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Chesapeake Bay Retriever: Nature, Care, and Chessie Diseases

Chesapeake bay retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a breed originating in the USA.

Her ancestors were a Newfoundland couple, rescued from a sinking ship in the Chesapeake Bay area off the coast of Maryland in 1807.

As Sailor and Canton turned out to be great hunting and watchdog dogs, breeding began by mixing their genes most likely with Curly-Coated Retrievers and Flat-Coated Retrievers, as well as other British breeds.

The domain of the Chesapeake Bay Retrievers was the hunting of ducks in the icy waters of the bay, where they were said to be able to hunt even 200 of them daily.

Their dense coat protected them against frost and made them waterproof, and their brown hair perfectly camouflaged them in the thicket of forest trees.

These dogs were also characterized by an excellent sense of smell, sight and orientation in space, thanks to which they were able to find the place where the shot down bird fell and bring it obediently, holding it in their teeth.

Chessie, because that's what they are called for short, turned out to be a tough breed, resistant to unfavorable conditions, not afraid of work, stubborn, tireless and water-loving.

And they are like that to this day.

On Polish streets we will meet them extremely rarely, because this rather specified utility is not often useful in the realities of our country, where hunting is not very popular.

In the United States, their star shines much brighter - according to the AKC data from 2018/19, these dogs are on the 45th place (out of 192 considered) the list of the most popular breeds in the USA.

His cousins ​​- Labrador and Golden - occupy the honorable 1st and 3rd place in this ranking.

According to the FCI classification, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever belongs to group 8.

  • Chessie look
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever character
  • Care and nutrition
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever Disease
    • Hip dysplasia
    • GREAT
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Degenerative myelopathy
    • Von Willebrand disease
  • For whom the chessie will be the perfect dog?

Chessie look

Chessie look

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a strong and well-proportioned dog.


He is the tallest of the retrievers - the height at the withers of a male dog is 58-66 cm, and that of a female dog is 53-61 cm.


The weight of the dog is about 29.5-36.5 kg, and the bitches are approx. 25 - 52 kg.

Breed description

  • The head is broad with a slightly marked stop.
  • The length of the muzzle is similar to that of the skull, narrowing towards the front.
  • A set of teeth set in a scissor or pincer bite.
  • The eyes are set wide, pale, ranging in color from yellow to amber.
  • Ears small, hanging, set high.
  • Muscular neck.
  • The chest is broad and deep, the loin is strong, the hips are at the height of the withers.
  • The tail is straight or slightly curved, of medium length. Limbs straight, muscular.
  • Oval and elongated feet - the so-called. hare paw, make it easier for the dog to move in the water.
  • Double-layer hair cover.
  • The top coat is short and hard, and the undercoat is dense and woolly.
  •  A slightly longer hair on the neck and back may be slightly curling.
  • Feathers allowed on the rear part of the limbs and tail.
  • The skin secretes a lot of sebum, which, combined with a dense undercoat, ensures water resistance and resistance to cold.


Color - all shades of brown - from dark chocolate to the so-called. the color of the dried grass.

White markings are allowed on the abdomen, breasts, toes and above the paw pads.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever character

Chesapeake Bay Retriever nature

When we hear the word "retriever ", we see a joyful, charming, somewhat clumsy giant with a heart in his hand (or rather he is grabbing) who would chase everyone to death.

However, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever does not have much in common with this image, which was recorded in our heads mainly by Labradors and Goldens.

This does not mean that he has a bad character, no, but he is definitely different from the one described above.

Chessie is, above all, courage, independence and willingness to work.

They are typically utility dogs, for which hunting and water are the elements.

They are loyal and devoted to their guardian, to whom they can show tenderness and familiarity, but with strangers they are mostly aloof and sometimes can hardly tolerate someone's presence, which makes them good guardians.

They are also not very friendly towards other dogs and can even be aggressive, but there are also examples that praise having four-legged buddies on the runway.

They are intelligent and obedient animals, if they are well trained, but they get bored quickly and if we do not run them out, they will repay us by destroying our favorite armchair or shoe.

Care and nutrition

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever hair cover is resistant to pollution and water penetration into its deeper layers.

The sebaceous glands of their skin produce significant amounts of sebum, which in addition to the water resistance mentioned above causes the release of a specific smell that should not be eliminated by frequent baths in dog shampoo.

After your dog comes into contact with salt water, rinse the coat with tap water only.

Brush your pet once a week with a rubber brush, and during the shedding period, when the hair is shed more intensively, it is better to do it a bit more often.

Chessie do not have any special nutritional requirements, and they are not very picky.

As they are by definition very active and intensively working dogs, it is important that the composition of the diet we use is rich in protein and also contains ingredients that protect the articular cartilage.

We can decide on commercial feed or compose the dog's meals ourselves, bearing in mind the appropriate proportions of micro and macro ingredients.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Disease

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Disease

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is one of the most common degenerative joint diseases in dogs.

It mainly affects dogs of large and giant breeds.

The term dysplasia covers incorrect shaping and mismatching of the structures that make up (in this case) the hip joint or too loose connection of its individual elements.

Inaccurate fit of the femoral head to the acetabulum causes looseness, which increases with increasing loads acting on the joint and, as a result, productive changes occur.

