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Chesapeake Bay Retriever

ChesapeakeBayRetriever

A Sensitive & Loyal Protector

Loving, gentle, active

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are eager to please, even-tempered, and responsive, large dogs. This retriever may be protective and reserved toward strangers and other dogs. They love to swim and retrieve, and can adapt to live in most climates. These dogs are calm and reserved while indoors, but energetic and excited while outdoors. Chessies make great companions for runners, families, hunters, experienced dog handlers, and those who enjoy the outdoors. They enjoy spending time with their family, and need daily vigorous exercise.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever in the photo is not yet fully grown.

Breed Details

Height:21-26 in. Weight:55-80 lb Lifespan:10-12 years

Size
4

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
2

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
3

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
3

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
4

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
2

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: They are smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. They are sensitive dogs and don't do well with harsh training methods or punishment; always end training on a positive note. They have a passion for water and swimming is a perfect form of exercise for this water retriever.

Grooming: They have low grooming needs. Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly. Their weather resistant coat needs its natural oils, so don't over bathe them.

Dental: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are tough working dogs, but also sensitive, loyal, and protective. They are at their best when they have a job to do and are treated as a member of the family.

Positive Traits:

  • Highly active and eager to have a purpose

  • Eager to please and responsive to training

  • An excellent family dog that loves human companionship

  • Protective of family: good watch dog

  • Even temper and gentle disposition

  • Loving and loyal to their owners

Negative Traits:

  • Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices

  • Needs frequent attention from their family

  • Overprotective of family and territory if not socialized properly

  • Willful and stubborn if you don’t show strong leadership

  • Does not easily make friends with strangers

  • Sensitive, matures slowly 

Whether you are considering adding a new Chesapeake Bay Retriever to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Chesapeake Bay Retriever will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds.

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Chesapeake Bay Retriever you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

Some health issues a Chesapeake Bay Retriever could encounter:

  • Bloat
  • Eye Problems
  • Eyelid Abnormality
  • Blindness

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the state dog of Maryland and originated in the 19th Century. Chessies are tough water retrievers that fetch ducks from water in extreme conditions. They are known for their characteristic smile; a peculiar grin forms when they reveal their front teeth. They are intensely loyal and protective of their family and home. The Chessie is a healthy breed with an average lifespan of 10-12 years.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Chesapeake Bay Retriever shows signs of the following:

  • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen 

  • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

  • Cloudiness to eye lens Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

  • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

  • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

  • General reluctance to run or play

  • Dragging the hind toes and hind limb weakness

  • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

  • Misplaced or missing teeth, bad breath, hair and food stuck between teeth

  • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

  • Soft, non-painful bulge near the belly button

  • Care

    Routine Care: They are smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. They are sensitive dogs and don't do well with harsh training methods or punishment; always end training on a positive note. They have a passion for water and swimming is a perfect form of exercise for this water retriever.

    Grooming: They have low grooming needs. Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly. Their weather resistant coat needs its natural oils, so don't over bathe them.

    Dental: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

  • Characteristics

    Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are tough working dogs, but also sensitive, loyal, and protective. They are at their best when they have a job to do and are treated as a member of the family.

    Positive Traits:

    • Highly active and eager to have a purpose

    • Eager to please and responsive to training

    • An excellent family dog that loves human companionship

    • Protective of family: good watch dog

    • Even temper and gentle disposition

    • Loving and loyal to their owners

    Negative Traits:

    • Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices

    • Needs frequent attention from their family

    • Overprotective of family and territory if not socialized properly

    • Willful and stubborn if you don’t show strong leadership

    • Does not easily make friends with strangers

    • Sensitive, matures slowly 

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Chesapeake Bay Retriever to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Chesapeake Bay Retriever will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds.

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Chesapeake Bay Retriever you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

    Some health issues a Chesapeake Bay Retriever could encounter:

    • Bloat
    • Eye Problems
    • Eyelid Abnormality
    • Blindness
  • History

    The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the state dog of Maryland and originated in the 19th Century. Chessies are tough water retrievers that fetch ducks from water in extreme conditions. They are known for their characteristic smile; a peculiar grin forms when they reveal their front teeth. They are intensely loyal and protective of their family and home. The Chessie is a healthy breed with an average lifespan of 10-12 years.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Chesapeake Bay Retriever shows signs of the following:

    • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen 

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

    • Cloudiness to eye lens Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

    • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Dragging the hind toes and hind limb weakness

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Misplaced or missing teeth, bad breath, hair and food stuck between teeth

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

    • Soft, non-painful bulge near the belly button

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Chesapeake Bay Retriever breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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