Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed Magazine - Showsight

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard for the Chesapeake Bay Retriever 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 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 penalized . 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 equal. Weight - Males should weigh 65 to 80 pounds; females should weigh 55 to 70 pounds. Head : 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,

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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. 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. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed. Well webbed hare feet should be of good size with toes well-rounded and close. 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. Disqualifications: Dewclaws on the hind legs are a disqualification. Coat : 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. Color: 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 be disqualified Gait: 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

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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. 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. Disqualifications: 1. Specimens lacking in breed characteristics . 2. Teeth overshot or undershot . 3. Dewclaws on the hind legs . 4. Coat curly or with a tendency to curl all over the body . 5. Feathering on the tail or legs over 1¾ inches long . 6. Black colored . 7. White on any part of the body except breast, belly, toes, or back of feet . 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 others. Positive Scale of Points

Head, including lips, ears and eyes




Shoulders and body


Hindquarters and stifles


Elbows, legs and feet




Stern and tail


Coat and texture


General conformation




Approximate Measurements


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

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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

Approved November 9, 1993 Effective December 31, 1993

Judging the CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER By Betsy Horn Humer Eastern Waters’ Kennel F irst impressions are impor- tant. When a class of Chesa- peake Bay Retrievers enter the ring, the first thing I look at is the outline and proportions. From the side, out curl, and no higher than 2:00-3:00 p.m. on a clock(!). A scissors bite is preferred, but a level bite is acceptable. Overshot and undershot bites are a disqualification.

By now you have seen the dog from the side and will have the class gait around the ring. As you watch the dogs gait, you are looking for balance and reach and drive — especially a strong rear so that the dog can perform as a good swimming dog. He should be able to move with agility and strength. He should be strong and well-muscled but not coarse. He should demonstrate power and have a good return stroke as the legs come together under the body. As you approach the dog from the front, quickly ascertain that the eyes are of “yel- lowish or amber hue”. Amber includes gold, orange and light brownish shades. Many breeders prefer that the eyes blend with the coat because the appearance results in more camouflage in hunting situations. Eye color is a distinctive feature of the breed. Eyes are to be medium large. It is accepted by most breeders that eye shape is oval and not round. Th e oval shape o ff ers more protection from elements in the field. Ears are small and set up high on the head above eye level to keep them out of the water when swimming. Th ey are to hang loose. Th e skull is broad and round with jaws capable of carrying large birds. Th e muzzle is tapered, but not sharp. It is not snipey, but it is also not short. Length is needed to pick up large water- fowl and other birds when hunting. Lips are not pendulous with loose flews, but should be trim so that water does not easily flow into the dog’s mouth when working in the water. Loose flews could also retain feathers.

Now you are ready to examine the dog’s coat, which is a double coat. You see and touch the coat—it should be short, dense and thick. Th e outercoat should be harsh and should not be longer than 1 ½ inches. Th e coat should feel as if there is a “spring” to it and should be examined closely for the undercoat which is soft and wooly. Th e coat should fit the dog like a jacket and should be presented naturally. It should not be back- brushed and pu ff ed up. Th e harsh outercoat and the dense undercoat will protect the swimming dog but not if it is blow-dried to stand up away from the dog’s body. Th e col- ors are varied and may be any shade of brown from light brown to dark brown, all shades of deadgrass (light blonde to straw-colored) and sedge (reddish-tones). Th ere are many shades of deadgrass which may result in striping, masking or hound markings. A recessive gene may result in a diluted brown referred to as “ash”. “Any color of brown, sedge or deadgrass is acceptable, self- colored being preferred. A self-colored dog is one with shades of the colors listed. White is permissible as “a white spot on the breast, bel- ly, toes or back of feet (immediately above the large pad)… the smaller the spot the better, solid colored preferred.” Th e term “solid-col- ored” means—without white. A disqualifica- tion applies to white markings located in plac- es other than those mentioned above. Th e coat should be wavy —not straight or curly. Th ere are types of coats with di ff erent amounts of

