Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Breed

flat coated retriever breed

Overview

Flat-coated retrievers are an energetic, lively, and rare breed of retrievers. They have earned great respect by serving as excelling hunting dogs, show dogs, and more recently, family pet companions.

Flat-coated retrievers were initially bred for the purpose of retrieving game and other birds from both land and water. In fact, in most parts of the world, they are still used for their original purpose as retriever breeds.

What you will love the most about this breed is that flat-coated retriever puppies are just as lively and active as the adult dog of this breed. This is why they have earned the name of the “Peter Pan” of dog breeds by retriever enthusiasts.

In this article, we will take a look at the history, appearance, temperament and personality traits, training, and health problems associated with the flat-coated retriever.

About the Breed

golden retriever

The flat-coated retriever dog breed is very similar to the Golden Retriever dog breed in terms of personality traits and characteristics. Their resemblance is so uncanny that in the earlier days, the Golden Retrievers performed at dog shows as a subcategory of the flat-coated retriever.

The main purpose behind the development of the flat-coated retriever was to serve as a working dog or a hunting dog. This means that you must provide the flat-coated retriever with high levels of exercise every single day so that it can burn off its energy and steam.

Other than hunting and working, flat-coated retrievers also love to participate in agility sports and other energetic sports such as swimming, retrieving, and dock diving. They are an ideal pet for people who have a very active lifestyle and love running, jogging, hiking, skiing, and going on short trips and adventures.

History of the Flat- coated Retriever

flat coated retriever

The flat-coated retriever has a very “bouncy” and peppy personality. So it is only fair that the earliest ancestor of this breed was named “Old Bounce” and its daughter was named “Young Bounce.” Both Old Bounce and Young Bounce lead to the creation of the flat-coated retriever breed.

Old Bounce and Young Bounce were both owned by J. Hull, who was a gamekeeper in 1864. Other prominent names that helped in the breeding of the flat-coated retriever were S.E. Shirley and H. R. Cooke.

Shirley helped in turning the flat-coated retriever into a steady breed, whereas the work of Cooke led to the advancement of this dog breed. Cooke’s Riverside Kennel helped in the creation of a number of show and field dogs.

It was not until the end of the First World War that the flat-coated retriever gained popularity. It began to be increasingly used as a famous hunting dog. However, very soon after this, they were somehow put in the background when the Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever emerged.

After that, there have been at least two instances when the flat-coated retriever came very close to extinction. The good part here is that the fans of this breed revived the flat-coated retrievers during the middle of the 1960s.

flat coated retriever breeders

After that, the dogs of this breed have been able to bring back their original fame and popularity. This is primarily the reason why flat-coated retrievers are just as smart, agile, and funny as they were when they were first bred with their inherent qualities of working and hunting.

The flat-coated retrievers were recognized by the American Kennel Club very early on in the year 1915. Today, they are still considered a rare breed but stand at the 100th position of all the 155 dog breeds that are registered with the AKC.

Because these dogs are so rare, you will be put on a waiting list for at least a year before you can buy your very own flat-coated retriever. In most cases, expert breeders require you to undergo the third-degree process in order to be certain of the fact that your living conditions suit the need of these puppy-like dogs.

Flat-coated Retriever Facts

Now that you have become familiar with the flat-coated retriever breed and its history, let us now take a look at some fun facts about this dog.

flat-coated retriever
  1. They have the same line of show dogs and field dogs, which is unlike other popular breeds of sporting dogs.
  2. They can transform from being show dogs to working in the field in a matter of minutes.
  3. Their gestation period lasts for as long as 63 days.
  4. They have a speed of 31 mph or 50 kmph while running.
  5. They were named the wavy-coated retriever before earning the current name.
  6. Their scientific name is Canis lupus familiaris.
  7. Because they are a rare breed, they can cost anywhere between $1800 to $2500.
  8. Among all dog breeds, they are classified as the poorest guard dogs.
  9. They are very hyper and active, which makes it hard for them to focus on simple tasks.

Flat-coated Retriever Appearance

golden retreiver

Flat-coated retrievers are large-sized dogs with a skull structure that is longer than it is wide. They have strong and muscular bodies that sort of give their large form a majestic appearance.

Their hazel or dark-brown colored eyes are almond-shaped and are set wide apart on their large face. Their jaws are also characteristic of a brawny and firm appearance. You will find that their legs and waving tail are just as hairy as the rest of the body. Small pointy ears feature at the top of their large heads.

