Last week I wrote about the Chessies at the Detroit Kennel Club Show. There were many comments about the different colored Chessies so I thought I would write a bit more about Chessie coloring.
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, self-colored 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.
The standard states self-colored dogs are preferred. This means that dogs of all one shade are preferred with or without shadings. A nicely put together dog with shading and masking can still do well in the conformation ring.
Here are some pictures of various colored dogs as they work:
Chessies are a working retriever and although color is described in detail, it is supposed to be given only a little weight in the overall judging of a dog.
The Positive Scale of Points According To The Standard
|Head, including lips, ears and eyes||16|
|Shoulders and body||12|
|Hindquarters and stifles||12|
|Elbows, legs and feet||12|
|Stern and tail||10|
|Coat and texture||18|
As you can see, color is worth 4 points out of the total 100 when a dog is judged in the conformation ring. Compare that to Coat and Texture which is given the highest point value which is 18 out of the 100 points. Read the entire Standard, including Coat and Texture here.
Color may be worth the lowest value according to the standard, but it can be the source of a lot of controversy/discussion. For example I was present when Tule, Smokey’s mother, was excused from the ring for being a color not specifically called out in the standard. She is tan. The color has always been acceptable according to the American Chesapeake Club; however, one judge in particular takes an exception to the color. At the time Tule was entered in Best of Breed as a finished Champion, but it did not seem to matter that many other judge’s found her color acceptable, she was still excused.
I have also heard long time show breeders state that a tan dog should not be bred. Perhaps that is why they are rare in the show ring. There are some judges that seem to give an advantage to brown dogs over “colored” dogs in the ring. This seemed to hold more true when Thunder was showing. However, I think things are starting to change and it seems that brown dogs do not automatically have the advantage in the ring.
Local breed clubs should receive a lot of credit for this because the more conformation judges see quality dogs that are colors other than brown, I think the more likely it will be that they will look past color. In past years, our Chessie club has participated in a Judge’s seminar put on by a local sporting dog club. During these Judge’s seminars, conformation judges are shown various colored dogs and people knowledgeable in the breed go over structure, movement, coat, and color. There is also a field demonstration so that the judges can see the dogs actually working. This is an event that we have always wanted to attend with our dogs, but timing has just never worked out for us.
The Chessie Standard also says: The color of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever must be nearly that of its working surroundings as possible.“
thatjenk asked if there was a preferred color for our climate or hunting environment. Sorry it has taken me so long to answer, but I would say no, at least not for the hunter in this house. He hunts in a variety of different situations where the hunter and dog need to be camouflaged. Here are some examples:
As you can see the brown blends, but so could the deadgrass or sedge. I think most hunters would say that color is of less concern to them than the drive of the dog. I would say however, that some hunters prefer a larger or smaller dog depending on where they hunt. For example Thunder can cut through the thickest marsh due to his size; however, he might be a bit much to load into a river boat.
Unfortunately, I am going to have to delay my Dog Show Basics post until next week, because I have run out of time this week. Sorry. This has been a big week for Freighter. More on that tomorrow…