the head planes should be parallel and the length of muzzle should be the same length as the backskull. (Although it is not specified in the breed standard, it is accepted by most judges and breeders that head planes should be parallel.) Th e neck should be close to the same length as the head from nose to occiput. As you move further along the dog, the elbow should be underneath the shoulder, displaying good layback. Th e shoulder and upper arm should balance each other and be the same length. Th ere should be full lib- erty of movement. Th e back should be short and well-coupled and the body is of medium length, not cobby. Th e topline is unique when comparing it to other retriever breeds. Th e hindquar- ters may be a “trifle higher” than the shoul- ders. Th is topline is found in the majority of the breed, although it may also be level. Th e topline should not be so extreme that it appears as sway-backed. As you approach the flanks, the underline shows a hollow- ness which may be termed “tuck-up”. Con- tinuing to the hindquarters, legs should be of medium length demonstrating power as they move. Th ere should be well-angulated stifles to match the forequarters. Front and rear legs should be straight when viewed from the front and rear. Ideally, the tail should be carried so that it is straight, with-


wave. Th e wave may have a crinkled appear- ance, but the coat is not curly. A coat that is curly would be described as the ringlets one finds in a Curly-coated Retriever. Th e wave is not important—the texture is, although it is possible that a tighter wave may result in a dri- er dog. Th ere must be su ffi cient coat to keep the dog dry when he is doing what he was bred to do. Th e coat is a hallmark of the breed and relates to his function. A “black-colored” dog is a disqualifica- tion. Such a dog is black all over or black with white patches. It is genetically impossible for a purebred Chesapeake to have black color- ing. Do not be distracted by dark hairs that appear in a coat. Th ey are not black. Th ey are dark brown and are part of an acceptable color. Th ere is also a disqualification for a curly coat or a tendency to curl all over the body. In addition, feathering on the tail may not be over 1 ¾" long. On examining the dog closely you can also check on his conditioning and amount of muscle and substance. His pasterns should be slightly bent for flexibility. His chest should reach to his elbows. Some younger dogs may not show the depth of brisket. Check the underline in a heavily coated dog. As you move to the rear, check length of hock. In the Chesapeake, the hock is medi- um as opposed to a short hock. It provides leverage and more speed. Th e stifles should be well-angulated and show as much power as the forequarters (shoulders sloping with full liberty of action). Th e hare foot (in which the two center digits are appreciably longer than the outside and inside toes of the foot) also provides more leverage and enables the dog to balance and have better traction on muddy banks. Th ere is a great variation in size with males from 23 " -26 " and females from 21 " - 24 " . Th ere is no preferred size—all are acceptable. We see very few 23" males or 21 " females. Th ere is also a specified weight range of 65-80 lbs. for males and 55-70 lbs. for females. Th ese are “working weights” for dogs that are doing what they were bred to do. Th e Chesapeake is a moderate sized dog and should remain within standard so that he can serve as a hunting dog, sitting in a duck boat. Th ere are various types of hunt- ing scenarios from a dog retrieving smaller upland game such as woodcock or dove to

