Hardy, burly, strong, rugged. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers make excellent watchdogs; can be protective and territorial. Calm in the house if properly exercised. Very talkative. Loves water; can handle icy water with ease. Excellent family dogs, although require a strong owner as they can be dominant. Not for the new dog owner.
United States, 1800s. In late 1807, two Newfoundlands that survived a shipwreck off the coast of Maryland were adopted by a family of dog lovers. They were later mated with local retrievers including English Otter Hounds, Flat-Coated Retrievers and Curly-Coated Retrievers. Meticulous breeding over the years resulted in an outstanding retriever with astounding enthusiasm and endurance. The dogs were used to hunt waterfowl in the rough and icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay, retrieving hundreds of birds in a single day in frigid waters.
Hunting and retrieving game (ducks), especially in rough conditions.
Hardworking, strong-willed, loyal, inquisitive, courageous, protective. Chesapeakes are usually slow to mature.
53.5 to 66 cm; 25 to 36.5 kg. Colours are brown shades, including a light shade called “deadgrass.” Other shades include red, brown, yellow, tan, and “sedge.” White markings are permitted on the chest, belly, toes, or back of feet. The coat tends to fade a bit in the summer. Eyes are amber-coloured.
Double, water-resistant coat is thick, wavy, and short (less than 4 cm), loaded with natural oils and has a distinct smell; undercoat is dense and woolly. The coat repels water like a duck’s feathers. Moderate maintenance; brushing twice a week. Bathe only when necessary to prevent any noticeable odour, as frequent baths may strip the coat of its oils. No trimming required. An average shedder.
Hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, eye problems (PRA, cataracts), eczema.
High; this tireless dog needs a lot of outside exercise. Factor in swimming, as they are good swimmers.
Not suitable for urban life; needs a lot of room to run; preferably near a body of water. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers prefer cool climates.
Very protective of family. Friendly and good with gentle kids. Reserved toward strangers. Will usually accept other dogs, although tries to dominate them; may be aggressive on occasion. Will accept cats that are living in the house, but will chase other cats.
Average. Early socialisation and regular obedience training is needed to stay in charge of this dominant dog; they can be wilful. Needs a firm and consistent approach. Many do not do well with crate training.
Field trials, waterfowl retrieving, obedience.