The Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s (also simply referred to as the “Chessie”) origins date back to the 19th century. This breed is native to the United States and was bred to assist hunters with retrieving waterfowl, such as ducks, from the rough, chilly waters of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The dog’s muscular build, sturdy coat, endurance, and intelligence make it an ideal breed for this task. Today, this breed is still used as a hunting companion in the Chesapeake Bay region, as well as in other parts of the US; however, it is also a beloved family pet.
The Chessie is quite affectionate and sensitive to the needs of his family, which makes him the perfect fit for all types of families; especially those that have young children. Because of his disposition, he does require training and a good bit of exercise to keep him happy. If you’re thinking about bringing a Chesapeake Bay Retriever into your family, or you’re planning on using one as a hunting dog, read on to find out valuable information about his characteristics and care requirements.
Chessie Food and Health
The Chessie requires a diet that consists of pure animal proteins, such as duck, chicken, or fish, to maintain his strength, as well as carbohydrates and fiber to provide him with the energy he requires. Feeding him a premium quality commercial dog food – dry, wet, or both – will ensure that your dog’s nutritional needs are being met. Some great recipes include Plastic Wire Door Travel Dog Crate, Indoor and Outdoor Crate for Pets, and Wooden End-Table Crate.
The amount you should feed your Chessie is dependent on his age, size, and lifestyle. For example, a puppy or an dog that retrieves ducks from the Chesapeake Bay or pheasants from Lake Champlain should be fed more calories, while older dogs and those that are less active should be fed less. The recommended amount of food intake for a Chessie is between 2 and 3 cups a day, split into two meals. If you aren’t sure how much you should be feeding your dog, speak to your veterinarian.
While Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are very hardy and agile dogs, they are prone to certain health complications. Some of the issues your Chessie may develop include progressive retinal atrophy, Von Willebrand’s Disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, and bloat. Of course, if your dog is a hunting companion or otherwise highly active, there is an increased risk that he could sustain injuries. To avoid having to pay exorbitant vet bills, consider investing in pet insurance. With this type of coverage, your insurance provider will assist with the cost of medical care. There are several reputable companies that offer affordable coverage. Nationwide and Allstate are two companies that offer policies nationwide. There are also local carriers that offer coverage for particular regions; for example, Capital Benefits, LLC and OCG Insurance Agency in the Baltimore, Maryland area.
Leashes and Collars for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers require a lot of exercise and training. Whether you’re training your dog to retrieve waterfowl, you’re working on him with agility training, or you’re simply taking him on walks, you’re going to need to make sure that he is outfitted with the right collar and leash.
As with all breeds, the collar should be functional and comfortable. Make sure that it fits his neck properly; you should be able to fit two fingers between his neck and the collar. Also, consider the material that the collar is made of. Since these dogs are at home in the water, brightly colored or reflective waterproof material is a good option. Two excellent collars for Chessies include Remote Dog Training Collar and Dog LCD Training Collar.
In addition to using a standard color for displaying your dogs tags and for walking, you might want to consider using an e-collar, such as Educator E-CollarDog. These collars are great for training and prevent your dog from being tied to a leash while he’s learning commands or how to retrieve.
The leash you choose should also be designed for function and comfort. Short leads are good for puppies, while longer leads are good for dogs that are well trained. Durable, waterproof material, such as nylon or paracord is a wise choice. Not only can they withstand the strength of the Chessie, but they are also comfortable to hold in all types of climates, including the hot summers of Southern California and the frigid winters of New England.
Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
Training is vital for the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and a crate is a tool that can assist you with your goals. In addition, a crate can serve as a den for your dog. When choosing a crate, always keep the size of your dog in mind. He should have enough space to stand up and turn around without hitting the top or sides, yet there shouldn’t be so much room that there’s unused space, as this can negatively affect the purpose of a crate.
Also, consider how you will be using the crate. If, for example, it will be used for transporting your dog or to provide him with a safe location while he’s outside, opt for one that is made of lightweight materials, such as Plastic Wire Door Travel Dog Crate. If storage is an issue, you might want to purchase one that can easily fold down, like Indoor and Outdoor Crate for Pets. Or, if the crate will be a permanent fixture in your home, opt for one that is made to resemble furniture so that it ties in with your décor, such as Wooden End-Table Crate.
A bed provides a safe, warm space for your dog to sleep. For a Chessie, consider a bolster or pillow bed, as this breed typically likes to stretch out. Also, something made of waterproof material would be ideal because, as mentioned, these dogs like to spend a lot of time in the water. Two great bedding options include Foldable Raised Play and Rest Bed for Dogs and Waterproof inner liner.
If your pup will be spending a lot of time outside, a dog house will provide him with shelter from the elements. The size of your dog and the climate you live in should be taken into consideration when choosing a dog house. For instance, if you live in an area where the ground is often moist, a house with an elevated floor will prevent him from getting wet and cold. Or, if your climate is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, a house that features heating and air conditioning is a wise investment.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever Toys
Offer your Chesapeake Bay Retriever a variety of toys, as they are great for entertainment, exercise, and training. There are several types of toys that this breed will enjoy playing with.
Since Chessies like to spend so much time in the water, consider toys that can be played with in the water. Sticks made of waterproof material that can float are great for games of fetch, and waterproof toys that resemble ducks and other waterfowl are great for training.
When your Chessie is spending time alone or you just don’t have the time to toss a ball for him, an automated ball tossing toy would be a wonderful option. Load the toy with balls, turn it on, and it will automatically launch them for your pup.
Another type of toy that both you and your Chessie will love is a pole that has a long rope attached to it, with a tassel or some other object affixed to the end. You hold the pole to move the rope and your dog chases after the object at the end of the rope. This type of toy will provide excellent exercise, can be used as a training aid; and it’s just plain fun!
Grooming Insights for Chesapeake Bay Retriever owners
As a water retriever, the coat of a Chessie resists water, much like the feathers of a duck. His undercoat is made of fine, wooly, and dense fur, while his to coat features short, thick, and oily hair. This combination not only helps the dog resist water, but it also keeps him warm. This breed tends to shed a lot, so brushing once a week with a rubber brush, such as Slicker Brush for Dogs, will remove dead hair and help to distribute natural oils through his fur.
Only bathe a Chessie when absolutely necessary. Over-bathing can strip the dog of the natural oils that are meant to protect him from water. Reserve baths for when he is very dirty or smelly, or during the shedding season (usually spring and summer) to remove excess fur and allow his new coat to grow.
Flea and tick control products should also be used with a Chessie. This is particularly true for dogs that live in areas that are prone to these pests, such as the Midwest and Northeast. There are several options available, but speak to your vet to find out which product you should use with your dog.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever Accessories
There are several accessories that you can use with a Chessie. For example, a waterproof cooling vest, like Waterproof inner liner will provide your dog with much needed relief in hot climates, as this breed does not tolerate the heat well. If your dog will spend a lot of time outside, travel bowls are a good investment. If he hikes a lot, products that protect the paws can be useful, such as Travel Bowl for Dog Food & Water and Spot Stoneware Crock Dog Dish.
Also, consider using training tools with your pup. Of course, consider the goals of training when choosing accessories; for example, tunnels and balance beams can be used for agility training, while bark collars can be an effective tool to control barking.