CHessies cold water

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CHessies cold water

Postby bill10979 » Sun Jun 20, 2004 10:49 am

In this months Retreiver Journal, many pro trainers were asked about mistakes made etc. One trainer remarked that he felt there was no noticeable difference in cold water ability of Lab vs. Chessie, and he in fact had 2 Chessies almost die of hypothermia, due to his lack of good judgement while hunting. He went so far as to say that a Golden has as much coat as to handle the cold about as well. Is this an honest assesment, I always read about the Chessies as the Premier Cold water dog, and now have a different understanding, but its 1 mans opinion on his experiences. The coat of a Chessie looks awesome, but Goldens have alot of coat/hair too. Are they overblown as part Polar Bear when it comes to cold? Do vests negate this cold weather handicap nowadays?
Just curious and looking for real life input. I have never hunted w/chessie, yet. Thanks
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Postby blueblood » Sun Jun 20, 2004 11:12 am

Bill,
You may have hit the nail on the head when you stated the vest. I have seen shorthaired dogs hunting in way colder water now than ever before.

The Chessie coat compared to the other retrievers is much more dense and water repellant. Infact the coat is designed for that. I have yet to see a lab or golden feel comfortable in the waters where a chessie will. If you take Ben Wallaces hair and try and get his head wet verses Keeny Gees hair, simple phisics is Ben wallaces hair is nearly impermiable. :lol:

Bill this guy should have stated all the facts. I highly doubt these chessies he saw with cold water problems had the correct coat!

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Chessies

Postby bill10979 » Sun Jun 20, 2004 12:48 pm

Blueblood, thx for the input but you mightve misinterpreted my ? The article stated not cold weather problems or tolerance, but rather his ignorance in assuming because they were Chessies, they could"handle anything" and it nearly killed 2 of his better dogs to hypothermia. Might have been a LONG cripple chase in very cold water. Im assuming that the dogs had correct coats-I havent seen any 10 or so-that didnt have thick, wavy double coats. The coats tend to be consistent. He felt like in comparison to Labs or Hunting Goldens, in his experience,the Chessies fared no better in really cold water. I know that they are big,chesty powerful swimmers but is there a misconception about their Superdog status as far as cold water is concerned? This trainer-who mustve had alot of experiences w/retreivers to be sought out in RJ, again urged commonsense when hunting and training in real cold water. Is this "expert" accurate in his opinion or is the Chessie part Polar Bear. thanks
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Postby blueblood » Sun Jun 20, 2004 1:45 pm

Bill10979,

I would say no, he isn't accurate. As many of us know as dog owners, conditioning is very critical. These honestly are the only two chessies I have heard of that did that. Diet, contitioning and owner common sence come into play anywhere. No dog that I know of is bullet proof though. But when it comes to hard core duck hunting, hands down it goes to the chessie. I have owned and trained the retrievers spoken of, and in general the chessie is the work horse, lab has the eye appeal and style, and the golden the trainability.

I found out real quik that the guys writing these articles have their own narrowed opinions to. He may infact have seen the TWO chesseis do that. But out of the many I have been around they never flinched in the January hunts on the snake river here in Idaho. And several Labs would shut down. Totally, totally different mentallity and toughness!

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Postby bill10979 » Sun Jun 20, 2004 6:55 pm

I just re read the article in RT-you might want to look at it for curiousity sake if nothing else. There was a panel of 4 professional trainers-each discussing their "rookie" errors or things that they have learned through experience. In this gentlemens opinion, it was just what you speak of. He had many dogs-chessies etc. that he hunted in very cold water. On 2 seperate occasions, his Chessies almost died as a result of overexposure. No question about toughness, determination or any of that. Just sheer overexposure-that he blames on the misconception that they were "Chessies" and therefore could withstand any cold water retreives. They were probably overworked that day and in the water too long obviously. I know that there are many dogs that perish every year hunting-drowning in cold water, rough currents, gators etc. He stated that a tough Golden or Lab fares just about as well in the cold, and he knows better than to asssume that nonsense that Chessies can handle anything. Their only dogs after all. One would assume that all of his dogs were conditioned and fed the same-it mustve been darn cold and a long retreive(s) that over did his dogs. Commonsense has to come into play, and I dont think that he has an axe to grind-he simply says to play it smart w/any dog-Chessies included-that he hadnt seen "any appreciable difference" in TOUGH Goldens or Labs next to Chessies. It sounds reasonable to me.
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Postby terryg » Mon Jun 21, 2004 3:11 pm

