Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Whether through affection, presence, consistency, joy of life, loyalty, protective instincts, courage, endurance, tenacity, great hunting skills or tremendous ability to work, on land or in water, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a great dog, which can become an extraordinary life companion for his family, or an excellent asset to the hunter. No matter what his job, he always excels in one way or another, making his entire family happy.

Height 53 to 66 cm
Weight 25 to 36 kg
Life expectancy 10 to 12 years
Home country United States (US)

Quick Overview of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever


  • Awakened and joyful
  • Intelligent and protective
  • Affectionate and courageous
  • Full of energy


  • Physique suitable for working in water
  • Robust and well-proportioned silhouette
  • Special and pleasant appearance
  • Nice look


  • Robust and very solid
  • Rarely ill
  • Generally healthy
  • Some puppies have ocular disorders and coxofemoral dysplasia

Temperament of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Awakened, cheerful, intelligent, protective, affectionate, courageous and spirited, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an excellent companion, but still has a strong character.

His education must be adequate and executed with a firm hand.

As effective on land as in water, this magnificent specimen with his beautiful slightly wavy coat is a wonderful companion, as much for the hunter as for his family. Intelligent and calm, he generally knows how to adapt to all circumstances.

Willing to work, courageous and endowed with a strong protective instinct, he does not hesitate to protect his family against all odds.

The harshness of his character must be controlled by a firm and adequate education. The master must be able to manage his dog's temperament, in order to educate him well to make him the best companion.

Poorly educated, he becomes individualistic and very unsociable. If he is well educated, he becomes a wonderful life companion, protecting his own, but knowing the difference between protection and defence.

He is not aggressive by nature, but he can easily become if he is not properly educated. The master must absolutely know how to impose himself and gain his dog's respect.

Breed Appearance

chesapeake bay retriever

This medium-sized dog has the right physique and coat to work best in water.

His robust and well proportioned silhouette is muscular, and gives him great endurance enabling him to do excellent hunting work.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a beautiful gait that suggests his great physical strength.


Between 58 and 66 cm (22.83 to 25.98 inches) for the male
Between 53 and 61 cm (20.87 to 24.02 inches) for the female


Between 29 and 36 kg (63.93 to 79.37 pounds) for the male
Between 25 and 32 kg (55.12 to 70.55 pounds) for the female


The color of his coat is similar to the environment in which the dog evolves. It is generally found in all shades of brown, rush, grass or dead leaves, depending on his natural habitat.

It can vary in shade, but is preferably single colored.


The short hair of his coat is totally waterproof and very tight. His coat also has a woolly, fine and very dense undercoat.

The length of his hair does not exceed 4 cm (1-1/2 inches). It is very short on the limbs and muzzle, with undulations only on the lumbar region, back, neck and shoulders.

The coat of this dog is as waterproof as a duck's feathers, allowing him to be simply damp, not completely soaked when he comes out of the water.


His head, with a broad, rather rounded skull, has a medium sized stop. His eyes, well separated from each other, are medium size, and of a nice color, going from yellowish to amber, in harmony with the coat.

His hanging ears, without being pressed against the cheeks, are small and don't have a very thick auricle. His nose is rather short and generally in harmony with the coat. His tail, straight or slightly curved, but never curled over the back, is of medium length.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 8, section 1 and is #263

Tips About this breed

A fine nose and a great water lover, he works without any issue in the most difficult conditions.

He is a great worker, becoming a formidable ally for the duck hunter, a discipline for which he is mainly used.

He is compatible with all situations, as long as his education is well conducted. He adores all members of his family and is very sociable, despite his strong protective instincts.

He can live anywhere, but his love for aquatic environments has be taken into consideration, as he must be able to work or play there regularly.

Whether he is a hunter or not, he must benefit from daily exercise, very often accompanied by water where he can wade as he pleases, and thus satisfy his natural passion.

Health of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Sturdy and very solid, this Retriever is rarely sick and generally enjoys excellent health.

However, one must be vigilant when buying a puppy, because eye disorders and cases of coxofemoral dysplasia are reported in some specimens of the breed. For healthy puppies, life expectancy is acceptable for a medium-sized dog.


His short coat requires minimal maintenance; occasional brushing is sufficient to remove dead hair and keep the coat clean and healthy.

However, no further special maintenance is required.

History of this breed

Created in the 18th century, the breed comes from a mating between two puppies rescued from a shipwreck in 1807. The ship Canton was on a voyage from Newfoundland to Baltimore when it sank in Maryland.

Originally from the United States, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever was created from the two St. John's dogs rescued from the shipwreck, the offspring of which were later crossed with local dogs, that probably had Flat-coated, Curly-coated and Water Spaniels Retrievers' blood.

With a completely waterproof coat, this dog is very efficient at hunting on land and in water. Thanks to this particularity, the breed developed along the coasts of the Chesapeake Bay to hunt waterfowl. Established in 1885, the breed was later officially recognized by the FCI.

This wonderful canine specimen, with remarkable aquatic abilities, must often break the ice to bring back game at the cost of hard work. He frequently has to swim in cold water and travel long distances, facing winds and tides to reach his prey.

Even so, his physique and coat adapted to these circumstances allow him to work easily in the most difficult conditions. His endurance and tenacity make him an excellent retriever.

He also beautifully combines the functions of alarm, guard and companion dog, easily accommodating many family situations.

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