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Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Now this is a breed with a truly amazing history. It was the canine version of the Titanic – but with far less tragic results. In 1807, a ship left Newfoundland, Canada, bound for the English harbor of Poole in Dorset. Off the Maryland coast, it encountered a heavy gale, and began to take on water. With the smaller boats on the brig swept out to sea, the chance of rescue was bleak. Acknowledging their grim fate, the sailors began to drink, ushering in a more pleasant oblivion than the one that was surely coming.

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The Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Now this is a breed with a truly amazing history. It was the canine version of the Titanic – but with far less tragic results. In 1807, a ship left Newfoundland, Canada, bound for the English harbor of Poole in Dorset. Off the Maryland coast, it encountered a heavy gale, and began to take on water. With the smaller boats on the brig swept out to sea, the chance of rescue was bleak. Acknowledging their grim fate, the sailors began to drink, ushering in a more pleasant oblivion than the one that was surely coming.

But salvation did arrive, in the form of a boat named the Canton. Its crew members boarded the foundering British ship and rescued all the survivors – not all of them human. Though cod made up most of the cargo, the ill-fated ship did have two dogs aboard. And like the salted oceanfish in the hold, this breeding pair was also considered a valuable export.

Both the shipwrecked canines – the male, “Sailor,” and a female later named “Canton” in honour of the vessel that saved her – were St. John’s Water Dogs. Also called Lesser Newfoundland Dogs, they were a breed of hardy and water-obsessed dogs valued by Newfoundland fishermen for their ability to haul lines and nets of fish back to their boats. As you might guess, there were also Greater Newfoundland Dogs, which were, logically, larger in size but just as water obsessed. Both the Lesser and Greater Newfoundland dogs eventually evolved into what we today known as the Labrador Retriever and the Newfoundland, respectively.

Had they reached their final destination across the pond, Sailor and Canton would have likely been sent to one of the several British estates that was developing their kind to be a tractable, biddable gentleman’s retriever. But their abrupt detour on our shores redirected them to a completely different destiny as the canine Adam and Eve of a new and totally American breed – the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Their coat is unique and should be thick and short, nowhere over 1½ inches long, with a dense fine woolly undercoat. Hair on the face and legs should be very short and straight with a tendency to wave on the shoulders, neck, back and loins only. Moderate feathering on rear of hindquarters and tail is permissible.

The texture of the Chesapeake’s coat is very important, as the Chesapeake is used for hunting under all sorts of adverse weather conditions, often working in ice and snow. The oil in the harsh outer coat and woolly undercoat is of extreme value in preventing the cold water from reaching the Chesapeake’s skin and aids in quick drying. A Chesapeake’s coat should resist the water in the same way that a duck’s feathers do. When the Chesapeake leaves the water and shakes, the coat should not hold water at all, being merely moist.

The colour of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever must be as nearly that of its working surroundings as possible. Any colour of brown, sedge or deadgrass is acceptable, self-coloured Chesapeakes being preferred. One colour is not to be preferred over another. A white spot on the breast, belly, toes, or back of the feet (immediately above the large pad) is permissible, but the smaller the spot the better, solid coloured preferred. The colour of the coat and its texture must be given every consideration when judging on the bench or in the ring.

Starting with the face always use Plush Puppy Let’s Face It Shampoo. This is a hypoallergenic sulfate free low foaming shampoo designed just for faces. It’s no tear formula features the highest quality Blue Cypress Extracts, Panthenol with Pro Vitamin B and SugaNate. These special ingredients clean, soothe, add moisture, aid healing and have anti-inflammatory benefits. A small golf ball sized amounts directly to the face and eye area allows you to thoroughly clean without causing irritation. It can also be used in and around the ears with the same benefits. Leave this on until all the shampooing of the body is done and then rinse off.

For the body you don’t want to strip those natural oils that are so important on the breeds coat. Use the specialised shampoo for maintaining and even adding texture Plush Puppy Texture + Shampoo. This shampoo thoroughly yet gently cleanses and deodorises the coat of Terriers and other wire, harsh or coarse coated breeds without softening or compromising texture. It’s ideal for boosting body and coarseness in coats of all colours and coat types. It is low irritant, pH controlled and is easy to rinse out. It is full of beneficial and powerful extracts from the Gentian Root, Juniper Fruit, St John’s Wart Leaf, Hay Flower, Lemon Balm Leaf and Arnica Flower that combine to nourish and vitalise the skin. Use at 1:10/20 (1 part shampoo to 10 up to 20 parts water). Lather and then rinse thoroughly.

Don’t forget Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo brilliant for more intense cleansing we know this breed loves to get dirty at times. Use at a ratio of 1:5 (1 part shampoo to 5 parts water) for those days where you need that added deep clean.

Don’t use a conditioner on this type of coat as it will only soften and make it fluffy. To ensure a healthy coat you still require hydration.

For this use Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil. This will add shine, hydrate and condition the coat with its truly beneficial blend of extracts of Calendula oil, Wheat germ oil, and Evening Primrose.

You apply the following mix to a well rinsed wet coat after your shampooing process. Add 1 teaspoon to 2 Litres of water, then either sponge on or sluice well through the wet coat and LEAVE IN. DO NOT RINSE. As this is an essential oil based product don’t use around the eyes.

Seabreeze Oil is quite a unique product in that it is not greasy and totally water-soluble. It gives an outstanding healthy vigour by maintaining moisture in the skin and coat.

Use the oil at this dilution rate after shampooing. Again LEAVE IN AND DO NOT RINSE. You will get a nice healthy sheen on the coat with this routine.

When drying a Chesapeake use a Plush Puppy Ultimate Anti-Static Porcupine Brush, oval cushioned ½ bristle ½ dialon pin brush for smoother finish. This ensures the coat is not stretched or opened up for the desired finish to a harsh coat.
TIP – Plush Puppy Anti-Static brushes feature dialon pins known for their superior anti-static properties.

Keep on hand Plush Puppy Wonder Wash which is a no rinse wet instant shampoo for any last-minute emergencies as this will clean up anything, pronto! Just spray foam with the fingers and towel off. Wonder Wash is a brilliant quick self-rinsing bathing alternative solution for quick and easy cleaning without the need for a complete bath. It contains optical brighteners, has a fresh apple fragrance, and violet tone. In moments when regular shampooing is not an option, Wonder Wash will clean, whiten and brighten problem areas on all coat kinds.

Lastly a quick spray with Plush Puppy Odour Muncher. It literally munches the odour and works well for smelly problems such as emergencies in transit. Odour Muncher leaves a light fragrance – certainly not too much and definitely not too little. It is a deodoriser as well as a fragrance, eating up the nasty odour and leaving a good fresh smell.

Now your Chesapeake is prepared to its finest and ready to strut their stuff in the show ring. This smart dog has such appeal.

Recommended Products

Bathing Alternatives

Wonder Wash

£15.00£32.00
This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page
£26.00£145.00
This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page

Styling & Finishing

Odour Muncher

£11.50£21.50
This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page
£24.50£140.00
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Styling & Finishing

Seabreeze Oil

£29.00£91.00
This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page

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