The Flat-Coated Retriever

The Flat-Coated Retriever

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Retrievers were bred by fisherman who needed water loving dogs to retrieve fowl after it had been shot. They were especially popular in the fisheries near Newfoundland. In fact the Newfoundland breed played an important part in retriever bloodlines along with setters, sheepdogs, and water spaniels. Flat-Coated Retrievers, which weren't always called that, were popular show dogs soon after they were introduced. But their coats were not always flat; Sewallis E. Shirley, founder of Britain’s Kennel Club, was largely responsible for the appearance they have today. It was thought that a flat coat might be more water repellent.

Flat-Coated Retrievers were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1915 but their popularity didn’t last much beyond that. They were eclipsed by both Golden Retrievers and Labradors. By the end of World War II Flat-Coated Retrievers were facing extinction. Breed loyalist managed to save them and today the breed enjoys a modest popularity.

Sizing up

  • Weight: 60 to 70 lbs.
  • Height: 22 to 24.5 inches
  • Coat: Straight, medium length
  • Color: Solid black, liver-colored.
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 13 years

What’s the Flat-Coated retriever like?

The Flat-Coated is the most energetic of the retrievers. What that means for you is that she needs plenty of exercise every single day of the week. Rain or shine the Flat-coated wants to run, jump, chase, fetch, play, and dig. You won’t be able to get away with only bringing her outside to go to the bathroom. She also doesn’t like to be left alone and if you’re not with her she won’t have any fun at all. When you’re spending time outside you should know that the Flat-Coated will chase after birds, squirrels and other small animals. She’ll also be very interested in meeting new people who happen to be walking by.

The Flat-Coated retriever is definitely a food dog, which you can use to your advantage during training, e.g., hide a treat underneath one of three boxes and let her sniff it out. The Flat-Coated will take to training well.

Indoors the Flat-Coated Retriever should be well behaved, assuming she’s had enough exercise. She’s friendly with kids but could easily overwhelm younger children. She’ll want to be in contact with her people: ideally curled up at your feet or next to you on the couch. She might bark at intruders but won’t show them any aggression.

The Flat Coated is always happy when people are around. She’s not particularly picky about which people they are either. She is sometimes referred to as the “peter-pan” dog in reference to her extended puppyhood. She’ll always be a source of entertainment and laughter for the family.


Flat-Coated dogs have a higher incidence of cancer than other breeds: Hemangiosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, osteosarcoma and malignant histocytosis are all possible. Other conditions to watch for include the following:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Luxating patella
  • Epilepsy

Takeaway Points

  • Flat-Coated Retrievers are the most energetic of the retrievers.
  • Flat-Coated Retrievers don’t like to be left alone.
  • Flat-Coated Retrievers will love anyone who gives them food.
  • Flat-Coated Retrievers remain immature for most of their lives.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Flat-coated Retriever Mix Personality

There are some excesses and undesirable traits in the flat-coated retrievers that can be corrected in a flat-coated retriever mix.

For instance, a flat-coated retriever mix is a healthier pet.

Flat-coated retriever mixes have a lower chance of developing gene-related health challenges, such as hypothyroidism, cataracts, and hip dysplasia, etc. and other serious health challenges like cancer.

Also, the lifespan of a flat-coated retriever is about 8 – 10 years but a flat-coated retriever mix may live longer as mixed breeds are believed to be healthier than purebreds.

More so, flat-coated retriever mixes may have more moderate personalities than purebred flat-coated retrievers because of their multiple ancestral ties.

Hence, flat-coated retriever mixes do not exhibit any extremities in personality.

Therefore, keeping a flat-coated retriever mix as a pet holds more advantages than keeping a purebred flat-coated retriever.

Are you thinking of getting a flat-coated retriever mix for your next pup?

Here are three different flat-coated retriever mixes that you should consider – Flat-coated Retriever Border Collie Mix, Chatham Hill Retriever (Flat-Coated Retriever plus Cocker Spaniel), and Aussie-Flat (Flat-Coated Retriever plus Australian Shepherd).

An Extremely Friendly Dog Characterized by Lifelong Exuberance, This is the Perfect Pet for your Children

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a loyal, lovable family dog with an enormous amount of energy. It was originally bred to be a hunting or "gun dog," suitable for retrieving game during the hunt. Originally part of the "retriever proper" crossbreeding that included the Sheepdog, Setter, Newfoundland, and Water Dogs, today, Flat-Coated Retrievers most often function as companion dogs. The Flat-Coated Retriever enjoys hard work, has a lot of stamina and is eager to please. This dog is well-suited as a family pet, since it exhibits a rare and pleasing combination of breakneck energy and relaxed, easygoing patience.

Flat-Coated Retrievers’ History
Beginning in the mid-1900s, the Flat-Coated Retriever was originally a gamekeeper's dog in England. The now-extinct St. John's Water Dog may be part of its ancestry, as well as the Newfoundland, Collie- type dogs, and Setters. The first Flat-Coated Retrievers began to appear around 1860, but the breed itself was only firmly established in about 1880.

