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Chessy Dog Breed Description

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Breed Organization

American Chesapeake Club

Native Country
United States Of America

Other Names
Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Chessie, CBR

Life Expectancy
Approximately 9-12 Years

Litter Size
No Information Available

Breed Group
AKC-Sporting Group

General Description

Distinctive features include eyes that are very clear, of yellowish or amber hue, hindquarters as high or a trifle higher than the shoulders, and a double-coat that tends to wave on shoulders, neck, back, and loins. The waterproof coat feels slightly oily and is often associated with a slight musky odor. Three basic colors are generally seen in the breed: brown, which includes all shades from a light to a deep dark brown; sedge, which varies from a reddish yellow through a bright red to chestnut shades; and deadgrass in all its shades, varying from a faded tan to a dull straw color. The breed standard states that white may also appear but it must be limited to the breast, belly, toes, or back of the feet. The head is round and broad with a medium stop and muzzle. The lips are thin, and the ears are small and of medium leather. The forelegs should be straight with good bone. The hindquarters are especially strong and the toes webbed since excellent swimming ability is important for the Chesapeake. This breed is also known for its large and powerful chest, used to break apart ice when diving into cold water while duck hunting.

Breed Standard

Head: Broad and round. Wide, domed skull. Moderate stop. Short, pointed muzzle. Lips thin, not pendulous.
Ears: Small, hanging loosely.
Eyes: Medium-sized, very pale yellowish.
Body: Medium in length (not cobby). Neck medium in length. Deep, broad chest. Tuck-up.
Tail: Medium in length, 27 to 37 cm long (10.514.5 in). Fairly thick at the base. Feathering allowed.
Hair: Thick, short, under 3.7 cm long (1.5 in). Very short on the foreface and legs. Topcoat and oily undercoat are virtually waterproof.
Coat: From dark brown to pale tan, or deadgrass ranging from tan to straw. Small white spots on the chest and toes are allowed.
Size: Dog: 58 to 66 cm. (22.8-26 in).Bitch: 53 to 61 cm. (21-24 in).
Weight: Dog: 29 to 34 kg. (64-75 lb).Bitch: 25 to 29 kg. (55-64 lb).


This breed was developed in the northeastern United States, in the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, where he is used for his exceptional hunting skill in swampland. He is thought to have been developed by crossing the canine survivors of a shipwreck off the coast of Maryland in 1807 with the Curly-coated Retriever, the Flat-coated Retriever, the Otterhound, the Irish Setter, and Irish water dogs. He was first shown in Baltimore in 1876. The first standard was written in 1890, and a breed club was founded in 1918. He is rare in Europe, despite being a fairly old breed.


The quintessential Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a bright and happy disposition, intelligence, quiet good sense, and an affectionate protective nature. Some can be quite vocal when happy, and some will 'smile' by baring their front teeth in a peculiar grin; this is not a threat, but a sign of joy or submissiveness.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can make excellent family dogs when socialized properly. Some Chesapeakes are assertive and willful and may be reserved with strangers, but others are passive and outgoing with people.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a versatile breed competing in field trials, hunt tests, conformation, obedience, agility and tracking, yet remains true to its roots as a hunting dog of great stamina and ability. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an intelligent breed and learns at a high speed. Historically considered stubborn and difficult to train, many trainers thought this breed required more physical discipline than other retriever breeds. Some trainers now recommend that the Chesapeake Bay Retriever owner use consistent, daily obedience training with play time before and after to keep the dog wanting to work with little or no physical discipline required.

He needs space and lots of exercise, as well as regular brushing.


Hunting Dog, Pet.


The breed is subject to a number of hereditary diseases. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Exercise-induced collapse
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Type 3 von Willebrand disease
  • Regional Alopecia in both sexes
  • Cataracts

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