The Chesapeake Bay Retriever
is a dog that was bred in the Chesapeake Bay
area to hunt waterfowl in adverse weather and water conditions. Often needing to break ice
in strenuous retrieves. The dog not only retrieved game, but guarded game in the
boat to prevent it being stolen and is very protective of its owners and
property. It is often called "Cheesies" by owners.
Morgan the Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Distinctive features include eyes that are very clear, of yellowish or amber
hue, hindquarters as high or a trifle higher than the shoulders,
A "waterproof" double coat that tends to wave. Often they have a strong musky
odour that may be a problem as a house pet.
Three basic colors are generally seen in the breed: brown to a deep chocolate
colour from a faded tan to dull straw colouring. The breed standard states that
white can appear, but only on the breast, belly, toes, or back of the feet.
The Chesapeake is valued for its bright and happy disposition, intelligence
(in fact, the breed is considered by most to be the smartest of all the
retrievers), quiet good sense, and affectionate protective nature. The breed is
very loving and makes a wonderful companion.
Some Chessies become vocal while happy; while this can be mistaken for a
growl it is only a sign of happiness and not intended to create alarm. In
addition, some dogs will 'smile' when happy by baring their front teeth in a
peculiar grin; again this is not a threat but a sign of joy.
The Chesapeake is naturally dominant and, while usually won't start a fight
over dominance, the breed will defend his position as the alpha dog. For the
casual pet owner, it is usually not a good idea to have more than one Chesapeake
because of dominance issues.
The Chesapeake tends to recognize only one person or family as master. All
other people are considered by the dog to be either equal or subordinate. In
order to keep the dog from attempting to become the alpha family member, the
dog's master should regularly reinforce dominance over the dog by issuing a
command such as 'come' or 'sit' at a time when the dog would rather not do so.
The breed is very tolerant of pain, which makes it difficult to tell when
they're injured. This trait also makes Chessies tolerant of roughhousing from
young children; when they have had enough they typically move away rather than
snap at or otherwise attempt to correct the child for their behaviour.
Training is a necessity with this breed. The trainer must exercise more
patience than with most other breeds as this breed is usually not willing to
change its behaviour.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a very intelligent breed and learns faster
than most other breeds. Once a Chesapeake learns what is expected, he will act
accordingly from that point on. A Chesapeake is not willing to break the rules
and will attempt to enforce the same rules on subordinate dogs.
During training, if a Chesapeake is asked to perform something that he
believes is against the rules, he will flatly refuse. This has earned the breed
the reputation of being very stubborn. This reputation is not deserved. The
trainer must take into account that the dog is being asked to do something that
he has previously been taught not to do.
A Chesapeake's greatest joy is pleasing its master. While giving treats as a
reward for good behaviour works well much of the time, the dog also responds very
well to scolding from its master in response to bad behavior. A stern scolding
followed by forgiveness goes a long way in gaining the animal's trust.
There is a phrase that applies to Chesapeakes - "You can order a lab; ask a
golden; but you must negotiate with a Chesapeake."
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