Archive for the ‘Chesapeake bay retriever’ Category

It’s actually a cross between a golden retriever and a Chesapeake.  This dog looks a lot like what I imagine a Tweed water spaniel looked like.

Remember that the Tweed water spaniel is an ancestor of several retriever breeds. I don’t think it is accurately called a water spaniel, for many descriptions of it suggest that it was more like a red, liver, or yellow St. John’s water dog. My reading of their exact conformation is much more like a curly-coated retriever but of a different color and with a less tightly curled coat. For that reason, I call it a Tweed water dog.

Check out the photos:

Photo 1.

Photo 2.

This painting is said to be a Tweed water dog. It looks very similar to the dog in the photos, except for the tail, which does look a like that of an Irish water spaniel.

A supposed depiction of a Tweed water dog.

Here’s another painting that points to what a Tweed water dog might have looked like.

The first litter of proto-golden retrievers born at Guisachan came from crossing a heavily-built way-coat named Nous with a Tweed water dog named Belle. We have a photo of Nous, but we have no idea what Belle looked like. However, form this painting of one of their female offspring, we can see that Belle was likely of a pale yellow coloration. She may have had brown skin and looked something like a deadgrass Chessie. It is very likely that the medium and lighter colors in golden retrievers (and maybe yellow flat-coats and yellow Labradors) come from this breed.

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Meat dog

The Chesapeake Bay retriever has always been different from the other retrievers.

That’s because it was a dog with an actual economic function. The two breeds of curly most likely had this function originally, but the Labrador, golden, and flat-coated retrievers were gentlemen’s dogs. Their owners never relied upon their skills to make a living. They were used as sporting dogs that chivalrously picked up wounded birds– not a bad function in those days of British stoicism.

The Chesapeake, though, remained a meat dog. Restaurants that served wild game relied upon the “ducking dogs” to fetch scores of shot ducks, geese, rails, and other waterfowl.

The dogs were bred for function, and because the game they collected was meant to be sold, they were required to guard the daily catch.

For a Chessie, it mattered very little whether they tolerated strange dogs or not. British trial dogs had to accept strange dogs, so they were bred to be a bit softer. For a Chessie to be overly tolerant of other dogs or strangers would a behavioral fault.

The dogs have since been softened since the arrival of retriever trials and the standardization of the breed. It is still a tough retriever, and most of them are excellent watch dogs– much more so than goldens and Labs.

But the fundamental reason why the Chessie is different is that it was a meat dog. It was not a gentlemen’s trial dog.

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