Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Chesapeake Bay Retriever temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog breed

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2016

The Chesapeake Bay is the most powerful of the retrievers, with the strongest personality, yet possessed of quiet good sense.

This rugged dog should be taken hiking, biking, jogging, and swimming as often as possible. A walk around the block is not enough to maintain his muscle tone or to satisfy his working instincts.

This breed needs a job (learning obedience exercises, fetching a stick or ball, field work), else he will find his own ways to keep himself busy, and you may not appreciate his choices.

The most protective of the retrievers, typically he is reserved with strangers and intensely loyal to his family.

Most are fine with the pets in their own family, but some are territorial with strange dogs and cats.

You must control his tendency to chew on objects and to mouth your hands -- provide a box filled with toys so he can carry something around in his mouth.

Confident leadership and obedience training are required to develop respect. This breed will test members of the family to find his place in the pecking order. If you don't take the top position, HE will.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is the most rugged and powerful of the six retriever breeds
  • Has a short harsh "kinky" coat that comes in natural earthtone shades
  • Loves the great outdoors and thrives on vigorous athletic activities
  • Is steady-tempered and dependable
  • Is more serious and more discriminating with strangers than the happy-go-lucky Golden or Labrador Retriever

A Chesapeake Bay Retriever may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
  • Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
  • Aggression or shyness toward people, when not socialized enough
  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Territorial aggression toward dogs and cats he doesn't know
  • Mouthiness -- carrying and chewing objects, mouthing your hands

A Chesapeake Bay Retriever may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

More traits and characteristics of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

If I was considering a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Chesapeakes can make a shambles of your house and yard.

  2. Bounciness. Young Chesapeake Bay Retrievers (up to about three years old) romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including people.

  3. Providing enough socialization. Though not guard dogs, many Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have mild protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be suspicious of everyone, which could lead to aggression. Some Chesapeakes go in the opposite direction -- without enough socialization, they become fearful of strangers.

  4. The strong temperament. It bears repeating that Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are not Golden Retrievers. The best Chesapeakes are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Some Chesapeakes are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your Chesapeake to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Chesapeake Bay Retriever Training Page discusses the program you need.

  5. Animal aggression. Because of their strong temperament, some Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, particularly males, are not be tolerant of other male dogs. Some Chesapeakes do not get along with cats, while others are fine.

  6. Health problems. All of the retriever breeds are susceptible to joint and bone problems, and eye diseases.

book cover To learn more about training Chesapeake Bay Retrievers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Chesapeake Bay Retriever the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.

If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Chesapeake Bay Retriever might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.

book cover Once you have your Chesapeake Bay Retriever home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.

Please consider adopting an ADULT Chesapeake Bay Retriever...

When you're acquiring a Chesapeake Bay Retriever PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Chesapeake Bay Retrievers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter