Why Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Stink? & Easy Solutions


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the hardest water retriever in the United States. They are a medium-sized breed with a characteristic coat consisting of a short, rough, wavy outercoat and a dense fine wooly undercoat that emits a particular odor that some pet owners find intolerable.

So, Why do Chesapeake Bay retrievers stink? Chesapeake Bay Retrievers stink for various reasons like Infection, yeast overgrowth, rolling about in filth and becoming particularly dirty, or not being washed and groomed on a regular basis. Because they have a thick, weatherproof fur coat that is greasy and slippery, they frequently stink.

Keep on reading to know all the reasons behind a Chesapeake bay retriever’s distinctive odor and how to keep their coats as healthy as they can be while keeping the stink at bay.

Why do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Stink? 

Chesapeake puppy to answer why do Chesapeake bay retrievers stink

The Chesapeake Bay retrievers have a coat that is a little greasy to help them withstand water, similar to how duck feathers do. 

The oils secreted by their skin to make their fur withstand water and environmental conditions are the reason behind their distinctive and sometimes hard-to-tolerate odor, yet their coat, in general, is simple to care for.

Bathe them as needed to avoid odor, but not too frequently, since regular bathing might change the oily texture or cause their skin to secrete more oils, it is crucial to dry their coat well to avoid moisture build-up that might make the smell even worse.

Brushing on a regular basis should be enough. 

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers stink for a variety of other causes common to all dogs, including illness, yeast overgrowth, rolling around in filth and getting particularly dirty, and not being washed and trimmed on a regular basis. 

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers stink a lot because they have a thick, waterproof fur coat that is oily and slippery, which is perfect for what they were designed to do: hunt and retrieve. Because this sort of hair is thick and a breeding ground for trapping grime and debris, it can make the dog smell at times, especially if they are not washed frequently.

The dirt, filth, and debris that the Chesapeake Bay Retriever collects from wherever it goes can become stuck in the slick and dense fur and stay there. The fur of this breed may also be an ideal breeding environment for yeast and bacteria, which can cause skin problems (such as skin tags) and other illnesses. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s fur is very long, allowing germs and debris to spread out over a large area.

How to make your Chesapeake Bay Retrievers smell better?

 Brushing their fur coat on a regular basis might help to reduce stench and eliminate harmful dirt and odor.

Regular brushing may eliminate filth while also uniformly dispersing the natural oils in their fur coat, lowering the risk of yeast, infections, and other skin problems. Brushing on a regular basis can also help to decrease the need for more frequent baths.

Brushing the Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s fur coat improves its health and luster while also allowing the pet parent to check the fur coat and skin for any underlying problems. Despite the thickness of their fur coat, grooming does not have to be a time-consuming operation if done on a daily basis.

You can start by doing it the last thing in the day. Brushing the Chesapeake Bay Retriever regularly at the end of the day, when the dog is ready to retire for the night, is a good place to start. By including this exercise into the pet owners’ schedule or routine, it can be ensured that it is completed every day, reducing odor and the need for extra washes while also promoting excellent health. You can find the best brushes for your dog here.

In general, I recommend the Hertzko brush because it does so much and it is very affordable, easy to clean, and well-made. I’ve been using it for a while and I’m quite happy with it, and you can check it out on Amazon here.

After a full day of work or play outdoors, these brushing sessions provide an opportunity for the pet parent and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever to interact or reconnect. This is a win-win situation for all parties concerned.

It’s critical to use the appropriate equipment when washing or brushing to help the procedure go more smoothly. Other equipment may not be able to penetrate this sort of fur coat, therefore you’ll need to use a brush intended for a dog with medium to long and dense fur.

Brushing on a regular basis can help to decrease the need for bathing and the risk of dry skin that excessive bathing can bring.

When you do bathe them, make sure to use a high-quality shampoo and dry them quickly after the bath. You can check out the best-smelling shampoos for retrievers here and I have a guide on how to dry your dog quickly after a bath here that you will find very helpful.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a robust double coat that is water-resistant and ideal for recovering waterfowl in inclement weather. Grooming requirements may vary depending on the season due to seasonal shedding. During the spring and fall shedding seasons, more grooming is required.

Every 4–8 weeks, trim their nails and clean their ears. You can learn how to clean your dog’s ears easily here.

How often should you bathe your Chesapeake bay retriever?

You should bathe your Chesapeake bay retriever every 2-3 months, using a light shampoo and doing so sparingly; no more than once per 2-3 months if they don’t swim often. Overbathing can cause dry skin to a Chesapeake. 

These canines will stink if they spend a lot of time in muddy, murky waters, which they will love by the way, and if they exercise a lot as we do. If they are not groomed and washed properly, oil and dirt can accumulate over time. 