retrieving Canadian or Snow Geese while breaking through the ice. When each dog is gaited individually you should look for “smooth, free and e ff ortless, giving the impression of great power and strength.” Th e dog should not be so heavily overdone so that movement is a ff ected and becomes cloddy. Th e word “medium” is used 14 times in the breed standard. Remember that the Chesapeake is a moderate dog and should not look as if they belong in the work- ing group with physical attributes of a Bull Masti ff or Newfoundland. Th e dog should move straight coming and going. As speed increases, feet tend to converge towards the center. As the dog is moving away, you should see pads on the hind feet. Common faults are dogs who are out at the elbows or you may see cowhocks in rear movement. Th e temperament of the Chesapeake is described as a “bright and happy disposition, intelligence, quiet good sense, and a ff ection- ate protective nature.: It is not always easy to see these traits in a dog show ring. Many tend to be reserved and are not outgoing. Th ey are quiet, but usually are quite willing to please their owners and handlers. Chesapeakes are very bonded to their owners and families. Current faults in our breed are: a. incorrect proportions: a body that is too long and/or legs that are too short b. lack of balance usually due to lack of reach in front due to short upper arm c. lack of rear angulation—standard calls for a well-angulated stifle d. incorrect heads with large ears e. coat faults: shown out of coat, incorrect soft coats, groomed coats (back-brushed, blow-dried) Th e highlights or hallmarks of our breed are the harsh double coat, a distinctive out- line, the head with a rounded topskull and small ears set up high on the head, amber or yellow eyes and hare feet. Th ese qualities set the Chesapeake apart from the other retriev- ers. Th e breed has greatly improved in coat, gait and soundness and also in temperament. Because we do have what can be described as “kennel types or styles” (where one kennel may be known for producing excellent coats, and another kennel produces very sound dogs, and a third produces “type-y” heads). You may find that in the entry more of

one particular style is represented than other styles.. It may be that the most correct dog is outnumbered by other “styles”. Just because he is in the minority, it does not mean that he is wrong. Th e Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the only retriever breed which is still able to earn a Dual Championship: FC/CH (Field Cham- pion/Bench Championship). Th e standard emphasizes form and function. When you are judging this breed—“the question of coat and general type of balance takes pre- cedence… Th e Chesapeake should be a well- proportioned animal with a good coat and well balanced in other points rather than excelling in some areas and being weak in others. Th e dog you choose should be able to do the job he was bred to do.


Breeder and Judge since 1988. Raised with Chesapeake Bay Retrievers (East- ern Waters’ Kennels established by Janet & Dr. Daniel Horn) I have bred Chesa- peakes for 45 years and

shown them all my life, owning and produc- ing Group-placing dogs and Specialty winning BOB, BOS, AOM, BOW and Sweepstakes Winners. I also title my own dogs in obedience, rally, agility, tracking and hunt tests. I have the honor of breeding the first VCD4 Chesapeake. I believe that the Chesapeake should be titled at both ends. I am approved to judge the Sporting Group, 18 Herding Breeds and all obedience/ rally classes. I have judged Chesapeakes in South America, Switzerland (World Show) and most recently, the German Retriever Club 50th Anni- versary Show. I currently serve the American Chesapeake Club as the AKC Judges Education Coordinator and have previously served as AKC Delegate (10 yrs), ACC Show Committee/Chair (5 yrs), Judges/Breeders Education Committee/ Chair (5 yrs) Board of Directors, Standard Revi- sion Committee, Challenge Trophy Committee, National Specialty Show Committees. I am also a member of Salisbury Maryland Kennel Club serving multiple terms on the Board of Directors, a Life Member of the Bayshore Companion Dog Club and a past member of Monmouth County Kennel Club in New Jersey.


Judging Chesapeake Bay Retrievers By Nathaniel “Nat” Horn T he art of applying one’s knowledge, stan- dard interpretations and skills to judge is extremely challeng- ing. Look for what a

dog’s merits are before you start to get concerned about his faults. Th is philoso- phy can prevent you from eliminating a dog from competition because of one or two minor negative flaws as well as from rewarding a dog having nothing out- standingly wrong with him but is basical- ly a dog that in most aspects is mediocre. Type There is a section in the book Th e Dual Purpose Labrador , by Mary Roslin Wil- liams, about type. It is essential to distin- guish between breed type and kennel type. Th ere is one breed type in every breed. It is essential that the Chesapeake look like the Chesapeake. If he resembles another breed or looks more like a mongrel, he lacks true breed type. Within breed type there exists “kennel type”. Breeders excel in breeding dogs in di ff erent ways and become noted for their “style”. Coats, head type, expression and degree of substance are just a few of the features that can contribute to distinguish- able kennel type attributes. When you see a Chesapeake you may say to yourself that looks like one of Mr. X’s specimens.

