AKC Group: Sporting
The Flat-Coated Retriever’s story began in England in the mid-19th century. They are thought to have descended from Labradors. They quickly became a favorite for those who needed a gun dog. Flat-Coated Retrievers are excellent as watchdogs, retrievers and as hunters and trackers. Today the breed is used mostly for show as it requires attentive breeding to bring out its natural talents.
Size: 22 to 23 inches high; 60 to 70 pounds
Color: Solid black, brown or liver. Can have white or black spots.
Life span: 10 years
Health problems: Luxating patella, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, cancer, thyroid issues, entropion.
The Flat-Coated Retriever is a large dog with a powerful build. He’s always ready to spring into action — no wonder he looks so eager. Their energy levels rests at high, so he’ll need plenty of game and exercise time. Their coat is dense, flat (obviously) and medium in length.
Flat-Coated Retrievers are on outgoing, keen, eager to please breed that thrives on your company and attention. These dogs are cheerful and sweet and make an excellent companion. (If you have the opportunity to get a Flat-Coated Retriever for a pet, you won’t regret it.) Highly intelligent and naturally obedient, they throw themselves into every endeavor and give 100%. Flat-Coated Retrievers require a high level of commitment: they need a lot of physical and mental stimulation and plenty of affection to avoid boredom and the inevitable destructiveness. They love kids, but may too exuberant for small youngsters. He adores other animals, but may be too overwhelming for smaller companions. A sociable dog, strangers don’t faze him. Flat-Coated Retrievers love to jump and to chew. These are two more reasons why he needs plenty of exercise — or outlets to indulge. Give him plenty of appropriate toys to chew on so he won’t choose valuables.
Flat-Coated Retrievers shed heavily during certain times during the year. He should be brushed twice a week to avoid matting and keep his coat beautiful. During seasonal shedding, he’ll need more help. Check his ears often — they need to be clean and dry to avoid infections. A Flat-Coated Retriever is easily bored, so plan on a varied training method and activities. They develop strong bonds and need consistency and direction when they’re young. Using toys or objects in training helps them to grasp skills easier. Excellent motivators for them are food, new toys and a trip to the park. Positive reinforcement will be your best friend and your most used tool. Harsh tones or mannerisms and heavy handed tactics will cause him to retreat, become anxious and uncomfortable. Socialization and obedience training are a must for them. A happy and loving dog, you may have to set some ground rules through constructive training. However you can encourage your Flat-Coated Retriever to use his natural skills (hunting and scenting), do it. Set up some “hunts” for him.