A brisk-looking long-haired retriever type with an open demeanor, the flat-coated retriever is a dog breed with a British and North American breed stretching back to the mid 19th century.
Equally at home in the water and as a family pet, these good-natured dogs are still avid sporting animals and need some kind of exercise to stay physically and mentally healthy.
They are good retrievers for small game such as birds, but are also eager participants in various kinds of agility trials, giving them another potential outlet for their natural energy.
Flat-Coated Retriever History
Today’s flat-coated retriever developed out of a mix of retriever-type water dogs in use in both England and North America during the 19th century.
Newfoundland’s massive and important cod fishery involved tens of thousands of fishermen over the course of generations, and these men found the assistance of an active, sociable retriever dog to be an immense help in their business.
Originally called the wavy-coated retriever, the breed was first identified in 1860 and won British awards in early dog shows in 1864 when a gamekeeper, Mr. Hull, showed a high quality pair of bitches.
The owner of the Riverside Kennel, H.R. Cooke, then developed the modern breed further. Like all dog breeds, its popularity waxed and waned. The breed reached a low point during the World Wars but found a new lease on life when fresh interest caught on in the 1960s.
Flat-Coated Retriever Coat
The lustrous, shiny coat of the flat-coated retriever has a medium length and volume, according to breed standards. Colors include yellow, liver, and black.
The hair forms a moderately dense protective layer that gives the dog good insulation against harsh weather conditions and in particularly helps keep the animal warm while swimming in cold northern waters.
Coat care is fairly easy, and consists mostly of washing and regular brushing, though some owners prefer to trim the longer hairs on the ears, underline, and tail tip.
Flat-Coated Retriever Size
A medium sized dog, the flat-coated retriever stands 56-62 cm (22 to 25 inches) tall. Males are slightly larger than females. The retriever has a medium build and is well put together, neither skinny nor stocky, and weighs 24 to 34 kilos (45-75 pounds).
Flat-Coated Retriever Temperament
An amiable beast, the flat-coated retriever is a good companion and fits well into a family situation. They are, however, also working dogs by nature and will be unhappy and unhealthy if they do not have ample opportunities for exercise.
They welcome the chance to work as retrievers for game birds and the like, but for those who do not hunt, agility trials or other vigorous activity serve as a good substitute.
They are happy and enthusiastic breed who should only play with small children when adults are present, since they may accidentally be too vigorous in their enthusiastic play. They are somewhat protective but usually just bark a warning.
Flat-Coated Retriever Health
A short-lived breed, the flat-coated retriever often dies of one of several types of cancer at eight to 10 years of age. Active efforts are being made to reduce the rate of cancer through selective breeding programs. A few animals suffer from glaucoma or epilepsy. However, hip dysplasia is extremely rare in the breed.