All About the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

All About the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

All About the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a tough and hardy retriever breed. It is native to the Chesapeake Bay, which happens to be an estuary from Maryland to Virginia. This strong and powerfully built dog is from the retriever, gun dog breed, and is nicknamed ‘Chessie;’ or Chesapeake. This retriever breed is effective on land as well as in water and hence perceived as a resilient and strong work dog.

The ‘Chessie’ can hunt down the water birds even in the toughest weather conditions. It is known to swim in icy cold waters and is a resilient breed, built for endurance. The Chesapeake is an excellent family dog and can be protective of its family. It is known for its unique coat that gets barely wet after swimming.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Swimming

General Appearance of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

When describing a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, a few features stand out which are characteristic to the breed:

The head is wide and circular in shape with jaws strong enough to carry or hold hunted birds with ease. The outer coating on the dog is rough, not long, resembling ripples. It has a thick and wool type coat underneath, which has plenty of natural oils, making it the best coat for the chilly and rough weather types.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is medium-sized dog in length but has a strongly built body along with sturdy legs. This breed is very active and agile. It has a broad chest that it uses when swimming to break apart ice. It has webbed toes that make it even more effective while moving in the water.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever General Appearance

The facial features of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever are specific. The Chessie has transparent and yellowish-brown eyes. As far as the ears are concerned, they are not too long and are drooping. The muzzle is almost as long as the skull, and it tapers, pointing, ending into a blunt. The tail tends to be of moderate width at the start and gets thinner towards the tip. The tip of the tail is straight or can be a bit curvy.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever General Appearance Face

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Height

The males are usually around 23 inches to 26 inches, while females range from 21 inches to 24 inches.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Weight

The male Chesapeake Bay Retriever weighs on an average between 65 pounds to 80 pounds. In terms of female Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, they weigh around 55 pounds to 70 pounds.

What is the Life Span of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

The life expectancy of this breed is around 10-12 years.

What is the Life Span of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever

What Color is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever usually has a shade of brow, which helps it to merge with the surroundings and acts as a great camouflage when hunting. It can range from brown to deep chocolate color or from slight reddish or chestnut color to light tan or straw color. Some may have saddle markings or stripes of light and dark masking on the skull etc. which are common but not preferred.

What Color is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Types of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

The Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are usually of 3 colors:


This is a regular ‘Chessie’ color and can range in shades from light to tan.


This is a reddish tinge on the coats that can range from a fading strawberry red to deep mahogany color.


This resembles the color of dead grass which ranges from tan, grey or taupe colors to darker colors.

Personality of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever

A normal and original Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a fusion of a bright and cheerful nature. This combines with its inherent characteristic of being brave, intelligent, and diligent. This breed is fun-loving but can be stubborn at times. In some cases, the ‘Chessie’ requires persistent training, and it may take some time. 

But one especially needs to take care that they do not become too firm or strict as these dogs are sensitive. On being treated harshly, it may mope around and even stop responding.

When adamant, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever can be difficult to handle, especially when it prefers something other than hunting prey. It can be something like dealing with a kid crying for chocolates-until the chocolates are bought; the kid does not stop crying.

It is necessary to make sure that your Chesapeake Bay Retriever, as a puppy, has interactions with other dogs, pets and puppies and also have your Chessie pup mingle with people when taking your pup for a walk. This can help your puppy grow into an interactive and versatile dog. It is to be noted that it is recommended this breed cannot be looked after by people who are first-time dog owners or do not have that much experience in dealing with dogs. These retrievers are for experienced dog owners who are excellent in interacting and handling them.

Are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Friendly?

While most of the Chessie dogs are outgoing with people, some tend to be reserved. A few can be aggressive. This largely depends on the socializing, training and environment it is brought up in which goes for every type of dog of course. 

Compared to other retrievers, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever may not be as people-friendly as for example the Labrador or Golden Retriever, but they are certainly not bad-tempered dogs.

Are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Good Family Dogs

Are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Good Family Dogs?

These Chessie retrievers love children, but when they feel that they aren’t being treated well then they may exhibit aggressive behaviors. Teach your kids never to tease, threaten or hurt a dog and to never wake up a dog when it’s sleeping. 

The Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are often unwilling to share food and even their toys so also teach your kids to never take a dog’s food or toy. It can create a bad situation for the child as well as the dog.

This is the reason why it may be better to keep these Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies in families with kids who are more than eight-years-old. Chesapeake Bay Retriever adult dogs who are already used to children are a good option for families with small children. 

But then, it is also important to help children know how to interact with a dog and let them know the do’s and don’ts. It is a must to keep an eye on things when your child is with a dog. This should always be under your watchful guard.

Regarding dogs not belonging to your family, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever sometimes can be hostile towards them, especially some male Chessies, but that is not the case with other dogs and pets raised along with these retrievers within the family. Amongst other pets or dogs within your family, these Chessie dogs will get along fine.

