Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Equally proficient on land and water, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever was developed along the Chesapeake Bay to hunt waterfowl under the most adverse weather and water conditions, often having to break the ice during many strenuous pursuits retrieving waterfowl. The Chesapeake frequently faces wind, tide and long cold swims in its work.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a well-boned dog with a broad, deep chest, and it has a handsome head and a muscular rear. Its thick double coat has various waving styles in colors, including browns, sedge (red) and deadgrass (blonde). Chessies stand between 21″ to 26″ high at the withers, and their average weight is 66 pounds.

Female Chessy Dogs have 7 to 9 puppies per litter once a year, and their lifespan is 10 to 13 years. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are known by several other names, including Chessie, CBR, Chesapeake, and Chessy Dogs. 

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a highly intelligent and independent thinking dog as a companion. CBRs are very aware of their surroundings, and combined with their loyalty and love for their humans, they make excellent watchdogs. Chessy Dogs are very affectionate with their owners and consider themselves equal members of their families.

The Chessy Dog is a quiet, sensible dog who loves to follow you from room to room when at home. Outdoors, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are active dogs who love to swim, hike, hunt and retrieve, or do anything their owners like to do.

Owners must set boundaries of acceptable behavior from puppyhood. Obedience and socialization are essential, and training must be consistent and firm because, without direction, they can quickly get out of hand and train their owners.

Chessies are very clever, even as puppies, and they are tough, very hardy, tireless, courageous, and lively; the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a remarkable swimmer, even in icy waters.

More of the Chessie breed’s traits and characteristics are listed in the table below.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed Traits

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Information


Males 23 to 26 inches

Females 21 to 24 inches


Males 65 to 80 pounds

Females 55 to 70 pounds

Relation with family

Loyal, Affectionate, Guardian, Strong-willed

Relation with children

Playful and lovable

Relation with other dogs

Good, if socialized

Shedding level

More than average

Drooling level


Coat type 

Double water-proof coat

Coat length

Short, no longer than 1.5”

Coat grooming frequency

Weekly Brushing

Reaction to strangers


Playfulness level


Adaptability level


Openness to strangers


Trainability level


Energy level


Barking level


Mental stimulation needs level



8 -10 years 

How Does the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Interact with Family?

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever makes a fantastic family pet, but only for the right family. Chessies need families with the time and energy to accommodate their exceptionally high energy needs. In addition to enough exercise, he also needs constant stimulation throughout the day to keep his intelligent little brain ticking.

As long as Chessies live with an active family, any family will do. He can happily live alongside young children, their parents, and even up to grandma and granddad. Although he is active and stocky, he is a calm pup who isn’t overly boisterous, making him an excellent choice for younger humans. However, not without adult supervision.

If you can provide the structure and the hard-working environment that a Chesapeake Bay Retriever thrives in, he is a fun canine companion to have around the house. He loves to play a game of fetch, and he makes a great jogging partner, so whatever your hobbies are, they’ll soon become his too. This guy has a high prey drive, so you need to think about keeping him on a leash. During duck season, you’ll have to keep him on a leash constantly and be prepared for the pull because he’ll shoot if he sees one.

Chessy Dogs love their families, and after a long day’s work, you will find your CBR laying by your feet in front of the fire. Or, if he’s feeling super cuddly, squished between his master and whoever else happens to be there.

How Does the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Interact with Other Dogs?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are good with other dogs and even cats if properly socialized or raised with them. However, they will probably chase any other cat. Any other animal is fine, but as with any pet introduction, be sure to do it slowly and in a controlled environment to make sure that they like each other. 

If you are a multi-pet household, make sure you know that all the animals get along well before you commit to the Chessie.  As long as the Chessy Dog is socialized as a pup, he will get along with most other pets. We say most because if you have any type of bird in the home, be that ducks, chickens, parrots, etc., your winged pets are going to have a hard time relaxing around this guy.

How are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers with Older People?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are okay with older people; however, their energy level might be overwhelming. Chessies need no less than 60 to 90 minutes of brisk walking each day. Furthermore, CBRs prefer spending most of their days outside, and being cooped up in an Apartment will cause destructive behavior due to boredom. Seniors in homes with large backyards can get a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and hire a dog walker for those long daily walks.

