Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The breed's characteristics are specifically suited to enable the Chesapeake to function with ease, efficiency and endurance. In head, the Chesapeake's skull is broad and round with a medium stop. The jaws should be of sufficient length and strength to carry large game birds with an easy, tender hold. The double coat consists of a short, harsh, wavy outer coat and a dense, fine, wooly undercoat containing an abundance of natural oil and is ideally suited for the icy rugged conditions of weather the Chesapeake often works in. In body, the Chesapeake is a strong, well-balanced, powerfully built animal of moderate size and medium length in body and leg, deep and wide in chest, the shoulders built with full liberty of movement, and with no tendency to weakness in any feature, particularly the rear.
If you do not have a regular veterinarian, now is the time to select one. Choose a vet that you are comfortable talking to as well as someone you can trust to help you make health decisions for your new puppy. You should feel free to ask your veterinarian for references, just as you did when searching for a reputable breeder. Your veterinarian will evaluate the vaccination and parasite control information provided by the breeder and formulate a continuing program tailor-made to your situation and health concerns specific to your region. The vet will conduct a physical exam to be sure that you are starting off with a healthy puppy. Your puppy's breeder should freely furnish information regarding the health status of the parents of the puppies.
As in most large breeds, hip dysplasia is a health concern in the Chesapeake. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and PennHip are two groups who use radiographs (X-rays) to evaluate the conformation of dogs' hips. The possibility of inherited eye problems is minimized by examinations by certified veterinarian ophthalmologists. Genetic testing of breeding stock should also be done for Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration (PRCD), which is the most common form of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) in the Chesapeake.
A very versatile breed, the Chesapeake can excel in a variety of activities, from hunting and field work to obedience, agility, therapy, and tracking. You can choose to participate in one or all of these and conformation as well. They love the water and are excellent markers with great birdiness and good noses. With basic and consistent training they are superb hunting companions. It is important to keep the Chesapeake's mind and body occupied. They are naturally active dogs and thrive on work. The advantage of owning a Chesapeake is that you need not settle for one activity with your dog. Solid command training with house rules firmly established form the foundation of whatever you and your Chesapeake enjoy doing together. Basic training is strongly recommended for all Chesapeakes, whether yours is to be a gun dog, show dog, or family pet. Training should begin with puppy classes, which provide socialization as well as the foundations for command training. Obedience class should be fun for both you and the pup and should continue until your Chesapeake is mature. Training must be continued at home and obedience commands incorporated into your daily life. The breed is big, bold, and active—good manners are necessary to help your Chesapeake fit well into family life.