Care and Info

Your New Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy

The most important thing in a Chessie is the coat. There is a wide range of accepted coats with many accepted coat colors. A Chessie can have a smooth coat, rough coat or curly coat. The hair should be no longer than 1½” on the body and 1¾” on the tail. The Chessies eyes should fade from the striking blue at birth to a pale yellow or orange. Thin white spots are permitted on the chest, belly or tips of the toes.

Chessies are low maintenance. Unless they get into something terrible, bathe them with water only and towel dry. Do not brush your dog as Chessies coats are oily by nature and you can damage their coat and skin. If you want, you can use a “hound mitt” to remove loose hair. A hound mitt can be purchased at most large pet centers or by catalogue.

Chessies aim to please. They are a very intelligent breed and will do just about anything you ask of them. Like a child, puppies need to be taught manners and learn what is right and wrong. We require that your dog gets at least one eight week obedience course and strongly encourage you to continue with the program.

A full grown Chessie is strong, yet gentle. They can pull people out of water, swim and retrieve all day (the known record is retrieving in excess of three hundred, yes HUNDRED ducks from the cold waters of Chesapeake Bay in the course of just one day!) They will snuggle up to you whether on a couch or in bed. They are definitely very social dogs and rarely bark. Chessies are excellent hunters and wonderful with children.

Chessies love to be praised and loved. They are adaptable to an apartment, house or acreage. Regardless of living arrangements, they love to swim, retrieve, play and run. Remember, Chessies are primarily a cold water duck dog, but their abilities go far beyond that.


It is important for your puppy to be a part of your family. The more your puppy is with you, the less trouble it will get into. Like all retrievers, Chessies are great gardeners. They will dig and eat most anything in your yard, but only if they can not see you. Spend time outside with your dog – they’ll love it. So will you. If you have small children, teach them to be kind to the dog – never hit! For the rest of the family, if your puppy is asleep, do not bother it. Puppies need their rest for growing. For the first few nights you might put the puppy’s crate in your bedroom so it does not feel alone.

At approximately 12 weeks your puppy is ready for puppy obedience class. Most PetsMart, Petco’s, etc., offer these classes. “Mans Best Friend” and professional trainers also offer classes.


We recommend Pro Plan or O.N.E. adult chicken and rice. This is available at most grocery stores. A leading breeder did a year long study and found Chessies did better on chicken and rice than they did on lamb and rice. They had less internal problems and their coats were better. The Salmon mix for tender stomachs does an excellent job of promoting hair growth. (This is important as Chessies’ will ‘blow’ their coats twice a year.) When we are promoting coat regeneration we use one-third of the daily food amount as Salmon.

We suggest that you use a supplement with the food. We have used NuPro for years.  It is an excellent product that mixes with the dog food and a little warm water. It can also be mixed dry. Follow the directions for amount according to weight.  We keep all of our dogs on this supplement.

Note: during crate training, give your puppy plenty of water until its evening meal. No water after 8 o’clock. Your puppy will eat three times a day until it is 6 months old; then twice a day until it is a year old. Put the supplement in at breakfast and lunch. Make sure you use one-half of the prescribed amount at each meal. Start out feeding ¾-1 cup of food per feeding. Judge accordingly. Remember, you do not want a fat dog. When your puppy reaches two feedings at 6 months, feed it the same total amount it got in three feedings, one half at each meal. If the puppy is slim at six months, you can increase the amount of food.


You can start immediately! After recognizing its own name, sit and stay are the most important. To get the puppy to sit, use a small treat, let it smell the treat, then put it a little high over its head. Say “sit”. Gently put your hand at its rear end break its stance by putting some pressure behind its knees – DO NOT PUSH ITS REAR DOWN, this might hurt the dog. The give the dog the reward (treat) saying “good sit, (puppy name).”

Stay will be harder. Once you get a good sit, you can start on stay. This requires the word “stay” and putting your hand in front of its eyes when you say the command. Do not use “no” when training. If your puppy is doing anything it not supposed to be doing a short “ech” will suffice. So when you say have sit, stay and puppy wants to move, just say “ech” and it will stay. If it does not stray, physically (never roughly) put it back into a sit and try again. The remainder of its training will start with puppy class.

An excellent source of information, available at PetsMart or Barnes and Noble is The Complete Chesapeake Bay Retriever by Janet and Dr. Daniel Horn.

House Breaking

We suggest using the kennel or crate method. This is  the easiest way we know to train your puppy. Start by getting a crate large enough to facilitate a full size Chessie, then block off a small front section with plywood. Give the puppy enough room to lay down only. Put the puppy in, starting for an hour. Increase time each time you place it in the crate. Make sure the puppy goes out to empty itself before crating it. Also, run to take your puppy out after crating. Praise it for going “potty” and making no mess in the house. By the time the puppy is 12 weeks old they should be completely housebroken. The crate will be its bedroom and den. After housebreaking you may choose to continue to use the crate as the puppy’s bed. Until the pup is housebroken DO NOT put anything in the crate for bedding (i.e. towels, blankets, etc.) The puppy does not distinguish between fabric, tile, grass, or any other surface at this time.

As it grows your puppy will want to chew. Give it chew sticks or synthetic bones to satisfy this urge to chew. As an adult dog, do not give it rawhide treats. Chessies have very strong jaws. They tend to bite the rawhide and swallow it quickly. The rawhide swells in their stomachs and can be problematic. After they get their adult teeth (about age 6 months,) give them pig ears, dog treats and synthetic bones.