How are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers with Children?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are affectionate and loving, meaning they are good with children. But, because of their protective nature, may not do well with children under eight. However, with adult supervision children of all ages should be safe.

Parents should always supervise dogs when they’re around young kids. That way, the dog can get to know your kids and learn that they’re okay. It also helps if you have kids when you get a young Chesapeake Bay Retriever so that the dog can grow up around kids. 

The earlier you socialize your Chesapeake Bay Retriever with kids, the better they will be around kids later. If you don’t have kids now, you can get a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, but make sure you train it to behave around smaller kids and babies. Likewise, parents should teach children from an early age how to respectfully interact with dogs.

How are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers with Neighbors or Guests?

Despite being super cuddly and affectionate, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers do not extend this to strangers. They are wary of those they don’t recognize, and it may take them a while to warm up to unfamiliar people. 

If your family is forever having neighbors and guests, or parties most weekends, the Chesapeake will probably not approve. The Chessie is a country dog who loves the quiet life with his close family.

Of course, if you’re there, your Chesapeake Bay Retriever will accept anyone you introduce. But they won’t be welcoming right away; instead, staying reserved with strangers and acquaintances until they no longer deem them threats.

What are the Physical Traits of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s physical traits and distinctive features include very clear yellowish or amber hue eyes. The Chessy Dog’s hindquarters are as high or slightly higher than its shoulders, and a waterproof double-coat waves on the shoulders, neck, back, and loins. The coat feels slightly oily, and it has a slight musky odor. 

Three primary colors are generally seen in the Chesapeake Bay Retriever breed: brown, which includes all shades from a light to a deep dark brown; sedge, which varies from a reddish yellow through a bright red to chestnut shades; and dead grass in all its shades, ranging from a faded tan to a dull straw color. According to the breed standard, white may appear on the CBR’s breast, belly, toes, or back of the feet. 

The Chessie’s head is round and broad with a medium stop and muzzle, thin lips and small, medium leather ears. The forelegs should be straight with good bone. The hindquarters are especially powerful, and, most importantly, the toes are webbed since excellent swimming ability is essential for the Chesapeake. This breed is also known for its large and powerful chest, used to break apart ice when diving into cold water while duck hunting.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s physical traits are summarized in the table below: 


Trait information




Males 65 to 80 pounds

Females 55 to 70 pounds


Males 23 to 26 inches

Females 21 to 24 inches

Skull/ Head

Round and broad with a medium stop


Yellowish or amber hue


Small, medium leather, hanging loosely


Tapered, pointed but not sharp


Medium, short



Exercise Needs



8 to 10 years


Thick and short, nowhere over 1½ inches long, with a dense fine wooly undercoat

Coat color

All shades from a light to a deep dark brown; sedge, which varies from a reddish yellow through a bright red to chestnut shades; and dead grass in all its shades, ranging from a faded tan to a dull straw color.


Straight or slightly curved and should not curl over back or side kink


Medium in length and straight, showing good bone and muscle

How to Feed a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Your Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your Chessie’s diet on a large breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages. Most dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, giant, and even toy breeds. 

It is always a good idea to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as your Chessie grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies, and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some of the essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Chessie from the table; all it does is add weight; instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

Despite the Chessie’s massive size, it is an agile, athletic breed that needs food containing animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A dog of this size, activity level, and demeanor will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

However, your Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s daily food portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and of course, the brand and formula of food it eats. Feed your Chesapeake Bay Retriever food formulated for a large breed with recipes for puppies, adults, and seniors, or look for a brand developed for all life stages.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s daily cups of food should be spread over 2 to 3 meals per day. Feeding Chessy Dogs several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

An example of premium food specially formulated for Chessy Dogs and its benefits are listed below:

The best dog food for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers is Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food.

Made with hearty chicken plus Probiotics, Prebiotics, fiber, and digestive enzymes, this food is made to care for your dog’s gut to ensure maximum nutrient absorption and immunity. Plus, it contains essential glucosamine to promote the formation and maintenance of strong bones and joints since CBRs are predisposed to hip dysplasia.