In comparison to man, the Chesa- peake is equivalent to an Olympic swim- mer or a marathon runner, not to a heavy wrestler or a weight lifter. E ffi cient pow- er and agility with good muscle tone is sought for. Cloddy overdone dogs are not to be considered. Dogs & Bitches I expect a bitch to show femininity. Likewise, the male should be mascu- line and majestic. If a Chesapeake looks like the opposite sex, this is incorrect and should be faulted to the degree of the deviation. There is more of a ten- dency for judges to make the mistake of rewarding “doggy” bitches than to reward “bitchy” males. Judges really need to be cognizant of this. The Whole Dog One must consider the whole dog. Getting o ff track and over-emphasizing one aspect of the dog can lead to poor judging. While judging the Chesapeake, I like to refer to the phrase under symme- try and quality, “ Th e dog should be well proportioned”, then judge all the compo- nent parts, relate them to each other and

look at the dog as a whole. Th roughout the standard, many traits are referred to with a phrase like medium or moderate. I find it most important to keep in mind the verbiage in the standard that places emphasis on strong words: “Shoulders, sloping and should have full liberty of action with plenty of power without any restrictions of movement. ... Hindquarters should be especially powerful to supply the driving power for swimming. ... Good hindquarters are essential. Stifles should be well angulated. ... Flanks well tucked up.” Th e Chesapeake must have the ability to swim and retrieve for long periods of time. One can expect a good swimming Chesapeake to be a good moving Chesa- peake and vice versa.

Head, Neck & Related Components

Chesapeakes that retrieve objects from the ground or in the water requiring necks and heads well-proportioned with length which combined, permit the nose and mouth to reach the ground or grasp fowl easily in the water. Th e Chesapeake should

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“THIS IS A WONDERFUL BREED with good attitude and working ability.”

not be restricted in the water or forced into a stooped position on the ground. In examining components of the head, the skull is approximately 5"-6" wide from root to root of the ears. Overly wide skulls should be avoided. Skull and muzzle are approximately the same length (each is about 4 ¾ "-5" long). Th e muzzle is strong and gradually tapers to a pointed look at the tip without being extreme or to give the appearance of a sharp cutting a ff ect. Th e muzzle should not be blunt, short or snipey. Th e medium stop implies that the Chesa- peake should not be down, dish face or have an abrupt appearance, but rather a clean look. Th e above describes a head capable of grasping and carrying large game. The lips should be thin, not pendu- lous. Thick heavy or fleshy lips, poised without visible support and heavy jowls,

all have a tendency to retain feathers – thus, are not desirable. Th e ears are to be small, approximately 4 ½ "-5" in length. Th ey are to be set high on a rounded skull, above the eye level but not so high up like a terrier and not high on an undesirable flat skull. Naturally the ears appear a little lower than the skull and the skull appears rounded. When baited and the ears are raised, the appearance is higher. Ear leather should not be too thin or too thick. Th e ears should hang loosely. Th e eyes are medium large and very clear. An oval/oblong eye is implied. Eyes are wide apart in accordance with a 2 ½ "- 2 ¾ " width. Wider could cause eyes to project, thus exposing them to brush and brambles and possible injury. A tight lid, open lid, round eyes and/or protruding eyes are undesirable. The color of the eye is specified as yel-

lowish or amber. Amber allows darker shades of yellow that include orange, gold, and light brownish shades of yel- low. It is desirable that eye color blends somewhat with the color of the dog to enhance the camouflage desired within the working environment. Th e Chesapeake should have a pleasing head that projects a bright and happy dispo- sition and an intelligent expression. Good disposition, a willing to work attitude, and devotion to companion are essential. Structural Points Heights are dogs 23"-26" and bitches 21"-24". Note that the Chesapeake has a two-inch di ff erence in the ranges. Most sporting breeds have one. Th us there can be a 5" di ff erence or a 24" bitch can be one- inch taller than a 23" male.

