14 February 2021

The American Chesapeake Club is conducting an online health survey as an update to the one published in 2003 to better understand which diseases and health conditions (both genetic and non-genetic) are of greatest concern to Chesapeake Bay Retriever owners and breeders. The confidential answers to this survey will help the ACC decide where to apply efforts in health research (e.g. recommendations to the ACC Charitable Trust, how to apply AKC Canine Health Foundation Donor Advised Funds, etc.). All answers to this survey will be confidential.

The Health Survey Ad Hoc Committee and the American Chesapeake Club Board of Directors are posting a draft of the CBR Health Survey on the ACC website. The Ad Hoc Committee and the Board welcome your comments and input before they finalize the survey and launch it on the ACC website. Click here to read full details and view the draft survey with full details and contact information.

If we ever get out of travel restrictions due to the pandemic, it may be worth thinking about visiting the USA in August this year for the American Chesapeake Club’s show. Planned for 24-29 August, there is five days of Chesapeake events including obedience and dock diving, with the show itself on the 27-28 August.

With the event being held in York, Pennsylvania, there is every opportunity for visitors to drive to the Chesapeake Bay itself which is not too far away, and the capital of Washington DC. There is also a possible hunt test in Maryland. If anyone is thinking of making the trip, I could let them know places around the Bay area that are well worth a visit. One of my favourites I have been to twice and would happily go again is the Ward Museum in Salisbury on the East side of the Chesapeake Bay. Named in honour of the two Ward brothers (1890s to 1980s) who carved beautiful working decoys that eventually became very collectable (only a few now survive on the open market as private collectors and museums own most of their work). In November 2006, a Ward brothers’ goldeneye drake decoy sold for US $109,250 at an Easton, Maryland waterfowl festival auction!

The Ward museum takes you through the history of decoys ending with the amazing and totally realistic works of art that some have now become. On my last visit I took my husband who made the trip from our beachside hotel very reluctantly and came back full of enthusiasm and awe. We also bought another decoy to add to my collection!

The CBRC yearbook is still being prepared. If anyone would like to place an advert, you have until next weekend to submit it to Sue Worrall. The cost is £12.50 per page (full colour). Contact Sue for more info.

Christine Mayhew

7 February 2021

I keep thinking that the shooting season has finished (pheasant) when, of course, we hardly had a shooting season at all for upland game. I think the wildfowlers gave the Chessies all the work this year, but that is what they were bred for, and that is what they love best.

The shows were non-existent for our breed but we are still crossing our fingers and paws for the United Retriever Club open show rescheduled for April.

Our regular Chesapeake Club gundog trainer, Jason Mayhew is moving lock, stock and barrel this weekend. Whilst staying in the same area, he and Anna have a lovely cottage and a perfect setting for them and the dogs.

My thanks to Deborah Herring who pointed me in the direction of a lovely article by Kat Bennett, and printed in Bay Weekly magazine in 2006. Bay Weekly is an independent publication for the Chesapeake Bay area.The article is too long to print in its entirety and so I will give you an excerpt. The photos to illustrate are from my 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 neighborhoods.

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.”

Richard Playle's Chessie and boat out on the marshes
31 January 2021

Allen Musselwhite is the Langstone Wildfowlers Vice Chairman and Treasurer, a long-time Chesapeake owner who  has bred several litters with with his kennel name Puntgunner. I asked Allen what is happening with wildfowling at the present time and he has kindly let me have this report:

Wildfowling during this third lockdown has become virtually impossible due to members of public using areas where we shoot by taking their daily exercise to areas that they have never found before. Not that this is a problem for us except if they see a club member with a gun it can sometimes be a bit awkward with it sometimes leading to the police being called!

I am a committee member of Langstone Wildfowlers and we have decided to suspend all shooting activities on our marshes, and our woodland shooting as well. Due to the current footfall we thought that it is sensible to take this approach. I belong to three others clubs – Chichester Wildfowlers and another two on The Wash – and all of them have suspended their shooting activities for the same reasons. I believe that the majority of clubs in England have taken the same decision.

Although wildfowling is permissible during this lockdown, it is very defined as to how it is allowed. You must follow current BASC guidance which can be found on the BASC website. As a lot of our members are out of our area it seemed to be unfair to allow some and not others to be wildfowling (due to conditions set out in the guidance).

The downside to not being able to go fowling is that my dogs are getting restless. I think they know we have finished early. My young dog Ty was having a very good first season on the marsh, retrieving everything from Canada geese to snipe (I might be a bit biased).

Allen Musselwhite, WLC Member (BASC)

Allen on the marsh

Certainly, I have found that over the Christmas period, and the subsequent lockdowns, our local forest which has a maze of tracks and footpaths, has been invaded by trainer-wearing ‘townies’ who I have never seen before in such numbers. Thankfully the mud has kept them to the main hard surfaced tracks and I and the dogs have dived off into the muddy backways. The enthusiasm from the townies seems to have worn off now and I am hoping that it will stay that way for good!

With much interest shown in the historic snippets of Breed News Weekly, I reproduce to contents of a letter, first published in 1852, regarding the two Newfoundland dogs that are attributed to being the beginnings of our breed: 

Baltimore, Maryland   –  January 7th, 1845

My dear Sir,
In the fall of 1807 I was on board of the ship Canton, belonging to my uncle, the late Hugh Thompson, of Baltimore, when we fell in, at sea, near the termination of a very heavy equinoctial gale, with an English brig in a sinking condition, and took off the crew. The brig was loaded with codfish, and was bound to Poole, in England, from Newfoundland.

I boarded her, in command of a boat from the Canton, which was sent to take off the English crew, the brig’s own boats having been all swept away, and her crew in a state of intoxication. I found on board of her two Newfoundland pups, male and female, which I saved, and subsequently, on our landing the English crew at Norfolk, our own destination being Baltimore, I purchased these two pups off the English captain for a guinea apiece.

Being bound again to sea, I gave the dog pup, which was called Sailor, to Mr. John Mercer, of West River; and the slut pup, which was called Canton, to Doctor James Stewart, of Sparrow’s Point. The history which the English captain gave me of these pups was, that the owner of his brig was extensively engaged in the Newfoundland trade, and had directed his correspondent to select and send him a pair of pups of the most approved Newfoundland breed, but of different families, and that the pair I purchased of him were selected under this order.
The dog was of a dingy red colour; and the slut black. They were not large; their hair was short, but very thick-coated; they had dew claws. Both attained great reputation as water-dogs. They were most sagacious in everything; particularly so in all duties connected with duck-shooting. Governor Lloyd exchanged a Merino ram for the dog, at the time of the Merino fever, when such rams were selling for many hundred dollars, and took him over to his estate on the eastern shore of Maryland, where his progeny were well known for many years after; and may still be known there, and on the western shore, as the Sailor breed.

The slut remained at Sparrow’s Point till her death, and her progeny were and are still well known, through Patapsco Neck, on the Gunpowder, and up the bay, amongst the duck-shooters, as unsurpassed for their purposes. I have heard both Doctor Stewart and Mr. Mercer relate most extraordinary instances of the sagacity and performance of both dog and slut, and would refer you to their friends for such particulars as I am unable, at this distance of time, to recollect with sufficient accuracy to repeat.

Yours, in haste, George Law

These early dogs were used for wildfowling and breeders were determined to produce the best working dogs. Those who didn’t come up to scratch were discarded. The early ones looked like a smaller type of Newfoundland dog and history relates how they were bred to local working dogs. So started the evolution of the Chesapeake we know today. More to follow.

Christine Mayhew

24 January 2021

Firstly I am sure that everyone will join me in wishing a good recovery to our lovely, fun club member and Chessie owner, Carole Harris, who succumbed to the Coronavirus four weeks ago. It’s hardly surprising as Carole works in one of the South’s largest hospitals. Carole and her Chessie, Leibe, are often on training days and at the shows. Thankfully Carole didn’t have to be hospitalised and is now recovered enough to take her first dog walk this weekend. It’s a very sobering thought when we know that someone as bubbly as Carole can be laid out by this horrible virus. Hopefully she will be back to her normal fun self very soon.

Our Dogs breed notes this week is interesting as it covers short autobiographies from three Chesapeake owners and breeders, namely Janet Morris (Penrose) who writes the breed notes, Kirsty Watts who has the Oakmarsh affix, and Ron and Ginny Reed who reside in the USA and have the Port Side kennel. It is interesting to note the foundation dogs for these kennels as they have many relatives in common. Janet fails to mention her own foundation dog, Arnac Bay Beck of Penrose, but Kirsty talks of her search for a suitable dog and her eventual foundation bitch bred by Wendy Howitt. The dog, named Devonshot Jamaica Beach at Oakmarsh, was sired by Chestnut Hills Mallard and out of Arnac Bay Volta at Devonshot (a granddaughter of Ch. Chestnut Hills Cheyenne and great, great, great, great, granddaughter of Chestnut Hills Arnac Drake).The Reeds’ first Chesapeake was a pet and not bred from, but they then started their kennel with Chestnut Hills Bow Dee.

It is also interesting to note that when Chestnut Hills Arnac Drake went from the UK back to his breeders in the USA for a short time to gain his Championship and be used at stud, he was used by several other breeders including the above-mentioned Ron and Ginny who kept a puppy, ‘Port Sides Sarah’s Smile’ who can be found in many of the Port Side dogs’ pedigrees if you go far enough back. Here she is winning Best of Breed at the tender age of 9 months with Ron Reed handling.

Ron and Ginny Reed's Port Sides Sarah's Smile

Another breeder in the USA who used Drake at that time (in the 1980s) was Sheila DiVaccaro of Chesarab kennels who used him on her Chestnut Hills bitch ‘Chestnut Hills KC of Chesarab’. The photo shows a male she kept, Ch. Chesarab Bay Breeze (Sheila handling). Debbie Crewe’s imported Chesapeake lad will, I am sure, go back to him.

Most people in the breed will know the abundance of Chestnut Hills breeding that we have behind our present dogs, and we have Karen and Ronnie Anderson to thank for not only breeding good ones but for the quality dogs that they sent over from Maryland to these shores. These dogs were not only good looking, but also worked, and besides being great shoot companions, won many a working award. Karen and Ron still breed a few dogs today and their emphasis is on a well conformed, good moving dog.

Sheila DiVaccaro's Ch Chesarab Bay Breeze

Our Club Chairman, Richard Playle and his partner Tilly had a nasty experience last week when they woke to find a cattle barn and fodder store on fire. All of the cattle and one tractor were rescued with no one hurt but the fodder and the barn itself went up in flames. A horrible experience for anyone but especially when Richard and Tilly had their house burn to the ground on the same farm some 12 years ago. I can remember how this affected them at the time, but what shock and horror at the thought of lightning striking twice. On that first occasion I remember that Richard grabbed his shotguns and the cattle passports but pretty well everything else was lost. Richard is back at clearing up ash and embers and I am sure we all wish him and Tilly well at this traumatic time. 

