Flat-Coated Retrievers have a sunny disposition, an ever wagging tail and truly makes for a wonderful family companion. These versatile hunting retrievers have a beautiful black or liver coat and are known for their distinctive silhouette, smooth effortless movement and head type which is long and sleek.
The Flat-Coated Retriever is believed to have been developed in the 1800s as a hunting dog to flush and retrieve game. Possible crosses with other breeds include the large Newfoundland setter, spaniel-like water dogs and sheepdog. Other possible various breeds such as Collie-type dogs were included to increase the breed’s trainability. Flat-Coated Retrievers were most valuable to fishermen at the time.
Flat-Coated Retrievers gained quick popularity in the United States as a gundog, but both World Wars put a strain on the survival of the breed. Fortunately, careful breeding programs were established in the 1960s which resulted in saving the Flat Coated Retriever. Golden Retrievers (developed in part from the Flat-Coat) and Labrador Retrievers became more popular during the time Flat-Coats were diminishing, however, this breed which came very close to not surviving, still enjoys modest popularity today.
The Flat-Coat Retriever was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1915.
Height: The height for Flat-Coated Retriever dogs is 23–24.5 inches (58–62 cm) tall at the withers and for females: 22–23.5 inches (56–60 cm).
Weight: Recommended weight range for Flat-Coated Retrievers is between 55–75 lb (24–34 kg).
Coat Type: The Flat-Coated Retriever has a singe coat which is moderate in length and density and lies straight and flat. Lustrous; slight wave is permissible. The coat is thickly feathered on the ears, back of forelegs, front, chest, and underside of the tail. The coat should not be bushy, wooly, fluffy or silky. Grooming is minimal – weekly brushing is required to keep the coat beautiful. Bathing is done only when necessary. The Flat-Coated Retriever is an average shedder.
Color: The color of the Flat-Coated Retriever’s coat is solid black or solid liver. On rare occasions, there are yellow coats, but this is a disqualification according to the breed standard.
Temperament: Flat-Coated Retrievers are versatile hunting dogs that make wonderful family pets. These dogs are cheerful, very smart, alert, responsive and remain playful well into old age. They’re very social and make an exceptional family companion. Training sessions must be short, fun and varied as Flat-Coated Retrievers become easily bored. Positive reinforcement is necessary because this breed is sensitive and does not respond well to harsh treatment. Flat-Coated Retrievers are very alert thus making great watch dogs (but not guard dogs) and they get along with other dogs and pets. These energetic dogs need a daily walk or jog and when given the chance, swim (they’re great swimmers). Flat-Coated Retrievers thrive on human companionship and should not be left alone for long periods of time.
Health Problems: Flat-Coated Retrievers have a greater chance of getting cancer than most other breeds. According to the Flat Coated Retriever Society of America (FCRSA), the average life span for these dogs is only about 10 years, with a high percentage of deaths due to cancer. Other health concerns seen on occasion include hip dysplasia and luxating patellas. Breeders should run tests on any dogs used for breeding for eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy and glaucoma. Occasionally epilepsy is also seen in the breed.
• Flat-Coated Retrievers show their affection by frequently ‘kissing’ their human friends. These affectionate and good-natured dogs also greet other dogs with a kiss on the mouth – known as the “flat-coat kiss”.
• The Flat-Coated Retriever was originally known as the “Wavy-Coated Retriever”.
• Flat-Coated Retrievers were registered with the American Kennel Club in 1915.
• Almanza Far and Flyg (a.k.a. Simon) from Oslo, Norway, won the Gundog Group at Crufts in 2007. Crufts is the annual international Championship conformation show for dogs organized and hosted by the Kennel Club (UK) and is the largest annual dog show in the world.
AKC: Sporting Group
ANKC:Group 3 Gundogs
CKC: Group 1 – Sporting Dogs
FCI: Group 8; Section 1- Retrievers
UKC: Gun Dogs