Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chatties, Flatties, Weims and Spaniels

A cool new look at the Chatham Hill Gang

Featuring most of our pack of Flat Coated Retrievers, Chatham Hill Retrievers, Long Hair Weimaraners and Spaniels.  All having fun just enjoying the day running and playing on the Chatham Hill Ranch.

I'll bet you smile when you watch this.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Ride of the Valkyries...Doggy Style

The Chatham Hill Pack coming out to Play

Whenever the dogs aren't playing around and enjoying time in their indoor arena...they're let loose to go play on the pastures.  And they absolutely are a spectacle to see.  They bolt past the cameraman here and head straight to the open field where their people are waiting for another fun day of fly ball

Without a doubt, you're gonna smile when you see this.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

I Wanna Puppy, I Wanna Puppy

Puppies are just Sooooooo Cute

And we think Chatham Hill puppies are exceptionally cuter than any other puppy in the whole world, but then again we are probably always going to be a bit biased in our thinking. ;-)

These were pups from our very first litter of intentionally bred Long Hair Weimaraner.  Yup, we bred an entire litter of just Long Hair because we felt this variation offered much to the population of Weimaraner, and the world of dogs as a whole.  And they're just so damn cute.  Get ready to smile, this is fun.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A new Chattie owner's video journal

Courtesy of Michael Cowan.

You can check out his website here

Mike chronicled his journey towards picking up his Chatham Hill Retriever Puppy.

And not only was his journey fun for him, its a joy to watch.   A little peek into what a our family does to make the experience a memorable one.

Thank you Michael for a wonderful owner's eye view of your experience.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Funny Explanation on how Man Ruined Dogs

Compliments of Adam Ruins Everything 

 Only in this case he clearly only enlightens his viewers with the truth.

This is extremely funny, yet brutally honest at the same time.



Friday, March 28, 2014

The Flat Coat Mafia...LOL

ALL FCR can be traced back to just a few foundation dogs

What is this Flat Coat Mafia?  Who are they?  Why are they important to Chatham Hill Dogs? 
  1. This is the loving name given to control freaks that breed FCR.
  2. They are the biggest haters of the Chatham Hill Retrievers.
  3. Most of our Flat Coated Retrievers were provided by them
So every time they disparage our dogs the irony is they are literally disparaging their own lines from whence our dogs came.  Every time they question health they fail to review their own dogs which were the source of ours in the first place.  They also seem to forget the origins of their own dogs from whence the FCR breed was begotten.   And they fail to realize that with all the care they take in performing health tests for their own dogs ( "Ahem" - lines our dogs came from) they really haven't made a dent in the horrible health statistics and prolific cancer rates they see with respect to their beloved breed.  Yet instead of looking at what they've produced and possibly saying what they should do, or could do and still can do drastically different to reverse the figures.  They continue to do the same things they always have.
  1. Closely Line-Breed from their champions only
  2. Use a common SIRE to create more of the same
  3. Use a common DAM  to create more of the same
Then when their dogs die.... they openly cry about it over social media and think that will make things better.  I have yet to see any mention of any of them actually doing something tangible to make a difference.  Instead they buy more of the same dogs from the same sources of all their misery.   And contribute physical test results to a continually growing and very inconclusive database and believe this is their contribution to a better tomorrow for their beloved breed.  Complacent stupidity is their answer.  Okay.... see me in a few more years and let me know how that's going for you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Friends of Chatham Hill Dogs- Dubhruja

 Dubruja Flacoats located in Scotland
You can Check them out on Facebook here.  

Visit their website here

• They have an excellent socializing process and have produced some rather impressive Flat Coats.  And they remind us here at Chatham Hill so much about ourselves its just natural that we love them so much. 

• I'm writing about them with a friendly shout of approval since we've received a recent e-mail that I've quoted here that in a round about way came from a fan of our friends across the pond.  And its always nice to receive positive encouragement to continue to strive for a better future for our dogs.  

I've always had a lot to do with dogs - from my childhood imagining I had them and reading everything I could about them, to my adulthood during which I have been a dog trainer, researched dog body language and diets, and am now a pet photographer. So i thought I knew what I was talking about when I came out with all those phrases you likely know very, very well. Things like, "Mixing breeds is dangerous for their health," and, "Only backyard breeders cross dogs on purpose."

