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, woolly 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.
Height to Length Ratio: 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: Depth of body should extend at least to the elbow.
Balance of Withes to Elbow and Elbow to Ground: Shoulder to elbow and elbow to ground should be equal.
Approximate Measurements Inches Centimetres
Length head, nose to occiput 9½ to 10 24.13 to 25.40
Girth at ears 20 to 21 50.80 to 53.34
Muzzle below eyes 10 to 10½ 25.40 to 26.67
Length of ears 4½ to 5 11.43 to 12.70
Width between eyes 2½ to 2¾ 6.35 to 6.99
Girth neck close to shoulder 20 to 22 50.80 to 55.88
Girth at flank 24 to 25 60.96 to 63.50
Length from occiput to tail base 34. to 35 86.36 to 88.90
Girth forearms at shoulders 10 to 10½ 25.40 to 26.67
Girth upper thigh 19 to 20 48.26 to 50.80
From root to root of ear, over skull 5 to 6 12.70 to 15.24
Occiput to top shoulder blades 9 to 9½ 22.86 to 24.13
From elbow to elbow over the 25 to 26 63.50 to 66.04