RETRIEVER CHESAPEAKE BAY
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Judges & Breeder Concerns Chesapeake BayRetrievers:
Articles Provided by the American Chesapeake Club
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever in the Field BY EMELISE BAUGHMAN
M aryland in the 1800s was a sportsman’s paradise, with a variety of waterfowl in the Chesapeake Bay as well as the surrounding lakes, rivers, and marshes. This required a superior dog for hunt- ers, and became the birthplace of the premier waterfowl dog, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Two Newfoundland puppies rescued from a shipwreck in 1807 were bred with local dogs towards the goal of developing a strong, determined, yet gentle retriever for both local watermen and gentlemen hunters. Their success was formalized in 1878 with AKC recognition, with that success still evident today. Although the Chessie ranks below Labs and Goldens in terms of numbers registered, many hunters would have no other dog. They retrieve ducks and geese, of course, but also upland birds like pheasant, quail, and doves. This means they have to be strong, able to navigate all bodies of water and varieties of
terrain, and tolerant of both cold and heat. Chessies are intel- ligent, independent thinkers, but little will stop them due to their strong drive and desire to retrieve; so the hunter must be careful to not send them into risky situations, such as ice shelves in strong current or overly hot, humid upland hunts. Many dog fanciers also prefer Chesapeakes because they are dual purpose, successful in both the field and show ring. The dense double coat offers great protection for the field dog, but needs minimal grooming; so they can easily do both in one weekend, showing one day while hunting or compet- ing in hunt tests or field trials the next. There have been 140 Champion/Master Hunter Chesapeakes, more than twice the total of Labradors achieving both titles. They com- pete less often in field trials, but there have still been some great Field and Amateur Field Champions as well as 19 elite Dual Champions.
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CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVERS: JUDGES AND BREEDER CONCERNS
J udging your first Chesapeake assignment may convey surprises. You’ve attended seminars and specialties, received mentoring, and reviewed educational materials. What follows is advice to further prepare. (a.) Outline: Some breeds have a square proportion and a level topline. The Chesapeake is slightly longer than tall (thus variance in the proportion). The Chesapeake rear is as high as or a trifle higher than the forequarters (thus topline variance). Topline can also vary with an approximate gentle “S” curve or, in fact, a level topline. While viewing profile, you must also consider the head, neck, size, angula- tion (front and rear), underline, feet, and tail as they appear within the profile. The Chesapeake is definitely not a cookie-cutter breed. As you walk down the line you may have six dogs that show good profiles with vast differences. (b.) Condition: The Chesapeake must have the strength and stam- ina to perform all day long, with proper muscle tone comparable to an athletic swimmer or marathon runner. He must be capable of per- forming on both land and in water. Slight weedy specimens or bulky, over-muscled specimens are not desirable. Focus on the ideal. (c.) Head: Head type can vary within the specifications of the standard. To avoid mistakes, understand the nuances: The expres- sion must be intelligent with a willing-to-work attitude; the implied oval eye is medium large, yellowish or amber; broad, round skull and tapering muzzle of equal lengths, medium stop; ears small, hang loosely, with medium leather; lips thin, not pendulous. The standard provides information and measurements as guidance. For example, eyes wide apart (guideline 2 ½ to 2 ¾ inches). (d.) Coat: The double coat’s texture, length, density, and degree of waviness within the description are a knowledge judges need to develop. The coat color and how to judge it must be studied. Some of the more common shades of sedge, deadgrass and brown are eas- ily recognizable. Be prepared as a judge to deal with specimens that may have a coloring that is atypical: For example, color variation, face masking, stripes, tan points, and grey color. SUGGESTIONS FOR New Judges BY NATHANIEL HORN
Just for fun, a two-month-old puppy walking on a teeter shows excellent movement for her young age.
A four-month-old puppy showing balanced front and rear with desirable angulation, good coat, and a chest that already reaches to his elbow. He has correct length of body proportions and length of leg. Correct head proportions of muzzle to skull and lovely neck into shoulders.