But keep this in mind when buying a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. They generally are not as friendly like a Labrador or Golden Retriever towards other dogs. Chessie Retrievers are not for everyone.

Are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Easy to Train?

Some trainers see this breed as difficult to train. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are to be trained persistently for days and weeks in some cases. Do not underestimate them as they are very intelligent. The tendency for them to be mouthy, as well as their inherent high energy, can be a challenge. 

Once the Chesapeake Bay Retriever wants a particular thing, then it can be stubborn until it gets that thing, especially when it is in terms of a bird prey. In these cases, everything must wait until the Chessie catches the prey, after that the hunt goes on.

Are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Easy to Train

Physical Needs of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever

A very active life is a huge part of Chesapeake Bay Retriever as it is a bundle of energy waiting to do something. The physical exercise has to be sufficient, or else the Chessie can get exasperated. Physical exercise should be of a high-intensity, one to match their energy.

They can be very playful too, as that is also a part of their active nature. The only thing they do not prefer is being idle and tied up. They want to be up and about, always, and prefer a rigorous physical exercise. This also ensures that we as owners of a Chessie are also active by giving these retrievers physical exercise of a very good intensity, including swimming, training, walking, playing, etc. This can also help us lead a healthy and fit life.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy

Having a Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy can be a wonderful experience for a select few dog owners. Only a person who is very experienced with dogs can give strong and moderately firm leadership to the Chessie puppy, which is a little bundle of energy. With sufficient interactions and mingling with other pets, dogs and humans, these puppies can have social skills and a polished manner. Do not be too firm or harsh as these puppies become unwilling and will sulk.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy

Very useful Dog Accessories  RetrieverPlanet Vivicon 1

How Much Does a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy Cost?

The price of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy depends on the lineage, popularity, and location of the breeder. There are other factors as to the health of the litter, details about the parents, types of markings, etc. which determine the type and quality of the dog. 

Depending on the quality of the breed and other factors, the pricing of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy on an average is $800 and can exceed $5,900 for the top quality breed. The moderate pricing is $1,150. Advice to the novice puppy buyer is to ensure that you do not buy a Chesapeake Bay Retriever without the related papers.

How Much Does a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy Cost

What is the Best Way to Pick a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy?

Finding a Chesapeake Bay Retriever can be very confusing, time consuming and difficult. Two very good tips for the selection of a good, healthy puppy are: how popular is the breeder and also whether the puppy has a top-quality lineage. The lineage of a puppy has its importance when it comes in terms of health, nature, traits, and abilities, which adds up to the quality of the puppy.

What is the Best Way to Pick a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy

When selecting a Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy, you need to be sure that you acquire a dog who is active and athletic. 

The Chessies are contrary to a dog that is city-bred. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is of the hunting type and fits well in the countryside. It is to be taken into consideration that when buying a Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy, that you do not get them from an unknown (local) breeder, online or pet shop but always go for a popular and well-known breeder who breeds their dogs with special care and who has regard for good nature, traits and health without a trace of any disease of genetic faults.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy Checklist

Before getting a puppy, you need to get the required materials and gear. Also, you need to set everything out in your home and yard, for example a crate or quiet space for your puppy to rest, a fenced yard so your puppy will be safe when outside in the backyard, etc. 

If you want a puppy or are soon to have a puppy it is important to know that they need extra attention and a lot of care. So, you’ll have to make yourself, your family and also your home ready to welcome your new, small puppy. Ensure that everything is done that makes the puppy comfortable in his or her new forever home before your puppy arrives.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy Checklist

Gear You’ll Need before your Puppy arrives

14 Puppy Gear Suggestions

Let us get onto the checklist for items to have on hand when getting Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy:

