Chesapeake Bay Retriever Grooming

A Chesapeake Bay Retriever's grooming needs are relatively easy--but a Chessie, like other retriever breeds, sheds heavily. Weekly brushing (if not more frequently) lessens the amount of shed hair; bathing, because of the Chessie's oily, waterproof coat, should only be done occasionally.

The rest is simply basic maintenance. Weekly tooth brushing, periodic ear cleaning, and occasional nail trimming are all that's necessary.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Coat Care

Chessie dog grooming--whether in Chesapeake, VA, the region in which the Chesapeake Bay Retriever originated, or anywhere else--is important. Much like the feathers on the ducks it hunts, a Chessie's short-haired, double-layered coat is oily and waterproof; and like most retrievers, a Chessie's outer coat sheds quite a bit. Brushing this breed's coat weekly will keep the oils in the fur distributed nicely, and remove a lot of the unwanted dead hair that would otherwise end up on the furniture. Use a soft rubber brush instead of a metal rake or a wire brush, as the latter two can damage the fur. Increase the brushing frequency during the twice-yearly shedding season.

Bathe your Chessie only occasionally. Bathing removes the oils that make the fur waterproof, so give a Chessie a bath only 2-3 times a year, or when the dog gets really dirty.


Chesapeake Bay Retriever brushing should happen at least once per week to help collect dead hairs. During the spring and fall shedding seasons, daily brushing will be best to further help with hair collection.

The best brush for a Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a rubber curry brush. Metal brushes are not recommended for this breed, as they can damage the coat's texture.

To brush: first wet the coat with water mist from a spray bottle, then go through the coat section by section with the brush, moving in the direction of hair growth. During shedding season (and intermittently throughout the year), it's helpful to also use a de-shedding tool to remove dead hairs from the coat.


Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers smell? Like any breed, they can--especially if they roll in something dirty or stinky! In these cases, an "emergency bath" is in order. In general, though, Chessies don't need baths very often (2-3 times per year), as too-frequent bathing will rid the coat of its waterproof oils.

It's important when bathing a Chesapeake Bay Retriever to use shampoo made for dogs, as the human kind has a different pH and can irritate the dog's skin. The best shampoo for a Chesapeake Bay Retriever includes brands like Healthy Breeds, or Pro Pet Works--both of which will make your Chesapeake Bay Retriever smell, look, and feel great.

Before the bath, give the dog a good brushing. You can bathe your Chessie in either a bathtub or in an outdoor plastic pool using a garden hose. First wet the coat thoroughly, then apply some Chesapeake Bay Retriever shampoo to the dog's back. Lather well, working downward and outward; don't forget the legs, underbelly, and tail! Clean the face, head, and ears with a washcloth, then rinse the coat completely.

Towel-dry the dog, then give the coat another quick brush-through to make it look clean and neat.