Below is a list of the benefits offered by the five Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food recipes in this range:

  • Protein-Packed: With responsibly sourced real meat meal, containing almost 300% more protein than fresh meat, as the first ingredient, these recipes are packed with animal protein for strong, lean muscles in small breed dogs.
  • Omegas 3 and 6: Naturally occurring omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support skin and coat health.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits help support immune health.
  • Probiotics: Guaranteed levels of live, natural probiotics are included to support your dog’s digestive health.

When Chesapeake are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food is crafted with everything dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy Eat? 

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a large breed whose puppies need high-quality puppy food formulated for a large breed dog like the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. It is essential not to feed puppies all their food at once, and they should have it spread over the day. When Chessie puppies become three months old, owners can provide them with three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to 2 meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for large-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding throughout the day.
  • The exceptions are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

What are the Health Tests that a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Should Take?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have been recently described as predisposed to a unique skin disorder comprising trauma-induced Skin Fragility and congenital Ectodermal Dysplasia, which is similar to Ectodermal Dysplasia/Skin Fragility (ED/SF) in humans.

At birth, affected puppies’ skin is lobster pink with blistering on the footpads. Over the first 48 hours, they develop more severe blistering and peeling of the skin on their faces, limbs, and feet. Their skin is extremely fragile and tears easily. 

There is currently no treatment for this disease. However, DNA tests exist to see if the Cheasapeake puppy is clear or a carrier. Results then can be used in a breeding program, so no two carriers are bred together, thus producing the disease in the offspring.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever breeders should also have the following health tests done:

DNA Tests covering 7 main categories

  • Musculoskeletal and Dental
  • Haemolymphatic
  • Skin and Immune
  • Urogenital
  • Metabolic and Endocrine
  • Ophthalmological
  • Neurological

Other tests and Xrays: Hip and Elbow Evaluation, Patella Check, General Health Check, including Heart, Vaccines, Fleas, and Worms.

What are the common health problems of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has some health conditions that can be a concern. However, even healthy Chessies should have regular veterinarian checkups. Owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

  • Hip dysplasia is a deformation that occurs and develops as Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies grow. It is caused by loose joints that prevent the ball part of one bone from sliding smoothly in the socket of the other joint bone. Instead, it grinds and rubs in the joint, causing painful wear and tear damage as the Chessie ages.
  • Elbow dysplasia happens when the growth of the elbow is disturbed. A condition called elbow dysplasia may ensue. While this condition is generally inherited, other factors, such as nutrition and exercise, also play a role in its development. Most dogs will display symptoms before the age of one – though some may not show any signs until several years old.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a progressive degenerative disease affecting the retina, leading to blindness.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease is a platelet disorder affecting blood clotting in Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or Gastric Torsion – often known as ‘bloat’, A life-threatening disorder that happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas and becomes twisted.  To protect your pup from GDV, feed your dog smaller meals throughout the day and wait an hour before and after mealtimes before exercising.
  • Epilepsy Seizures – are a disorder that causes seizures in the dog. Epilepsy can be treated with medication, but it cannot be cured. A dog can live a full and healthy life with the proper management of this hereditary disorder.
  • Exercise-Induced Collapse (EIC) is the symptom of a genetic condition that causes the inability of the dog’s body to make a chemical needed for brain-to-muscle nerve transmission. Possibly fatal.

You can minimize the chances of serious health concerns in a Chesapeake Bay Retriever by purchasing a Chessie from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices and screening for common diseases and conditions.

Are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Hypoallergenic?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are not thought to be hypoallergenic dogs, and Chessy Dogs are better dog breeds for people who do not suffer from allergies. This is because they shed more than average, and their coats produce dander, triggering an allergic reaction in some individuals.

What is the Exercise Need of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are very demanding when it comes to their exercise needs. Even for an hour or two, a casual stroll around the block will not do here. Instead, this guy needs at least 60 to 90 minutes of intense exercise every day. And because he is so intelligent, you’ll need to mix his activities up to keep him interested.

Although large and powerful, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have relatively weak limbs that shouldn’t be stressed during their primary growing time, lest they develop joint and hip complications as they age. Your CBR is a large canine that requires gentle play, and this means no aggressive running and no over-tiring your puppy in the name of training. However, as your canine companion matures, you can be sure of a capable jogging companion.

What are the nutritional needs of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

The nutritional needs of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for the Chessie are listed below.

