Flat-Coated Retriever
Outgoing Fun-Loving And Intelligent!

The Flat-Coated Retriever was developed in the 19th century by cross-breeding Wavy Coated Newfoundland retrievers with both the Irish Setter and the Gordon Setter whose influence is apparent in the Flat's appearance today.

flat-coated retriever portrait outside with grassy background

This breed was originally known as the Wavy Coated Retriever, but over time as the breeding was fine-tuned and stabilized, the coat flattened out and the name was revised.

The Flats are excellent swimmers and were initially bred to retrieve shot game from water, though their versatility makes them equally effective as retrievers on land.

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a medium-sized dog with an appearance of strength combined with elegance. His expression is gentle, keenly attentive and clearly shows intelligence.

Characteristics of the Flat-Coated Retriever

The Flat-Coated Retriever is an enthusiastic hunter as well as a cheerful and outgoing companion. He loves a challenge and is highly trainable.

Training is best done in short sessions and in a manner that gives the most opportunity for success. The Flat loves to please and get it right - scolding is not well received.

This breed is very people oriented and has a wonderful temperament. He thrives on attention and interaction with his owners, but does not like being left alone too long.

Flats are slow maturing dogs and retain an exuberance and youthful behavior throughout their lifetime.

Physical Stats and Care

Height: 22-24 inches
Weight: 55-70 lbs
Color variations: Solid black or liver

The dense coat is shiny, flat-lying and of medium length. Grooming needs are modest - a bit of time is all it takes about once a week to maintain its good looks.

For the coat, you'll need a slicker brush if your dog gets into a lot of stuff during his walks - this tool is good for easing out the junk. Follow up with a regular brushing to finish the job. You may also need to use a comb along with a Tangle Remover Spray to loosen up any difficult snarls that may be hiding in the longer hair.

During shedding season, the coat will look much better if the routine is done on a daily basis - also to avoid additional housekeeping!

Follow up the coat care with an inspection of the ears and gently clean them if excessive wax is present. If there's any sign of infection, of course you'll consult your vet.

Teeth and Nails: Daily brushing of the teeth is ideal and if you start this early in life, pets become used to it quite quickly. My dog actually comes running to have his teeth cleaned because he loves the taste of this toothpaste. If you can't manage daily, shoot for at least a couple of times a week, because dental care is so important.

Clip the nails as necessary and if this is a bit of a battleground with clippers, try a dremel which is much easier.

How Active is the Flat?

The Flat-Coated Retriever loves to be active and needs regular exercise as well as opportunities to run freely.

Long walks, games of fetch and access to swimming, which they obviously adore, are ideal activities.

Ideal Living Space

This breed definitely needs room to run. A home with good-sized yard is the ideal environment, providing a place for play, training and potty breaks.

In lieu of a yard, a safe and secure place where he can be taken for the chance to run off leash.

A Good Breed For Children?

This breed has a gentle easy-going nature and likes to join in the playful activities of children, though they can be a bit boisterous and need to be trained around smaller children.

As always play between children and any pet dog should be supervised by an adult as both can be unpredictable.

Senior or Sedentary Families?

Although the Flat-Coated Retriever is a warm and gentle companion, the exercise needs would probably be too much for a sedentary family to fulfill.

However, if exercise needs can be met on a daily basis, then the Flat can be considered.

Further Reading

Flat-Coated Retriever Today book
Flat-Coated Retriever Today

An account of the breed's history, followed by advice on puppy selection and care, adult management, and coat care.

The breed standard is described in detail (the author is a judge) and the book also covers breeding, color inheritance, whelping and rearing a litter. The working Flat-Coat is discussed as a top class gundog, a popular show dog, and a super companion!

Also includes advice on appropriate training methods as well as many photos of the breed.

dr.pitcairn dog care book
Natural Health For Dogs & Cats

Dr. Pitcairn's book is one of the most trusted references for natural pet health care. Anyone who is interested in the holistic approach to natural healing as well as chemical-free nutrition for their pets will find this book invaluable.

Also Available To Read On Your Kindle

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