Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Pedigree Database
Posted on February 10, 2009 at 02:49 PM in categories Website

You may have noticed a number of changes in the left-side menu over the past few weeks...

  • The 'ChessieDB News' section has been renamed ChessieDB Weblog. This change reflects the growing selection of subject matter covered, including the latest Articles category.
  • A Weblog Articles link has also been added to the menu. This weblog category page lists all current articles, including an excerpt for each.
  • The Reasearch Dogs page was added a little while ago to help locate dogs with missing parents. It also mentions two new RollCall database search and ChessieInfo database search forms. These new search pages query the RollCall and ChessieInfo websites, allowing you to view their database records side-by-side with ours -- while still supporting each site's own pedigree and breeding pages. You can use these forms for your own research purposes, and a button will be added shortly to report any discrepancies.


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Posted on February 08, 2009 at 04:00 PM in categories Articles

by Dyane Baldwin, former ACC Historian.

The Story

The beginnings of the Chesapeake breed is generally attributed to the following account by George Law, first published in 1852:

Baltimore, Maryland
January 7th, 1845


In the fall of 1807 I was on board of the ship Canton, belonging to my uncle, the late-Hugh Thompson, of Baltimore, when we fell in, at sea, near the termination of a very heavy equinoctial gale, with an English brig in a sinking condition, and took off the crew. The brig was loaded with codfish, and was bound to Pole, in England, from Newfoundland. I boarded her, in command of a boat from the Canton, which was sent to take off the English crew, the brig's own boats having been all swept away, and her crew in a state of intoxication. I found onboard of her two Newfoundland pups, male and female, which I saved, and subsequently, on our landing the English crew at Norfolk, our own destination being Baltimore, I purchased these two pups of the English captain for a guinea apiece. Being bound again to sea, I gave the dog pup, which was called Sailor, to Mr. John Mercer, of West River; and the slut pup, which was called Canton, to Doctor James Stewart, of Sparrow's Point. The history which the English captain gave me of these pups was, that the owner of his brig was extensively engaged in the Newfoundland trade, and had directed his correspondent to select and send him a pair of pups of the most approved Newfoundland breed, but of different families, and that the pair I purchased of him were selected under this order, The dog was of a dingy red colour; and the slut black. They were not large; their hair was short, but very thick-coated; they had dew claws. Both attained great reputation as water-dogs. They were most sagacious in every thing; particularly so in all duties connected with duck-shooting. Governor Lloyd exchanged a Merino ram for the dog, at the time of the Merino fever, when such rams were selling for many hundred dollars, and took him over to his estate on the eastern shore of Maryland, where his progeny were well known for many years after; and may still be known there, and on the western shore, as the Sailor breed. The slut remained at Sparrow's Point till her death, and her progeny were and are still well known, through Patapsco Neck, on the Gunpowder, and up the bay, amongst the duck-shooters, as unsurpassed for their purposes. I have heard both Doctor Stewart and Mr. Mercer relate most extraordinary instances of the sagacity and performance of both dog and slut, and would refer you to their friends for such particulars as I am unable, at this distance of time, to recollect with sufficient accuracy to repeat.

Yours, in haste,


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Posted on February 06, 2009 at 09:30 AM in categories Articles

The Bay’s original dog and America’s first registered retriever was once revered for its bird hunting abilities. But today, many dog owners lean to domestic companions easy to care for and control.

by Kat Bennett

The big Chesapeake showed what a marvelous breed he was by leaping into the freezing water, swimming swiftly to the edge of the ice, then breaking a way for himself, right to the goose. Clutching the big bird proudly in his jaws, he plunged into the icy water, pushed aside the frozen chunks and returned to the blind, entering it with a mighty water-spraying leap. “That’s what I call a dog,” Jake said proudly. And the men agreed.