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Th e Chesapeake is slightly longer than tall. Slightly implies close to square. Longer and low is not desirable. Th e topline should be a trifle higher in the rear or same height front and rear. It is typical to have a slight dip near a well laid back shoulder and a short strong back which is well coupled. A sway back is undesirable and contrary to the standard. Pasterns are slightly sloping and good hare feet are required. Hock length is medium. Th is all facilitates the Chesa- peake’s speed and endurance. Tail is medium heavy at the base and is set well on neither a completely flat or steep croup. Typically the croup is slightly rounded. Coat Coat is most important to protect the Chesapeake as his function includes an environment that includes cold icy water. Th e double coat is thick, dense, wavy, harsh outer, wooly under and must be well-covered all over the body. Very short waves may appear curly to someone not completely versed regard- ing the Chesapeake coat. A kinky appearance is desirable. Th e curly coat to avoid is the coat of ringlets as seen in the Curly Coated Retriever. Length of coat and where coat is straight and wavy is available in the standard. Coats need to be considered highly, but when judging coat its not either 16 or 0 points. It’s often within the range.

When properly judging the whole dog the coat must be considered important, as one considers everything else. Color Color includes brown, sedge and deadgrass. All three of these colors allow many colors that include many hues and varying amounts of pigment. Shades of brown are the most commonly seen, but judges should become familiar with all the variety of shades and colors allowed. Note the colors of foliage, fields, and marshes throughout all seasons and in all parts of the country when you get a chance. Th e variety of colors is that exten- sive. Th ere are also Chesapeakes that may show some brindle shades, masking, two colors on the same dog, hound markings and some shades that are grayish referred to as ash. Th ese other colors are a minor deviation from the preference of self col- ored brown sedge and deadgrass dogs and may be faulted in a minor way. Note that color is only weighted at 4 points. Th e coat and how color relates to its texture is much more important. Summary Please review the disqualifications in the standard. When judging you must disqualify any dog that has any of these defects. Temperament is very important. Th is is a wonderful breed with good atti- tude and working ability.

BIO Nat is second gen- eration. His parents Dr. and Mrs. Daniel Horn founded Eastern Waters and bred well over 100 Champions as well as making a mark for the breed at the group level.

Nat continued the e ff ort, campaigned several good dogs and achieved BIS four times with three di ff erent dogs. Nat has always been a breeder/owner/handler. He has won several top awards at the National including Best of Breed, Best of Winners and Best in Sweeps. His top dogs were num- ber one all systems for several years in a row. Noted dogs were Ch Eastern Waters Chargn Knight and Ch Eastern Waters Diamond Dust. Nat achieved many group wins and placements as well as 8 Best of Breed wins at Madison Square Garden. Nat also judg- es dogs. He is approved for BIS, Sporting Group, Hound Group, Herding Group, Miscellaneous and Junior Showmanship. Nat has served as the gazette columnist for many years for the American Chesa- peake Club, he founded the National Capi- tal Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club and he serves as the Show Chairman and Vice President of the Chesapeake Kennel Club of Maryland. He has also been a member of numerous other clubs through the years. Nat continues to fulfill his aspirations as he studies other breeds to judge.

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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 24 ½ ". 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.



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.


Judges & Breeder Concerns Chesapeake Bay Retrievers:

Articles Provided by the American Chesapeake Club

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever in the Field BY EMELISE BAUGHMAN