  • Dog and puppy toys – Taking care of a puppy is almost like having a kid at home. Puppies need specially made toys for their use, which can also be a blanket as long as they can’t tear it or eat it. It is possible to have a puppy personalized blanket as well. Puppies require your keen attention always and need lots of love and care.
  • Bowls for dog food and water – Puppies require good solid bowls for their food and water. Having both bowls fitted in a tray can make you and your pup at ease since there will be food falling out off or next to the bowl or water spilling. If the bowls are in a tray the spilling will be in the tray itself, and at the same time, the floor will stay clean too.
  • Crate and/or Bed – Now, you need a crate and bed for your puppy. It is better if you get one that is scratch resistant and chew-proof, which can be cleaned with ease. This helps in making the crate and bed last longer, and the puppy would be accustomed to that crate and/or bed. Some puppies prefer a cool, hard surface to sleep on and some prefer a soft, warm surface to sleep or lie on so if your pup prefers a soft and comfortable bed in which your puppy can snuggle into it and sleep in make sure you wash it regularly.
  • Dog leash and collar –As puppies grow, they need to be taken out for a walk, and a dog leash is a necessity. The leash can also be used when you are trying to train your growing puppy. But when you use a collar and leash on a growing puppy, be gentle while pulling it as the puppy is still growing, and it is important that you need to be gentle and not to hurt them by pulling them with force. Do get a soft collar which can be adjusted as required.
  • Dental kit for the puppy – Yes, your puppy needs to have a toothbrush and toothpaste. While getting a toothbrush and toothpaste, do see that it is a certified one for use for puppies and is free from chemicals of all sorts.
  • Puppy pads – Puppies in the process of growing up need to have good quality pads that have a good absorbing capacity and keep dry. This is necessary to avoid accidents as it is still a puppy and still learning.
  • Training treats – When training your puppy, you need to have treats ready, and as soon as your puppy successfully does something which you have taught, then a treat is given to the puppy, which is a mode of encouragement to the puppy. This enables the puppy to keep successfully completing the things taught by you or its trainer. The treat has to be a healthy one and not one that is sweet or contains high calories.
  • Trimmer for puppy nails – It is a must to have a trimmer for puppy nails, which is a good quality one that is suggested by dog trainers and pet doctors. Trimming puppy nails regularly is essential as that is also a part of grooming the puppy and making it stay well-cared.
  • Puppy hairbrush –This is also absolutely essential for getting used to grooming for when your puppy is older. Give your puppy a good, gentle brush which also provides a good massage which most puppies love. Also, if your puppy’s coat is wet and once the puppy coat dries up, it can be brushed again so that the circulation of blood improves and gives a sheen to the puppy’s coat. This has to be done on a regular, weekly basis. Also, do make sure to clean the brush each time after use.
  • Puppy shampoo – A puppy doesn’t need much bathing but if you need to give your pup a bath because he or she is dirty or smelly, make sure you use a shampoo especially for puppies keeping in mind that the shampoo is a gentle one. Giving baths with puppy shampoo makes the puppy coat softer and scented.
  • Gate or fence designed for puppies and dogs – This is a much-needed one since when you have visitors, and there may be persons who do not prefer dogs, then you can keep your puppy/dog behind that gate and lock the gate. It has to be made out of non-poisonous substances as dogs or puppies may chew on it. There are times when you need to make slight adjustments to the gate so that it fits perfectly.
  • Good to have a puppy/dog manual – Having a handy book about puppies and dogs can be very helpful as it provides valuable tips and advice on looking after a puppy or a dog.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy Manual

Health and Care of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Let us have a look into the health and care of this beautiful breed.


The recommended daily meal per day is about 2 cups, or it can even go up to 2.5 cups of very good quality dry food. This has to be given by way of two meals. But this is just a recommended quantity as it may vary per dog due to age, weight and activity. Some dogs are more active than others so will need more food. If you feed your pooch dry food, it is to be noted that the dry food given to the dog has to be of very good quality, which can fulfill the nutritional needs of the dog. Of course raw dog food can be good for your dog as well as long as it’s a well balanced diet.

Our Toller Retriever Stippy really loved raw dog food and his coat looked shiny and beautiful but he has a very sensitive stomach so we had to switch back to good quality dry food again on which he’s doing really well. Every dog is different so keep in mind your dog’s needs and it doesn’t matter if it’s raw or dry food as long as your dog thrives on it. Keep an eye on the weight of your dog so that it is not getting overweight. Your dog has a healthy weight when the ribs aren’t visible but instead can be felt when pressing gently around the rib cage.

Nutrition per category RetrieverPlanet Vivicon 1

Does a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Need Grooming

Does a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Need Grooming?

Requirements of personal care and well-being -The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed has short hair with a rough outer coat and a softer undercoat. Since they have oily coats, they are more prone to have stronger dog odors if not groomed and cleaned regularly.

These Chessie dogs have to be given a bath every 3-4 months and need to be regularly brushed. Care has to be taken to keep its oily coat intact as it is a protective cover for the dog. Bathe them only if the odors are too strong. 

Regular brushing and allowing them to swim in clean water should be sufficient to keep them clean and not smelly. This also distributes to the natural oil all over the coat and helps to remove dead hair. They do tend to shed quite a bit so be prepared to vacuum regularly!

Our top 10 Recommended Grooming Items RetrieverPlanet Vivicon 1

How Much Exercise Does a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Need?

What is their requirement in terms of physical activity?  They are athletic and sporty, preferring an active life. Idleness is undesired by them and gives them frustration. Here are a few answers to questions prospective owners have.

How energetic are they? – They are bundled up with energy and want rough and tough exercises along with swimming, which keeps them very happy by letting out their energy.

What intensity of exercise can they do? – Chessies can do high-intensity exercises such as hunting, retrieving, running, playing, long walks, tracking, etc. which actually keeps them satisfied. One thing which dissatisfies them is being a couch potato or day-dreaming.

