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Flat-coated Retriever
Inglaterra FCI 121 . Retrievers

Flat-coated Retriever

The Flat-coated Retriever should be rediscovered as a companion dog and also for work, because it is still preferred to Labrador Retriever and to a lesser extent to Golden Retriever



The Flat-coated Retriever was born during the 19th century in Scotland. He is a member of the great family of the Retriever, with which it shares many physical and mental characteristics. So, is a close cousin of Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the Curly-coated Retriever and the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

Scottish game wardens developed the Flat-coated Retriever from crosses between the Irish Setter, st john's dogs (already extinct) and the Newfoundland. These last two races, originating from the island of Newfoundland, had been imported by Canadians a few decades earlier, in 1814. These marriages gave rise to Retriever-type canines that could easily evolve both on land and in water.. In particular, hunting guard J. Hull got two dogs named Old Bounce and Young Bounce (father and daughter, respectively), distinguished by their physical and mental abilities. They were used as models to establish the general traits of the breed, so they played a great role in its creation. Although the resulting dogs had wavy hair - they were called Wavy-Coated Retrievers-, the crossing with the Collie and the Labrador Retriever was softening the coat of this dog.

The first representatives of the breed as we know it today were born in the decade of 1860, and many other breeders contributed to its development. We can mention in particular Sewallis E. Shirley, Ettington breeder and founder of The Kennel Club, the british canine club. In the Decade of 1880, established the physical traits of the breed and drafted its official standard. We can also mention a breeder named Braisfort who, in 1869 in Birmingham, was the first to exhibit a representative at a dog show.

The Flat-coated Retriever was first used to help fishermen, retrieving fish or objects dropped in the water in their place. In the 19th century it was especially popular with cod fishermen. But, with the evolution of fishing techniques, professionals gradually began to dispense with their services, but then they were recovered by the hunters. The latter also appreciated his swimming skills, since it was able to bring back the birds that had fallen into the water after being shot by their owner.

The Flat-coated Retriever it was a very popular hunting dog until the end of the First World War, especially for hunting, both on land and in the water. But, the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever they came to dethrone him, causing a great decrease in the number of specimens of the breed in the interwar period and causing it to be in danger of extinction at the beginning of the decade of 1960. The work of the breed's enthusiasts was not enough to restore its reputation: at the end of the decade, was again present in large numbers in the country, though it never regained its former popularity. In fact, the number of breeders interested in it was still limited, even at that time, but this not only had disadvantages: some believe it helped them retain many of the historical qualities of the Flat-coated Retriever, starting with his great capacity for work, his intelligence and his gentle and calm character. Its official recognition by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), that came a few years before (in 1954), also helped to regain its reputation.

Worldwide, this dog is still relatively underrepresented. In United States, for example, although it is recognized by the American Kennel Club for more than a century (more specifically since 1915, when he was in decline in his home country) and by the United Kennel Club from 1984, it only ranks slightly higher than 100 in the ranking of breeds according to the number of annual registrations in the organization. His position there is quite stable, contrary to what is observed in France, where it is getting more and more popular. In fact, yes at the beginning of the years 80 less than 10 births per year in the Société Centrale Canine, this figure suddenly increased to 35 in 1987 and then increased almost continuously to about 200 births per year in the early 1990s 2000 and overcome the 300 about fifteen years later.

But, it is not surprising that their presence is greater in their country of origin, with an average of 1.200 births registered each year in The Kennel Club, the British organization of reference. The trend has remained stable in the last ten years.

Photo: One “Flat-coated Retriever” liver colored by Fesoj-wr, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Physical characteristics

At first sight, I might think that the Flat-coated Retriever it seems like a Golden Retriever black or brown. In fact, the two breeds are so similar that in the past the second was presented at dog shows as a variety of the first. In fact, they are two different races, but the Golden Retriever descends in part of the Flat-coated Retriever and, like this, developed as a hunter for land and water game.

The Flat-coated Retriever they are medium sized dogs, harmonious and with a lively and intelligent expression. The male is usually more imposing than the female, measuring up to about 5 cm taller and weighing up to ten kilos more than the female.

His body is harmonious and well proportioned. The chest is wide and deep, and the spine is short and quite square. The legs are muscular and of solid bones. They are straight when viewed from the front and lead to strong round legs with tight toes.

The tail is quite short, straight and well placed. Always carries it high, but never over the back and hardly ever stops wiggling.

