Chesapeake Bay Retriever
In 1807, an English brig shipwrecked off the coast of Maryland and two Newfoundland’s were rescued from the cargo. When bred to local retrievers, including the English Otter Hound, Flat-Coat and Curly-Coated Retriever, the “Chessie” type developed. Bred to work on land and water, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever originally hunted waterfowl in rough and icy waters, often retrieving several hundred birds per day. in 1884, a definite Chesapeake variety had been developed and was known for its prowess in the rough, icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay, where the dogs were often called upon to retrieve 100 or 200 ducks in a day. Today, under leadership of its parent club – the American Chesapeake Club, founded in 1918 – the breed is active in all areas of AKC competition. The club held its first licensed retriever trial in 1932.
Equally proficient on land and in the 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 ice during the course of many strenuous multiple retrieves. Frequently the Chesapeake must face wind, tide and long cold swims in its work. The breed’s characteristics are specifically suited to enable the Chesapeake to function with ease, efficiency and endurance. In head, the Chesapeake’s skull is broad and round with a medium stop. The jaws should be of sufficient length and strength to carry large game birds with an easy, tender hold. The double coat consists of a short, harsh, wavy outer coat and a dense, fine, wooly undercoat containing an abundance of natural oil and is ideally suited for the icy rugged conditions of weather the Chesapeake often works in. In body, the Chesapeake is a strong, well-balanced, powerfully built animal of moderate size and medium length in body and leg, deep and wide in chest, the shoulders built with full liberty of movement, and with no tendency to weakness in any feature, particularly the rear. The power though, should not be at the expense of agility or stamina. Size and substance should not be excessive as this is a working retriever of an active nature
The Chesapeake Bay retriever should show a bright and happy disposition with an intelligent expression. Courage, willingness to work, alertness, nose, intelligence, love of water, general quality and, most of all, and disposition should be given primary consideration in the selection and breeding of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. The quintessential Chesapeake Bay retriever has a bright and happy disposition, intelligence, quiet good sense, and an affectionate protective nature. Some can be quite vocal when happy, and some will ‘smile’ by baring their front teeth in a peculiar grin – this is not a threat but a sign of joy or submissiveness.
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can make excellent family dogs when socialized properly. Some Chesapeake’s are assertive and willful and may be reserved with strangers, but others are passive and outgoing with people.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever needs a good deal of vigorous activity, including swimming if possible. If they do not get enough exercise they may become badly behaved from boredom and bottled up energy. They need to be taken on a daily brisk, long walk or jog where the dog is made to heel. They should never be allowed to walk out in front of the person holding the lead, as in a dog’s mind, the leader leads the way and that leader needs to be the human.
The dense, harsh, short-haired coat is oily with a distinct smell and is easy to groom. Brush with a firm bristle brush to remove the dead hairs. While the Chesapeake needs the occasional bath to prevent any noticeable odor, they should not be bathed so often that the oily texture is stripped out. The oily coat helps protect the dog from icy waters. This breed is an average shedder.