www.GreatChessies.info Duck Hunting Dogs


In 1964, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, named after the famous bay region of the breed's origin, was declared the official dog of Maryland (Chapter 156, Acts of 1964; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-303).

A working dog bred to recover waterfowl for hunters, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is one of only a few breeds actually developed in the United States. Nonetheless, the history of this dog is unclear. Legend tells of an English vessel shipwrecked off the coast of Maryland in the early nineteenth century. Among the survivors were two young dogs of a Newfoundland breed. Supposedly bred to local coonhounds, they evolved into the present-day Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

The American Kennel Club registered its first Chesapeake Bay Retriever in 1878. By then, a definite type had evolved with characteristics suited to the often rigorous duck hunting conditions around Chesapeake Bay. Dogs of the breed are intelligent with powerful bodies of moderate size and strong jaws. Their double coats, with a coarse, wavy outer coat and a fine woolly undercoat containing lots of natural oils, protect them from icy waters. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers may be brown, sedge, or deadgrass, colors which blend with their hunting environment.

Retrievers are characterized by their versatility, strength, endurance, and loyal devotion. These dogs excel in field and obedience trials. As service dogs, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are found working with drug enforcement agencies, and visiting hospitals and nursing homes. Some are trained for search and rescue work, even as avalanche or sled dogs.

chesapeake bay retrievers History and fun facts

Country of Origin

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever (affectionately called ‘Chessie’) has a fascinating history. When a wrecked English ship was discovered off the coast of Maryland in 1807, two Newfoundland puppies were found among the survivors. These puppies, one red and one black, developed a reputation for superior retrieving abilities. Many dogs from the area, probably including Bloodhounds and Irish Water Spaniels, were bred with them. Gradually the descendants of these dogs became identifiable as a distinct breed which could brave the icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay to retrieve water fowl. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885, but to this day has attracted only modest interest and hunter. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the state dog of Maryland and is the mascot of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC). Theodore Roosevelt had a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named ‘Sailor Boy’.


"True Grit"
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever

is the official mascot of the 

University of Maryland Baltimore County.