Once it came to the US, the Flat-Coated Retriever quickly became popular as a gun dog, and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1915. Today it is classified as a member of the Sporting Group. The Golden Retriever is actually bred in part from the Flat Coat and other breeds, but it began to take over the popularity of the Flat Coat so that by the end of World War II, very few Flat-Coated Retriever puppies remained. It was thought that perhaps the Flat Coat would not survive this time, but it began to resume its place in society in the 1960s. Breeders carefully developed and brought back the Flat-Coated Retriever, both as a companion pet and for show. Currently, it remains modestly favored as compared to other breeds like the Golden Retriever, although it is becoming more celebrated thanks to its exceptional intelligence and personality.

Flat-Coated Retrievers’ Appearance
These are moderate-sized dogs that weigh between 45 to 75 pounds and stand between 22 and 25 inches at the shoulder. The head is long and flat, and the nose is deep and long. The ears, which hang to the side, are feathered and fairly small compared to the size of the head. The thick, fine, solid brown or black coat lies flat on the body and is of medium length. There are feathers on the chest, tail and legs. The tail is long and slightly curved. Because these dogs are so happy all the time, you can expect your pet's tail to be wagging constantly.

Flat-Coated Retrievers’ Temperament
These exuberant, energetic dogs are extremely friendly, confident and outgoing. Your new pet will be very good even with small children as long as you channel its enthusiastic and boisterous behavior. A Flat-Coated Retriever would never hurt a small child on purpose, but could inadvertently knock a child over, for instance, with its sheer effervescence. But once you train your pet to be careful around small children, the dog will be very composed and protective.

The "Peter Pan" Of Dogs
What is most notable about the Flat-Coated Retriever is that unlike most dogs, your new pet will never seem to quite "grow up." Instead, it will remain very puppy-like and energetic, cheerful and enthusiastic well into old age. While most exuberant dogs like the similar Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever tend to mellow with age, that's not really going to be true of this dog. That said, even though your pet will continue to have the exhilaration of a puppy, you can most certainly train this very intelligent dog to behave and obey you. Despite its frisky personality full of the love of life, you can expect to have a very well-trained dog with just a little bit of structured guidance.

These gentle, exceptionally vivacious dogs should never be disciplined harshly. Instead, a firm tone of voice and consistent rules should be enough. Remember that this is most certainly a sweet-tempered dog that will love you unabashedly for its whole life. That said, your dog can get bored with excessive repetition, so it's important to keep the routine interesting when you train or work with your dog and offer lots of positive reinforcement. Because this dog’s genetics include working both on land and in the water, this dog will like to swim, jog, and do just about any other kind of exercise you might find suitable for yourself. Playful and tireless, you'll find your pet to be truly joyful – and that joyful, jubilant nature will rub off on you!

People Dogs
Above all, this dog is extremely gregarious and will always require companionship. Alert and very intelligent, this exceptionally lighthearted, good-natured pet can also function as a service dog if necessary.

Flat-Coated Retrievers’ Proper Environment
Although the Flat-Coated Retriever is very obedient when given clear guidelines, apartment living is really not preferable for this dog. The combination of its size and level of energy demands ample space even though the Flat-Coated Retriever is pretty inactive when indoors. Plenty of physical activity, including a daily walk where you establish your leadership, is absolutely necessary for this pet.

The Flat-Coated Retriever will adore your children, as they will adore their new pet. However, your new puppy’s high-spirited elation may unintentionally startle small children until both learn to be more careful. Once these dogs are aware that small children are vulnerable and need to be pampered, they will restrain their conviviality to become the perfect companion dog for your children.

Flat-Coated Retrievers’ Health
Your pet will be very healthy and sturdy, but prone to problems common to many other relatively large dog breeds including hip dysplasia, diabetes, epilepsy, and congenital deafness. This breed is also prone to cancers like fibrosarcoma and osteosarcoma in adulthood, with approximately 75% of such cases terminal. Average lifespan is about 10 to 11 years. Choosing a reputable breeder who has screened your dog for hereditary conditions and visiting a veterinarian on a regular basis will help to control and treat any problems which may arise.

Flat-Coated Retrievers’ Grooming
Your pet requires a good daily brushing, especially if it has been outside. While this breed sheds moderately, it should not be necessary to bathe or shampoo unless your dog is very dirty. Because this dog loves outdoor activity, it's also important to regularly check your pet for ticks.

Flat-Coated Retriever Conservation Status

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Flat-Coated Retrievers have a very happy and outgoing temperament.

They make a great family pet and are great with children. Flat-Coated Retrievers are a large dog breed that may be black or liver-colored in appearance. They were originally bred in England to be a gundog in the mid-1800s. Unlike other breeds that had one main specialty, Flat-Coated Retrievers were bred to retrieve fowl from both land and water.

Other Health Issues

Cancer is not the only disease affecting flat-coated retrievers. Like other large and big-chested breeds, he may suffer from gastric torsion, commonly known as bloat. In this situation, the stomach twists, cutting off the blood supply. Only emergency surgery can save his life. You might prevent bloat by feeding your retriever a few small daily meals rather than one large meal, and by not feeding him for at least an hour before or after strenuous exercise. Flat-coated retrievers might also suffer from slipped kneecaps, known as luxating patellas, or hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joint. Both of these conditions cause lameness and may require surgery. While not fatal diseases, lack of mobility in a large dog might result in a decision to euthanize your pal if you can't carry him.

Watch the video: Flatcoated Retriever swimming under water in Bohinj Lake, Slovenia - GoPro Hero Black 7