In 1807, an English ship was wrecked off the coast of Maryland and the survivors included two puppies, a red male named Sailor and a black bitch named Canton. The puppies were of the St John's Newfoundland breed that was used to help fishermen retrieve their nets. The local waterfowl hunters used these pups and their offspring soon became known for their courage and prowess in the icy cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The original pups were crossed with other breeds in this area, including water spaniels, curly and flat- coated retrievers, pointers, setters and coonhounds. Always the selection of breeding stock was based entirely on superior working ability. The strength and endurance of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, with its incredible courage, enabled these dogs to make long swims and to retrieve more than 200 ducks or geese in a single day. The breed gained the reputation of a peerless water-retrieving dog in snow, ice and heavy seas as cold water does not bother them.


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever can live up to 12 years of age, but will soon reach 14 years if fed correctly and given a loving environment in which to thrive.


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a multi-purpose dog, a marvellous companion and an individualist that possesses independence and loyalty with a certain aloofness. The Chesapeake is a one-family dog with a very strong protective nature for what belongs to them or their adopted family. The breed has a strong affinity for children and is very protective of them. They are regarded as an intelligent breed with a bright and happy disposition. As a retriever, they have a remarkable memory for multiple retrieves and very good marking ability. The memory is very apparent when Chesapeakes are used for other activities such as obedience as they are very easy to train.


Once a Chesapeake Bay Retriever becomes a member of a family, the dog accepts all members of that family whether they are human or animal. A well-socialised pup will readily accept any other pets as part of its kingdom, but it does tend to want to be "top dog".


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a low maintenance breed. A brushing once a week is more than adequate to keep the coat clean, but this is not required if the dog can swim at least once a week. In full coat, the Chessie should not be bathed with soap or detergent as this will remove the natural protective oil. This oil renders the dog almost waterproof, incidence of grass or flea allergies, hot spots or other skin problems rarely occur in this breed. Adults do not require a lot of exercise, but it is important for growing pups. With their great love of water, Chessies should be able to swim as often as possible. Please take note: The strong protective nature of this breed for its family can be mistaken for aggressiveness and as such it is important to socialise the pup with other animals and people at an early age, particularly male pups. Once a Chesapeake Bay Retriever understands the ground rules, there is unlikely to be any future problems but it is important to teach these ground rules at an early age as an adult Chessie is a big and powerful dog. The breed has two inherited genetic diseases, Hip Dysplasia and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which can result in blindness. Fortunately the breed is relatively new to Australia and all breeding stock imported from America has been tested free of both diseases.


Any person that can ensure that the Chesapeake Bay Retriever will be able to share their life and has the ability to train and control a dog. Ideally the person would lead an active outdoor life and be able to reciprocate the love and affection that will surely come. The breed makes a great children's pet and will play for hours.


If you have decided that the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the dog for you and you are prepared to take it for regular swims during the summer, then contact one of the groups listed below:

Canine Clubs

Australian Capital Territory:New South Wales:
Dogs ACT
(ACT Canine Association Inc)
PO Box 815
Dickson, ACT 2602
Tel: 02 6241 4404
Fax: 02 6241 1129
(Details correct as of 10/10/2013)
Dogs NSW
(Royal New South Wales Canine Council Ltd)
PO Box 632
St Marys, NSW 1790
Tel: 02 9834 3022
Fax: 02 9834 3872
(Details current as of 10/10/2013)
Northern Terrority :Queensland:
Dogs NT
(North Australian Canine Association Inc)
PO Box 37521
Winnellie, NT 0821
Tel: 08 8984 3570
Fax: 08 8984 3409
(Details correct as of 10/10/2013)
Dogs Queensland
(Canine Control Council (Queensland))
PO Box 495
Fortitude Valley, Qld 4006
Tel: 07 3252 2661
Fax: 07 3252 3864
(Details correct as of 10/10/2013)
South Australia :Tasmania :
Dogs SA
(South Australian Canine Association Inc)
PO Box 844
Prospect East, SA 5082
Tel: 08 8349 4797
Fax: 08 8262 5751
(Details correct as of 10/10/2013)
Dogs Tasmania
(Tasmanian Canine Association Inc)
The Rothman Building
PO Box 116
Glenorchy, Tas 7010
Tel: 03 6272 9443
Fax: 03 6273 0844
(Details correct as of 10/10/2013)
Victoria:Western Australia:
Dogs Victoria
(Victorian Canine Association)
Locked Bag K9
Cranbourne, Vic 3977
Tel: 03 9788 2500
Fax: 03 9788 2599
(Details correct as of 10/10/2013)
Dogs West
(Canine Association of Western Australia Inc)
Cnr Warton & Ranford Rds,
Southern River, WA, 6110
Tel: 08 9455 1188
Fax: 08 9455 1190
(Details correct as of 10/10/2013)