The Perfect Dog?

Why a Chesapeake makes an excellent dog.

The first question to ask yourself is whether any dog is for you. The American Kennel Club recognizes over 150 breeds. These breeds come in all sizes and a bunch of colors: surface appeal aside, each breed has a unique temperament.

Chesapeakes are retrievers. They are the largest of the retrievers and totally unrelated to Goldens and Labradors. Chesapeakes are the only American bred retrievers. The breed history gives you an idea of the truly American nature of these dogs.

Cheaspeakes have traits that require thoughtful consideration and honest answers before considering acquiring one. These traits include: intense loyalty, protective, sensitive, intelligence, a strong sense of humor, a touch of independence and a serious nature about their work.

Intense loyalty

Chessies are one of the few truly all-around dogs. They bond quickly and intensely with their owners. If the owner considers something as fun, your Chessie  will work at liking it too. Chessies need to be a part of a family. Dogs tied up in the back yard are miserable and Chessies do not do well in these unfortunate conditions. They need to be house dogs, with lots of attention and exercise. Chessies are reserved with strangers and other dogs.


Protective by nature, Chessies feel a strong sense of responsibility when it come to their owner’s property (not that a Chessie pup is above gnawing on the very shoes it will growl to protect.) This is acceptable behavior so long as aggression is discouraged.


Along with the intense bonding comes a sensitivity to the owner and members of the Chessies’ family. Once bonded, a sharp word or disapproving look  is sufficient discipline. Over disciplining a Chessie ahs a negative effect as the dog literally shuts down. This is where the reputation for being stubborn originates. Obedience training is a requirement for any dog we sell. Obedience training gives you a controlled environment to socialize and train the dog. These classes are merely the start, you must work and play with your dog in a consistent program to keep a great working relationship.


Training a Chessie can be as easy or as hard as YOU want to make it. These are smart dogs who grasp lessons quickly. They also get bored fairly easily if asked to do the same thing over and over: keep it fun; keep their attention. Chessies do not take well to physical abuse of any kind. A harsh word can devastate them, but a heavy hand will not assist in any form of training. These are a separate breed from Labs. Bludgeoning doesn’t work on a Chessie. These dogs will hunt, swim, and do pretty much everything that is reasonably asked of them. They will exhibit intelligence in ways that you may not prefer, such as learning how to open doors and cabinets. One of the prerequisites for being a good Chessie owner is being smarter than the dog and having a sense of humor at least equal to the dogs.

Serious about their work

Bred to work in the 1800’s, Chessies carry a strong work ethic. They require a minimum of twenty minutes a day working, training, retrieving or just simply playing. Twenty minutes does not sound like a lot, until you get home from a hard day at work after two hours in traffic. Spend the time with the Chessie and your weariness will fade, blood pressure may fall and the day won’t seem so bad. Chessies are water dogs. If you can, give them twenty minutes of water retrieves, it is a better workout than an hour walking down the street. These are active, intelligent dogs that need jobs and responsibilities. If you let the Chessie choose, you may not like what they think is important.

Sense of humor

Most adult Chessies develop a wicked sense of humor. Not malicious mind you, but wicked nonetheless. It is up to you, the owner, to channel the dogs interest and penchant for activity into productive channels. Obedience, hunting trials, swimming, retrieving a tennis ball, agility, there are plenty of outlets for their boundless energy.