|OFFICIAL BREED STANDARD FOR
RETRIEVER (CHESAPEAKE BAY) Effective: January 1, 2013
Origin and Purpose
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.
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.
Height Males should measure 23 to 26 inches; (58-66 cm); females should measure 21 to
24 inches. (53-61 cm). 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 (29-36 kg); females should weigh 55 to 70
pounds (25-32 kg).
Coat and Colour
Coat should be thick and short, nowhere over 1 ½ 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 the rear of the
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.
Colour- The colour of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever must be nearly that of its working
surroundings as possible. Any colour of brown, sedge, or deadgrass is acceptable,
selfcoloured Chesapeakes being preferred. (Selfcolored: A single colour with or without
lighter and darker shadings of the same colour.) One colour is not to be preferred over
another. A white spot on the breast, belly, toes or back of 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. Honorable scars are not to be penalized.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever should have an intelligent expression. Eyes are to be
medium large, very clear, of yellowish or amber colour 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.
Neck should be of medium length with a strong muscular appearance, tapering to the
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.
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.
The 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.
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 rear legs.
Tail of medium length; medium heavy at base. The tail should be straight or slightly curved
and should not curl over back or side kink.
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 front and plenty of drive in the rear, with good flexion of the stifle and hock
joints. Coming at you, there should be no signs 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.
- Specimens lacking in breed characteristics.
- Teeth overshot or undershot.
- Dewclaws on hind legs.
- Coat curly or with a tendency to curl all over the body.
- Feathering on the tail or legs over 1 ¾ inches long.
- Black coloured.
- White on any part of the body except breast, belly, toes or back of feet.
Positive Scale of Points:
|Head, including lips, ears and eyes|| 16|
|Shoulders and body|| 12|
|Back quarters and stifles|| 12|
|Elbows, legs and feet|| 12|
|Stern and tail|| 10|
|Coat and texture|| 18|
|General conformation|| 12|
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.
Length head, nose to occiput: 24-25cm
Girth at ears: 51-53cm
Muzzle below eyes: 25-27cm
Length of ears: 11-13cm
Width between eyes: 6-7cm
Girth neck close to shoulders: 51-56cm
Girth of chest to elbows: 89-91cm
Girth at flank: 61-64cm
Length from occiput to tail base: 86-89cm
Girth forearms at shoulders: 25-27cm
Girth upper thigh: 48-51cm
From root to root of ear, over skull: 13-15cm
Occiput to top shoulder blades: 23-24cm
From elbow to elbow over the shoulders: 64-66cm