Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a large stocky dog with a distinctive thick, waterproof coat. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever belongs to the popular gundog group of dogs.

Chesapeake Bay breed group

The Chesapeake bay Retriever is part of the Gundog group.

Size of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever


Country of origin

United States of America

Time of original development

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was developed in the 1800s.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever through History

This breed was created to produce an efficient working dog bred to retrieve ducks from the icy waters of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

It has an unusual history and background. A boat was discovered shipwrecked in Maryland in 1807, and 2 puppies were discovered on board. The puppies were thought to be Newfoundland types with a love of water.The puppies were then mixed with local Retrievers and the Curly Coated Retriever to create the Chesapeake Bay Retriever we know today.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever introduction and overview

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever breed is also known as the CBR, the Chessie or simply Chesapeake.

It is a large athletic, gundog with a double coated thick oily coat that is slight wavy and waterproof. The breed has amber coloured eyes. The breed is a keen and natural swimmer and will gravitate towards water on the dog walk. The waterproof coat provides protection against cold water and other potential dangers such as thorns and brambles. This is an ideal all-weather dog. It can be walked in the foulest, wettest weather and remain dry with just a couple of shakes.

Like all large dogs, this breed is prone to the potentially fatal condition known as bloat. One large single meal a day should be avoided,and smaller portions offered throughout the day to prevent this condition.

It is quite a rare dog and often only seen at shows sadly, with only 86 puppies being registered with the Kennel Club in 2016.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever temperament

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a loyal level-headed dog and a little more reserved and aloof than the Golden or Labrador Retriever. It is known to be good with children, cats and other small pets if socialised from an early age.

Training should also be started when young to stop the breed roaming or running off, a common problem in most gundogs.

Colour varieties of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

This distinctive thick coated gundog is available in a variety of stunning colours including:

  • Ash
  • Brown
  • Dark brown
  • Deadgrass
  • Light brown
  • Sedge

Size and weight of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Height bitch 53-61cms

Height dog 58-66cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 25-32kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 29-36kgs

Exercise requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

High. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever requires at least 2 hours of exercise daily, ideally off the lead.This is a dog with an abundance of stamina and endurance.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a dog best suited to a country lifestyle, and an active owner who can provide the physical exercise, stimulation and time commitment this athletic breed requires. It also thrives on work and mental stimulation, and excels at obedience and agility.

Is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever a good dog for a first time dog owner?

No. The breed is easy to train and a quick learner, but any prospective owner must appreciate the very high exercise levels and mental activiity the breed requires, as boredom can quickly result in unwanted behaviour around the home.

Other Retrievers such as the Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever may be a more suitable breed for first time dog owners wishing to own a Retriever type.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever coat length

Medium. The coat is a bundle of tight, crisp curls that cover the whole body apart from the face and muzzle. There is no undercoat.

Grooming requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The Cheasapeake is actually quite low maintenance in terms of grooming. The thick coat may look difficult to maintain, but is actually very low maintenance as mud and water simply slide off the protective waterproof coat. A brush through with either a very soft slicker brush or stiff bristle brush twice a week is all that is required to keep the coat of this breed in good shape.


No. The thick double coat sheds throughout the year and therefore not suitable for allergy sufferers. Owners also claim the oily coat of the Chesapeake has a subtle musky smell that some owners may find unpleasant.

Health issues in the Chesapeake Bay Coated Retriever

The breed is generally fairly healthy and hardy compared to Retrievers such as the Curly Coated Retrievers but he following health issue has been noted in the breed, so do consult your breeder:

  • Bloat
  • Hip dysplasia

Average lifespan of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

A healthy dog can expect to live around 10-12 years, although 15 years has been known in this breed.

Approximate Chesapeake Bay Retriever pedigree puppy price

Puppies are not often available and pedigree puppies cost in the region of £600-£800. Litters tend to be produce around 8-10 puppies. Only 39 puppies were registered with the Kennel Club in 2015.

Estimating how much a Chesapeake Bay Retriever would need to be fed each day

A bitch weighing 30kgs requires 365gms of complete dry food per day. A dog weighing 35kgs requires 402gms of complete dry food per day.

The weekly cost of feeding a bitch is around £7.30

The weekly cost of feeding a dog is around £8.00

Our estimates are based on feeding a slightly above average quality complete food bought from a popular supermarket on the high street. This is an estimate only, and doesn’t allow for the higher activity levels of working dogs who may need require than this.

Other necessary costs and regular expenses to consider when owning any dog

Remember to budget for other necessary routine costs and procedures for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever that are not covered by general pet insurance:

  • Worming preparations
  • Flea treatments
  • Annual vaccination boosters
  • Dental treatments
  • Neutering/spaying

Many veterinary practices now operate monthly budget schemes to allow you to spread the cost over the year.