How We Started

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I was always a cat person. I admired their independence and affection that you earned. Bill (my husband) though was a dog man.

One Fall while visiting my favorite aunt & uncle a simple comment set a course that became Pond Hollow Chesapeakes. My aunt & uncle had recently acquired a new puppy and a book on dog breeds. Casually going through the book, Bill came to info on the Chesapeake Bay retriever. The breed's description and photos appealed to him and he said "I like this breed". Had we ever seen one before or heard of one ? No. I was the cat person so who cares about dog breeds.

Christmas that year my aunt kept telling us she had a big surprise for our daughter Jennifer. The surprise-a brown male Chesapeake puppy ! We named him Tamarack "Tiki".

Our first CBR Tamarack "Tiki"

He came from a co-worker of my uncle's who had a litter. No papers and in looks, he did not have much coat but the personality was definitely a Chesapeake. Tiki was a happy dog-loved to retrieve. He was a good guardian that I took to work with me . I often worked alone in a landscaping business and his presence was comforting. He would lay at my feet and when someone came in, he would rise up and just watch them with his yellow eyes. Tiki loved to swim in the pond at our home. We'd say "tiki pond" and this brown streak would race across the yard and leap in with a splash. I grew to love and admire the breed's traits. We live along a road and one day the dreaded thing happened-he was gone.

We had to have another Chesapeake-nothing else would do. This one would be obedience trained too. In 1977, it was not easy to find one. We called around and finally came across Barbara & Sam Mullen "Mitsu Kuma" who had a litter due in April of the year. In June we brought home a brown male that we named Saxon (Ch* Mitsu Kuma's Saxon Pond UD WD-"Bear"). I applied the most scientific method in selecting him-he had a small white chest spot that matched my beloved cat's and he wooed ! His parents though were very well bred-sire an ACC NSS WD & his dam an ACC NSS RWB. Without trying we stumbled into just the type background you would want if you were going to be serious in dogs. We weren't. But we had vowed that this pup would be obedience trained after losing Tiki.


Saxon was a very smart dog. I taught him hand signals by age 9 mos. He was a very easy going puppy-he was like a little adult. I still remember calling Barbara Mullen and asking "when will he act like a puppy". Bill did all his beginning obedience work and put his CD on him. I wanted something to do too so Barbara suggested conformation showing. We'd been to one show (1977 ACC Regional Specialty in Lancaster Pa) and it did not look too hard. I decided to try it.

My best memory from Saxon's show career was his Best in Match with me handling. Match shows were much larger then-this one had nearly 350 dogs. We went to the match for Bill to run him through a Novice routine before his first "real" trial (he was 1st with 198). I took him into conformation and we won Best in Match ! I still remember being asked if I wanted a photo of the win and my answer. "No thanks, I can take of picture of him when I get home". We were hooked. Saxon was a show dog supreme-he loved to show. He easily finished his Ch title handled by Barbara's daughter Sharon.

Later we ended up co-owning his dam with Barbara so I could have an obedience dog to work with along with Bill & Saxon. She became my foundation bitch-Ch Mitsu Kuma's Rum Bun CDX. We bred her once and kept a brother & sister-Ch Mitsu Kuma's Swamp Scout CD WD & Ch Mitsu Kuma's Pond Mist JH CD WD. For our first solely bred litter, we choose the kennel name "Pond Hollow" for the little valley (called hollows locally) that we lived in and the pond that was in it. From here it became a passion for the breed that lasts even today.

A passion that has made many friends and has taken me places I never considered. In 1996 I was invited to judge in Sweden. It was the start of my judging interests. I love to travel and dog shows & judging are good excuses to do it. Judging conformation has taken me to Europe many times and all across the US. I also judged JH level in hunt tests.

At this point, I can't imagine my life without these wonderful dogs !


"BISS" Rocky & his sire "BISS" Bogey           Santa Fe, NM 1998


DYANE BALDWIN          4308 MANNSVILLE RD, NEWPORT PA 17074          717.582.4997          PONDHOLO@PA.NET


Time brings changes-good, bad or indifferent. One of the best changes in the breed is the vastly improved dispositions. Breeders deserve a well done for their work here. Temperament must always be the prime importance-over looks and even working ability. Without it, you have nothing.

In appearance for me the picture is blurry. Top lines are much improved-hardly a swayback any more. For years (1982-1996 or so) the breed seemed headed in a positive and more uniform direction-good rears, clean heads, balance of angles and good working coats. It moved away from the stereotype of a big brown dog with a blocky head. Dogs in all colors of the breed were seen and were winning. Judges commented favorable on the breed overall.

Although there are quality specials out being shown now, the breed in general is more variable. Some of it due to the influx of pro handlers showing dogs that the owners can't win with themselves. Money is being poured into campaigning that weighs the game against the owner handler. Wins in many cases are to beat someone else and have nothing to do with the dogs.

In looks, a coat style of tons of undercoat with abundant waving down the sides is being perceived and promoted as more correct. Handlers have been blowing out coats on a breed that should be the most naturally groomed dog. Too many of these coats are soft and the fragrance of "listerine" is often wafting outside the ring. Dogs with short thick coats (original otter coat) and moderate waving are just as correct and are as typical for the breed. Rear ends-this used to be a breed with strong rears with push and power. Today-too many cow hocks, sickle hocks, lack of driving power off the rear-instead a flowing setter look. Blocky heads with short muzzles have always been an issue and still are. Substance of body-true substance with body depth and well boned is all too uncommon. The breed is to be well boned and the largest in substance of the retrievers. Gait-the wonderful powerful action off the rear and ground covering front reach is not very common. I sat ringside at a supported show in 2008 and not until the veterans came in was this action in movement seen. A more setter flowing style with dogs lowering themselves to the ground has seemed to gain footing.

Hunt tests have given people more opportunities to maintain the breed's prime function retrieving. The breed still does not suffer a division between show and field. It takes though a decided effort to avoid the path that leads to it-cosmetic traits; the more is better mentality applied to even positive virtues; gait style to win that is not Chesapeake and finally the use of pro handlers to win despite the dog.

Health is doing well. The Chesapeake people for the most part are some of the most health conscious of breeds. It needs to be worked for. Genetic diversity must be maintained. People need to breed outside their lines on occasion to promote the diversity more often.

My hope is that the breed will always be kept with the thought of their original purpose in mind.


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