Revisions to the
Chesapeake Bay Retriever Standard

The following is a list of the revisions made to the Chesapeake Bay Retriever standard. We hope this will help you more clearly understand these changes and the reasons for which they were made.

There is a new general appearance section. There are several important points to note from this new section. Comments were expressed that far too many short muzzles were appearing and being rewarded in the ring. So, regarding the head, additional information was added on the muzzle shape: "the jaws should be of sufficient length and strength ...". A definite point is now made that the coat should be a double coat. Size was the issue that was of greatest concern to Chesapeake breeders. To further emphasis size, the following phrasing was added here: "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." Temperament was also addressed: extreme shyness or aggressive tendencies are not desirable. Particular emphasis is made on how these physical traits correlate to the working aspects of the breed.

Under Size, Proportion, Substance, there is now a proportional description of the body. "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." Dogs too high on leg should be faulted just as well as dogs too short in leg. Please reference general appearance section for additional comment regarding size and substance.

Head section now includes a sentence on muzzle length to indicate that head proportions from occiput to eyes and eyes to end of nose should be balanced. Tapered was added to further describe that the muzzle shape tapers from below the eyes to the nose. Additional head info, found under general description, asks that muzzle be of sufficient length and strength. While not new to the standard, please remember that lips should be thin, not pendulous. Note that nothing in this head description asks for short muzzles, blockiness or cheekiness.

Bite has two significant changes. There is now a preference for a scissors bite, with level acceptable. The disqualification for "or any deformity" has been dropped. Undershot and overshot bites remain disqualifications.

Under Neck, Topline, Body, the word ribcage was added to make it clearer that it is the ribcage that is to be barrel round and deep. In other words, there should be some spring to the ribs. Chesapeakes should not be slabsided. It was found that many judges were interpreting "approaching hollowness" as meaning a hollow back /dip in back. That was not and is not the correct interpretation of that phrase. To help make it clearer, the wording "from underneath" was added to more precisely explain that term "approaching hollowness" refers to the tuck up that should be present in the loin area. Under Tail, it now only asks that the tail be of medium length. With this wording, as long as the tail is in a proportional look to the rest of the dog, it is fine. It no longer has to extend to the hock.

In the Hindquarters section, it now says: "The distance from hock to ground should be of medium length." This more accurately describes what is desired.

The Coat section had one change. It now states that " Moderate feathering on rear of hindquarters and tail is permissible". Previously, the word stern was listed with tail when it (stern) actually referred to the rear of the hindquarters.

Color had several changes and clarifications. The color term "sedge" was added "Any color of brown, sedge or deadgrass is acceptable, selfcolored Chesapeakes being preferred. One color is not to be preferred over another." This also makes it clearer that the selfcolor pattern is the preferred one. Selfcolor meaning "Whole color. Of one color all over, with or without lighter or darker shadings of the same color." The breed does come in other coloration patterns e.g. domino like markings, agouti, tan points, and saddle markings. They should not be disqualified, they are simply not preferred. Since color is only 4 pts., quality specimens with minor variations from selfcolor should not be pegged down to a mediocre selfcolored animal. Regarding the allowable white on the dogs, clarification was made in two ways. "A white spot on the breast, belly, toes or back of feet (immediately above the larger pad) is permissible, but the smaller the spot the better, solidcolored preferred." Notice back of feet is added and the location of the white on the back of feet (front and/or rear legs) is specified. The phrase solid colored preferred now appears at the end of phrase on allowable white. This should make it clearer to you that while white is permissible in certain areas, the preference is for no white. Along with that, remember it says "the smaller the spot the better". So, quality dogs with several areas of white are not as desirable as quality dogs with little or no white. Key word here is quality. A mediocre dog with no white should never be placed over a better quality specimen with white. Please note the addition of " Honorable scars are not to be penalized."

Gait A gait description is now included in the standard. We did not feel it necessary to list every movement fault that might be present. It is presumed that judges are aware of what constitutes good movement. Only those that most seriously restrict liberty of movement or weakness in the rear were specifically mentioned out at elbows, cow hocks, lack of full flexion of stifle and hock joints. For efficient swimming ability, good reach and drive are most critical. As speed increases, the feet tend to converge toward a center line of gravity. However, the Chesapeake should not be expected to be a true single tracking mover.

Disqualifications Two disqualifications were dropped: "Unworthy" and "Or any deformity". Technically, by the former standard, if a judge felt a dog was not worthy of a ribbon for whatever reason, the dog should have been disqualified. Some judges were not withholding ribbons for this reason. So, it was removed to allow the judges to withhold ribbons without having to dq the dog. The deformity disqualification was subject to a wide variety of interpretations. As such, it caused much confusion and misuse, so it was dropped. A clarification was added in the disqualifications. "Back of feet" was added to the allowable white section: "White on any part of the body except breast, belly, toes or back of feet". Specific location of the white on the back of feet is found in the color section in the body of the standard


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