The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is named for the area where it was developed, the Chesapeake Bay, and has been the state dog of Maryland since 1964. Similar in size and personality to the Labrador retriever, the Chessie has a much different coat and he needs to be brushed frequently. This dog has been recognized by the AKC since 1878.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a water dog, therefore he is a water loving dog and will take a dip whenever possible! The cold icy water of the Chesapeake Bay is nothing for a Chessie to fear! If you are a duck hunter, you need a Chesapeake Bay retriever by your side, as he can bring in 100 ducks a day and still be ready for more. Once back home, he is a fantastic family dog and is a very kid-friendly dog to boot!
On a personal note, my parents owned a Chesapeake Bay Retriever when I was a kid. His parents were named for rivers in Maryland; therefore, he was named after a river, the Raritan River in New Jersey. We just called him Tan. My little sister was about a year old when she tested his ability to deal with kids. Tan was on the floor sleeping and my sister bit him in the stomach. He looked up at her as if to say, “Oh, ok, it’s just you.” He was so calm and such as good dog. The Chessie is the perfect family dog and the perfect hunting dog.
According to the American Kennel Club, a Chesapeake should have an intelligent expression on his face. The coat should be any color of brown. The exception is that a white mark on his breast, belly or chest is acceptable. Our Tan had a diamond shape white spot on his breast. When a Chessie walks or runs he should show strength. They are powerful dogs, but gentle at the same time. When it comes to duck hunting they have what is referred to as a ‘soft mouth’. That means that a Chessie can bring in a duck and not leave one tooth mark on the bird.
A Chesapeake Bay Retriever should weight in around 55 to 80 pounds, and measure 21 to 26 inches high at the shoulder. It is a very intelligent breed. They are sometimes extremely protective of family members.
An example of that would be using the same sister who bit our Chesapeake in the belly. We were in the front yard; she was maybe two at the time. The boxer next door came running out of the house and bit my sister right across her fingers. Tan, our Chesapeake, was inside the house and witnessed the attack. He dove through the window screen and through the porch screen and chased that boxer back home then went back to check on my sister.
The Chessie does fall victim to hip dysplasia, as did our Tan. Unfortunately, he had it very severe and got to a point he could not walk. Those of us who love the Chessie, the lab or any large breed dog we must be prepared to deal with the possibility of hip dysplasia. With medications such as Deramaxx, dogs with hip dysplasia can lead fairly normal lives.
If you are interested in adding a Chesapeake puppy to your family, the AKC website would be a good place to begin your search. Click this link and follow the instructions provided and begin the search for your puppy.
As with any dog or cat, be sure to have your dog spayed or neutered. Be a responsible pet owner.
For more information on hip dysplasia check out these two informative articles:
Canine Orthopedic Disease: Hip Dysplasia
Canine Orthopedic Disease: Hip Dysplasia Treatment Options