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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Origin: U.S.A.

AKC Group: Sporting

Height: 21 inches (Male)

Weight: 55 pounds (Male)

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Male height: 
21 inches
Male weight: 
55 pounds
Moderately short, thick and harsh outercoat with a dense, woolly undercoat.
Any color of brown, sedge (reddish shades), or deadgrass (tan shades).

Early settlers to the United States marveled at the richness and diversity of life in and along the Chesapeake Bay - the largest estuary in the United States, stretching from Havre de, Maryland to Norfolk, Virginia. Ducks have always been especially plentiful, and sportsmen with able retrievers have enjoyed great success there. So valued was the right kind of retriever that over time, a special dog was developed, and in the later part of the 1800s, the "Chesapeake Bay ducking dog" was promoted and standardized. The development of the breed that would eventually become the Chesapeake Bay Retriever occurred over much of the 19th century and had multiple influences, including the Red Winchester from Ireland and possibly the Irish Water Spaniel.

Today's Chesapeake Bay Retriever ("Chessie") is as constitutionally "tough" as his forebears, able to hunt in harsh conditions and deliver for the hunter. This tenacity can be intimidating to inexperienced dog owners. For those who can handle a dog with a mind of his own, the Chessie makes an exceptional sporting companion. He is intelligent and affectionate with his family and can be very protective of them.
At home: 
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a hardy, utilitarian dog who will not be happy sitting in an apartment all day - he needs space and an active owner. Although relatively inactive indoors, the Chessie loves and needs to be outside - preferably with a job to do. His dense coat means that he can withstand (and even enjoy) harsh, cold weather. His protective instincts make him a formidable watchdog.
Chessies must have daily exercise. They are known for their endurance and ability, so a short walk around the block will not be enough to satisfy them. One of the breed's favorite activities is swimming, no matter the weather. Long jaunts that include visits to a favorite water hole suit this breed just fine.
Chessies require a high-quality, nutritious diet. Some owners like to add small bits of fish to their food, as it was a natural part of the breed's diet during its development.
A firm and fair trainer will get the most out of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, who is smart enough to figure things out to his advantage quickly. Particularly responsive and adept in hunting and retrieving situations - and certainly capable of much more - the Chessie will excel under the guidance of someone who can handle him. Socialization from an early age is extremely beneficial.
In general, Chessies are good with children but may be territorial with other dogs and pets, so early socialization is necessary.
The average life span of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is 10 to 12 years. Breed health concerns may include allergies; degenerative myelopathy; hip dysplasia; progressive retinal atrophy (PRA); and seizures.
Fun fact: 

The most desirable coat color for a Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the color of "dead grass."

Grooming blurb: 
The harsh, thick and almost oily coat of the Chessie is self-maintained and needs only occasional brushing with a firm bristle brush. He is an average shedder.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.