Chesapeake Bay Retriever: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog breed is characterized by its friendly, intelligent and obedient nature. It has a courageous demeanour and is always ready to work. With children and other pets its attitude is very good. Its body is strong, balanced and powerful. At Petlifey, we explain the character and characteristics of the Chesapeake Bay retriever.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed Character

The Chesapeake Bay retriever has a very particular character, different from the other breeds in the family. It is a very brave dog, with a lot of courage and a rustic temperament that can sometimes be a bit rough.

Also known by the name of ” chessie “, it is a dog with an alert and cheerful behaviour, intelligent, calm and of a protective and affectionate nature.

It always shows a courageous, resistant and well-predisposed attitude to work, it is an essential element for the hunter. It is affectionate, not shy or aggressive.

It is somewhat more stubborn and slower to learn than other dogs of the same family, but it is still friendly, intelligent and very obedient to its owners.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever gets along well with children and can even live with other animals if it is used to it from a young age, although it can also become an excellent cat hunter if they are not part of the family.

  • Energy: High level. You need to do a lot of exercise every day: walking, running, jumping, swimming …
  • Temperament: It is a brave dog, with a lot of courage and a rustic temperament, sometimes almost abrupt. However, it is affectionate, intelligent and obedient. It requires a master with authority and experience.
  • Adaptability: Medium You need to live in the country or in a house with a large garden to run through.
  • Sociability : Medium. You can live with children or with other animals, but only if you get used to it as a puppy.
  • Health: Good. You may suffer from joint pain and hip or elbow dysplasia.
  • Longevity: Medium. Live between 8 and 12 years.
  • Utility: Versatile. It is designed for hunting in swampy and riparian areas. It is also good at tracking, surveillance, rescue, and drug and explosives detection.

Can you live in an apartment in the city?

It is not a suitable dog for living in a small apartment. You can stay indoors for hours, where you are calm and even sleepy.

But it needs a good dose of daily action, which requires at least the possibility of having it loose in a medium-sized garden.

Is it an active dog?

This breed is an action breed, it does not find its place in the world if it does not work, especially in what it likes the most, which is hunting.

In America you can see specimens performing guide dog work, despite the fact that due to their temperament they are not the most suitable dog.

It has also given very satisfactory results in its experiences as a rescue dog for the public order forces, especially in tracking tasks, searching for people, detecting explosives and drugs, and even as a protection dog.

In any case, its use in these tasks is still anecdotal today and is restricted to areas where the breed is more popular, such as Virginia, Maryland or Washington. It can also be seen working in other sports disciplines, especially in frisbee , flyball. and agility , where it works at a good level.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Characteristics

The physical appearance of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a dog with a strong, balanced and powerful constitution. It has a broad, rounded skull and long, strong jaws.

Its double coat full of essential oils protects it from cold and humidity, allowing it to work very efficiently both on land and in water and under the most adverse weather conditions.

What is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever physically like?


It is a dog with a rectangular body structure, since the length of the body exceeds the height at the withers, which is about 62 cm in males and about 57 cm in females.

Very balanced and harmonious, the Chesapeake Bay retriever is robust and strong, with a rounded head well proportioned to the rest of the body, and straight, robust and powerful legs, with solid bones and strong muscles.

Its feet are medium in size, compact and oval in shape, with well arched toes close together. They have well-developed interdigital membranes.

The tail is straight or slightly curved, although the dog does not carry it curled on its back or bent to one side. It is moderately thick at the base and of medium length.


The skull is broad and rounded, with a medium stop and long, strong jaws. The muzzle is medium and the muzzle, without being sharp, narrows when approaching the nose.

Their eyes are usually light, yellowish or amber in color. Medium in size, they are quite separated from each other and have an intelligent look.

The ears are small and set high on the head, from which they hang freely. They are covered in short, soft hair.


The hair is thick and short, with a dense, fine and shaggy undercoat. On the face and limbs it is short and smooth, but tends to curl at the shoulders, neck, back and loin.

On the back of the hind limbs and on the tail, it usually has moderate bangs.

The natural oil from the rough outer coat of hair is vital to protect the dog from cold and humidity.


A peculiarity of this breed, compared to other retrievers, is the range of colors that its coat can present. The first breeders looked for shades that would allow the animal to camouflage itself among the riparian vegetation.

On the other hand, the other retrievers, especially the British, are given in black and liver brown, in addition to the yellow and gold color of the Labrador Retriever and the famous Golden Retriever, since in them the contrast of the dog with the terrain was sought. where it hunted.

Thus, compared to the more classic range of retrievers colors, it is presented in shades very close to the colors of the vegetation, from reddish brown to the tone known as “dead grass”.


The step is uniform, free and without apparent effort. It denotes great power and strength. The front legs have a good reach, and the back legs are characterized by providing great momentum, with good knee flexion and perfect hock joint.