Bill said:

"Commonsense has to come into play, and I dont think that he has an axe to grind-he simply says to play it smart w/any dog-Chessies included-that he hadnt seen "any appreciable difference" in TOUGH Goldens or Labs next to Chessies. It sounds reasonable to me."

i agree. dogs, just as people are individuals. Labrador(for those not familiar with geography the labrador coast is much father north than the chesapeke) dogs are every bit as hardy are the others mentioned all things equal.

from a personal note, when living in california my dogs grew one type of coat and when living in utha for a couple of years packed on 5 times the coat. it thinned out again upon moving back to california.

labardors are hunted for seaducks along the maine and pacific coasts regularly with no problems other than having to be rescued from swift outgoing tides involving 1/2 mile retrieves of birds on a strong current on occasion.

add to this the fact that,just as with pointers or spaniels, most just do not posess the experince needed to make informed decisions let alone blanket statements like the one in the article.

it always depends on what you are comparing it too. :wink:
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Postby Rick Hall » Mon Jun 21, 2004 3:13 pm

As with any breed, Chessies vary: in coat, physical condition and heart. But I'd be flippin' amazed and dumbfounded if the hardiest Labs or goldens could hang with the hardiest Bay dogs in really hostile conditions.

Which is by no means meant to detract from what I gather was an argument for good judgement.

(Terry, I'm no Lab historian but have long understood that the name "Labrador" is largely a misnomer. And that both they and Chessies originated from fishermen's dogs used for short hauls. Labs evolved for English, mostly upland, shooting, and Chessies evolved in the Bay. Am I missing something?)
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Postby terryg » Mon Jun 21, 2004 5:08 pm

rick, don't quote me on anything but my uderstanding was the dogs were designed just as you say but were taken over by different folks as they became aware of them.

i don't think that the chessies or labradors of yesteryear are much more than just similar to those we find today.

as i have found with many breeds men in those days were not as particular about who they came from and what their lines were but rather what they did.

my studies show that most of the time the dogs referred to would invlove a misnomer if we called them a labrador or a chessie, meaning breed, instead of a labrador or chesapeke dog meaning any dog that did the job required in the specific locale regardless of his heritage.

i think what you say is correct as to what happened to both after folks became aware of their abilities. i also think the chesapeke bay being located so close to the nations capitol provided them with more opportunity of becoming well known and used more as a duck dog than a dog which was used in the remote fishing villages of labrador and nova scotia as a cheap day laborer.

imo, that dog would be more like a cross between a newfoundland and todays labrador and used more as a fishing tool than a duck dog though an occasional retrieve of a wayward duck would not be unheard of.

i believe that these dogs were taken to england(newfoundland, nova scotia, new brunswick were all english colonies at one time noted for their codfish and trade with the motherland) and developed there along different lines.

some were kept and floated down through maine into the new england area and developed in a slightly different fashion.

the english, with plenty of aristocrats which made shooting clubs popular, had far different desires than those that were just trying to eat everyday(acadians-cajuns) and survive in harsh conditions that equal any in the world.

as you are aware dogs staying in the house is a relatively new idea in the dog kingdom. as a land owner in caribou, maine i assure you the winters their are equal to anything that comes across chesapeke bay. i will also guarantee that a dog bred and raised on the same cirteria as the chessie in this area will take anyhting anything a chessie will.

the labrador , as you have seen from another page we frequent, has some very strong and opinionated (not open minded like we are :wink: )supporters as well as a general dislike of the brit version.

you also know me to be a supporter and great admirer of the chessie. however the reason i went with the lab was the 3 chessie studs at the top kennel i visited. the best one was not being worked as much as the others and the 2 with MH were not worth my time and bitches did not exist.

individuals!

i grant you that the chessie is truly the "hummer version" of the retrievers but you have seen plenty of labs that were in same league.

just not all of them in either breed!

this is my understanding of the labs and how they came to be , although you know how dog folks can lie :lol: :lol:

love to talk about this stuff.

what did you hear? :D
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Postby Rick Hall » Mon Jun 21, 2004 6:42 pm

Terry, my claim to not not being a Lab historian wasn't out of modesty. But I ran a search and found sources agreeing with my understanding that only the name and foundation stock came from Labrador (or thereabouts) and the dog was refined as a breed in England, begining in the 1800s and focused primarily on upland work, largely driven shoots. (There's much uncertainty over just what went into the genetic mix.)

