The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was developed in the United States Chesapeake Bay area throughout the 19th century. It is a breed belonging to the sporting, gundog, and retriever breed groups. They may also be called Chessie, CBR, or Chesapeake. In older times the breed was used by area market hunters to fetch waterfowl, this is primarily a hunting companion, or family pet.
Distinctive features include eyes that are very clear, of yellowish or amber colour, hindquarters as high or slightly higher than the shoulder. It has a double-coat that has a tendency to wave on shoulders, neck, back, and loins. The waterproof coat feels somewhat greasy and is usually related to a little musky scent. Three basic colors are often seen in the breed: brownish, which contains all shades from a light into a deep dark brown; sedge, which changes from a reddish yellow through a bright red to chestnut shades; and dead grass in all its hues, changing from a faded tan to a dull straw color. The breed standard states that white may additionally show up, it must be limited to the bust, belly, toes, or back of the feet. The head is broad and round with a moderate stop and muzzle. The lips are thin, and also the ears are small and of medium leather. The forelegs should be straight. The hindquarters are specifically strong, and its toes are webbed since it ability to swim is important in this breed. This strain is also famous for its large and strong chest, used to break ice apart when diving into cold water.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a bright and joyful disposition, quiet good sense, intelligence, and an affectionate but protective nature. Some can be quite talkative when they are happy, and some will ‘smile’ by baring their front teeth in a strange grin – this is not sign of threat however a sign of submissiveness or delight.
When socialized correctly, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can make excellent family dogs. Some Chesapeakes are willful and assertive but could be aloof when strangers are around; however some are outgoing and passive around other people.
The strain is subject to numerous diseases that are hereditary. Included in these are, but are not limited to:
Progressive retinal atrophy
Type 3 von Willebrand disease
Regional Alopecia in both genders
A UK Kennel Club survey adds that the median lifespan of the Chesapeake is 10.75 (average 9.85). Asurvey done by the US Breed club puts the average life span at 9.4 years. While 1 on 5 don’t live much past 5 years, 1 in 4 lived to 13+ years.