The feet tend to converge towards the center of gravity as the dog gains speed.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed Standard

  • Origin: United States.
  • Size: Large.
  • Height at the withers: between 58 and 66 cm for males and between 53 and 61 cm for females.
  • Weight: between 29 and 36 kg for males and between 25 and 32 kg for females.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 263. Group 8 – Retriever hunting dogs, lifting hunting dogs and water dogs. Section 1 – Retriever Hunting Dogs.
  • Use: Hunting retriever.
  • Other names: Chesapeake Bay retriever, Chesapeake Bay retriever.
  • General appearance: It is a large dog, with a strong, well balanced and powerful constitution.
  • Head: Well proportioned and well moulded.
  • Skull : It is broad and rounded.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): It is medium.
  • Muzzle: The muzzle is not very long and the muzzle is somewhat pointed, without being sharp.
  • Jaws: Strong and solid, they are capable of holding large and heavy pieces. The bite is usually scissor, but some specimens present it in a pincer.
  • Eyes: Medium in size, well separated from each other and have an intelligent expression. They are very light in color, between yellowish and amber.
  • Ears: They are small and are set rather high.
  • Neck: It is quite long, and of strong and muscular appearance.
  • Body: Medium in size, with well collected flanks. At the bottom it is slightly sunken.
  • Back: It is short, well united and powerful.
  • Chest: It is strong, deep and broad, with the rib cage in the shape of
  • Tail: Of medium length and moderate thickness at the root, it is straight or slightly curved, but does not curl over the back or bend to one side.
  • Forelimbs: They are strong, straight, muscular and of medium length. They are endowed with strong bones.
  • Shoulders: They are inclined and move freely, with great vigour and without restriction of movement.
  • Forearms and arms : The forearms are of medium length and slightly sloping.
  • Hind limbs: As strong as the forelimbs, they are especially vigorous, straight, muscular and with strong bones.
  • Legs: They are powerful and straight.
  • Knees: The joint between the femur, patella and tibia is well angulated.
  • Hocks: Medium in size,
  • Feet: They are oval, the so-called “hare’s” feet, medium-sized and with well-developed interdigital membranes. The toes are arched and close together.
  • Hair: The coat is double-layered, the inner one is fine, dense and endowed with abundant natural oils, while the outer one has short, thick, rough and wavy hair.
  • Color: The Chesapeake Bay retriever’s coat resembles the environment in which it works, as it seeks to go unnoticed. Thus, it presents any shade of brown color. Sometimes you have a white patch on your chest, belly, fingers, or the back of your feet.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Education and Training

Unlike other retrievers, this is not an appropriate dog for novice owners. You want to get the best of them and take its teaching and training in an effective way, it is essential that the owner knows how to act with confidence and exercise a natural authority over its dog.

The best way to handle a specimen of this breed is to do it consistently and firmly, while being tactful.

It is very important, in this sense, to create fluid communication with the dog from the first moment and make it very clear from the beginning who exercises authority in a natural way.

Otherwise, it can become a very dominant animal, and if it perceives a lack of character in its master, it may develop a series of dominant behaviours that can be very annoying and sometimes cause living with the dog to become untenable.

If its master or guide is not stronger and more dominant than the dog, but as a simple companion, the strong territorial instinct of the animal can transform it into a dog that is too dominant, even aggressive, and very proud and reserved with strangers.

It is a strong dog and, therefore, it needs an education and a firm handling so that it is fun and active, and you can enjoy a full and lasting relationship with it.

Thus, the work of socialization and training must be started from the moment the puppy arrives home.

You should try to put the dog in as many situations as possible, and even take it to states of controlled stress that activate its mental mechanisms and make it understand each circumstance, analyze what is happening around it and avoid the development of irrational fears or episodes of shyness that would modify their natural character.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Health and Diseases

To be healthy physically and mentally, this dog needs a good dose of physical exercise, and simple walks on the leash are not enough, but the activities must be vigorous, strong, active, with water sessions included, and where it can run and jump in total freedom.

As with almost all working breeds, this one is in essentially good health. Like most large breeds, they are affected by some joint problems, especially elbow and hip dysplasia, but these conditions can be prevented by going to specimens of selective and controlled breeding, and by providing the animal with care and necessary exercise during the growth stage.

Apart from this, it is a robust dog that in principle only needs to visit the veterinarian routinely to continue with its vaccination schedule and a complete program of external and internal deworming, the first step to having a strong and stable immune system.

During these visits it is also advisable to monitor the dog’s oral and eye health, its weight and its general physical condition.

Being a little-known breed, of a rather modern development and located in a very specific area of ​​the United States, it is genetically very well adapted to living in areas with a continental climate.

Especially if there are cold winters and mild summers. Although it can acclimate to almost any latitude, it does not tolerate heat well, and a hot and humid climate goes against some of its essential characteristics.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever diet

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is an undemanding dog breed with its diet. It is satisfied with what it has at its disposal, but being active, large, strong and living in very cold areas, the energy contribution of its diet must be high and of very good quality.

If the specimen eats with excessive anxiety, the daily dose of food can be divided into two doses. It is very important to provide quality food, high in protein and healthy fats.

How to care for a Chesapeake Bay Retriever

As for the hygiene of the animal, its hair is very easy to take care of : you just have to brush it regularly using a strong brush to remove dead hair, since its coat never knots.

Bathing is necessary only when the dog is very dirty or smells bad and for this you should use a soap that is as neutral as possible and with very little detergent load. Otherwise, the essential hair fat for the protection provided by the mantle is eliminated.

Curiously, the Chesapeake Bay retriever is not a very popular breed, despite the fact that, as has been seen, it is an easy animal to maintain, since it requires very little care, has great qualities as a hunting dog and has a strong and well established breed club in America.

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