Christine Mayhew

17 January 2021

If you are a member of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club, you will probably have read James Newton’s excellent article ‘Preparation is Key’ in the last Chesapeake Chat. With various lockdowns preventing us from showing our dogs and getting them out and about, I have reproduced the key points at the end of James’s article, and added a few additional notes to make things more possible during the pandemic.

James wrote, “Ultimately, there are several key elements to preparing your puppy to produce a confident, easy-to-assess performance in the show ring. I have tried to summarise these key points below in a ‘to-do; list to make it easier to remember:

If you missed James’s full article (lots of training tips and useful information) members of the CBRC can order back issues of the yearbook. If you are not a member of the Club, see the Membership page for details. Membership costs £10/year.

  1. Socialise continuously. (Try to take your dog walk exercise in areas where your dog will meet other dogs and their owners – people will inevitably take the time to pet a puppy. Don’t forget to maintain social distancing. Take him/her to pet stores when you go for supplies, especially large buildings like Pets at Home and Jolleys, etc., as this will prepare them for indoor shows.)
  2. Teach them that looking in their mouth is perfectly acceptable, being particularly gentle while they’re teething. This is a continuous part of your training.
  3. Stack training should initially be on a raised non-slip surface using soft food bait and holding his collar up for 10-15 seconds 3 times per session every other day.
  4. Always practice stacking in front of a mirror, low window reflection or a knowledgeable friend. (Facetime or have someone from your household take photos of your puppy stacked and send to a knowledgeable friend.)
  5. Increase the duration he stands to no more than 30 seconds and begin taking the food off his nose for short intervals and replacing it again to teach him patience.
  6. When he’s too big to be lifted onto a raised surface, stack training continues on the ground using a non-slip surface.
  7. All hands-on assessments made by people prior to showing should be confident and gentle, especially when checking the boy’s entirety! (Instruct someone in your household as to what is required and use them as a substitute dog show judge.)
  8. Trotting should begin at a fast walk, increasing gradually to a trot. He should move in a straight line and not jump up or try to ‘canter’. Practice this up to 4 times a week for no more than 10 minutes per session.
  9. Only increase the speed of the trot as he grows. If he goes too fast and breaks his stride or begins to play around, stop and walk back to where you started to repeat the exercise. (All movement training can be practiced in a corridor or hallway, a garden or on your dog walk.)

For puppies that aren’t necessarily going to be shown, the socialisation part still applies. This is especially important in our breed. Let your pup meet plenty of other nice temperament dogs as he will need to be dog sociable in a working situation where he may have to share a Land Rover or beaters’ trailer with a pack of other dogs.

Make sure that he has experienced water. If you are unable to travel to get to water during lockdown then consider buying a paddling pool  or plastic fish pond online or even one of those plastic dog beds that soon fill with rainwater (if they are not the ones with holes in the bottom!) He just needs to realise that water is FUN.

The start of gundog training can begin at home with a small retrieve article in a hallway and can progress (when he knows the ‘hunt’ command) to leaving the article in a room and sending the pup in to find and fetch it. Utilise any garden or field that you are able to. Once he has decided that retrieving is fun, hide the retrieve article and see if he can find it, giving him his hunt command. Never forget to praise him when he does well. Be patient. Contact a local farmer or landowner and ask if you can use a small area of a field or woodland. He can only say no but if you give him the occasional bottle of booze he may be only too willing!  Emphasise that you will stay in a small area and not roam.

There are so many ways that we can establish our gundog commands at home. Using your whistle and hand raised ‘sit’ command can work as well in a kitchen as in a field. Likewise the recall whistle.

There are many gundog training videos on YouTube that can be useful, although be cautious as there are good and bad. Jason Mayhew gundog training is our regular trainer at club events and he has a few useful clips on YouTube. At the end of the day, be ingenious and find ways to continue your pups training.

A note from Joy Middleton who has jumped in to help the committee:

As the show plans for 2021 are coming together, we’re sending out a little reminder to ask if anyone has anything “special” they wish to donate for the auction? A case of wine, hand-knitted jumper, baked cake, etc. Please get in touch and let us know what you would like to bring along. We have some great auction items donated but we can’t stop there. Also, don’t forget to keep those unwanted Christmas presents, that extra bottle of wine for the raffle too. Contact: Joy at joy.midds@outlook.com

Lastly, as I am sure everyone will have anticipated, the AGM planned for February has had to be cancelled. A new date will be arranged and advertised on the Events page soon.

Christine Mayhew

10 January 2021

The Chesapeake Club committee have been very active during the past year. With no meetings allowed, everything has had to be via group emails which obviously make for extra work. However, discussions have been had, ideas have gone back and forth, and decisions have been made for the benefit of club members and for the breed. How disappointing it was therefore to see that one club member who disagreed with parts of a proposed puppy buyer’s guide, decided not to contact the committee and discuss it, but instead to have her negative views published by the breed notes writer in Our Dogs magazine. I know that Our Dogs is read by very few people in our breed, but I still find this very disrespectful. Such is the world in as much that often the ones who do all the work for the benefit of others are often criticised by a few of those others who do no work at all!

On a personal note, the neuropathy that has gradually affected my ability to walk more and more, has now reached a stage where I cannot walk for any distance. With a realisation that six dogs was too many to do justice to in the circumstances, I made the decision last year to let my two youngsters go to good homes where they could be exercised properly, trained, and where they would be happier than staying with me with my limited mobility.

Joy with Hebe and Bob

And so last summer Hebe went to live with Joy Middleton who normally handles her in the show ring for me, and late last year, Inca went to Sue Worrall. Hebe is having a great time with her new best friend Bob, the Spanish Water Dog, swimming, mud bathing and retrieving, and sleeping on the bed. Inca has her new best friend Tor and is now walking miles in Yorkshire, learning her trade ready for any future working tests, and sleeping on the bed! Both dogs are as happy as can be, and as they now live with ladies who take amazing photographs, I am constantly having verbal and pictorial updates on their wellbeing.

Inca and Tor

With my border terrier now too old to go for long walks I was left with the Chessies, Buoy and Flax, and Blue the working cocker to exercise and keep entertained. I am lucky to have a few acres at home and I have always driven around in our Kubota throwing dummies in the bushes, driving away and then sending the dogs for them, something we do pretty much every morning. However my normal walks in the nearby forest were now impossible. The internet was searched and I found the Terrain Hopper, a mobility vehicle but more like a quad bike.  Purchase made after a long and complicated search,   I am now exploring a maze of paths in the forest that I never even knew existed. The Hopper goes through, up and over anything I have faced it at so far, with the dogs trotting along near me (well, except for Blue who does his normal ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ spaniel act) and so we are back to having fun.

Chrissie and Buoy with the hopper

To anyone who finds themselves in a situation where they are unable to do their dogs justice, I would say that there are always ways to give that dog a better life.  I was upset to have to make this decision, but I saw it as the sensible thing to do for their sake. It does annoy me when I see people hoard dogs, and not give them a full life and, in a similar vein, when I see judges who are so obviously physically incapable of judging any more, continue to accept appointments. 

The CBRC yearbook is currently being put together and, as always, will include a list of all health test results we are aware of. The Club has published these results for almost 40 years. In the early days, it was only hip scores and eye test certificates. Now there are so many more tests, and different options for where to get those tests done. Not all are recorded and published by the KC in the Breed Records Supplement. As a Club, we want to keep a record of all health test results, no matter which scheme was used, or test was undertaken. So please can we ask that if you have had your dog tested under another scheme (e.g. hips under the OFA scheme) or for conditions that are not recorded elsewhere (e.g. EIC), please could you email copies of the results to myself or to Sue Worrall at chesapeakeblue@btinternet.com. Thanks.

Christine Mayhew

3 January 2021

A strange feeling to be writing 2021 but I know we are all hoping for a better year, especially with regards to our dog events. There is a URC show planned for February – paws crossed that it manages to go ahead.

My grateful thanks to Margaret Wilson of Shadowglen Labradors, USA, for sending me an interesting newspaper clipping from a UK paper dated 29 January 1936. Margaret and her husband are great friends of the Andersons (Chestnut Hills Kennels, USA) and I had the pleasure of meeting them both at a dinner party held by Karen and Ronnie in my honour (!) the last time I visited the States.

The photos are of early Chesapeakes in the late 1800s/ early 1900s and are not related to  the article but purely for illustration.

The clipping is from the Tessdale Mercury Echo in the Tail Waggers chats and is titled ‘Sporting Dogs from America’ by Philokuon. It reads: 

“Until the last century was well advanced, we had no special breed of retrievers, pointers and setters, or one of the spaniels then being trained to pick up game after it had been shot or to track runners. A few men with advanced ideas made up their minds that it would be better to entrust this duty to others and they set about manufacturing what we now know as retrievers. Fortunately they had excellent foundation stock upon which to work in the Labrador, then called the Labrador Newfoundland to distinguish him from the bigger dog of the same nationality that was immortalised by Landseer.

No doubt both the Labradors were brought here by sailors in the cod fishing industry, the larger dog preceding the other by a good many years. Burns wrote of one in “The Twa Dogs” and Scott mentioned them in one of his novels the scene of which was laid soon after 1745. The smaller or Labrador had already acquired a wonderful reputation in his own land as a retriever, especially from the water in which he was said to be almost as much at home as on terra firma. A few noble families in this country bought some, training them to retrieve, and when it was desired to manufacture a retrieving breed, they were crossed either with a setter or a spaniel. According to the cross, we got the flat coated retriever, first called the wavy, and the curly coated retriever.

By happy chance, some of the Labradors were preserved in their purity, and from them have descended the dogs that are now so popular in the field or at shows. In America they have a famous performer in the water, of which we have heard, but have never seen in this country until recently. That is the Chesapeake Bay Dog, a few of which have been brought over by Dr. Helen Ingleby, who is having them trained to work here. She will make a class of them at Mr. Crufts golden jubilee show next month, and the thousands of shooting men who visit the Royal Agricultural Hall on that occasion will be sure to have a look at them.

Strange to say, all the evidence points to the fact that they are related to the Labrador. Originally they were red or black as we read in a book published in the United States in 1845. The writer states that in the autumn of 1807 the crew of an English ship were rescued from drowning, and with them were a dog and a bitch that they were taking home from Newfoundland. These were purchased and remained on the Chesapeake where presumably they were crossed with native breeds of hounds and so the Chesapeake Bay Dogs came into being. We are so well provided with retrievers that one wonders if they will have the chance of obtaining a footing here, but there are always people who are glad to make experiments and it is possible that in a few years they may become common place. One never dares to prophesy upon these matters. It will not be easy however to supplement well established breeds.”

Many of us who have studied the history of the breed in the UK will know that Dr Helen Ingleby was an English lady who worked as a pathologist in a Philadelphia hospital and lived in the USA for many years before returning to the UK. She desperately wanted to bring the breed she loved into her native land and so she bought a bitch in whelp into the UK and once the puppies were weaned and released from quarantine she drove through Scotland selling the pups as she went. Unfortunately, with World War Two starting some three years later the importation of new bloodlines was put on the back boiler and so few, and closely related, were the numbers of dogs that these original Chesapeakes were bred to Labradors and so the breed failed to establish itself in the UK at that time.

