Information on Chesapeake Bay Retriever Genetics, Health, and Pedigrees

Chessie Health

These pages deal with health issues of importance to Chessies and their owners. Here, you will find articles about health issues, as well as first-person stories about how individual Chessie owners met their dogs' health. You will also find links to research projects being conducted on various health issues that are relevant to Chessies.

The diseases discussed on this site are not exclusively issues of Chessies, or even of purebred dogs. In fact, many hereditary diseases of purebred dogs are caused by what are known as "ancient" mutations. These mutations happened long before dogs even evolved, and the diseases they code for occur in many species, often including man. This is why so much genetic research involves dogs. Not only are they familiar to us and easy to house and handle, but we also share many of the same diseases in common with our dogs. Diseases like Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which in humans is called retinitis pigmentosa, or Degenerative Myelopathy, which in humans is ALS. Even the most common hereditary condition in Chessies, hip dysplasia, occurs in humans!

While many of the pages of this website are focused on genetic diseases of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, we donít want to give the impression that the Chesapeake Bay Retriever breed is an unhealthy one. Quite the opposite; most Chessies are very healthy and require very little veterinary care throughout their lives. However, as with any living organism, any individual dog may have health issues, genetic or otherwise. We hope these pages help provide information of use for owners whose dogs have developed a health problem. As with any information obtained over the internet, we strongly recommend that you consult your Veterinarian with any health issues your dog may encounter, rather than rely on internet advice alone.

Statistically speaking, the hereditary diseases most commonly occurring in Chessies include hip dysplasia (about 21% affected), elbow dysplasia (7% affected), and hypothyroidism. Beyond these, other conditions mentioned on this website do occur, but their frequency in the breed is relatively low.

Non-genetic health issues will also be discussed on these pages. Health issues such as tick-borne diseases, athletic injuries, or urinary tract infections; conditions which may be common in the working hunting dog.

Disclaimer: Links to health projects are placed on these pages as a service to the Chessie-owning community, and do not imply endorsement by the owner of this website, the ACC, or any other official body. Links are provided to help those whose dogs may have these diseases get information they need. Before donating to any project, be sure to contact the Project Leader or Researcher in charge of the study and ask questions about the study, its purpose(s) and goals.