Showsight July 2020


judges have opted to express their preferences by disqualifying dogs based on patterns or colors they found objectionable. Judges are instructed that “specimens lacking in breed characteristics are to be disqualified.” Note the plural (characteristics). Some judges have used this as a justification for disqualifying dogs with allowable pat- terns or color. This is a problem. Lastly, it should be noted regarding patterns and colors, as a working Retriever, a Chessie should blend to their surrounding environment as closely as possible. They should be camouflaged and inconspicuous. When learning the breed, it helps to observe the dogs working in a variety of environments and then apply those mental images when judging in the ring. A few words about temperament: I spoke a little earlier about temperament but, to expand on it a bit, I find that outside the breed, Chessies are not well understood. You hear quite often that they can be stubborn and difficult and some people express a perception of hardness or sharpness. These are traits that should not be associated with the breed. These dogs are very intelligent and require creative training techniques. They do not typically do well with repetitious pattern training. They learn quickly and bore easily. This is a breed with a very keen sense of fair play. They will accept a justified cor- rection, but will not tolerate constant or unnecessary manhandling. They love their people. They are protective and loyal. They are often indifferent to strangers [since] their people make up the whole of their universe. This leads to a misunderstanding for those who expect all Retrievers to be happy-go-lucky like a Golden or a Lab. Because of the close bond they form and their workmanlike attitude, Chessies see themselves as a partner, not a tool. Truthfully, in most every endeavor, one couldn’t ask for a better partner or companion. The AKC standared has seven disqualifications. Care to elabo- rate? I think the disqualifications in the breed are pretty clear for the most part. As I mentioned earlier, the disqualification for lack of breed characteristics should not be used as a loophole for per- sonal preferences or agendas. For disqualification, there should be multiple traits and they should be very clearly and easily tied to the breed standard. It is also notable that there is a DQ regarding feathering on the tail or legs over 1-3/4 inches long. Chesapeakes should not have feathering of any kind. There are dogs produced that throwback to long-coated ancestors. These dogs are fairly rare and not correct. As breeders we now have a DNA test to help us avoid producing long-coated dogs and as exhibitors they should not ever be presented in the ring. Are there any well-kept secrets about the Chesapeake Bay Retriever? Chessies are their own best kept secret! Are there any current “trends” in breeding that should be con- tinued or should be stopped? One of the most important aspects of the breed is its functionality as an all-around, dual-purpose dog. Thankfully, we have not experienced the “split” some other Sport- ing breeds have gone through. Our show dogs are the same as our working dogs. There is little difference in style or temperament. The same dog can hunt, compete in companion or performance events and still succeed in the show ring. A dog I bred and co-own recently became the only Retriever in history to be a multiple Best in Show winner, AKC Grand Champion, Master Hunter, Qualified All-Age. It is not unusual to see dogs in the show ring with AKC or UKC hunt test titles. Often dogs will hunt during the week and go to shows on the weekend. We have many younger breeders who are following along with this concept. I believe the future looks bright for this great breed! DYANE BALDWIN I have bred 191 AKC champion Chesapeakes as well as 155 per- formance titled Chesapeakes, including placements in AKC field trials under the Pond Hollow prefix. I have personally trained and

of weakness. It is vital to have sufficient substance to bust through the thickest cover and ice, and power through the highest waves and brutal winds. Substance should not be so much, though, as to inhibit agility, dexterity or endurance. How does the breed’s silhouette differ from that of its Retriever cousins? One of the distinct features of a Chessie is its outline. Our standard calls for the rear of the dog to be as high or a trifle higher than the dog is at the shoulders. This is an important feature of breed type and makes the outline of a Chesapeake very unique and easily identifiable from a distance. Can I describe the Chessie’s ideal expression and coat? AChessie’s expression should reflect its intelligence and bright, happy disposi- tion. This breed also has an intensity when on task that can be seen in its facial expressions and demeanor. This should not be confused with unhappiness or aggression. A surly temperament should not be excused. However, the Chesapeake is a stoic breed and can appear quite serious when working. This can betray their often clownish personality and very light-hearted sense of humor. Coat! This is one of the most important factors of a Chesapeake. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most misunderstood aspects of the breed. The breed’s founders developed the unique coat of this dog to weather the extremely harsh conditions of the Chesapeake Bay. Because of close proximity to the icy Atlantic and prevailing weather patterns, the weather on the Bay can be very brutal. Native waterman found many Retrievers of their day lacking in the ability to hold up to the rigors required for long hours and harsh conditions required of a market hunter. This was a blue collar Retriever, not a gentleman’s hunting dog. Owners depended on their Chessie to put meat on the table and bring money home from market. It made for long days and sometimes hundreds of retrieves. Endurance and sturdiness was a must. A Chessie might spend the majority of its day in the icy water or on a snowy bank during hunting season. This makes the ability of repel water vital! After a swim, a Chesapeake must be able to shake the majority of water from its coat and be barely moist to the touch. Improper texture, length or volume would render this feature ineffective. Soft and/or profuse coats do not dry properly and leave the animal susceptible to pneumonia or hypothermia. A Chessie’s coat should have a wooly undercoat to provide insulation and a top coat that has the tendency to wave (not curl) over the neck, shoulders, back and loins. Side coat can appear to have more or less volume depending on the dog, but it must always have proper texture. The wave of the coat can be loose or more tightly patterned. It can even take on a kinky appearance. When being judged, as long as texture is correct, one style of wave should not be preferred over the other. A coat in correct condition should have sufficient oil to be water-resistant. However, a Chesapeake does not have to have an unpleasant odor to achieve this. Overall, proper coat carries the highest number of points in the positive scale of points as part of our breed standard. Do judges ever betray preferences for color? Judges and breed- ers can sometimes have preferences on color. As long as a color is within the allowable range, all should be considered equally. Some breeders have concentrated on certain colors throughout the years and, therefore, you often see a distinctive style that may dominate a color in a particular region. It is therefore hard to say if these style differences account for judges preferences or if it is strictly a color issue. A big area of misconception, however, is the patterns allowed within the breed. There are several allowable patterns: white mark- ings (within very strictly specified areas), stripes (brindle), saddle mark, agouti, tan point and masking. These patterns can overlay any allowable color. Ideally the Chessie is a self-colored dog, mean- ing one color overall with or without shading of the same color. While judges may have preferences regarding color or patterns, it is important to note that color is accountable for only four points on a 100-point scale. Unfortunately, there have been instances where


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