While the Chesapeake has several areas that are important to the function of the dog, the coat* and texture is one of the most important. On our positive scale of points** it has the highest point value.
Chessie’s are a double coated breed with a dense undercoat that is wooly and an outer coat that is harsher and has a tendency to wave on neck shoulders, back and loins. They have a natural oil in their coat that aids in repelling water. Some dogs may have a slight musky odor from this oil.
They retrieve in all kinds of adverse conditions so it is important they have a proper coat. Their coat aids in keeping the dog warm and dry when retrieving in cold icy waters. When a Chessie exits the water and shakes they should be nearly dry only having a damp coat. A soft coat will hinder this and the dogs coat will retain to much water which will penetrate to the skin making the dog cold.
They are not curly all over and in fact we do not consider them to have curls but waves. You may hear terms of endearment about “curly dogs” but know that is not how a proper coat is described when discussing the Chesapeake coat.
Chesapeake’s do shed, they blow coat typically in the spring and fall. At this time there is a tremendous amount of undercoat that comes off; at times I think I have another dog laying on the floor. It makes for great nesting material for the birds! Swimming the dog or giving a bath and brushing will aid in removing the dead coat so the new coat can come in.
This is the second post in the Breed Standard series, you can read the first post “Chesapeake Bay Retriever Color” here
*From the Official Breed Standard COAT– Coat should be thick and short, nowhere over 1 1/2″ 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 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.
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 1 3/4″ long must be disqualified.
**Positive Scale of Points
Head, including lips, ears and eyes = 16
Neck = 4
Shoulders and Body= 12
Hindquarters and Stifles = 12
Elbows, Legs and Feet =12
Color = 4
Stern and Tail = 10
Coat and Texture = 18
General Conformation = 12
Total = 100
Tina and the Brown Dogs