Black Canyon Chesapeakes is located in Montrose, Colorado. Next to the beautiful Black Canyon National Park. Black Canyon Chesapeakes is registered with the American Kennel Club. click here
Contact: Dave & Maureen Brennan
About Us and Why Chespeakes:
Our Chesapeake Bay Retriever Operation is strictly a family hobby that grew out of my involvement in hunting and living with these great dogs. My first exposure to a Chesapeake came from a neighbor's dog when I was a child. I was too young to think about it, so I have no idea who was in his pedigree, but Radar was a very impressive dog. He was big and very athletic, but it was his temperament that really stood out. Radar was way to big and ambitious for the people who owned him, so consequently, he spent most of his time in their garage. He defended the garage with a rafter shaking roar whenever anyone got too close. Fortunately for Radar though, the back door wasn't always latched and occasionally, he was able to sneak out and show his true personality. As much as his owner tried to convince me that Radar would tear me up, it was pretty obvious that Radar really just wanted a friend and he would try his hardest to include himself in any activity that was going on in the neighborhood. Some of us appreciated his efforts, and some didn't., notably the Avon lady, but all could agree that Radar was really a very friendly dog when given the chance. I'll never forget the day that Radar was given away to an old lady who, I can only guess, must have known something about him that I didn't, but nevertheless, I remember watching in amazement at how gentle and calm Radar was around that lady and how he just ignored the yapping Dashunds snapping at his heels as he quietly loaded into her car and left for hopefully a better life.
Many years later, I was fortunate enough to take a job where I met Ken Erickson, who owns DC Sunday's Roughwater Canvasback MH. Ken probably doesn't recall me, as I was just a college kid doing some grunt work to make a few bucks, but we shared an interest in dogs and spent many lunch breaks talking about them. At that time, Ken owned two Chesapeakes, Drake and Cedar, and was involved in some of the hunt tests that were just getting started. I never met Cedar, but I did throw bumpers for Ken as he trained Drake. I was just as impressed with Drake as I had been Radar, years before. In fact, Drake was just a darker version of Radar, and was easily the best trained dog that I had ever seen. I was impressed with his obedience, but more intrigued by his intelligence. I remember one time when Drake figured out that the training session was about over he purposely dropped a bumper on his way back in and then pretended not to be able to find it. I'm not sure who was training whom that day, but I do know that Drake had got to run around a lot more than Ken had planned. I knew then, that I would get a retriever as soon as I finished college, but had planned on getting a Labrador Retriever. One day Ken asked me, "Are you going to get a lab or a good dog?" I'd read so many negative things about Chesapeakes, how hard they were to train and live with that I had been reluctant to own one, but after Ken's question, I decided to go with my gut and get what I really wanted: A Chesapeake.
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Brennan's N. FLT San Juan Sage
Brennan's MHC Rocky MTN Rye
10/20/2004 to 11/14/2016
Brennan's Sunshire Sirius (Star)
2/10/2010 to 6/8/2022
As Trapper's days became numbered, I began to face the reality that he would be gone and began the search for my next Chesapeake. After living a dozen or so years with a Chesapeake, I didn't even consider another breed. In fact, I set out to find a dog as closely related to Trapper as I could find. That search led me to Butch Goodwin's Northern Flight Retrievers, and ultimately to Sage.
Sage had big boots to fill, and she has done so admirably. She is my primary gun dog and valued member of the family, but her relationship with my daughter helped steer my family's involvement with dogs in a whole new direction: Puppies. I had no intention of breeding dogs when I purchased Sage, and the fact that I had not spayed her immediately was more due to my lack of planning than to any plan for future litters of puppies. The last thing that I needed was a house full of half grown pups that I could not afford to feed. After receiving some assurance from Butch that we could probably get the pups sold, I agreed to breed Sage one time. Primarily for my daughter's sake, but it was also a way to include the whole family in an activity that up to that point had largely been just my hobby.
