Flat Coated Retriever

Flat Coated Retriever
Flat Coated Retriever pictures
Flat Coated Retriever suitability

In my own words


“Morning! What a beautiful day! Off to the beach you say? You read my mind. I love travelling in the car! In fact I love anything that means I’m surrounded by my family. I’m very people- oriented and enjoy human interaction more than anything. We’re here already? That was fast. Time flies when you’re having fun. There are some people over there with another dog. I might go and say hello. I’m very good at socialising and absolutely love meeting new people. I’m also very popular with other dogs, not that I’m arrogant...


I’m back! Even though I like meeting new people I will always return to you as I am fiercely loyal. I made a new doggy friend, we have a date to go and chase the seagulls a little later. My breed are excellent bird dogs by nature. I can see you’re preparing to go for a jog down the beach and I think I will join you. I am a great jogging companion as I have loads of energy and do best when exercising with you as opposed to on my own. Let’s go!


Wow that was quite a run! I’m going to cool off in the water. I am a very good swimmer by instinct, and enjoy frolicking in the water. Throw me that Frisbee! I can fetch both in water and on land, it’s all in the name RETRIEVE-R. I am quite clever you see, and super easy to train – my breed has won countless awards in dog shows, I’m very proud! Right, swim over, here’s your Frisbee back. Now, where are those seagulls...?”

My ideal owner(s)


Active Singles

Families, even with young children and other pets

Hikers and joggers


What they say about me


Warm and loving

Amazingly adaptable

Active and spirited outdoors

Calm and easy going indoors

I hope you love the sound of me, as I love the sound of you! Please read on to see if I can be the best friend you’ve always wanted!


Is this Flat-Coated Retriever for you?

Test your knowledge about the Flat-Coated Retriever

Information essential about the Flat Coated Retriever


Kennel Club Group:  Gun Dog/Sporting

Size: Large

Weight Male 60 – 70 lb. (27 –31 kg) Female 55 – 70 lb. (24 – 31 kg)

Height Male 23” – 24.5” (58 – 62 cm) Female 22”–23” (56 –58 cm)




Until the Great War the Flat- Coated Retriever was the most popular retriever breed in Britain, but then the Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever took over the popularity. Flat Coated Retriever popularity has been on the rise in recent years, thanks primarily to increased national exposure. Their inquisitive nature makes them excellent drug sniffer dogs, and their gentle personality means they are also sometimes trained as guide dogs for the blind.

Breed History:


The Flat Coated Retriever was developed in the 1800's and is a cross between the Irish Setter, Labrador, Water Dog, and St. John's Newfoundland. It is also believed that the Collie is in the bloodline of this dog as well. He is commonly confused with that of the Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever, however is in a category all his own. This breed does exceptionally well in hunting, tracking, watch dogging, and also agility and obedience.


The Flat-Coated Retriever was once considered a generic "Labrador" type dog, called a "Retriever Proper". It was developed in the 1800s from various retriever and spaniel water type dogs such as the Newfoundland, Irish Setter, Labrador, Water Spaniels and possibly the Collie. Some of these dogs were born with a flat, wavy coat and eventually they were categorized as a separate breed becoming the Flat-Coated Retriever. The Flat-coats became very popular until the beginning of the World War when their numbers dwindled and their popularity never reached those high numbers again. More people choose to own a Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever because they are cheaper and easier to find. The dogs were used by fisherman and hunters. They have a superior sense of smell, are excellent swimmers, and are able to work well in marshy areas.  They are wonderful bird dogs doing very well retrieving on plains and in areas thick with trees and bushes. The Flat-Coated Retriever was recognized by the AKC in 1915. Some of the Flat-Coated Retriever's talents are retrieving, hunting, tracking, watchdog and agility.


A gentle giant and always up for a cuddle, the Flat Coated Retriever is unmatchable when it comes to affection. Fiercely loyal, he will build and maintain strong bonds with everyone in the family and loves children. He loves to exercise and is fearless when it comes to water due to his ancestry. He loves a good swim as much as a good hug and enjoys being in the outdoors. Sometimes referred to as the ‘Peter Pan’ of the dog world, the Flattie retains his puppy like demeanour well into his later life



Just happy to be included, Flatties enjoy any activity that can be done as part of the family. This can be a walk, coming for a drive, or just settling down in front of the TV. He is a loyal and affectionate companion and thrives when socialising. Never passive or rude, he is great with strangers and people warm to his endearing and fun loving personality. He is very intelligent and eager to please, but can only do so effectively when given affection and attention in return. Although Flatties may bark as a warning to intruders, they will rarely back it up with aggression and get on extremely well with other dogs. Flat Coated retrievers are a fantastic family dog with a brave heart and docile, loving personality. When accepting a Flattie into your family, you are accepting the most loyal friend you’ll ever have.



