The Chesapeake Bay retriever is a breed of hunting dog that got its start in the Chesapeake Bay where they did much of their hunting under water. The often had to break through the ice to get to their game. Once they got to the game, they often had the task of sitting with it for a long time to prevent it from being stolen until their owner could come and get it. The Chesapeake Bay retriever (also called Chessie) is an honorary member of the American Kennel Club and has been since 1993. The AKC has a certain breed standard for the Chessie, a standard that the dog must maintain in order to be part of the AKC events.
The coat of the Chesapeake Bay retriever is a double coat that has an outer coat of short, wavy and very hard hair with a fine wooly undercoat. The coat cannot be over 1 1/2" long. The coat has an abundance of natural oils that help the Chessie in the cold wintry conditions they often have to endure. This helps the coat to be water resistant. The body is strong and powerful and of medium size, with a wide chest, medium length legs and strong body. The AKC doesn't allow for any weakness anywhere in the body, as this is not part of the breed characteristics.
The Chesapeake has a very cheerful and happy disposition and is known for its quiet intelligence. Their entire demeanor is one of affection and love. They are a dog that is very protective of all their loved ones around them, but they are not known for being aggressive. The breed standard of the club will disallow any Chessie that is extremely aggressive or extremely shy. Either of these qualities would take away from their value as a pet, companion or gun dog.
The dogs are anywhere from 21 to 26 inches high with the males being slightly larger than females. If they are extremely larger or smaller than this size, the AKC will disqualify them. Their size should be in total proportion, with the distance from the shoulder to the elbow being the same as from the elbow to the ground. The weight of the Chessie averages from 55 to 80 pounds. Many people think of them as being large dogs, but they are actually medium sized.
The head gives off a very intelligent look with the medium to large eyes that are amber yellow in color and set apart from each other. The small ears are set high on the head, but hang loose with the look of leather. The nose is short with the muzzle and skull being the same length. The scissor bit is the required bite, with any undershot or overshot being grounds for disqualification. The chest and back are strong and powerful with the body being almost hollow looking because the flanks are up high. The tail is straight and of medium length, being thicker at the base. The overall appearance of the Chessie is one of beauty and elegance. Their coat is sleek and glossy.