The Chesapeake Bay Retriever – Maryland’s State Dog

In the frigid waters of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, an English trading ship faced imminent doom. The sailing vessel had crashed and was sinking fast. The fearful sailors on board were soon to meet with hypothermia from the icy bay waters below, but an America ship called the Canton arrived just in time to rescue the crew and two puppies. The English sailors from the sinking ship eventually made their way back home to England with no profits in their pocket and a bit of shame from their failure. However, shame would not be in the dogs’ bright futures. The two puppies were left to make their home in Maryland. They were given to two separate households. The new owners of the male pup named the dog Sailor. The happy owners of the female pup gave her a name to honor the brave rescue ship, Canton. This event happened in 1807, and although the dogs were not called by the following breed name at the time, Sailor and Canton were each Maryland’s first Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Chesapeake Bay offered a harsh, icy climate for the new canine inhabitants, but they were little bothered. Living in separate households, both dogs grew up with the same hard-working, courageous nature. As loyal companions, the dogs would hunt with their master and fearlessly face the frosty water proving to be excellent bird-dogs. Without a second thought, Sailor and Canton would easily break through ice and use their strong jaws to retrieve water fowl. Their wooly undercoat and their wavy, short-haired top coat both proved to provide an excellent balance for the water; it was almost as if the water slipped off of their backs the way a ducks feathers work to keep them dry. Furthermore, these Chesapeake Bay Retrievers seemed to have enough natural oils in their skin to keep them warm in the harsh weather.

Nobles from other lands heard of the Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and came from far and wide to take a turn to hunt with these intelligent creatures. Soon the Carroll Island Gun Chesapeake Chiropractor Club was formed as well as a serious breeding plan. The dogs were important work dogs and the breeding was approached with a serious hand.

In breeding the Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, it was most important to have a great sporting dog. If a dog could not keep up with the work load or the harsh climate, it would die on the job. Eventually, only the strongest and smartest survived thereby naturally developing the breed into the strongest possible dog for its purpose. When the dog started being breed for fun rather than for working purposes, a variety of qualities and color changed.

Today, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is still a fantastic sporting dog. Usually, the dog is brown (like the environment in which it hunts). His coat of thick, short hair is wavy on his neck and back and is water friendly. He is still known for his courageous, loveable, easy-to-train attitude. He is a fun, family dog as the breed is generally patient with children. He has good sense, is affectionate, and loyal. He has medium eyes, small floppy ears, a muscular neck, a straight or slightly curved tail, webbed feet, and a powerful yet effortless gait. They are beautiful dogs and great companions.



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