Pond Hollow Chesapeakes
About The Breed
The Chesapeake Bay retriever is one of the few dog breeds developed in the United States. They were bred to retrieve ducks and geese in cold water of Chesapeake Bay often under harsh weather conditions. While primarily used as a hunting dog, the breed is versatile- Chesapeakes do drug & bomb detection work, search & rescue, pet therapy, and competition in every type of AKC events for retrievers. They were developed to think things out on their own, be a guardian of a day's shoot and have physical toughness and endurance. Chesapeakes are usually excellent companions for children. They do have a watchdog nature but proper temperament is intimidation not aggression. Be aware that the watchdog instincts sometimes do not appear until the dog is older which is why training must start in puppy-hood. Extreme shyness, aggression or protectiveness are not correct traits for this breed. Puppies & dogs that exhibit any of these behaviors are the results of either bad breeding, bad training or both. If you DO NOT want a dog with any potential watchdog tendencies and you DO NOT want to take time to find a reputable breeder (see Choosing a Breeder), you DO NOT want a Chesapeake.
The breed is valued for its bright and happy disposition, quiet good sense and affectionate, protective nature. They are quite intelligent, very loyal and learn quickly. Combine all this with the previously mentioned watchdog traits, physical toughness and independent thinking, it is IMPERATIVE that the breed is trained and socialized from puppy-hood. If you DO NOT have time to train and socialize your dog, you DO NOT want a Chesapeake.
In general, a Chesapeake is a calm, sensible and capable dog tending to be low energy indoors and active outdoors. They are VERY affectionate and like to be with their owners, often following you from room to room. Training requires that you establish the proper dominant leadership role with your puppy/dog from the beginning. We do provide training information to teach you how to establish being the "top dog". Puppy kindergarten and formal obedience classes are highly recommended. Training a Chesapeake at some point will require physical correction and we recommend the use of choke chain collar during training. Commands must be firm and consistent. The breed can be very clever at getting around their owners. If you DO NOT want to apply a physical correction or use a choke chain collar, you DO NOT want a Chesapeake.
Chesapeakes require moderate exercise- swimming is one of their favorite pastimes. Although they are very athletic dogs, you should not play Frisbee with them. They are too big and too heavy and stifle/shoulder injuries often occur as a result of this type of play. Since they are physical tough, they tend to ignore injuries that would stop other breeds. To please you, they work beyond physical limits so the owner must use common sense in training and play. They are low maintenance dogs-keep ears clean and nails clipped. Their coats do not require daily brushing if anything it ruins their coats. They shed moderately mainly in the Spring with a light shed in the Fall. Like all retrievers, they are a mouth-oriented dogs-they like to pick up objects and carry them. They also like to mouth clothing, hands and their leash as puppies-these are behaviors which must not be allowed to continue. Be sure to have things available to give them that they are allowed to carry. DO NOT play tug of war with your puppy or dog. Besides ruining a dog for retrieving work, it is also a game that can give the dog the wrong idea of who is the "boss" if you let him win. Chesapeakes like to be with "their" people and blossom the more attention and affection they receive. They will love you back in return more than you can imagine. If you DO NOT have time for your dog, you DO NOT want a Chesapeake. They are NOT a breed to buy and stick in the backyard. In this type of setting, both you and the dog will be unhappy with each other.
Chesapeakes are wonderful companions for someone who likes to do outdoor activities; who wants a close relationship with their dog; who enjoys training and working with a dog of high intelligence; understands the watchdog nature of the breed; wants a dog who does not require a lot of grooming; wants a dog who loves to swim and has or will make the time to be with their dog. The affection and devotion this breed can bring to you is more than I can describe. If at the end of reading this, you are hesitating about the breed- you DO NOT want a Chesapeake. When it is the right dog for you, you are definite this is the dog. Once you have a Chesapeake, you will never want another breed.
For additional information, please read FAQs.
There are several illustrated articles that I wrote on the Historical Discussion and Field Influences for the Chesapeake that can be viewed here.