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13 Things to Know Before Bringing Home a New Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on May 15, 2023

Bringing home a new Chesapeake Bay Retriever, whether it’s a puppy or a rescue, is an exciting and rewarding experience. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, also known as Chessies, are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility. Before welcoming a Chesapeake Bay Retriever into your home, there are several important things to consider. In this article, we’ll discuss 12 essential things to know before bringing home a new Chessie.

1. Research the Breed

Before bringing a Chesapeake Bay Retriever into your home, it’s important to research and familiarize yourself with the breed’s characteristics. Chesapeake is known for its love of water, strong retrieving instinct, and protective nature. Understanding their temperament, exercise needs, and care requirements will help you provide the best environment for your new companion.

2. Exercise Requirements

Chessies are an active and energetic breed that requires regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. They excel in activities such as swimming, retrieving, and dock diving. Providing ample opportunities for exercise, both on land and in water, will help keep them happy and fulfilled.

3. Grooming Needs

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a thick, water-resistant double coat that requires regular brushing to remove loose hair and prevent matting. They shed moderately year-round and more heavily during shedding seasons. Their ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and their nails should be trimmed regularly. Overall, they have moderate grooming needs compared to some other breeds.

4. Training and Socialization

Proper training and socialization are crucial for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. They are intelligent and independent dogs that require consistent and firm training. Early socialization is important to ensure they are well-adjusted and friendly toward other animals and people. Enrolling in obedience classes or working with a professional dog trainer can greatly benefit you and your Chessie.

Check out the Best 7 Online Dog Training Programs here.

5. Prey Drive

Chessies have a strong prey drive due to their hunting background. They may be inclined to chase small animals, so it’s important to keep them on a leash or in a securely fenced area when outside. Recall training is essential to ensure they can be safely off-leash in appropriate environments.

6. Health Considerations

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are generally a healthy breed, but they may be prone to certain health conditions. These can include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and exercise-induced collapse. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and appropriate exercise are important for their overall well-being. When obtaining a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, inquire about health clearances from the breeder and ask for any relevant health records if adopting from a rescue.

7. Pet Insurance

Considering pet insurance is highly recommended for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. While they are generally a healthy breed, accidents, and unexpected illnesses can happen. Having pet insurance can provide financial peace of mind and help offset the costs of veterinary care. Research different pet insurance options and choose a plan that suits your needs and budget.

Tip: This free tool lets you compare pet insurance prices across all the major carriers.

8. Social Support and Training Resources

Joining local Chesapeake Bay Retriever clubs or online communities dedicated to the breed can provide you with valuable social support and access to experienced Chessie owners. It’s also beneficial to enroll in obedience classes or work with a professional dog trainer who has experience with Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. These resources can offer guidance, training tips, and a network of like-minded individuals who understand the unique needs of the breed.

9. Patience and Consistency

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are intelligent but can also be independent and strong-willed. It’s important to approach training with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. They respond well to praise, rewards, and clear boundaries. Be prepared to invest time and effort into training sessions to ensure a well-behaved and obedient Chessie.

10. Water Safety

Chessies are renowned for their love of water and their excellent swimming abilities. However, not all bodies of water are safe for them, and they may encounter hazards such as strong currents or deep water. When near bodies of water, always supervise your Chesapeake Bay Retriever and consider investing in a life jacket for added safety, especially during boating or swimming activities.

11. Family Compatibility

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can make wonderful family pets and are known to be good with children. However, like any dog, they should always be supervised around young children to prevent any accidental mishaps. Teach children how to interact respectfully with the dog and provide them with a safe space to retreat to if needed.

12. Adoption or Reputable Breeder

When considering a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, you have the option to adopt from a rescue organization or work with a reputable breeder. Adoption provides a loving home for a dog in need, while reputable breeders prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs. Research and choose a reliable source that aligns with your values and provides the necessary support and guidance throughout the adoption or purchasing process.

13. Make Sure These Products Are On Your Shopping List!

Bringing home a new Chesapeake Bay Retriever can be overwhelming, so we compiled a comprehensive list of every product you’ll need for your new Chesapeake Bay Retriever here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers good with other pets?

A: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can get along well with other pets, including dogs and cats when properly socialized from a young age. Early introductions and supervised interactions are important to ensure a harmonious relationship between your Chessie and other animals.

Q: Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers require a lot of exercise?

A: Yes, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are an active breed and require regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Daily walks, playtime, and activities that engage their retrieving instinct are beneficial for their overall well-being.

Q: Are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers suitable for first-time dog owners?

A: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can be suitable for first-time dog owners who are committed to providing them with proper training, exercise, and socialization. However, their independent nature and strong personality may require extra patience and consistent training.

Q: How often should I groom my Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

A: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a dense double coat that benefits from regular brushing to remove loose hair and prevent matting. Aim to brush them at least once or twice a week. During shedding seasons, more frequent brushing may be necessary.


By considering these 12 things before bringing home a new Chesapeake Bay Retriever, you’ll be better prepared to provide a loving and suitable environment for your new companion. Enjoy the journey of raising and bonding with your Chessie, and cherish the unique qualities that make this breed so special.

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