats, as he is known, was born and bred in Germany by Claudia Breitgoff, imported as puppy to Mary and Des in Ireland, and made the quick visit to England to attend Windsor show. Certainly Yeats is a very well travelled lad and taking the dog CC and best of breed was a proud moment for his owner and his German breeder.

The reserve dog CC went to Mayhew’s veteran dog Sh Ch/Nl Ch Arnac Weatherdeck Buoy handled by Gemma McCartney. From a veteran to a youngster, with 13 month old Arnac Bay Jellico winning the bitch CC, her first. Jelli is sired by Sh Ch Arnac Bay Exe and out of Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe WGC ShCEx, EW22, bred and co-owned by Mayhew and Middleton, handled by Joy and then Emily Evans in the Challenge.

The reserve CC went to another first time recipient, namely Glaneils Don’t Worry Be Happy, this youngster being bred by Cathy Broomfield and owned by Broomfield, Broomfield, Mahon-Hunns and Newton, and handled by James Newton. Sired by Sh Ch Arnac Bay Huron at Bergelle, Lyra is out of Sh Ch Petsalls Pride Beech at Glaneils.

Best puppy was awarded to Playle and Thomas’ Riptide Gentlemans Relish (Roly), and best veteran to Mayhew’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Flax. Last but by far from least, the Best Special Beginner was Oakmarsh Laurel, owned by Mrs and Mr L & Miss K Blaber.

BIS Hebe and RBIS Jelli at the CBRC Open Show. Photo: Joy Middleton
Dave and Gunnar winning BD at CBRC Open Show. Photo: Joy Middleton

On to the CBRC open show, kindly organised by Joy Middleton, where judge Marion Sargent awarded best in show to Mayhew and Middleton’s Sh Ch Arnac Bay Hebe, handled by Emily Evans, with the reserve best in show going to her daughter Arnac Bay Jellico (same owners).

Best male and best opposite sex went to a prancing Chesepi Waco, ably handled by owner David Rigby. Best puppy again was Riptide Gentleman’s Relish (Richard Playle and Tilly Thomas), and best Veteran was Sh Ch Arnac Weatherdeck Buoy. Our thanks to Josera food and Sporting Saint for sponsoring this show once again, as well as Eminala Designs, Joy Middleton and Lisa Murch for other goodies for the winners.

Special Awards classes were judged by Roz Davies. Full results and reports will be given on the Shows page once available.

Christine Mayhew


RBPIS Oakmarsh Laurel at the CBRC Open Show. Photo: Joy Middleton