How Much Exercise Does a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Need

Do they require regular exercise? – Yes! They do. Actually, they have to be given daily exercise, which should also include swimming, running and long walks. Never a day has to go without exercise or else they get annoyed. In fact, if you have a ‘Chessie,’ it may be better to live near a lake, the coast or a small water body so that they remain content and relaxed when at home.

Do you think they are playful? Yes, indeed! They are playful. They love to play around with their family members (human or other pets). Sometimes, they can behave stubbornly and adamant until they get what they want, they do not deter easily.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Training

Chessies can be trained but are slightly more difficult to train compared to other retriever breeds such as the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever or Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

And here are some other questions frequently asked about training a Chesapeake Bay Retriever:

Can training be done with ease in the case of these Chesapeake Retrievers? – Training these retrievers can take days and weeks persistently.

How intelligent are they? – They are very intelligent.

Are they mouthy? – There is a possibility for these retrievers to be mouthy in a medium manner.

How good are they in finding, pursuing, and catching their prey? – This breed of retrievers come under the medium to high ability category in this case.

Are they inclined to bark, or may even howl? – Yes, but moderately.

What is their scope of being adventurous? – This independent breed type has the possibility to be very adventurous as it is more of a countryside kind of dog and a very active type of dog.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Training

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Health

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are normally fit and healthy, but similar to other breeds, even the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is also vulnerable to the following specific health problems, which is important to know for those who have the intention of getting this retriever breed.

  • They tend to have a hereditary problem called Hip Dysplasia wherein the thighbone does not conjoin with the hip joint, which causes pain, and either one or both of the legs at the rear tend to be lame. A dog having such a problem is often not noticed immediately by you as an owner, so while buying a dog or puppy from a breeder, always ensure that the parents do not have such a problem. A good breeder will have both parents tested and cleared by a vet. On the other hand, this health problem can also be caused by injuries, too much exercise or consumption of food containing high –calories by the dog as its daily meal.
  • Another is a deteriorating disorder of the dog’s or puppy’s eye called Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which can be found out at an early stage, thereby preventing the dog or puppy from being blind. Do have a regular eye check of the dog or puppy.
  • Process of clotting of blood called Von Willebrand’s Disease, which is a disorder of the blood and signs would be shown by dogs and not curable. This disease is caused by a deficiency in the amount of a specific protein needed to help platelets (the blood cells used in clotting) stick together and form clots to seal broken blood vessels. Many dogs never show any signs of having this illness. Other dogs can suddenly start bleeding from the nose or mouth. 
  • Then, there is a commonly occurring condition called stomach tilt, which can be a danger to life too, and this is due to having a big meal per day along with lots of water or doing intense exercise after eating food. So always wait for walks, playing or exercise your dog at least 2 hours after your dog has eaten to prevent such a fatal stomach tilt.
  • A disorder called Epilepsy involves mild or acute seizures, and there is a possibility that this can be inherited or, in short, hereditary.
  • There is a type of genetic disorder called “Chondrodysplasia.” that causes deformity in dogs. The dogs would have for example smaller limbs than normal dogs of the same breed.

History of Chesapeake Bay Retriever

It is important to note that this is a breed that originated in the United States. Its name is self-revealing. The Chesapeake Bay area is a duck hunter’s paradise, and there was a need for a dog built for helping with duck hunting in the icy cold waters.

So the Chesapeake Bay Retriever was brought forth. With its strong hindquarters, broad chest, and webbed feet, it was the ideal duck hunter’s companion. It could swim, run and hunt effortlessly no matter what the weather was like.

The Chessie is a reliable, tireless retriever. It is believed that the first Chesapeake was bred by mating 2 Newfoundland dogs who were saved from a sinking ship near Maryland in 1807.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever History

Some Ireland Red Winchester breed, as well as possibly Irish water spaniels’ genes, are also in the breed’s gene mix. Initially clubbed under the name Chesapeake Bay Ducking Dog, as given for breeds in that area, it was recognized as a distinct breed in 1918 by the American Kennel Club. But the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed is also used as service dogs and in therapy support as they have a sensitive, caring side.

They are also used in search and rescue, as well as drug detection. In 1964 this Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog was named as the State Dog. Currently, it is the mascot for the University of Maryland, Baltimore county. Some famous personalities that had the Chesapeake Bay Retriever are Teddy Roosevelt and General Custer.

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Nova Scotia Ducvk Tolling Retriever

About us

Hi, welcome to my blog about the amazing breed Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever!

My name is Eline van Stiphout and I live in The Netherlands. Together with my husband Arthur and our sweet Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Stippy, the three of us love to travel and go on outdoor adventures. 

Currently, I’m a professional, fully licensed dog walker since 2017. I gave up my stressful fulltime office job to follow my dream which is working and walking with dogs.


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