Interview with Dyane Baldwin, Breeder of Pond Hollow Chesapeakes
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Dyane Baldwin: I live on 31 acres in central Pennsylvania. I got involved with the Chesapeake Bay Retriever in 1977 and had a wonderful mentor in Barbara Mullen, Mitsu Kuma. I bred my first litter in 1979 and have only bred Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Dyane Baldwin: My kennel name is Pond Hollow for the pond in the hollow (small valley) I live in. Currently, I have six dogs that live with my daughter and I permanently. Over the years, the number of dogs here has ranged from 14 to the current number.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
- BISS CH Pond Hollow Casablanca WD won a 700-plus Sporting Group among his 15 placements;
- NBISS CH Pond Hollow Morocco, 2000 NSS BOB and 19 Group placements;
- CH Pond Hollow Bering Sea, 32 Group placements;
- GCHS Pond Hollow The North Wind OHBIS/10 Group placements—ALL OWNER-HANDLED;
- NSS BOS 2012 GCHS Pond Hollow Special Delivery, handled by Angela Lloyd and co-owned with Linda Cayton, 2012 No. 1 Chesapeake in Breed Points and 2013 BOB Westminster KC;
- GCHP/2018 NSS BOS Pond Hollow Third Times The Charm, 2019 No. 1 Chesapeake in Breed Points and 2020 Westminster KC BOB, handled by Angela Lloyd and owned by Chris & Karen Beste.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
I have been fortunate to have bred a number of influential sires and dams.
- CH Pond Hollow Casablanca WD, No. 2 All-Time Sire in Breed, No. 1 Sire in the Breed for three years, with two sons who were No. 1 Sires in their own right;
- CH Pond Hollow Bering Sea, No. 4 All-Time Sire in Breed/2010 No. 1 Sire in UK;
- CH Pond Hollow Cal-I-Co Key Largo, a highly influential sire;
- CH Pond Hollow Ketch; CH Pond Hollow Puntgunner;
- CH Pond Hollow Continental Divide, 2012 No. 1 Sire in the Breed.
- CH Pond Hollow B-Starry Eyed, 2012 No. 1 Dam;
- CH Pond Hollow Bayberry Tides In;
- CH Pond Hollow Brillant;
- CH Pond Hollow Kilimanjaro;
- CH Pond Hollow More Joyful;
- CH Pond Hollow N TLC’s Glacier Bay MH**;
- CH Pond Hollow Puddle Duck;
- CH Pond Hollow Pistol Powder;
- GCHS Pond Hollow Special Delivery;
- GCHS Pond Hollow The North Wind;
- Puddle Ducks Malta O Pond Hollow.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Dyane Baldwin: I have a kennel with 12 runs and a heated/AC indoor facility. The dogs all rotate as housedogs. All pups are raised in the house underfoot and taken on walks in the woods and introduced to water (weather permitting).
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies? Field Puppies?
Dyane Baldwin: Show puppies are evaluated for their conformation; I start stacking them at four weeks. However, I also spend hours watching them play to see how they stand on their own and how they move while playing. This is also part of assessing their personalities and temperament. Pups are introduced to birds, simple obstacles like climbing over logs, and going into cover for planted birds. And I assess their reaction to correction. In my opinion, pups with a high degree of bird interest, eye contact, and determination do the best in Field and Performance work.
Do I compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?
Dyane Baldwin: I used to compete in Obedience and Hunt Tests. Last year, with my daughter, I started to do Dock Diving and Fast CAT. These are fun, non-competitive events that the dogs really enjoy. Hunt Tests and Field Trials are important (I used to judge Junior Level Hunt Tests) but participation depends on the individual owners. Retriever Field Trials, for instance, take an immense amount of time, training, and money.
Are Field Trials or parent club Hunt Tests important to me?
Dyane Baldwin: Dogs I’ve bred have won awards in Derby, Qualifying, and Amateur Stakes. CH Frosty Hills Seacoast Bulrush MH QA2 was the No. 1 Derby Dog in 2012 (co-bred with Marie Stump). I’ve personally trained several of my dogs to Senior Hunter titles and UD level in Obedience.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Dyane Baldwin: Chesapeakes should be well muscled and firm; no major rolling when moving. Out of condition dogs roll, the skin moves from side to side as they trot. Rears are especially well muscled.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed?
Dyane Baldwin: Chesapeakes have a number of genetic DNA tests which should be done on all dogs used for breeding. Chesapeake people are health conscious, for the most part, and the club is a big proponent of health testing.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Dyane Baldwin: Like many breeds, many of the breeders who KNEW what makes a Chesapeake (not only looks, but personality too) are gone or retired. Also, to be a foundation breeder, you have to breed more than an occasional litter. Recent stud book entries show a big decline in new dogs entering the stud book.
In the last three years, some are promoting the breed more in shows with accompanying emphasis on traits needed to be more competitive. Long ago, a founder of the modern Chesapeake wrote, “To keep shows from ever spoiling or fashioning the Chesapeake.” Some still adhere to this advice, but sadly, now there are not enough true foundation breeders.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Dyane Baldwin: Chesapeakes are not for everyone. They require an owner who is willing to train and socialize their dog. The breed thinks on its own and needs a job to do. But, in the hands of people who are willing to be committed to training, etc., who admire an intelligent dog and are willing to provide the time and exercise they need, they are superb family dogs, albeit with some protective instincts.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Dyane Baldwin: The biggest misconception is that they are stubborn. Once they develop a habit, then that habit can be nearly impossible to train out. So, they are called stubborn and they need to be taught limits of what is acceptable, and then the owner must be consistent in enforcing and keeping to those limits. Their independent thinking can be amazing. They are adept at reading their owner’s feelings and many have large vocabularies.
The biggest secret? Well, it would not be a secret if I mention it, would it? If they are the dog for you, you will find out. The majority of people never get another breed.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Dyane Baldwin: This is not a “fancy” dog, moving or standing. It is a practical dog whose visual appeal should be in its working qualities. It is more akin to a Quarter Horse than a Thoroughbred. There are no extremes of front and rear angles or topline. Movement should be a power gait, moving soundly and not at a fast pace. It is not a big, ground-covering gait like a Setter.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
To new breeders: Learn correct structure and learn to evaluate on your own; learn to admire dogs for virtues; seek advice from the few foundation breeders who are left; do not be fooled by photos on the Internet; see as many dogs as you can by attending field and show specialties; and do not get locked into one color or coat style. Again, the Chesapeake is a practical, working dog with a Breed Standard that is focused on this.
Are you looking for a Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder?
Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
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