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Chatham Hill Retriever (Flat-Coated Retriever & Cocker Spaniel Mix): Info, Pictures & Traits

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Chatham Hill Retriever (Flat-Coated Retriever & Cocker Spaniel Mix)

Height: 20 – 23 inches
Weight: 35 – 45 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 16 years
Colors: Brown, black, fawn
Suitable for: Families and individuals seeking and affectionate companion dog
Temperament: Loyal and loving, affectionate, intelligent, and playful

The Chatham Hill Retriever is a hybrid designer dog that is a result of crossing a purebred Flat-Coated Retriever with a purebred Cocker Spaniel. While the breed’s exact origins are unknown, it is thought to have first appeared in the United States in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

Alert, energetic, affectionate, and playful, the Chatham Hill Retriever is almost the perfect family dog. They love being with people, are great with kids of all ages, and provided they have been socialized while young, will get on with most other pets.

Yet this dog is also a capable hunter and with the appropriate training, is an outstanding gun dog that will just as happily spend their days flushing out waterfowl as they will playing in your backyard with your kids.

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Chatham Hill Retriever Puppies


Having been bred from two hunting dog breeds, the Chatham Hill Retriever has quite a well-developed prey drive. As such, you must socialize your new puppy from a young age. These dogs have an inbuilt desire to hunt and chase small animals and birds, and unless they learn not to do this as puppies, it may become problematic keeping them around other pets.

Chatham Hill Retrievers are also not the sort of dog that does well when left alone in the yard for hours and hours. When they become bored, they can become quite vocal. This can take the form of either barking or howling or sometimes both, which can quickly become a nuisance if you live in an urban neighborhood.

Another important thing to consider before deciding to buy a Chatham Hill Retriever is that they have exceptionally long lifespans. This can be a good thing if you get a puppy when your children are quite young, as they will be able to grow up with their dog. Still, you need to remember that your new puppy will be a pet for life, and in this case, that means they will need your care and love for up to 16 years.

2 Little-Known Facts About the Chatham Hill Retriever

1. Chatham Hill Retrievers love the water.

These medium-sized dogs love nothing more than taking a nice long swim in a lake, pond, or creek, and if you have one nearby, there is a good chance that your dog will want to dive in for a refreshing dip.

When you think about it, this shouldn’t be all that surprising, as both the Flat-Coated Retriever and the Cocker Spaniel have a long history as hunting dogs, and both breeds have webbed toes, which they have passed on to the Chatham Hill Retriever.

2. When it comes to grooming, not all Chatham Hill Retrievers are created equal.

When you are choosing a Chatham Hill Retriever puppy, you should take note of their coat. Some puppies will have a Cocker Spaniel-like coat, while others will have a coat more in line with that of a Flat-Coated Retriever.

Those with a Cocker Spaniel coat will require daily brushing to prevent tangles and matting and may also require occasional clipping. In contrast, dogs that inherit a coat like that of a Flat Coated Retriever will only require brushing about once a week. So, by careful selection of your puppy, it is possible to decide how much grooming your Chatham Hill Retriever will need.

Parent Breeds of the Chatham Hill Retriever
Image Credit: (L) Sven Mewis, Shutterstock | (R) Jumpstory

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Chatham Hill Retriever 🧠

The Chatham Hill Retriever is a social dog that has a sweet and playful nature. They will bond with each family member and quickly learn the best way to interact with them.

They are quite active dogs and can get a little excited at times, particularly during outdoor play that involves chasing and retrieving a ball or frisbee, an activity that they will happily do for as long as you are willing to stand there and throw it for them.

Chatham Hill Retrievers are quite intelligent dogs, and a great way to use their boundless energy and stimulate their mind is to introduce a trick or agility training into their routine.

These dogs are also quite protective, confident, and alert and as such, make great family watchdogs. They can be a little wary of strangers, though, and may not warm to extended family members or visitors right away, preferring instead to sit off and keep a watchful eye over what is occurring.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Yes, the Chatham Hill Retriever is a great family dog. They are excellent with children of all ages and will happily spend time with all members of their family.

