In 1996 I discovered the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
A chunky retriever, an outdoor dog, loves water and a weatherproof coat not requiring a lot of grooming.
Since then I spent every year at Crufts watching the judging and getting to know the dogs, I also attended Discover Dogs to meet the dogs in a less formal environment and really get to know them.
This event is run by the Kennel Club on an annual basis and is aimed at dog owners, potential dog owners and dog lovers alike.
There are interesting displays of agility, gundog and sheepdog work, dancing to music, good citizenship and many other activities, there are many trade stands offering doggie goods and related items but the main reason I went along was to meet the dogs and their owners in the Discover Dog Breeds' section.
It was here I met my first Chesapeake Bay Retriever owner. Having seen these fascinating web footed wavy coated dogs at Crufts a few years previously and following the Crufts judging breed ring every year since I thought it was about time I found out a bit more about these 'water retrievers'.
I soon realised that if I was going to have a chance to get one of these dogs I would have to jump through hoops as they were still relatively rare in the UK. The nice ladies I spoke to suggested I join the British Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club www.chesapeakebayretrieverclub.co.uk to learn more about the breed (as it is a strong willed, intelligent, natural guard dog, but also an excellent retriever especially in water and is quite unlike the Labrador in temperament)
Well all I can say is, the more I learnt about the breed the more I liked them.
Thank you to Wendy and Dave Howitt (Devonshot), Jane Smith (Westering), Janet Morris (Penrose) and all the others I havn't mentioned for your help and advice over the years.
Marli (Devonshot Jamaica Beach of Oakmarsh) was bred by Wendy and Dave Howitt of Devonshot Chesapeakes in Kent.
I first met Wendy with Baltimore Velvet Ellie at Discover Dogs. I had been following Chessies for a couple of years by now and had seen Ellie at Crufts. At discover dogs I got to meet her properly and have a good cuddle - with the dogs and Wendy! In 1998 Wendy told me she was putting Ellie in pup to Arnac Bay Jetsam, who was one of the top Chessies in the UK at that time. Unfortunately I couldn't have a pup at that time but vowed to keep an eye on the pups as they grew.
Devonshot Horses Ghost (Louie) was one of those pups and true to my word I have followed his career throughout the years, despite his wins in the show ring he still allowed himself to be put on display at Discover dogs as a perfect example of the breed. Louie is one of the happiest and nicest tempered dogs I have met and I instantly fell in love with him.
My partner lost his GSD in August 2006 and with the house feeling empty we decided to get a puppy. Now was my chance to introduce Ian to the joys of the Chesapeake Bay retriever! Wendy and Dave were very kind allowing us to spend the morning (or best part of the day) with them to introduce Ian to Chessies, meet Louie, Acorn, Kai, Janner and Purdy. Soon afterwards we got a call saying that they had mated Louie and Acorn and that we were top of the list for a puppy. The litter was born on 21st October 2010 and from this litter we chose our bitch puppy, Marli.