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Retriever (Chesapeake Bay)

Retriever (Chesapeake Bay)

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a large, powerful and muscular dog. Slightly larger and longer in the leg than the Labrador, the Chesapeake has a very dense, thick coat. This should be short and hard, with an oily feel to it, smooth on the face and legs but wavy over the shoulders. Along with the water-resistant coat which protects the Chesapeake from the harshest of weather conditions, they have strong webbed feet, making them excellent swimmers.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking more than two hours a day
  • Large dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Quiet dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • Great with other pets
  • Great family dog

Key Facts

Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Weight:  25 – 36.4kg
Height:  53 – 66cm
Colours:  The coat is described as ‘dead grass’ in colour, which ranges from straw to bracken, other colours are ‘sedge’ which is a red gold shade, and any shade of brown or ash is also accepted. They may have small spots of white on the chest and feet.
Size:  Large
UK Kennel Club Groups: Gundog


Family-friendly: 3/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 1/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 4/5
Shedding: 5/5


Bright and cheerful, playful and independent, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a big and powerful dog, and not ideally suited to the novice owner. With the right approach, and an owner who understands what makes these dogs tick and has the ability to provide for that, they can make an excellent companion, but this is a hard-working breed who really wants to work. They won’t be happy lazing around and need kind, consistent training to behave as respectable members of canine society.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: United States

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an American breed, named for the Chesapeake Bay which stretches from Havre de Grace, Maryland, to Virginia Beach, Virginia. It is the third largest estuary in the world, and this huge area of wetland meant water-fowl hunters needed a very robust, powerful and water-resistant dog to find and retrieve shot game.

The Chesapeake was developed from British dogs brought over by settlers, and Chesapeake’s ancestors can be traced back to two Newfoundland’s, rescued as puppies from a ship wrecked off the Maryland coast in the early 19th century. These puppies, a brown dog named Sailor and black bitch called Canton were later mated with the local retrieving dogs and their offspring inherited the retrieving ability from their retriever parents and the oily, water-resistant coat, powerful build and webbed feet of their Newfoundland parents, giving them the perfect build and ability to work the icy waters of the Bay.

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

Training Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have been the official State Dog of Maryland since 1967.
  • The American actor Paul Walker, famous for the Fast & Furious films, owned a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Boone, who appeared alongside him in the film Into The Blue (2005).
  • It is claimed that a Chesapeake once retrieved over 300 ducks in one day from the near freezing waters, and that “even heavy seas did not deter them from their work”!
  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have webbed feet which is one of the many reasons they make such great swimmers.
  • These dogs are known to be extremely playful with a very goofy sense of humour.

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