Chesapeake Bay Retriever: Dog Breed Information

Country of origin: USA
Shoulder height: 53 – 66 cm
Weight: 25 – 36 kg
Age: 12 – 13 years
Color: brown, reddish brown, straw-colored
Use: hunting dog, working dog, sporting dog, companion dog

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever (Chessie for short) is a spirited, active dog – an avid hunter, retriever, and swimmer. Compared to other retriever breeds, he is less easy to handle and needs an experienced hand. The nature boy who loves to work is not suitable for life in the city, for dog beginners or easy-going people.

Origin and history

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the only American retriever breed. The breed’s name goes back to the Bay of the same name in Maryland, where two Newfoundland puppies were rescued from a stranded ship around 1800. These were crossed with American hunting dog breeds and formed the basis for today’s breed.

The Chesapeake – a gifted, persistent swimmer – was specially trained for water hunting and retrieval work. He helped hunt ducks and defensive geese, retrieved in icy water and impassable marshland, and served as a guard and protection dog. The Chesapeake is not very common in Europe but is enjoying increasing popularity.


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a large, powerful, and well-muscled dog. His whole body is optimized for excellent water work. The hind legs are muscular and long to provide optimal propulsion while swimming. The jaws are long enough to support larger soft-mouthed waterfowl. And the Chesapeake Bay coat offers the ideal protection against wet and cold. It consists of a plentiful, dense, oily undercoat and a slightly wavy, short top coat. This fur texture practically does not allow moisture to penetrate the skin.

The coat color of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is also optimized for the work environment. It can be brown, russet, or straw-colored. The color of the eyes and the nose corresponds to the color of the coat.


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a brave, hardworking, intelligent, and confident dog. It has a bright, happy personality and an affectionate, protective nature. It is also a reliable watchdog.

Although a Chessie looks like a Labrador with a wavy coat, the breeds differ significantly in nature. The intrepid Chesapeake is also naturally protective and very wary of strangers and other dogs. It needs a very consistent upbringing and clear leadership from an early age and has to learn to subordinate itself. Because of its intelligence and confident nature, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is also not a dog for beginners.

Chesapeakes are hardworking working dogs – avid hunters, retrievers, and swimmers. They therefore also need demanding physical and mental activity and lots of exercises in the great outdoors. If not used for hunting purposes, a Chessie can also be enthusiastic about dummy work, track work, rescue dog work, or agility. As a pure family dog ​​that you take long walks with, the Chesapeake is underutilized and under-challenged. Then he can quickly become overly vigilant and exhibit other undesirable behaviors, especially if the issue of hierarchy has not been adequately resolved.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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