Judging Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
By Nathaniel “Nat” Horn
he art of applying
one’s knowledge, stan-
and skills to judge is
ing. Look for what a
dog’s merits are before you start to get
concerned about his faults. This philoso-
phy can prevent you from eliminating a
dog from competition because of one or
two minor negative flaws as well as from
rewarding a dog having nothing out-
standingly wrong with him but is basical-
ly a dog that in most aspects is mediocre.
There is a section in the book
The Dual
Purpose Labrador
by Mary Roslin Wil-
liams, about type. It is essential to distin-
guish between breed type and kennel type.
There is one breed type in every breed. It is
essential that the Chesapeake look like the
Chesapeake. If he resembles another breed
or looks more like a mongrel, he lacks true
breed type. Within breed type there exists
kennel type”. Breeders excel in breeding
dogs in different ways and become noted for
their “style”. Coats, head type, expression
and degree of substance are just a few of the
features that can contribute to distinguish-
able kennel type attributes. When you see
a Chesapeake you may say to yourself that
looks like one of Mr. X’s specimens.
In comparison to man, the Chesa-
peake is equivalent to an Olympic swim-
mer or a marathon runner, not to a heavy
wrestler or a weight lifter. Efficient pow-
er and agility with good muscle tone is
sought for. Cloddy overdone dogs are not
to be considered.
Dogs & Bitches
I expect a bitch to show femininity.
Likewise, the male should be mascu-
line and majestic. If a Chesapeake looks
like the opposite sex, this is incorrect
and should be faulted to the degree of
the deviation. There is more of a ten-
dency for judges to make the mistake
of rewarding “doggy” bitches than to
reward “bitchy” males. Judges really
need to be cognizant of this.
The Whole Dog
One must consider the whole dog.
Getting off track and over-emphasizing
one aspect of the dog can lead to poor
judging. While judging the Chesapeake,
I like to refer to the phrase under symme-
try and quality, “The dog should be well
proportioned”, then judge all the compo-
nent parts, relate them to each other and
look at the dog as a whole. Throughout
the standard, many traits are referred to
with a phrase like medium or moderate.
I find it most important to keep in mind
the verbiage in the standard that places
emphasis on strong words:
Shoulders, sloping and should
have full liberty of action with plenty
of power without any restrictions of
movement. ... Hindquarters should
be especially powerful to supply the
driving power for swimming. ... Good
hindquarters are essential. Stifles
should be well angulated. ... Flanks
well tucked up.”
The Chesapeake must have the ability
to swim and retrieve for long periods of
time. One can expect a good swimming
Chesapeake to be a good moving Chesa-
peake and vice versa.
Head, Neck & Related
Chesapeakes that retrieve objects from
the ground or in the water requiring necks
and heads well-proportioned with length
which combined, permit the nose and
mouth to reach the ground or grasp fowl
easily in the water. The Chesapeake should
262 •