CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVERS: JUDGES AND BREEDER CONCERNS
CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVERS— CURRENT CONCERNS
BY BETSY HORN HUMER, JEC
S ize: our standard allows a variance of 3" at the top of the withers for males 23-26" and also for females 21-24". You could have a smaller bitch at 21" and a taller dog at 26" in your ring with a difference of 5". In some parts of the country, you will see taller dogs. In other areas, the average males being shown are 24½". If a dog is taller than the majority of the entry, he is not wrong. There is no height preference within the stated heights. It is important to know the size ranges. Feet: The Chesapeake should have hare feet. It is the only retriever breed with a hare foot which gives the dog a better grip when climbing muddy banks or encountering ice during winter hunts. You will see some rounded cat feet instead of a correct foot with two longer toes on the center of each foot with less arching. The cat foot does not cover as much ground and offers less trac- tion when the dog is on mud, ice or uneven ground. Short Legs: It is very strongly stated in the breed standard that “shoulder to elbow and elbow to ground should be equal.” Short legs do not permit the Chesapeake Bay Retriever to run as quickly or efficiently. There is not only a disadvantage in the field, but swimming strokes are also impacted. Legs that are equal from
elbow to shoulder and from elbow to ground provide a longer stroke; fewer strokes and more endurance for the swimming dog. Lack of Balance: As with so many breeds there are problematic straight shoulders, but even more cases of short upper arms. Many rears are correct and are well-angulated, but the dog is not bal- anced. To quote from the breed standard: “Shoulders should be sloping with full liberty of action…” Bad fronts are the major fault in our breed. In addition, unknowledgeable breeders are also pro- ducing “balanced dogs” that lack an adequate amount of angula- tion, both front and rear. While sound, unfortunately, they have restricted movement on ground and inefficient swimming ability. The Good News: The Chesapeake coat is the Hallmark of the breed. The breed standard says: “The double coat consists of a short, harsh, wavy outer coat and a dense, fine, wooly under- coat...” Coats have improved tremendously over the years. More Chesapeakes have better coats than in the past. Quality is bet- ter and there is more consistency with harsh, dense coats and the desired undercoat. In addition, the trend and temptation towards over grooming is not as prevalent as it used to be.
JUDGING THE CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER
BY JOANN COLVIN
J udging of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever begins before any hands-on examination. When the dogs first enter the ring, have them stand to be able to see the outline. The outline of the Chesapeake is different from any of the retrievers. One is looking for a dog exemplifying strength, adequate bone, slightly longer than tall. Most importantly, one is looking for a level topline or one that rises slightly to the rear—no sway or weak back. And equally, one is looking for a distinctive bottom line—chest at least to elbow, well-developed barrel rib cage, short flank and a distinctive tuck-up under the loin. As one initially moves the dogs around the ring, evaluate the strength of the drive in the rear, the reach and, equally important, the return of the front leg under the body. Look at tail carriage— horizontal to the back. [The tail] can be held somewhat higher when excited, but not curving in a semi-circle over the back. Approach the dog for the hands-on part of the exam, at a slight angle. Avoid [approaching] straight-on to the front and staring eye contact. Examine only the front of the teeth for bite. The standard calls for scissors or level bite. There is no mention of missing teeth and the dogs may be uncomfortable with a side exam. At this point, one may want to tilt head up slightly to check for disqualifying white which extends above the breast- bone onto the neck. Major points in examining the head are: The equal length of muzzle to topskull; tight lower eye rims; moder- ate stop; pointed, but not sharp, muzzle; and high-set, short ears. Continuing over the dog, one will be looking for a strong, moderate length of neck blending into the shoulder. There is no mention of a prominent forechest in the standard, but do check for good fill of the chest. Check the dog’s elbow and extend fin- gers to the chest to be sure depth is at least to the elbow. No gaps should be felt or seen between the elbows and the chest. Note the
feet next. The standard calls for hare-shaped feet; white on toes is permitted as well as a white spot on the back of the foot. Finally, the coat—there is no preferred waving pattern and one will see several. The main important aspect of the coat is the texture—coarse, waved outer coat and dense, wooly under- coat. The coat should not curl, meaning a full ringlet (think Irish Water Spaniel). The coat may also wave in a kinky pattern and give the appearance of a straight coat, but the individual hairs do wave. Color can be any shade of brown, from a light blonde color (light deadgrass) to shades of red (sedge) to tans and dark browns. Solid or self-colored is preferred. There are no faults for patterns such as masking or saddling. The eyes do not have to match or blend with the coat color. A dark brown dog with a light yellow eye is within the standard. Let’s discuss DQ’s. The DQ for lacking in breed character- istics is plural, so there is not a DQ for one characteristic. How- ever, it is up to the judge to decide if the dog is lacking merit, so certainly withhold or excuse if that is the case. The DQ for black in the coat would only be applicable if the nose leather is black. Length of coat on tail refers to furnishings or fringes of hair. Do not unwrap the tail hair to check for length, but look at the underline of the tail for long hanging hairs. When assessing if a dog should be excused for temperament, a dog that seems timid or unwilling to stand should be excused. Don’t push to examine the dog as it could escalate the behavior. In conclusion, one is looking for a strong, active, alert, will- ing dog with a good textured double coat, strength and effortless in movement especially in the rear, and balanced front and rear. Look for a dog in condition and appearing as if he/she could work all day, in any weather.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2020 | 193
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