Christine Mayhew

20 December 2020
Whilst we will not be mentioning every dog’s birthday in Breed News Weekly, the veterans always deserve a mention in my eyes, and so it is with great pleasure that I include news from Karen Preece in Jersey. Karen writes:

Tilly (Penrose Cookie Cutter) turned 14 this week, another old timer after Mr Cree. She came to us a little slip of thing at 8 weeks, and has lived a life less ordinary. Her first 18 months were in the green of the Ribble Valley. She achieved Bronze, Silver and Gold KC Good Citizen, and did a few shows, got two 2nds at Crufts, and we attended a couple of training weekends and a working test, but then hubby Mark was offered a job in Abu Dhabi. My main reaction was, “Well I’ll go if we can take the dogs.” We could and we did, and George, our choccy, and Tilly spent 8 years (should only have been 2) with the warm Arabian Sea as our swimming pool, the sand dunes as our playground and the Al Hajar mountains as our weekend camping trips.

Early mornings and boat buoys a speciality, and wound-down windows of “is pitbull” from the locals. We “gained” another brown dog, Tess, a scatter-brained choccy/saluki mix, rescuing her from a life in a crate. From there we flew to Spain and swimming in the Med, climbing in the mountains of Almeria, and 6 months wondering where next. I hadn’t had Jersey on the radar, but that’s where we are now. Windy, wet, sunny, dog friendly. We have cliff paths and woods, beaches on all sides (the island is only 9 x 5 miles). We said bye for now to George in May 2019 and Tilly was really lost for a while as she’d never not had him there, but she rallied and now we have Toby who gave her a new lease of life.

Nowadays Tilly takes it good and slow. She had a bit of a stroke in September, but the meds seem to be controlling it. She comes a walk if she feels like it, stays home or sits in the car when she’s had enough. She knows exactly what time dinner should be and lets me know if I’m late with it. She sleeps with her bum against the Aga and no one else gets the warm spot. And woe betide anyone wanting her bone! Off limits, Toby, and well you know it. We love you Til and now every day is a bonus and a blessing. Happy birthday.

Karen's Tilly as a puppy
Tilly as an old lady

I heard from another well-travelled Chesapeake this week. Charlie, from my Arnac F litter, started her life in the UK, then moved to Bermuda with her owners Brendan and Kenane, and has since lived in Ireland, England and Switzerland. Currently in Switzerland, Charlie is enjoying the snow, as all Chesapeakes seem to! Talking of snow, Facebook is filled with snow and Chesapeake pictures at present as Upstate New York had a very impressive 3’+ snowfall. Robyn Haskins showed a video of her handsome young lad Barnabus (half-brother to Buoy and Ryder) disappearing into the snow and having a great time playing with sprays of snow being thrown up as he dug!

Charlie in Switzerland

The club show next summer will consist of two championship shows and two open shows, held over two days on the weekend of 3-4 July 2021. With so many classes, we are now rustling up sponsorship and already have some lovely prizes … but we need more. If anyone has contacts in any company that may be able to let us have some prizes, however small and however few, could they please email Joy Middleton on joy.midds@outlook.com or me at bobmayhewqhorses@aol.com. Unwanted Christmas gifts may be appropriate, if not for prizes, then for the raffle, AND if anyone could afford to make a small donation towards sponsorship, it would be very gratefully received. 

Some good news on health testing. Animal DNA Diagnostics has now put a bundle of tests together for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers on their website. Animal DNA Diagnostics is offering DM, PRA and EIC tests for £186 (usual price would be £192 for these three tests). Members of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club can have an additional 20% discount on this bundle, making it £148.80 for these three tests – certainly a big saving. If anyone wants to take advantage of this discount offer, then please contact our Breed Health Co-ordinator Sue Worrall via email at chesapeakeblue@btinternet.com. 

Last but not least, I hope everyone and their (varying shades of) brown dogs have a very Happy Christmas. 

Christine Mayhew

13 December 2020

Sadly another obituary. Born 16 June 2007, Sh Ch and Swedish Sh Ch Arnac Bay Ardent, known to everyone as Dill, has joined his litter brothers and sisters, Morse and Larch, at the age of 13.

Dill was owned by me on paper, but apart from dog show days, he spent his whole life with Roly Hoare, being a full-time gamekeeper’s dog. They were a perfect match and adored each other. Roly says of Dill, ‘He was the perfect gentleman, and although he was a strong, solid dog, he would walk away from any form of aggression from other dogs. He worked his heart out for me and was totally loyal. He was one in a million.’

He was a top show dog, a brilliant worker and he also sired so many great dogs in the UK, in the USA (from frozen semen) and in Europe. A full obituary will appear in the Chesapeake Chat.

Roly with Dill

Lisa Murch writes that her picking up dogs have had to take on the role of beating dogs during lockdown. Again, a full story will appear in the Chat which is sent to all club members each year.

For those who wish to join the Club (and the membership fee is minimal), please visit the Membership page where all details are available.

MBIS MRBIS GCHG Sandbars Hardcore Hank MH QAA continues his winning ways in the USA. New stats out through to the end of October show that Hank is the No. 1 Chesapeake All Systems and No. 7 Sporting Dog. He seems to be collecting major awards with every outing with his brilliant handler, Devon Kipp.

Lisa's dogs beating and flagging in

I was pleased to see a relatively new Facebook group called Chesapeake Bay Retriever Education and Responsible Breeder Referrals, to help people find reputable, responsible breeders of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Certainly a step in the right direction when there are many groups run by enthusiastic but often unknowledgeable people promoting puppy sales from irresponsible breeders. Such is the good and bad of Facebook.

Christine Mayhew

6 December 2020

This week we have a Chessie owner’s story about his great dog ‘Chesepi Jacobs Creek’ – known to all as Mr Cree. Bred by Molly Barker, Mr Cree is a handsome deadgrass dog who is named in many pedigrees in the UK.

Dave Goosey Lowther writes:

This Sunday, 6 Dec 2020, sees Mr Cree reach the grand old age of 14. Who would have thought back in 2006 what a ride we were going to have! Doing shows, working tests and above all my beloved wildfowling. We have had some wonderful times together and met some wonderful friends. Basically I got Mr Cree for my wildfowling. I’d never really trained him with dummies. I think he was about 5 or 6 when we started doing working tests. We didn’t do too bad considering he wasn’t impressed with dummies at first. Enter Molly with a rabbit fur dummy – now ya’ talking!

So with help and advice from Jason Mayhew we entered some working tests and enjoyed them. A quote from Jason which I’ll never forget: “old dog, new tricks.” I still don’t know if he meant me or Mr Cree? 

Then in 2015 Chrissie Mayhew organised the American Chesapeake Club Working Dog Stakes and I was asked if we would like to enter. The only problem – the day was the first anniversary of my dad passing away and I declined to enter. However, that was not to be. 

Thankfully Jason and Molly gave me the push to enter and what a day it was!  I thought we hadn’t done too bad but at the end of the day Jason read out the passes from the judges and paused. Oh well, I thought, we tried. And then after a few minutes he said, ‘and we have another pass …’ Yes, it was Mr Cree!

Thank you for that mate and yes I did have something in my eyes – big tears! Well, the rest is history. Sorry to waffle on. I could go on for ever about my big lad.

Last but not least, Molly Barker, thank you for trusting me with McCree.

Mr Cree certainly demonstrates the great comaraderie between this breed and their owners, and shows how versatile the breed is, as Mr Cree has earned some top places in the show ring and yet remained Dave’s working dog throughout. On his 14th birthday, a great milestone for any dog, I felt he needed recognition in Breed News Weekly – HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR CREE.

The time of year has come when Sue Worrall, the long standing editor of the yearbook and Chesapeake Chat, is putting together articles of interest for the next Chat. As all club members will know, this publication is very professional, contains a mine of information, and is something that is eagerly anticipated every year. If you have a story to tell about your Chesapeake, or something Chesapeake related, please send it to Sue for inclusion in the Chat, preferably with a good quality photograph or two. Sue’s email is chesapeakeblue@btinternet.com.

Christine Mayhew

29 November 2020

Well, this week we have a guest writer. Theo Ciraolo who at the tender age of 10 has not only thrown himself full on into wildfowling, but also has a very mature appreciation of the value of our breed in the job they were designed for, and even makes mention of the so important coat and colour. To then put pen to paper and send this in, he is showing up so many adults who promise news but never actually get around to it. Thank you, Theo!

MY FIRST DUCKS – by Theo Ciraolo

On a dark, windy night, me and my dad, Anthony, were shooting on some local floods. The rushes waved like an octopus’ tentacles. Eider, our eldest Chesapeake, was sitting up and blending into the muddy water, which was up to our ankles.

First, the snipe came. My dad pointed them out to me. I could make out their long, brown beaks and skinny legs. Curlews came next with beaks that were even longer. Eider was staring at them as they landed in the flash of water that we were kneeling in.

Then the ducks came. “Get ready,” whispered my dad.

“Ok,” I replied, concentrating on the widgeon that was getting closer and closer every second. Eider pricked up her ears and prepared to retrieve the bird. I closed one of my eyes for better aim and BOOM!

I stared up in amazement as one of the three beautiful birds dropped out of the sky and landed with a splash. “Eider,” my dad whispered with a huge grin on his face. I could tell he was proud of me.

Meanwhile, Eider was rushing through the water, not caring about getting wet because of the thick fur that was stopping her from getting cold. She sprinted past the decoys and arrived at the dead widgeon. Gently, she picked it up and came straight back.

Once she had retrieved it and dropped it into my dad’s hands, we waited with smiles on our faces. I couldn’t believe it.

After a few more ducks, which I couldn’t get the right aim on, flew over us, I got the perfect chance. I aimed again and BANG! I got a mallard! Again Eider retrieved it.

After 2hrs of shooting we finally decided to go home. Hopefully I will shoot some next time.

With so much to depress our lives these days, what a breath of fresh air to see someone so young doing something he obviously loves, and what an advertisement for field sports where youngsters are getting out in the fresh air and having fun instead of sitting and staring at a screen!
Christine Mayhew

22 November 2020

For those who haven’t yet heard, the UK Kennel Club has announced that Crufts 2021 will take place next year on new dates, namely the 15-18 July 2021 at the NEC Birmingham. Gundog Day for us is on the Saturday. Crufts will be celebrating its 130th anniversary in 2021.

Crufts was originally due to take place in March 2021, but with much of the UK in a second lockdown and so many events still not being able to be held, it was looking very unlikely that the show being held in March was a viable option. Following lengthy discussions on how it would be possible to hold the show next year, it was agreed to move the show to July when hopefully it is more likely that the show can take place and that the situation with the present pandemic allows for it to happen. Changes and precautions will be implemented to ensure more space is available for exhibitors and visitors.

We still do not know what qualifications will apply this year and we wait to be informed.

Luckily these new dates do not clash with our Chesapeake Club show which is a two-day event incorporating two Open shows and two Championship shows, and is planned for 3-4 July. It will though be a shame for those who have dogs out of coat in that month with the two most important shows for our breed in the space of two weeks.

