Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Shed?

Chesapeake Bay retrievers are famous for their thick, waterproof coats. This characteristic makes them the perfect gun dog in the Chesapeake Bay area in Maryland and Virginia. Chesapeake Bay retrievers are also loyal and protective family dogs, making them a great addition to your family. But how much do Chesapeake Bay retrievers shed?

Chesapeake Bay retrievers shed more than average. They score a four out of five on the shedding chart. Chesapeake Bay retrievers have a thick, wavy outer coat and a soft undercoat, making their coats waterproof. Like many other dogs, they shed more during spring when their winter coats come out.

While a Chesapeake Bay retriever’s shedding might not be ideal for your home environment, it is the perfect coat for them, considering what they are bred for. However, following the correct grooming practices can reduce your Chesapeake Bay retriever’s shedding. We will discuss the fur type of a Chesapeake Bay retriever and consider how you can manage their shedding.

How Bad Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Shed?

Chesapeake Bay retrievers shed the same amount as Labrador retrievers or golden retrievers. This should tell you that they shed quite a bit. Their coat type primarily causes their shedding. Chesapeake Bay retrievers have a double coat. Chessies have a soft undercoat and a coarse, thick, somewhat wavy topcoat. Their topcoat makes them waterproof and insulates the body heat.

This is a critical feature for a Chesapeake Bay retriever to have, considering where they originated. Chesapeake Bay retrievers originally come from the Chesapeake Bay, an estuary in the Maryland and Virginia states in the USA.

The Chesapeake Bay has shallow waters that easily drop below zero during winter. In addition, the winter months draw many waterfowl to the Chesapeake Bay. Of course, this means that duck hunters from all over the state head to the Chesapeake Bay for hunting season.

Because of the freezing water temperatures, these hunters require a dog that can withstand the cold and wet to retrieve their ducks. As such, the Chesapeake Bay retriever was bred. Its thick double coat ensures it remains dry and warm while swimming after the ducks.

Therefore, Chesapeake Bay retrievers have the perfect coat for doing what they are bred to do. However, their fur type means they shed more than average, especially during spring. The Chesapeake Bay retriever will shed its thick winter coat in springtime, causing them to shed even more than they usually do.

Therefore, Chesapeake Bay retrievers aren’t the best dogs to adopt if you or someone in your family has dog allergies.

Fortunately, there are ways to manage your Chesapeake Bay retriever’s shedding, even during spring. While you cannot eliminate it completely, you can control how bad your Chesapeake Bay retriever sheds in your house by following these tips.

How To Manage A Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s Shedding

Now that we have established Chesapeake Bay retrievers are pretty heavy shedders, we can find a solution to the problem. But unfortunately, none of these tips will eliminate your Chesapeake Bay retriever’s shedding.

However, the tips we will discuss can help manage it, making your Chesapeake Bay retriever much easier to live with. These are some tips for managing a Chesapeake Bay retriever’s shedding.

1. When To Brush Your Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay retrievers are low-maintenance dogs that don’t need a lot of grooming or expensive trips to the doggy salon to shave them perfectly. However, brushing your Chesapeake Bay retriever weekly is a great way to reduce its shedding around the house.

Invest in a specific brush made for double-coated dogs with medium or short hair, such as this one. A brush like this removes the loose hair from the undercoat and topcoat. A weekly comb will do for most of the year. However, you can give your Chesapeake Bay retriever a daily brush in spring to reduce its shedding during its heavy shedding period.

2. When To Bath Your Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay retrievers have waterproof coats. Therefore, if you rub your hand over your “Chessie’s” coat, you’ll notice that it feels slightly oily. This oil keeps your Chessie warm and dry when swimming after shot waterfowl.

The waterproof coat also means much more effort to bathe a Chesapeake Bay retriever because they don’t get wet. However, bathing your Chesapeake Bay retriever once every two to three months can help remove some loose hair and reduce its shedding around the house.

Don’t bathe your Chesapeake retriever more than once every eight weeks to prevent its skin from becoming dry and flaky.

3. Should You Shave Your Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Never shave a Chesapeake Bay retriever if you use it to retrieve waterfowl. Their coats are essential for keeping them warm and dry while swimming. You can shave a Chesapeake Bay retriever in the summer. However, it’s unclear if shaving will reduce the shedding.

Most Chesapeake Bay retrievers don’t shave their Chessies or only have the stomachs and legs shaved for hygienic purposes. However, suppose you want your Chesapeake Bay retriever shaved. In that case, we recommend taking it to a professional groomer with experience shaving double-coated dogs.

4. What To Feed Your Chesapeake Bay Retriever

A Chesapeake Bay retriever coat’s health largely depends on its diet. Dogs require a diet high in protein, minerals, and essential oils to keep their coats healthy and shining. Therefore, feed your Chesapeake Bay retriever high-quality dog food to ensure its skin and coat are in excellent condition. This will help to reduce unnecessary shedding.

You can also consider adding coat oil drops to your Chessie’s food to ensure its coat is healthy. If your Chesapeake Bay retriever’s coat dries out, it becomes flaky and itchy and this may lead to more shedding. Therefore, keeping your Chesapeake Bay retriever’s coat healthy is crucial for managing its shedding.

5. How To Train Your Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Finally, you can train your Chesapeake Bay retriever to stay off the furniture to prevent it from shedding too much in your home. This won’t stop it from shedding, but it will manage where it sheds. Ensure your Chessie has a comfortable dog bed and teach them to sleep on it rather than the sofas and furniture.

It’s much easier to wash your Chesapeake Bay retriever’s bedding than to remove all the hairs from your furniture. These tips can help you manage your Chesapeake Bay retriever’s shedding, even during the spring months.


Chesapeake Bay retrievers have thick double coats and shed more than average. They shed even more in the spring when they lose their winter coats. A Chesapeake Bay retriever is not a good dog for anyone with pet allergies. However, their coats are perfect for retrieving waterfowl, which they were bred for.

Fortunately, there are various ways you can control your Chesapeake Bay retriever’s shedding, such as brushing it weekly and feeding it high-quality dog food. Hopefully, these tips will help reduce your Chessie’s shedding and make it an easy dog to live with.

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