(e.) Gait: The front should have full liberty of action and a well-angulated rear of great strength. Gait should be consistent with the vision of a well-toned athlete with good reach and drive from the side and deliberate soundness both coming and going. If unsure while judging, check your standard.
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CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVERS: JUDGES AND BREEDER CONCERNS
CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVERS— CURRENT CONCERNS
BY BETSY HORN HUMER, JEC
S ize: our standard allows a variance of 3" at the top of the withers for males 23-26" and also for females 21-24". You could have a smaller bitch at 21" and a taller dog at 26" in your ring with a difference of 5". In some parts of the country, you will see taller dogs. In other areas, the average males being shown are 24 ½ ". If a dog is taller than the majority of the entry, he is not wrong. There is no height preference within the stated heights. It is important to know the size ranges. Feet: The Chesapeake should have hare feet. It is the only retriever breed with a hare foot which gives the dog a better grip when climbing muddy banks or encountering ice during winter hunts. You will see some rounded cat feet instead of a correct foot with two longer toes on the center of each foot with less arching. The cat foot does not cover as much ground and offers less trac- tion when the dog is on mud, ice or uneven ground. Short Legs: It is very strongly stated in the breed standard that “shoulder to elbow and elbow to ground should be equal.” Short legs do not permit the Chesapeake Bay Retriever to run as quickly or efficiently. There is not only a disadvantage in the field, but swimming strokes are also impacted. Legs that are equal from
elbow to shoulder and from elbow to ground provide a longer stroke; fewer strokes and more endurance for the swimming dog. Lack of Balance: As with so many breeds there are problematic straight shoulders, but even more cases of short upper arms. Many rears are correct and are well-angulated, but the dog is not bal- anced. To quote from the breed standard: “Shoulders should be sloping with full liberty of action…” Bad fronts are the major fault in our breed. In addition, unknowledgeable breeders are also pro- ducing “balanced dogs” that lack an adequate amount of angula- tion, both front and rear. While sound, unfortunately, they have restricted movement on ground and inefficient swimming ability. The Good News: The Chesapeake coat is the Hallmark of the breed. The breed standard says: “The double coat consists of a short, harsh, wavy outer coat and a dense, fine, wooly under- coat...” Coats have improved tremendously over the years. More Chesapeakes have better coats than in the past. Quality is bet- ter and there is more consistency with harsh, dense coats and the desired undercoat. In addition, the trend and temptation towards over grooming is not as prevalent as it used to be.
JUDGING THE CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER
BY JOANN COLVIN
J udging of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever begins before any hands-on examination. When the dogs first enter the ring, have them stand to be able to see the outline. The outline of the Chesapeake is different from any of the retrievers. One is looking for a dog exemplifying strength, adequate bone, slightly longer than tall. Most importantly, one is looking for a level topline or one that rises slightly to the rear—no sway or weak back. And equally, one is looking for a distinctive bottom line—chest at least to elbow, well-developed barrel rib cage, short flank and a distinctive tuck-up under the loin. As one initially moves the dogs around the ring, evaluate the strength of the drive in the rear, the reach and, equally important, the return of the front leg under the body. Look at tail carriage— horizontal to the back. [The tail] can be held somewhat higher when excited, but not curving in a semi-circle over the back. Approach the dog for the hands-on part of the exam, at a slight angle. Avoid [approaching] straight-on to the front and staring eye contact. Examine only the front of the teeth for bite. The standard calls for scissors or level bite. There is no mention of missing teeth and the dogs may be uncomfortable with a side exam. At this point, one may want to tilt head up slightly to check for disqualifying white which extends above the breast- bone onto the neck. Major points in examining the head are: The equal length of muzzle to topskull; tight lower eye rims; moder- ate stop; pointed, but not sharp, muzzle; and high-set, short ears. Continuing over the dog, one will be looking for a strong, moderate length of neck blending into the shoulder. There is no mention of a prominent forechest in the standard, but do check for good fill of the chest. Check the dog’s elbow and extend fin- gers to the chest to be sure depth is at least to the elbow. No gaps should be felt or seen between the elbows and the chest. Note the
