In 1807, an English ship was wrecked off the coast of Maryland and the survivors
included two puppies, a red male named Sailor and a black bitch named Canton. The
puppies were of the St John's Newfoundland breed, which were used at that time to help
fisherman retrieve their nets. The local waterfowl hunters used these pups and their
offspring soon became known for their courage and prowess in the icy cold waters of
the Chesapeake Bay. The original pups were crossed with other breeds in this area,
including water spaniels, curly and flat coated retrievers, pointers, setters and
coonhounds. Always the selection of breeding stock was based entirely on superior
working ability. The strength and endurance of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever with their
incredible courage enabled these dogs to make mile long swims and to retrieve over
200 ducks or geese in a single day. The breed gained the reputation of a peerless
water-retrieving dog in snow, ice and heavy seas as cold water does not bother them.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club
in 1918 and is one of only two gundog breeds originating in America (the other being the
American Water Spaniel).
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a multi purpose dog, a marvellous companion and an
individualist that possesses independence and loyalty with certain aloofness. The
Chesapeake is a one family dog with a very strong protective nature for what belongs to
them or their adopted family. The breed has a strong affinity for children and is very
protective of them. They are regarded as an intelligent breed with a bright and happy
disposition. As a retriever, they have a remarkable memory for multiple retrieves and
very good marking ability. The memory is very apparent when Chesapeakes are used
for other activities such as obedience as they are very easy to train.