  • Protein: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for Chessie’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Chesapeake Bay Retrievers need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Chesapeake Bay Retriever sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, that too many carbohydrates can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Chessy Dogs by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for a Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Chessy Dogs.

What is the Shedding Level of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have short bristly fur that goes through a shed once a year, usually in late spring or summer. The great thing about Chessy Dogs is you’ll never have to worry about getting their hair trimmed or styled, but to keep the loose hair under control, daily, or at least weekly brushing is necessary.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s entire purpose is waterfowl retrieving, and their double coat is water-resistant. The Chessie’s topcoat is short, thick, and oily, while the undercoat is dense, fine, and woolly. The two coats provide insulation that allows them to hunt in snow and icy conditions.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are reasonably heavy shedders. They require weekly brushing to help remove dead hair.

Note: Overbathing will strip them of their protective oils and destroy their coat’s water resistance. So keep bathing to a minimum, it would be best to rinse any dirt off with clear water without shampoo or other chemicals.

Coat grooming is essential for various reasons, as listed below.

  • Grooming gives your dog a healthy look and promotes hygiene. 
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of skin infections.
  • Your Chesapeake Bay Retriever smells nice through grooming, thus raising the hygiene conditions.
  • Grooming promotes the growth and development of a lustrous and shiny coat.
  • Grooming allows you to check for fleas and take early preventive and treatment measures.
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of ear infections since you can check the ears and wipe them dry after grooming regularly.
  • While grooming, you can check the skin folds for any skin problems and alert the vet before they worsen.
  • Grooming boosts the bond between you and your Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog.

Your dog should be calm during grooming. Short walks before the grooming session could calm your Chessie enough to make the grooming process the ideal time for bonding with your furry friend. You can also give your Chessie their favorite treat to munch on while you groom them. Grooming must be enjoyable and a stress-free process for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever. 

What is the Drooling Level of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

As a CBR owner, you should expect to find some drool but not excessive. However, drooling is a natural process,  and the primary triggers of drooling are listed below, which, in Chessy Dogs, will increase drooling levels. In the event of unusual excessive drooling, a trip to the vet is recommended.

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat
  • Mouth and throat problems like fractures in the mouth, throat, or esophagus.
  • Plaque build-up can also irritate the mouth and cause excessive saliva.
  • A foreign object stuck in the throat prevents swallowing, thus causing drooling. 
  • Growth in the mouth also stimulates drooling.
  • Stomach upsets.
  • Excessive heat, especially during summer
  • The main symptom of diseases like kidney disease, liver problems, seizures, botulism, and rabies is drooling.
  • Motion sickness and anxiety. Dogs who do not like traveling will get anxious whenever they board a car. Stress makes dogs pant and breathe with open mouths, thus causing drooling.
  • Excitement and agitation make dogs drool.
  • Sexual excitement, like when a male Chessie spots a female Chessie in heat, causes drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.

What is the Coat Type of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a water-proof double coat. The Chessie’s topcoat is short, thick, and oily, while the undercoat is dense, fine, and woolly. The two coats provide insulation that allows them to hunt in snow and icy conditions and keep icy water from reaching the CBR’s skin.

What is the Coat Lenght of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever?  

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a short undercoat of fine wool to help the Chessy Dog maintain body temperature. The outer coat is short and wavy, nowhere longer than 1.5 Inches. 

What are the Colors of Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

The Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have several shades of coats like brown, which includes all shades from a light to a deep dark brown; sedge, which varies from a reddish yellow through a bright red to chestnut shades; and dead grass in all its shades, ranging from a faded tan to a dull straw color. According to the breed standard, white may appear on the CBR’s breast, belly, toes, or back of the feet. 

What are the Social Traits of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed?

The social traits of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever are affection, playfulness, friendliness, and possessive nature. The Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are intelligent and learn fast, but they can be bored with long training sessions. Chessy Dogs are fun-loving and have the charm to lighten you up when you are not in a happy mood. Your furry friend will have a favorite family member, and follow that person wherever they go – inside and outside. If yours is a hunting dog, he will likely choose the hunting master as his favorite dog daddy.  Other social traits of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are listed below.

