The Chesapeake Bay retriever has a classic retriever look, sporting a muscular body with a short, slightly wavy hair and hanging ears. A major difference is its broad head with a medium stop, thin lips that do not hang, well-developed nostrils, and webbed feet used for swimming. The Chessie has medium eyes that are set wide apart, a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite, and a moderately long neck. The colour of its nose and lips depend on its coat. The male is easily distinguishable from the female. The average height is 56–66 centimetres and weight is 65–80 pounds.
The Chessie is a large dog that boasts of a unique coat comprising of a harsh, oily outercoat and a fine, dense, woolly, and weather-resistant undercoat covering its entire body. This combination provides the right insulation that enables the breed to hunt in all conditions even in ice and snow. The hair in its neck, shoulders, back, and loins is wavy. A little feathering on its tails is permitted.
Accepted colours according to KC standards are ash, brown, light brown, dark brown, dead grass, and sedge. These colours allow the Chessie to camouflage in its surroundings, which is specifically helpful in hunting. Although this breed sheds heavily in the spring and autumn, grooming is relatively easy because it does not need to be taken to a professional groomer for trimming or clipping. Regular brushing will take care of the dead hair and distribute natural oils. A warm bath will also be beneficial during shedding season.
Apart from caring for its coat, also pay attention to its teeth, ears, and nails. Some owners tend to ignore other aspects of grooming and only focus on the coat. Also check your Chessie’s skin for abnormal spots and fleas/ticks.