black flat-coated retriever

Flat-Coated Retrievers: Is This Dog Breed for You?

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If you’re looking for a kid-friendly and energetic pooch, the Flat-Coated Retriever might be the perfect companion dog for you. These dogs are known for their outgoing personalities, love of play, and loyalty to their humans. Originally bred as hunting dogs, Flat-Coats are now popular pets and can be found in households all over the world.

Flat-Coats are medium to large-sized dogs with distinctive black or liver-coloured coats. They have a lean, marathoner build and are known for being wired for their athletic agility and endurance. These dogs are very smart and very trainable.  This is an ideal breed for dog lovers willing to invest time and effort into their beautiful dog’s social training.

If you’re interested in becoming a proud owner of a Flat-Coated Retriever, then you want a healthy and well-socialized puppy.  This breed has become very popular around the world so it is critical that you find a highly visible, reputable breeder.  Best advice — take the time to research breeders in your area and ask plenty of questions.  Doing so ensures that you’re on the right track and will likely get a healthy and happy dog.  With proper care and training, a Flat-Coated Retriever is a wonderful dog for any home.

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Flat-Coated Retriever History

Interested in getting a Flat-Coated Retriever?  If your answer is YES or if you’re simply interested in learning more about this great breed, then please read on.  

The following information is about the breed’s origin and development.

Flat-Coated Retriever Origin

Another great dog breed coming out of England, the Flat-Coated Retriever was first developed and introduced in the 19th century. At about the same time, bird hunting with shotguns became popular. English upland bird hunters wanted a home-grown retriever that would retrieve birds on land and in water. The new breed came about by crossing other specific breeds, including the now-extinct St. John’s Water Spaniel and the English Water Spaniel.  Other known and existing breeds in the mix included the Newfoundland, Labrador, and Collie.

Flat-Coated Retriever Development

The Flat-Coated Retriever was first introduced to the world in 1860 at a dog show in Birmingham, England. The new breed quickly gained popularity among hunters because it was acknowledged for its phenomenal retrieving skills and friendly temperament.

During the early 20th century, though, the breed almost disappeared because of the popularity of other retriever breeds. However, the Flat-Coated Retriever breed was saved by a few dedicated breeders, including H.R. Cooke, who kept the breed alive in his kennel, Riverside, for over 70 years.

Today, the Flat-Coated Retriever is recognized as a versatile hunting dog and a happy-go-lucky companion dog. Today, the breed is world-famous for its intelligence, athleticism, and friendly personality.

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Flat-Coat Breed Appearance

Flat-Coated Retrievers are famous for their feathery elegance and lean appearance.  And, The breed stands as tall as a Labrador Retriever. These dogs have a powerful and athletic build, with a deep chest and long, handsome muzzle. Their friendly expression is highlighted by their big round eyes that are widely spaced and which are brown or hazel. 

Here are some key features of the Flat-Coat Retriever’s appearance:

Flat-Coat Retriever Size

The Flat-Coat Retriever is a medium to large breed, with males and females ranging from 22 to 25 inches at the shoulder. As adults, they weigh from 60 to 80 pounds and males are usually slightly bigger than females. Their size, athletic build, steadiness, and skills make them great hunting buds that are able to fetch birds from land or water.

Flat-Coat Retriever Haircoat Features

The dense, shiny hair coat is one of the Flat-Coated Retriever’s most recognizable features. It lies flat against the body and is typically solid black or liver-brown in colour with no colour markings or patterns. The breed’s coat is water-resistant, which helps greatly with swimming and retrieving harvested waterfowl. Frequent grooming is needed to prevent matting and to keep their coat clean and lustrous.  

Flat-Coat Retriever Walking and Running Gait

The Flat-Coat Retriever has a smooth and effortless gait — a hallmark of their athletic abilities.

The Flat-Coats move with grace and agility.  Their gait is often noted to be as powerful but not lumbering like some big breeds. Their strong and powerful legs enable them to glide across a lot of ground quickly with little effort.  In fact, with their trademark feathered tail held high and proud, and their strong, feathered legs, they are a beautiful animal to behold.

The Flat-Coat Retrievers’ appearance is a perfect blend of elegance and athleticism. Their size, coat, and gait make them stand out from other large companion and sporting breeds.  

Flat-Coat Temperament

Flat-Coated Retrievers are known for their people and pet-friendly nature.  They are very sociable and exude a cheerful willingness to obey commands. Flat-Coats are confident dogs that love to please their owners. 

Flat-Coat Retriever Personality

Flat-Coated Retrievers are frequently called the “Peter Pan” of the Retriever group.  This is because they tend to hold onto their youth for years. The breed is playful, energetic, and has a puppy’s boundless eagerness to have fun. Yet these dogs aren’t goofy — they are very loyal and serious retrievers that tend to be really affectionate with their owners.

Flat-Coat Retriever Behaviour

Flat-Coated Retrievers are famous for their eagerness to please and their “happy-go-lucky” demeanour. They are not aggressive dogs that get along well with other dogs and pets. They are great playmates for children and make great family pets. But, they need a lot of exercise and mental challenges to avoid their boredom leading to destructive behaviour.

Desire to Please

Flat-Coated Retrievers are very eager to please their owners and respond well to positive reinforcement training. They are hyper-sensitive dogs that won’t respond well to harsh corrections or training methods. They thrive on praise and positive attention so give them lots of positive reinforcement and zero negativity.

Flat-Coat Retriever Confidence

Flat-Coated Retrievers are very confident dogs that compete well in field trials and dog shows. They are true athletes that are obedient and not easily scared or intimidated. They are quick learners that are always willing to try new things and learn new skills. They also adjust well to new people, places and situations.

Are Flat-Coat Retrievers Sociable?

Flat-Coated Retrievers are very sociable dogs that enjoy being around people and other pets. They constantly wag their tails and they’re happy to greet everyone.  But, they do not like being left alone for long periods of time.  Flat-Coats can become anxious or destructive if left alone for extended periods or if the owner fails to give them enough attention and exercise.  Flat-Coats are everyone’s friend so, generally speaking, they are not good watchdogs.

Are Flat-Coat Retrievers Friendly

Flat-Coated Retrievers are very friendly dogs and enjoy meeting new people and other animals. They are not aggressive and tend to get along well with everyone they meet. They are cheerful, welcoming family pets who are always glad to be around their owners.

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Final Thoughts

Flat-Coated Retrievers are great companions and family pets. These dogs are very obedient companions that love being with their humans and other family pets. If you’re looking for a dog that will keep you active and entertained, a Flat-Coated Retriever might be the perfect fit for you. As a family dog, this breed is perfect for anyone looking for a friendly, large, and fun-to-be-with dog.

Want to find out more about training and exercise tips for Flat-Coat Retrievers? Click here.

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