Another date for your diaries, should we all get back to relative normality, is the Game Fair which is planned for 23 July, once again at Ragley Hall. As most of us know, this is an event that encompasses many rural pursuits, from shooting to falconry, with displays of gundogs working and exhibits of many different breeds. The shopping opportunities are amazing, from fine art to country clothing and just about everything for your gundog, gun and training.

Weatherdeck Yoomee
Weatherdeck Arnac Gudgeon
Arnac Bay Arapahoe

Great news from Steve Grutter of Banners Dog School in Switzerland is that Weatherdeck Yoomee has been awarded her Junior Championship. Yoomee was born in the USA with breeder Gina Downin. Her dam Weatherdeck Arnac Gudgeon is from the litter born to Arnac Bay Arapahoe when she visited the USA to be bred to ACC BIS-winning Champion Chestnut Hills Windjammer. So a Swiss dog from a USA dam who is from a UK bitch! Multinational indeed and many Atlantic crossings in the pedigree!

Christine Mayhew

15 November 2020

More news regarding the pandemic and how it is affecting the dog world. I hadn’t thought about the Channel Islands having different restrictions to mainland UK but, of course, they are self-governing and Karen Preece reports that in Jersey, “at the minute we can still go to training and have KCJ ‘matches’, but it may all change again.”

Steve Grutter tells me that in Switzerland all working test and shows are cancelled. In Italy, Austria and France, although the shows are cancelled, they are still running trials, but Steve and his fellow Swiss working Chesapeake enthusiasts are not permitted to cross the border to attend.

Margaret Wedgewood reports from Australia and says, “We are slowly getting back to shows – one a weekend in Queensland which we are hoping will change with the latest easing on next Tuesday. We are still wearing masks and handlers have to show the dogs teeth, and then judges have to wash hands after every dog. The main problem we have in Queensland is that we cannot get classification as a sport.” She adds, “at this time we have had no new cases of coronavirus in Australia for 6 days.”

The American Chesapeake Club Rescue has produced beautiful Christmas wreaths for a fund raiser. Whilst it would be impractical to have them shipped from USA to the UK, perhaps there is an artistic Chesapeake owner in the UK who might like to make some. I am sure that they would sell like the proverbial hot cakes.

Whilst on the subject of the American Chesapeake Club, just a reminder that current members should have received an email with the 2021 renewal link. If you are a current member and did not get your email (be sure to update the email address), you can get the info here.

If you are not a current member and would like to join, all the info is here.

ACC Rescue Christmas wreath

AND … Membership subscriptions to the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club are due on the first of January.

Single membership £10/year
Joint membership £12/year
Overseas membership £15/year

Please would everyone check that their details and especially email addresses are up to date on the list published in the last Chesapeake Chat and yearbook.

For more information or details about becoming a member of the CBRC, please contact the Membership Secretary, Maddie Mahon on 07969 184268 or email CBRCmembershipsecretary@gmail.com.

Dwayne's Eider

And to end on a happy story, Dwayne Cross reports on the start of his fowling season with his Chessie ‘Eider’: “After a very slow start, mid-October we hit off with a great morning flight on widgeon on our local marsh on the wash. Eider was in her usual spirit making some good retrieves from land and water.”

Christine Mayhew

8 November 2020

Another lockdown and more events and activities cancelled.

Shooting is restricted to rough shooting, wildfowling and stalking, but no driven shooting which is where many of us have worked our dogs, and with travel restrictions, many allowable shooting trips have had to be cancelled.

Lisa Murch managed to get in a busy day (over 300 birds – driven pheasant and partridge) on the Dartmoor shoot where she picks up, before everything closed. A poor substitute is that she has been asked, along with others with well-behaved dogs, to attend on certain days to keep the birds lifted over the drives so as they don’t get fat and lazy. As good for the dogs as for the birds, I would say!

I understand that all field trials have also had to be cancelled (hardly surprising as many are driven game) and that the Kennel Club has made a decision to cancel the Field Trial Championships which has to be a real blow to all who have worked so hard and spent so much in time, travel and money in order to qualify.

Catharina Lindstrom from Doublecoat’s kennel tells me that Norway, Finland and Denmark all had outdoor shows during the summer but all winter shows have been cancelled, and as the borders between Sweden and these countries have been closed the Swedes have had no shows to go to as all shows in Sweden were cancelled. Like the UK, there is a growing pack of puppies that have never been shown. Surprisingly, field trials and working tests have continued in all the Scandinavian countries though, even on driven game.

More shows throughout the rest of Europe have been cancelled even the ones which, until the last minute, we had held hope for, namely in Switzerland and France. I still cannot believe that we were lucky enough to have Crufts run as normal in the nick of time before the first lockdown.

The Kennel Club’s new website and computer systems are still causing problems and I keep reading horror stories on social media, as breeders and owners continue to experience problems. So if you are tearing your hair out trying to contact the KC, don’t worry, it is not you, it is the system which, hopefully, will be sorted out sometime this century!

And here is the good news! There are plans for Guildford Open Show and another show with Southampton and DC in the 2020/21 season! Dare we hope?

There is a lovely photo of a Chesapeake on the front cover of a recent Countryman’s weekly, namely Chester, and his owner Ryan Lynch, out doing the job the breed was bred for, namely wildfowling. A nice advert for the breed and a handsome dog.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club has produced a Puppy Buyer’s Guide, which you will find on the Home page. With some breeders charging exorbitant prices during lockdown, many breed clubs have produced guidelines on the main things  to look for when buying a pup and the prices to expect.

Christine Mayhew

1 November 2020

The shooting season is well under way and this week is a compilation of snippets from owners of Chessies out doing their job of work. Everyone should take the time to take their Chessie training, especially for gundog work, but only on those days when they are out doing the real thing will the owner or handler realise how totally driven these dogs are, and generations of breeding for work really shows. There is nothing like it!

Gemma Pearce says, 

Toggi had her second day out for this shooting season and she’s coming on brilliantly. Last season she was very unsure about picking birds and didn’t pick any, but the work and training Dan has put in with pheasant pelt dummies has paid off this season and she’s now picking up fantastically!

Dan with Toggi

Steve Camoccio writes of the first drive, 

Making my way down to the peg with Muddle walking partially by my side and as I unslip my gun he sits next to me, watching the skyline, trees and hedgerows in anticipation of what’s to come. Then the call goes out, “Birds over” and as I close my gun, I glance out of the corner of my eye to see he’s fixed watching with just a slow wag of his tail. As I pull the trigger he’s marking the bird so I give the command “Get on” and like a flash he’s off into the woodland in search of the bird as I watch and wait. He returns triumphantly and delivers it to  me with a look that only a Chessie can give, as if to say “Got it!” All those hours spent training throughout the summer months, when sometimes I didn’t think he was even listening to me, have definitely paid off. Working with a Chessie can sometimes be hard work but it’s definitely worth it when it all comes together and I’m proud to say that’s Muddle, My Chessie!

Steve's Muddle

And from Caroline Griffin-Woods,

A fantastic start to the shoot season for Broc and me. He got to retrieve his first ever warm game, a duck, on the first day. Later on in the day he got to retrieve his first ever pheasant and a runner to boot. I am even more impressed with him as it was biting him on the mouth. Delivery wasn’t pretty but near enough to be dispatched. It was a family day out as Arla and Toggi (Broc’s mother and sister) were also there.

Please let me have your stories (a maximum of 200 words please).

Christine Mayhew

Caroline's Broc
25 October 2020

A report from Debbie Herring, full details of which will be in the Club’s yearbook:  

On 18 October the Working Minority Retriever Club held a walked-up training day at Manor Farm in Hampshire. We had all Minority Breeds in attendance, Tollers, Curly Coats, Flat Coats, Irish Water Spaniels and Chessies. It was lovely to see so many Chessies able to attend, both new and old faces to the Minority Club. In the Puppy groups we had Linda Sams, Peter Clark, Darren Davies-Jones and Cathy Acheson, and in the Intermediate group we had Vincent Acheson, Kevin Amaira and Garry Thomas.

A happy bunch of Chesapeake owners training with the Working Minority Retriever Club

I have had an update from Joanne Lycett who, you will remember, was running with her Chessie, Quint, in the Muddy Dog Challenge to raise funds for Battersea Dogs Home.

Joanne ran three times, with times of 45 minutes, 37 minutes and 35 minutes respectively, and says that her legs are so tired now that she is done until next year!  How I can imagine. She adds that they had a lot of fun though, and raised a total of £274.00 for Battersea.

A brilliant effort and one to be admired. Maybe more Chessies can drag their humans to the event next year as this is less of a hardship and more a dream come true for our breed! 

Christine Mayhew

Jo and Quint at the end of the Muddy Dog Challenge
18 October 2020

Sad news from Irene Balmforth who let me know that she has lost her dog, Morse (Sh Ch Arnac Bay Avenger for Neashalee)) at the age of 13 years and 4 months. Morse was from the same litter as Larch (Arapahoe) and Dill (Ardent). Larch is sadly no longer with us but Dill is still going strong. It was a successful litter, and in the show ring Morse had four CCs and made the cut for best veteran at Birmingham National under respected judge, Di Arrowsmith.

As many will know, Irene has achieved great heights in competitive obedience with her dogs, starting with her home-bred Labradors in 1987.  She got her first Chesapeake in 1992 and because she had won herself out of Beginners, she had to go straight into Novice with this Chessie, namely Chase (Braidenvale Biscuit of Neashalee). Chase gained his Obedience Warrant and qualified to work championship C. He represented the North of England at Crufts four times, gaining two gold medals.

Irene’s next Chesapeake Darcy (Penrose Xe Bow at Neashalee) reached class C, followed by Tahle (Chesepi Talaquah) who worked class B but sadly died at a young age. 

This is where Morse arrived on the scene and Irene describes him as having great potential and always having the best heelwork marks but was naughty collecting his retrieve article in the ring. She says that it was perfect outside of the ring (typical!) but his retrieve always kept them from the red rosette as he seemed to like the colours blue and yellow! She adds, ‘He liked the colour red in the show ring and was a pleasure to work and show as he was a gentle dog and in all his 13 yrs 4 months never showed any aggressive behaviour. I miss him terribly.’

Irene's Morse

Irene still has a Chessie, Barkis (Arnac Bay Chivalrous), who evidently likes all the hard tests in obedience, heelwork, send away, distance control, etc., and can retrieve any article made of any material. He is also a very good scent dog but he cannot see the point of CLOSE heelwork! Irene thinks he would have made a good working gundog.

Irene adds that she has loved every minute of training her dogs in obedience and says that given good training the Chessies can hold their own against any of the more popular breeds, i.e. border collies, in this discipline.

Irene’s postscript is to say that the Chessie to watch for the future in the obedience ring is Debbie Crewe’s Ramses … No pressure, Debbie!

Christine Mayhew

11 October 2020

The present pandemic has caused no end of problems and delays in all ways as we all know but having had to book an eye exam for one of my dogs, I was amazed to find that they were so behind with bookings that there was only one appointment available and this was on the 1 December, some months away from my initial phone call. So a word of warning, get your dates in early.

