The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, also known by their nickname "Chessie," originated in the Chesapeake Bay area of the United States where they were bred to hunt waterfowl, commonly catching over 200 of these birds a day. In 1807, a British vessel shipwrecked off the coast of Maryland where two puppies were rescued. The Chesapeake Bay breed was developed from crossing these two shipwrecked puppies that were believed to be Newfoundlands, named Sailor and Cannon, with local duck hunting dogs, Irish Red Winchesters, Irish Water Spaniels, and other spaniels and hounds. These crossings resulted in a new breed, called the Chesapeake Ducking Dog, that excelled in both water and land hunting. Local hunters and breed enthusiasts came together to preserve this new hunting dog and they were given their modern-day name of Chesapeake Bay Retriever by the 1920s.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is well-balanced, medium-sized, and equally proficient on both land and water. Embodying the traits of an American-born retriever, the Chessie is a powerfully built gundog that comes in various shades of brown, which matches the color of the Chesapeake Bay fauna during the fall and winter months. The breed's water-resistant coat has a harsh topcoat over a dense, fine, and wooly undercoat to protect them from the cold conditions of the Northeastern United States. They have bright medium-sized amber eyes, small ears, and a well-proportioned muzzle with a nose that matches the color of the coat, giving them an intelligent expression. The Chessie's strong tail is a medium-long length and can be straight or slightly curved.
Although resembling the well-known and sociable Labrador Retriever, the Chessie was bred to be an independent hunter that can problem solve all on their own without human supervision. They are a tough and determined breed that takes hunting seriously just as much as they do their families. Unlike most sporting dogs, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers tend to be more protective and less welcoming to strangers but they are fiercely loyal and devoted to the ones they love. This hard-working breed is considered fairly easy to train as long as they have a firm owner who can handle their strong-minded personality and independent nature. While very playful outdoors, Chessies are not recommended for novice dog owners or individuals living in apartments. These water-loving dogs are best suited for families with older children who live out in the country or in rural areas to satisfy their high activity level. Earning the recognition for being Maryland's state dog, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an affectionate companion and versatile athlete that is both gentle and can be a world-class hunting buddy.