Weather Updates
Friday, March 24, 2023

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Group: Gundogs (Group 3)
Club: Victorian Gundog Club Inc (Group 3)
Contact: Ms Sally Haynes
Phone: 0412 629 262

Brief History

The origins of the breed date back to 1807, when two Newfoundland puppies were reportedly rescued from a shipwreck and were later mated to local dogs, possibly Flat Coated and Curly Coated Retrievers. Over time the breed was developed along the Chesapeake Bay (estuary in USA) to hunt waterfowl under the most adverse weather and water conditions. Originally bred as a poacher’s dog, the Chesapeake was required to hunt all night and then guard the spoils the next day. The breed was officially recognised in 1878 and today’s Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an avid hunter on land and in water and a faithful companion.

Average Life Span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime.

The average life span is 12 to 14 years.


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a bright and happy disposition with an intelligent expression and affectionate protective nature. It displays courage, willingness to work, alertness, intelligence, a good nose and a love of water.

General Breed Description

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s intellect and willingness to work for its owner have made this breed extremely versatile. In body, the Chesapeake is a medium/large dog, strong and powerfully built. Distinctive features include eyes that are very clear, of yellowish or amber hue. The Chesapeake has a double coat consisting of a short, harsh, wavy outer coat and a dense, fine, woolly undercoat containing an abundance of natural oil. Their first love will always be water retrieving, as they have a natural desire and an extraordinary ability to find game. They have been successful in numerous dog sports including Obedience, Dock Diving and Agility, and have been known to work as service dogs in such areas as drug enforcement, track and search and as therapy dogs. They are matchless companions and devoted family dogs. They can be any colour of brown (light to dark) and may have a white spot on the chest, belly, toes, or back of the feet.

Coat and Care Requirements

The Chesapeake’s coat requires little grooming. They “drop” coat twice a year and regular brushing is helpful to keep shedding at a minimum. Regular bathing is not advised as they have natural oil on their coats that keep it water resistant. Regular swimming and a coat spray will keep their coats fresh.


Height: Males 58 to 66cms (23 to 26ins), Females 53 to 61cms (21 to 24ins).

Weight: Males 29 to 36kg (65 to 80lbs), Females 25 to 32kg (55 to 70lbs).


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders it is recommended you enquire about the breed’s health and what health testing the breeder does. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is generally a healthy breed, however health conditions do occur occasionally. These may include Hip Dysplasia (HD) and Elbow Dysplasia. The following conditions have a DNA test to rule out disease in the parents: Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC), and Degenerative Myelopathy (DM).


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever becomes firmly attached to its family, so does not rehome well and needs to be in a ‘forever’ home. He is intensely affectionate, sensitive and perceptive. He knows when he is liked and when he is not and responds in kind. The Chesapeake is reserved and cautious with strangers. With a keen sense of hearing and a very protective nature, he is a good watchdog. Due to its natural protective instincts he must be properly socialised and trained from an early age. This is an active dog that needs regular attention and exercise, so is best suited to someone with an active lifestyle. 

In Conclusion

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to ANKC Breed Standard:

Registered Breeders

    No breeders currently listed.