feet next. The standard calls for hare-shaped feet; white on toes is permitted as well as a white spot on the back of the foot. Finally, the coat—there is no preferred waving pattern and one will see several. The main important aspect of the coat is the texture—coarse, waved outer coat and dense, wooly under- coat. The coat should not curl, meaning a full ringlet (think Irish Water Spaniel). The coat may also wave in a kinky pattern and give the appearance of a straight coat, but the individual hairs do wave. Color can be any shade of brown, from a light blonde color (light deadgrass) to shades of red (sedge) to tans and dark browns. Solid or self-colored is preferred. There are no faults for patterns such as masking or saddling. The eyes do not have to match or blend with the coat color. A dark brown dog with a light yellow eye is within the standard. Let’s discuss DQ’s. The DQ for lacking in breed character- istics is plural, so there is not a DQ for one characteristic. How- ever, it is up to the judge to decide if the dog is lacking merit, so certainly withhold or excuse if that is the case. The DQ for black in the coat would only be applicable if the nose leather is black. Length of coat on tail refers to furnishings or fringes of hair. Do not unwrap the tail hair to check for length, but look at the underline of the tail for long hanging hairs. When assessing if a dog should be excused for temperament, a dog that seems timid or unwilling to stand should be excused. Don’t push to examine the dog as it could escalate the behavior. In conclusion, one is looking for a strong, active, alert, will- ing dog with a good textured double coat, strength and effortless in movement especially in the rear, and balanced front and rear. Look for a dog in condition and appearing as if he/she could work all day, in any weather.
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CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER THE
1. Where do you live? What is your occupation? How many years in dogs? 2. Do you have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? 3. What’s it like living/working with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever? 4. Can you speak to the breed’s size and substance? 5. How does the breed’s silhouette differ from that of its Retriever cousins? 6. Can you describe the Chessie’s ideal expression? Ideal coat? 7. Do judges (and breeders) ever betray a preference for color? 8. Any words about this Retriever’s temperament? 9. The AKC standard has seven disqualifications. Care to elaborate? 10. Are there any well-kept secrets about the Chesapeake Bay Retriever? 11. Are there any current “trends” in breeding that should be continued or should be stopped ? 12. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. KAREN ANDERSON I live in Monrovia, Maryland. I am secretary for my husband’s business. I have been in dogs for 57 years and in Chesapeake Bay Retrievers for 51 years. We (my husband and I) purchased our first Chesapeake Bay Retriever from Roedown Farm in Davidson, Maryland. He was from the old Native Shore lines and our foundation bitch was from Eloise Heller Cherry’s Baronland Kennels in California. Our ken- nel name is Chestnut Hills. We have won six American Chesapeake Club National Specialties, produced the number one Champion- producing sire for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, and have multiple tracking, obedience and working/hunt titles. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? I was a Master Falconer and I still enjoy bonsai trees. What’s it like living/working with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever? Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are a part of my family. They are intel- ligent, devoted, loyal, and protective. Can I speak to the breed’s size and substance? When I look at a Chesapeake in a line of Retrievers I see a burly, full-coated, substan- tial waterfowl Retriever. Can I describe the Chessie’s ideal expression and coat? Chesa- peakes are alert. They have a double coat with a thick undercoat and a harsh outer coat with an oily base that helps protect them from the elements. Do judges ever betray a preference for color? The major- ity of judges seem to have a color preference, usually for shades of brown. All the colors, sedge, dead grass and brown should be treated equally. Any words about this Retriever’s temperament? They are not a Retriever for everyone. Most people do not put the time in for prop- er socialization of their puppy. I believe the breed has received a bad reputation because they are protective of their families and their
