Chesapeake Bay Retriever

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Is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Chessie; CBR; Chesapeake

The basics:
The energetic Chesapeake Bay Retriever could be the breed of choice for hunters and other athletic, outdoorsy owners in search of a tough, top-notch retriever unafraid to dive right into cold water in pursuit of game. They make great hiking or jogging companions, but this high-energy dog won't be happy sitting on a cushion in a small apartment.

According to legend, the Chessie was developed from two Newfoundlands that survived a shipwreck off the coast of Chesapeake Bay in 1807. By the 1880s, the breed had a solid reputation as a tough hunter able to hunt in marshes with chilly winter winds and strong water currents. Hunters point to the breed's coat, which retains little water, allowing them to break ice and plunge right in. In addition to their well-known skills for retrieving waterfowl (up to 200 ducks in a day), these dogs can assist in the hunt for large game like elk and bears. They also serve as sled dogs, search and rescue animals, and in service to the disabled.

As long as you have something worthwhile for the Chessie to do, you may have one of the world's top pets. But don't let this animal get bored, and or it will demonstrate its power to chew.

Appearance / health:
Chesapeakes are medium-sized dogs with a strong, powerfully built body. The skull is broad and round. The muzzle tapers but is not sharp. Their clear eyes have a yellowish or amber hue. They have small ears set high on the head that hang loosely.

They are average shedders and need occasional brushing to remove any dead hair. The coat has essential oils that help in keeping these dogs dry. Hence, bathing and shampooing is done only when required.

They require moderate to high amounts of exercise. A fenced yard or a kennel may provide them with sufficient space to get some exercise. Long walks and jogs are good for adult Chesapeakes.

Chesapeakes are prone to eye problems and joint disorders such. Hip dysplasia, a condition characterized by badly formed hips that causes lameness, is increasingly seen in Chesapeakes.

Behavior / temperament:
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are famous for their hunting abilities. They are supposed to be more intelligent than most retrievers. In a hunt, some dogs are known to attack wounded birds first and then grab the dead ones. Some have been known to retrieve 100 ducks in a single day. They are fiercely territorial and do not like it when other dogs enter their area. They make good obedient watchdogs but they may not attack intruders. Their tolerance to pain is high. In the absence of a strong dominant owner, some Chesapeakes may try to dominate. Chesapeakes have this characteristic 'smile' or the baring of teeth that they often do when happy. They are expressive dogs who display their joy by vocalizing it. They do not do well in isolation and must spend quality time with their family members.

Early socialization and obedience training is necessary to bring out the best in this breed. Trainers may need sufficient experience with this breed. Patient, firm, and consistent training is of great importance as Chesapeakes may appear to be difficult to train initially. However, they are highly intelligent and have a good learning rate. Routines may bore them, as these dogs need to be stimulated mentally and physically to participate in all training exercises.

They are not very noisy though they tend to vocalize their feelings, which must not be mistaken as a sign of aggression.


loving personality, family members, hunting waterfowl, chocolate brown chessie, ocean waves, happy dogs


sheds, neighbors cat, hip dysplasia, Barks, relentless energy


intense focus, high energy, strong dog, joint supplement, powerful chest

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