Then I saw Pedigree Dogs Exposed. And I thought about that, and about the fact that the SAME people who cry DANGER, ABUSE, on labradoodles and maltipoos and so on, were also the ones saying rescue mixed breeds were 'healthier than pure breds'. And that got me thinking. Because you don't know the parentage of most rescues, so how could they say that? What else were they wrong about?

And I realised - if you have a health tested, brilliantly put-together, loved, healthy labrador, what's to stop you mating it with a poodle with similar backing? The SAME dogs people would cheer being bred to their own breeds, people then complain when they're crossed. And that makes NO SENSE.

And then I thought about the fact that there are so, so many issues in show-type dogs. that cavaliers need breeding with bigger heads. Perhaps even with another breed with a bigger head and better breathing ability. That I saw a guy who was breeding english bulldogs with american bulldogs to lengthen the face and I thought that was EXCELLENT. And that frankly, if they scrapped german shepherds altogether and remade them from turverians, huskies and a couple of other breeds - they couldn't make anything WORSE than what is being paraded around the show rings, at least.

And then I fell in love with flat coated retrievers. My first dog was a rescue, and when she died I needed a break from rescue so I started looking at breeders. I found one I loved, and I talked to her for HOURS on the phone, at various times, and I met some flatties from her lines near me, and some others, and I decided they were for me.

That was Lea of Dubhruja flatcoats, who got Joka from you guys. I  actually met Joka when I went to pick up my girl (who is a Willow/Murdy pup - from their last litter) and loved him. What a big, goofy, fantastic bear of a dog :-)

I loved what Lea said about trying to breed for less cancer in the lines, and about temperament and health being so much more important to her than the correct ear set.

And so my beliefs were changed a little more.

My flatcoat - Starbuck - is now 18 months old, and I adore her. A few weeks ago I picked up my second dog - a very frightened rescue lurcher Starbuck and I are slowly and gently rehabilitating together. Starbuck is so maternal (she has a 6 month old working cocker sister who belongs to my housemate, who she thinks of as her own puppy), and so nuts, and won't take no for an answer. As often as Mouse refuses to play, Starbuck asks her again, and one time in ten Mouse relaxes enough and they have a wonderful time.

So, back to the point. I'm on a few flatcoat groups on facebook, and I watch them dropping from cancer one after the other. Starbuck's dad is ten. He's never had cancer.

I've said a few times now that I will only ever buy from working lines, or get rescue, in the future. But I've come around to another type of line too - those from breeders who have the ability to THINK about the future. To see that in wanting that extra skin, or the squashed face, or only certain colours, they are driving the breeds they profess to love into extinction. And it's awful and heartbreaking and makes me want to shake them until they wake up and see what they're doing.

I'm in England, so to have a dog from you would be very. very expensive for me. But I can tell you that in the future, if I ever could afford it, I would be PROUD to have a Chatham Hill Retriever. I want to thank you for seeing a different way and for what you do for the breeds you love.

I figure you get a lot of hate mail, so maybe a little love now and then wouldn't be amiss.


They have had an interesting Journey that had them relocating from Cheshire to Aberdeen...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Are you color prejudice?

To learn more about Diversity Breeding Concepts Click here

•For the record...we breed the Chatham Hill Retriever, which is an out-cross between two different breeds to create a smaller version of a Flat Coated Retriever, which comes in Black, Liver(Brown) or Yellow(Cream).  It is our goal for it to  be more like a miniature Flat Coated Retriever NOT a miniature Golden Retriever.  So... What does this question about color prejudice mean on a blog about breeding dogs?  Well simply that we've discovered that even though Flat Coated Retrievers come in Black, Liver or Yellow colors and we've now mirrored this color palette with our Chatham Hill Retrievers, it has become clear that the majority of people coming to us for a Chattie are just stuck on a color and don't do any research beyond that.  They just prefer yellow and often think that we breed a miniature Golden Retriever.  They are in fact so enamored with the romanticized stories of the Golden Retriever as the top tier family dog and have no clue what a Flat Coated Retriever is or that it even required a Flat Coated Retriever for a Golden Retriever to even exist.  And even if there is a perfectly healthy Black or Brown Retriever pup available....  there are 10 to 1 odds that the next person contacting us is going to ask when the next Yellow, Cream, Chestnut or Red miniature Golden Retriever Puppy will be available.  And that speaks so much about the lack of knowledge about retrievers in general that most of these curious people have.  They've been brainwashed into believing there are two types of Retrievers...Labrador and Golden Types.  And like the majority of us as children we've been conditioned to associated the lighter creamy color with being the more desirable, more angelic, more peaceful looking.  Like every little boy or girl who grows up thinking that being a blue eyed blond is the best thing in the world because doors of opportunity will just swing open automatically for you when you arrive at your destination.  Well... there are many Black haired and Brown eyed individuals in this world that would prove otherwise.  Its unfortunate that these stereotypes for humans also hold true for dogs.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Introducing The "Duke" of Chatham Hill