M aryland in the 1800s was a sportsman’s paradise, with a variety of waterfowl in the Chesapeake Bay as well as the surrounding lakes, rivers, and marshes. This required a superior dog for hunt- ers, and became the birthplace of the premier waterfowl dog, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Two Newfoundland puppies rescued from a shipwreck in 1807 were bred with local dogs towards the goal of developing a strong, determined, yet gentle retriever for both local watermen and gentlemen hunters. Their success was formalized in 1878 with AKC recognition, with that success still evident today. Although the Chessie ranks below Labs and Goldens in terms of numbers registered, many hunters would have no other dog. They retrieve ducks and geese, of course, but also upland birds like pheasant, quail, and doves. This means they have to be strong, able to navigate all bodies of water and varieties of

terrain, and tolerant of both cold and heat. Chessies are intel- ligent, independent thinkers, but little will stop them due to their strong drive and desire to retrieve; so the hunter must be careful to not send them into risky situations, such as ice shelves in strong current or overly hot, humid upland hunts. Many dog fanciers also prefer Chesapeakes because they are dual purpose, successful in both the field and show ring. The dense double coat offers great protection for the field dog, but needs minimal grooming; so they can easily do both in one weekend, showing one day while hunting or compet- ing in hunt tests or field trials the next. There have been 140 Champion/Master Hunter Chesapeakes, more than twice the total of Labradors achieving both titles. They com- pete less often in field trials, but there have still been some great Field and Amateur Field Champions as well as 19 elite Dual Champions.



J udging your first Chesapeake assignment may convey surprises. You’ve attended seminars and specialties, received mentoring, and reviewed educational materials. What follows is advice to further prepare. (a.) Outline: Some breeds have a square proportion and a level topline. The Chesapeake is slightly longer than tall (thus variance in the proportion). The Chesapeake rear is as high as or a trifle higher than the forequarters (thus topline variance). Topline can also vary with an approximate gentle “S” curve or, in fact, a level topline. While viewing profile, you must also consider the head, neck, size, angula- tion (front and rear), underline, feet, and tail as they appear within the profile. The Chesapeake is definitely not a cookie-cutter breed. As you walk down the line you may have six dogs that show good profiles with vast differences. (b.) Condition: The Chesapeake must have the strength and stam- ina to perform all day long, with proper muscle tone comparable to an athletic swimmer or marathon runner. He must be capable of per- forming on both land and in water. Slight weedy specimens or bulky, over-muscled specimens are not desirable. Focus on the ideal. (c.) Head: Head type can vary within the specifications of the standard. To avoid mistakes, understand the nuances: The expres- sion must be intelligent with a willing-to-work attitude; the implied oval eye is medium large, yellowish or amber; broad, round skull and tapering muzzle of equal lengths, medium stop; ears small, hang loosely, with medium leather; lips thin, not pendulous. The standard provides information and measurements as guidance. For example, eyes wide apart (guideline 2 ½ to 2 ¾ inches). (d.) Coat: The double coat’s texture, length, density, and degree of waviness within the description are a knowledge judges need to develop. The coat color and how to judge it must be studied. Some of the more common shades of sedge, deadgrass and brown are eas- ily recognizable. Be prepared as a judge to deal with specimens that may have a coloring that is atypical: For example, color variation, face masking, stripes, tan points, and grey color. SUGGESTIONS FOR New Judges BY NATHANIEL HORN

Just for fun, a two-month-old puppy walking on a teeter shows excellent movement for her young age.

A four-month-old puppy showing balanced front and rear with desirable angulation, good coat, and a chest that already reaches to his elbow. He has correct length of body proportions and length of leg. Correct head proportions of muzzle to skull and lovely neck into shoulders.

(e.) Gait: The front should have full liberty of action and a well-angulated rear of great strength. Gait should be consistent with the vision of a well-toned athlete with good reach and drive from the side and deliberate soundness both coming and going. If unsure while judging, check your standard.


Living with the CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER By Joanne Silver

C ongratulations! You are thinking about getting a new puppy. With this comes joy, happiness, anxiety, stress and work. Getting your puppy o ff to the right start is the most important and rewarding thing you can do. You will hopefully have this puppy for 10 plus years of joy, doing things right from the begin- ning will pay o ff in the long run. Th e Chesapeake Bay Retriever was named for the famous bay where the breed originated. Th e Chesapeake is one of the few American Breeds and the only

American Retriever. As the story goes, in 1807 a ship the Canton rescued the crew and two Newfoundland puppies from a sinking ship in the Chesapeake Bay area. Th e Chesapeake is not a breed for every- one they are powerful and strong willed. I highly recommend meeting the breed before you buy one. Okay, you have done all your research, found the right breed for your fam- ily and found the right breeder. You have dis- cussed with the breeder the exact puppy you want whether for companion, show, breed- ing, hunting or fi eld trials. Th is is important information to advise the breeder so that they put you on the right litter and puppy.

