Much has been written about the Chesapeake, mostly good and some not so complimentary. Here are some observations of the breed in the thirty five years we have owned them, covering a few of the aspects of most interest to prospective owners. Elsewhere on this site are links for further information on the breed.
1. The Chesapeake is a big, strong, active, dog. They were bred to be working dogs and loyal companions. This requires a commitment by owners to provide their Chessie with lots of exercise, not only physically but mentally. Chessies loves to work and please their owner. They are a tough dog and survive very well, even in the most severe climates. They have great courage and endurance.
2. Chessies are very loyal and bond extremely closely with their family. The Chessie is territorial, so what belongs to its owner also belongs to him/her. They are generally a no nonsense, stay at home breed -- very suitable for larger properties. While they are personable, they have an independence that decides when to make friends with strangers, not the other way around.
Early socialization is very important to develope an accepting attitude towards children, strangers and other dogs. They can be aloof but this is part of their suspicion of anything that isn't theirs. This makes them great family guardians. Temperament is a very high priority in our kennel.
3. The Chessie is a low maintenance breed. They require very little grooming and personal care. From our experience, they have not been susceptible to any particular health problem. Chesapeakes from breeding that is clear of congenital defects such as hip and eye problems should live long, healthy and active lives.
4. The Chessie can come in a variety of colors, sizes and types. Color can vary from dark brown to various shades of light brown, reddish brown, sedge, deadgrass and even ash. White is allowed on the chest and feet but less is better. We attempt to breed Chessies that conform to the breed standard. Although our personal color preference is the dark reddish brown, we presently own three deadgrass Chessies. We quickly become color blind when a Chessie wins our hearts.
5. The traits that we like to see in our Chesapeakes are numerous. Firstly they should be sound with a strong drive to work and a desire to please. We prefer the athletic type that move with speed and style. This means a moderate size dog within the breed standard. Our breeding is primarily along working bloodlines.
6. The Chessie is a multi-purpose breed. They are adaptable to a wide range of activities - from show ring, to sitting in a duck blind. Owners have many options to pursue with their dogs including obedience, hunt tests, field trials, gun dog, therapy, conformation, tracking, rally, search and rescue plus others that are only limited by our imagination, time and energy.
Our Chesapeakes are very much a part of our family. The Chesapeake is not for everyone – but those looking for a dog to share an active lifestyle will love the breed.