The head is rather long and the skull is rather flat. Jaws are long and strong, capable of carrying medium-sized game animals, such as hares or pheasants. They are shaped like scissors and cover the teeth firmly implanted in the gums.. The ears are quite small, drooping and well placed on top of the head. The eyes are medium in size and hazel or dark brown..

As the name suggests, the fur of the Flat-coated Retriever It is smooth. Black or dark brown, it is also dense and of medium length. This protects the Flat-coated Retriever of all kinds of weather conditions, from water and dirt. His hair is longer in his ears, the chest, the belly, limbs and tail. Males also have longer and more abundant hair on their necks., that resembles a mane.

Height and weight

    ▷ Male size: Of 58 to 61 cm.
    ▷ female size: Of 56 to 59 cm.
    ▷ Male weight: Of 27 to 36 kg
    ▷ female weight: Of 25 to 32 kg

Character and skills

The Flat-coated Retriever It is part of the large family of Retrievers and is particularly close to the Golden Retriever, both physically and in terms of temperament. But, one of the main differences is that they generally mature more slowly than other dogs and have a puppyish exuberance throughout their lives, which is why they are sometimes called the “Peter Pan from the Retrievers”. This great energy and vitality make it a wonderful and endearing companion., especially for children. On the other hand, It also implies that a certain amount of patience is necessary in their education.

In fact, although he likes to please, the Flat-coated Retriever it can also be somewhat stubborn. This is partly because he loves to entertain himself., but sometimes this means ignoring or disobeying your master. Yes indeed, they are usually good students and are sensitive to reprimands. This sensitivity also means that overly strict and rigid training methods are often not in your best interest., as they can lead you in the wrong direction and make you even more stubborn. So, it is better to favor a dog training method based on positive reinforcement, that is to say, in the reward of good behavior; is the case of clicker training, for example. Food in particular can do wonders for this dog, since it represents an important motivation for him. The Flat-coated Retriever It is an extremely greedy dog, and you can also remember it outside of work sessions: at the slightest drop in attention from its owner, is capable of stealing any food you have on hand, wherever you are. So, it is advisable to be careful not to leave food lying around for this dog who seems to be always hungry.

Tolerant and friendly, loves everyone, even the smallest. Combined with your enthusiasm, these traits even make it an ideal breed of dog for children. But, children must be a certain age: with young children, its exuberance and high energy could lead to unwanted jostling and tail slapping. His rather easy-going and very friendly personality also makes him a good companion for young retirees., as long as you can take him out for regular walks and meet his important exercise needs.

In general, loves human company, has strong ties to his family and needs their attention. Loves to play for hours and especially thrives in a large family.

His good understanding with humans extends to those he does not know. If he barks when a visitor arrives, is to inform his master, and not because he considers any stranger a threat. Very welcoming and friendly, he tends to quickly like any new person who meets him - especially if that person is nice to him- and enjoy the visits, it's made for anything but guard. On the other hand, its great closeness to humans and its great need for attention make it a dog that does not tolerate loneliness well. If he lives in a family too small for him, runs the risk of being unhappy and developing destructive behaviors.

Living with other dogs does not usually pose problems. Can also get along very well with a cat, provided adequate socialization work has been done. On the other hand, it is better to avoid the idea of ​​living with birds or rodents, since his hunting instinct would lead him to chase them.

It also, though it's pretty quiet inside, not really suitable for apartment living. He's a hunter at heart, who likes to exercise in spacious environments that give them the opportunity to run or swim. He is also one of the best swimmers and loves the water, never seems happier than when rolling around in puddles, jump in the fountains or just take long dips in the lakes, rivers and other bodies of water that it finds on its way. You need to spend at least an hour and a half each day to feel good in your paws and on your head. So, who thinks about adopting a Flat-coated Retriever you must ensure that it can provide you with living conditions that are compatible with your needs, because if you can't exercise enough, can quickly develop behavior problems, like stress or aggression.


The Flat-coated Retriever learn very fast, but it is very sensitive: whatever happens, you must be careful not to punish your dog too often or too harshly, as it will remember and could become resistant to work sessions. On the other hand, the use of a dog training method based on positive reinforcement - and, Therefore, in the use of rewards- like clicker training, for example, it comes in handy. It must be said that for him food is an important source of motivation that it would be a shame not to use during work sessions..

The fact that he is late to maturity sometimes complicates his education a bit.. So, it is advisable to just be patient and calm, and above all show great coherence, because this intelligent dog does not stop interpreting every movement and every word of his master. With everything, it is quite simple to train, and the time spent on short work sessions from an early age is a profitable and long-lasting investment in a compliant adult partner.

