www.GreatChessies.info Duck Hunting Dogs

​Breed Characteristics

A truly American sporting breed and the toughest of water retrievers, the Chesapeake Bay retriever was developed along the Eastern Shore to hunt waterfowl under the most adverse weather and water conditions. Breed characteristics are specifically suited to enable the Chesapeake to work with ease, efficiency, and endurance. Chesapeake lovers conscientiously seek to retain both the form and function of the breed.


The Chesapeake's skull is broad and round with a medium stop, his jaw of sufficient length and strength to carry large game birds. His eye is yellow or amber and medium large with a clear steady gaze. Ears are small, set well up on the head, hang loosely, and of medium leather. The preferred bite is scissors but level is acceptable. The important, distinctive double coat consists of a short, harsh, wavy outer coat and a dense fine wooly undercoat. It should resist the water in the same way that a duck's feathers do. The color must be as nearly that of his working surroundings as possible. Any shade of brown, sedge, or deadgrass is acceptable. One color is not to be preferred over another.   CBRs' are a strong, well balanced, powerfully built animal of moderate size with medium length of body and leg. The chest is deep and wide. Hindquarters are as high as or a trifle higher than the shoulders. Males should weigh 65 to 80 lbs.; females 55 to 70 lbs. The Chesapeake is valued for his bright and happy disposition, intelligence, quiet good sense, and affectionate, active, loyal nature. Adults may be somewhat aloof with strangers. Extreme shyness or extreme aggressive tendencies are not desirable. 

A very versatile breed, the Chesapeake can excel in a variety of activities, from hunting and field work to obedience, agility, therapy, dock dogs and tracking. You can choose to participate in one or all of these and conformation as well.

Chesapeakes are naturals in the field. They love the water and are excellent markers with great birdiness and good noses. With basic and consistent training they are superb hunting companions.

It is important to keep the Chesapeake's mind and body occupied. They are naturally active dogs and thrive on work. The advantage of owning a Chesapeake is that you need not settle for one activity with your dog. Solid command training with house rules firmly established form the foundation of whatever you and your Chesapeake enjoy doing together.

Chesapeake bay retrievers are...


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a shoulder height of 53-66 cm (21-26 in) and weighs 25-36 kg (55-80 lbs). It has a broad skull, visible stop (depression where the muzzle meets the forehead), thin lips, small, hanging ears and amber eyes. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a deep, strong chest, webbed feet for improved swimming ability, and muscular hindquarters which are slightly higher than the front shoulders.


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a thick, short, waterproof outer coat with a wooly undercoat. The outer coat has a slight oily texture and is wavy on the shoulders and back. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever can be brown (light to dark), sedge (yellow red to bright red), and deadgrass (tan to straw), with possible white markings on the chest, stomach, and feet.


Though the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is intelligent, it is known for being difficult to train. Patience is required as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is not eager to change its behaviors. A popular expression is ‘You can order a Labrador Retriever and ask a Golden Retriever, but you must negotiate with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever’. Once the Chesapeake Bay Retriever recognizes its handler's authority and understands what is expected of it, it will behave properly going forward. Obedience training is strongly recommended.