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.
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 third and fourth generation, with Star and her daughter Rose, and our standards haven't changed. Puppy Grace is our up and coming new generation in the works.