What are Flat-coated Retriever

What Are Flat-Coated Retrievers


Out of the many different retrievers, the Flat-Coated retrieverOpens in a new tab. is the one that stays the youngest the longest, perhaps not in body, but in spirit.

In the words of Bob Dylan, the Flat-Coat is “forever young,” with a happy, carefree attitude and “devil-may-care” ways.

Puppies come to mind when you think of mischief-makers, but this pup can make you laugh or become frustrated with their ridiculous hi-jinx, whether they are one or ten!

In the following post, you will learn all about this, at times, rambunctious breed when I answer the question, “What are Flat-Coated retrieversOpens in a new tab.?”

Also included will be information on The Flat-Coated retrieverOpens in a new tab. lifespan and the Flat-Coated retriever temperament.

To check your Flat-coated Retrievers’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vet Opens in a new tab.website for all the help you may need.

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Image from PixabayOpens in a new tab.

Where did flat coated retrievers originate

The Flat-Coat’s origin began in the 1800s and like other retrievers, they were bred for hunting. These dogs needed to be physically suited for endurance as well as highly trainable. They became the gamekeeper’s popular breed of dogs.

The Flat-Coated retriever’s origin is a bit sketchy. It is believed that the background of their genetic makeup came partly from a St. Johns’s water dog ( now extinct), a type of Newfoundland.

Seafarers from Canada allegedly brought these water dogs to the ports of Britain and somewhere they were mingled with a breed of collie for easy training and a setter for their excellent sniffing ability. There may have been sheepdogs and spaniels mixed in for good measure!

The early breed of the Flat coat was presented in 1860 but not fully developed to today’s retriever for twenty more years.

In the late 1800s, the breed gained popularity for hunting in Britain, being in high demand and once was the most popular dog in England.

In the USA, The Flat-coated retrieverOpens in a new tab. was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1915. Unfortunately, after recognition by the AKC, the Golden retriever Opens in a new tab.emerged on the scene and this breed as well as the Labrador retriever became so much more popular that the Flat-Coat neared extinction.

By the 1960s, the Flat-coated retrieverOpens in a new tab. had a resurgence and today enjoys popularity but only by those that are aware they even exist.

Many Flat-Coat pet parents don’t mind at all because they are a rarer breed, sometimes very hard to come by, and a little secret that those who love this breed want to keep.

What Retrievers Do

The American Kennel Club recognizes six different retrievers, all members of the Sporting Group: the Golden, Labrador, Chesapeake Bay,Opens in a new tab. Nova Scotia duck tolling, Curly-Coated, and the fun-loving, childlike Flat-Coated retriever.

Retrievers are a breedOpens in a new tab. trained and used for duck hunting, along with other game birds. They are able to spot their prey as it falls to the ground and swim or run straight to it, bringing it right back to their hunter.

This is accomplished on command and without any damage to their game because retrievers have soft mouths that enable them to grip the prey gently.

Flat-Coated Retriever Appearance

The Flat-Coated retriever, on average, stands from 22 to 24.5 inches tall. They are as tall as a Labrador retrieverOpens in a new tab. but are leaner and sleeker. Their weight ranges from 55lbs to 70lbs.

At first glance, one would think the Flat-Coated retriever is a black goldenOpens in a new tab. retriever but that is not so in many ways.

The Flat-Coat is a long, shiny, sleek breed that has a racing air about them. Their coat is thick and although it may be slightly wavy, it lies flat but is a single coat compared to the Golden and Lab’s double fur coat.

Even though they have a single coat, it still provides insulation adequately in cold, wet weather as well as for swimming.

The Flat-Coat has a fluffy, feathered tail and legs, The mane of this breed may be heavier and longer, especially on males.

The Flat-Coated retriever’s colors are only solid liver and solid black. Anyone trying to sell you a yellow Flat-Coat is obviously offering you one that has perhaps been crossed with a golden or yellow Lab. This would not be purebred and definitely not acceptable to enter dog shows.