Th e Chesapeake is a versatile breed and can be used in many areas. Th e Chesa- peake’s are a fun breed and can be very entertaining. Th ey are famous for their work in the fi eld but today they are excel- ling in the show ring, obedience, rally, agil- ity, tracking, dock diving and lure coursing, barn hunting, hunt tests and fi eld trials. Th e Chesapeake can also make wonderful pet therapy dogs because of their outgoing per- sonalities. Some have been used in Search and Rescue and law enforcement. It is of the utmost importance to have your Chesapeake puppy well social- ized and start early training. Many dog


training schools can be found through your local vet’s o ffi ce. Another great source is the American Kennel Club to fi nd a local dog club near you. Many of these clubs hold a variety of group train- ing classes. To start your puppy o ff right fi nd a Puppy Kindergarten that trains with positive reinforcements and obsta- cles for con fi dence building. Chessies are extremely smart and very misunderstood by trainers who are not familiar with the breed. Why group classes? Chesapeake puppies need to be well socialized. Train- ing in groups gives your pup the experience to meet other humans, dogs, and to learn to listen with distractions. Many trainers have heard that Chessies are di ffi cult and stubborn; this cannot be further from the truth if you don’t know how to handle the breed. Chessies are extremely smart and have an outstanding memory. Chessies are problem solvers which mean they are always thinking. Th ey can be extremely easy to train basic obedience commands with positive reinforcement method such as food, balls, bumpers, wings, and praise. A Chessies will always ask, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Your new puppy will want to please you so make it fun for him. If you only try pop, jerk and negative methods you could run into a Chessies pup thinking this is no fun and nothing in it for me. Th e Chesapeake has a strong human bond to the family. You and your puppy will be a team for life. Every team needs

a leader. You must establish yourself as that leader to earn your Chessies respect. Given the opportunity, your Chessies pup will easily take over this position and may at times test your leadership. Th erefore, early training will help establish your leadership. You will also have to be consistent in your training and use of commands. Please be sure that everyone in the household is on the same page using the same command. It can be very confusing to a young puppy to have several commands being used for one requested behavior. Example: Sit is “sit” and not “sit down”. You have given the puppy two commands, does he sit or down? Th e Chesapeake is a devoted family member and is good with children and can be protective of them. Th e fi rst thing you want to do is get your Chesapeake o ff to the right start. Th ey will make wonderful family companion dogs. Th ey will dedi- cate themselves to the family. Since they are a watch dog you want to be sure you get them well socialized Th e Chesapeake is an extremely strong swimmer and will seek out water when giv- en the opportunity. Many a Chesapeake will swim for hours and enjoy swimming and retrieving with the family. Th ey are a moderate exercise breed. Usually in the house they will go and lay down. However, make a move towards the door or car and they are there. Th e Chesa- peake will be more active outside when playing. Once a day a nice walk or 15 min- utes of retrieving will make them happy.