A recent online show, namely ‘Gundog Group Photos and More’, saw Kirsty Watt-Preou’s dogs doing well, with Libby winning bitch CC and best of breed and her kennel mate, Fennel going reserve CC. The dog CC went to Katy Duncanson’s puppy Thor, who also won best puppy in breed, and the reserve CC went to Catharina Lindstrom’s Joy.  Thor, who has yet to attend a ‘real life’ show, then went on to win the puppy group 4, much to Katy’s excitement. The judge was Lynn Kipp. Congratulations to all.
Kirsty's Libby
Kirsty's Fennel
Katy's Thor

Whilst I think these online shows are providing some much needed competition and fun, I am not sure about the idea of awarding virtual Challenge Certificates, which of course are not real CCs. In real life, our CCs are very important awards with three from different judges leading to the title of champion. The judges (who have to be qualified to judge at Championship level) have to state that they consider the dog they are giving a CC is worthy of the title of Champion. With no disrespect to the dogs winning in the online shows, who may indeed be well worthy of the title, there is no judge on earth who can confidently make that claim from looking at a photograph and not seeing the dogs move or feeling their coat, etc.  Maybe this needs to be addressed by the Kennel Club?

News of a fantastic move by Joanne Lycett who is once again taking part, with her canine partner, Quint, in the Muddy Dog Challenge to raise money for the dogs and cats at Battersea Dogs Home. A perfect challenge for a Chesapeake!  Take a look at the YouTube videos – they are hilarious. As most of us in the UK will know, Battersea is a very worthy recipient as they care for so many strays and lost animals, get them back to health and rehome them. Some lovely pets have been adopted from Battersea and it is well worth contacting them if looking for a dog or cat, pedigree or not. This charity is not political, unlike one other charity that wastes no end of money fighting in courts in an attempt to stop country sports.  All funds for Battersea are for the welfare of the animals in their care.

Because of the pandemic, there is no actual venue for this event this year, just a personal run and so Jo will be running through Cannock Chase and its pools sometime this month and clocking her distance whilst also posting evidence. I am sure that we all wish them well. Jo and Quint have a Just Giving page: Jo & Quint Run Again. Please support them if you can afford to.

Christine Mayhew

Joanne's Quint
4 October 2020

Well, some good news, I hope, is that Crufts 2021, presented by The Kennel Club, is expected to take place from 11 to 14 March 2021. Gundog Day is Saturday 13 March and our judge is Mrs Sandy Hastings who has had Chesapeakes for many years and used to breed under her kennel name of Chesabay.

According to the Crufts website, information on how to qualify for 2021 will be available shortly. We wait with baited breath, hoping that some youngsters who have had no chance to show will be eligible to go.

With very little news, I revert back to the UK history of the breed, this week with regards to field trials.

When the Chesapeakes first started competing in any-variety working tests and trials, they were viewed by many with suspicion and many judges were totally biased towards the more common retrievers (many still are!) 

We had to really pull out all the stops to place in any of these events but gradually people got used to seeing the few dogs and handlers who were representing the breed and getting out there with their dogs. 

In the 1980s, Janet Morris and Arnac Bay Dawnflight of Penrose, John Barker and Arnac Bay Endurance, me with Arnac Bay Delta and Gaynor Bailey and Penrose Brownie of Gunstock, all ran in many working tests and all eventually won field trial awards.

Janet Morris with Arnac Bay Dawnflight of Penrose

Often we had a team of the above four Chesapeakes and handlers representing the breed at country fairs and inter-breed team events, and we had many successes and certainly made sure the breed was seen in a good light.

1983 saw Janet and Dawn gain the first Field Trial award (a third), soon followed by me and Delta and John and Endurance. John Barker was also running his and Molly’s Westering Brown Sugar at Chesepi and in 1987 she also joined the list of field trial award winners. All of these dogs were trailblazers for the breed and all won more than one award, with many winning numerous times.

Then in 1988 Gaynor and Brownie won a novice trial, the first actual win for the breed. This pair won numerous more awards including placing in an open stake – some achievement for our breed.

Penrose Brownie of Gunstock

Lurking in the wings was Linda Partridge with her young dog Chesabay Coral of Braidenvale who swept in and in 1989 won an all-aged stake. In Linda’s capable hands Corrie subsequently had two more Field Trial wins and many, many awards.

Having broken through the ice, so to speak, more Chesapeakes continued to place in trials including Chesepi Amigo Mio and John Barker,  Penrose Eclipse and Penrose Gale Force with Janet Morris, Penrose Fullflood Gamescout with Brian Campling and in more recent times, Earl Henry with Alan Buckham. 

Andy Kinta was the last to win an award in 2006 with his homebred  Lateshift Moon Charisma.

Chesabay Coral of Braidenvale

Our breed is bred and designed as a wildfowling dog, and modern trials in the UK are a far cry from the conditions on the foreshore. By far the majority of trials these days don’t even have water to test the dogs in, and our determined and often self-employed dogs are also a far cry from the push button Labradors that are now bred specifically for field trials as opposed to real thinking gamefinders.

I’m not sure that we will ever see another Chesapeake place in an AV UK Field Trial and I pray that we never try to change the breed in order to do so. Maybe we should challenge those FT Labs to a day in the mud and the rough sea?

Christine Mayhew

27 September 2020

I am sure that everyone has heard by now, but our last chance to show our dogs this year has been scuppered by Covid once again. The Scottish Kennel Club has announced that due to the tightening of restrictions they are unable to go ahead with the show.

News from the American Chesapeake Club and our great friend and honorary Brit, Gina Downin, is the new ACC Secretary. Congratulations Gina.

A date and venue has been set for the ACC National Field Trial Specialty next year, namely 19-21 October 2021, in Americus, in the state of Georgia which is one state up from Florida so well in the South and should be far warmer than October in the UK if anyone is interested in visiting. You may need to watch out for wildlife not present in the UK though, i.e. alligators!

Debbie Herring has kindly sent this through, as written by a friend, Lynn Bell, who trains Australian Terriers for drug detection in airports. Debbie suggests that we may hold a competition to see how many toys your Chessie can identify – with video proof necessary. I think it’s a really fun idea. Let me know what you think.

Lockdown Activities for your Chessies

With what looks like another pending lockdown on the way, where we will once more be restricted to our homes and with winter on its way, I thought I would share some ideas for activities you can do with your Chessies at home to keep their minds stimulated.

Find the treats
Nosework games are a quick and easy way to stimulate your dogs mentally. Grab some exciting treats with a bit of a scent and hide them around a room. Select a cue such a ‘find’ or ‘search’ and lead your dog to where he or she is in the right place to catch a scent of the treat. Once they have the idea they are looking for treats, you can gradually hide them in more difficult places to find.

The Cup Game
Get three large cups, place them facing down and let your dog see you put a treat under one of the cups. Ask your dog to wait while you mix the cups up and then use the ‘find’ or ‘search’ cue as above, for them to show you which cup they think that the treat is hidden under.

Name Their Toys
Start with one interesting toy that your Chessie loves to carry around and give the toy a name, ‘Kong’, ‘Bunny’, ‘Teddy’ – it doesn’t matter what as long as the name is distinctive.  Play with the toy and your dog and repeat the name of the toy. Place the toy somewhere in the room and ask your dog to find the toy by using its name. Once you have established the name of one toy you can begin to add others and see whether your dog can pick out the toy from others by name. There is a Border Collie who can pick out up to 800 different toys, so let’s see how clever these Chessies are.

Christine Mayhew

20 September 2020

First, a big congratulations to Daniel and Gemma Pearce who welcomed identical twin boys, Cooper and Jacob, to their family this week. With two such lovely parents, these lads are destined for a good life, and already have Chesapeakes as play friends and companions.

Very sadly Bournemouth Show Society issued the following statement:

It is with great regret that after more consultation with our local Council, there is no way with the new Government guidelines that the Bournemouth Canine Association Championship Dog Show can go ahead, therefore the show has to be cancelled. We have to consider the health and wellbeing of all that would attend this event and is of the most paramount importance, Exhibitors, Stewards, Judges, Helpers, Spectators, Contractors and Committee. With Covid spreading again at a very fast rate and the many places in lock down, we the committee feel this is our only course of action. We would like to thank everyone that entered to give a fantastic entry that I know would have pleased every judge.

Such a great shame as there are more puppies ready to be shown this year than at any other and it seems that many will not get the chance to show before they are well and truly out of puppy.

It does seem unfair that while our shows are being so hard hit, being cancelled one by one, dog shows are still being held in Europe and in the USA.

Weatherdeck Yoomee, owned by Steve Grutter, has just won another CAC in Switzerland. Yoomee was bred by Gina Downin from her Ch. Weatherdeck Arnac Bay Gudgeon and out of Ch Hardwoods Full House.

Ch Sandbars Hardcore Hank has just won yet another Sporting Group 1 making him the No. 7 Sporting Dog in the USA at present.

Steve Grutter's Weatherdeck Yoomee

The American Chesapeake Club’s National Specialty Field Trial in Idaho went full speed ahead with no apparent setbacks due to the pandemic.

Luckily for our very active working gundog breed, shooting is exempt from new Covid-19 restrictions in England at least. After substantial work by BASC and other organisations with government ministers and pro-shooting MPs, the government has announced exemptions to the ‘rule of six’.

For shooting, it means that where the organiser or participant holds a valid shotgun or firearms certificate, there is no limit to the number of people who can gather for the purpose of the relevant activity while outdoors. Maybe I should renew my shotgun certificate and hold a show!

Christine Mayhew

Next Generations Ironwoods Walnut competing at the ACC Specialty FT
13 September 2020

Great news from Peter Clarke and Leslie Tregunno is that their puppy, Mink (Arnac Bay Ibis) entered her first working test at the Minority Breed Retriever Club (as reported by Debbie last week) and gained a second place. Leslie says, “she scored 70 out of a possible 80 points and the judges were really impressed with her”. Mink is now signed up for training sessions in October.

From Monday 14 September new government regulations will come into force in England restricting social gatherings to no more than six people, both indoors and outdoors. The latest guidance says that there will be exceptions where groups can be larger than six, including work or voluntary services as well as outdoor sport and physical activity events.

So far, Bournemouth Show is set to go ahead and all of us who are suffering from dog show deprivation are keeping our fingers crossed that nothing changes.

Leslie and Peter's Mink with her first rosette

If you have not been looking for a puppy recently, you may not have seen the Litters page. Until now, litters have only been listed after they are born. The Club is going to start listing planned litters too. So if you are a member of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club and have a litter planned, you can send the details to be added to the list. Please include health test results of both sire and dam, as well as the date they are due to whelp. 

Christine Mayhew

5 September 2020

My thanks to James Newton for this report on his recent handling workshop for Chesapeakes. A full report of the day will appear in the next Chesapeake Club’s Chat and Yearbook.

On 29 August I had organised a CBR Handling Workshop at my home in North Lincolnshire to help exhibitors prepare for the new procedures our dogs will have to become accustomed to when it is safe to show again. For example, handler/judge wearing face masks, the unpleasant smell of hand sanitiser, and the handler showing the dog’s bite to the judge.

