The Versatile Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Breed 

Recognizable for its round, broad head, the Chesapeake Bay retriever is known for being one of the most versatile breeds around. Legend has it that in the early 19th century, two dogs named Canton and Sailor were rescued from a British ship that had sunk off the coast of Maryland (Source: The rescuers quickly found that the castaway pair excelled at duck hunting along the coast. Breeding them separately with other dogs, their offspring would result in one of the three varieties of the Chesapeake Bay dogs. The Chesapeake Bay ducking dog was officially recognized by the AKC in 1977.

Today, the Chesapeake Bay retriever is known as a friendly, even-tempered dog that’s suitable as a hunting companion just as much as a therapy dog.

Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Bark a Lot?

Unlike other retrievers, the Chessie doesn’t bark excessively. However, the energetic breed requires 20-40 minutes of exercise every day. Without a decent outlet for their energy, they’ll grow restless and may bark or destroy furniture to release pent-up frustration. Having a yard or taking the Chessie on long, daily walks is important to cutting down on barking.

Chesapeake Bay retrievers are generally friendly with children and strangers; however, it’s important to teach your dog the difference between a friendly stranger and an intruder. Early socialization is necessary to help your Chessie be friendly with others. For more on how to train your dog to tell the difference between intruders and friends, check out our article on the subject.

Is the Chessie a good watch dog or guard dog?

Chessies are considered moderately good watch dogs. They’re known for being protective of their owners and vigilant of potential threats.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Facts

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is the official dog of the University of Maryland due to its unique origin story. The Chessie was bred to hunt ducks and by 1880 was famed for being able to retrieve up to 300 ducks a day. To aid in its hunting, the Chessie has a famously wavy, waterproof coat and strong, broad build. However, unlike other retrievers, the Chesapeake Bay retriever’s characteristic is a soft, mild temperament.

Other Chessie characteristics:

  • Chesapeake Bay retriever weight and height: Chessies weigh between 55 and 80 pounds. Their average height is about 24 inches.
  • Life expectancy of Chesapeake Bay retriever: Their lifespan is about 10-13 years.
  • Chesapeake Bay retriever coat and colors: The Chessie has a double coat, with a soft undercoat and harsh outer coat. Their coat can range from a lighter tan to a very dark brown.
  • AKC group: Chesapeake Bay retrievers belong to the sporting group.

Are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Easy to Train?

While Chessies are affectionate and hardworking, they’re also known for having a stubborn streak – this dog is determined to complete the activity they’ve started. They are also known for being possessive of their food and toys. Therefore, early obedience training as well as socialization is a must.

Do Chesapeake Bay retrievers make good family dogs?

Chessies are friendly with children, but may not be suited for younger children who may not understand giving a dog a necessary amount of space. The Chessie is a larger animal and tends to knock things around when excited. However, with older children and active families, the Chessie is a fantastic companion.

Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Need Grooming?

Chesapeake Bay retrievers need moderate grooming, as they don’t shed excessively. Twice a year, when fall turns to winter and spring to summer, they’ll undergo more than usual shedding. Outside of these two times of year, the Chessie will only need to be brushed weekly with a bristle brush to distribute their natural oil throughout their coat.

All dogs, regardless of breed, require regular nail trimming to avoid discomfort. If you hear your dog’s nails clicking against the floor, odds are that they need a trim. Most breeds do alright with a nail grinder. However, depending on the color of your Chessie’s nails, you may find a guillotine style nail scissor easier to avoid cutting the quick.

CBR Mixes

The Chesapeake Bay retriever mixes well with other popular breeds for a truly unique pup. Some of the best attributes from the Chessie, like its versatility and even temperament, can produce a dog unlike any other.

Here are some popular Chesapeake Bay retriever breed mixes

Resource Links for More Chesapeake Bay Retriever Info

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