Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Introduction | History & Health | Temperament & Personality | Breed Standard

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

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Introduction

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, also known as the CBR, the Chesapeake, and the Chessie, is a breed of dog in the Sporting Group. The athletic Chesapeake breed is most well known for its love of water and its ability to navigate through freezing and rough waters. The Chesapeake was recognized by the AKC in the year 1878 and approved by the AKC in the year 1993.
The average Chesapeake Bay Retriever stands about 2 feet high and weighs between 55 – 80 pounds. They have a thick curly coat that should be brushed every few days to help distribute their natural weather proofing oils throughout the coat.

History & Health

History

The Chesapeake was created in the U.S. in the early 1800's from two Newfoundland dogs that were rescued from a shipwreck in Maryland. These Newfoundlands enjoyed the water and had good retrieving skills, and they were crossed with various other retrieving breeds such as the Curly-Coated Retriever and the English Otter Hound, to create today's Chesapeake. They were bred specifically for hunting and retrieving, and they gained their name from the Chesapeake Bay where they would swim through icy cold and choppy waters to retrieve ducks.

Health

The average life expectancy for this breed is between 10 – 12 years, and the breed is associated with some genetically inherited conditions which pet owners should be aware of, including eye problems and hip dysplasia.

Temperament & Personality

Personality

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has the strongest personality of all retrievers. They are not as easy-going as the other breeds, are more independent and are probably the hardest to train. Despite that, they are some of the most durable hunting dogs around. They love to swim and can handle an entire day of retrieving ducks or sticks from frigid waters. They are a true outdoorsperson's dog and will happily accompany people on hikes, bike trips, jogs or camping excursions.

Activity Requirements

Chesapeakes need a lot of exercise and a couple of walks around the block won't cut it. They are a hunting dog who loves to be outdoors – they can retrieve in cold water all day long (up to 200 ducks a day) and never tire of working alongside hunters. They also enjoy jogging, hiking, chasing sticks and catching frisbees. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is by no means an apartment dog. They are rowdy and rambunctious well into adulthood, need a lot of exercise, and if they don't get it they can be quite destructive.

Trainability

Chesapeakes are a strong-willed breed and should not be confused with Golden Retrievers, who love to please. This breed requires consistency above all else. If you give them a little leeway, they will consider it an open door to make their own rules. Though they require a strong leader, Chesapeakes should never be treated harshly and they don't respond well to discipline. Positive reinforcement and a lot of patience is the best recipe for a well trained dog.

Behavioral Traits

A bored Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a destructive Chesapeake Bay Retriever. If they do not have a lot of regular, vigorous exercise, this breed can get out of control quickly. They naturally experience a long puppyhood and bounce around well into adulthood – if they don't get enough time to run, this bouncing can be constant. When left alone, they can make quick work of couches, chairs or flower beds.
They aren't the best watchdogs, but Chesapeakes are naturally distrustful of strangers. It is important that socialization take place early and often, so that the dog learns the difference between a welcome visitor and and unwelcome visitor. If left unchecked, this distrustfulness can possibly turn into aggression.
They are notorious for putting things in their mouths. Sticks, rocks, toys, shoes, books, and hands are common targets of the Chesapeake and his mouth. He must be trained to chew his toys, bones or sticks only, otherwise there may be no shoes left in the house for anyone to wear and everyone's hands will be bruised from dog nips.

Breed Standard

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, 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 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.

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