To learn more about Diversity breeding concepts "Click Here"

Meet Duke.  Who..As per his owner... is often mistaken for an Irish Setter.  He's a Liver colored 3 year Old Flat Coated retriever.   What makes Duke so special for us.  Well his daddy is a yellow Flat Coated Retriever and he's the result of an intentional effort to produce an FCR with what we hope will be a stronger immune system than the given expectations we've seen thus far, by simply embracing the yellow variant into our breeding program.   So far we've been fortunate and haven't been met with what the majority of the FCR community has expected or wished for us.  Now it can be said that there is very little to no evidence that simply using a yellow FCR is going to provide a stronger immune system.  Maybe that is the case, but when no one has previously done this as a controlled experiment and used yellow FCR before then what baseline of measure do you have to compare this statement to?  Common sense tells us that if you are constantly removing the yellow factor from the breeding equation you therefore effectively lower the contributing population for an already diminished gene pool then by simply allowing this once forbidden yellow gene to again contribute to the overall equation... you are in fact putting more resources back where they're needed.  And for obvious reasons these genetic contributions are different resources from the current lot of Black and Liver only.  How so?  Well if you take it away for generations and simply hope it will just go away.... and the result over the long term shows an increase in health problems over where you started from....  How can it hurt to add back any variable that will increase diversity by any percentage?  The FCR population suffered all this time due to practices of the old school breeders basically exercising  a prejudice against color, but this also sort of just left them with a way to shuffle more ingredients back into the genetic mix without entirely looking towards other breeds.   Simply use the yellow dogs.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Controversy over Breeding dogs

We are Dog breeders.

The act of stating "I am a dog breeder" doesn't always come with wide eyed appreciation.

And that's okay...

• We get it.  We completely understand what the hobby breeder has to contend with.  And we're not just talking about a breeder like ourselves that has an agenda of diversity planning and outcrossing, we're also talking about breeders of show, trial and hunting dogs who also have a goal of producing champions and specialized dogs for service and hunting.  The main thing that unifies us in what we're doing is the fact that we love our dogs.  And we enjoy the process of whelping and socializing our puppies as well as the process of meeting new families that are interested in buying one of these puppies.  The daily interactions with our breeding dogs and the time we spend essentially designing a playtime with them that also contributes to training them and promoting their natural abilities.  That's our daily job, its something we do because we love the fact that these animals respond in a wonderful way to how we provide all these wonderful activities for them.  And in the long term we also breed with a selective process to bring more of these dogs into the world and fill a desire for people who want some of the same magic we've discovered in them ourselves.

• There is never a hesitation from any of our children when they answer the question "what does your mom and dad do for a living?".  They are actually proud to say "My family breeds dogs"(even though dad has a career that takes him off to NYC daily so he can help support his family and the entire pack of dogs).  Its the fact that we breed these wonderful dogs that takes priority in their young minds.  As a parent we don't get to see the reactions from their peers or the adults in their life that may ask this question of them.  And If there was any negative look in the face of those asking, our kids would more than likely not notice or even understand why if they did notice.  They are actually proud of what their family does and how we do it.  The entire process is in their eyes just normal for them and the wonderful things we do on a daily basis are just taken for granted by our kids.  Because for them its just the right way to do things.  And for that, as parents we feel blessed.  Because they will grow up... getting it too.