The origin of the Chesapeake Bay retriever dog breed is in North America, in the state of Maryland and right in the Chesapeake Bay, hence its name. The origin is quite legendary, in the sense that it is not known to be true. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, and more precisely in 1807, an English brig wrecked on those shores. The sailors of those ships had dogs, Sailor, a red male and Canton a black female. They were similar to Newfoundlands, but were probably born from different breeds of retriever and spaniel.
The breeding of this breed, it is said, started with them and was also very successful, due to their hunting abilities. In fact, these dogs were used for hunting in the Chesapeake Bay; they are excellent dogs in the water, due to the peculiarity of their coat which is almost waterproof and keeps them very warm, and when they go hunting they have no problem even diving into the icy water or breaking the ice.
It has the same origins as the flat-coated and the curly-coated, the former having a smooth coat and the latter a curly coat and this breed shares with them both character, behaviour and morphology.
It is currently bred for duck and goose hunting and also as a companion animal, but unfortunately its breeding does not produce many specimens and it is not well known outside the United States.
Character of the Chesapeake Bay retriever dog breed
First of all, it must be said that this dog is not an indoor dog, but a working dog and must be treated as such. It needs a lot of exercise, to be outdoors a lot, to run and especially to swim. A duck or goose hunter would be its ideal owner, as it is when hunting in the water that this breed shows all its skills.
As a character, this is a dog that likes to play, likes to be cuddled, is tender and patient with children and has an excellent relationship with its owner. The ideal place for him is a house with a large garden where he can spend several hours a day, but also long walks and swims. If not physically and mentally stimulated, this dog can be destructive, both in the garden and at home.
It is also an excellent watchdog, it is brave and would defend its owner or family in case of need, in fact it is not very sociable with strangers. With other dogs or cats, if it has been socialised from an early age, it has no problems adapting.
It is a cooperative dog, but tends to question its owner’s commands and test its limits. Therefore, it must be constantly educated from puppyhood to control its impulse to guard, protect and hunt.
Appearance of the Chesapeake Bay retriever dog breed
The Chesapeake Bay retriever is a medium to large dog; the height at the withers of a male can reach up to 66 centimetres, weighing 34 kilograms, the female generally a little less. It is a strong, powerful and well-balanced dog of medium length in body and limbs. The chest is strong and broad and the neck is very muscular. Its hindquarters are powerful and give it considerable thrust when swimming. Its power, however, does not prevent its agility and resistance which are remarkable. The limbs are very muscular. The feet are not very large and have protective pads in the soles. The movement is quick, fast and easy. The tail, of average length and thickness, is kept straight or slightly curved.
The head of the Chesapeake Bay retriever is broad and round with a rather short and pointed but not sharp muzzle ending in a rather large truffle, the same colour as the coat. The eyes are of medium size and light in colour, usually yellowish, very distinctive; they show intelligence and a very serious and docile character. The ears are drooping, not large or protruding and are positioned above the eye line. The jaws are long and strong to carry large birds with a soft grip.
The coat is its main characteristic; its texture is very distinctive and allows the dog to survive in extreme climatic conditions, often diving into icy and icy waters. The undercoat is woolly and keeps it warm, while the cover coat is greasy and makes it almost waterproof, so that when it comes out of the water it does not splash but simply looks wet.
The coat is short and thick. On the muzzle and limbs it is very short and straight, while on the neck, back and kidneys it tends to become wavy. The natural oil in which its coat is rich gives it a characteristic odour. The colours of the coat can be of any shade from dark brown to light red, to the colour of hay, as the dog blends in with its environment during hunting.
Health and care of the Chesapeake Bay retriever dog breed
This dog has excellent health and is very robust, it is not afraid of the weather, it can withstand extreme cold and even heat, its double coat protecting it well from extreme temperatures and humidity. It can however suffer from diseases common to many breeds such as hip dysplasia and eye problems, although these are not very frequent.
Its average life expectancy is 11-12 years.
As far as coat care is concerned, this very rustic dog does not require any special grooming: one brush a week is sufficient to keep its coat nice and healthy. In spring and autumn, it loses a lot of hair, so it is best to brush more frequently during these periods.
It has a tendency to put on weight if its needs for exercise are not met or its diet is not balanced.