Chesapeake Bay Retriever | Dog Breed Guide

Chesapeake Bay Retriever | Dog Breed Guide

by Scritch

Water-loving retrievers and loyal best friends, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever will steal your family’s heart.

Weight – Female: 55-70 pounds; Male: 65-80 pounds

Height – Female: 21-24 inches; Male: 23-26 inches

Life Expectancy: 10-13 years

Group: Sporting group

Temperament: affectionate, smart

Energy Level:

Ease of Training:

Grooming Requirements:

History and Personality

The fact that Chesapeake Bay Retrievers include the name of their birthplace is more than a nod to the geography. This dog was specifically bred to thrive in the conditions of the Chesapeake Bay, not unlike how Newfoundland dogs were bred for their water abilities in a different climate condition. The Chesapeake Bay area is cold in the winter when mass duck migration is at its peak, making this dog the duck hunting standard.  

Their thick, wavy, oily coats give Chessies extra protection from cold weather, and require slightly more brushing than typical retrievers. This dog is typically a reddish brown but can range from a deep cocoa to a softer tan brown. This double layer of hair allows them to swim without their fur absorbing water, meaning they stay much warmer in frigid temperatures. Aside from their development as expert hunting dogs, Chessies are also excellent at search and rescue.  

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a strong prey instinct but make excellent family pets as they have vast ability with consistent and dedicated training. They bond intensely to their families which also gives them a slight wariness with strangers, adding guarding abilities to their resume.

To engage these working instincts and burn off their boundless energy, Chessies require work and play to keep their behavior from shifting towards boredom and destructive habits.


Brushing a Chessie 2-3 times a week is essential to distribute the oils on their coat and prevent excess shedding. Dogs like this need short nails and clean ears, especially after being in water.

Energy Level

This energetic breed enjoys plenty of play time. He can work his way up to a jogging partner if you start with shorter distances to allow his bones and joints to fully develop. Challenge this breed’s brilliant mind and strong body by layering work, play, agility and brain play.  

Health Concerns

  • Hip dysplasia
  • von Willebrand's disease
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Bloat
  • Joint care

Being a retriever breed, hip dysplasia can be a concern and you must be sure a breeder checks for this issue. Have puppies tested for genetic conditions like von Willebrand’s disease, and consider pet insurance coverage to help protect your Chessie’s ongoing health.