—James Michener: Chesapeake: The Watermen, 1972

Bay lore tells of a time when every one of the 26,000 families of the Eastern Shore owned at least one Chesapeake Bay retriever. Maryland governor Edward Lloyd thought so highly of the breed he sent a Baltimore clipper just to fetch one. In 1964, the Chesapeake retriever was legislatively proclaimed the official state dog of Maryland.

Yet today the Bay’s own dog is considered a rare breed. Fewer than 1,300 were registered in the entire United States in 2004.

Perhaps the Chesapeake retriever is too stubborn and independent for modern tastes. Perhaps the dog is too big or too smelly. Or perhaps these retrievers no longer have the skills they once had. The answer is more complex. The decline of the dynasty must be tracked through three entwined stories: one about the ducking dogs of the Chesapeake; another about the Bay itself; and a third about the people of the Bay and how they’ve changed.

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Posted on January 13, 2009 at 12:59 PM in categories Website

There are several controls in place to prevent duplicate entries, recognize typos in dog names, etc., but I've just closed the door on one more. When a blank submission form was used to enter a new dog, and it's name was already in our database, a page would be displayed to compare & verify the old vs the new information. There's nothing wrong with this, except in the case were a different Sire, Dam, Sex, Birth Date, etc. are entered. These fields cannot be modified after their initial entry, unless they were left blank in the first place. This could only be a problem when a blank submission form was used -- the [Update Info] link located on various pages prevents anyone from changing these protected fields. The new protection feature I've just added will warn of the error, and suggest alternative actions; like e-mailing the info to us for a manual database entry, or starting the submission process again with a pre-filled form using the original database record (protected fields cannot be changed on this form).


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Posted on January 12, 2009 at 02:46 PM in categories Database

I've been cleaning up some code, and at the same time decided to add some additional Inbreeding Analysis information to the Dog Info page, along with a few extra fields, like number of Offsprings and Cause of Death. The Cause of Death should be available shortly on the Update Info page. There have also been a number of minor tweeks to many of the other pages, including the use of all 4 of a dog's photos (thumbnail size) on the Pedigree page (for the first generation).

You may not have noticed, but there's "Donate" button on the left side menu. ChessieDB is free to use by anyone, but we do appreciate a little financial help on occasion. :-)


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Posted on January 09, 2009 at 11:52 AM in categories Database

Melanie has been taking care of the database for several months now. She's done a great job, but now that I'm working on the code again, I realize two issues have to be taken care of... The first is Carroll's Island. Most Chessie lines can be traced back to this island and gun club. Unfortunately many Carroll Island breeding and owner records were lost, and later registrations with the AKC created duplicate names, muddying the waters even more. To address these two issues, here's what I've done:

  • Because Carroll's Island is so significant, and many lines can be traced back to it, I've added "Carroll's Island" to the list Registration Agencies. The search page has also been improved recently to allow searches on multiple fields, like the Registration Agency, so a search could be run to list all dogs from Carroll's Island. As Melanie and I find more information on these dogs, I hope to complete the Owner and Breeder fields, along with a few pertinent notes for each dog.
  • In the late 1800s, Chessies were not registered with an official agency like the AKC. Consequently, many Chessie dog names were later accepted by the AKC, which had already been used on Carroll's Island. Even on the island itself, there are several duplicate names like Belle, Duck, Duke, Jack, Zip, etc. When duplicate names are found, the year it was born will be added in parenthesis after the name. For example, "Belle (1888)" and "Belle (1890)". If the year of birth is not known, then a numerical increment will be used, like "Boatswain (N1)", "Boatswain (N2)", etc.


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Posted on January 07, 2009 at 04:33 PM in categories Website

Look for a ChessieDB advertisement in the next CBRCC (Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club of Canada) newsletter.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Pedigree Database

  • Submit pedigrees online
  • Search and update existing records
  • Download the database for breeding calculations
  • Over 20,000 database records

All for Free!