It also, as with any dog ​​of any breed, early socialization can only be beneficial in every way. The Flat-coated Retriever is spontaneously very sociable and open to changes in his environment, and quality socialization, through exposure to all kinds of people, animals, sounds and situations, reinforces these traits, making it even more balanced and perfectly suited to evolve in the midst of humans. In particular, can be especially helpful to avoid confusing cats, birds or rodents with the game.


First of all, It should be noted that the Flat-coated Retriever takes some time to reach full physical maturity and, like all large dog breeds, is especially fragile during its growth period. Depending on the individual, the growth period lasts until 12 or 15 months. So, even if it is a breed with a great need for exercise, avoid any excessive exercise during this phase, at the risk of damaging your joints, often irreparably. In particular, stairs and activities that involve jumping should be avoided. You should also avoid excessively long walks: prior to the 3 months, are enough of 5 to 10 minutes, then it should not exceed half an hour until it has completed the 10 months.

It also, black individuals are especially sensitive to high temperatures. It is advisable to watch out for any signs that suggest heatstroke during the hottest seasons., as the dog's body can quickly overheat.

Having said that, the Flat-coated Retriever is generally in good health. But, like all races, may be subject to certain problems, some of which are hereditary: hip dysplasia. When adopting a Flat-coated Retriever of a breeder, it is advisable to find out about the tests carried out on breeders and their offspring, as this will help rule out certain diseases.

Thus, sometimes have a patellar dislocation, that is to say, a knee slipping out of place, what causes lameness. Long-term, friction caused by this dislocation can also lead to arthritis problems in the dog. Depending on the severity of the dislocation, surgery may be necessary.

like most big dogs, the Flat-coated Retriever you also have an increased risk of hip dysplasia: the femur does not fit perfectly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint. Some individuals may experience pain and lameness in one or two of the hind legs., but others show no symptoms. But, as the dog ages, osteoarthritis problems may appear. How this disease is hereditary, dogs that test positive for hip dysplasia are excluded from breeding. This is at least what every serious breeder of Flat-coated Retriever, and it is advisable to make sure of this when adopting a puppy from a breeder, asking parents' test results.

Another problem to which the Flat-coated Retriever is the dilation-torsion of the stomach. This serious and life-threatening syndrome affects large dogs with deep chests. Air or gases build up in the dog's stomach, that twists and does not allow its evacuation. Even worse, compresses the surrounding veins, thereby interrupting blood flow. No immediate veterinary care, the animal dies very quickly.

The different types of dog cancer also especially affect this breed.

Osteosarcoma, for example, especially affects large dogs, and the Flat-coated Retriever is no exception. It is a fairly aggressive bone cancer, which initially causes lameness. This disease usually leads to amputation of the affected limb and heavy chemotherapy. Unfortunately, it is very rare for a dog to survive this disease, as the problem is often diagnosed too late. According to the case and once identified, those affected may live between 9 months and 2 years longer than if they had not been treated, thanks to adapted treatments.

Another form of cancer to which this dog is more exposed is malignant histiocytosis. Although this form of cancer is rare, is the most commonly observed in this breed, and is usually contracted from 6 years of age. Appears as a localized mass, most often in the elbow or knee, and progresses very quickly once it appears. Can be treated with surgery and chemotherapy, but healing changes are usually small.

The Flat-coated Retriever you can also get lymphosarcoma, one of the most common cancers seen in dogs of all breeds. It can appear in various parts of the body, like spleen, the gastrointestinal tract, lymph nodes, the liver and bone marrow.

In this dog it is also more subject is hemangiosarcoma. This form of malignant cancer is found in the lining of blood vessels and in the spleen. Can be treated with surgery and chemotherapy, but also in this case the affected animal has little chance of recovery.


Contrary to what her long dark hair might suggest, the Flat-coated Retriever it is an easy-care breed.

His coat requires weekly brushing, or even a little more if you are regularly abroad. Some owners go so far as to brush it every day to prevent its long, fallen hair from falling throughout the house.. Longer hairs can also be cut, that is to say, those with the ears, the feet, belly and tail; this prevents dirt from accumulating on rides.

The bath should not be prescribed too regularly, but it can be useful in case the dog with long enough hair gets too dirty, for example, as a result of an excursion in a muddy environment. Otherwise, bathe the dog in 2 to 3 times a year is more than enough to keep their coat in good condition, in addition to weekly brushing.