This disease has a poligenetic background, but it is also conditioned by the so-called. environmental factors such as e.g. diet during the period of growth, as well as the quantity and quality of exercise provided to the puppy.

A puppy is born with normal joints, and dysplasia develops as a result of an imbalance between the development of hard and soft tissues.

Joint loads caused by excessive body weight or too strenuous training lead to microdamages of cartilage and subluxation of joints.

Also, foods containing the wrong proportions of calcium, phosphorus and vitamins contribute to stretching the ligaments and loosening the joint.

Standard symptoms of the disease are noticeable in dogs at the age of 6-12 months, but they may appear in 2-month-old puppies and are most often noticed by the breeder.

These symptoms are mainly:

  • reluctance to move,
  • difficulty getting up,
  • preferring the lying position,
  • the so-called. rabbit jumping,
  • stiff gait.

In puppies there is an acute form - impaired movement up to complete inability to walk, and in older ones - a chronic form - limited mobility of joints and stiffness of the pelvic limbs.

The diagnosis is made on the basis of data from the history, clinical examination and an X-ray image under sedation.

The methods of treating dysplasia vary and depend on the age of the animal, its weight and the severity of the changes.

In young dogs, there is a possibility of surgical treatment, and the most common procedures are:

  • femoral head resection,
  • pectinectomy,
  • triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO).

In older dogs, most often there is only palliative treatment in the form of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, as well as innovative therapies with the use of stem cells or IRAP, which have been introduced for several years.


Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a hereditary disease consisting of the progressive degeneration of the retinal cells of the eye.

Depending on the location of the damage, we refer to CPRA (degeneration of the central part) or GPRA (over the entire surface).

The degeneration of the suppositories and rods leads to the loss of the ability to see first only after dark, and as the disease progresses also during the day.

Diagnostics consists of an ophthalmological examination using an electroretinograph.

It allows the assessment of the receptors' responses to the action of light stimuli.

The disease is incurable, and individuals with it burden should be excluded from breeding.


Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disease that many breeds are predisposed to, but is particularly common in retrievers.

The essence of this disease, just like in humans, is the reduced secretion of thyroid hormones - thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which are responsible for regulating the metabolic processes of the whole organism.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is lymphocytic thyroiditis, followed by its idiopathic atrophy, cancerous tumors or congenital hypoplasia.

Symptoms of the disease are very diverse, and often subtle in the initial stages, which may go unnoticed or ignored for a long time.

These include:.in.:

  • seborrhea,
  • bad coat quality,
  • recurrent ear infections,
  • apathy,
  • increased thirst and urine output,
  • obesity in the absence of an increase in appetite,
  • no estrus, as well as many others.

The diagnosis is based on the measurement of hormones (T4, fT4) and thyrotropin (TSH) released by the pituitary gland in the blood.

Treatment is chronic and is carried out for life with the use of synthetic levothyroxine tablets supplementation in an appropriately selected dose.

Periodic blood tests are necessary - first after approx. 6 weeks from the start of therapy, and every 6 months thereafter for possible dose adjustment.

Degenerative myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is an inherited disease of unknown cause.

It is based on the disappearance of the myelin sheaths of nerves that extend along the thoracolumbar spinal cord.

The lack of these casings leads to disturbances in nerve conduction.

Clinical symptoms of DM include disorders of deep sensation, up to complete inability to move.

The prognosis is poor as there is no effective treatment.

To enhance the flow of impulses, B vitamins, vitamin E and physiotherapy are used, but without spectacular effects.

Von Willebrand disease

Von Willebrand disease is an inherited disorder of blood clotting.

Its essence is the shortage of the so-called. von Willebrand factor, which is necessary for the attachment of platelets to the damaged vascular endothelium and thus blocking its outflow and transports the anti-haemophilic factor.

Symptoms include various degrees of coagulation disorders, i.e. spontaneous bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract or mucous membranes, increased bleeding at heat, during treatments, and even after injections.

Blood tests with the marking m.in. platelet count, hematocrit, prothrombin and thrombin time.

The final diagnosis is made using an ELISA test that measures the level of von Willebrand factor in the blood.

For whom the chessie will be the perfect dog?

For whom it will be an ideal breed of dog?

The Chesapeake is not a beginner dog, as its training requires a bit of experience from the handler, especially since these dogs are not very eager to follow the instructions of strangers, so training in the nursery may not be as effective as in the case of other breeds.

Training should be consistent and firm, but also varied, as these intelligent pets get bored quickly.

They are definitely working dogs that require work, preferably one that they like, which is mainly hunting, swimming and retrieving.

Sometimes they are used as guardians of the blind, i.e. dog guides, and they also work well in various dog sports, such as agility.

If they are properly arranged, they do not cause any major problems.

Chessie are calm, quiet and easy to care for, but the minimum necessary that we need to provide them is movement.

They like to spend time with their caregiver, preferably actively, and what they definitely do not like is loneliness, which, combined with boredom, is an explosive mixture and can trigger destructive tendencies in them.

Their strictly defined usability does not make them popular in Poland, which means that we will have to work hard to find a puppy.

This is actually a positive phenomenon, which proves that this breed is chosen consciously and only goes to the hands of lovers and experts who will be able to provide the chessie for which it dreams and to which it has been adapted years ago.

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