The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an excellent gun dog that likes to swim and can work well in cold weather. This is a large dog that has a distinctive oily coat that helps with repel water. The Chesapeake is different than other retrievers in that he can be more aggressive, willful and reserved with strangers.


The breed can live peacefully with the family, although you may find that this dog is a bit more protective and aggressive than other retrievers.

Appearance of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Height: 23 – 26 inches
Weight: 65 – 80 pounds
Lifespan: 10 -12 years.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a powerful dog with a wavy coat. The head is round and broad with small ears that hang down. The tail is 12-15 inches long. The legs are strong and the toes webbed since good swimming ability is important for the Chesapeake.

The dense, harsh, short-haired coat is easy to groom. Solid colors in shades of brown, red or tan are preferred, but some white is permitted on the chest and feet. The harsh outer coat and dense wooly undercoat are oily for water-repellence that helps protect it from icy waters. While the Chesapeake Bay Retriever needs an occasional bath to prevent noticeable musky type odor. This breed is an average shedder.

Use of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever in the Field

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever makes an excellent tracking and retrieving dog with incredible enthusiasm and endurance in inclement weather. They love water and swimming and can bear cold weather very well. With its powerful strength, it has been known to break through the ice to retrieve water fowl.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an intelligent dog with a mind of their own. They are not recommended for an inexperienced dog owner. The handler needs to be confident and consistent with a kind approach to be successful in training these dogs.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever at Home

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can make fine family companions and are affectionate and good with children. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers need a good deal of vigorous activity, and will do best with at least an average-sized yard. They prefer cool climates to hot and they love to swim and retrieve. They need to be taken on a daily long walks or jogs for if they do not get enough exercise they may become neurotic from boredom.

They are rather willful and this breed can be prone to dominance problems. Attending obedience classes is recommended with this breed.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are not recommended for apartment life.

History of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

In 1807 two Newfoundland dogs were shipwrecked off the coast of Maryland in the Chesapeake Bay. They were mated with local retrievers. The new breed proved to be excellent for hunting. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was originally called the Chesapeake Bay Ducking Dog because of its ability to retrieve ducks in the cold waters of the north.

Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1878, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, or Chessie, is an American original, having been bred here for over 200 years.

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  • Affectionate, Bright, Sensitive
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 45 of 193
  • Height: 23-26 inches (male), 21-24 inches (female)
  • Weight: 65-80 pounds (male), 55-70 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 10-13 years
  • Group: Sporting Group

American Chesapeake Club

Club Website


Originally posted 2016-09-11 06:34:19.