By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 18th October 2022

Chesapeake Bay Retriever


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 18th October 2022

Large, well-built, sturdy, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, is an immensely versatile dog, as it not just excels in hunting, but also play a significant role as therapy and K-9 dogs because of its adorable nature and strong scenting skill respectively. The Chessie has a unique appearance indeed with a round, broad, head, strong jaws with which it can tenderly and easily carry large birds, medium to large eyes, small, well set loosely hanging ears and a straight or slightly curved tail that is heavy at its base. These excellent, athletic watchdogs, they qualify as great family pets.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Pictures

Quick Information

Other namesCBR, Chesapeake, Chessie
CoatWaterproof, wavy double coat with an oily texture – Outer coat: Thick, short, oily and harsh; Undercoat: Firm, dense, woolly
ColorDark brown, light brown, sedge (strawberry colored), deadgrass, tan
Breed typePurebred
GroupSporting dog, Retrievers
Average lifespan 10 to 13 years
Size (How big do they get)Large
Height Males: 23 to 26 inches; Females: 21 to 24 inches
WeightMales: 65 to 80 pounds; Females: 55 to 70 pounds
PersonalityAlert, affectionate, intelligence, strong-willed, courageous
Good with childrenYes (preferably older ones)
Climate CompatibilityPrefers cool climate
Braking tendencyModerately high
Shedding (Does it shed)Excessively
Competitive Qualification/ InformationAKC, CKC, ANKC, KC (UK), NZKC, UKC, FCI

Video of Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppies


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was developed in the 19th century because of the initiatives of wealthy merchants who were the owners of the duck clubs, located along both the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Two dogs named Canton (black-colored female dog) and Sailor (red-colored male dog) who were thought to be of the Newfoundland breed rescued in Maryland in the year 1807 from an England bound ship, were regarded as Chessie’s direct ancestors. While Sailor lived in the West River region of South Dakota, Canton stayed at the Sparrow’s Point region in Maryland. Both excelled as great water dogs and were pro in hunting ducks, with their puppies also developing similar skills, though there have been no records of any mating initiated between Canton and Sailor. Rather both of them were bred separately with dogs of their respective areas and the motive was to produce a breed adept at duck hunting.  The resultant dogs evolving from the various breeding were identified as one of the three varieties of Chesapeake Bay Ducking Dog in the year 1877. Finally, the AKC recognized a definitive variety of this breed that could dive through Chesapeake’s icy waters and retrieve at least 300 ducks per day. In 1918 the American Chesapeake Club had been formed while in 1964 it came to be declared as Maryland’s official dog.

Temperament and Personality

They indeed are a delight to watch as far as their disposition is concerned, since a Chessie would be bright, lively, and affectionate, and at the same time alert, hardworking as well as courageous.

It also has a great sense of humor that could be one of the reasons why it is often employed as therapy dogs to assist the ailing and old. Being jovial, they might either express their happiness by being highly vocal or even merely letting out a grin.

Despite their pleasant nature, the CBR could even display a sense of stubbornness and be adamant about doing something that he has fixed his mind about.

Though they are fond of kids, the Chessie is not suited for young children mainly because of its possessiveness towards its food as well as toys. They also have some amount of bounciness that can tempt them to knock down things which is another reason why they should not be left alone with kids.

They do not qualify as good watchdogs but are wary about strangers, at times even showing their aggressive self in the pursuit of protecting their families.

These sporting dogs could be aggressive with dogs they have not been brought up with, and may even be aversive to cats unless socialized.



They have high exercise requirements, and a good deal of physical workout is needed to prevent them from being destructive. Take your Chessie out on a walk, give them sufficient playtime or even allow them to swim to keep them physically and mentally energized. Dog sports like agility, tracking and obedience are also desirable.


Being high shedders, they need to be brushed one time in a week using a rubber curry brush to prevent dead hair removal. Bathe it only when needed and trim its nails, clean its eyes and ears as well as brush its teeth on a routine basis.

Health Problems

Some of the common health problems that this breed might face include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, gastric dilation volvulus and progressive retinal atrophy.


Their stubborn and strong-willed nature could make training a little challenging, thus requiring a firm taskmaster.

  • Socialization training is essential to help them distinguish the good from the bad, so that they may learn to accept a friend and be suspicious of a foe. Take them to dog parks or ask your friends to get along their pets and arrange for a puppy party so that your Chessie may learn to get along with other canines.
  • Obedience training would help in lessening their aggression and also instill a sense of discipline in them.

Interesting Facts

  • The University of Maryland in Baltimore has this breed as its mascot.
  • American president Theodore Roosevelt was one of the several personalities to own a Chessie.
  • An iron statue of this breed is seen embossed on the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s front door.

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