  • Elderly-friendly: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers love playing with their family, from children to grandparents. However, they are highly energetic and need between 60 and 90 minutes of vigorous exercise each day. However, in a multi-generational home, the older family members can share the quiet times with the Chessies, while the younger generation takes care of playtime and walking, jogging, and other exercise.
  • Children-friendly: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers enjoy running around or chasing after children and playing catch is one of their favorite games. CBRs are sensible enough to take care of when young children are part of the play. However, supervision is essential in such circumstances. Socialization is essential for kids and dogs.
  • Family-friendly: Chesapeakes are the perfect canine companions for active families. They are not couch potatoes and prefer to spend most of their time outside. Chessies will always be ready to join a family member jogging, skateboarding, cycling, or hiking.
  • Pet-friendly: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can get along great with cats and other animals, especially if they’re raised with them. However, the lives of any pets of the feathered types will be at risk. The innate prey drive to retrieve water foul will trigger their hunting drives.

How Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Interact with Strangers?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are not friendly toward strangers. The CBR is wise enough to identify who is a threat and who isn’t. While many Chessies are hesitant or even aggressive around strangers, they display a very affectionate and loving personality with their family members. They also often display protective traits, which means you could train a Chesapeake Bay retriever to be a good watchdog.

Is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Playful?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are very playful with older children, adults, and even senior citizens and make excellent family dogs. Unlike most large dogs, the CBR instinctively knows to be careful when young children are part of the play. However, that is one of the character traits of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and there are no guarantees that your small child will be safe if left unsupervised to play with the furry family pup. Having your dog and your children socialized will give you peace of mind.

Are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Protective?

Yes, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are protective. If they look half asleep, they are always aware of everything that goes on. Chessy dogs will let their families know when someone is on the property outside of their family unit, making them excellent watchdogs. They will use their warning bark to let his family know about potential dangers.

What is the Adaptability Level of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are highly adaptable. Even if relocating from a farm or a ranch to an apartment in the city, they will quickly adapt if they are not separated from their human families and if they have ample outside play space. They would not live happily in an apartment with limited outdoor space. Boredom can lead to destructive behavior.

What are the Personality Traits of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a fantastic family pet. Still, there are also a few negatives about Chessies, and knowing how to address the issues can ensure a long and happy CBR and family relationship. Chesapeakes are highly intelligent and independent but not obedient.

The Chessie’s owner must have some experience dealing with dogs presenting these traits. Dogs of the CBR breed are dominant and will always try to have alpha status in the home. Only a firm master with a strong personality can ensure the relationship remains happy without suppressing the gundog’s own personality.

CBRs do not like apartment life; they need wide-open spaces where they can spend their days, and of course, preferable near the waterside where they can swim. Chessy Dogs cannot live in an apartment. Cabin fever will surely follow, and there is no way to tell what behavioral problems will happen.

How Intelligent are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

As stated by numerous dog behavioral professionals, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers’ brainpower are considerably comparable to a human kid aged between 2 to 2.5 years old. Below are some interesting facts regarding Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and other canines’ intelligence compared to people.

  • The typical Chesapeake Bay Retriever can learn around 165 words, involving signals. Whilst, the ‘super pets’, more smart dog breeds, can be taught around 250 words.
  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can actually count up to 4 or 5.
  • During play, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have the ability to intentionally deceive other pets and people to get rewards.

Can Chesapeake Bay Retrievers be Aggressive?

Chessies may seem like a calm and lazy breed, but they always know what’s going on around them, even if it doesn’t seem that way. They will be ready at a moment’s notice if they feel that you are under threat. They aren’t usually aggressive, as their large size and deep bark usually are enough to scare any sensible criminal away, but they will show aggression if the threat persists.

Can Chesapeake Bay Retrievers be Dangerous?

When confronted with a threat, a proper Chesapeake Bay Retriever will be somewhat more ready to fight than to flee. Thus he may respond aggressively in situations where many other breeds back down.

Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Ever Attack?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are more standoffish than aggressive with people they don’t know. If they weren’t properly socialized as pups, they could be aggressive towards other dogs. But for the most part, Chessies stand their ground and won’t go on the offensive unless clearly provoked or they sense immediate danger to themselves or their family

Can Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Kill Humans?

