Three Chesapeake Bay Retrievers playing fetch in a body of water.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Color Chart: Discover Various Hues Here!

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a big, strong dog that ranks high on the list of the most common types found in the United States. Breeding Coonhounds with Irish Water Spaniels and Labrador retrievers with a flat or curly coat to retrieve game. The Chesapeake Bay area resulted in the creation of these dogs in the 1800s.

This not only makes them fantastic hunters but also explains why they adore the sea. The breed’s coat is one of the things that sets it apart, along with its overall style of balance. This comes in a range of colors to accommodate the canine worker’s specific workplace. 

A color chart for Chesapeake Bay retrievers often displays these hues. Unlike the sleek coat of a Labrador retriever, this dog’s hair naturally grows in waves. The stylists recommend keeping the hair short around the face and legs to show it off at its finest.

Printable Color Guides for Dogs

Many dog-related color charts are provided below.

       A-Locus (Fawn, Sable, B&T, Recessive Black)

The characteristics of a dog can be predicted from his genes. Assuming the dog is K-locus “n/n” If the KB-allele is introduced in any quantity, it will alter the generated pigment.

       B-Locus (Brown, Chocolate, Liver)

Some breeds, like the French Bulldog, might have mutations that affect melanin production in ways that haven’t been found yet. Listed below are dog breeds that have been tested positive for the “b” allele. A dog with any of these alleles will appear the same color.

       D Locus and B Locus

The self-colored regions that would be black even without the presence of the chocolatey. The dilute loci are referred to here as the “base color.” This may only apply to the dog’s nose and pads if the dog is fawn or sable. This information is correct for all dogs with the “ee” genotype. Even if their A and K loci are different, because “ee” dogs only show yellow pigment.

       E-Locus (Recessive Yellow) and B-Locus

When we say “black without any changes,” we’re referring to the natural color of a dog’s coat. Areas of different colors, such as fawn or sable, are unaffected. In other words, this table is accurate for all dogs with the “ee” genotype. Regardless of whether they carry the A or K loci, “ee” dogs only express yellow pigment.

       (S Locus) Parti, Piebald, or Spotted Whiteness

Several genes have been linked to horse white patches or color loss. Over 25 canine breeds share a mutation in a gene called. Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor and piebaldism (MITF). 

Piebaldism is a characteristic that is dose-dependent in many breeds. This means that the coat pattern of a dog with a small chunk (Sn) of the MITF variation will show fewer white spots. A dog with two copies (SS) will show more white spots with only a small amount of color. (SS) dogs in these breeds are totally white, while (SN) dogs have a coat pattern called a mantle.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Color Chart

Chesapeake Bay retrievers are camouflaged by their camouflaged coloring. Which colors are these, exactly?

  • Brown – a wide range of brown tones, from pale silver to dark cocoa
  • Sedge (red) (red) – consisting of a range of red tones, from yellow to red-hot to chestnut
  • Deadgrass (fawn) (fawn) – without any red tones, ranging from various hues of brown (like ash) to a straw color that is often mistaken for white.

Chesapeake Bay retriever aficionados don’t have a favorite color for their dogs. Also, they do prefer solid colors to variations within the same hue. Colors like masking, striping, saddle marks, agouti, and tan patches depend on the coat and its texture. Even though all of these coat colors are acceptable for Chesapeake Bay retrievers. They are not the ones that judges look for when judging the breed.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Color Genetics

There is DNA testing that can tell you exactly what hues are present in your dog’s fur because coat color is determined at birth. This is very helpful for anyone interested in breeding Chesapeake Bay retrievers. 

The typical coat colors seen in Chesapeake Bay retrievers are the result of a number of different genes, including but not limited to:

  • MC1R. As in the case of the Large Munsterlander, some breeds’ standards require that this gene always produce either a black or a red offspring. Chesapeake Bay retrievers rely on a variant of this gene called the red/yellow (E locus) that prevents black pigmentation and enhances the visibility of lighter colors. Only if both parents carry this variant of the MC1R gene will a puppy be born with two different colored coats. So, it’s important to screen for this trait before having a litter.
  • About 6% of Chesapeake Bay retrievers are fixed for the blue dilution gene, which makes the base color of the coat lighter.
  • Coat color is determined by several genes, but one of the most important is called agouti. The yellow coat of Chesapeake Bay retrievers is caused by the Ay form of this gene, which is present in every single dog in the breed.

Gene for Curl (Keratin-71)

Here we have the gene responsible for producing wavy or curly hair. The coat of your Chesapeake Bay retriever will be straight if it carries only one copy of this gene. It will be curly if it carries two copies (one from each parent). The ideal number of copies of the gene for the wavy coat in this breed of dog is one. So, that all dogs meet the breed standard.

Coat Color Intensity Gene (MFSD12)

Because of this gene, pheomelanin (which is responsible for the red and yellow colors in skin) is diluted, but brown pigment is unaffected. This is a major issue for sedge fishers in the Chesapeake Bay. It increases the likelihood of producing cream or white puppies outside the parameters of the breed. Only offspring of parents who are both carriers (carry the gene but don’t exhibit the phenotype) will inherit it. Hence testing for its presence in potential offspring is straightforward.

Black Gene (K locus)

The Chesapeake Bay retriever population may be further threatened by this gene. Due to the fact that dogs with two copies of this gene develop a solid black coat. As this is a rare coat color in Chesapeake Bay retrievers. It is vital to screen for it in both parents to eliminate the possibility of having an offspring with an undesirable trait.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Colors: An Overview

The AKC won’t let a Chessie compete if it has any black or white spots on its body, except for small spots on the feet, back pad, chest, or stomach. Let’s go further into the spectrum of Chesapeake Bay Retriever coat colors now.

