Chesapeake Bay Retriever review

Neutral reviews


This rugged dog should be taken hiking and swimming as often as possible. A walk around the block is not nearly enough to maintain his muscle tone or to satisfy his working instincts.


Though not guard dogs, many Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have mild protective instincts. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, their natural standoffishness could become suspiciousness, which could lead to aggression.


Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are rugged working dogs who need regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored, which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Chesapeakes can make a shambles of your house and yard.


Chesapeakes are a strong-willed breed and should not be confused with Golden Retrievers, who love to please. This breed requires consistency above all else. If you give them a little leeway, they will consider it an open door to make their own rules. Though they require a strong leader, Chesapeakes should never be treated harshly and they don't respond well to discipline. Positive reinforcement and a lot of patience is the best recipe for a well trained dog.


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has the strongest personality of all retrievers. They are not as easy-going as the other breeds, are more independent and are probably the hardest to train. Despite that, they are some of the most durable hunting dogs around. They love to swim and can handle an entire day of retrieving ducks or sticks from frigid waters. They are a true outdoorsperson's dog and will happily accompany people on hikes, bike trips, jogs or camping excursions.


In general, Chessies love kids but won't put up with a lot of harassment, instead preferring to walk away. They can, however, be possessive of food and toys, which can make them a poor match for homes with young children. They are protective of children but can misinterpret their play with their friends and react inappropriately. Many breeders won't sell Chessie puppies to families with children younger than 8 years of age. An adult Chessie who's familiar with children is a better match for a family with young kids.


If you aren’t prepared to get outside for long walks and runs on a daily basis, this might not be the dog for you. If, however, you are capable of fulfilling the Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s exercise requirements, it can be an excellent family companion or hunting partner.


Despite having a history as hunters, these dogs aren’t aggressive in any way. They are always friendly with people and love to receive affection from their owners. However, they can tend to be a little headstrong and independent from time to time, so careful training is vital. These dogs need the right type of owner. If you can handle the active lifestyle and firm training that this breed needs, the Chessie can become a loyal and caring companion.

Postby RoostersMom

Go to a local training club that has working chessies before you make up your mind. IMO, chessies aren't "birddogs" they are waterfowl dogs. We own two. Take heed of the warnings about the breed. They can be aggressive towards both people and other dogs (no matter how well socialized they are). They are keen retrievers and ideal dogs for waterfowl hunting in harsh conditions. The dogs I've been exposed to have been quite slow in coming around to training, hardheaded and not very eager to please. That is based on about 5 dogs I've been around a lot. They are most assuredly not a labrador with a curlier coat - their attitude and demeanor is much different. They are not a dog I would take to the dog park if I was a dog park type person. They are loyal and protective - I would say, too protective.

Be very careful when choosing your breeder and make sure you have a good idea of the sire and dam's temperment (plus their parent's temperment).

Postby frosso

My first dog Ginny was a Chessie. I didn't hunt back then and she was just a family dog. She was a great dog and would retrieve until your arm fell off and LOVED to retrieve in water (no surprise there). She was stong as an ox too. I'm not an expert on dogs but I do know Chesapeakes are very hard headed, stubborn, and can be over protective. Make sure you go to a reputable breeder to get the right temperment especially if you have kids. They also have an oily coat so they tend to be a little dog smeller than others. If you go to the right breeder you will end up with the most loyal, loving, hardworking, driven dog.


Have owned a female Chessie for the past 9 years. She is a big, beautiful dog, and grew up with an older Beagle but now lives without another dog. A young Chessie is a handful: growing and growing and always needing a job to do.

Chessies are high energy and love the water. A daily walk is required at the minimum lest your puppy should become disobedient and destructive. Chessies are also a very dominant dog breed, but shouldn't come into play all too much if you don't currently have any other pets. However, your Chessie, as with any other dog, must be socialized from an early age. And due to their already domineering temperament, without socialization and a firm master, they may pick fights with other dogs.

Our female is around 110 pounds, so make sure you'll be able to handle a dog that big later on. In full, Chessies are beautiful dogs with a high drive and eager to please attitude but require a typically experienced, firm and decisive master to be the alpha in the household.


Roomate's Chesapeake Bay Retriever was the dumbest dog I ever knew.

Used to swallow bars of soap, throw them up, eat them again.

Beautiful dog, though.


Male chessies (that's all I've ever owned) tend to be very headstrong and tough. However, once you have them trained they are extremely capable and very friendly to people they trust.


I love Chessies, don't get me wrong, but if you're looking for a kid-friendly family pet, you should probably hold out for a Golden. Chessies tend to be a bit more stand-offish than the other retrievers.

I work with dogs for a living, and I have to say, if I had kids that age at home, a Golden Retriever is the only breed I would consider getting. Not saying other breeds aren't capable of being great pets, but Goldens are pretty much a slam dunk.

Positive reviews


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is friendly, obedient, and intelligent. They are trainable, although they may be a bit slow to learn. They are affectionate and good with children, and they usually get along well with cats that live in their house. This breed isn’t recommended for a new or inexperienced dog owner. Handlers of this breed should be confident and exude authority, because the Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a mind of its own and prefers to do things his own way. Obedience classes are highly recommended for this breed. If improperly trained or socialized, they can have dominance issues. They are different than most retrievers in that they are more strong-minded, willful, and reserved with strangers. They are usually slow to mature and have a tendency to be territorial.


We have had ours for 5 years now. I think we were lucky because we had our daughters after we got our dog. Chessies are very, very, loyal. Being the head of the household, he only listens to me. He will drown out the wife and kids unless they take a gruff tone with him. Saying that, he has been wonderful and when the kids jump all over him, he just stares at me waiting the next command. He is half inside and half outside and will do things to aggravate my wife like take baby socks and hold them in his mouth to get her attention. Be prepared to buy a nice vacuum. The kids love him and even though we've recently discovered he is diabetic(which is rare in this breed), I wouldn't trade him for any dog.


My family just lost our Chesapeake named Willis, he was 13. Awesome dog he was the runt of the litter weighed about 70lbs which is small for a male but he was the perfect size. Anyway when we do do get another dog it will be another Chesapeake.