As soon as I could after completing college and settling into a new career and family, I began to look for a Chessie puppy. I didn't know any better, so I just kept watching the paper, and to my extreme good fortune, a litter was finally advertised. I couldn't afford the asking price for the pup that I wanted, so I decided to take the discounted runt of the litter that wouldn't leave me alone. I named him Trapper, and my only regret with him is that I didn't know a damn thing about training and he bore the brunt of my ignorance. I can honestly say that I learned more from him than he ever did from me. We had a great time together for 14 years, and he retrieved a lot of ducks and geese. I wish that I could have shot half as well as he retrieved. Along the way he became more than just a gun dog, but also a trusted family companion, and guardian of my family and home. His desire to please was limitless and he seemed to understand what was wanted of him.
Butch's guidance along the way has been invaluable, and I can honestly say the whole process has been very rewarding. When we got into it, we decided to do it right and strive to produce the very best tempered natural hunting dogs that we could, and by the feedback we have received, I believe we have been successful. In fact, I have living proof of that success looking me right in the eye every morning. Her name is Rye. As enjoyable as puppies have been, the relationships that we have created with the new owners have been just as rewarding, and an unforeseen benefit to the whole process.
We're currently focusing our breeding program on the fourth and fifth generation, with Rose and her daughter Tess, and our standards haven't changed. Grace is a new generation in the works with a couple of litters.
Star is out of one of my Rye x Sunshine Sallyforth litters and really epitomizes what I’m trying to accomplish with my breeding program. Her temperament is sound. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body and gets along well with people and dogs. She has a particular affinity toward children and enjoys their company. I purposely did not spend much time formally training Star because I wanted to accurately evaluate her natural abilities and I have been very pleased and quite surprised with her innate understanding and ability to figure things out on her own. She figured out that ducks came from the sky the first time we went hunting and has been watching for them on every duck hunt since. That may sound kind of silly, but it led to pin point marking with a tenth of the training, most dogs receive. On her second hunt she picked up 27 ducks in 10 degree weather and had to break ice to make several of the retrieves. Her cooperative nature helped her to understand that I can help her find birds she didn’t see fall, so she is quick to take simple hand signals to go in the direction I want her to go. Her innate tractability and birdiness have also made her an ideal choice for pheasant hunting.
When I’m hunting, I don’t want to be dog training, and Star allows me to enjoy the hunt. She is talented, but more than that, she is just good company who enjoys the hunt as much as I do. Last summer Star earned her WDX and WDQ titles at the ACC Specialty in Pueblo. She wasn't the only one to earn her title that day, but I bet she had the least amount of formal training.
Rose is out of our 2015 Star x Duckster breeding and represents the fourth generation of our breeding program at Black Canyon Chesapeakes. She exemplifies very well the type of dog we are trying to produce. Her temperament is outstanding with both people and dogs. She is even very friendly with my wife’s pet cats, though she really would like to chase them up a tree.
Rose has ample natural hunting ability, which she first proved by pointing, then flushing, and finally retrieving to hand the first pheasant she ever encountered with literally no formal training. She followed that by breezing through to her JH hunt test title in four tests. Recently, she showed she is a very competent gun dog. Both in the pheasant fields in South Dakota and on late season waterfowl hunts on the Gunnison River in Colorado.
Like both her parents, Rose has very high desire to please. That trait, coupled with her intelligence, makes training time enjoyable. Currently, Rose is beginning the rigorous training required to be competitive in the structured world of higher level retriever hunt tests. At this point it is way too early to see how far she’ll go. Her progress, without a doubt, will be limited by my training ability. However given her natural ability, intelligence, and willingness to work hard during training, makes me confident that Rose has success in her future.
Tess is out of Rose and JR from Akcomi Kennel and is represents the 5th generation of our breeding program. Tess represents our breeding goals very well based on her outstanding temperament and natural hunting ability.
Like her mother, Rose, Tess has proven to particularly be adept at hunting pheasants. She has both the physical stamina and perseverance to continue to hunt hard at the end of the day as she does at the beginning. Like those before her in this line, Tess's hunting accomplishments have occurred without the benefit of professional training or the coercion of an electric collar.