The Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Exercise Requirements  
Grooming Requirements  
Weight25 - 32 Kg (approx)
Life Span10 - 12 Years (approx)


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a powerful, muscular retriever with a slightly wavy, rather short coat that comes in shades of brown, red or tan ranging from a dead-grass-straw color to a deep dark brown with red overtones. Solid colors are preferred, but some white is permitted on the chest and feet. Both the harsh outer coat and dense wooly undercoat are oily for water-repellence. The head is round and broad with a medium stop and muzzle. The lips are thin. The small ears hang down and the eyes are yellowish colored. The tail is 12-15 inches (30-37 cm.) long. The forelegs should be straight with good bone. The hindquarters are especially strong and the toes webbed since excellent swimming ability is important for the Chesapeake. Dewclaws on the rear legs should definitely be removed. Removal of the front dewclaws is optional, but highly recommended if the dog will be used in the field.


The history of the Chesapeake Bay retriever is one of the most fascinating and fortunate in dogdom. In 1807, an American ship rescued the crew and cargo from a shipwrecked English brig off the coast of Maryland. Among the rescued were two presumably Newfoundland pups that were given to the rescuers. These pups (one black and one red) later proved to be skilled water retrievers, and as their reputations grew, many local retrievers of uncertain background came to be bred to them. It is also thought that Irish water spaniel, Newfoundland, bloodhound and other local hound crosses added to the development of the breed. Gradually a distinct local breed emerged, a dog that would repeatedly swim through the rough icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay and unerringly retrieve duck after duck. Even today, the Chessie is renowned for its remarkable ability to mark and remember where a bird has fallen. Its reputation spread well beyond the Chesapeake Bay area. By 1885, the breed was thoroughly established and recognized by the AKC. Despite being one of the oldest AKC recognized breeds, as well as one of the few breeds that can boast of being made in the United States, the Chessie's popularity has remained modest


The Chesapeake Bay retriever is hardy enough to not only withstand, but also relish, repeated plunges into icy water. It loves to swim and retrieve. Despite an active life when outdoors, inside it tends to be calm. The Chessie tends to be independent, although it is eager to learn. It is reserved with strangers and can be protective; it also can be aggressive toward strange dogs if challenged. This is the hardiest, most strong-willed and protective of the retriever breeds.

Care / Grooming

The dense, harsh, short-haired coat is easy to groom. Brush with a firm bristle brush to remove the dead hairs. While the Chesapeake needs the occasional bath to prevent any noticeable odor, they should not be bathed so often that the oily texture is stripped out. The oily coat helps protect it from icy waters. This breed is an average shedder.


Prone to eye problems and hip dysplasia.

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