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Grooming the Chesapeake

A Chesapeake should very seldom be given a bath with shampoo. This is a breed that is generally considered spray and go. The dense, harsh, short-haired coat is easy to groom. Brush with a firm bristle brush to remove the dead hairs. While the Chesapeake needs the occasional bath to prevent any noticeable odor, they should not be bathed so often that the oily texture is stripped out. The oily coat helps protect it from icy waters.

In the Spring, when the Chesapeake starts to shed their winter coat, give them a good healthy washing with a good conditioning shampoo and rinse very well. This helps to take out the dead hairs left behind from shedding.

Chesapeakes do shed their coats out twice a year, a process that generally takes about 3 weeks and is an average shedder. The Chesapeake can dry his coat with one vigorous shake! His coat is thick, short, and oily with a dense undercoat that is almost waterproof. Except during this time, grooming is minimal.

Although it is technically true that CBRs do not shed long coats and do not require professional grooming, they do "blow coat" at least twice a year and your house will be full of brown "dust bunnies" tumble weeding their way about your house.

If you are fastidious about the neatness of your home then CBRs unique, water-repellent coat and his love of playing in water combine to make him a highly efficient transporter of dirt into your home, depositing same on your floors and rugs and possibly also on your furniture and clothes. I don't mean to imply that you must be a slob or slattern to live happily with a Chesapeake, but you do have to have the attitude that your dog's company means more to you than does neatness and you do have to be comfortable with a less than immaculate house.

You must realize that you should be prepared to get wet when you and your Chesapeake are near water. Because of their love of water, 20 minutes of water retrieves is usually much more intense work than an hour walking around the neighborhood nicely on the leash.

To clean a coat that has a slight odor, use a good conditioner. I suggest of Mane and Tail Conditioner. Dilute 2 parts water to one part conditioner. Cover his coat with diluted mixture then rinse it out very well.

Before a dog show
Rinse coat out well with water and diluted conditioner at least 3 days before the show. The night before the show, rinse coat out well with cool water, and let dry. Trim eyebrows, muzzle and any long whiskers around their face. Trim nails and clean ears. Trim tip of tail to a slightly rounded trim and only the very tip of the hair on the tail. The day of the show spritz coat with water and lightly rub with a towel about 1 hour before going into the show ring.

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