family’s possessions, just as if they were used to guard the hunter’s camps years ago. The AKC standard has seven disqualifications. Care to elabo- rate? The disqualification for undershot, overshot or any deformity lacks an explanation for what clarifies the deformity. I have always understood that to mean deformities of the dog in general. DIANE BAKER Diane Baker has been involved in purebred dogs since the early 1980s. As a professional handler, she has finished or specialed dogs in all seven AKC Groups. A career highlight was winning the Working Group at Westminster Kennel Club in 1999 with Bernese Mountain Dog, Ch. Mentmore’s Windy Meadow. Breeding under the “Sandbar” prefix, her career in Chesapeakes has spanned well over three decades. She has bred, owned and/ or handled three National Specialty winners, multiple Best in Show dogs as well as many dogs that have risen to the number one spot. Sandbar continues to produce Champions, Hunt Test and performance-titled dogs. I currently own and operate Paws Here, a full service pet resort in the Illinois Valley west of Chicago. We board, groom, train and show dogs. The resort is also the home of Sandbar Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Xoloitcuintli. I also have a home on the Virginia side of the Chesapeake Bay. Much of my youth was spent watching Chesapeakes work in their native territory. It’s my pleasure to still be able to maintain my family home there. My first litter of purebred dogs was almost four decades ago. They were 13" Beagles. After seeing a pair of Rottweilers at a horse farm I worked at, I acquired a few and developed an interest in showing and in obedience. My involvement with Chessies came soon thereafter when I was hired to show a Special that later became the foundation bitch for Sandbar. Hobbies and interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? After many years as a professional horseman, I still maintain an active interest in horses and ponies. What’s it like living and working with a Chesapeake Bay Retriev- er? The characteristics that make a Chessie a superior hunting dog can make living with them a pleasant challenge. They are problem solvers, tenacious, protective and driven. As a market hunter, these are all traits that made them exceptional at their job. They have a “never give up” attitude. The same things that keep them going after waterfowl and upland birds despite the most adverse condi- tions are also the traits that keep them going after your trash can after you told them no repeatedly! You must be a creative trainer. If you’re looking for a devoted worker, this breed has no equal. We say they are like the Marine Corps: “First in and last out!” Can I speak to the breed’s size and substance? Chessies have a fairly wide range in ideal height from the bottom of bitches (21") to the top of dogs (26"). This range allows for Chesapeakes to be a working Retriever in a variety of different scenarios and conditions. A smaller dog may be well-suited to a tree stand in a Louisiana swamp, while a bigger dog might be necessary to clear cut corn stalks in the frozen plains of the upper Midwest. It is most impor- tant that this breed maintains its versatile and functional working characteristics. Proportion and substance are also important fac- tors. A Chesapeake should be a powerful dog, showing no sign >
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CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER Q&A
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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CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER Q&A
titled dogs in conformation (Group wins and SS wins), obedience (all levels) and hunt tests to SH level. I have edited a book on Chesa- peake Bay Retrievers, written on the breed and have given numer- ous seminars here and abroad. I have judged Chesapeake National Specialties in the US, England and Sweden. I have judged the breed in Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Switzerland as well. I am approved for all Sporting breeds with the AKC. For the American Chesapeake Club I have served in numerous positions; Historian, Club Secretary, Chair of Judges Education, Judges Education Coor- dinator, and AKC Delegate. In 2018, I was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the club. I am retired and live in central Pennsylvania on 31 acres that includes a pond for the dogs. 2020 is my 43rd year involved with the Chesapeake and dog competition. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? I have a large garden—flowers and shrubs—and spend a fair amount of time in it. I also enjoy traveling in the US and abroad. What’s it like living/working with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever? Living with a Chesapeake you are well loved, with a golden eye always keeping you in sight. You are never alone. They are intel- ligent dogs and learn quickly, but bore easily too. You need to be an innovative trainer. Can I speak to the breed’s size and substance? The Chesapeake has a larger size range than the other retriever breeds (21" minimum female; 26" maximum male). This wide size spread is due to the various settings the Chesapeake works in: boats, ponds, large bays and swift big rivers. How does the breed’s silhouette differ from that of its Retriever cousins? The breed has a distinctive underline in comparison to the other Retrievers. There should be an apparent tuck-up in the loin area from underneath. None of the other Retrievers have this obvious tuck-up. They also have two