DO CHESAPEAKES MAKE GOOD FAMILY PETS?
Yes, they thrive on being a part of the family, BUT must be socialized and obedience trained early on. Early months are critical - your chessie needs to experience many GOOD experiences. The Chessie takes his job of caring for his family very seriously; he must have an owner that he knows is in control.
SHOULD A CHESAPEAKE ALWAYS BE A HUNTING DOG?
Not necessarily. As much as a Chesapeake loves his field and water work, he also loves his person/family and will enjoy sharing activities with them.... hiking, games of fetch, obedience and agility work can all be 'jobs' to help the chessie feel useful. Remember, the Chesapeake was bred to take care of his person's belongings, as well as retrieve all he shot for market. This protective nature and need to work are inherent.... it would not be a true Chesapeake if these qualities were bred out. In the nearly 200 years since the Chesapeakes originated, the country has changed; the dedicated market hunters on the Shores of the Chesapeake Bay are no longer . Yet, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever still carries the drive and devotion that made him the loyal working companion of that hunter of long ago.
ARE CHESAPEAKES GOOD WITH CHILDREN?
Yes, with proper socialization and obedience work, a Chesapeake can make a wonderful companion for children. However, a dog should never be left unsupervised with children.
ARE CHESSIES LIKE LABS AND GOLDENS?
No, Chesapeakes have a different mind-set . The whole approach to training needs to be different - individually geared to the nature of the Chessie. The fact that they are thinking dogs, coupled with their stubbornness and perseverance, sets them apart from the other retrievers.
HOW DO CHESSIES GET ALONG WITH OTHER DOGS, CATS, ETC.
This is an individual thing - a true chessie will 'live and let live'..... not be too concerned for the other dog, unless there is a serious territorial issue involved. However, some Chessies, with a very strong prey drive, are not to be placed in homes with cats or other smaller animals. If brought up in these situations from puppyhood, generally it works fine.
ARE THERE SPECIAL GROOMING NEEDS FOR A CHESAPEAKE?
Not really. Low maintenance. In the marsh this morning - in the show ring this afternoon. Basically, ear cleaning, nail trimming, brushing out of dead hair (NOT a wire brush) and some teeth brushing will keep your Chessie ready for any event. Bathing with a natural soap is an option.... chessies need the natural oils in their coat to repel the cold water; however, some tend to have an odor peculiar to the breed - but not really a problem. These are dogs that do not need to go to the Groomer - the owner should be able to do these basic tasks... the better to stay acquainted with your companion.
DO CHESAPEAKES HAVE PARTICULAR HEALTH PROBLEMS?
Yes, as in all breeds, there are tendencies for inherited health problems. Hip and elbow Dysplasia, PRA and cataracts are the most prominent in the Chesapeakes. When purchasing a new pup, you should see proof of hips and eye exams of each parent before breeding. There are incidents of skin allergies, thyroid problems - but these are very individual.
SPECIAL FEEDING NEEDS?
Always use high quality food! Usually a diet of dry food will suffice.
THIS BREED MUST NOT BE CHAINED OUT OR BANISHED FROM THE LIFE OF THE FAMILY!
Remember, the Chesapeake needs to take care of its family. Many chessies have a wicked smile - toothy, maybe a lip curl. It is a special trait, and a special treat to be the recipient of such a smile.