Yes, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can kill humans, although it is unlikely. Chessies are exceptionally protective of their human families, but certain circumstances could drive any dog to attack violently. Circumstances that could cause a violent attack include attacks on their human families, protecting their own safety, and mistreatment by their owners. Whatever the circumstances, the serious provocation must be present to trigger a violent attack by a Chesapeake.

Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers cope with being left alone?

Chessies are not demanding of attention and can be perfectly happy hanging out by themselves for limited periods.

Can I leave my Chesapeake Bay Retriever at home?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers tend to become anxious and withdrawn when being left alone for some time, and they prefer to be at home with one of their human companions present. Many Chessies tend to form strong bonds with one family member. When that person has to go somewhere, the CBR will be okay if the rest of the family is there.

Can Chesapeake Bay Retrievers be left alone for 8 hours?

Chessies need company, and they do not enjoy spending time alone for many hours and may develop separation anxiety. Don’t get a Chesapeake Bay Retriever if you must leave him on his own for hours on end. You can, however, leave him alone for short periods. Leaving your Chessie alone for more than four hours at a time is not recommended. If there is no other way, getting a dog walker or a sitter for a part of the day prevents separation anxiety.

How to Train a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a mind of their own. CBR is a breed that does what they want, how they want. But, they are ultimately big softies who respond well to positive reinforcement training. This brave breed is willing to please and loves being around their humans. But that doesn’t mean they are needy.

Training a Chesapeake Bay Retriever needs to start early, or you’ll find yourself with a rowdy, tenacious Chessie. Chessies require firm, consistent training by everyone in the household. Avoid letting your Chesapeake Bay Retriever do something “just one time” or you’ll spend too much time retraining them.

Chessies are serious workers and are known for their excellent memory and vision. So, once the Chesapeake Bay Retriever learns something, they’ll remember it. Be respectful of their learning ability. Don’t bore them by trying to drill the same command over and over when it’s clear they know what to do. A good outlet for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers is hunting – specifically, duck hunting. Giving them a job to do will help with training and keep their minds sharp.

Can the Chesapeake Bay Retriever be Used for Hunting?

The Chessie tends to favor the person who is his primary caregiver, and his loyalty to his master makes him such a good gun dog. If his master isn’t there, he will happily snuggle up to whoever else is available for cuddles when this gun dog is off duty.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has always been, first and foremost, a hunting dog for water work in harsh conditions. Chessies have thick waterproof coats, and they love water and swimming. CBRs are intelligent, perseverant, and able to resolve problems while duck hunting. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers may have been able to retrieve as many as 100 or more ducks in just one day.

How would you train a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

A good duck hunting dog is one of the most entertaining aspects of waterfowl hunting.

Seeing a retriever track a downed duck, leap out of the blind, and gracefully cruise through the water makes even the hardest soul a little softer. Through training, patience, and persistence, you and your dog function as a team, creating a wonderful experience.

If you are training a dog for duck hunting, consider these important tips. They won’t complete the process, but they’ll give you the foundation for a dog that is ready to become a champion retriever.

Before you can start molding your pup into a world-class retriever, you need a foundation of basic commands that all good dogs should know. Even the most water-prone dogs, like Labradors and golden retrievers, can become hydrophobic if they’re not introduced to water at a young age.

Like water, guns should be introduced to your dog at a young age, but you can probably wait a little longer for this one. Another man-made item that your dog will need to be familiar with is boats. Take a stroll with the dog and let him experience riding in a boat, sitting on the deck, and jumping in and out on your command. Train your dog to fetch and retrieve with a scented training dummy, so they come to associate the activity with these senses.

How Frequently does a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Bark?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers dogs are calm, naturally protective, intelligent, and loving. And although a CBR isn’t known to bark incessantly, they can get quite loud and aggressive if they detect impending danger. 

However, the frequency of your Chessy Dogs’ bark will not be enough to upset your neighbors. Most dogs have different-sounding barks for different purposes, and after all, that is the only way canines can have their say.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers hate being left alone, and one way of coping with loneliness is barking. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Chessie is barking as a way of alerting you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, Chessy Dogs may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger.  
  • Another type of barking is demand barking, where a Chessie feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights. This type can be lowered through proper training and ignoring the barking.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Retriever uses arousal barking to show its frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Chesapeake Bay Retriever is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercises. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

Even though Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are not typically nuisance barkers, knowing their language might come in handy. However, if your Chessie is the exception to the rule, below are some positive and negative motivators that might help to change your canine companion’s barking habits.