It was a small group in numbers but big in personality. In attendance we had: Molly Barker, Caroline Griffin-Woods, Sue Worrall, Cathy Broomfield, Katy Duncanson and David Rigby – all of whom took to the new procedures like ducks to water and the dogs weren’t bad either! It was also an opportunity to not only tidy up general bits of presentation but also meet up and socialise with friends we hadn’t seen since Crufts! To add to the fun, we all contributed to a picnic which was keenly observed by the resident Gordon Setters! The weather was a bit mixed with a few very light bits of rain and a bit of wind but it certainly did not dampen our spirits.

I never cease to find these workshops so incredibly rewarding, watching dog and handler make great strides in their progression just by ironing out a few creases here and there, or maybe looking at the issue they’re having from a different perspective. Needless to say, I think they all went away fully prepared and motivated to get out to the next show, wherever and whenever that may be.

James Newton

Talking of shows, all is going ahead for the Club’s weekend of shows next year, so put the 3-4 July 2021 in your diaries. To be held at our normal venue of Bretford Village Hall, near Coventry, the club shows are always friendly, family-orientated affairs with many competing who have never shown a dog before but having fun doing so. A great day out, this time there will be camping on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights so why not make a weekend of it? No electricity hook ups or showers, etc., so it is real camping!

The judges are now confirmed. We have Di Arrowsmith judging the Championship Show on the first day, with Tracy Butler doing the honours on the Sunday. For the Open Shows we have David Bell on the Saturday and Paula Graystone on the Sunday.

For those who need stewarding appointments for your judge’s requirements, this is your chance to steward for one or more shows. Let me know and I will put you in touch with the show secretary.

Christine Mayhew

30 August 2020

On Sunday 23 August the Working Minority Retriever Club held this year’s first socially distanced, Covid regulated working test in West Sussex. There were 30 dogs entered, with 26 dogs eventually running, and included an entry from every minority retriever breed. With Flatcoats, Irish Waters and Tollers, and four Chesapeakes as two of the original six decided to come into season!  A full report, including photos will be printed in the Chesapeake Chat and sent to all club members early next year.

Debbie Herring

Debbie and Jersey being tested on their heelwork


On 16 July, Peggy Grayson passed away peacefully at the age of 100 years and 8 months.

Peggy was a dog judge, exhibitor and breeder, a pony judge and exhibitor, and an author of numerous books on dogs and ponies. She judged in many corners of the world, would write for many years for both dog papers, and was a country journalist and broadcaster whose farming stories were broadcast by the BBC on the farming programme.

Peggy’s honesty, knowledge, sense of humour and the way she would freely give her knowledge to those who wanted to learn made her an amazing person to converse with.

As a dog judge she was well respected and she judged worldwide. To have Peggy give your dog a top honour meant that the dog deserved it. Peggy hated dishonest judging and would not suffer fools gladly. Her horse knowledge meant that she understood movement better than most and she would never give a top award to a badly moving or un-fit dog.

To have Peggy judging Best in Show at an all-breed or gundog show meant that the Chesapeake would not be overlooked as it is by many judges, but given a genuine chance. She awarded the first ever best in show at a championship show to my own Chestnut Hills Arnac Wye Oak and, on another occasion, gave the top award to Janet Morris’s field trial dog, Arnac Bay Dawnflight of Penrose.

Her interest in our breed was genuine and she judged us many a time. Peggy took the time to come and watch our club show in 1984 when we had Millie Bucholz from the USA judging, and she wrote a glowing article for Dog World. The following year Peggy judged the show herself. 

In 1985 she wrote in the dog papers regarding our breed: “they are super dogs. I first met them in 1938, and if things had been different, I might have had one, but it was not to be. However, when Margaret Izzard had them I met them again and my enthusiasm was rekindled.”

Peggy was to me and others, someone very special, an extremely knowledgeable and honest person and one of the great judges of the dog world. We need more like her.

Christine Mayhew

Getting together and staying together

23 August 2020

The club has a membership secretary! Whilst this may not seem exciting to some, it will, and is, to those who have had to email back and forth checking lists for payments or non-payments of subscriptions, altering addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers, etc. Until now it has been dealt with by the secretary who receives the application, the treasurer who receives the money (standing orders and cheques) and the yearbook editor who checks and lists the whole lot before sending out the Chesapeake Chat! Believe me, just checking the list is a two-man job!

Anyway our new Membership Secretary is Maddie Mahon. If you have any questions about becoming a member of the club, or if you are already a member of the club and need to change your contact details, please email Maddie at madeleinevmahon@gmail.com. Thank you Maddie!

A quick reminder that quite a few on the membership list have not yet paid their subscriptions for 2020. Can I please ask that everyone check up on this as the next Chat will not be sent out to those who have not paid their subs for this year.

Christine Mayhew

Following is a real feel good story from Cathy Broomfield:

The halt on all events due to coronavirus has been as hard on all of our dogs as the humans for socialising.  Social media has helped to keep us connected with the outside world, and our dogs have even joined in the weekly family zoom calls!  Plans for the Chessie Show came and went, and we have missed seeing our Chessie friends and their dogs so much.  A glimmer of hope came with the lifting of travel restrictions: we received a message from pup Toby that he had a ferry booked from Jersey on 17 August! What a coincidence that there was a big birthday coming up on the 18 August – Fern and Broc’s pups would be one year old!


With texts back and forth among the litter, it was a huge ask as many of the pups are further afield, but plans were soon made and on Tuesday this week we held a grand gathering of the Glaneils pups. Six of the nine pups were due to come but unfortunately a last minute crisis meant that Elk couldn’t be with us. The Leven Estuary at Greenodd was the perfect meeting point, as once across the bridge it is safely away from roads and activity – and ticked the boxes for social distancing! One lone fisherman did get a surprise, but aside from that we had the estuary to ourselves where the pups could swim to their hearts content and romp around the marsh. A fine combination of 7 Chessies, 2 Labs and a Choccy X.  

It was great to see the dogs all having a blast. Fern diligently checked each pup and was beaming with delight as she ran amongst them.  With no pressure to rush, we stopped and started along the way, just enjoying our time.  The dogs cottoned on to Simon having special homemade birthday biscuits to dish out and fresh water offered to wash down the sea water.  We barely noticed the drizzle and wind. There was lovely constant chatter, people who had not previously met before united by each owning one of Fern and Broc’s pups. We congregated back at our house, where the weather held up for us to eat outside with Simon on BBQ duties and the conversation flowed. Stories of Chessies past and present, and excitement for what these new pups will bring to the world.

That will definitely be a day to remember, and no doubt at all we will be having more gatherings in the future.

Cathy Broomfield

CBRC Working Chesapeake Tests

15 August 2020

What a lovely change to have a real live event to report on this week!

The UK Chesapeake Club held a Working Chesapeake Test day to test dogs of our breed on land and water. If you are unfamiliar with the tests then it is worth looking on the Events page to see what is involved, but basically they start at Level 1 and advance to Level 3, with the first level being quite simple and forgiving. Not so the later tests!

The tests were held at Jason Mayhew’s training ground on the West Sussex/Hampshire border. A training day on the Saturday before the test helped the dogs to become familiar with the ground and lake, and the handlers learn what would be expected of them the following day.

Jason and his fiancé, Anna, judged the tests, something that would not normally happen in a competition but the beauty of these tests is that they are a pass or fail test and do not involve any competition between dogs and handlers. It was great to have everyone willing the others to pass and great to have Jason training on the Saturday to give everyone the best opportunity to pass. Of course, the dogs had different ideas on the day, but the majority at Level 1 passed with flying colours. With ten running, eight passed namely:

Sue Worrall with Arnac Bay Esk
Sharon Baxandall with Sharbae Prettiest Star
Carole Harris with Migwell Deutsher Passion
Garry Thomas with Crablepeake Sunrise
Lisa Murch with Franeo Original Long Gunner
Christine Mayhew with Arnac Bay Inca
Anthony Ciraolo with Franeo Ebbing Tide
Deborah Herring with Sharbae Rebel Rebel

Six dogs attempted the Level 2 certificate with only one pass, namely Anthony Ciraolo with Franeo Ebbing Tide. This was the first Level 2 certificate awarded since the programme started last year, and a proud moment for Anthony with his home-bred bitch who had passed her Level 1 the same day.

All those present were in good spirits and seemed glad to, at last, get out and about with their dogs in a country situation where social distancing was easy.

I personally would like to thank the judges, Jason Mayhew and Anna Sole, and the dummy throwers, Dan and Linda, and, not forgetting my husband, Bob, for supplying and delivering the judges and helpers lunches.

If anyone in the Club has the time and suitable ground and water for the test, we could look into running more days in different parts of the country. I would be happy to help (if only from afar) to advise and help organise the event, including entries, choices of judges, etc., and could supply club certificates and rosettes. 

Email me if you are interested on bobmayhewqhorses@aol.com

Christine Mayhew

(Photos courtesy of Joy Middleton)

Roving reporter Chrissie on today’s Chesapeake training day

8 August 2020

This week, the news is so hot off the press that it is almost smoking!

This is the weekend of the Working Chesapeake Tests and training day, and I am writing having just finished the training day with fellow Chesapeake enthusiasts. We had with us many familiar faces, and also a new club member, Gary Wraysbury, who had travelled from the Windsor area to attend today. Welcome Gary!

All of the dogs training today will be running in tomorrow’s tests, along with a few extra, making a total of seventeen entries. Not at all bad for this time of uncertainty.

Instead of me waffling on about the fun we had today, here are some photos from the event – pictorial news this week.

Pictured also is the latest in working Chessie footwear which comes from Deborah Herring who very kindly threw dummies for us today. Warning: this is the latest fashion and we fully expect everyone to join in!

Christine Mayhew

(Photos courtesy of Deborah Herring)

Cooper flies into the pond
The latest fashion
Isla returns with her retrieve
Tor heads into the water

Planning your shows and a look back in time

2 August 2020

Volunteers from the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club have created a spreadsheet listing all judges for the breed at championship shows (CC and non-CC) for the remainder of this year (subject to the shows going ahead), and for 2021 and 2022 where information is available. This document will be updated on a regular basis and there is a link to it on the Shows page.  Many, I am sure, will find this useful in terms of planning their showing year. Thank you to those, as yet, anonymous volunteers!

The website is full of useful and interesting information and each time I look I find something useful that I had not found before!  (Should I be admitting this to the website editor?)

Back in time again and this week a photo of one of the early importations from the USA, Eastern Waters Ryshot Rose, a sedge bitch sired by Eastern Waters Tallyman and out of Eastern Waters Bittersweet. This was a  half-brother x sister mating as both had the lovely  Eastern Waters Baronessa as their dam.  Rose was imported from Janet and Dan Horn in USA by Margaret Izzard of Ryshot Gundogs in the early 1970s.
Eastern Waters Ryshot Rose

Rose had one litter sired by Ryshot Welcome Yank (described in a previous Breed News Weekly) and sadly died soon after from heartworm – something that we do not have to deal with in the UK but must worm for on a daily basis with dogs imported from a heartworm area.