“The Chesapeake is an extremely strong swimmer


Sassy & Joanne Silver




T he purpose of this article is to inform readers of the current situation in countries that have laws forbid- ding the removal of dewclaws (front and rear). In no way does this article suggest that dogs be eliminated from our gene pool because they had rear dewclaws. The JBEC and the ACC Board want members and breeders to be aware of legislation in other countries (most of Europe), and the possibility that, in the future, laws may be passed in the United States forbid- ding cropping, docking, and dewclaw removal. REAR DEWS AND DON’TS The first AKC-approved Chesapeake Bay Retriever Standard in 1918 listed six disqualifications, including: “Dew claws, under- shot, overshot, or any deformity.” This disqualification remained the same through the 1933 Standard revision. However, in 1963, changes were approved that remain part of the current (1993) Stan- dard. Dewclaws were given their own line and clarified to indicate rear only. Since 1963, DQ number three simply states: “Dewclaws on hind legs.” Reviewing past publications, there is little information about the intent behind rear dewclaw disqualification. Janet Horn, in * The New Complete Chesapeake Bay Retriever , addresses all breed disqualifications in general and states: “The seven disqualifications in our Standard were first laid down in 1936, and at that time, I was told by one who had worked on the Standard Committee in the 1930s, these items were made disqualifications because they were serious problems in the breed. If they are now found only infrequently it is a tribute to the emphasis implied by the poten- tial for disqualification. We need to retain these disqualifications, for anything that has previously been a problem in the breed can become one again if we do not keep alert and guard against it.” The incidence of rear dewclaws and their mode of inheritance in Chesapeakes is relatively unknown, as most breeders and own- ers do not actively track or relate the occurrence. Puppy buyers or breeders in the US don’t usually think or find it necessary to ask about rear dewclaws in parents or past generations. The Breed Standard makes no mention of removal of rear dewclaws being a disqualification, just that they should not be allowed, so it is near impossible to track, anecdotally, in adults. Currently, there is no genetic testing available for the occurrence of rear dewclaws and no research planned for the future. In the upcoming breed health survey, the question of rear dewclaws will be addressed to have bet- ter information available about the prevalence in the breed and its potential genetic transmission. In the United States, CBRs with dewclaws removed are allowed in the conformation ring. So, why is this a concern? The American Chesapeake Club is the authority over the official AKC Standard, which is used not only in the US, but also in countries governed by

the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale). CBRs shown in conformation classes in these countries are held to this Standard. Canada and Great Britain have written their own Chesapeake Bay Retriever Standard based on the ACC version. Canada has only six disqualifications, with the rear dewclaw DQ eliminated. Great Britain has no disqualifications included in their version and no mention of dewclaws at all. Other countries vary widely in their laws that regulate, or out- right prohibit, docking, cropping, and the removal of both front and rear dewclaws. For example, in Canada, a number of provinces have banned the procedures, and the Canadian Veterinary Medi- cal Association has stated (2018) that they are formally opposed. In the United Kingdom, removal of dewclaws is permitted without anesthesia only if the puppy’s eyes have not opened or with anes- thesia (only by a licensed veterinarian) if the eyes have opened. In some countries, removal is only permitted if it becomes medically necessary for trauma or therapeutic reasons. Groups in the US are lobbying for similar bans of cropping, docking, and dewclaw removal. If such laws are ever approved, the ACC would likely be mandated to revise our Breed Standard. The conflict is: • Rear dewclaw removal is illegal in some countries outside the US • Rear dewclaws are a disqualification according to the ACC (and FCI) official Breed Standard National purebred dog registries in many foreign countries require conformation certification from a qualified judge before a dog or bitch can be bred or any litters registered. CBRs with rear dewclaws present are disqualified under the FCI Standard and may not be able to obtain this certification in countries that specifically prohibit dewclaw removal. As breeding stock is much more limited outside the US, this becomes a concern for CBR fanciers abroad. Prior to these laws being enacted in other countries, breeders had no real reason to record information on puppies born with rear dews. However, CBRs are sold to buyers and being bred in countries where removing rear dewclaws is an issue. US breeders can help foreign breeders by recording and sharing information with them on rear dewclaws that may be present in their lines. In addition, when selling dogs, bitches, or semen outside the US, the specific laws addressing dewclaw removal in the destination coun- try should be discussed.

Judges Breeder Education Committee – February 2021

* The New Complete Chesapeake Bay Retriever by Janet and Dr. Daniel Horn. Howell Book House, NY, NY. 1994 p. 32


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