Size

In terms of size, flat-coated retrievers are large dogs. If you measure them from shoulders to upper thigh and then from their withers, you will find that the length of the former is a bit more than the latter. Unlike most popular breeds, the female dogs of this breed are longer than the males. This makes pregnancy easier for these dogs.

Their average size is 37 to 42 inches or 94-107 cm long, while their height is 22.2 to 24.2 inches or 56.5 to 61.5 cm.

Weight

where are golden retrievers from

The weight of flat-coated retrievers is an average of 55 to 79 pounds or 25 to 36 kg. It is important to keep their weight in check because it helps them serve their purpose as hunting dogs more effectively.

Coat 

As the name suggests, the flat-coated retriever has a thick and flat coat. When properly groomed and taken care of, the coat appears to be shiny.

The length of the coat is moderate, but it is long enough to allow the dog to maneuver through rough terrains. The coat also keeps it protected from all kinds of weather and water conditions.

Because of the flat coats, the grooming of this dog is fairly easy. They also do not shed their coat very heavily. They only require brushing once a week, which helps keep the shedding in check and get rid of loose hair. Bathing the dog is only necessary when they become very dirty or smelly.

Color

The color of the coat of the flat-coated retriever is solid black. Some can also have liver-colored or dark-brown coat colors as well.

Flat-coated Retriever Temperament and Personality

black retriever

If you are looking for a dog that is very serious in nature, then the flat-coated retriever is not for you. Flat-coated retrievers are dogs with a great sense of humor, and they love to goof around.

Unlike most active dog breeds, flat-coated retrievers do not mind spending time at home. In fact, they love staying indoors and close to their human companions. They have a very friendly and easy-going personalities, which makes them the ideal pets.

By birth, flat-coated retrievers are an active breed. They love accompanying their owners on a walk or jog. In fact, they love going on short trips and adventures as well, and are big fans of hiking, camping, and skiing.

It is important that you provide your dog with the time to indulge in various dog sports on a daily basis. This helps them burn off their extra steam and energy.

Flat-coated retrievers do not like to spend a lot of time alone. When this happens, they are more likely to develop undesirable and destructive behaviors. Hence, if you are a person with a very busy lifestyle, then the flat-coated retriever dog is not for you.

These dogs crave human companionship and can get along with other dogs and pets as well. They are especially friendly with pet birds and love to communicate with them in their own way. So be sure to provide them with time to socialize.

Because of their activity level, it is important to keep in mind that flat-coated retrievers need a lot of space to exercise their limbs, run, play, or go digging.

Therefore, an apartment setting may not be the most ideal living condition for them. However, if you keep providing them with daily exercise time, they may adjust to an apartment as well.

With time you will learn to understand how flat-coated retrievers communicate. These dogs rarely bark, but when they do, it means they are very angry or hungry. Barks and wails may also mean that they are getting bored and need to go out and play.

Tail wagging is representative of their exhilaration while palpitations or heavy breathing indicate that they need water. When you find them biting, scratching, or chewing furniture or other items in the house, it means that they are not enjoying something.

flat coated retriever puppy



Flat-coated retriever dogs are great with children. They can play with them for hours without getting tired. For older children, it is a plus that they can take these dogs for a swim or run. They also enjoy playing catch with these dogs.

However, be careful with toddlers around these dogs. It is easy for them to knock over young children with that constantly active nature and wagging tails. Never leave your child alone with these dogs.

Overall, it is hard to not fall in love with the playful and goofy flat-coated retriever dogs. They are everything you need in a family pet dog and so much more!

Flat-coated Retriever Health and Care

flat coated retriever

The flat-coated retriever is a very healthy dog breed and lives a very happy life in general. However, the dog is prone to certain health issues during its lifespan. Some of these health concerns are inherited, but some can also be developed as a result of extreme weather conditions.

It is important that you are aware of these health concerns before deciding to buy a flat-coated retriever.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a condition in which the hip joint does not fit properly with the thighbone of the body of the flat-coated retriever. In one or both legs of the dog, there will be a situation of extreme pain and sometimes lameness as well. However, in most cases, this condition may go unnoticed.

As the dog grows, undetected hip dysplasia may lead to the occurrence of arthritis. If this disease is not inherited, it can also be developed due to other reasons, such as a diet that has a very high number of calories or falling and jumping on hard surfaces such as marbled floors.

