The Chesapeake Bay retriever is known for its sunny and cheerful disposition - much like their cousin, the Labrador retriever. When they are swimming with the family or out retrieving game, their face almost has the appearance of a smile. They have what is referred to as a "quiet sense" about them, meaning they may be very quiet as far as making noise and barking, but they are always paying attention to what is going on and watching over the family. They are used by many hunters not only as a hunting dog but also a wonderful life-long companion. They make a wonderful companion for children with their quiet and loyal personality.
When the Chessie is happy, they will make a noise that is often mistaken for a growl, except to those that know them well. When they show their teeth, this too is often a sign that they are happy. It is important that you understand this about the Chessie so they aren't disciplined for "growling". Often when the Chessie has company that he knows well and enjoys, he will show his teeth. Unfortunately, many people see the dog's teeth, feel he is growling rather than smiling, and are frightened.
The Chesapeake loves being the dominant dog in the house and will fight for dominance, too. It is not recommended to have more than one Chesapeake in the house because of the dominance issue where they will both be fighting for the alpha position. On the subject of dominance, the Chesapeake needs to have his owner lay the law down to him with a firm hand; otherwise, the Chessie will take advantage. Although the Chessie is a gently loving dog, they have on occasion been aggressive with guests because they were allowed to get away with it at a young age. Since they are protective of their family, they think they are doing what is expected of them. This dog will prefer one family member over the rest of the family so it is important that the dog be shown that other family members are also his "boss", otherwise, the will feel superior to them.
The Chesapeake Bay retriever is very intelligent and loves doing things with his owner. Once the subject of dominance is solved, the Chesapeake makes a wonderful companion and family pet. In fact, when choosing a Chesapeake, their disposition is often one of their characteristics that attract people the most. Hunting is a main reason for choosing a Chesapeake Bay for many people, but without their great sense of humor, loyalty, intelligence and gentleness, they wouldn't be the great companions they are. For a hunter and his dog to do well, they need to "bond" as partners and this is very easy with the Chesapeake.