The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the only member of the retriever family that has no European ancestry, they are 100% American. This makes their personality slightly different to other breeds of retriever but they still make excellent pets. Chesapeake Bay Retriever owners know that they have got one of the best pets that anyone could ask for. There are things that Chesapeake Bay Retriever owners know that no one else does.
They can never get enough exercise.
Chesapeake Bay retrievers love nothing more than going on long walks. They have a lot of energy and you can expect to be on these walks for hours at a time. Exercising also helps to keep their bodies and minds active and so is something that is really important. They have confident footing on all types of terrains so if you enjoy hiking then you can certainly take your dog along with you and they will not struggle to keep up. There is almost no type of exercise that you could throw at your dog that they will not enjoy trying out and they are always keen to get involved.
They love to have things in their mouths.
They can often be seen carrying their favorite toys around the house. It is a good idea to leave a box of their toys in a place where they can easily reach them. They may have a tendency to nibble at your hands if their mouths are not kept busy. This is not done maliciously but people that do not know your dog well may think that they are trying to bite them which can cause them to become scared and upset the dog. They can be taught not to do this but it is always helpful to have some toys handy that they can put in their mouths instead.
They like to be kept busy.
They were traditionally a working dog and they still have this trait within them. They will not be a suitable pet if you are out of the house for long periods during the day as they will start to get bored. If you know that you are going to be away for longer than normal then it is often a good idea to leave them with plenty of toys to play with. If they do become bored then this is when they can start to become destructive and so it is a situation that needs to be avoided if possible.
They are fiercely loyal.
They become very attached to their owners and are protective of them. Their instinct is to mistrust anyone that they are not familiar with. When they develop a bond with their owner then it is hard to break and this sometimes means that they do not adapt well to new situations. If they think that someone is behaving badly towards their owner then it is not unusual for them to show their aggression by barking and snarling.
They may be wary of strangers.
They are not as naturally friendly as other types of retriever. They will need to see that you trust people before they will begin to warm to them. They are generally accepting of new people after a time so do not be too worried if they do not seem to take to someone at first. If there is someone in particular that you want them to get used to then it can be helpful for your dog to spend as much time as possible with that person. Over time they will start to develop a bond with this person but you should just be aware that this may be somewhat of a lengthy process.
They are good with other pets.
They will get along with other dogs and other animals that they live alongside. However, they may be wary of animals they do not know and this will be something to bear in mind if you are ever anywhere that you may run into other unfamiliar animals. They will not generally be aggressive to other animals unless they feel threatened in anyway so there is no need to isolate them completely from unfamiliar animals. If they are being walked in a park where there will be other dogs for example then it may be a good idea to keep them on a leash.
Obedience training is a must.
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are very independent and need consistent authority from you. They will look to establish their own position in the household and if they do not recognize your authority then they will consider themselves to be above you. This can then cause problems with their behaviour because they will almost see themselves as the leader and they will consider themselves to be free to do whatever they want. The best time to train the dogs is when they are young so that they know how they should behave from the very beginning.
They are very strong-willed.
In some cases this does mean that they may be difficult to train. They need to respect you before they will listen to your instructions. As touched on previously, the younger that a Chesapeake Bay retriever can start their training the less chances there are of encountering any problems with behaviour. You do not want to try and break their spirit in any way but they need to know that it is you that is in charge.
Barking means they are bored.
They have quite active minds and so can become bored quite easily when they are left alone for long periods. If you have a problem with your Chesapeake Bay retriever barking then you may need to look at what they are doing when this occurs. If they have been alone for some time then there is a good chance that the barking is designed to attract your attention because they have missed you. If they are barking a lot during the day then this has the potential to cause a problem with your neighbors and so it is a situation that you will want to deal with as soon as possible.
They love to jump.
When they are excited to see someone or they just have a lot of energy then it is not uncommon for them to bounce around. This does mean that there are some things that you need to bear in mind. If the dog is left unsupervised in the back or front yard then you will need to make sure that you have a fence that is big enough to stop them jumping over. Also if they are left in a room unsupervised then you will need to make sure there is nothing fragile that they could jump up and break.