acceptable toplines: level (as high as shoulder) or slight rise to the rear in a steady line from the withers. Unlike several of the other Retrievers, they do not have a prominent projection of the fore-chest bone. It is not a requirement in the standard at all. The legs should be well-placed under the body by correct, sloping shoulders. Can I describe the Chessie’s ideal expression and coat? There is not an ideal expression or coat for the breed. There are a number of coat styles that are equally acceptable—some with more wave than others. The coat must have undercoat that is thick and a somewhat harsh outer coat. There also is a slight oily feel to the coat. Expres- sion is best seen when the dog is working in the field: intensity, alertness and determination. In an everyday setting they look bright and intelligent and aware of all that is going on around them. Do judges ever betray a preference for color? Sadly, yes. A color preference is not uncommon with judges. Brown is often favored over the sedge (red) and deadgrass (blonde) colors even if the brown is not the same quality. Breeders too can have a preference (brown), but that is not as common as it once was. Most breeders have dogs in all of the color range. Any words about this Retriever’s temperament? They are well- tempered dogs, very devoted to their family. Sensible dogs and usu- ally easy to live with—calm indoors. However, they have a watch dog nature too. As young dogs they must be socialized, trained in obedience, and the owner needs to be in charge. They need to be prepared for the conformation ring. If not, they can be reluctant to be examined and even shy away. Aggression should not be tolerated under any circumstance. The AKC standard has seven disqualifications. Care to elabo- rate? Sometimes judges misunderstand the DQ for a tendency to curl all over the body. There may be areas of the coat with a ten- dency to curl. To be disqualified the tendency must occur all over
the body. A few areas of the coat with a curling tendency is not a disqualification. Are there any well-kept secrets about the Chesapeake Bay Retriever? The breed is a very loving and devoted companion. You may never be loved by anything as much as your Chesapeake loves you. They often become part of you. Are there any current “trends” in breeding that should be con- tinued or should be stopped? There has been a trend toward over- angulation in the rear—legs too far back of the dog—and an overly prominent forechest. All those angles fore and aft make a “fancy” dog that is not correct Chesapeake type. The breed is a workman- like dog with moderation and balance. The rear has a well bent stifle, coupled with a medium hock length, creating a broad second thigh. The rear legs should not extend back much farther than the point of the buttock. JOANN COLVIN I began in dogs in 1976
and Chesapeakes in 1982. In 1990, I added Pekingese to my household and also showed and bred them. I have had numerous champions in both breeds, and multiple Group Placements, RBIS, and BIS Chesapeakes under the Cal-I- Co kennel prefix. I began judging in 1998
and judge the Sporting Group, three Toy breeds, Jrs, Misc, and BIS. I am past President of the American Chesapeake Club as well as VP, Board Member, JBEC Chair and Show Committee. I am current VP of my all-breed club, Kanadasaga KC, and I co-chair our show at the Wine Country Circuit in New York. I am an approved men- tor for the American Chesapeake Club. Even though I had thought to downsize on dogs, I discovered I still enjoyed breeding and having my dogs shown. So I have several Chesapeakes at home and share my bed with two Tibetan Spaniels and a very special Chihuahua. I live in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Currently, I am retired from teaching English. I’ve been in dogs about 38 years. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? I am a certified End of Life Doula and spend many volunteer hours every week caretaking for hospice patients in our local Care Home. What’s it like living/working with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever? It is much like teaching school. Chesapeakes need to understand what is being asked and why. Each [dog] of the breed is an indi- vidual—no two [are] alike. Can I speak to the breed’s size and substance? The breed is moderate. Top of the standard for a male is 26". The weight and bone and substance of the dog should balance with its height. Many people call looking for the “old type” 100-plus pound dog. This was not characteristic and is out of standard. How does the breed’s silhouette differ from that of its Retriever cousins? The Chesapeake has a unique outline. The topline may be level, but may also rise slightly to the rear. This does not read as sway or dip in the back. The underline of the breed differs as there is a distinct tuck up under the loin. Can I describe the Chessie’s ideal expression and coat? A Chesa- peake should have an alert, intelligent expression. Although they can be aloof, many display a happy expression and some even smile. The coat has a variety of waving patterns, none preferred. >