That said, they can get a little excitable during play and may inadvertently knock over a small child. So, it is a good idea to keep a close eye on them around children.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

As mentioned, the Chatham Hill Retriever has quite a strong prey drive. For this reason, they must be socialized and become accustomed to being around other animals in your family from a young age.

Generally, you will have no issue with them around cats and other dogs, but you may want to keep an eye on them if you have small pets, such as dwarf rabbits or hamsters.

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Things to Know When Owning a Chatham Hill Retriever

While they are only medium-sized dogs, Chatham Hill Retrievers are quite active and need to have space in which they can run about and play. For this reason, they are not a good choice of dog for apartment living and are better suited to living in a property where they have access to a secure outside yard.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

When it comes to feeding your Chatham Hill Retriever, we recommend a premium brand dry dog food that is formulated for medium dogs. There are several different brands of food available, including several that have been formulated specifically for retriever type dogs or for the Cocker Spaniel.

When it comes to serving size, you should always pay close attention to the feeding recommendations on the food package itself or follow any specific advice provided by your vet. This is particularly important for the Chatham Hill Retriever, as both the Flat-Coated Retriever and the Cocker Spaniel tend to put on too much weight.

Ideally, you should feed your dog twice a day: once in the morning and once at night, dividing their daily food portion evenly between the two feeds. It is also advisable to limit snacks throughout the day and ensure that your dog’s nighttime feed is adjusted to take into account any snacks that they did have.

Exercise 🐕

Chatham Hill Retrievers are quite energetic dogs and will need at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. This can take the form of joining you for a run, a walk, or even a long game of fetch in your local dog park.

Whatever activity you choose, it is important to ensure that it includes at least some time out of their yard each day, as this will help keep your dog mentally stimulated, as well as physically fit.

Training 🦮

The Chatham Hill Retriever is quite an intelligent dog, and you will find that your puppy will pick up what it is that you are trying to teach them quite quickly. There will, of course, always be challenges along the way, and it is important to remember that your puppy will respond better when you use praise and play or treat rewards when they get things right, rather than scolding them.

As well as basic obedience training, it is important to ensure that you include plenty of socialization in your puppy’s training regime. This should include spending time exploring the neighborhood, playing with other dogs, and becoming familiar with other pets in your household, as well as everyday noisy objects, such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and lawnmowers.

Of course, as your dog masters the basics, you may also want to include additional activities, such as agility training, into their routine to help keep them mentally stimulated.

Grooming ✂️

The grooming requirements of a Chatham Hill Retriever differ considerably depending upon whether they take on a coat of their Cocker Spaniel parent or that of their Flat-Coated Retriever Parent.

Cocker Spaniels have a long and thick double coat that is quite prone to get tangled and matted, and as such, they require daily brushing to keep their coat looking the best. In contrast, the Flat-Coated Retriever has a coat that requires much less care and could easily go a week or more without needing a brush.

Thus, the amount of time that you are prepared to spend grooming your dog should form an important part of your consideration when picking a puppy from the litter.

Health Conditions ❤️

Chatham Hill Retrievers are quite healthy dogs that should live long and happy lives. However, as with all breeds, there are a few health conditions to which they can be susceptible. These include:

Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
  • Eye infections
  • Ear infections
  • Patellar luxation
Serious Conditions
  • Glaucoma
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Pulmonic stenosis

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Male vs Female

Unless you have a particular desire to own a male or female dog or you intend to breed from your dog, there is no real advantage or disadvantage in owning either a male or female Chatham Hill Retriever.

Apart from a slight difference in size, there is little difference between the two sexes that will impact on your life. This is particularly the case if you choose to neuter or spay your dog before they reach sexual maturity.

Whole male Chatham Hill Retrievers may be more inclined to want to wander than females and female dogs can tend to be more territorial when in heat. However, spaying or neutering can almost completely eradicate these behaviors.

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The Chatham Hill Retriever is a fantastic dog. They take on the best traits of their already immensely popular parent breeds, which combined, make this dog one of the best and most even-tempered family or companion dogs around.

They are loving, playful, intelligent, easy to care for, and easy to train and make great dogs for kids. The breed is suitable for both first-time and experienced owners alike, and due to their long lifespan, they are likely to be part of your family for many happy years.

Featured Image Credit: Fasp333, Shutterstock

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