Chesapeake Bay Retriever Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, or “Chessies,” are medium to large-sized working dogs with sturdy, athletic builds. These dogs are known for their intelligence, loyalty and strong desire to work. Though the Chessie was bred to be a hard-working retriever, the breed also makes a wonderful companion for the right owner. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is known as one of the hardest working retrievers and an excellent protector. The breed is also intensely loyal to its family. While happy, playful and energetic, this is no Labrador Retriever. Yet the Chessie is sometimes mistakenly considered a close relative of the Lab. This does not mean they are any less wonderful, but if you are expecting a “happy-go-lucky” dog that is kid-friendly and highly affectionate, you are not looking for a Chessie.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever originated in the area for which it was named. The breed was developed from two Newfoundland puppies that ended up in Maryland after a ship coming from Canada wrecked in 1807. Over time, the Newfies were bred with local retrievers as well as Flat-Coat and Curly-Coated Retrievers and English Otter Hounds. The Chessie was developed to retrieve ducks in the Chesapeake Bay’s rough, icy water.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was registered by the AKC in 1878. The American Chesapeake Club, was founded in 1918. Chessies are still known today as excellent workers, but also loyal companions.
Many people think the Chessie is a variation or close relative of the Labrador Retriever. It is quite important to know that this is not the case. Both breeds are loyal, happy, playful and energetic retrievers, and both have Newfoundlands as ancestors, but the similarities tend to stop there. The Chessie is more the strong, silent type. This is also a dog with an instinct to protect loved ones. This breed will bond closely with its family, but may seem neutral around other people and dogs. The Chessie is also a strong-willed dog that may have its own agenda. This breed needs structure, discipline and a solid foundation of obedience training. In addition, Chessies need plenty of exercise, and thrive in environments where they have jobs to do. The use of a good dog training collar will be a big help instilling proper training in your Chessie
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Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:
The Chessie has a double coat that contains unique protective oils, making the coat highly water-resistant. The top coat is thick and coarse, while the undercoat is woolly. The Chessie sheds at a moderately high rate year round, but will blow its coat (shed excessively) seasonally. Routine basic grooming is important in order to keep the coat healthy and reduce shedding.
The is not the right breed for everyone, but in the right home will make an excellent companion. With proper training and socialization, the breed can get along with children, but a home with older kids will be a better fit. The Chessie will be your exercise partner, loyal guardian, diligent worker, reliable retriever and all-around top-notch family member.
Could this be the breed for you? While Chessies are not right for everyone, they make wonderful companions in the right homes (where all of their needs are met). That means plenty of training, lots of exercise and, ideally, a job to do. If you decide the Chessie is a good fit for you, you’ll find that the breed is a delightful addition to your home. Are you the proud owner of a Chessie? Tell us all about it.