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the shoulders. The well-tucked-up flanks should be obvious in the underline which flows smoothly into the loin. Can we describe the Chessie’s ideal expression,? Ideal coat? A Chesapeake’s ideal expression is alert, intelligent, and happy. It will often be one that is questioning: “What do you need me to do for you next?” The ideal coat is crisp and harsh to the touch and will spring back when a hand is pressed into it. Do judges ever betray a preference for color? Yes. Although everyone is entitled to their preferences, the standard states, “Any color of brown, sedge, or deadgrass is acceptable, self-colored Chesapeakes being preferred. One color is not to be preferred over another.” We are seeing less bias lately with judges, but there are some strong differences of opinion among breeders regarding mark- ings in self-colored dogs and other colors. Our feeling is that color should be the last thing to be considered when breeding or judging. Any words about this Retriever’s temperament? Chesapeakes are headstrong at times, yet emotionally sensitive. They are protective, perceptive, dedicated, and happy to please. The best, well-rounded Chesapeake has a clear understanding of what the rules are and lives in the home as a family member. The AKC standard has seven disqualifications. Care to elabo- rate? Only on the first one, as the others are fairly clear: “Speci- mens lacking in breed characteristics.” When considering whether to DQ an exhibit, judges should keep in mind the distinguishing breed characteristics: Eye color, topline, and coat; all of these are described in the standard. If a dog is lacking in more than one of these, it should be DQ’d. Otherwise, no placement should be given, or a ribbon should be withheld at the judge’s discretion. Are there any well-kept secrets about the Chesapeake Bay Retriever? No secrets here! Are there any current “trends” in breeding that should be con- tinued or should be stopped? We are seeing dogs that are too heavy in bone. They should be athletic and powerful with moderate bone for efficiency and endurance. We are also seeing less angle in rears. Stifles should be “well angulated.” We’d also like to share about the breed that Chesapeakes can be superb working companions and devoted family dogs. When not working, this breed is most content in the home or anywhere the owners choose to be. They can also be formidable and protective to a fault without assertive leadership, proper training, and complete assimilation to family life. Chesapeakes do not do well in a kennel or living outside or away from their family. GINA DOWNIN Gina Downin lives in the
They should have a coarse textured outer coat, and a dense and wooly undercoat. Do judges ever betray a preference for color? There was a time when the preference was for a dark brown dog. This seems to be behind us now, but still it is more difficult to campaign a deadgrass or sedge dog than a brown dog. Any words about this Retriever’s temperament? The owner/ trainer needs to be in charge. If not, the Chesapeake will be glad to take the job. The AKC standard has seven disqualifications. Care to elabo- rate? Just a couple of points: The DQ for rear dewclaws is not for the dog having had them—it is for the dewclaws not being removed; and the “tendency to curl” refers to actual curls or ringlets—not to a tight wave. Are there any well-kept secrets about the Chesapeake Bay Retriever? The Chesapeake can be a very soft dog. They take things to heart and never forget. Are there any current “trends” in breeding that should be con- tinued or should be stopped? We did have some people purposely breeding for long coats. That needed to stop. We also need to retain the working history of this breed and be sure that the dog doesn’t become exaggerated or fancy. BRIAN & ANGIE COX Brian and Angie got their first Chesapeake in 1982 and have enjoyed much success in conformation, obedience, hunt tests, agil- ity, and rally. With the gracious help of their mentor for many years, Mildred Buchholz, their breeding program has been success- ful for over 35 years. The Coxes breed a litter every one-two years on average. They breed to continue exhibiting and enjoying their own dogs, but also strive to improve quality with every litter while preserving the attributes of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever based on the standard, and on the intentions as written by the developers of this wonderful breed. Brian and Angie Cox live in Millington, Tennessee, just north of Memphis. Angie has recently retired after a 41-year multi-faceted career with International Paper Company. Brian is a carpenter by trade and is also retired. We have been breeding Chesapeakes exclu- sively since 1984. Do we have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Brian enjoys gardening and playing his guitars. Angie likes to travel, and exhibits in obedience, agility, and rally. What’s it like living/working with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever? The