The color of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s coat shows how good it is at hunting. As gundogs, they were trained to blend in with their surroundings so they could find and catch game birds more easily. There are three common colors for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, the most common of which being brown. 

       Brown Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

The coats of Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies’ range in shade from light caramel to dark brown. Dark brown Chessie fit in with muddy bays or riverbanks. Whereas lighter brown Chessie’s camouflage amid dead weeds and grasses.

       Chesapeake Bay Sedge Retrievers

Sedge, essentially a red coat hue, is the second authorized Chesapeake Bay Retriever color. A Chesapeake Bay Retriever with a red coat is termed “Sedge-colored” because it can blend in with Sedge. It is like grasslike plants that thrive in damp environments. In the fall, the sedge around the Chesapeake Bay turns a brilliant crimson. So, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog with a coat color called “sedge” can easily blend in with its surroundings.

The hues of sedges go from a pale Irish Setter red to a strawberry red to a dark mahogany. Although self-colored or solid-colored Chesapeakes most closely match the ideal dog as defined by the breed standard. The presence of varying markings and patterns does not disqualify the dog.

       Deadgrass Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

Deadgrass is a phrase used to designate Chesapeake Bay Retrievers that are yellow in color, ranging from a light yellow through fading tan to a dull straw yellow, and is the third basic color legally accepted by both official Breed Clubs.

In the fall, when the grasses and wheat stalks turn a filthy yellow. The Chesapeake Bay Retrievers of the same color blend in perfectly. It’s fascinating to note that some Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have Deadgrass coats so light that they almost look white. The others have Dead Grass coats so diluted that they look almost gray.

Ash-colored Deadgrass Chessies are significantly rarer than other hues but are nevertheless seen on occasion. The absence of red pigmentation in the former (Deadgrass) and prevalence of such pigmentation in the latter (Sedge) is the most notable difference between the two types of coats.

       Canine Eye Color in Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

The breed standard for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers says that all puppies, no matter what color their coat is, should have either amber or yellow eyes. Whether or not the Chesapeake’s coat color and eye color are a perfect match is of no consequence to the judges at confirmation shows. 

Both factors are disregarded and given no weight. Chesapeake Bay Retriever breeders might like it if their dogs’ coats and eyes were the same color. The breed standard doesn’t say that they have to be.

It is possible for a Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy to be born with blue eyes, but this is extremely unusual and often indicates that the dog is not a completely mixed breed. So this is the only eye color that could potentially disqualify a Chessie from a conformation show.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Coat Care

The Chesapeake Bay retriever’s coat color is one of its most recognizable traits, and it needs to be groomed well to keep it that way. The inherent oils in a Chesapeake Bay retriever’s coat make it thick and impenetrable. It’s a pain to give the dog a good soak. However, the coat should only be washed every three to four months. It is much more than that, and the breed-specific protective oils will be stripped away, along with the coat’s texture.

Typical Traits of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever and its close relative, the Labrador Retriever, are both eager to please and quick to pick up things that have been dropped. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever and the Labrador Retriever are both retrieving dogs, but while both have waterproof double coats, the Labrador’s is straight and smooth while the Chesapeake Bay’s is wavy. In comparison to Labrador Retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are harder, livelier, and smarter.

The most obvious difference between Chesapeakes and Labradors is that Chesapeakes are bigger and have deeper chests. When given a job to do, these dogs do well because they have a strong drive to catch prey, good working skills, endurance, resilience, and courage.

Physical Characteristics of the Chesapeake Bay

The breed is most easily identified by its thick, water-resistant double coat, which is greasy to the touch and wavy only on the right shoulder, neck, back, and loins. As a result of working in the deep water of the Chesapeake Bay. The undercoat is thick, thin, wooly, and oily while the outer coat is short and coarse. The oil acts like the down on a duck’s back, blocking the flow of water before it can reach the Chessie’s skin. It also aids in drying the coat fast; the Chessie can’t “shake” his coat, and it will not retain any water. There is no particular coat color for chessie. So you’ll find them in shades of “chocolate-y” brown, sedge (red-gold), and dead grass (straw).

Frequently Asked Questions About Breeding

What is the average number of puppies in a litter of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

On average, a litter of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers will have about 10 healthy, happy puppies. Despite their potential as skilled hunters, most CBRs are instead bred for the domestic pet market.

What about the Golden and Labrador retrievers? 

No, it’s not. The Chessie may look like a Golden or Labrador retriever and share some of their characteristics, but he is actually his own distinct dog breed.

Where should my dog and I go for obedience training?

Obedience training should begin early with a Chessie because they are a breed with a strong personality. In fact, you might start teaching him the basics as soon as he walks through your door. After his initial round of immunizations and deworming, your dog will be in good enough health to start a basic training course that will last 8 to 10 weeks. As the old adage goes, “Give a dog an inch, and he’ll take a mile.” Thus it’s crucial to maintain uniformity in the home with regards to the dog’s rules.

How does Chessie “smile”?

It’s just a quirk of their personality, but Chessies often smile from ear to ear, showing off their pearly whites. Many people assume that Chessie’s happy vocalizations and this odd behavior are related.


By now, you should be able to tell the various Chesapeake Bay Retriever hues apart with more ease, thanks to our discussion of them. You can wow your pals by using jargon from your field, such as “sedge” and “deadgrass,” while showing off your deep knowledge of Chesapeake Bay Retriever coat colors.

Because of their high levels of energy and prey drive, Chesapeake Bay retrievers (or “Chessie puppies”) can be a challenge for inexperienced dog owners. If you’re set on getting a retriever dog but lack previous experience, you may want to consider a breed like the Golden or Labrador retriever instead.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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