When the Chesapeake Bay Retriever starts to stink, or preferably before that happens, excellent bathing habits may help keep the problem at bay while also keeping their hair and skin healthy.

While having an oily fur coat is normal for them, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be washed and maintained. Cleaning and grooming help them feel better and improve their overall health. 

Many pet parents may believe that because this dog breed enjoys water, they don’t require a bath, however, bathwater differs from lakes, rivers, ponds, and other bodies of water. Whatever the source of the foul odor, it can be readily remedied with a good old-fashioned bath.

Bathing your Chesapeake will vary according to the season and the shedding cycle. The Chesapeake Bay necessitates two washes. The first should be a general bath to remove dirt and filth. The second bath is tailored to your dog’s specific needs; if your dog suffers from allergies or has sensitive skin, use an Itch Relief Shampoo. 

Use a shampoo that strengthens the hair shaft and aids in the removal of a dead undercoat during the spring and autumn shedding seasons. If you reside in a moderate climate, a Shedding shampoo may be required.

Are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers smelly by nature? 

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have somewhat oily coats that provide them with some natural water resistance. Though some people are concerned about a dog’s oily coat, the oil acts as a protective barrier along with each individual hair, which can be readily controlled with a wash every now and then. 

Their thick coat allows them to tolerate temperatures below zero degrees temperatures, as well as cold water conditions that other canines would not last long in. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are ripe for all kinds of entrapped odors and fragrances, thanks to their slick coat.

When any dog, especially those with oily fur coats, exercises frequently, they might accumulate excessive amounts of oils and other dirt, adding to the odor and making them less than clean.

Chessies, as they are known, like water just as much as other Retrievers, and their water-resistant, oily hair allows them to endure lower water temperatures. As a result, they have become experts in their field.

While this might be beneficial when hunting or playing outside, it can also make them smelly at other times. This is due to their fur collecting moisture, dirt, grime, and other odor-causing substances while they are outside. The stench of muddy waterways might stick to their fur as well. When all of this is mixed with the natural doggy odor that may occur in any healthy dog, this breed can become even more stinky.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a thick double coat with a dense woolly undercoat. Its length is no more than 1.5 inch.

Leg and facial hair are typically short and straight. The only areas where the hair waves are the shoulders, neck, back, and loins. The tail and hindquarters may have considerable feathering. There are slight differences between males and females, of course, and you check out this detailed Male VS Female Chesapeake bay retrievers guide here to learn about them all.

Can I shave my Chesapeake bay retriever?

Although one might believe that cutting their thick hair would reduce odor and keep a dog cool in the summer, the reverse is true.

Breeds with double coats have developed to cope with severe environments. For hot and cold conditions, their fur works as a thermal regulator, and shedding is nature’s method of making the coat suited for heat protection.

The oils generated in the Chesapeake’s coat are there for a reason; being a hunting breed, they protect their skin and distinguish themselves when exposed to extreme weather.

Shaving can also harm your Chesapeake in the following ways:

  • Heat stroke and sunburn are risks.
  • The coat can thicken again, making thermal regulation more difficult.
  • Biting flies and mosquitoes will bite your skin.
  • The coat can regrow unevenly; the undercoat may regrow quicker than the “guard” coat. Because the undercoat is more likely to mat, another shave is required, creating a vicious cycle.
  • Alopecia – bald patches and uneven growth might develop.
  • Dogs that aren’t used to having their coats shaved may scratch excessively, irritating the skin and causing hot spots.

I discuss this in a much deeper length in this post on why you should never shave your golden retriever.

Related Questions 

Are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers cuddly?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are cuddly; Although they are quite protective and make excellent watch dogs, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an intelligent, friendly, and courageous dog. They are extremely loving and sensitive towards humans.

Can Chesapeake Bay Retriever be left alone?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can be left alone yet for not extended times; Because the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is devoted to humans and likes their companionship, it is prone to separation anxiety and should not be left alone for long periods of time.

Is a Chesapeake Bay retriever a good guard dog?

A Chesapeake Bay retriever is a good guard dog; he is an attentive watchdog who is fiercely protective of his family. They have strong discrimination senses and are cautious with strangers. As a result, they make excellent watchdogs, yet they are rarely hostile toward strangers.

 Are Chesapeake Bay retrievers stubborn?

Chesapeake Bay retrievers are stubborn; The Chessie may be obstinate and determined yet perfectly trainable due to their intelligence. Another dog breed will make things easier for inexperienced or novice dog owners. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are also friendly and caring dogs.

Helpful Resources 

How to make your golden retriever smell good

Dog Ear Infections

Why does your dog smells like dog

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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