The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a powerful, muscular retriever with a slightly wavy, rather short coat in shades of brown, red, or tan ranging from a dead-grass straw color to a deep dark brown with red overtones. Solid colors are preferred, but some white is permitted on the chest and feet. Both the harsh outer coat and dense woolly undercoat are oily for water repellence. The head is rounded and broad with a medium stop and muzzle. The small ears hang down and the eyes are amber colored. The chest is wide and strong. The body is medium length with the rear even with or slightly higher than the withers. The forelegs should be straight with good bone. The hindquarters are especially strong and the toes webbed, because excellent swimming ability is important for the Chesapeake. Dewclaws on the rear legs, if present, should be removed. Removal of front dewclaws is optional, but highly recommended if the dog will be used in the field.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever probably originated in 1807 with a shipwreck off the coast of Maryland. Two Newfoundland pups rescued from the wreck were later mated with local retrievers. The breed was established enough to be recognized by the AKC in 1885. Careful breeding through the decades created an outstanding retriever with incredible enthusiasm and endurance. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has been known to retrieve 200 ducks in a single day in frigid waters. The breed does well in obedience and tracking as well as in retrieving, hunt tests, and field trials. The Chesapeake also makes a fine family companion.