A large, muscular and powerful dog that has webbed feet, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever's water-resistant coat is short and thick, with a harsh, oily topcoat and a fine, woolly undercoat. The coat is described as 'dead grass' which is a colour between straw to bracken; they can also be red/gold or brown. Adult males measure 58-66cm and weigh between 29.5-36.4kg. Adult females measure 53-61cm and weigh 25-31.8kg.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an American breed that was developed from British dogs, developed by the settlers to work in the water, retrieving duck and other fowl. There is a story that says a ship was wrecked off the coast of Maryland in 1807 with two Newfoundland puppies. The puppies were given to the rescuers as a thank you. Both the dogs were mated to local dogs and the resulting puppies were crossed with Flat Coated and Curly Coated Retrievers, Irish Water Spaniels and Coonhounds to produce the Chesapeake dog breed that we recognise today.
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can have an independent streak and at the same time are affectionate. They love children, although they can play a bit roughly at times. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is naturally protective and has a bright, cheerful and alert outlook on life and enjoy the companionship of other dogs and people. They are not the best breed of dog for a novice owner.
As with many breeds, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever requires a lot of exercise, and can become somewhat badly behaved if not given enough. They love water, swimming and retrieving, and need two-plus hours of daily exercise. They are not the ideal dog for towns or the idle.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
The coat of the Chesapeake dog is thick and short with a dense woolly undercoat. The coat can be wavy but is not generally curly, feeling oily when touched. It is advised not to wash this dog, as damage can be done to its waterproof coat. Also take care when brushing, which should only be necessary when the dog is moulting. Brushing will remove the dead and loose hairs. Bathing and excessive brushing could damage the texture of the coat.