Chesapeake Bay Retriever(29 Posts)
We've been thinking about getting a dog for a few months now but have been holding off because we're undecided on the right breed for us.
We have two ds's aged 7 and 4. We're an active family, like to be on the beach or go for a (really) long walk on a Sunday. We live close to the Brecon Beacons in Wales and DH does a full day hike about once a month and would love a canine companion for it
We both work but often do opposite shifts because of childcare so there's someone home all day for 4 days out of 7 with the maximum time a dog would be left as 4 hours or so on the other 3 days.
We want a dog that can keep up with a lot of exercise on occasions, but could also 'make do' with 30-40 minutes on work days. Something that's energetic but not mental, and ideally as happy to relax with us in front of the TV as they are to go on a 20 mile hike with dh. And obviously, good with kids.
I'd never even heard of this breed until a few days ago and I've gathered they're quite rare in the UK. But I've been doing research and this breed seems like a good Match for us.
Anyone got a Chessie? And would you recommend the breed?
They are very rare indeed in the UK, there were only 70 registered with the KC last year.
Have you met any adult Chesapeakes? I don't know a great deal about them (I've only met the one at the ringcraft class I take my whippets to) but I gather there's much less of a working type/show type divide so they're generally a bit more drivey and energetic than your average pet lab or golden.
The breed club is a great source of information about them. If you want to meet some adults there's a Discover Dogs area at Crufts next month and also the main Discover Dogs event in London in November. Shows are also a great place to meet specific breeds you're interested in, although with Chesapeakes being so rare I would imagine many smaller shows won't have classes for them.
I'd imagine you'd have to wait quite a long time to get one as there are so few puppies around
Also I think you'd need to get a dog walker for your working days - we see a family of Chesapeakes sometimes on Wimbledon common and they're big, powerful, active dogs - I don't think they'd be happy with a 30 minute pootle!
I would suggest my dog's breed - we have a Toller - as he is just the most perfect family dog but they're almost as rare as Chesapeakes
Exercise alone isn't enough for a Chesapeake IMO, they would also need some relevant training activities too. They are highly driven, intelligent dogs who will need exercise and confident handling. They excel at water retrieving work especially wildfowling.
I don't think the breed would be a good fit for what you describe - a first time dog owner wanting a family pet who can do a few long hikes. They need more than that.
Most dogs can keep up with a days walking - think of what they were bred to do. Only toy breeds would struggle. Labs, goldens etc are all capable of working for the day - they can therefore easily walk for miles.
There used to be a Chesapeake breeder in Wales, I know as a friend of mine had one from them. They are lovely dogs, very big & serious, they shed like all retrievers and take a very long time to dry as their coats are very thick. Discover dogs is a really good way to meet breeders and find out the truth.
We had a chessie. Beautiful dog but as Daisy says they need a huge amount of mental stimulation as well as exercise. We were relatively experienced dog owners and we struggled with the chessie. Highly intelligent but also needed a huge amount of time from us. She seldom needed to be left at home, but when she was she got bored and was quite destructive.
I would not have one as a pet again, and it made me appreciate why some dogs are 'working dogs'.
Ours had a really poor digestion - she would go off and scavenge, then have diarherra and sickness for days afterwards - I was never able to find if this was a breed trait or just ours.
Sorry to sound negative, but I completely agree with Daisy that there are probably better suited breeds for family life.
We looked at CBRs but having met a couple we changed our mind. Beautiful dogs but totally agree with above posts, too much of a worker for most families.
Have you considered Spinones? We have a brown roan boy and they would probably suit you better?
Thank you for all the replies.
Just to clarify, this is our first 'family' dog but DH and I are both fairly experienced with dogs.
We had a GSD x Husky for 3 years before we had dc, who sadly died at age 3.5. Temperament wise I would love to have the exact dog again but as she was a cross I know another same type x may be completely different.
She was large and very active - could keep up with a day full of activities etc. But she was the calmest indoor dog ever, never jumped and was slightly aloof inside if anything. A 30 minute walk with 10 minutes of throwing a ball was also enough for her. She was very odd for her breed actually!
Chessies attracted me because they seemed to have some of the same behaviours - active but they are (apparently) happy with 30 minutes exercise a day as long as they're also mentally stimulated. A bit more 'go away and leave me alone' infoors than a lab which also appeals - every lab I've met has been thoroughly exhausting 24/7!
I've never met a Chessie but intend to make some enquiries - a long wait for a pup isn't an issue for us, we'd rather wait and get the breed right. As it is we've been talking for months and gone from Spaniels to Vizlas to labs to terriers and back again lol.
i just read a book about a dog trainer who rehabilitated one of these dogs. tbh it sounded a hard work breed. i'll try to remember the name of the book. you might enjoy it
Hell on 4 Paws by Gwen Bailey
it has a happy ending
I think that was the biggest problem, ours never left us alone inside (and I don't think a 30 min walk would have been enough), she always wanted be involved in whatever was going on, and if she couldn't be she was generally digging up the garden, stealing and destroying or generally making her own fun! She was always on the go and wanted constant attention. I don't know if this is a working dog thing, a chessie thing, or was just our dog.