The litter, born 4 November 1974, included Ryshot Yank’s Seastar, who Margaret had kept for herself. Sadly Margaret herself died the following year and Seastar, known as Mink, came to me as my first Chesapeake and the foundation of the Arnac Chesapeakes.

Mink's registration certificate

Another import at about the same time was Eastern Waters Morag, who went to a farmer, Mr Allen in Devon. Morag was by Eastern Waters Brown Charger and out of Eastern Waters Stardust, a half-sister to Rose. Morag was also bred to Yank and the subsequent litter included another foundation dog, Lackalee Walnut of Sharland, owned by Joyce Munday.

If anyone is interested in further generations behind these dogs, please do contact me.

Christine Mayhew

Eastern Waters Morag

Toby gets his first certificate and an interview with Molly Barker

26 July 2020

Great news from Karen Preece in Jersey is that her 11 month old pup Toby passed his Bronze Good Citizen test this week. A great achievement for one so young but Toby has big paws to follow as his big sister Tilly already has her Gold Certificate. Toby’s official name is Glaniells Catch Me If You Can, bred by Cathy Broomfield. He is sired by Caroline Griffin-Woods’ Broc and out of Cathy’s Fern. Both Chesapeakes live an enviable life in Jersey with the sea never far away!

With little competitive news these days, we have decided to ask various breeders, judges and members of the Chesapeake Club committee, for an insight into their history and views on the breed.

This week we ask the Club Secretary, Molly Barker.

How did you become involved with the breed?
My husband was looking for a gundog as our Lab had developed PRA at three years old. He was looking through the Shooting Times and saw a picture of a Chesapeake. A week later we saw an advert in the Shooting Times magazine, immediately called the number and spoke to Lady Spencer-Smith, who we all know now as Mrs Chrissie Mayhew. After a long conversation, she agreed to let us have a male puppy and he started my absolute love of Chesapeakes.

What was the name of your first Chesapeake?
Arnac Bay Endurance (aka Ches).

Do you breed? Do you have an affix? If so, how did you choose that one?
I do breed but rarely now. Yes I do have an affix, Chesepi, taken from two American Indian words ‘Che’ (Big) and ‘Sepi’ (River). As we are barely two miles from the big River Humber it seemed appropriate for a water dog too.

Do you judge and/or compete in any discipline related to Chesapeakes?
I have judged Chessies progressively at open and championship level (including the CBRC Championship Show and Crufts) since 1988, until I retired from judging in 2018. As well as judging in the UK, I have judged the breed in Sweden, Finland and the USA. My dogs have competed in working tests, the ACC WD Stakes, and field trials. Now they don’t compete, they are picking up dogs.

How would you describe living with Chesapeakes?
Well, Chesapeakes are a challenge but they can also be a lot of fun. They are very intelligent and will play you like a fiddle given the chance. You do need to be on top of them – they are too big to not be obedient. On the other side of the coin, they are extremely loyal and loving.

Any tips for first-time Chesapeake owners, or those interested in buying their first Chessie?
I would say do your research and try to get to some Chesapeake Club events or shows to look at the dogs. All dogs should have impeccable temperaments at these events. Talk to the owners and then go away and research again and read as much about the breed as you can. Feel free to ring breeders up and ask if you can come and see their dogs. Any good breeder will be happy to do that. Just ask as many questions as you can. They aren’t a breed for everyone.

As a judge/breeder/exhibitor, do you feel there is anywhere the breed has particularly excelled or lacked strength during recent times?
I think coats for the most part have improved a great deal. Many now possess the good, thick, harsh double coat. My biggest worry is that there seem to be quite a few blocky heads with broad muzzles when the standard calls for ‘pointed but not sharp’ and some large loose flews seem to go with those heads. Movement on some dogs is exaggerated because of over angulation.

Top three show dogs of the past?
My all-time favourite would be Arnac Bay Pride. She was such a beautiful bitch all round, who passed on so much through her children for the breed. Chestnut Hills Arnac Drake was such a hunk, with a coat like a grizzly bear and such good bone. Penrose Amazing Grace was a lovely bitch too, if a little masculine in the head. All were lovely on the move.

Do you have any interests outside of dogs?
No, not specifically – I am purely a dog person.

How do you feel Chessies compare in the field to other gundog breeds?
In the field working they are excellent and certainly the best wildfowling dog to be had. What do you think are the special qualities of the breed? I think their special qualities are their love of their people, and their protectiveness, love of working and their tenacity to never give up.


Bournemouth Ch Show, online success for Gus, and some great further reading!

19 July 2020

Some relatively good news at last, with the Kennel Club issuing the following statement:

The Kennel Club would like to confirm that any show which has been rescheduled within 12 weeks of its original date due to the coronavirus pandemic must keep the original qualifying dates. If a dog was eligible for a class on the original date it would still be eligible to enter that class on the rescheduled date. For example, if a dog was eligible for Junior on the original date, even if it is over 18 months old on the rescheduled date, it can be entered into Junior and, should it win a class and meet Junior Warrant criteria, relevant Junior Warrant points can be claimed.

Furthermore, if a dog is eligible for a class on the rescheduled date, it can enter this class. Therefore, if a puppy was too young for a show if it took place on the original date but is now 6 months or over on the rescheduled date it can be entered into the show. 

The Kennel Club would like to confirm Bournemouth Canine Association has rescheduled within 12 weeks. It should be noted that Blackpool District Canine Society has not rescheduled within 12 weeks.

This means that our breed classes at Bournemouth will allow entries in the puppy classes to those who were eligible on the original dates but will be, in theory, too old to enter the puppy classes in October. Likewise, junior dogs who have aged out of junior will still be eligible to enter in the junior classes.

So many young dogs missed their chances to compete during this pandemic that it will be nice for them to finally get into the ring. I anticipate a large entry for Bournemouth from our breed. Let us hope the weather is kind.

The Chesapeake Chat (the CBRC Yearbook) is still with the printers, who have a technical problem with one of their machines, but we are hoping that will be sorted out in the coming week. When club members do finally get the Chat, it will include, as usual, a list of members’ contact details, including email addresses (for those who have agreed to publication, that is). Please could everyone check that their details are up to date and correct. Whilst trying to email all members recently, we have found many details are incorrect. We all chop and change and often forget to let societies know.

More online competition news where Chesapeakes are certainly playing their part – a far cry from the ‘old days’ when the breed was rarely given a second glance in the show ring! This time a big winner from the ‘real’ dog shows, Madeline Mahon and James Newton’s young dog ‘Gus’ taking second in minor puppy dog and first in puppy dog in the ‘eyes on the prize’ virtual show, judged by Linda Ann Lawson.

The July edition of US magazine ShowSight features the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. You can go to the online edition to read the entire article (pages 191-206). With long-time breeders and judges of Chesapeake sharing their thoughts and concerns about the breed, the standard, temperament, etc., it makes interesting reading. Well-known names include Emilese Baughman, Nat Horn, Betsy Horn Humer, Dyane Baldwin, JoAnn Colvin, Diane Baker, Karen Anderson, Gina Downin, Michelle and Dave Keehn, Angie and Brian Cox, Kathy Luthy, Linda Harger, and Polly Henshaw.

Christine Mayhew

Rally success for Isla and Bea and a little bit of history

12 July 2020

Sharon Baxandall’s two girls did an online Rally trial and got the results last Sunday. Sharon says: “I must say it was fun and the results were good, even though it was exhausting setting up courses in the wind – the stations kept blowing away. My lovely daughter filmed me and the host’s other half transferred my posts from Facebook and put them on YouTube for me (way beyond my capability) to be judged. Isla scored 192 and 198 and gained her Level 1 Championship so we are onto Pre Level 2 next which is some off lead work. Bea did her 1st Veteran L1 rounds and scored 189 and 194.”

It’s so nice that people are taking every opportunity, despite the difficulties, to still carry on with dog activities. Well done, Sharon and girls!

News comes that Bournemouth Championship show is now scheduled for 5 October (Gundog Day), which is great news for those of us with puppies that we need to get out and about. Entries are now open via dogbiz.

Sharon's Isla with her rally rosettes
Sharon's Isla
Bea with her rally rosettes
Bea with her rally rosettes

With very little news at the moment, I thought I would give brief notes, along with photos of some of the early Chesapeakes in the UK, beginning this week with Ryshot Welcome Yank.

I met Yank  in the 1970s – my first introduction to the breed. He was a strong brown dog who belonged to long-time Flatcoated retriever breeder, Margaret Izzard from Ropley, Hampshire.

Ryshot Welcome Yank, born 18 Feb 1968

Yank was bred by Major Bruce Kennedy in Scotland. Major Kennedy had met the breed whilst shooting in the USA and was so impressed by their attitude to work that in he imported a bitch from the USA who he named ‘Doonholm Dusty’. Major Kennedy purchased a male pup, ‘Brandy of Cowal’ from a litter bred by an American serviceman on a term of duty in the UK. He bred a litter from Dusty and Brandy in February 1968, and Yank was from that first litter. Yank seems to have been the only dog to have been bred to pedigree Chesapeake bitches, having been bred to Eastern Waters Ryshot Rose, and Eastern Waters Morag, both bitches having been imported from the USA, Rose by Margaret Izzard and Morag by a Devonshire farmer, Mr Allan.

Christine Mayhew

Show news for your diary!

5 July 2020

Whilst all of our dog shows have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, there is some activity in the USA where the top winning Chesapeake, MBIS MRBIS GCHG Sandbars Hardcore Hank MH QAA has added another to his very impressive collection of wins, this time in Oklahoma where COVID restrictions meant that competitors had to wear masks and stay 6′ apart. The judge was however able to handle and go over the dogs.

The American Kennel Club says that it continues to encourage each of its 5000 clubs to adhere to federal, state and local restrictions pertaining to minimise the spread of COVID-19, and as the states gradually begin to reopen they say that they strongly advise clubs to follow every regulation for large gatherings. As with the UK Kennel Club, they continue to monitor the situation and any developments.

Devon handling the multi-talented Hank

For those who have not met Hank, he is the first ever Chesapeake to achieve his AKC Master Hunter title and also win an All Breed Best in Show, which makes him the first ever retriever in AKC history to do so! Owned by Adam Levy and Diane Baker, Adam says of Hank, “besides all the fancy titles, he is my main hunting buddy and accompanies me all over the Midwest in our quest for ducks, geese, swans and pheasants. He has an amazing goofy temperament, gets along with all dogs, and loves people.” Hank is handled in the ring by Adam’s lovely fiancé, Devon Kipp. 

Meanwhile, Chesapeakes continue to do well in the online shows being held, with Caroline Pont’s lovely bitch Oakmarsh Dancing Diva notching up a string of successes with a Best of Breed, a Group 2, then a Best in Match (from an entry of 169). The icing on the cake however was a recent Reserve Best in Show out of an amazing entry of 1378!  Diva was bred by Kirsty Watts. What an amazing success these online shows have been for the dog showing fraternity during lockdown.

Caroline Pont's Diva wins Reserve BIS online

According to the British Horse Society, English indoor arenas may be back in use from 4 July, thanks to a “breakthrough” with the government and so this may lead the way to some ‘real life’ shows in the not too distant future.