Care needs to be taken with young children.
They are good with children they are familiar with but sometimes they can get a bit boisterous. Young children may be scared if the dog tries to jump up them. If they have been socialized since they were a puppy then this shouldn’t be too much of a problem but if not the dog may not understand why the children do not want to play. It is a good idea not to leave children unsupervised with the dog for long periods of time so the behavior of both the dog and the children can be monitored.
They need time to get used to regular visitors.
They will initially be wary of strangers and it may take time for them to relax completely around friends and family that visit you often. They can seem stand-offish to people that they are unfamiliar with but they are not usually aggressive. It is important that your visitors understand this characteristic of your dog because if they sense hostility then they will continue to be wary of your visitors. The best thing that the visitors can do is be warm and friendly towards your dog while taking the dogs lead when it comes to physical contact.
They make good guard dogs.
They are not as eager to please as other breeds of retriever and their first reaction to strangers is usually suspicion. They are more likely to protect people rather than possessions. They would alert you to the presence of an intruder in the house by barking or coming to find you to make sure you are alright as they would worry about your safety. They would not be able to be used to guard an empty building because they would not see the value of what they are trying to protect.
They love to swim.
This goes back to the days when they were bred as help for fisherman. They will spend a long time in the water if you let them and this will not bother them in the way that it might do other breeds of dog. Their coat is waterproof so it is almost impossible for them to get completely wet through to the skin but even this would not be a problem as they handle being wet very well. If you have a lake nearby then you should definitely take advantage of this by allowing your dog to swim in it as this will make them very happy.
They have a wavy coat.
This again is something that sets them apart from other breeds of retriever who have smooth coats. The texture of this double coat is one of the defining features of the breed. You can brush the coat to keep it looking it’s best but you should take care not to do this too often as it can strip the coat of its natural oils. The coat will retain its natural waves after swimming or bathing and so there is no need to do anything different than you would with a dog that has a smooth coat.
Their coat is waterproof.
This makes it easier for them to swim. It also means that they dry off quickly, even when they have spent a long period of time in the water. The one disadvantage of the waterproof coat is that it can be difficult to get them completely clean as the water will not get through to the bottom layers of the coat. However, a good shampoo will still clean the majority of the dogs coat and it is not something that you need to do that often anyway.
They love to play catch.
When they were hunting dogs they would chase after prey and this action is something that they still enjoy doing. This is an easy way to keep them entertained for a long period of time and there is a good chance that you will become bored of the game before they do. They will catch anything that you throw at them such as a ball or stick and run to fetch it if they miss the first time. They will prefer this type of game to any other and whatever you throw to them, they will always return it to you however long it takes for them to find it.
They need to be socialized.
This is important from a young age because of their initial suspicion of strangers and other animals. They have the potential to be very social dogs when they are around people that they trust. It can be difficult to socialize them when they are older because they will already have their own ideas about behaviour that they will need to unlearn. Chesapeake Bay retrievers are not an aggressive breed at by any means but they need to get used to being around people other than their owners.
They love to be outdoors.
If you own a Chesapeake Bay retriever then you need to be prepared to spend a lot of time outdoors yourself. If you are not at home during the day then they will be more comfortable outside in the yard then they would be alone in the house. If you have the time to be outdoors with your dog for an hour each day then this will be very much appreciated by them as it is their favorite place to be. If you do not live in a home that has a back yard then it is essential that you take them outside for a good length of time each day.
Exercise is important to maintain good muscle tone.
Fortunately, this is a very energetic breed and they react well to exercise. They will need at least one long walk every day. In terms of exercise it is better for them to have one sustained period of time for exercising during the day than several shorter periods. However, any length of time spent exercising is better than nothing and so you should never decide not take your dog out just because you think you will not have long enough.
Owning a Chesapeake Bay retriever is not an easy task, but it is certainly one that is very rewarding. They are best suited to experienced dog owners as they will need someone who is able to exert authority. If you decide to get one of these dogs, you will be rewarded with a loving and loyal pet.