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60 Years of Hunting with Quality Chesape... Wyndham & Wyndhamian Retrievers (Est. 1953) in Ashley, North Dakota
AKC Master Hunter - Chesapeake Bay Retriever Hunting Dog Pictures
Breed: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
From: Julie Reardon
Posted: Dec 15, 2010
New Chesapeake Female Master Hunter
HRCH Hope Springs Dowry MH has joined an elite group of female Chesapeake Bay Retrievers to carry both the UKC Hunting Retriever Champion and AKC Master Hunter title, earned this November with her 5th Master pass at Cheraw, S.C. Sterling, or “Fatty” as owner Alan Sandifer affectionately calls her, has won many fans since he bought her from Hope Springs Farm two years ago. People love her eye catching silver ash color and friendly outgoing disposition. She's also got the famous Chesapeake smile, and an outstanding work ethic. She's even made believers among the Labrador field trial and hunt test community, a group that is generally dismissive of Chesapeakes.
That's because Sterling is lightning fast both going out and returning, and runs as hard on her blinds as she does on her marks. She's also a pretty girl, with a thick, wavy and unusually colored ash coat, a color rarely seen in the breed.
Sterling was the only female in a litter of seven whelped at Hope Springs in 2006 out of outstanding producer and breathlessly gorgeous CH Puffin II JH CD WDX. She's sired by a deadgrass Eastern Shore working dog with hunt test and field trial accomplishments, Southern Md's Dances with Wolves MH**WDQ. Her dam, the multi-talented Puffin, is now retired but still hunts and is still a magnificent looking Chesapeake at age 10. However, Puffin never particularly enjoyed competing, unlike her offspring, and she got test-wise, so other than a few passes at the senior/intermediate level, along with one open obedience pass, she never attained the titles that came so easily to Sterling.
Sterling was sold twice as a young dog, and had some sporadic good training and her JH at 8 months, but she never enjoyed the consistency so important in a young dog's foundation. And, as one of many in large kennels until Alan got her, perhaps she was just biding her time waiting for her own “person”.
Alan and Sterling bonded immediately. She was big and pregnant when he got her as a two-year-old, hence he started calling her “Fatty”. Although she's on the small side and powerfully built, she and her owner are anything but fat, so people chuckle at the nickname.
This little silver dog has a huge heart; and it's hard for people that see her with Alan to imagine she wasn't raised by him from puppyhood. They read each other well; their bond is that tight. As close as they are though, Sterling is a happy Chesapeake that simply loves fetching birds anywhere and any place, whether hunting or hunt tests. She'll run for anyone, and her tail is always wagging. It's a pleasure to watch her work with her handler setting up for a blind retrieve, with her tail clearing a swath as she lets the handler fine tune her. It wags the entire time, from the first send to the return to heel, no matter who's handling. In fact, Alan's friend and talented dog handler Tammy Cook handled Sterling to two of her Master passes, including her title. Alan was working at the National Open Retriever Championship event held near his home in Mississippi this year, and couldn't make the final hunt test in S.C.
Now that Fatty's earned her well-deserved Master title, Alan plans to enjoy what they like best: hunting the flooded timber and flyways of the Mississippi Delta. They'll keep training and perhaps try some qualifying stakes next spring We'd like to congratulate the pair for a job well done, and wish them many limits this season.