The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an American dog of the retriever type, which is a good multi-purpose working dog and can be classed within the gundog, retriever or sporting groups, depending on the country in which they are owned. While they were originally bred and trained to work with market hunters retrieving water fowl, today, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, or “Chessie,” is most commonly kept as a domestic pet by families.
At first glance, the Chessie appears similar to the Labrador Retriever, which is indeed a related breed, but the Chessie has a rather more wavy coat that is longer and curlier in places. People that like Labrador Retrievers and find that their temperaments are well suited to family living might also wish to consider the Chesapeake Bay Retriever as a potential family pet.
Read on to learn more about the temperament, trainability and general personality traits of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
The general temperament traits that the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is reputed to possess are incredibly similar to those of the Labrador, and the breed as a whole is considered to be intelligent, alert, bright, happy in disposition, and friendly with both friends and strangers. They are fairly bubbly dogs that very much enjoy playing, and are inquisitive, even tempered and good with children of all ages.
By nature, the Chessie is a lively and active dog, which is happiest when having something to do and a good friend to do it with! They like plenty of play and high jinx, and very much enjoy retrieving a ball or anything else that you might throw for them, both on land and in water. They are certainly not afraid of getting their paws wet, and very much like to swim!
They are over all very enthusiastic about life as a whole, and have happy, open natures and reliable, even temperaments. They are considered to be a very honest dog, unlikely to send mixed signals through their body language and slow to react to aggression.
They are generally sociable with people and not wary around strangers, and provided that they are correctly socialised, get on exceedingly well with other dogs and will happily interact in a pack situation with strange dogs in the dog park too.
While the Chesapeake Bay Retriever can live happily within a suburban home with a relatively small garden, they do need to have plenty of access to the outside world, and be taken out for two relatively long and energetic walks at least twice a day. They require mental stimulation and challenging walks and exercise as well, and will soon get bored with only sedate, uneventful walks on the lead.
Without sufficient exercise, the Chessie will soon pile on the pounds, and it is important to keep dogs of the breed fit and healthy with a balanced diet and adequate exercise.
The Chessie is a very versatile breed that can turn its paw to a wide range of different activities, and their friendly, alert natures, loyalty and willingness to learn mean that they are eminently trainable too.
They retain the inbuilt traits of a good hunting and retrieving dog, being tenacious in their searches, having superior scenting abilities, and being capable of retrieving downed prey unharmed. The breed is renowned to have a stubborn streak, and will also potentially get bored easily with too much repetitive training, so training should be challenging, varied, and designed to keep the dog thinking and trying hard.
Positive reinforcement training is ideal for the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and they respond very positively to treats and other forms of bribery! Training should be viewed as an ongoing endeavour throughout the life of the dog, with plenty of opportunities for play provided to the dog as well.
Providing that you are able to accommodate for the Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s exercise requirements and provide them with enough entertainment to keep them occupied within the home, the Chessie generally makes for an excellent family dog.
They are calm and good natured, not prone to snappiness, and will often be highly affectionate with even the youngest children of the family. Children do in fact make excellent companions for the Chessie, both of them enjoying outdoor play, running around, and games of catch with a ball. The Chessie is also a good choice of dog to introduce to an existing family dog, as they generally get on well with others and are not overly territorial.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has strong hunting instincts, so if incorrectly trained, they may prove a threat to smaller animals such as cats. But as they are also extremely biddable and keen to please, it is entirely possible to keep a Chessie in a home with cats when properly introduced, preferably when the dog is young, and correctly trained and socialised.