Did you know that, out of the fifty states in the USA, only thirteen of them have state dogs? We're one of them. In fact, we were the first state to officially choose a state dog! We have possibly the best state dog of all -- the Chesapeake Bay Retriever (or Chessie, for short). Whether you own one yourself or you just want to learn more about this fascinating Maryland breed, here are a few fun facts about Chessies:
1 They Have Webbed Feet
A Chessie is born to spend time in the water, and like the ducks they often help hunt, they have webbed feet to help them swim in the waters of the bay. So if you’re looking for a dog that’s part fish (or, you know, part duck), you’ve found the right one in a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
2 They Have Legendary Origins
These dogs are one of the few truly American breeds! It’s said that in 1807, two Newfoundland puppies named Sailor and Canton were rescued from a sinking ship off the Maryland coast. The two were well-known water dogs, and were bred with local dogs, eventually creating the breed we know today.
3 They’re The Mascot of UMBC
And they’ve been the mascot of the school since 1966, two years after Chessies were declared the state dog of Maryland. UMBC students cheer for the Retrievers, and can visit a bronze statue of a Chessie called True Grit on campus. (Rub his nose for good luck on your finals!)
4 They’re Tough Cookies…
Thanks to their thick, wavy coats, they can withstand the cold, choppy water of the Chesapeake Bay like nobody’s business. The oily layer on top helps keep them dry, even when they’ve been swimming all day. And they’re hard workers who like to be kept active and spend time outdoors.
5 ...And They’re Talented, Too!
We’ve already established that Chessies are great swimmers, but they’re pretty skilled at hunting and tracking, too. If you enjoy hunting, they’re helpful companions, but they’ve also been trained to do everything from search and rescue to drug enforcement.