Retriever (Chesapeake Bay)

Last updated July 2010

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Well-proportioned, active worker with a strong muscular appearance. A distinctive oily, double coat, which is very important. Capable of working in adverse weather conditions, including ice and snow.


A courageous and keen worker with a great love of water. Independent, affectionate, but not extrovert with strangers, he makes a good guardian of home and family.


Bright and happy disposition, alert and intelligent and showing a willingness to work.

Head and skull

Broad and round with medium stop. Muzzle of similar length to skull, pointed but not sharp. Lips thin, not pendulous. Nostrils well developed. Nose and lips of colour to harmonise with coat. There should be a noticeable difference between the sexes.


Medium size, very clear, of yellow or amber colour and set wide apart.


Relatively small, well set up on head, of medium leather, and carried close.


Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Level bite tolerated.


Of medium length with a strong muscular appearance tapering from head to shoulders.


Well muscled and well boned. Shoulders powerful, well laid back, long in blade with upper arm of equal length, placing legs well under body with no restriction of movement. Forelegs straight when viewed from the front. Leg length equal to depth of body. Pasterns slightly sloping.


Of medium length, with well sprung ribs, short coupled and strong, but not cobby. Chest well developed, deep and broad. Topline level or with hindquarters slightly higher than the withers. Back strong and neither swayed nor roached. Flanks showing some tuck-up.


Strong, well muscled and powerful, complementing the forequarters. Well-turned stifles, with rear pasterns of moderate length. Hocks turning neither in nor out.


Well-webbed hare feet, of good size, with toes well rounded and close.


Of medium length, straight or slightly curved. Medium heavy at the base. Carried level or slightly higher than topline, not curled over back.


Strong and powerful, with no restriction of movement, which should be smooth, free and effortless. As speed increases the feet tend to converge.


A distinctive feature. Coat should be thick and reasonably short, not over 4 cms (1½ ins) long, with harsh, oily, outer coat and dense, fine, woolly undercoat covering the whole body; having a tendency to wave on neck, shoulders, back and loins. A straighter, thick coat is acceptable provided its water resistance is retained. Coat on face, ears and legs short and straight. Moderate feathering on tail permissible. Oil in harsh coat and woolly undercoat of extreme value. Coat should resist water.


Dead grass (straw to bracken), sedge (red gold), any shade of brown, or ash. White spots on chest, belly, toes or the back of the feet permissible. The smaller the spot the better. Masking and brindling in coat pattern is acceptable but not desirable. Self coloured dogs preferred. Colour of coat must be given consideration when judging but is of lesser importance compared to the quality and texture of the double coat.


Height: dogs 58-66 cms (23-26 ins), bitches 53-61 cms (21-24 ins).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.