A health survey was conducted by the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America in the year 1997. According to this research, around 9.4 percent of all flat-coated retriever dogs were diagnosed with hip dysplasia.

flat coated retriever puppies

Malignant Histiocytosis

This is a type of cancer, and it is most commonly found among the flat-coated retriever dog breed. As the name suggests, this cancer occurs in the histiocytes, loose connective tissues found inside the dog’s body, or the white blood cells existing in the skin of the dog.

The most effective treatment for this condition is medical surgery, coupled with radiation and chemotherapy. However, the cure for this disease is rare, and the results of this treatment are poor.

Lymphosarcoma

This is another form of cancer and is also commonly found in flat-coated retriever dogs. This cancer occurs in different parts of the body, which can include lymph nodes, spleen, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and bone marrow. The only treatment for this condition is chemotherapy.

Hemangiosarcoma

Another commonly found form of cancer in flat-coated retriever dogs is hemangiosarcoma. This cancer occurs in the spleen along with the lining of the blood vessels of the dog.

The most effective treatment for this condition is medical surgery coupled with chemotherapy. However, the cure for this disease is rare, and the results of this treatment are poor.

Osteosarcoma

flat coat retriever

This is a form of bone cancer and occurs in all large or giant dog breeds, including the flat-coated retriever dog breed. The earliest sign of this condition is lameness in any of the limbs of the dog. X-rays are the most effective way of finding out whether or not the actual reason behind lameness is in fact cancer.

The treatment of this type of cancer requires a vigorous approach. First, the affected limb of the flat-coated retriever needs to be amputated. Then comes chemotherapy. This helps in adding somewhere between 9 months to 2 years to the dog’s age.

However, this requires the dog to adapt to surviving on three limbs instead of four. However, the aggressive chemotherapy treatment does not lead to hair loss, nausea, or any other side effects.

With proper care, attention, and high-quality dog food, flat-coated retrievers can live for an average of 10 years. If your pet lives for 13 to 14 years, then it is said to have lived a long life.

Flat-coated Retriever Training

flat haired retriever

Flat-coated retrievers are intelligent and are thus quick learners. This makes them very easy to train.

Although flat-coated retrievers have their inherent way of communication. This includes wagging tails, barking, wailing, or biting things, among other methods. However, you can train them to communicate in your own specific way. They are able to adopt new habits and behaviors that you teach them very easily.

From a young age, start them off with basic obedience training. This is necessary because these dogs are known to have a mind of their own and may develop individual behaviors if left untrained.

They should learn how to sit calmly, endure a dog leash when outdoors, and pay heed to commands. Along with this, they can also be trained as agility dogs, therapy dogs, and even rally dogs.

Proper early socialization is also essential for flat-coated retriever puppies. They can get along with all animals if introduced to them from a very young age. This allows them to develop social skills and be as playful with pets as they are with their human owners.

When training flat coats, be sure to deploy the positive reinforcement training methods. They respond well to commands when praised or provided with dog treats. This helps them maintain their physical as well as mental fitness.

Because they have an inherent capability of developing their mind, be careful to never use harsh commands because you may end up turning them into obstinate pets.

Without proper training and regular exercise, flat-coated retrievers can become very aggressive and stubborn. This will make them hard to handle when they become adult dogs.

black flat coated retriever

Conclusion

Flat-coated retrievers are large-sized dogs with a skull structure that is longer than it is wide. They have strong and muscular bodies that sort of give their large form a majestic appearance and a wagging tail. The coat of the flat-coated retriever is thick and flat.

Flat-coated retrievers are dogs with a great sense of humor, and they love to goof around. They are great with children and love vigorous exercise. Overall, it is hard not to fall in love with the playful and goofy flat-coated retriever dogs. They are everything you need in a family pet dog and so much more!

Flat-coated retrievers are intelligent and are thus quick learners. This makes them very easy to train. From a young age, start them off with basic obedience training. Along with this, the same breed can also be trained as agility dogs, therapy dogs, and even rally dogs. Proper early socialization is also essential for flat-coated retriever puppies.

The flat-coated retriever is a very healthy dog breed and lives a very happy life in general. However, the dog is prone to certain health issues during its lifespan. With proper care, attention, and high-quality dog food, flat-coated retrievers can live for an average of 10 years.

Cody Mitchell
Cody Mitchell is a pet lover and a passionate pet writer. He has worked as a professional writer for over 6 years, with a focus on creating compelling content for pet-related brands. His work has been featured in major publications. When he's not writing, Cody can be found playing with his two dogs (a labradoodle and a cocker spaniel) or cuddling his cat.

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