Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Breed: History, Temperament, Care, Training & more

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Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Breed Information

Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Level of Energy    
Exercise Needs    
Level of Affection   
Climate Tolerance   
Good With Children   
Tolerance of Animals    
Suitable as Watch Dog   

Chesapeake Bay Retriever – Just The Facts

  • AKC Popularity:  43
  • AKC Breed Group: Sporting
  • Size of Male:  65-80 lbs., 23-26 in.
  • Size of Female:  55-70 lbs., 21-24 in.
  • Color:  Brown, Red, Sedge (a tan color, like the color of dead grass)
  • Average Lifespan:  10-13 years
  • Breed Origin:  United States
  • Purpose:  Retriever, Water Dog

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General Description

Known as the fiercest of the retrievers, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the gentle canine that can turn out to be the big boss of your home, if given the chance. The Chessie makes an ideal companion both indoors and outdoors. It is famous for its ability to swim tirelessly in the water while hunting for fowls such as geese and ducks.

Origin and History

As its name suggests, the Chessie is an American breed that frequents the expanse of water in Chesapeake Bay.

An 1807 shipwreck led to the rescue of two Newfoundlands that were interbred with a variety of local retrievers, hounds and water spaniels to produce the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

When not swimming, the dogs make reliable protectors of present-day households.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Temperament

The typical dog sports a cheerful disposition and seems to know exactly how to behave. It is mild mannered at home and energetic outdoors. You will find the breed’s patience with small children outstanding. The dogs can tolerate rough play very well.

These rough moments don’t exist without a catch though. Chessie dogs are highly protective. They can easily attack anybody whom they perceive to be at odds with you.

By nature, the dog loves to be the boss. It acts dominantly around other canines and small animals. Most pet owners will tell you that one Chesapeake Bay Retriever is enough. If you raise two in your home, you can very well expect every day to be a power struggle.

Care, Grooming, Diet & Exercise

Living Environment – An apartment is no abode for this dog breed. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers do better in a spacious home that has access to a safely fenced yard and, better yet, access to a body of water. A house that is situated close to a lake or sea would be paradise for the Chessie.

Indoors, make sure that your things are neatly tucked away. The breed has a nasty chewing habit and can make a mess out of your favorite stuff.

Grooming – It doesn’t take much to maintain the Chessie’s coat. Brush it once a week, and you’re good to go! Don’t even think of giving the large hound a bath unless absolutely necessary. Shampooing can strip the coat of essential oils and reduce water resistance.

Diet & Exercise – While a natural or home-cooked diet is recommended, dry and high-grade kibble will work just as well for the Chessie dog. Cooked fish will be optimal but avoid serving onions and don’t overdo vitamin supplementation. The serving size is 500 grams during the dog’s first 18 months and 1,000 grams onwards.

As can be expected from a large active dog, daily exercise is a must. A good dose of mental and physical stimulation will ensure that the breed stays well tempered in your home. Swimming and long walks are top activities for the domesticated Chessie.

Health – Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are not exempted from dog health problems. Canine cataracts, and bone and joint complications plague all kinds of retrievers, including the Chessie. Many of the dogs also suffer from gastric torsion and chronic canine heart disease. It would be smart to have your Chessie undergo hip and eye examinations.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Trainability

If you think this dog breed is as malleable as a Golden Retriever, think again. Respect training and early socialization are a must. These dogs are actually quite slow to mature and tend to dominate companions whenever they can.

You must be ready to show the Chessie that you’re the boss of the household at all times. When dog training is done right, the athletic Chesapeake Bay Retriever can definitely stand out in obedience sports.