Chesapeake Bay Retrievers belong to the retriever group of dogs mainly used for bringing back the animals shot down by their master, in this case ducks. These dogs are one of the largest retrievers and have some similarity in appearance to Labrador retrievers, but they are not related breeds. These alert and intelligent American breed of dogs are popular as watchdogs and family dogs too.
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are often referred to as CBR for short. Chessie and Chesapeake are other common names for this breed. These active and energetic dogs are ideally matched with people who lead an active life.
As is quite obvious from its name, Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog breed originated in the area around the Chesapeake Bay. The history of this breed is traced to two puppies that were saved from a shipwreck off the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, USA, in the year 1807. Those two puppies were Newfoundland breed, one black and the other red in color. They turned out to be excellent water retrievers. This ability made them famous, and they were crossbred with several other breeds such as Irish Water Spaniel and Bloodhound.
As time went by, the progeny of the original Newfoundland puppies began to evolve as a distinct breed. This new breed could swim very well and retrieve duck with ease. Their ability to mark the spot where a bird has fallen into the water, and to find that spot with ease, is unmatched.
Eventually, this breed of excellent hunter cum retriever dogs became popular in many places outside its original areas too. The breed got official recognition by AKC in 1885.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog breed is large-sized, measuring more than two feet at the withers and weighing up to 80 pounds. The dog is usually recognized by its chocolate brown color and the wavy coat. They actually come in three different types of coat color. One is ‘brown’ that ranges from light brown to dark chocolate color. Then there’s the ‘sedge’ with a color range of reddish yellow to rich chestnut, and finally, the ‘deadgrass’ with light tan to nearly white coat. The water resistant double coat has an oily texture and a musky smell.
The body of these retriever breed is well-proportioned with a large chest. The ears are folded and the tail is medium long and tapering. They have webbed toes for swimming. Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog is known to have a peculiar smiling expression with the front teeth bared.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog breed has an independent and assertive personality. However, they are trainable as long as there’s consistency in training. Obedience training is a must with this breed. They are eager to learn, and once learned, the commands are retained well.
The owner of CBR should have a self-confident, park-leader mentality as these dogs have a tendency to dominate if they are without a pack leader figure.
These dogs are very protective of their family, but at the same, very reserved with strangers. They may react aggressively if they perceive any danger to the members of their family. This makes them excellent watchdogs.
Grooming and exercise
The long, wavy coat of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers needs a bit of grooming. It should be thoroughly brushed at least once a week. Frequent washing is not as necessary.
These large, active, and energetic working dogs need their daily quota of exercise without fail. If you have access to water, CBRs love nothing as much as water games. You can have games of retrieving to keep the dog mentally and physically stimulated. If water games are out of question, brisk walks on the leash and games of fetching and other vigorous activities can suffice.
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are outdoor dogs through and through, and can withstand a wide range of temperatures, but not extreme heat. They are especially at home in cold weather, and often dive into icy waters without any hesitation. These dogs are often kept outdoors due to the peculiar smell of their coat. However, they might want to spend the nights indoors with the family.
Common health issues of Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog breed
Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog breed generally enjoys robust health without any major health issues other than Hip dysplasia and the risk of some dogs developing gastric torsion. Hypothyroidism and progressive retinal atrophy are occasionally seen in this breed. Regular health checkups can help detect and treat these potential problems and help them lead a healthy life. They have an average life expectancy of 10-14 years.