Chesapeake Bay Retriever - General Features
Equally proficient on land and in the water,
the Chesapeake Bay Retriever was developed along the Chesapeake Bay
to hunt waterfowl under the most adverse weather and water conditions,
often having to break ice during the course of many strenuous multiple
retrieves. Frequently the Chesapeake must face wind, tide and long cold
swims in its work.
The breed's characteristics are specifically suited
to enable the Chesapeake to function with ease, efficiency and endurance.
In head, the Chesapeake's skull is broad and round with a medium stop.
The jaws should be of sufficient length and strength to carry large
game birds with an easy, tender hold. The double coat consists of a
short, harsh, wavy outer coat and a dense, fine, wooly undercoat containing
an abundance of natural oil and is ideally suited for the icy rugged
conditions of weather the Chesapeake often works in. In body, the Chesapeake
is a strong, well-balanced, powerfully built animal of moderate size
and medium length in body and leg, deep and wide in chest, the shoulders
built with full liberty of movement, and with no tendency to weakness
in any feature, particularly the rear. The power though, should not
be at the expense of agility or stamina. Size and substance should not
be excessive as this is a working retriever of an active nature.
Distinctive features include eyes that are very clear,
of yellowish or amber hue, hindquarters as high or a trifle higher than
the shoulders, and a double coat which tends to wave on shoulders, neck,
back and loins only.
The Chesapeake is valued for its bright and happy
disposition, intelligence, quiet good sense, and affectionate protective
nature. Extreme shyness or extreme aggressive tendencies are not desirable
in the breed either as a gun dog or companion.
Disqualifications: Specimens that are lacking
in breed characteristics should be disqualified.
Size, Proportion, Substance:
Height--Males should measure 23 to 26 inches; females should measure
21 to 24 inches. Oversized or undersized animals are to be severely
Proportion--Height from the top of the shoulder blades
to the ground should be slightly less than the body length from the
breastbone to the point of buttocks. Depth of body should extend at
least to the elbow. Shoulder to elbow and elbow to ground should be
Weight--Males should weigh 65 to 80 pounds; females
should weigh 55 to 70 pounds.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever should have an intelligent expression.
Eyes are to be medium large, very clear, of yellowish or amber color
and wide apart. Ears are to be small, set well up on the head, hanging
loosely, and of medium leather. Skull is broad and round with a medium
stop. Nose is medium short. Muzzle is approximately the same length
as the skull, tapered, pointed but not sharp. Lips are thin, not pendulous.
Bite--Scissors is preferred, but a level bite is acceptable.
Disqualifications: Either undershot or overshot
bites are to be disqualified.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck should be of medium length with a strong muscular appearance, tapering
to the shoulders. Topline should show the hindquarters to be as high
as or a trifle higher than the shoulders. Back should be short, well
coupled and powerful. Chest should be strong, deep and wide. Rib cage
barrel round and deep. Body is of medium length, neither cobby nor roached,
but rather approaching hollowness from underneath as the flanks should
be well tucked up. Tail of medium length; medium heavy at the base.
The tail should be straight or slightly curved and should not curl over
back or side kink.
There should be no tendency to weakness in the forequarters. Shoulders
should be sloping with full liberty of action, plenty of power and without
any restrictions of movement. Legs should be medium in length and straight,
showing good bone and muscle. Pasterns slightly bent and of medium length.
The front legs should appear straight when viewed from front or rear.
Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed. Well webbed hare feet should
be of good size with toes well-rounded and close.
Good hindquarters are essential. They should show fully as much power
as the forequarters. There should be no tendency to weakness in the
hindquarters. Hindquarters should be especially powerful to supply the
driving power for swimming. Legs should be medium length and straight,
showing good bone and muscle. Stifles should be well angulated. The
distance from hock to ground should be of medium length. The hind legs
should look straight when viewed from the front or rear. Dewclaws, if
any, must be removed from the hind legs.
Disqualifications: Dewclaws on the hind legs
are a disqualification.
Coat should be thick and short, nowhere over 1½ inches long,
with a dense fine wooly undercoat. Hair on the face and legs should
be very short and straight with a tendency to wave on the shoulders,
neck, back and loins only. Moderate feathering on rear of hindquarters
and tail is permissible.
The texture of the Chesapeake's coat is very important,
as the Chesapeake is used for hunting under all sorts of adverse weather
conditions, often working in ice and snow. The oil in the harsh outer
coat and wooly undercoat is of extreme value in preventing the cold
water from reaching the Chesapeake's skin and aids in quick drying.
A Chesapeake's coat should resist the water in the same way that a duck's
feathers do. When the Chesapeake leaves the water and shakes, the coat
should not hold water at all, being merely moist.
Disqualifications: A coat that is curly or
has a tendency to curl all over the body must be disqualified. Feathering
on the tail or legs over 1¾ inches long must be disqualified.
The color of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever must be as nearly that of
its working surroundings as possible. Any color of brown, sedge or deadgrass
is acceptable, self-colored Chesapeakes being preferred. One color is
not to be preferred over another. A white spot on the breast, belly,
toes, or back of the feet (immediately above the large pad) is permissible,
but the smaller the spot the better, solid colored preferred. The color
of the coat and its texture must be given every consideration when judging
on the bench or in the ring. Honorable scars are not to be penalized.
Disqualifications: Black colored; white on
any part of the body except breast, belly, toes, or back of feet must
The gait should be smooth, free and effortless, giving the impression
of great power and strength. When viewed from the side, there should
be good reach with no restrictions of movement in the front and plenty
of drive in the rear, with good flexion of the stifle and hock joints.
Coming at you, there should be no sign of elbows being out. When the
Chesapeake is moving away from you, there should be no sign of cowhockness
from the rear. As speed increases, the feet tend to converge toward
a center line of gravity.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever should show a bright and happy disposition
with an intelligent expression. Courage, willingness to work, alertness,
nose, intelligence, love of water, general quality and, most of all,
disposition should be given primary consideration in the selection and
breeding of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
- Specimens lacking in breed characteristics
- Teeth overshot or undershot.
- Dewclaws on the hind legs.
- Coat curly or with a tendency to curl all over the body.
- Feathering on the tail or legs over 1¾ inches long.
- Black colored.
- White on any part of the body except breast, belly, toes, or back
The question of coat and general type of balance takes
precedence over any scoring table which could be drawn up. The Chesapeake
should be well proportioned, an animal with a good coat and well balanced
in other points being preferable to one excelling in some but weak in
|Positive Scale of Points
lips, ears and eyes
|Shoulders and body
|Hindquarters and stifles
|Elbows, legs and feet
|Stern and tail
|Coat and texture
|Length head, nose to occiput
9½ to 10
|Girth at ears
20 to 21
|Muzzle below eyes
10 to 10½
|Length of ears
4½ to 5
|Width between eyes
2½ to 2¾
|Girth neck close to shoulder
20 to 22
|Girth at flank
24 to 25
|Length from occiput to tail base
34 to 35
|Girth forearms at shoulders
10 to 10½
|Girth upper thigh
19 to 20
|From root to root of ear, over skull
5 to 6
|Occiput to top shoulder blades
9 to 9½
|From elbow to elbow over the shoulders
25 to 26