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Posted on January 07, 2009 at 04:16 PM in categories Website

I've just finished an update of the "Show Info" and "Submission" scripts to allow the upload / display of up to four pictures. You can see a sample on Pete's Information Page. I'll be updating the pedigree page shortly as well. My plan is to display up to four thumbnails vertically for the first dog.

A while back I added some fields for Owners and Breeders. I've done a little work on this in the background, but most of the grunt work is still to be done. Don't worry, it'll get done at some point. :-)

You can receive these News updates by e-mail (many already do) by using our Subscription Page. Every News update e-mail contains an un-subscribe link, in case you want to remove yourself from these updates in the future.


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Posted on July 08, 2008 at 04:12 PM in categories Website

Not to worry, we didn't go anywhere! :-) We lost our internet connection last Friday and finally got it back this afternoon.


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Posted on June 19, 2008 at 12:05 PM in categories Dog Sledding

If you're looking for a winter activity to do with your Chessie, try dog sledding! Chessies are a tough breed that need lots of activity - perfect for dog sledding. We trained ours as a lead dog a few years ago, and now Pete can't get enough. In fact, last winter we ran the same short section of trail a few times for training purposes. He soon figured out when we were heading back. He stopped, turned around, and confronted the sled. Of course we did a little more training to get over that behavior :-), but it's certainly an indication of how much he loves running. But running without control isn't fun for the handler. There are several methods, more or less complete, to teach a dog lead commands. We used Lee Fishback's book called Training Lead Dogs. It's not the gentlest approach, but it makes for a reliable lead dog. Black Ice, the company that sells this book, also sells most of the equipment you may need. We started with a simple Canadian Kick Sled for the first year, and after seeing how much Pete loved it, we bought a K-2 Sprint Sled from SledDogSystems. It's expensive, but you get what you pay for. It's very fast and light -- light enough for one dog. Probably the best harnesses you can get are made by ManMat and sold by HowlingDogAlaska, among others. If you have only 1-2 dogs, get the Wheel Dog Harness -- it's easier on the hips for the wheel dogs. The Long Distance Harness is also excellent for Skijoring, Bikejoring, etc., where the mount point of the gangline is higher up. It also works well as a restraining/safety harness in the car.

Wildwood Kennels ran a team of 8 Chessies in the 70s -- the first competitive Chessie dog sled team. Their webpage shows a great black-and-white picture of their dog team. If you have a picture of your sled dogs in action, send it to us with a short description of your team, and we'll post it on ChessieDB.

And just in case it wasn't obvious... That's me and Pete in this picture. :-)


Posted on April 23, 2008 at 08:17 AM in categories Website

As part of our wills, Melanie and I had to consider the future survival of ChessieDB. Steve Larouche, a friend of ours who's active in the local Chessie community, has agreed to take over the hosting and maintenance of ChessieDB should anything happen to us. We've created an MS-Word document to outline the import/export procedures for the database, a compressed backup is available for Steve to download, and another backup is located in a bank safety deposit box. Hopefully all these precautions will never be needed. :-)


Posted on April 17, 2008 at 02:44 PM in categories Books

A special thanks to Adam Levert, who sent us an e-mail to let us know about Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Decoys, and Long Guns: Tales of Carroll's Island Ducking Club -- a new book published in April 2008 about Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.


Posted on January 22, 2008 at 02:08 PM in categories Website

I just finished adding a new Network-Attached Storage (NAS) file server with 4 Terabytes of disk to our local network. I've also moved all of our music, video, pictures, websites, documents, etc. onto the NAS, and I'm now fine-tuning the file and directory structure. You'll notice the number of pending submissions has been growing for the past week or two. Hopefully the integration of this new storage will be finished shortly, and we can once again import new submissions.

A little while ago, I started work on a breeder contact database. It's still in the works, and most of the back-end is done, but I have to figure out a good way for website users to connect breeders to dogs. While I'm pondering this problem, I'll probably finish some other features, like searching for breeders, displaying breeder contact information, and a form to change a breeder's contact info.

