The Chesapeake Bay retriever is usually used as a hunting dog, although they are excellent in the show ring and make even more wonderful family pets.
The Chesapeake does have the reputation for being stubborn and headstrong, but with an experienced and patient owner they make a great pet. They are an intelligent and very talented dog with a lot of drive. They also have a real desire to please their family or owner. Although at first they may be stubborn about certain parts of their training, once they understand who is boss they love to learn and please their master.
They get along very well with children especially older children that can walk with them and take them out to play. They enjoy young children provided the children aren't too rough, in which case they will get up and walk away. This is preferable to many breeds, which will snap at children that mistreat them. It is important in any case to always teach young children to respect dogs of any size or age. The Chesapeake is too gentle and affectionate to hurt anyone.
The Chesapeake is a very loyal dog to his family, which makes him a great watchdog, coupled with his size. Because of the gentleness of the breed, they would not make a good attack dog. They are not capable of hurting other people. They are not necessarily a one-man dog, but they are loyal to their family, which makes it difficult for others to train them. Many people that get this dog for a hunting dog will send him away for training. The trainer usually has a full job because of the dog's loyalty to his family. Many breeders do not recommend sending the dog away because he does not do well away from his family.
As is the case with most puppies, the Chessie will chew things. A lot of this, however, has to do with his being a retrieving breed of dog. It is important to enroll him in some kind of basic obedience class as soon as possible. They also need to be socialized around people and other dogs. As adults, they will be expected to hunt around other dogs, so it's important to get them used to dogs at a young age. They are very strong minded and will try to be the "alpha" around any other animals in the house. They need a firm hand with love and consistency.
The Chesapeake needs daily grooming as well as plenty of exercise outdoors. They should not be bathed anymore than absolutely necessary as to not strip the coat of its natural oils. If properly taken care of, the Chesapeake Bay may live 10 to 12 years, although they are prone to certain canine diseases.