Chesapeake is a serious, dedicated, and hard worker as long as the task to be done is made very clear. Clarity in training is key because a dog that is confused about what is being asked of him will make up his own rules and/or become very resistant. He is extremely active in work and play. In the home he is calm, yet the Chesapeake’s protective nature can present challenges without proper obedience training. He is mostly calm and content to be your shadow, but always watching for the slightest cue that the next outing is coming. Can we speak to the breed’s size and substance? In the standard there is a large margin for acceptable height in males and females. For males, height to the shoulder should be 23" to 26", and for females, 21" to 24". Substance should indicate strength and power with moderate heaviness in body and bone. How does the breed’s silhouette differ from that of its Retriever cousins? Looking at a correct Chesapeake silhouette, one should be able to see the high ear set and a medium length neck, tapering smoothly into the shoulder. The back is short and well-coupled, with the front and rear showing equal power. What really distin- guishes the Chesapeake from other retriever breeds is in both the topline and the underline. The rear may be a trifle higher than
Chesapeake Bay watershed in Maryland. She breeds the occa- sional litter under the name Weatherdeck Chesapeakes. Dogs of her breeding have competed in conformation, obedience, rally, hunt tests, field trials, working tests, barn hunt, and dock div- ing. Weatherdeck Chesapeakes have proven to be valued hunting
companions as well. I live in Maryland where I teach English Language Learners in my neighborhood elementary school. I’ve been enjoying the world of exhibiting, competing, and breeding Chesapeake Bay Retrievers for 18 years. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Our dogs are central to so much that we do for fun and enjoyment. As a family, we spend our time hiking, camping,
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CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER Q&A
corn stubble. Certainly, some hunters have a preference for color because they want a dog that fits their hunting environment. Any words about this Retriever’s temperament? Ours has been a protective breed from the beginning. They require a great deal of exposure to different environments with all manner of distraction and stimulation. One gets the very best out of a Chesapeake when they have provided that critical socialization and have taken the time to train, teach the values of teamwork, and form an affection- ate, trusting bond. With that foundation laid, a Chesapeake will be your most devoted friend, protector, partner, and comic relief. The AKC standard has seven disqualifications. Care to elabo- rate? The disqualifications in the Chesapeake Bay Retriever breed standard focus on function and type. Incorrect bites and rear dew claws can interfere with the ability of the dog to perform its func- tion. Coats that are too curly and too long stray from breed type (and can interfere with function). A Chesapeake that has those traits can start to look like another breed. The same is true for our disqualifications for color. A dog that is black or has too much white can easily be mistaken for another breed. Are there any well-kept secrets about the Chesapeake Bay Retriever? Some may find a Chesapeake to be a challenging dog to live with, but those of us in the know have learned that their intel- ligence, work ethic, and devotion to their people are the perfect ingredients for a deep partnership that is unparalleled. Are there any current “trends” in breeding that should be con- tinued or should be stopped? On a positive note, I see more of our breeders engaging in various dog sports in addition to conforma- tion. This shows a commitment to our breed standard and to the working abilities of our dogs. We are very proud of the fact that Chesapeakes can compete at high levels in so many disciplines and we have a small army of breeders that is working hard to prove this to the world. LINDA HARGER I’ve owned, bred, trained and competed with the Chesapeake in conformation, field trials and hunt tests, dabbled in obedience competition (hard to do with the full-time schedule), dock diving, etc. I hunt my dogs on the off-season and they live as house dogs. I’ve bred and/or made five dual champions, five more field trial titled dogs, many bench champions with QAA status and several hunt test titles, many more with just CHs and lots of happy family companion hunting dogs. I’m very active in the field trial sport as a competitor, judge and officer of several clubs, including a tenure as president of the NARC and of the national breed club, the Ameri- can Chesapeake Club. Dogs, and specifically the Chesapeake, are my way of life. I live in Payette, Idaho. I’m retired from a pet boarding business. I’ve had Chesapeakes since 1972; my first puppy was my “engage- ment ring” as I didn’t want a diamond. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and show- ing dogs? I actually do more training and competing in Retriever field trials than I show in conformation, but I do show all the dogs I own. I’m a voracious reader, art collector and love traveling. What’s it like living/working with a Chesapeake Bay? Not sure how to answer that as it’s a choice I made a long time ago and have never looked back. My life centers around the dogs, so I can’t imag- ine not having them. In general, they are a “hoot.” They are intelli- gent, happy clown-like characters who work hard for me, but never give up their own personalities. Can I speak to the breed’s size and substance? The breed stan- dard uses the word “moderate” and I think that is very impor- tant. A moderately sized animal of great athleticism is an asset in all we ask them to do. They are healthy and, in my opinion, >
sailing, and gardening. Throughout my life, there has always been a dog by my side for all of my sweetest memories. What’s it like living/working with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever? You can’t make any swift turns or changes in direction when you live with a Chesapeake. Where you go, they go. After a momentary stop at the kitchen sink or in the garden, you’ll find a Chesapeake head resting upon your foot or leaning on your leg. They don’t stick with you like glue out of any insecurity, but more because of a sense of partnership that is integral to who they are, and that sense of partnership is what makes them such an incredible working dog. Chesapeakes need a job and if you don’t give them one, they will become self-employed. It’s best to know this about them from the outset so that you can put their work ethic to good use. Thankfully, Chesapeakes are quite open-minded about what they are willing to do for work. Their specialty, of course, is retrieving waterfowl in brutally cold, icy conditions. However, give them other opportuni- ties for physical exercise, mental stimulation, and teamwork and they will embrace anything you endeavor to try together. I think that one thing that most would find surprising about this breed is that although they approach all activity with such enthusiasm, they have an “off ” switch that allows them to be easily integrated into family life in the home. Can I speak to the breed’s size and substance? Our breed stan- dard allows for a range of sizes for good reason. Chesapeakes are used as working gundogs in a variety of conditions ranging from working out of a small skiff to retrieving from choppy waters with strong currents or tides. We allow enough room in the standard for breeders to produce dogs that are best suited for different demands. Though we do not have a size disqualification in our breed stan- dard, we do say, “Oversized or undersized animals are to be severely penalized.” We want to avoid any tendency to breed to the extremes of size while still allowing for some variation. How does the breed’s silhouette differ from that of its Retriever cousins? When you view a Chesapeake from the side, you’ll see flanks well-tucked up and the chest will be both deep and round. Our standard describes a topline that can be level or can show a slight rise from the shoulder to the hindquarters. Either topline is correct, but in either case the back should be strong. Can I describe the Chessie’s ideal expression? Ideal coat? Our breed is known for an intense gaze that can sometimes convey both a seriousness of focus and a deep affection. We have a number of different styles of coat that are accept- able. Variations in length (to a degree), coarseness, and amount of wave are all considered acceptable. The ideal coat is dictated by the qualities of the coat that will protect a working gundog in cold, icy water. Most important is the interplay between the undercoat and harsh outer coat that will minimize the water absorbed and carried by the coat while also providing insulation. More coat is not always better. Our standard says, “Hair on the face and legs should be very short and straight with a tendency to wave on the shoulders, neck, back and loins only.” Do judges ever betray a preference for color? Our standard is very clear. “One color is not to be preferred over another.” A few breeders may appear to have preferences for color because their lines produce them, but I think we are all in agreement that color is not nearly as important as other aspects of the dog. For example, the texture and quality of the coat is so much more important than the color. Judges tend to see a lot more brown dogs in the show ring and I do think that sometimes they struggle a bit with deadgrass and sedge dogs. In our Judges Education programs, I know we do a lot to open judges’ eyes to the variety of colors that are accept- able in our breed. Our standard says, “The color of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever must be nearly that of its working surroundings as possible.” People hunt over Chesapeakes in many different envi- ronments from snowy fields, to icy waters, marshes, and fields of
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