What Are Flat-Coated Retrievers
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Flat coated retriever lifespan


Flat-Coated Retrievers are generally healthy and the Flat-Coated retriever lifespan ranges from eight to ten years as an average.

They are prone to a few conditions such as hip dysplasiaOpens in a new tab., gastric dilation, luxating patella, cataracts, and ear infections.


If you are considering getting a Flat-Coated retriever, to ensure a long and quality-filled life, use a responsible breeder for the best chance of getting this breed with no underlying genetic disorders.

There is no guarantee, but doing research on breeders or getting good referrals is half the battle for getting a healthy pup.

The environment also plays a key role in a dog’s life expectancy. A proper nutritious diet, plenty of exercises, grooming, and veterinary care are all essentials needed for a healthy life for your Flat-Coat.

Flat-Coated Retriever Temperament

The Flat-Coated retriever is such a playful chap and they keep their puppy exuberance long after their other retriever pals in the Sporting Group.

Of all of the retrievers, they are often referred to as the “Peter Pan” of the group because they stay young at heart for years.

You may think that all of this childlike play will be great fun as sometimes older dogs can become less able to play and a bit grumpy.

It may sound good but Flat-Coats are intelligent in training, however, they are a little slower to mature and can be distracted and stubborn at times, just like a child.

You will need patience because as they grow bigger in size, you may grow frustrated wondering why they still have some of those annoying puppy habits!


Listed below are some traits of Flat-Coated retriever temperament and personality that make up this happy breed.

  • Friendly and outgoing

Friendly and outgoing – The Flat-Coated retriever is friendly and outgoing to all and this includes strangers, children, dogs, and yes, even cats!

Cats, however, are a bit persnickety and may not be a fan of the attention given them by your Flat-Coat.

This retriever is excellent with older children but with smaller ones, they may be a bit too high energy, even for toddlers!

  • Playful

playful – Flat-Coats have boundless energy to play and this even becomes contagious with “stick in the muds.”

They love to jump excitedly and don’t realize just how strong they are. They do need to be trained that jumping is not acceptable. They could injure a senior or a child.

  • Devoted

Devoted – They love being with their people, being totally devoted to them, so they may be less than enthusiastic when left alone.

They often become bored and destructive, especially if they don’t get enough exercise and aren’t trained properly. Crate training can be an option.

  • Chewers

Chewers – Flat-Coated retrievers love to chew or even just carry things around in their mouths. They can destroy personal items, shoes, pillows, etc.,

with their fetish for chewing. Make sure your pup always has to chew toys and bones available to keep them busy.

  • Need space

Need space – Even though the Flat-Coat can be quite calm indoors, they are not well suited for an apartment.

A house with a nice yard or park nearby is more to their liking and keeps them exercised. If you have a pool, this will also satisfy their love for swimming.

  • Food thief

Food thief – Be aware that Flat-Coated retrievers are food thieves. Don’t leave any food unattended even on a high counter. They will use those smarts to their advantage to somehow make that snack theirs!


Training and Guidance

Some traits that make up the Flat-Coats temperament are good, while others need to be curbed. As with all dogs, the Flat-Coat will need training and guidance. Opens in a new tab.

Even though they are generally eager to please, they are not as complacent as the Golden retriever. Opens in a new tab.

Yes, they are very smart and can learn very quickly and easily but often they want it to be on their own terms and can be stubborn and willful.

There can only be one leader of the pack and it has to be you. They do need to learn to be well-behaved and have good manners.

If you are considering adding a Flat-Coated retriever to your family, check them out and do a bit of research to see if they are the right fit for your lifestyle.

These dogs make excellent family dogs and can grow with your children because their attitude and demeanor, in a way, match a child’s.

They can grow together with good times. Just be aware and make sure that you have the patience and stamina for raising a big kid of a dog for a few years.

A Flat-Coat can keep you and your family feeling younger with their mischievous and playful ways for a long time to come.

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