Labradors were then introduced in this country during WWI and didn't really hit their stride until WWII importations.

Bottom line being that while Labs and Chessies came from similar ancestry, in terms of type, Labs were bred and culled with an eye toward upland utility and manners, while Chessies were bred and culled for big water utility and flat out survival.

I've not shot a duck or goose above the Great Lakes, but I've gunned over a heck of a lot more Labs than Chessies without ever seeing a black dog as comfortable when when we were miserable as some brown ones. A "proper" dense and oily Chessie undercoat is an amazing boon in cold water - and a huge handicap in warm uplands.

(Which is why I'll not intentionally own another "proper" Chessie. Prefer the tighter coated version's upland endurance, and I'd not be too proud to vest a Bay dog if we ventured far enough north to warrant additional warmth.)
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Postby terryg » Tue Jun 22, 2004 10:55 am

i have seen the same history on labs but according to that history every lab in the world came from 2 dogs that were brought over on a cod ship to england. :roll:

of course the same book says the deadgrass on chessies came from out west on dogs taken out there before the civil war. :roll:

it also talks of both breeds being mixed constantly during development as the chessie coat could only have come from a curly coated ret.

when it comes to history, you have already seen in your life that it depends on who you are getting it from since none of us were there ie: was the civil war abouts slavery or states rights?

that being said i am a firm beleiever that the oily coat of the chessie has to give great advantage to him as a cold water dog as even the channel swimmers were successful only after "greasing up" to protect from the cold.

you said:
"Bottom line being that while Labs and Chessies came from similar ancestry, in terms of type, Labs were bred and culled with an eye toward upland utility and manners, while Chessies were bred and culled for big water utility and flat out survival."

100% in agreement!


along with this the "lab" folks were already crying in the 50's about the loss of coat due to pet breeding while at the same time bemoaning the fact that very little was even known about the chessies as most owners worked them rather than showing them. the chessie history was passed on more often in duck shacks then akc breed books.

never the less, a dog that comes from 10-20 generations of cold water work by real hunting men, regardless of the breed, will be well suited to the purpose.

if you want to talk in generalities i will agree the chessie has the advantage, hands down. if you get down to specifics it is back to individuals.

the chessies in california, having been bred to the conditions and requirements here, would have a tough time competeing with a chessie bred for generations in the marshes of the eastern shore.

please do not think i am disregarding the chessies great attributes. just saying that labs bred on equal ground(mine is not a one of them) can also take what can be dished out by the cold.

just as your britts do a wonderful job at whatever work is assigned to them you would be the first to agree that britts as a breed generally are not able to do this. your's are proof that picking them from the right place has far more to do with it than what breed they are.

if you were to just go pick out a dog for the cold work i strongly believe you will have a much better chance of getting a chessie that is up to it than a lab.

all i was saying is to not discount any particular dog.

:D :D :D
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Postby Birdhunter » Tue Jun 22, 2004 4:20 pm

I remember one chesapeake bay that I hunted with that was the most amazing dog I have ever personally ever hunted with in cold water. It was a very cold windy day with ice all around the lake. While we were scouting for ducks and while we were deciding where to put the decoys out that dog would just stand there in water up to his neck like it was just a nice summer day. He had the option to wait for us on the bank but preferred to stand in the water. That dog never walked by water of any size without taking a dunk. I think any dog should wear a vest in cold water. And with any dog you should be careful with long retrieves in icy water on windy days. I have hunted with a golden that had the long silky coat that ice clung to after the first retrieve on an icy day. So bad that we had to put the dog away. Long silky hair doesn't dry nearly as fast as shorter coarse hair.
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Postby Rick Hall » Tue Jun 22, 2004 5:41 pm

Terry, the two best working retrievers I ever hope to see shared a California bred sire out of Eloise Cherry's Tiger's Cub and a Berteleda gyp, Magothy, if memory serves. Unreal markers with absolutely no quit. Naturally, I think mine was the better of the two, but he had a poor hip. Hunted ten and a half commercial seasons before retirement, but I resisted the tempation, and much call, to take a chance and breed him.

Might be a point of interest to you to know that Chessies and (liver) flatcoats show in the pedigrees of some UK chocolate Labs as recently as 1914-1933 records. Surprised me, because I thought most of the breed tinkering was pre- and very early 1900s.

Also thought it interesting that the Chessie foundation dogs were said to be eventually headed to England's Duke of Marlboro(?) when they ship wrecked here. He was supposed to have breed truer to the St. John's type than anyone else, but, in any event, it wasn't just two St. John's that became today's Labs, but all modern Labs did come through the English mixer.

(In their homeland, St. John's dogs got hammered into extinction in favor of Newfoundlands, when some sheep based law cut way back on the number of dogs folks could own. And that supposedly contributed to the UK's "need" to infuse fresh blood from other breeds.)
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Postby terryg » Thu Jun 24, 2004 3:19 pm

Rick Hall wrote:Might be a point of interest to you to know that Chessies and (liver) flatcoats show in the pedigrees of some UK chocolate Labs as recently as 1914-1933 records. Surprised me, because I thought most of the breed tinkering was pre- and very early 1900s.

Also thought it interesting that the Chessie foundation dogs were said to be eventually headed to England's Duke of Marlboro(?) when they ship wrecked here. He was supposed to have breed truer to the St. John's type than anyone else, but, in any event, it wasn't just two St. John's that became today's Labs, but all modern Labs did come through the English mixer.



according to my sources(?) those two that were rescued were never bred to each other and one was black the other red.

since the curly and origial were black it makes me wonder where the red comes in and how they got a recessive color to become dominant.

in the labs they even talked of pied as well as different colored feet on some pups from 2 black dogs. i think there was a lot more dinking around than was being owned up to.

call me cynicle but "all modern Labs did come through the English mixer" sounds pretty self serving to me when you take into account the american method of always trying to be smarter than the next guy. i suppose it would be hard to prove but just as in the gsp some sure look an awful lot different than others. could be from breeding poor examples or could be "i'll breed to that dog cause i really like him and figure out how to register them later"

always fascinates me, being a history buff, that when books are written, they always purport to know exactly what happened back then. upon closer inspection it often becomes a case of they "probably" or "we're pretty sure" this is how it went down. :wink:

still fun to talk about as i have already heard stuff i hadn't before and always enjoy speaking with a knowledgable dog man! :D :D :D :D :D
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chessies

Postby bill10979 » Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:51 pm

I must tell you as an objective observer that I am really impressed with your apparent knowledge in the histories of this breed, and I find it very interesting.
Feel free to throw me some info on Drahthaars and Pudelpointers-I thought I was fairly knowledgable until I read your posts. I fancied myself a dog buff, but you guys have really earned my respect with what you know and I love any kind of history-if it involves dogs I like it even more.
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Postby Rick Hall » Fri Jun 25, 2004 8:59 am

Terry - As for Labs being a product of the UK, I've just quoted what's been documented by folks with much more interest in the breed's history than I. It may be that you know more about the breed than its historians, but I certainly don't claim to.

No one has suggested there wasn't a whole lot of "dinking around" with the breed in that country. Quite the contrary, that's been my point. But along with their WWI era introduction to this country came AKC registration in 1917, which forbade outcrossing of dogs to be registered with them. Does that mean no one cheated? Perhaps not. But it little doubt cut way the heck back on its likelihood.

I've seen no mention of pied Labs, but as for white feet, one need only look to the earliest "Labradors" or St. John's dogs to find that they commonly had white feet and muzzles.

Bill - Please make no mistake about my "knowledge" of Lab history. I refreshed it with a Google search and reading several of the results it offered. I'd have to do the same with DDs and PPs, and you'd be far better off running your own search. The results might surprise you.

(I'd long bought into the oft published Brittany history that they were imported by foot hunters wanting closer workers than pointers and setters - until I discovered that significant foundation stock was brought here specifically to compete with pointers and setters.)
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