Made In Virginia 2013: Hope Springs Farm Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Jeffersonton

Hope Springs Farm Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

Tough, rugged, and loyal, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a true American breed. Descended from two Newfoundland puppies—one male, one female—rescued from a floundering ship in 1807 and brought to Maryland, these dogs showed great retrieving ability and were bred to other dogs that had the same qualities. The Chessies’ ability to withstand freezing temperatures and cold water made it the retriever of choice for market gunners in the Chesapeake Bay who supplied waterfowl to restaurants in the mid-Atlantic and points north during the 19th century.  And Julie Reardon of Hope Springs Farm still thinks this dog is something special.

“I grew up with golden retrievers, but loved Chesapeakes the first time I met one,” says Reardon who has bred them since 1985 and also enters competitions. “I like the fact that they’re not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ breed.” Ranging in color from toasty brown to dead grass, they have strong limbs and webbed feet for power swimming in rough waters.

Reardon’s Chesapeakes won prizes in the AKC National Specialty shows in 2002 and 2005, and her retriever, Puffin, appears in the educational material for AKC judges as the model for the “ideal” Chesapeake. Reardon’s Chessies have also won awards at American Chesapeake Club Specialty Shows and National Specialty Field Trials.

“I have a ‘look’ that I like and what I breed for,” says Reardon, “but the emphasis is on disposition and trainability, not what is in vogue in the show ring.”

View All the Made in Virginia Awards 2013 Winners:


Angela Bacskocky Bags, Richmond

Page Stationery, Richmond

Cestair Sheep and Wool, Augusta Springs


Reginald’s Homemade Nut Butters, Richmond

Good News Granola, Palmyra

Honey Habanero Sauce, Spotsylvania


Henderson Guitar Shop, Grayson County

Big Lick Amps, Salem

Cabin Creek Musical Instruments, Whitetop


Frierson Designs Surfboards, Virginia

Hope Springs Farm Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Orlean

BB Bat Company Youth Baseball Bats, Virginia Beach


Edmund Davidson Knives, Goshen

Natural Woodworking CO., Floyd

Old Dominion Leather Nectar, Lynchburg

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