Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have been bred in their eponymous home region since the 19th century. They are hardy loons and are primarily used for duck and geese hunting in the US. They are also used as K-9 service dogs. If you are interested in the dogs with the extraordinarily robust fur, find out everything you need to know about the dog breed, which is rather rare in Europe, in our overview.
Identifying Features of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever shares many similarities with other retrievers such as the Golden and Labrador Retrievers, although the dogs are unlikely to be direct relatives. A clear identification feature of the dogs is their brown fur, which has a special structure. Similar to a duck’s plumage, cold water is kept away from the body by the dense, oily undercoat. Males reach a height of 58 to 66 cm at the withers and weigh between 29.5 and 36.5 kg. According to the breed standard, adult bitches should be between 53 and 61 cm tall and weigh 25 to 32 kg.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever from head to tail: The water dog with the bright eyes
- The Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s head is massive and broad. The muzzle tapers only slightly towards the tip, the flies are close-fitting. All dogs have a brown or reddish nose.
- A clear identifying feature of the dogs is their bright eyes, which can appear amber, light brown, or yellowish. They are set wide apart, giving the dog a stern and intelligent expression.
- The rounded floppy ears, which appear very small compared to the water spaniel, are set high on the skull.
- The neck and body are of medium length and very strongly built. The flanks of the dog are clearly tucked up. In some dogs, the hindquarters reach slightly over the shoulders.
- The front legs are straight and run parallel, the hind legs are only slightly angled and particularly strong.
- The high-set tail serves as an extension of the spine. It is very strong and overgrown with longer outer hair.
- Colors: The color of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever perfectly matches its hunting environment. In addition to brown, monochromatic color varieties such as “rush” and “dead grass” are also considered permissible colors. Small white markings are permitted in inbreeding, but they should have a maximum diameter of 3 cm.
Distinguishing Characteristics Between Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Similar Dog Breeds
- The German Weimaraner is slimmer and longer-legged than the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the coat is shorter and slightly paler.
- The American Water Spaniel is similar in shape and color to the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, but is significantly smaller and has floppy, wavy, hairy ears.
- The Irish Water Spaniel is slimmer in build and its coat is distinctly different from that of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
- The German Shorthaired Pointer is a slightly slimmer build with a short, spotted coat.
- The Labrador Retriever’s coat and build are similar to that of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, but the coat is shorter and harder in texture. The tails of the dog breeds also differ from each other.
- English Curly-Coated Retrievers emerged around the same time as Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, but they are also related to European Poodles and are characterized by their finely curled coats.
Where are the Roots of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever?
Records of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers date back to the 16th century, but purposeful breeding of the hunting dogs did not begin until the 19th century. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the official state dog of Maryland and is still used to hunt birds in the area today. It is perfectly adapted to its natural environment around the cool Chesapeake Bay. The water dog is prized for its resilience and loyalty; he jumps into ice-cold water without hesitation and brings the prey back to the hunter unharmed. The breed was recognized when the American Kennel Club was founded in 1878 and an international standard was established.
Ancestors and close relatives of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- The direct ancestors of the dog breed include Irish Water Spaniels and Newfoundlands, among others.
- The American Water Spaniel shares some ancestry and originated in Wisconsin at the same time as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
- Various English, French, German, and Spanish hound breeds have been crossed to produce hardy retrievers. Mating with Curly Coated Retrievers and Pointers is possible.
Nature and Character of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever keeps a cool head in every situation. Its dense, waterproof coat makes it an excellent water dog. When hunting, it can wade through swamps and lake areas for hours in wind and freezing temperatures and track down the game. As companion dogs, representatives of the breed are valued well beyond the borders of Maryland and the United
States for their loyal and calm nature. They always behave appropriately and know exactly when it is the right time to play and romp and when they should concentrate and behave calmly.
Characteristics of the Chessies at a glance
- Very intelligent
- Assesses situations well and always behaves appropriately.
- At the same time, he is a very active and work-loving dog that needs a lot of exercises.
- Loves being close to the water and the great outdoors
- Affectionate with a high protective instinct
- Affectionately takes care of children in the house and is very gentle towards smaller ones.
The Chessie needs a meaningful job around the house
The dogs love their work – whether as hunting dogs, police dogs, or as guard and protection dogs, they carry out their tasks conscientiously. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers without specific tasks quickly feel under-challenged. Badly behaved Chessies are aggressive towards strangers. When dogs are kept busy, they develop into even-tempered and loyal companions who rarely show signs of stress and are always ready to go.