Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Need Haircuts?

Some dog breeds will never require a haircut. On the other hand, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever will need a haircut every so often. Regular coat grooming will drastically decrease the need for a haircut, but eventually, all Chesapeake Bay Retrievers will need a haircut.

retriever sitting down
A beautiful Chesapeake Bay Retriever sitting in a field with beautiful fall foliage.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers may need a haircut from time to time. A haircut, in this case, refers to a light trim, not shaving. When cutting a Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s hair, it must never be cut shorter than an inch, as a Chessie coat helps regulate temperature and protects the dog.

A double coat distinguishes a Chessie that waves on the shoulders, neck, back, and loins. These areas typically require a haircut, or light trim, at times. Due to the importance of their coat in their lives, I would suggest you get a professional dog groomer to cut their hair. It’s advised that you leave at least an inch of hair on their body if you wish to trim their hair yourself.

Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Need Haircuts?

short haired retriever
A Chesapeake Bay Retriever standing in a snow bank

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers do require a haircut from time to time. Keeping your Chessie’s fur at the proper length is critical so that the skin beneath it doesn’t become burned. Remember that dogs, like humans, may develop sunburns and skin cancer when exposed to the sun.

A Chesapeake Bay Retrievers double coat protects them from heat stroke, reduces their danger of sunburn, and keeps them waterproof when swimming in icy waters. The coat also helps them to regulate their temperature. The American Kennel Club recommends that your Chessie’s hair should not be longer than an inch-and-a-half and not shorter than an inch.

How To Cut Your Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Hair

retriever getting a decoy duck
Chesapeake Bay Retriever pup retreiving training Duck out of a river

With the information mentioned above in mind, there might come a time when your Cressie’s hair will grow too long, requiring a little snip or shave. When you plan to cut your Chessie’s hair, do so before you bathe him.

Use scissors to cut away longer clumps of hair, and try to maintain the coat at the same length. You can use a hair clipper if you are skilled at cutting hair. In my opinion, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s coat is such an important part of the dog, this part of grooming should be done by a professional.

Can You Shave Your Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Chessies have lovely coats, which is why so many people want to buy one. It’s not advised that you ever shave your Chesapeake Bay Retriever. The double coat of a Chessie serves several uses and should not be shaved off. For starters, a dog’s coat is how they protect themselves and control their body temperature.

When dogs are entirely shaved, they lose the ability to regulate their body temperature, making them more susceptible to disease and developing health problems. If you reside in a hot or cold climate, your Chessie will always require a coat since they need to be able to warm up or cool down when the weather isn’t cooperating.

Many people prefer to shave their Chessie since they shed a lot and can make a house or flooring very unclean. Shedding is an unavoidable aspect of having a Chessie, and their coats should never be shaved merely to reduce shedding and lessen your responsibilities as a dog owner. A more suitable solution would be to upgrade your grooming techniques, which I will discuss later in the article.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have unique coats designed to allow them to swim. Their oily coat is ideal for ensuring that they can swim properly, stay floating on top of the water, and give them waterproof protection when dipping into the icy cold waters of the Eastern Seaboard.

You will note that if you shave their hair regularly, their coat does not grow back in the same way. They will be unable to swim as well as before, so by shaving your Chessie’s coat, you are doing them a disservice, whereby their hair won’t grow back the same.

How To Groom Your Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a strong double coat that is water-resistant and ideal for recovering waterfowl in icy weather. Grooming requirements may vary due to seasonal shedding. During the spring and fall shedding seasons, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers require more grooming than usual.

Grooming A Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s Coat

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers shed a lot, much more than other retriever breeds. Brushing their coats with a rubber curry brush once a week will remove dead hair, distribute skin oils, and ensure that stray hairs stay on the brush rather than on your clothes or furnishings.

Using a wire slicker brush or a coat rake might cause the hair to lose its wave and kink, so avoid these. Bathing your Chesapeake will typically depend on their shedding cycle. During shedding season, a warm bath or two helps release dead hair so that the new coat may grow in.

It’s highly recommended that you bathe your Chesapeake Bay Retriever as little as possible (every 3 to 4 months.) Regular bathing removes the protective oils found in their coats, resulting in the coat being less water-resistant.

Grooming A Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s Paws

Applying a paw balm weekly to your Chessie’s feet will ensure their paw pads are supple and soft. As a result, the pads are less prone to dry and crack.

Cleaning A Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s Ears

Every 4–8 weeks, cut your Chessie’s nails and clean their ears. When you hear a Chessie’s nails make a clicking sound on the floor, it’s time to cut their nails. Be extremely careful since their nails contain blood arteries, and if you cut them too short, you’ll badly injure their paws.

Clipping A Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s Nails

When cleaning your Chessie’s ears using cleaning finger wipes for dogs, be sure to check for redness or a foul odor, as these are signs of infection. Only clean the ear as far as you can see, and never put anything in the ear canal. Ear grooming should be performed once a month.

Brushing A Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s Teeth

It’s sad to think that 80% of all canines’ most common ailment by 2 years is tooth and gum decay. The accumulation of tartar leads to inflammation of the gums, tooth damage, and ultimately loss of teeth.

When a dog loses its teeth, it places the organs in danger, and in the case of Chessies, it can shorten their lifespan by 1 to 3 years. Ensure that you brush a Chessie’s teeth once a week to ensure that their mouth is healthy and free from tartar buildup.


Chesapeake Bay Retrievers will need a haircut every so often. The main thing to ensure when cutting their hair is not to cut it too short. A minimum length of an inch is recommended so that their coat can continue to keep them waterproof and safe from sunburn, allowing them to regulate their body temperatures accordingly.


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