How Strong is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

When I think of retrievers, I tend to envision physically strong and intelligent canines, highly effective in most hunting activities. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers were originally employed to recover birds, pull fishing nets, and rescue fishers by local market hunters. They are now largely family pets and hunting companions. Made me wonder how strong is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a bite force of 238 psi, similar to the bite force of a German Sheppard and a Great Dane. Chessies were bred to be super strong, deep-chested water retrievers, capable of withstanding the brutal cold of the Chesapeake Bay waters while being able to hunt all day.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are some of the strongest retrievers in the world. They have to be. Retrieving waterfowl in the icy waters of the Eastern Seaboard is not a job for a weak dog. You also don’t get dubbed the ‘Sherman Tank’ of water retrieving dogs if not powerfully built and capable of incredible feats of strength.

Is A Chesapeake Bay Retriever Considered A Strong Dog Breed?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are fondly known for being one of the strongest water retrievers, commonly referred to as the water dog equivalent of the Sherman Tank. Chessies is the other name they go by, and hunters specifically raised them to hunt all day.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Are Strong Water Retrievers

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are one of the few dog breeds considered to be ‘100% – Made in America.” Chessies were bred as hunting dogs and required to be tough and strong enough to handle the brutally cold seas of the Eastern Seaboard.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are medium to large-sized, powerfully built dogs with deep chests. Chessies use their deep chests to break the ice when retrieving waterfowl. They are fitted with muscular hind legs (somewhat longer than their strong forequarters), webbed feet, and an oily double-layered waterproof coat that helps them navigate the water with an apparent sense of ease.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a broad, spherical cranium with a medium stop and strong jaws capable of hauling large game birds. Chessies have an average height of 21 to 36 inches, an average weight of 55 to 80 pounds, and a healthy life expectancy of 11 to 13 years.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Loves Exercise

Any animal, or human for that matter, who loves participating in some form of daily exercise, will typically be a strong specimen. Chessies love to exercise and be active. They are by no means couch potatoes, and this constant need to run, fetch, and swim ensures that their bodies remain strong and fit.

As mentioned earlier, Chessies love nothing more than to hunt all day. To put the strength and stamina of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever into perspective, Chessies can fetch over a hundred to three hundred downed birds from the cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay in a day.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever requires a lot of activity and stimulation. They enjoy water activities the most, although a long jog or run would suffice. If you don’t exercise your Chessie regularly, they may misbehave because of boredom and untapped energy.

It’s recommended that from 6 months, you should increase your Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s playtime in the morning and evening to 40 minutes per session. At this stage, you should be taking them on a daily walk of half a mile until the age of a year. Chessies can start to jog with you when they reach 1 year, and as they mature, you can start to increase the distance moderately.

If you are not an active family by nature, then a Chesapeake Bay Retriever is probably not the best dog choice. Chessies have the energy to burn and require loads of physical activity. These strong-chested retrievers love getting wet. Implement an intensive game of fetch into their daily exercise routine, 20 minutes or so, and ensure to include fetching from the water.

What’s The Bite Force Of A Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

While Chessies are generally passive, they can become defensive if they or their families are in danger. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a strong bite force of 238 psi. To put the biting force of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever in context, a Chessie is strong enough to break any bone in the human body.

The jaw adductor muscles are responsible for most of the bite force generation in dogs and cats. The temporal, masseter, medial, and lateral pterygoid muscles are among these. These muscles shut the mouth, govern the biting force, and dictate jaw movement. The Great Dane and the German Shepard are dog breeds with a similar biting force.

Despite a Chessie’s powerful bite, they are extremely gentle with the birds they retrieve and use a delicate bite when transporting them from the water.

What Are The Strongest Dog Breeds In The World?

The strongest canine breeds in the world are typically big dog breeds that can pull incredible weights and are blessed with amazing bite force abilities. According to our friends at, the following breeds are reckoned to be the strongest canines on the planet:

  1. German Shepards
  2. Siberian Huskies
  3. Rottweilers
  4. Alaskan Malamutes
  5. Great Danes
  6. Dobermans
  7. Newfoundland
  8. Saint Bernards
  9. Mastiffs
  10. Rhodesian Ridgebacks
  11. Kangal
  12. Irish Wolfhounds
  13. Cane Corso
  14. Dogo Argentino
  15. American Pitbull Terrier
  16. Bulldog
  17. Chow
  18. Belgian Malinois

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was bred with Newfoundland’s, Irish Water Spaniel, and other types of hounds. The dog rated as number 7 on the world’s strongest dog list, Newfoundland, forms part of the Chesapeake Bay Retrievers’ DNA, and that’s one of the reasons why Chessies are considered a ‘tank’ in the retriever world.

Famous Owners Of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

Many big personalities have chosen a Chesapeake Bay Retriever as a companion. General George Armstrong Custer preferred to have a strong dog next to him, so he wisely chose a Chessie.

When former President Theodore Roosevelt had to pick a dog worthy of being by his side, he got himself a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Senator John McCain did the same and picked a strong dog to complement his strong personality. The late Paul Walker also owned a Chessie.


Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are strong, powerfully built, high-energy retrievers. Chessies have been likened to tanks due to their unrelenting retrieving abilities, stamina, and strong bodies. A Chesapeake Bay Retriever may not be the strongest dog breed in the world, but when it comes to hunting in cold icy waters, few dogs are stronger than a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

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