Chesapeake Bay Retriever

AKC Group: Sporting

It’s believed the Chesapeake Bay Retriever originated from a shipwreck off the Maryland coast in 1807. The story says that two Newfoundland dogs onboard survived the wreck and came to live with a local family. The family crossed them with local retrievers or native dogs. A new breed developed that was able to swim in the frigid waters of Chesapeake Bay. The dog continues to be a popular breed in the area. They remain a favorite dog of duck or goose hunters. Some records suggest they have retrieved up to 200 a day!

Size: 2o to 25 inches tall, 55 to 80 pounds

Color: All shades and colors of brown, they usually have red highlights. Small amounts of white on the chest or feet are possible.

Life span: 10 to 12 years

Health problems: Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), hip or elbow dysplasia or cataracts are often noted.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a large, athletically built handsome dog. He carries himself with the utmost grace and agility, yet he is a rugged and powerful pooch. He is a bag of muscles! His coat is short, dense and harsh. His outer coat is oily, making it waterproof (a good thing since he helps humans to hunt in the water).

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are devoted, determined and tenacious. He is loyal and protective, making him an effective watchdog. Chesapeakes are territorial and can get aggressive with strange animals and people. With kids, they do best with considerate children. If they are raised alongside an infant, you’ll never have a problem. A Chesapeake may not do well with you if he’s your first dog. Bred to retrieve, they will never tire of fetch. They love water, cold water will not bother them a bit. They love to run and play. They can pretty much learn anything and love a varied exercise routine. A Chesapeake is always up for anything. Chesapeakes are quick learners but require assertive leadership. A Chesapeake also loves to chew, so provide him with plenty of chew toys, or you’ll regret it quickly.

Brush your Chesapeake weekly with a natural bristle brush. (During shedding season, you can brush him a little more frequently.) Avoid over-brushing or you’ll strip the natural oils in his coat which will, in turn, change the texture of his coat. Training a Chesapeake requires much repetition to help him master the trick or command. Training should be done by one person until he’s achieved mastery, otherwise he may become confused and, possibly, he won’t even learn the skill. You’ll need to be assertive without punishments or being harsh. A Chesapeake is sensitive to your mood and tone. A slight reprimand is enough to stop a Chesapeake’s bad behavior. Early socialization is important in order to overcome the dog-aggression trait. This is also more common in unaltered males, so simply neutering him can reduce incidences further. Consequently, females that are spayed tend to be less aggressive and more people-focused too.

Chesapeakes do great with kids. If they’re trained properly, your youngest family members can get him to follow their directions. If your home includes cats, a Chesapeake needs to be socialized as early as possible (preferably as a puppy) in order to know what to expect. A Chesapeake and cats can make the best of friends. It’s not recommended that Chesapeakes live with other smaller animals though. A final note, it’s best to begin any training session with an exercise period first. This will allow your Chesapeake to burn off energy and be able to focus.

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