The Chesapeake Bay retriever is a multi-functional dog. It is used in the show ring and field trials, as a watchdog and as a family pet. The reason most individuals are interested in the Chesapeake, however, is their great talent as hunting dogs. They are a great hunting dog that loves the water, which is another trait that adds to their hunting ability.
The Chessie has an excellent nose for hunting as well as the dedication to get the game he is trained to retrieve. They even have the intelligence to retrieve the crippled and maimed birds before going after the dead ones. The history of the Chesapeake tells of many dogs that were able to get up to 100 ducks in one day. They are so great in the water that they have worked their way through ice to get to game that had been shot. Their broad and powerful chest makes breaking through the ice easy for the Chesapeake and their webbed feet make swimming easy as well. Many of them were even trained to stay with the game on the boats or on the shore to make sure it wasn't stolen.
When you first get your Chesapeake, if it's a pup, it's very important that it gets some obedience training as well as socialization with other people and other dogs. Chessies that are not socialized or trained as pups often try to run the household they live in and are much harder to control as big dogs. The socialization with dogs will help them when they begin their training for hunting. Many well-trained Chesapeake Bay retrievers will often try to get the dogs next to them to follow suit and do what they do.
Chesapeakes are shown in different shows for hunting and retrieving dogs. They excel in the field trials and have brought in many awards and titles. They are in many AKC shows all over the world showing what skills they have in the gundog category. They make an excellent working dog, whether it's hunting for trials or just for fun.
In the UK, Chesapeakes are used a lot as working gundogs. They are wild fowl dogs that they use specifically for geese and ducks in the fields. These same dogs are used at their homes for other game such as pheasant or partridge. The Chesapeake Bay club holds competitions where the Chessie will compete with other breeds. They are tested on canvas dummies that may be rabbits, hares or pigeons. There is no limit to the game the Chessie is not capable and willing to retrieve.
Once they are correctly trained for obedience and hunting, they are an asset on any hunting expedition whether on land or in the water. They actually prefer the water.