Flat Coated Retriever

Type: Gun Dog

Height: 22 - 24.5 inches.

Weight: 60 - 80 lbs.

Life Span: 8 - 12 years.

Litter Size: 6 - 9 puppies.

Country of Origin: Great Britain

Activity: Medium to high.

Watch-dog: Yes. Flat Coated Retrievers are very alert.

Guard-dog: Low. They are friendly to most people.


Description: The Flat Coated Retriever is an easy-going and alert dog whose lively spirit is demonstrated by their high-held head, sparkling eyes and wagging tail. They are a good natural retriever on land and in the water. Flat Coated Retrievers are naturally obedient, and thrive on training and pleasing their owner. They have a beautiful mane, making them look very noble. They greatly enjoy romping around with children, although they may get too rowdy for small children. They get along well with everyone, being friendly and happy. They are hard workers, versatile and energetic. Flat Coated Retrievers require only moderate exercise and care for their coat, making care for them easy. They are almost the same size and shape as the Golden Retriever, except with a solid black or liver coat that is moderately flat, but sometimes wavy. This led them to first be called the Wavy Coated Retriever. They are a large athletic dog, with a flat head and drop ears. Their legs, chest and tail are heavily feathered. The Flat Coated Retriever's happily high-held tail is a hallmark of their personality.

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Colors: Solid black or solid liver only.

Coat: Dense, fine to medium texture, medium length and lying flat or slightly wavy. The flatter the better for show dogs. They have a heavy feathering on the chest, legs, underbelly and tail.

Temperament: Flat Coated Retrievers are attentive, friendly, and intelligent. They are lively, exuberant and joyful in personality. They love to play with children, although they are too large to handle by small children. They get along well with other animals, and are good as watch dogs. Although fun loving, they are also hard workers. They excel in retrieving. They are hardy and sound, a very easygoing breed. Flat Coated Retrievers are less popular than the Golden or Labrador, making their temperament and health more trustworthy due to lack of excessive breeding.

With Children: Yes, but can be too exuberant for small children.

With Pets: Yes, does well with other pets.

Care and Training: Minimal grooming, a brushing of the Flat Coated Retriever's coat weekly will keep their coat beautiful. Bathe only when necessary, keep nails trimmed, clean ears, and trim ears and feet. Regular daily exercise of walks, free run and swimming when possible. Without proper outlets for their energy, a bored Flat-Coated Retriever may resort to digging in gardens, chewing or other nuisance behavior. Training should begin when they are young.

Learning Rate: High. Trainability is excellent, but training should begin early. Obedience - High. Problem Solving - Medium.

Special Needs: Attention, exercise and positive training.

Living Environment: Flat Coated Retrievers enjoy city or country, in a house with a fenced yard. The best owner for this breed would be an active family.

Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, glaucoma, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), and cancer. Flat Coated Retrievers have a higher than normal tendency to have cancer.

History: Flat Coated Retrievers were most likely developed from St. John's Newfoundlands, Labradors and possible the Collie or a number of Setters. The Flat Coated Retriever was originally known as the "Wavy-coated retriever". In the second half of the 19th century, they were the favored dog of "game-keepers", and before World War II were one of the most popular dogs in England. "Old Bounce" and "Young Bounce" were the progenitors of the breed, owned by J. Hull. S.E. Shirley did tremendous efforts to "stabilize" the breed from 1873 into the 1880s, and in 1915 it gained recognition by the AKC. They gained tremendous popularity because of their temperament and working ability. But when the Golden Retriever came around, the Flat Coated Retriever's popularity dwindled. After World War II the breed's survival was at threat. But thanks to careful breeding programs the Flat Coated Retriever's popularity came back to rise as a companion and show dog. Never quite as popular as the other retrievers since then, you may find them at a local hunting test or dog show. Flat Coated Retrievers have not been over bred excessively, making them have a more reliable temperament and less health problems, although they do have a higher than average rate of cancer. Today a few of this breed can be seen at dog shows or as companions.

First Registered by the AKC: 1915

AKC Group: Sporting

Class: Gun Dog

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 8), KC (GB),