If you come across a water point during one of your walks, the Flat-coated Retriever often tempted to take a dip. If this happens, it is advisable to rinse the Retriever once it has come out of the water, especially if the water is chlorinated, is salty or contains algae, in order to prevent any skin problems and keep it clean.

Trimming your dog's nails once or twice a month can also help.. Contrary to what one might think with such an active dog, natural wear and tear is usually not enough, since its claws grow quite quickly.

It also, as in the case of any dog ​​with floppy ears, it is necessary to clean them weekly to avoid any risk of infection.

The weekly grooming session should also be an opportunity to take care of your eyes, to make sure there are no problems (tearing, Red eyes…) and to clean the contours with clear water.

It is also necessary to take advantage of this time to clean the teeth. Brushing your dog's teeth helps prevent tartar buildup and the problems that come with it, starting with strong breath.

To avoid any uncomfortable reaction due to its size, it is advisable to get used to being handled as soon as possible, either by his master or by a third person. Learn to take care of the puppy, the noises, the smells and the manipulations involved, should be an integral part of your education.


Used for over a century as a hunting dog, the Flat-coated Retriever continues to excel in this role today. They are suitable for all types of hunting, but they are especially good at tracking smaller animals. They are especially appreciated for their great ability to recover birds that have fallen into the water.

It is also a perfect companion dog, especially for a sports master or family. Anyone who dreams of going for a run with their dog - or even taking long walks- you will find in him an ideal companion, and also stands out in canine sports that take advantage of their physical qualities, like agility, the cani-cross or the flyball.

On the other hand, even if you are the first applicant and have a great need for exercise, It should not be forgotten that it takes time to reach full physical maturity and that, in the meantime, you have to save him. These may include, excessive exercise could cause deformities or alter the correct development of your joints, often with lifelong consequences.


Although less common than some of its Retriever cousins, find a Flat-coated Retriever in Europe it does not present any special difficulties, Unlike, for example, of United States, where months of waiting may be necessary.

The cost of adopting a puppy from Flat-coated Retriever of a quality breeder ranges from 900 and 1200 EUR. Obviously, depends more or less on the quality of your lineage and the reputation of the breeder, as well as their physical qualities. There are no price differences according to the sex of the puppy.

Characteristics "Flat-coated Retriever"

Coexistence is important that you have with your new friend. Before considering the acquisition of a dog of the breed "Flat-coated Retriever" you know certain factors. Not all breeds of dogs are apt to live in an apartment, you must take into account his character, their need for exercise, their interaction with other pets, their care and if you have small children, their level of tolerance towards them.

Adaptation ⓘ

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friendly dog ​​ⓘ

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hair loss ⓘ

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Affection level ⓘ

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Need for exercise ⓘ

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Social need ⓘ

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Home ⓘ

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Toilet ⓘ

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Friendly with strangers ⓘ

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barking ⓘ

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Health ⓘ

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Territorial ⓘ

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Cat friendly ⓘ

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Intelligence ⓘ

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Versatility ⓘ

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Child friendly ⓘ

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Surveillance ⓘ

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joy ⓘ

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Images "Flat-coated Retriever"


1 – Flat Coated Retriever by I, Gunnandreassen, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
2 – “Flat-coated Retriever” by https://pixabay.com/photos/flatcoated-retriever-flat-coated-4219166/
3 – “Flat-coated Retriever”, 8 years by Pdusschooten, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
4 – “Flat-coated Retriever” llamado Molly by Flickr users David and Lynne Slater, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
5 – Flat-Coated Retriever black by Berthold Werner, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
6 – Yellow Flat Coated Retriever by Dancer9, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Videos "Flat-coated Retriever"

Type and recognitions:

  • Group 8: Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs
  • Section 1: Retrievers. With proof of work..


  • FCI – Group 8: Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs – Section 1: Retrievers
  • AKCSporting
  • ANKC Group 3 (Gundogs)
  • CKCSporting Dogs
  • ​KC – Gundog
  • NZKCGundog
  • UKCGun Dogs

FCI breed standard "Flat-coated Retriever"

FCIFCI - Flat-coated Retriever
Ticket collector

Alternative names:

1. Flatcoat, Flattie, Flatte (Sweden), flatt (Sweden) (English).
2. Flat-Coated Retriever (French).
3. Flat Coated Retriever (German).
4. Flat-coated retriever (Portuguese).
5. Retriever de pelo liso, (en inglés Flat-coated retriever) (español).

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