Chesapeakes – work and show

31 May 2020

News of a fantastic achievement for Caroline Griffin Woods and her dog Arla (Chesepi Parsippany with Migwell) who, on the 3 March this year, passed the Kennel Club Working Gundog Certificate.

For those who are unfamiliar with the test:  Handlers and dogs are required to demonstrate competence in control, obedience, temperament, hunting ability and retrieving ability. Set either on a real day’s shooting or, as in Arla’s case this time, in a simulated shooting field on dummies. Handlers and dogs walk together to the start area with the dogs at heel off lead and under control, they then have to sit through a simulated drive with dogs assessed both in the beating line and waiting at pegs. This is followed by hunting for seen and unseen dummies after the drive They are also required to do a marked retrieve from water and another from over an obstacle. Finally they are tested with a steadiness exercise where dogs are left together whilst handlers collect up decoys/dummies.

Participants are assessed by a qualified assessor and if there are more than three participants, a second assessor is appointed.  Qualified assessors are Kennel Club Field Trial Judges or others who have satisfactorily assessed the certificate three times and have been approved by another qualified assessor.

The standard of work required is high and these certificates are gained only with a lot of training and practice, so all credit to Caroline who has trained Arla herself. Arla was bred by Molly Barker out of Chesepi Monteray Silvercreek and sired by Doublecoats Earl at Arnac. Please let me know if your Chesapeake has gained this certificate so as we can keep a record for the Club and for the history of the breed. We will be publishing all details in the Chesapeake Club yearbook so please let me have all details, including date or year of test, name and breeding of dog and, if possible, a photo. Let’s get your achievements known about!

As many of you will know, the Club has cancelled this year’s show having taken into consideration the government guidelines and a cross-section of the membership’s wishes via a Facebook poll. Every attempt to avoid disappointment was considered. However, set aside the 3-4 July in your diaries for the 2021 show. More details will follow in due course and will be placed here on the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club website.

When the Kennel Club decided to update its judges’ education programme, ideas were bounced one way and another, systems were put in place, and there were constant adjustments to improve the system. This has been going on for many years and created, for many, a lot of paperwork and some confusion. A bit like understanding law, it would seem that you need the right sort of brain to absorb and understand. When, a few years ago, Becky Johnson, a highly respected judge of gundog breeds with a keen interest in the Chesapeake, offered to take on the job of Breed Education Co-ordinator for the Club, the committee were overjoyed and leapt at the opportunity to have someone with a vast knowledge of the KC judging education system and who is personable and approachable.

I have asked Becky to explain the new system which she will do in two parts. Over to Becky for the first part …

Chrissie Mayhew

Many of you are aware that the Kennel Club have changed the way in which judges get passed to award Challenge Certificates in the future. This has been the subject of much heated debate, in so much as the Kennel Club have agreed to let the ‘current system’ and the new system – which is known as the ‘JCF’ (although that name will soon change) – run in tandem for 5 years.

For those of you not aware of what the current system entails, it is largely based on numbers of dogs judged over a period of time. You also have to pass a judging competency exam, attend an Open Field Trial or Open Working Test, pass the Rules and Regulations Exam, Points of a Dog exam and have stewarded at either an open or championship show on 12 occasions.  You also have to have owned or bred three dogs at the time of their entry into the Stud Book.

The new system has some similarities but involves fewer dogs judged and includes mentoring to aid a greater in-depth understanding of any one breed. Any aspirant judge, or any judges currently on the C list, are required to follow the JCF route.

The first thing you have to do is to register on the Kennel Club Academy. This is free of charge and there are a lot of interesting films and also a critique writing exam which can be done online. In order for completely new judges to start their judging career they will have to register at Level 1. Currently the KC CRM which will enable this is not yet launched.

In order to qualify for Level 1, a judge has to have completed the following criteria: a minimum of 5 years’ proven interest in pedigree dogs (any breed); a minimum of 2 stewarding appointments; passed the Rules and Regulations exam; and attended a movement and confirmation seminar. These criteria will allow you to judge 4 classes of the breed at any open show. 

