Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Breed
|Life Span:||10-12 years|
|Litter Size:||7-8 puppies|
|Group:||Gun dog, AKC Sporting group|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC|
|Color:||All colors of brown from tawny or sand through to dark brown with red or mahogany highlights. A small amounts of white on the chest and feet is acceptable.|
|Male Height:||23-26 inches (58-66 cm)|
|Male Weight:||65-80 pounds (29-36 kg)|
|Female Height:||21-24 inches (53-61 cm)|
|Female Weight:||55-70 pounds (25-32 kg)|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||Outdoors or indoors, medium to large yard.|
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a large, muscular dog that is sturdy and very solid looking even as a puppy. They come in various shades of brown ranging from a lighter tan or straw color through to a deep brown or mahogany color. The coat is rather short and may be somewhat wavy, especially down the back and around the neck and shoulder area. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a unique double coat that is slightly oily to the touch on both the inner and outer layers. This ensures that the dog can easily go in and out of the water even in very cold weather while only having minimum amounts of water stay in their coat. The tail is thick at the base and tapers to the end, usually carried slightly curled or flat.
The head of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is broad and wide with a powerful and yet gentle looking slightly tapered muzzle. The shape of the skull is very round and the stop is not as pronounced giving a softer profile to the head than some breeds of retrievers. The hair on the head and face is much shorter than the hair on the rest of the body and the large round eyes are very visible. The eyes are yellow to amber in color and are particularly striking on the darker colored dogs. The ears are small in comparison to many of the hunting breeds and hang down just to the level of the mouth or lower jaw. They fold over completely and are not held erect.
The neck is strong and muscular and blends nicely into the powerful front shoulders of the breed. The front legs and straight and well boned and muscled. The body is slightly longer than it is high at the withers, with a well-developed chest and ribcage. The hind legs are very strong and powerful, easily able to propel the dog through water to allow them to run for long periods of time. The feet are webbed to enhance swimming ability.
The coat is very dense, short and somewhat oily to the touch. Although the breed is double coated they are average shedders year round. The oils in the coat usually do not cause either an odor or management problem and the dogs should only be bathed occasional when necessary. The coat may be straight all over the body although wavy but not curly hair on the neck, chest and back is acceptable and very common.
It is believed that the Chesapeake Bay Retriever breed originated when a shipwreck occurred off the coast of Maryland in 1807. The story is that there were two Newfoundland dogs onboard that survived the shipwreck and these were given to a local family that was known as animal lovers. The family then crossed the Newfoundland\'s with local retrievers and possibly native dogs which eventually led to the development of a very hardy breed that was able to swim in the cold waters in the Chesapeake Bay. Some breeders indicate that the Irish Water Spaniel, bloodhound and other local mixed hound breeds may also form a part of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever\'s heritage.
The Chesapeake Bay Retrievers continued to be a popular dog in the area, and their amazing endurance and ability to tolerate even the coldest water temperatures with little concern earned them a place in duck and goose hunter\'s hearts. There are several claims by owners of the breed that they are capable of retrieving over a hundred ducks per day with some records of dogs bringing in up to 200 per day.
Currently the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is used as a watchdog, hunting dog, retriever, trial dog, obedience dog as well as a faithful family pet and companion dog. The watchdog abilities are more pronounced in some lines than others and knowing the personality of the parents will really help in choosing a more or less protective puppy. Their natural hunting and retrieving ability has also made them popular as a schutzhund breed. This demanding competition involves intelligence, agility and obedience as well as excellent communication between the handler and the dog.
A Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an excellent family dog that is generally very good with children and other pets. It is important to properly socialize this breed as they are more dog-aggressive than other retrievers and can become territorial. They are good watchdogs and have a natural wariness with strangers however regular socialization and exposure to new people and new environments will help prevent this from becoming a problem.
Unlike many of the hunting dog breeds the Chesapeake Bay Retriever tends to be much more independent and stubborn than the norm. They can be dominant and are known for their selective hearing of commands they simply wish to ignore. Not a mean spirited dog they just need consistent training and lots of positive praise for a job well done. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an excellent dog for obedience training at a young age to establish good behaviours and decrease the tendency for willfulness or independence.
The breed maybe somewhat dog-aggressive and should be socialized regularity and throughout their lives. Usually male Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are more dog-aggressive than females and neutering can assist in preventing this issue from developing. They can be excellent companion dogs with socialization and will even get along with non-canine pets in the house. They are prone to chase however and often will really enjoy running the neighbor\'s cat out of the yard.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an intelligent dog that learns best with repetition. They should always be trained using positive rewards and methods as their natural independence will only increase if negative training techniques are used. They are naturals at fetching and swimming and love exercise of all types in almost any kind of weather. They are not a hyperactive dog but do need regular, longer periods of exercise. In the house they are typically very relaxed and calm and will simply find a comfortable place to stay out of the way. They are not demanding of attention but love to be able to keep the family in sight.
Since the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a more independent breed they are able to tolerate moderate amounts of time alone. They are a great dog for a family that has evenings and weekends at home but someone may not be there at all times. Generally not a destructive dog with proper training and exercise they do need to be kept in a yard because of their chasing and dog aggressive tendencies.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is not recommended as a first dog for families or individuals that have not trained dogs unless they are planning to take the puppy to a socialization and obedience class. Since they are a large dog when fully grown it is important to have them well trained before they reach their mature size.
Thyroid Disease - High Risk
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever ranks #21 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. There is a high risk of obtaining a dog that will develop thyroid disease. For this reason you should make sure you, or your breeder, are testing all dogs before breeding. It may even be a good idea to test dogs that you don't plan on breeding so that any instance of disease can be traced back to breeding pairs and eliminated.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
Overall the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a relatively healthy breed. As with all of the large sized dogs they are somewhat prone to gastric torsion or bloat and should have several small meals rather than one large meal. They should not be exercised immediately after eating. The breed may also have problems with growth as puppies (OCD) and hip dysplasia is a minor concern. Progressive retinal atrophy and entropion are eye conditions that are seen in the breed.