Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Breed Summary

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 comprises 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 in chest, the shoulders built with full liberty of movement, and with no tendency to weakness in any feature, particularly the rear.

Country of Origin: Chesapeake Bay

AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 45 of 196

AKC Classification: Sporting Group

UKC Classification: Gun dog

Exercise Requirements: 20-40 minutes/day

Height: Female: 21-24 inches; Male: 23-26 inches

Weight: Female: 55-70 lbs.; Male: 65-80 lbs.

Physical traits: Strong, Muscular, Well-balanced

Coat: Length: Short

Characteristics: Thick

Colors: Light Brown, Dark Brown, Deadgrass, Tan, Brown, Sedge

Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate

Personality traits/Temperament: Affectionate, Bright, Sensitive

Energy Level: Average

Tendency to Drool: High

Tendency to Snore: Low

Tendency to Bark: High

Tendency to Dig: Low

Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 10-13 years.



Chesapeakes are a healthy breed of dog with no major issue. Their life expectancy is 10 to 13 years. Hip dysplasia is a concern in most dogs, Chesapeake’s included. There are some other hereditary diseases that can affect the breed, but fortunately there are tests that responsible breeders used to assess these and screen breeding stock. It is important for breeders to supply the health information about the sire and dam to anyone interested in obtaining a puppy. As with all breeds, a Chesapeake’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Some dogs can develop itchy skin conditions where baths with a high quality dog shampoo and conditioner is recommended. Flea control is also essential.


Any good-quality dog food is fine for the Chesapeake. For especially active or high-energy dogs, a formula with at least 20 percent protein can be beneficial. Add a high-quality dog multivitamin to complete the nutritional circle. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.


Obedience training is a must for the Chesapeake. Young puppies should start out with early socialization and puppy training classes. These help to ensure that the Chesapeake will grow into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion.


This is an intelligent, high-energy breed. Chessies really needs a job and plenty of exercise. Hiking, running, hunting, and swimming is what they love to do. They excel in all the dog sports, such as obedience, tracking, and agility, although hunting and field work is what they were bred for. Use paw balm daily to protect their feet.

Fun Fact

A Chessie is born to spend time in the water, and like the ducks they often help hunt, they have webbed feet to help them swim in the waters of the bay.


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