The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is bred for its ability to withstand the harsh, icy duck hunting grounds of the Chesapeake Bay area, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an affectionate and loyal dog.
Socialized properly, it is good with children and requires relatively little maintenance to keep its beautiful brown coat healthy. For these reasons, it has become a popular choice of family pet.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever History
In 1807, the crew and cargo of a wrecked ship were rescued off the coast of Maryland. Among those rescued were two pups, a male and female later named Sailor and Canton. The pups were soon recognized to be excellent retrievers and were bred with many dogs throughout the area for duck hunting.
While this breeding produced several main varieties of dog, the Chesapeake Bay variety developed by 1884 and was revered for its prowess in retrieving through the icy waters that made hunting in the area difficult.
In 1964, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever had become so culturally significant that it was declared the official dog of Maryland. Famous owners of the breed include President Theodore Roosevelt, General George Custer, and actor Paul Walker.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever Coat
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s coat is one of this dog’s most characteristic traits. It is usually brown with only a few white spots. It has short hair on its legs and face, wavy hair on its shoulders and body. It has a thick, slightly oily coat that protects it from cold water and ice and keeps this dog warm and dry.
Despite the thick coat, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever requires little more than a weekly brushing with a short-tooth brush to maintain its healthy appearance. They should be bathed with mild shampoo every three to four months. It is important not to brush or bathe this dog more often than recommended as this can remove the oil that protects the coat.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever Size
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever stands between 53 and 66 cm (21-26 inches) tall (roughly two feet) and weighs anywhere between 25 and 36 kilos (50-80 pounds). It has a large and powerful chest, which was bred into it for the purpose of breaking ice while duck hunting.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever Temperament
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are generally affectionate, intelligent, and happy dogs. They are protective dogs and must be socialized properly if they are to be around strangers, children, or other pets. Once socialized, however, they are very friendly and make great family dogs. These retrievers have a characteristic “smile,” which they form by baring their front teeth. While this may look menacing at first glance, it is actually a sign of happiness and even submissiveness.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever Health
The average lifespan of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers is 10 to 13 years, which is common for a dog if its size. Regular exercise will help to maintain its pleasant demeanor and keeps this dog’s quality of life as high as possible. It is important to keep its coat adequately maintained by routine brushing and washing to avoid developing skin problems.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever are prone to certain ailments such as canine hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, progressive renal atrophy, gastric torsion, and hypothyroidism. Regular thyroid, eye, and hip exams are often recommended so that these issues can be caught and treated early to give the dog the best chance at a long and happy life.