Next you will need to qualify for Level 2.  Level 2 is the equivalent of a B list judge today. You need to attend a breed appreciation day (seminar) and pass a Multiple Choice Exam. (Note – anybody who has already done this need not do it again, as long as they have the certificate); pass the Points of a Dog assessment; view the ring stewarding seminar via KC Academy and take an online quiz; and finally, complete a critique writing seminar via the KC Academy and take the online quiz. Once you have attained Level 2 you can judge an unlimited number of breed classes and Open Shows and Championship Shows without CCs.

This is where the fun really starts! Getting to Level 3. In order to reach level 3 (A3 list equivalent) you have to fulfil the following criteria: 

  • undergo a minimum of three mentoring sessions over a 12 month period. This can take place as a “one to one” (candidate and mentor), ideally at a championship show where there are CCs on offer for the breed, in order to observe and discuss a meaningful entry.  Or Group Mentoring sessions can also be held.  The aspirant judge has to be mentored by 3 individual people who will assess their knowledge on the breed standard, understanding of breed type, ability to identify strengths and weaknesses, and their ability to place dogs in order of merit. These discussions have to be held in confidence.  If the mentor feels that the mentee would benefit from more research before progressing this will be flagged up.
  • be observed judging at either a breed club open show, a championship show without CCs, or a supported entry open show.
  • have judged the required number of dogs in line with the KC requirement for the relevant stud book band. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are an A Minus breed so the required number is 15. 
  • and for judges who do not award CCs in any other breed, they will also have had to have owned/bred a minimum of 3 dogs when they attained their first entry into the KC Stud Book, complete 10 more stewarding appointments and attended an open field trial or working test.

Once you have reached Level 3 you then have one more step to accomplish before being able to register at Level 4 – the equivalent to the current A1 lists, i.e. passed to award CCs, and this is to attend and pass a breed specific seminar for the specific breed run by the Kennel Club. You will then be eligible to register at Level 4 and be entitled to accept an invitation to award CCs.

To be continued next week …

Becky Johnson

Chesapeakes line up for judges at a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club Breed Seminar

More news to share!

24 May 2020
Contrary to the report in Our Dogs breed notes which states that the American Chesapeake Club Specialty show is now hoped to be held in February 2021, Joanne Silver (Chair of the ACC Show Committee) has asked that it be noted that the American Chesapeake Club Specialty Show, is certainly NOT being held in February. With the difficulties of contacting venues, hotels, etc., during this pandemic, arrangements for the next date and venue will be on hold for the time being. Joanne said that she has no idea where the February date originated from, and adds that they would not hold a show at that time of the year when they are in a snow belt!

I know that there were quite a few groups of UK owners planning to go to the ACC show this year, and with another year to plan that visit to Pennsylvania, there are many places to see in and around the not too distant Chesapeake Bay. One to look up and plan for is the Chesapeake Maritime Museum, with an outside guard of a Chesapeake based on Sailor, one of the two Newfoundlands who were the foundation of the early Chesapeake breed.
Sailor statue at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum

Human news! Our Club Treasurer, Gemma Pearce and her husband Daniel are expecting twin boys later this year!  CONGRATULATIONS! Luckily Gemma and Dan have enough Chesapeakes for both boys to handle in junior handling in the years to come!  

News of another online Chesapeake winner, this time a video working challenge run by the Working Minority Retriever Club, with Joanne Lycett’s Quint winning third place. A brilliant result for the breed and for Quint (pedigree name Winging It). Quint is two and a half years old and was bred by Dave Lowther out of his Chesepi Souix Falls and sired by Sh Ch Next Generation’s Chesepi Range Rider.

Quint with his rosette

Roly Hoare’s Sh Ch Petsalls Pride Cedar passed away at the beginning of this year. A very strong, hard hunting working dog, Roly always had him in his picking up team alongside his father, Dill, his sister Fig and two spaniels. Cedar was from Roly’s first litter sired by Sh Ch Arnac Bay Ardent and out of Arnac Bay Sage. There were only three in this litter, all kept by Roly and his partner Paula, and all three, Cedar, Fig and Lila, gained their Championships in the show ring.

