The Chesapeake Bay Retriever 

Group: Group 3 (Gundogs)
History: The history of the Chesapeake Bay retriever is one of the most fascinating — and fortunate — in dogdom. In 1807, an American ship rescued the crew and cargo from a shipwrecked English brig off the coast of Maryland. Among the rescued were two presumably Newfoundland pups that were given to the rescuers. These pups (one black and one red) later proved to be skilled water retrievers, and as their reputations grew, many local retrievers of uncertain background came to be bred to them. It is also thought that the Irish Water Spaniel, Newfoundland, Bloodhound and other local hound crosses added to the development of the breed. Gradually a distinct local breed emerged, a dog that would repeatedly swim through the rough icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay and unerringly retrieve duck after duck. Even today, the Chessie is renowned for its remarkable ability to mark and remember where a bird has fallen. Its reputation spread well beyond the Chesapeake Bay area.
General Appearance: 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 the 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, woolly 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.

Characteristics: The Chesapeake Bay retriever is hardy enough to not only withstand, but also relish, repeated plunges into icy water. It loves to swim and retrieve. Despite an active life when outdoors, inside it tends to be calm. The Chessie tends to be independent, although it is eager to learn. It is reserved with strangers and can be protective; it also can be aggressive toward strange dogs if challenged. This is the hardiest, most strong-willed and protective of the retriever breeds.
Temperament: 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.
Head And Skull: The Chesapeake Bay Retriever should have an intelligent expression. Skull is broad and round with a medium stop.  Muzzle is approximately the same length, as the skull, tapered, pointed but not sharp. Nose is medium short. Lips are thin, not pendulous.  Eyes: Eyes are to be medium large, very clear, of yellowish or amber colour and wide apart.  Ears: Ears are to be small, set well up on the head, hanging loosely, and of medium leather. Mouth/Bite: Scissors is preferred, but a level bite is acceptable.
Neck: Neck should be of medium length with a strong muscular appearance, tapering to the shoulders.
Forequarters: 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. Dew claws on the forelegs may be removed.
Body: Body is of medium length, neither cobby nor roached, but rather approaching hollowness from underneath as the flanks should be well tucked up. 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
Hindquarters: 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.
Feet: Well webbed hare feet should be of good size with toes well-rounded and close.
Tail: 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.
Gait/Movement: 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 centre line of gravity.
Coat: Coat should be thick and short, nowhere over 1½ inches long, with a dense fine woolly 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 woolly undercoat is of extreme value in preventing the cold water from reaching the Chesapeake's skin and aids in quick drying.
Colour: The colour of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever must be as nearly that of its working surroundings as possible. Any colour of brown, sedge or deadgrass is acceptable, self-coloured Chesapeakes being preferred. One colour 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 coloured preferred. The colour of the coat and its texture must be given every consideration when judging on the bench or in the ring. Honourable scars are not to be penalized.         

ANKC Chesapeake Bay Retriever  Copyright © 2013 Australian National Kennel