However to be fair it was 12 years ago when we got our chessie and 'pack dominance' theory was the preferred method of training. It did not suit our chessie at all, but she may have done better on the praise/reward based methods now.
We had labs before too, so I thought I was ready for a bigger challenge!
There are lots of reasons the chessie was not really the right dog for us, but it sounds like your circumstances are slightly different. I'm not trying to put you off but thought it might be useful food for thought.
How about a Canadian duck toller? My friend has a couple and they are gentle calm and obedient but happy to trek the scottish highlands or can cope with less.
Otherwise flat coat retriever - very chilled in house but great fun outdoors, or standard poodle (with a sensible haircut) for the same reasons.
I think CBR are often recognised as dogs that are difficult to leave alone as they're bred to be very human-focussed, so this may not suit your lifestyle.
No active breed is going to be ok with only having a 30 minute walk most days...
Any breed at all though should be capable of doing an all day hike as long as they're fit and healthy.
I'd drastically rethink what breeds you're looking at if you really can't do more walking than that through the week or can't do something like get a dog walker for those days.
I suggested a Toller already ()
I don't know much about Chessies but as an alternative would suggest you look at German Shorthaired Pointers.
They do definitely need a decent amount of exercise but if they have enough they make fabulous pets.
Apologies Basil I didn't realise you had the monopoly on suggestions
At the risk of causing further offence I'd also agree with Didly and add in German wire haired pointers
I was joking - hence the ... Having said that Tollers while in general very chilled, calm and gentle are nonetheless active working dogs and mine definitely needs more than 30 minutes a day
I know quite a few flat coat retrievers and there is no way any one of them would be fine with 1/2 hour walk 3 days a week.
With what you are describing, unless you get a dog walker a working breed is not suitable.
Yes you had a husky cross - but that was before kids.......kids add a whole new level complexity to dog ownership.
Yes with working breeds you may have the odd one within the breed that is fine with less exercise and less mental stimulation - but you have to look at the general rule, and chilling out infant of the telly is not what working breed were breed for.
I think you could say that with any breed though - labs are a working breed and yet they're still one of the most popular family dogs (not that I'm saying all labs have the ideal set-up at home). Most working breeds are bred to spend periods of inactivity interspersed with long days working. But they don't generally work every day. There will also be individual differences and some individuals will cope better than others. I know a number of working flat coats, cockers and two duck tollers, and out of season when they're not actively working they're very chilled and good family dogs, but mentally they are well occupied and engaged by their owners at home
I'd agree that 30 minutes of off lead exercise is not much and would consider more than this regardless of the breed - I work full time (though no kids) and my inactive medium sized mongrels get 1-2 hours a day off lead mon-fri and then 3-4 hours a day off lead at weekends and I would consider that a minimum, not just for physical reasons but also because walks provide significant mental and olfactory stimulation.
OP I think you probably would have to consider a dog walker and plenty of training/puzzle feeders/activities within the home to engage a reasonably active dog if you aren't able to exercise him a lot.
I think a Chessie would be a disaster in the scenario you describe to be honest, the ones I've known would not be happy with so little exercise. Our first 'family' dog was a golden retriever, and she was brilliant, I then fell in love with flat coated retrievers and have had them for about 27 yrs. If you've only got one dog then it will be constantly looking to you for stimulation (I've usually had between 2-4). My friend had wolfhounds and fell for my flatcoats, she got one and honestly couldn't cope, she had to rehome him. She was used to chilled out, sofa dwelling hounds and was not the right person at all for a retriever breed - they have to be doing something
or eating or destroying things
I think you need to rethink your breed choice to be honest.
I know quite a few flat coat retrievers and there is no way any one of them would be fine with 1/2 hour walk 3 days a week
I don't mean that would be it - I mean that for 3 days a week it would need to be a 30/40 minute walk. The other 4 days there's somone home all day so the dog could be exercised for much longer.
My ex's parents used to have two Chessies, at the time I was very used to working dogs as I worked with collies on a daily basis but I found the Chessies hard work and not terribly chilled in the house and these were very well stimulated working gun dogs
Aside from all that, have you actually touched a Chessie?? The two I knew had an excellent coat for retrieving in Cheasapeake Bay but meant it was rather greasy/oily to touch - didn't do it for me at all!
chessie - that still wouldn't be enough for any working retriever breed - you'd have to get a dog walker in for the days you're both working
as an aside one of the things I love about my Toller is his coat - it's beautifully soft and silky, not oily at all, so very different from most retrievers, but it dries incredibly quickly - he gives himself a quick shake when he gets out of the water and within seconds he's all fluffy again
he's also pretty low maintenance as far as grooming is concerned - unless he's actively moulting he doesn't shed much and he's virtually self-cleaning - a quick rub down after walks and he looks as if he's spent hours in a grooming parlour!
You can't go wrong with a Golden Retriever .
Well, the Obamas have two....
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