I thought I would do a series about our breed standard. Instead of going through the whole standard at one time I will break it down into small portions.
Breed Standards give a description of the origin of the breed and describe what the qualities of a particular breed should have in order to perform the job they were originated for, like a blueprint.
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. (ACC Official Breed Standard)
They are written and developed by the National Breed Club for each breed. Our breed club is the American Chesapeake Club (ACC). These standards are then adopted as the official standard through the American Kennel Club (AKC). Chesapeake Bay Retrievers belong to the sporting group. They are considered the powerhouse of the retrievers. You might hear them called by a few different names, Chessie, brown dog, bay dog, or CBR.
So let’s start with color*. Chessie’s coat color must closely match that of it’s working surroundings as possible. We have three basic colors; brown, sedge, deadgrass. There are variations of these colors and any shade is acceptable.
Self colored is preferred but one color is not to be preferred over another. On our positive scale of points color is only worth 4 points out of 100. While coat texture of a CBR is extremely important the color of the dog does not have any bearing on their working skills. I will talk about texture in another post.
Self color is defined as “of one color all over, with or without lighter or darker shadings of the same color.” Brown takes in all shades of brown including tan which is a light brown with golden tones. Sedge takes in reddish tones, red-brown or red-gold. Deadgrass takes in any color of deadgrass, from a dull straw color to a faded tan with sometimes the whole range on the same dog. (An Illustrated Guide To The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Color pg. 48)
The disqualifications for color are black color and white on any part of the body except breast, belly, toes or back of feet.
No matter the color Chessie’s do a good job blending into their surroundings. Here are some photos of several different colors and shades of Chessie’s in various types of terrain and foliage.
Both of these are Cheyenne, even a brown dog blends in the green grasses.
This is Maia, she is considered light brown and you can see how well she blends in with the dead weeds and grasses.
Titan is considered light deadgrass and he also blends very well.
This is Woody coming out of cover but you can still see even though he is brown he is well camouflaged in the cover.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Keehn of Dusty Rose Chesapeakes. This is Aretha a dark deadgrass.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Keehn of Dusty Rose Chesapeakes. This is Nova, he is dark brown.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Keehn of Dusty Rose Chesapeakes. This is Sia, he is considered ash which is a diluted shade of brown.
Photo courtesy of Gail Evans of Moonlight Bay Chesapeakes This is Bear a light sedge color. According to Gail his color would change depending on the season. Sadly Bear crossed the Rainbow Bridge this past November. Our hearts go out to the Evan’s family.
Photo courtesy of Julie Reardon of Hope Springs Farm This is Rio another sedge dog. As you can see he is a darker shade. He was bred by Dyane Baldwin of Pond Hollow Chesapeakes. If you look at the background across the water you can see how he would blend right in.
Photo courtesy of Kerrie Tatarka of Coolwater Chesapeakes. This is Jessie who is sedge and even on this terrain you can still see the tendency to blend in. Sadly Jessie crossed the Rainbow Bridge in February of this year. Our hearts go out to Kerrie.
Photo courtesy of Thora Eichblatt. This is CoolWater’s Purling Oakleaf “Purl” another shade of sedge.
Even in water Chessie’s blend in.
We also have other colors and markings that aren’t addressed in the standard, these include masking, tan points and brindle markings. These do not make a Chesapeake any less of a dog and does not affect their retrieving abilities. They still blend well in their surroundings. These are acceptable colors, although as stated before self colored is preferred.
This is Dutch with my niece Hailee, Dutch was her favorite. Her owners are David and Michelle Keehn of Dusty Rose Chesapeakes. She is a masked color dog and has what we call a widows peak. The area around her eyes and top of head comes to a point.Sadly Dutch crossed the Rainbow Bridge last year. Our hearts go out to David and Michelle Keehn.
This is Bunsy, his owners are George and Jan Treglown of Deepwoods Chesapeakes. He has what we call tan points.
While color does not affect the working ability of this breed I think many of us have a favorite color. I love all the colors but my favorite is the light deadgrass, to me it is so striking. However I do not choose my dogs by color, I choose based on temperament, trainability and conformation, my favorite color would just be the icing on the cake or maybe that’s on the dog
So do you have a favorite color?
*From the Official Breed Standard “COLOR- The color of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever must be nearly that of its working surroundings as possible. Any color of brown, sedge, or deadgrass is acceptable, selfcolored Chesapeakes being preferred. One color 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 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.”
Tina and the Brown Dogs