Chesapeake Bay Retriever


A medium to large sized Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chesapeake Bay Retriever Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)21-26in (53-66cm)
Weight55-80lbs (25-36kg)
Hair Colour(s)Brown
Lifespan10-12 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size7-8
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirementsHigh
Ease of trainingHigh
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityMedium
Aggression levelsMedium
Distress if leftLow

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a powerful and athletic dog with impressive muscle tone. It has a deep chest, strong limbs with webbed feet, and the hind legs are slightly higher than the shoulders. The head is wide with an eager and determined expression, and the coat is short, thick and harsh and with woolly undercoat and a waterproof, oily outer coat. The colouring is normally brown or sometimes a reddish yellow.


Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are devoted, determined and sensible dogs. As they are intelligent and friendly, they respond well to obedience training and are eager and quick to learn. However, as they are also confident, highly territorial and sometimes dominant, owners will need to be assertive and reinforce their role as leader. For these reasons they are best suited to experienced dog owners. These dogs will get along well with older more considerate children, as well as pets they have been brought up and well socialised with, but they may be aggressive towards unfamilar animals and wary around strangers due to their territorial nature. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are loyal and protective dogs, and so they make effective watchdogs. They tend to chew quite a bit and so need suitable toys for this to prevent them turning this tendency towards owners' belongings.

History & Skills

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers originate from Maryland, in the USA, and have a rather unique history. In the 17th century the forerunner of these dogs survived a shipwreck and was taken in by a local family. This breed was eventually crossed with local retrievers, and later with with other breeds such as spaniels and hounds, with the breed standard being finalised in 1885. Orignally bred for hunting and retrieving ducks and geese from the roughest and coldest of waters, they still hold these skills today and excel in guarding, tracking, retrieving, and hunting.

Breed Specific Ailments

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers tend to live between 10-12 years and are a relatively healthy breed. However, they do come with a number of health related problems, including OCD, PRA, hip and elbow dysplasia, and cataracts. These dogs can also become overweight if they are overfed and not exercised enough.


Chesapeake Bay Retrievers only require minimal grooming, as over brushing can affect the texture of the coat. The coat should be brushed once a week, and only more often if they are shedding heavily. As the coat is oily and waterproof, these dogs should not be bathed very often because this could damage the coat.

Exercise & Environment

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are great outdoor dogs and are not suitable for small homes. They tend to sleep outdoors and will need access to a yard or garden area, and are not suited to hotter climates unless there is a body of water nearby. Although not very active while indoors, they have energy to spare when outdoors. They need quite a lot of exercise, something in the region of at least two hours a day, and if they can get the chance to swim this is even better. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers adore being in the water and can spend hours in the coldest of waters. If not exercised enough, these dogs tend to behave badly. These dogs are also excellent retrievers and will love play any games involving to retrieving.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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