My Perfect Chesapeake.


I want the perfect Chesapeake….or I think I do.

From the moment he is born,( and he will be a ‘He’ so I don’t have to worry about seasons and cycles), he will know that he exists purely to please and obey me. But I also want that independent thinking type of dog that will work unaided when I need him to hunt for a bird in darkness or beyond a bank of reeds.

I want him to have the power, stamina and energy to endure the coldest hunting days in Winter, take on the toughest water and face the hardest cover. But in his off-time he will drop like a stone before the fireplace and lie quietly for hours until asked to come forward and do my bidding once more.
I want him as a protector of my home so he will be strong and confident in his masculinity. But I also want him to love and trust all people so we can sit amiably with other male Chesapeakes as we share our picnic blankets around the show rings in summer.

In the show ring he will be poetry in motion, everything which the breed standard asks for and more; all those specific breed points such as ear set and shape, tail carriage and the absence or presence of white spots that are so infuriatingly hard to get right will be perfect in my perfect dog…. He will drop his heavy winter coat on the last day of shooting season and grow in a new thick full coat in time for the start of the show season at Crufts, this he will obligingly retain all through the hot days of Summer.

He will pass every health check I subject him to, even the ones that haven’t been invented yet…he will have excellent hips and elbows, clear for PRA and clear for hereditary cataracts, have a perfect set of teeth, be DM clear, EIC clear, Cardiac clear, Long coat gene not a carrier and even though many of the bitches that come his way will have more than a blemish or two on their health sheet only his perfect set of genes will pass on to all his perfect progeny….

He will be born to the whistle, there will be no battles on the training field as to whether my eyes are better than his nose but when I take him to work on the shooting field I want his nose to work better when my eyes fail to be able to pinpoint a bird that sails over a bank of gorse or swims through a curtain of reeds.

I want him to have a high bird drive so that he will work and hunt tirelessly for birds day after day and hour after hour in Winter but he will be able to control that high level of energy in complete silence as we wait in line for a drive to end at a field trial…and then only when asked to do so he will unleash all of that power and pent up energy in a single dead straight line, ignoring wind direction and terrain and only follow the line of my hand to the fall of the specific bird I have asked him to retrieve. But I also want him to be able to cover vast tracts of ground when I need him to find numerous birds in hard to reach areas after a drive so he must know to use the wind and quarter into it without being asked.

His love for canvas dummies will equal his love for finding game so that I can carry on the fun of competing with him in working test competitions throughout the summer months. He will never show his distaste for being asked to retrieve such menial objects, in hot weather, with full coat by peeing on the dummy thrower or dropping the dummy just short of my hand….

He will be everything our society asks for in a dog, never poop on pavements, never square up to another dog that invades his bodyspace in the park but will just turn the paw  and walk away, will only chase squirrels and rabbits in designated areas, (and when they have a sporting chance), and will never ever  chase livestock. He will know only to retrieve tennis balls and training dummies and will never bring back roadkill or roll in… ahem….very mature dead seagulls or foxpoo.

And even though me and my life are often chaotic, disordered and I make very many mistakes my perfect dog never will.
….And as I run my hand over his perfect Chessie head and gaze into those perfect shaped eyes I realise that the dog gazing back at me is no longer a Chesapeake, that somewhere along the way in pursuit of perfection I will have lost much more than I will have gained  and  I will have learned too late that part of the genius and joy of owning this breed is that they are simply PERFECT in their IMPERFECTIONS.

Enjoy your dogs for who and what they are and not what you envision them to be.

29 thoughts on “My Perfect Chesapeake.

  1. bonjour mary i had the same dream for my Buddy.. but he is very good household pet but number 1 for me and the best friend I dream for a perfect female for both of us (dream dream I dreaming my life away ) you know the song
    have a dream

  2. So beautifully written! … and such true sentiments! I must keep this in mind as I rear my puppy. I want to bring out the best in her, yet keep in mind your admonition of loving her for what she is, not what I envision her to be!

  3. Good piece, Mary. I reckon your insight could be generalised. I mean, it seems to me that the wonderful, great and brilliant tend to be imperfect, while the tacky and ordinary tend to be without blemish.

  4. No such thing as the perfect chessie. Perfection leads to failure. I don’t expect perfection of myself and won’t expect perfection from my chessie. Their imperfections are what make me a better trainer and why they find a place in my heart.

  5. Mary, Just great x

    Well I knew the end after only the first two lines Mary!!!!

    I remember a year or two back talking to Mark when he spoke of another Peak, his words were “I want another just like Echo!! ” I told him no you dont, YOU Dont, as their is not another just like Echo!! Each dog you have will be special in its own way and each will carve a place in your heart .Why did I tell him this? Because it’s true! And because I had been their long time back when I thought just the same, I wanted one just like Custer!!! .And a perfect Chesapeake? Like all illusions in reality it does not exist, and that’s why I knew the end after the first two lines!!!

  6. Wonderful piece. How often we forget to see the beauty in imperfection. We train and train, feel frustrated, search online for solution after solution, and attempt to mold our Chessies to be that idealized image we have in our minds. Chesapeakes, like any other dog breed, are not perfect- and neither are we. Love your dog, teach your dog, and remember that nothing and no one in life is perfect. However, what IS perfect is the loyalty we share with one another. To know the companionship of a Chesapeake, despite all his quirks and all of ours, is to be truly blessed.

  7. I have to say towards the end of your blog I was getting angry, it seemed you wanted to take the Chessie out of this awesome breed. Then I read the last paragraph and I understood and smiled. I have to sisters from the same litter, they are 121/2 years old and the absolute loves of my life. They have taught me a lot, made me laugh a million times over, laid with me when ill. You know the list can go on and on. Thank you for sharing it.

  8. After reading these blogs and shedding a few tears for my two hardheaded, water fanatic Chessies, Zaby and Hershel Bar, gone now to the giant water pool in the sky. My husband is saying “no more dogs!” I am jonesing over a Labradoodle pup, but cannot get over my Chessie obsession….living on an island in the Pacific, the perfect Chessie retirement place….missing a vet though….Thanks for pulling me off the edge. Need another Chessie, perhaps a rescue?

    • Aw thank you Janet. Sorry for the loss of your brown bears… They are a breed that works their way into your very soul…once you have lived and loved a Chessie it’s very hard to switch to another breed.X

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