Posted on January 20, 2008 at 05:01 PM in categories Website

If you received an error saying "Sorry, the saved submission information was incomplete. Please re-submit a new form." during the e-mail validation process, please try the link provided in the e-mail again. Hopefully everything should work as it should now. :-) If you have any problems, please e-mail us. Thank you.

Posted on December 26, 2007 at 03:28 PM in categories Database, Website

I'm working on a new database to manage breeder and owner contact information. This information will be displayed on the Dog's Info page. You can see an example on Donnett's Pepper Pete Info Page. Don't worry - e-mail addresses are encoded in javascript to protect them from harvesting. :-) If you've submitted a dog to our database, and identified yourself as it's breeder, you're name and e-mail address has been added to our breeder database. An online form will be available in the future to update your contact information. For now, if you find a dog has been attributed to you by error, send us an e-mail and we'll correct the problem. The search page will also be enhanced soon to search and display breeder contact information, including a list of dogs attributed to them.

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Posted on November 07, 2007 at 02:49 PM in categories Database

The ChessieDB has just reached a new milestone -- we have over 20,000 dogs in the exported database! Thank you to Melanie, who's been entering paper-based pedigrees donated by Janet Wilson, and everyone else submitting pedigrees online.

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Posted on October 11, 2006 at 01:31 PM in categories Website

FYI - I just finished fixing two minor bugs in the submission process. First, if multiple submissions were made re-using the same submission form (using the back button after submitting a dog, to submit another dog), the original submitted info was overwritten - the submission form contains a unique ID for each submission, and this ID is used to save the submitted info. I've added a check to the submission process that will now protect previously submitted info, even if has the same submission ID. This could only happen if someone used the back button, after submitting a dog, to re-submit another. Hopefully this wasn't a problem experienced by many.

The second bug fixed occured when using the "Update Info" link when viewing a dog's info page. The original photo for the dog was not displayed on the submission form, and updates to the photo may have been ignored.

So, hopefully everything is working fine now, but if you experience any problems, please let us know.

I expect to start work on improving the search form (adding extra fields for sex, dates, etc.) in the next few weeks.

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Posted on October 08, 2006 at 12:27 PM in categories Database

I've added a new Pedigree stats line at the bottom of each pedigree page. Hopefully this will be useful as you work towards expanding your dogs pedigree. For example, when retrieving Donnett's Pepper Pete's 11 generation pedigree, the following stats are provided: 630 unique dogs out of 2035 listed, from a possible maximum of 2047 (12 dogs missing).

Posted on May 29, 2006 at 10:26 AM in categories Website

New submissions have been pilling up for the last few weeks. We're just back from vacation, so we'll be importing them very soon. Our dog broke 2 teeth while we were away - probably gnawing at some chain-link fence at the kennel - so we've been busy doing some research on root canals and crowns since getting back. We're meeting the animal dentist tomorrow morning, so hopefully we'll have more time for the ChessieDB in the coming days.

In the future - probably this fall or winter - I hope to add a litter submission form, a kennel submission form (allowing you to specify the breeding kennel for a dog, search for kennels, etc.), and possibly a classified ads section for breeders and kennels.

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Posted on April 18, 2006 at 08:25 PM in categories Documents

The new document section has been inaugurated with several pedigrees sent to us by Austin Reed. We're especially excited to see Annie (1896-06-20), Beaver (1902-07-19), and Beaver III's pedigrees. Much of the information available around the turn of the century can be inaccurate, so it's nice to see real pedigrees from this time. We've already found a few errors in our database. It'll take a while to analyse and incorporate these pedigrees. We have to make sure we weed out duplicates and/or identically named dogs. There are also several old pedigrees in the documents donated by Janet and Don of Donnett's Kennels. These will eventually be scanned and added to our online documents collection.

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