Cedar sired just two litters, the first bred by Sharon Baxandall of Sharbae kennel, from her Sharbae Beguiling Rambling Rose, were born in 2016. There were only two pups, a dog and a bitch. Sharon kept the bitch, Sharbae Prettiest Star, who had an impressive show record as a puppy and went on to win a Group 2 at an open show and best of breed at Windsor Championship Show. As a beating dog she was eligible for the gamekeeper classes at Crufts and was a creditable 3rd against the other more prolific retriever breeds. Sharon also has rally obedience qualification TDRP and a level 1 towards her championship level. A true all around dog.

Cedar doing what he loved best

The second litter was out of Donna Laurie’s Northsolway Dark Angel. Donna, whose kennel name Northsolway gives her location away, tells the story of how she came south to collect Cedar for his liaison in Scotland. First with a train to Annan, another to Carlisle, then Euston, a tube train (the first time for Donna) then another train to Wimbledon to meet up with Paula Graystone who had Cedar, suitcase packed, all ready for his journey.

In Donna’s own words, “After a few drinks and a lovely meal, sleep called for a few hours. Morning broke and the journey was to be repeated in reverse. Only this time it was rush hour in London and I had Cedar with me! The first train was an eye opener. Then the hurdle to get on the Tube. Easy pease, I think. Well not so as there were no stairs or lifts. So with backpack on my back and carrying Cedar in my arms, we made it down the escalator only to discover there was another escalator! I made it on to the Tube, managing to get off at the right station, then was confronted by another two escalators! So with Cedar in my arms again we made it up both.  I’m sure the zombie commuters wondered about the strange little Scottish woman with a Chessie in tow as we certainly got space on tubes and trains! Finally at Euston station we boarded the train heading for bonnie Scotland and home, and arrived at Carlisle with an hour to spare before our next train so I treated Cedar to a sausage supper which he enjoyed!”

Thank goodness that Donna is a strong and tough wildfowling lass as Cedar must have weighed about 70 lbs. Anyway it would seem that the journey was worthwhile as his Scottish girlfriend loved him from day one and eventually produced ten little brown bundles … all male! 

Christine Mayhew

Welcome to Breed News Weekly!

17 May 2020

This is a new idea as many do not subscribe to dog papers, which can be quite expensive when you are really only interested in one breed. Please email me at if you have any news of achievements, whether in the show ring or the field or anything Chessie-related.

With the dreaded Covid-19 reaping destruction on the dog showing calendar, more shows are being cancelled, the latest being City of Birmingham, Richmond, Darlington, and South Wales. The good news is that Chesapeakes have featured highly in the several on-line competitions being held.

Harriet Westgate’s beautiful pup Pixierose Anna won the Kennel Club’s Cutest Puppy Award with a really heart-stopping photograph. There were over 3,500 entries so this was a fantastic win for Harriet and for the breed.

Another success in an on-line show was Dallandor Jocasta (Freja) owned by Jo Coppin and Darren Davies-Jones who won Group 1 out of 59 entries in the Ruthin Canine Society Online Show. Freja’s photo, taken by Joy Middleton at Crufts, shows her off beautifully with her handler Darren. She was bred by Rachel Herbert out of Dallandor Artemis and sired by Sh Ch Arnac Bay Exe.

Sadly, Linda Partridge was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year and has undergone surgery and started chemotherapy which is predicted to give her a good outcome. I’m sure everyone will join me in wishing her well. Linda has had Chesapeakes in the past and as a professional gundog trainer, holds the record for field trial wins and placings with the breed, being the only one to win a total of three trials, including an all-aged stake. Her field trial bitch Chesabay Coral of Braidenvale also won 24 awards in AV tests and twice won the URC Founders Trophy for top dual-purpose retriever (all breeds). Quite an ambassador for the breed, Corrie was bred by Sandy Hastings out of Arnac Bay Enigma of Chesabay and sired by Chestnut Hills Ty of Kahilani, a dog imported from the USA who sired two litters before he left for his destination of New Zealand.

Long-time Chesapeake owner and breeder and fervent wildfowler Allen Musselwhite (Puntgunner kennel) has just produced a book Wildfowling Tales, Past and Present. I am not a wildfowler but having purchased my copy and started reading it,  I find it fascinating, not only the chapter about the dogs but also the history of fowling in the Chichester and Portsmouth area. With some amusing tales of the men involved, it is a worthy read for anyone interested in shooting, shooting men, Chesapeakes, or just history.

Chrissie Mayhew