  • Whenever your CBR starts barking, command him to be quiet and if your Chessie obeys, reward him with his favorite treat or toy. If he disobeys your command, withdraw some benefits like not giving him his favorite toy.
  • Engage Chessie in her favorite activity or exercise. Tired Chessy Dogs might sleep while you are away.
  • Look for attractive toys that would keep your Chesapeake Bay Retriever busy while you are away.
  • Continuous barking might call for a visit to the vet.

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Constant stimulation throughout the day is required to keep him happy. Brain games are a great and easy way to stimulate his mind, so be sure to rotate a few of these games throughout the week to keep him occupied.

Chessy Dogs are smart and learn fast, and they need regular mental stimulation. The playful and intelligent nature of Chessy Dogs further calls for frequent mental activity. There are different ways of mentally stimulating your Chessie, and some of them are listed below.

  • Playing with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers who are Six years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety.
  • Frequent accidents.
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands.
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns.
  • Low interest in physical activities.
  • Poor social skills.

What are the Breed Standards of Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, a fearless duck dog of the Mid-Atlantic, is an American original who embodies the classic traits of a good retriever: loyal, upbeat, affectionate, and tireless. The Chessie is famous for his waterproof coat.

Some of the breed standards of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are given in the table below.

Breed Standards 

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed Information 


All shades from a light to a deep dark brown; sedge, which varies from a reddish yellow through a bright red to chestnut shades; and dead grass in all its shades, ranging from a faded tan to a dull straw color.


Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are classified as a large breed

Eye Color 

Yellowish or amber hue

Average Weight 

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers’  average weight is 66 pounds.

Average Height

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers stand between 21″ to 26″ high at the withers

Average lifespan 

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dogs have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years

What is the General Information about Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Many people are unaware that the Chesapeake was one of the nine first dog breeds registered with the American Kennel Club. This makes the Chesapeake Bay Retriever an American original.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever genetic mix includes the Newfoundland breed. The Newfie’s job is to swim and rescue drowning people, and they have webbed feet to enable them to swim longer and further. The Newfoundland genes purposely formed part of the gene pool to breed CBRs to be equally skilled water babies.

In addition to making an excellent hunting companion, Chesapeake Bay retrievers also make great therapy dogs. Some are even used by law enforcement to detect drugs or bombs because they have very acute scenting capabilities.

Where to Buy or Adopt a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

A purebred Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s price can range between $1,300 and $5,600. Lower prices are generally available within shelters and rescues, but puppies can cost as much as $10,000 from top breeders. Black Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are specially bred and are the most expensive variety. 

If you want to bring a Chesapeake Bay Retriever home, you should not rush. The only “purebreds” available upon request are not the real thing and are likely bred on puppy farms. The more realistic way is to put your name on a waiting list, and while you’re waiting, learn as much as you can about this giant dog in the cutest little dog body.

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or make irrational promises to promote the dogs. Be especially suspicious when you are offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. 

Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, making the Chessie a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying one of these little dogs, and you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful companion dog.

The best way to ensure you get a healthy Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed, if available. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential Chessie owners in touch with reputable breeders. 

  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (International)
  • United Kennel Club (International)
  • The Kennel Club (United Kingdom)
  • American Kennel Club Market Place
  • Knuckleheads Chesapeake Bay Retrievers in Clarence, Mo.
  • Europetnet
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • United All Breed Registry
  • International Canine Association
  • American Chesapeake Club (ACC)
    • Nuka Bay Chesapeakes – Anchorage, AK
    • Gun Dog Breeders – Colorado
    • Barrel Select Chesapeakes – Dayville CT
    • ACC website lists breeders across the US

If you manage to track down Chesapeake Bay Retriever breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies are often peppy and playful—all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. 

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

You might find a Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, but not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

There are millions of homeless dogs worldwide; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Chesapeake Bay Retriever can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopter. If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder, then your first stop should be the National Chesapeake Bay Retriever Rescue website. A Chesapeake Bay Retriever rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever mixes may be available for adoption in shelters and rescues. If you want to adopt an AKC registered or a mixed breed Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know you’re interested.

