Dog Breeds 101: Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Dog Breeds 101 – Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Photo – Wikipedia (PD)

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever (nicknamed Chessie) was bred to hunt waterfowl in the rough and icy waters of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. There are even authenticated stories of Chessies retrieving as many as 100 ducks a day. Bred to have a keen sense of smell, these dogs can fill many job descriptions. [1]

The powerful and muscular Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a broad head and wide-set eyes that are yellowish to amber in color. The ears are small and set high, hanging loosely. The Chessie has webbed toes making it a great swimmer and its oily, short coat is dense and wavy. The oils in the coat help in making the dog waterproof and also enables it to swim in cold waters. The breed’s average life span is 10 to 13 years. [2]


Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can trace their origins to the two dogs rescued from a foundering ship which sank near the waters of Maryland in 1807. The two dogs were a male and a female and were described to look like Newfoundland dogs. The two lived in different parts of the bay area and never produced a litter together. However, they mated with the local dogs in the area and thus began the Chesapeake Bay Retriever breed. [3]

The bright and happy Chessie has a strong work ethic and an alert nature making it an excellent watchdog. However, these dogs tend to be strongminded and stubborn which creates some problems during training. They need to be trained firmly and consistently to make them ideal house pets. When Chessies get an idea in their heads, it is hard to shake that idea off. When they want something, they will be persistent in going after it. This obsessive stubbornness is useful when retrieving ducks but it is not so great when they are bugging their humans for something. [1]

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