Breed Spotlight: Chesapeake Bay Retriever

With a happy disposition, and powerful build, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is both a loyal gundog and a affectionate family member. Males can weigh in at 80 lbs, and feature a wavy, water resistant coat in solid colors of brown, sedge (reddish gold), or deadgrass (straw).


Originating in the United States, the Chessie was bred from Newfoundland dogs rescued from a shipwrecked English brig off the coast of Maryland in the early 1800s. The puppies “Sailor” and “Canton” were bred with other good retrievers such as the English Otter Hound and Curly-Coated Retriever.


Whip smart, Chessies catch on to training quickly, yet can create their own rules. They are protective of their family, and are polite, but sometimes aloof towards strangers. They are natural watchdogs and enjoy being hunting companions. They are especially known for their skill navigating rough, icy water.

Obedience training is strongly recommended for the Chesapeake in order to help this large, powerful, and active dog fit well into family life. Puppy training classes provide an excellent way to socialize your Chessie while establishing basic commands. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have active minds and bodies and need to be provided with daily work to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. As natural athletes, they take to most activities very easily, whether it is hunting, agility, field work, tracking, or therapy. Invest in good retrieval toys for your Chessie, including waterproof floating toys for beach, lake, and pool retrieving fun!


Hip dysplasia is a concern for this large dog breed, as well as Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration (PRCD). Both can be minimized through genetic testing of breed stock. Pet parents should request test results from any health and genetic testing the breeder has performed. Good breeders will be very open to share this kind of information.

Chessies make a wonderful family or working companion for an active lifestyle. Their loyalty and loveable demeanor is sure to win you over, and help keep you active!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *