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Team Sport of Maryland
Maryland State Dog
In 1964, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, named after the famous bay region of the breed's origin, was declared the official dog of Maryland. A working dog bred to recover waterfowl for hunters, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is one of only a few breeds actually developed in the United States. Retrievers excel in field and obedience trials. These dogs are known for their versatility, strength, endurance, and devotion.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a powerful, muscular retriever with a slightly wavy, rather short coat that comes in shades of brown, red or tan ranging from a dead-grass-straw color to a deep dark brown with red overtones. Both the harsh outer coat and dense wooly undercoat are oily for water-repellence. The head is round and broad with a medium stop and muzzle. The lips are thin. The small ears hang down and the eyes are yellowish colored. The tail is 12-15 inches (30-37 cm.) long. The hindquarters are especially strong and the toes webbed since excellent swimming ability is important for the Chesapeake.
In the winter of 1807, an English ship with two Newfoundlands on board wrecked off the coast of Maryland. Everyone was saved, and the two dogs were given to a family of dog lovers. They were later mated with local retrievers. The new breed, which was first used for hunting in the Chesapeake Bay, proved to be excellent. Careful breeding over the years has created an outstanding retriever with incredible enthusiasm and endurance. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has been known to retrieve 200 ducks in a single day in frigid waters.
Many owners refer to this breed as "Chessies". There is a phrase that applies to Chesapeakes - "You can order a lab; ask a golden; but you must negotiate with a Chesapeake."
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