There is great news for the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club’s plans for shows next year.  Because of the ‘COVID cancellation’ this year, the Kennel Club has allowed us to schedule two championship shows and two open shows on the one weekend, namely the 3-4 July 2021. This will certainly make the weekend special so put these dates in next year’s diary. We have our show secretary Caroline Griffin-Woods to thank for arranging what is going to be a mammoth task for her, and so any offers of help, large or small, would be appreciated.

The British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has named its Gamekeeper of the Month as Raymond Holt. Raymond is the first gamekeeper to have been employed by the Kennel Club and is responsible for turning the Kennel Club owned Emblehope and Burngrange estates in Northumberland into a ‘training centre of excellence for working dogs’. More about the estate another time.

Christine Mayhew

Puppies, prizes and playing out

28 June 2020

Two more online dog show awards were recently won by the two Chesapeakes who share their home with Jo Coppin and Darren Davies-Jones!  Freja added to her previous award by coming 5th in AV Gundog out of 140 entries and puppy Mira who has yet to make her debut in ‘real life’ dog shows due to pandemic restrictions, came 4th out of 415 entries!  Way to go Mira! 

Put 8-9 August in your almost-empty diaries!  We will be running a training day and a Working Chesapeake Test day at Jason Mayhew’s training ground in Rogate, Hampshire. Obviously we need to keep to government guidelines with regards to social distancing and so should numbers climb too high we will close entries with first come, first served. Fortunately, with plenty of ground, I would doubt that we will have a problem, but please see the Events page and get your entries in early.

Two new imported pups have just arrived in the UK from Austria from Cristian Paldetti’s first Chesapeake litter. Many will know Cristian from meeting him at Crufts, and these pups are sired by his Multi International and UK Show Champion Nunneyswood Iceberg who has won the dog CC at Crufts for the last three years (and Best of Breed in 2019).

Ice was bred by Margaret Woods on the Isle of Wight, his sire being Gemma McCarthy’s Doublecoats Chesepi Ice Shaddow at Nunneyswood, who was himself imported from Sweden. His dam is Margaret’s own homebred Sh Ch Nunneyswood Drifting Snow. The mother of Cristian’s litter is Doublecoats Mary Quant bred by Catharina Lindstrom of Doublecoats kennel in Sweden. Mary Quant is sired by Gr Ch and Sw Ch Doublecoats Christmas Joy (BIS winner at the ACC Specialty 2011) and out of Sw Ch Doublecoats Icefern, who is a full sister to Gemma’s Ice Shaddow thereby doubling up on this pedigree. All this brings in lines we already have but in different formats and includes some lovely dogs from the USA, Sweden and the UK.

The pups from this litter have gone to new homes all over Europe, including Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Poland and Italy. Cristian says that all of the new homes are with lovely people who know the breed, and this gives him great satisfaction. He is keeping two pups in Austria for himself.

One of the male pups came to Cathy and Vincent Acheson who chose a puppy from Cristian’s litter because they had met and liked the father, Ice. They liked his drive, intelligence and his very gentle attitude – characteristics they wanted in a dog. The mother of the litter, Mary Quant, reminded them of their first ever bitch, Westering Michaelmas Daisy, a gentle soul with drive and determination.

After many exchanges of photographs and videos, and Skype calls, and with a requirement for a non-alpha male who would gel in their pack, a puppy was chosen. Then came lockdown! Finally, with all paperwork in order, the go ahead was given for the pup to be brought by an animal transport company ‘Linora’ and he duly arrived safe and well, along with another pup from the litter who has gone to a home in the South of England.

The puppy, who is to be Cathy’s dog, was named Thane. Scottish in origin, as is Cathy (born a McCulloch), a Thane was a minor Royal (Earl) who was fiercely loyal, hardworking and driven, and fit, and would protect his Lord and Master to the death.  Whilst the Achesons say that they fervently pray that the last attribute will be redundant, the others are all the best qualities of a Chesapeake.

Cathy’s plans for Thane are endless and I am sure that we will all meet him very soon at a Chessie event. Certainly he has adoring owners who are thrilled with this new bundle of brown fur.

Christine Mayhew

Fewer events, more testing and the ACC CBR Breed Database

21 June 2020

Sadly the Game Fair has now joined the list of cancelled events. The event organisers have this week released an email which says: “We have received a notice from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport who sadly, due to the coronavirus pandemic, cannot give us any assurances that the Game Fair can proceed in September. It will therefore be postponed until July 2021.”

The Frampton Country Show and Northern Shooting Show have also both been cancelled as a result of continued Coronavirus restrictions.

Good news with regards to eye testing though, is that in line with the easing of lockdown restrictions across the UK, the British Veterinary Association are advising that veterinary practices can begin transitioning towards as full a range of veterinary services as possible in a safe manner. This will be dependent on individual practice factors such as staffing levels, as well as the vets’ professional and clinical judgement, and the BVA urge all owners to respect their vet’s decision. Some Eye Panellists may be able to start offering CHS eye screenings within clinic settings now as long as government guidance on working safely, practice polices, and any local restrictions are adhered to. Please check with your veterinary practice. Currently group eye screenings cannot take place due to social distancing requirements. 

As many have asked about the American Chesapeake Club’s database, which is for ALL Chesapeakes worldwide, I have asked Gina Downin of Maryland, USA to explain it to us.

Christine Mayhew

The American Chesapeake Club has committed itself to the preservation of information about individual dogs in our breed. In 2018 we launched our CBR Database and with the help of the worldwide Chesapeake community, we are steadily adding new information. In the past, there have been privately owned databases that we came to rely upon, but those databases closed down and all data was lost. The ACC took action to collect and preserve this data so that we don’t, once again, lose this valuable information. Owners and breeders of dogs can submit information about their dogs along with documentation that allows our data group to verify the accuracy of the information. Submitting your documentation can be as easy as snapping a photo of documents and attaching the photo to your submission. Some information, such as health tests, can be submitted by sending a link to your dog’s health clearances in the Kennel Club’s Health Test Results Finder.

We have been working with several people in the UK to enter dogs so that we can start to connect the dots between related dogs. You can help us to strengthen those data connections by working with us to make sure that all UK dogs are represented in the database.

Start by visiting the database at: cbrdata.amchessieclub.org  You can search for a dog by entering any part of their registered name. If the dog already appears in the database, you can add new information directly from their page in the database. The types of information you can provide include: parent info, health test results, and a photo. You can also add a note that might include owner/breeder names and contact information, location of the dog, and other information that you think might be important. We only ask that you do not use the note function to promote your kennel or your dog for commercial purposes (i.e. no stud dog info, litter announcements, links to kennel website, etc.) If the dog does not already exist in the database, it must be added as a “New Dog with Test” from the home page of the database. You’ll start by entering some Kennel Club registration information and the results of just one health test. We have a very helpful flowchart that will guide you in how to enter your dog: Guide to Entering Data in the American Chesapeake Club CBR Database

At the moment, our database includes American Kennel Club titles. In the future we hope to add the capability for owners to submit titles from other registries with accompanying proof of that title. We look forward to recognizing all titles earned by Chesapeakes. And, we plan to eventually have the ability to produce pedigrees.

To see a sample dog in the database, you can visit the following link: CH Weatherdeck Arnac Bay Gudgeon RATN CGC

If you need any help in getting started with entering your dog into the database, we encourage you to reach out to our team at accdatateam@gmail.com.

Gina Downin, ACC Data Group

Events cancelled … and events to look forward to

14 June 2020

Sadly another event has been cancelled, this time Chatsworth Country Fair. Normally held in early September, Chatsworth is an important event in the gundog calendar, being anticipated for its yearly inter-team gundog working tests. The CLA Game Fair, having been postponed from July, is still scheduled to be held on 18-20 September at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire so all fingers crossed that this will not be cancelled.

Looking forward to 2021 and the show scene, the Kennel Club and the Crufts Committee have announced that they are committed to holding Crufts 2021 if permitted to do so by the Government. We can but hope.

To clarify recent breed notes in Our Dogs regarding the ACC WD programme:

The American Chesapeake Club (ACC) has a working dog certificate programme that tests dogs on their working ability in three different stages of tests. This test was perfect as we could run it according to ACC rules in various countries using the same criteria with a few exceptions for laws in each country, i.e. the Americans will throw a bird in the air and shoot it, which is something that we are not allowed to do (we would use cold game).

Each event has to be organised by a Regional Director (RD) of the ACC and I, as the RD for England, ran the first one with the help of Les Lowenthal of the ACC, who visited the UK to help us. This was many, many years ago and Les is sadly no longer with us. I continued to run tests, the last being in 2015. Janet Morris, at that time the RD for Wales, ran some in Wales too.

A few years ago (I think 2016) the American Chesapeake Club announced in their bulletin that they were no longer allowing their programme to be run overseas. This came as a shock to those of us in Europe who had supported the programme as we had received no prior notification of this announcement.

With the disappointment of this news, I, my stepson Jason Mayhew (a professional gundog trainer) and others on the Chesapeake Club committee, came up with a series of tests, loosely based on the ACC WD tests, so that our dogs could earn a club qualification to prove their ability to work. These tests are not a competition and we hoped that people who had never entered a test would be encouraged to do some gundog work with their dogs. We named these tests the WORKING CHESAPEAKE TESTS and all details of the three stages of test can be found on the Events page here on the CBRC website.

A few years after the shock announcement by the American Chesapeake Club, a few from the ACC rallied around the RDs in various countries to start discussions to try to revive the ACC working dog stakes. Being the RD for UK, I was amongst those asked for ideas to get things going again. It had been mooted that we may be able to re-invent the tests in Europe and beyond.

By this time our Working Chesapeake Tests for the UK Club had been formally written and agreed. Added to this, the idea had been proposed that all entering the ACC WD programme should be a member of ACC (at the equivalent of £50 per annum membership), which would probably not work for our normal members in the UK, most of who would not be interested in joining the American Club. (There are presently only five ACC members residing in the UK.)

CBRC Working Chesapeake Test rosette

For the UK tests, we were asking that everyone entering is a member of the UK CBRC at £10 per annum, and the entry fee for the test was to be £25 per test. The ACC entry fee amounted to £44 plus the ACC membership of £50 … it was a no brainer!

The first UK test was run in 2019 with great success. Catharina Lindstrom and Pia Wime Roudier were flown in from Sweden to judge as both have experience of the original tests. We had an amazing entry of 21 dogs for the first test, including two who had travelled from Greece and another two from Holland!

Eleven dogs passed the first test and nine went on to the next stage in the afternoon.  Unfortunately none passed the next stage but all said that they would like to try again next year. Even with the cost of foreign judges and initial expenses for rosettes, etc., the Club still made a profit, and gained several new members. Each dog and handler who passed was awarded a certificate and a beautiful rosette.

This year’s tests were planned for April but the pandemic put an end to those plans. If there is any opportunity to run the tests later in the year, we will do so if we are able to schedule it around shooting dates. Otherwise we plan to hold the test in April 2021. Check the Events page for updates.

Christine Mayhew

The Working Chesapeake Tests include tests on both land and water