Posts Tagged ‘Chesapeake Bay duck dog’

One could be forgiven for assuming that these were flat-coats, wavy-coats, or goldens. The shading of the dog in the lower right suggests that this dog is an e/e red, which does exist in the Chesapeake Bay retriever gene pool. However, black skin does not.

This image comes from Country Life in America (November 1915). Long-haired dogs occasionally pop up in Chesapeake Bay retrievers today. However. the modern breed is based upon a short-haired dog.

These long-haired dogs were very often quite red in color, and a whole strain of them was produced called a “Red Winchester.”   Many of the early show Chessies were of this Red Winchester type.

Because this breed existed along Chesapeake Bay as a landrace with very different strains, it varied greatly in appearance. I like to think of these dogs as being something like the original retriever, which came in an interbreeding landrace of feathered, curly, and short-haired varieties. The only difference is that the Americans selected for e/e yellow to red and liver colors (including “silver”– liver dilute, which is called “ash” in this breed). The British selected for black dogs almost exclusively and then concentrated the coat types into three and then four breeds. I don’t know why the American Chessie breeders didn’t try to do this, because the British were quite successful at doing so.

The Red Winchester retriever could have been established as a breed, but it fell from favor in the first part of the twentieth century, as it was absorbed into the modern Chessie.

These particular dogs were exhibited at a dog show in Southampton, New York in the summer of 1915.

The Chesapeake Bay dog was the first retriever recognized by the AKC, and for a while, there was  a heated discussion about whether this breed was a retriever. Because the dogs are also derived from the water dogs of Newfoundland (most likely St. John’s water dogs), this argument has long been settled.

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