Below is a list of several Chesapeake Bay Retriever mixes.

  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever x Poodle mix = Chesa-Poo
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever x Rottweiler mix = Rottpeake
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever x Saint Bernard mix = Saint Chesa Bay Bernard mix
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever x Standard Poodle mix = Standard Chesa-Poo
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever x Weimaraner mix = Weimapeake

Chesapeake Bay Retriever mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, but their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog’s personality through a series of evaluations; even if the dog’s temperament does not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home.

The adoption fee for a Chessie from a rescue group or animal shelter will probably be between $150 and $200. Most dogs from rescue groups and shelters will be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered, and vetted before adoption

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any Chesapeake Bay Retrievers or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call.

Below is a list of registered rescue centers and kennel clubs to reach out to for guidance.

  • Canada Guide To Dogs (National Chesapeake Bay Retriever Rescue, Inc.)
  • Canada Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Rescue Group
  •  US Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club’s rescue network
  • Chessie rescue
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever Relief & Rescue
  • American Chesapeake Club (ACC) Rescue Network

Facebook is another resource for pet adoption. You can search for Chesapeake Bay Retriever rescue groups in your region.

You can also search for adoptable Chesapeake Bay Retrievers online through reliable websites such as

  • AnimalShelter 

What is the History of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are gun dogs bred for duck hunting along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Virginia where they are used for their exceptional hunting skills in swampland. They are thought to have been developed by crossing the canine survivors of a shipwreck off the coast of Maryland in 1807 with the Curly-coated Retriever, the Flat-coated Retriever, the Otterhound, the Irish Setter, and Irish water dogs. 

The Chesapeake was first shown in Baltimore in 1876. The first standard was written in 1890, and a breed club was founded in 1918. They are rare in Europe, despite being a fairly old breed.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

The prices of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers range between $1,300 and $5,600. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary, depending on the breeder you select, the location, the sex of the puppy, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, but if you do, the price could be $300 to $500, based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Chesapeake Bay Retriever and extras like vaccinations and sterilizations. 

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Chesapeake Bay Retriever and its wellbeing before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, sterilization, licensing, etc. You can expect to spend about $6,900 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down to about $2,100 a year.  

Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $850. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Chesapeake Bay Retriever are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would likely not affect the maintenance costs of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers because they don’t need professional grooming about once per month to trim and bathe the Chessie.

How to Name a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Choosing a name for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Chessie’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but for your canine companion, only the sound matters. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new Chessie pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. Call out any name ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Chessie will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds. 

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction and yelling or calling your Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Below is a list of suggestions of names inspired by your Chessie’s ancestors and famous owners. 

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Breed Names

For Duck Hunters

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Boy Names

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Girl Names





















What are the Different Types of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

Some people view Retrievers as one breed, but in reality, there are over 6 different individual breeds within the Retriever family. There are many individual differences between the breeds. 

The 6 Types of Retriever Dog Breeds

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers may not be too difficult to find, but purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding a Chessie at a rescue center might be equally challenging because they are so popular. However, as wonderful of a dog as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever may be, they aren’t for everyone. Some dogs that are similar to the Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are listed below.

Below is a list of similar breeds that might be a good match for your family.

  • Labrador Retriever: Labrador retrievers and Chesapeake Bay retrievers are both large-sized gun dog breeds. They are of comparable size, with both breeds weight around 70 pounds and standing 22-24 inches tall on average. Additionally, both dogs have above-average intelligence and can be easy to train. One difference is that Labrador retrievers can be more sensitive and social than Chessies. Learn more about Labrador Retriever social life, care & diet information.
  • Golden Retriever: Golden retrievers are another gun dog breed, so like Chessies, they were bred to help hunt. As their name implies, Golden Retrievers are golden brown in color, while Chesapeakes typically have a little darker coloring. Both dogs can be very playful, though a Golden Retriever will need more social interaction than a Chesapeake Bay retriever.
  • Curly Coated Retriever: Curly coated retrievers are also large-breed gun dogs. They are typically just a few inches taller than a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, but both breeds weigh around 70 pounds. While their coats are very different in appearance, both dogs are relatively easy to groom and shed. Curly coated retrievers are not as intelligent or playful as Chessies, but they are often more affectionate.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.