The Flat-Coated Retriever is a beautiful medium to large sized dog. The head is long with a fairly flat skull. The muzzle is long, deep and strong with a gradual, slight stop. The large nose is black on black dogs and brown on liver dogs. The teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. The medium sized eyes are almond shaped and can be dark brown, or hazel. The well feathered ears are relatively small compared to the size of the head, hanging to the sides. The chest is deep and wide and the back is short and square. The strong feet are round. The medium length, thick, fine coat lays flat to the body and comes in solid black, or a solid liver, with well-feathered legs, tail and chest.



Flat-Coats usually come in black or shades of liver.



The Flat Coated Retriever is a highly intelligent and trainable dog and makes a wonderful student. This breed is very jolly and energetic so should require consistency, however excessive repetition is sure to bore him and he will quickly lose interest. Discipline is not required, and correction and positive reinforcement work best. Given the right training, this breed can excel in many different sports and also make a wonderful family companion. Making training fun with a variety of techniques will be sure to keep his attention, and he will excel much further. Flat Coated retrievers have won ‘Best in Show’ at Crufts numerous times over the years.EXERCISE:

The Flat-Coated Retriever is not recommended for apartment life. He is relatively inactive indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized yard. This breed needs to be with his family to be happy. It does best when it is allowed to live inside and play outside.

This active dog needs a daily walk or jog to be on its best behaviour. Be sure the dog is made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as instinct tells a dog the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. It especially enjoys the chance to hunt or swim. The Flat-Coated Retriever makes an excellent jogging companion. Given the right training, this breed can excel in many different sports.


The Flat Coated Retriever does require quite a bit of grooming due to the feathering on the lower quarters of the dog. This breed should be brushed on a regular basis with a firm bristle brush, but should only be bathed when necessary. The coat of this breed has the tendency to trap burrs and sticks so if this breed is to have free roam in a yard, the coat should be checked for said items. This breed doesn't need much trimming as the coat is usually of natural length, however some trimming may be required occasionally



Flat Coated Retrievers are more prone to cancer than other types of dog. Common health issues include epilepsy and glaucoma. Less common health concerns are diabetes and seizures. Due to their size, Flatties are less susceptible to hip dysplasia and luxating patellas. Their life span is 8-10 years.

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Advice on choosing your breed »

Find an animal shelter or rescue home where a Flat Coated Retriever is waiting for a new home »


The following grid gives a fast track review which covers all breeds. You can apply it to help you decide if a Flat Coated Retriever is suitable for you, the environment where you live, your personality and your lifestyle. On the grid, 1= strongly disagree, and 5= strongly agree. For example, if you are looking for a dog that is good for a jogging companion scroll down and you will see in red the Flat Coated Retriever score is 5; this means he is an excellent jogging companion. You might like to save or print off this section and keep it for reference while you check some other breeds before making your final choice.

Be the first to rate this breed »

Noahs Breed Rating | Community Breed Rating

Good jogging companion5/5
Good walking companion5/5
Likes water/swimming5/5
Likes learning new tricks5/5
Likes to hunt5/5
Likes to fetch5/5
Good gundog/retriever5/5
Barks a lot2/5
Gets easily jealous3/5
Friendly with strangers5/5
Expensive to insure3/5
Expensive to feed3/5
Happy to sleep outside2/5
Prefers countryside5/5
Suits urban environment2/5
Prefers temperate climate2/5
Prefers hot climate3/5
Prefers cold climate3/5
Moults a lot3/5
Requires lots of grooming4/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly2/5
Ideal for singles5/5
Ideal for couples with no children5/5
Ideal for family with children5/5
Good watch dog4/5
Good guard dog3/5
Good with other pets5/5
Good with other dogs5/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs1/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs1/5
Requires lots of exercise5/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners4/5
Good for experienced owners5/5
Good recall5/5
Easy to train5/5
Good jogging companion0/5
Good walking companion0/5
Likes water/swimming0/5
Likes learning new tricks0/5
Likes to hunt0/5
Likes to fetch0/5
Good gundog/retriever0/5
Barks a lot0/5
Gets easily jealous0/5
Friendly with strangers0/5
Expensive to insure0/5
Expensive to feed0/5
Happy to sleep outside0/5
Prefers countryside0/5
Suits urban environment0/5
Prefers temperate climate0/5
Prefers hot climate0/5
Prefers cold climate0/5
Moults a lot0/5
Requires lots of grooming0/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly0/5
Ideal for singles0/5
Ideal for couples with no children0/5
Ideal for family with children0/5
Good watch dog0/5
Good guard dog0/5
Good with other pets0/5
Good with other dogs0/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs0/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs0/5
Requires lots of exercise0/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners0/5
Good for experienced owners0/5
Good recall0/5
Easy to train0/5

*PLEASE NOTE: All our breed profiles are general, and all dogs are individuals. Always talk to the breeders and meet the owners you are buying from. Try to meet the dog and its parents if it is a puppy in their home environment.

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Flat Coated Retriever Pictures & Videos



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