BaxterBoo Blog
April 2, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Flat-Coated Retriever

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Overview:

  • Height: 22"- 23”
  • Weight: 60-70 pounds
  • Historical function: Upland and marshland retrieving
  • Modern function: Companion, retrieving
  • AKC classification: Sporting

Physical Characteristics:

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a versatile dog both as a family companion and hunting retriever. They have an intelligent expression and clean lines. The head is one of the distinctive features of the breed. It's considered to be "one piece" with only a subtle stop between the muzzle and the top of the skull, with the muzzle and skull being of the same length. The head then extends smoothly into the well-formed neck. The ears are small, feathered, and lie close to the head. The feathering is also on the legs, chest, and tail. The coat is thick, fine, and lies close to the body. The coat color can be liver or black. They are lighter and more elegant in appearance than the other retriever breeds, moving with exceptional grace and fluidity.

History of the Breed:

The Flat-Coated Retriever originated in England in the 1800s from various retriever and spaniel water type dogs. The dogs were invaluable to fisherman and and hunters with their superior sense of smell, excellent swimmers, and are able to work well in marshy areas. They are wonderful bird dogs, doing very well retrieving in a variety of conditions. The dogs were popular in the U.S. before the World Wars, but their numbers dwindled significantly and were replaced by the Golden and Labrador Retrievers.  

Temperament:

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a happy-go-lucky agreeable dog. They are well suited to family life. They are good with children and have a reliable, steady temperament. Due to their working background, they do require quite a bit of exercise to keep them well behaved on the home front. They are excellent at agility training. They get along well with other dogs and other household pets. This dog is very sociable, even with strangers.

  • Best suited for: Active families willing to include this dog in daily activities.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog loves activity and water. Not suited for apartment living.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care coat requires minimal care with weekly brushings. An average shedder. 
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk. Makes an excellent jogging companion.
  • Life expectancy: 10 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to cancer and glaucoma. Lower rates of hip and elbow dysplasia than other retriever breeds.

Breed Club Links: Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America, Inc.

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: This dog loves water, so consider getting him a pool! Don't forget floating pool toys for them to retrieve!

Have any stories about a Flat-Coated Retriever? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Pete Markham. According to Pete, the smaller black female is named River. The larger chocolate male is named Bear.

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