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Chesapeake Bay Retriever
He Loves The Great Outdoors!

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, primarily bred for duck hunting, takes its name from the bay located off the Virginia and Maryland coastline and from which its ancestors were rescued.

chesapeake bay retriever swimming in the water

The story goes that two Newfoundland dogs, aboard an English ship which wrecked in the bay, were rescued along with the crew members and brought to shore.

Subsequently, the Newfies were interbred with other dogs in the area - most likely coonhounds and curly coated retrievers, which began the development of the all American CBR that we know today.

The Chessie, as he is affectionately called, has all the physical attributes and stamina of a dog bred for working in water and in adverse weather conditions. His body is muscular, well-developed and protected by a dense oily coat that is weatherproof.

Appearance, Coat and Care

Height: 21-26 inches
Weight: 55-80 lbs
Color variations: Various shades of brown or sedge, though the most favored color would be one that blends in with the terrain in which the dog works, which is often described as dead grass or hay.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Art Print Signed by Artist DJ RogersChesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Art Print Signed by Artist DJ Rogers

The outercoat is short, thick, very coarse and partly wavy except on the face and legs, while the undercoat is dense, though quite fine and woolly. The coat is ideally suited for working in bad weather and cold waters and dries easily with merely a shake.

The Chessie sheds about average. Regular brushing will maintain the coat and remove loose hair. Bathe occasionally, but use a low-lather shampoo to prevent stripping coat of natural oils.

Personality and Traits

chesapeake bay retriever dog The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a good disposition and is very affectionate and loyal to its family.

He has a protective nature about everything he values and while not unfriendly to strangers, his intelligence causes him to take a more wait-and-see stance.

Owners are encouraged to make sure the Chessie is well-socialized from an early age to balance out his orientation and any dog aggressive tendency.

Chessies are an independent and confident breed and will happily take the dominant role if allowed. They need an owner who can provide strong leadership.

Obedience training will put the owner in control and is best carried out in a firm, consistent, but not unkindly manner. They are very intelligent dogs that learn quickly and are eager to please their owners.

Activity Level

Relatively quiet indoors, but Chessies need plenty of exercise. In addition to the daily routine, involvement in some kind of retrieving activity or field trials would be ideal.

The opportunity to swim is a given.

Space Needs

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is not a suitable breed to house in small quarters such as an apartment or condo.

Ideally, he needs to have access to a significant yard and plenty of room to run.


The Chessie would have a hard time figuring out how to interact with very young children. Best with older and more mature young adults who have been taught how to act responsibly around pets, especially large ones.

The best policy in families where children interact with pets, is to always have adult supervision, no matter what the breed of dog.

Seniors Or Less Active

The high exercise requirement, plus more dominant personality, would probably not make this the most suitable breed for the less active lifestyle.

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Book Recommendations:

chesapeake kennel club book chesapeake bay retriever kennel club book

Chesapeake Bay Retriever (KCB)

Up-to-date resource covering the breed's characteristics, grooming, selection, nutrition, healthcare, housetraining and basic manners. Good for the novice owner or someone considering the breed. Written by a respected breeder.

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