Updated 07-09-2023

Flat Coated Retriever

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a popular breed because of his original intent and current use as a game retriever, both on land and in water.

They are great therapy dogs, top competitors in obedience, rally, and agility, and the perfect companions for the energetic dog owner. The downside for people who live in apartments is that these dogs really need a lot of space to run around in. This breed requires regular walks to keep up with their high activity needs.

Look at the list below to learn everything there is to know about Flat-Coated Retrievers as a breed of dog!


  • Any breeder who promotes yellow Flat-Coated Retrievers should be avoided at all costs. Only two colors, black and liver, are available for flat-coats.
  • As a high-energy breed, Flat-Coated Retrievers need at least 90 minutes of daily activity. If you're looking for a jogging partner, he'll be a great one once he's grown up.
  • Since Flat-Coated Retrievers take longer to reach adulthood than some other breeds, you should expect to have a pretty large puppy for a while. This eternal pup can be both a delight and a source of aggravation. You should go elsewhere for a dog if you want one that is quieter and less puppyish as an adult.
  • To put it simply, if you leave a Flat-Coated Retriever alone for too long, it will become destructive. By reducing their anxiety, dogs benefit from routines because they learn what to expect.
  • Apartment dwellers should avoid getting Flat-Coated Retrievers.
  • Flat-Coats are orally focused, meaning they have a strong desire to chew (a trait shared by all retrievers) and enthusiastic jumpers.
  • Praise, play, and edible treats are all great ways to use positive reinforcement. The training process should remain lighthearted and friendly at all times. Flat-Coats are known to become unresponsive or even defiant when subjected to harsh verbal or physical punishment.
  • However, the Flat-Coated Retriever's great level of devotion means he is not a good fit for households with very small children or frail older adults. Unaware of their physical prowess, they often injure others via overly enthusiastic jumping and violent play.
  • Even while Flat-Coated Retrievers make a good alarm, they are not the best choice for guard duty. Rather than deter intruders, they are more likely to greet them enthusiastically, licking their hands and face with enthusiasm.
  • There is evidence that Flat-Coated Retrievers engage in coprophagy, the practice of eating one's own feces. If you don't want your Flat-Coat to eat dog excrement, scoop it up as soon as possible.
  • While the Flat-Coated Retriever is a relatively healthy breed, it has a higher cancer incidence than many others.
  • A healthy dog can only be obtained by avoiding the purchase of a puppy from an unreliable breeder, puppy mill, or pet retailer. You should find a breeder who takes the time to ensure that the dogs she breeds from are healthy and have good temperaments before bringing them in to produce puppies.


Social Appearance 


It's a common misconception that a little dog is better suited to living in a limited space. Many tiny dogs have too much energy and are too yappy to live in an apartment building. An apartment dog's best attributes include being quiet, low energy, somewhat peaceful indoors, and respectful to the other inhabitants. Your dog's personal space in your apartment can be improved by purchasing one of these fantastic dog cages.

Sensitivity Level

Depending on the dog, a strong rebuke can be taken in stride by some, while others regard even the tiniest hint of disapproval as a personal attack. If you have a loud or pushy owner, a chaotic home, or a routine that is unpredictable or variable, your low-sensitivity dog, often known as "easy-going," "tolerant," "resilient," or even "thick-skinned," will be able to handle it better. Do you have young children, host a lot of parties, or have a hectic lifestyle? Choose a dog that isn't overly sensitive.


You can't tell from looking at them whether or not they're hyperactive, but when they do anything, they do it vigorously. They tug at their leashes (unless you teach them not to), they push their way through barriers, and they down their meals in huge, gobbling gulps. A home with young children or an elderly or feeble person may not be the best place for these dynamos to learn proper etiquette. On the other side, a dog with poor vitality adopts a more reserved demeanor.

Potential for Playfulness

The playful nature of certain dogs never fades away, and they're always ready for a game, whereas the reserved and serious tendencies of other dogs develop through time. Think about how many times a day you want to play fetch or tag with your dog, and whether or not you have children or other dogs who can act as substitutes.

Personality Appearance


In the same way as working dogs, such as those that herd sheep, are bred for intelligence and decision-making, working dogs like those who run all day need to exercise their bodies. The two most common activities that a bored pet engages in are digging and chewing, both of which require mental stimulation. There are several ways to keep a dog's brain active, including obedience training, interactive dog toys like tug of war, and dog sports like agility and search and rescue.

Energy Level

Energy-draining dogs are always on the lookout for a new activity. There are several jobs that require a lot of stamina from dogs, such as herding livestock or recovering prey for hunters. Children are more likely to engage in activities such as jumping, playing and exploring new sights and smells as a result of this change in their environment

A low-energy dog is more like a couch potato than a dog that needs a lot of exercise. Think about your level of physical activity and whether or not you find a hyperactive dog irritating before making your final choice.

Easy To Train

Easy to train dogs can more easily form associations between a cue (like "sit"), an action (like sitting), and a reward than dogs that are more difficult to train. Dogs that require more time, patience, and repetition are more difficult to train.

Getting your dog interested in training will require incentives and games because many breeds are intelligent but have a "What's in it for me?" mentality when it comes to learning new things.

Family Affection Level

Affectionate With Family

Since puppyhood, some breeds remain aloof and independent; others form deep bonds with one individual but are uninterested in the rest of the family; still other types shower their entire family with affection. Canines raised in homes with people tend to be more open to human interaction and develop stronger ties, regardless of their breed or upbringing.


Kids-friendly dogs are calm, strong enough to bear the hefty hugs and pets kids can dish out, and have an unfazed attitude about rushing, scream-inducing children. There are several names you may not expect to see on the list: Fierce-looking Both Boxers and American Staffordshire Terriers are regarded as family dogs (which are considered Pit Bulls). Chihuahuas, which are small, sensitive, and potentially sharp, are not always family-friendly.

Dog Friendly

Dog friendship and human friendship are two entirely different things. The fact that a dog is friendly with humans doesn't mean it's immune to aggression or aggression from other dogs; some canines choose to play rather than fight; others will just run away. The type of animal isn't the only consideration. Dogs who have spent a lot of time playing with their littermates and their mother at the age of six to eight weeks are more likely to be socially competent.

Physical Appearance

Amount of Shedding

Having a dog in the house means that you'll have to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothing and in the home. It's worth noting, however, that shedding varies widely among breeds. Some dogs shed all year long, while others ``blow" just during specific times of the year, and still others don't shed at all. If you're a stickler for cleanliness, you'll need to choose a breed that sheds less or lower your expectations. You can use a deshedding tool to keep your house a little cleaner.

Drooling Potential

While greeting you, some dogs may cover their arms with ropes of drool and create large, wet patches on your clothing. If you don't mind a little drool, go for it; but if you're a stickler for cleanliness, you may want to look for a dog with a low drool rating.

Easy To Groom

Some breeds of dogs can simply be brushed and left alone, while others require frequent washing, trimming, and other grooming in order to maintain their health and appearance. If you don't have the time or money to take care of a dog that requires a lot of grooming, you may want to look into hiring a professional.

Exercise Needs

Evening walks around the neighborhood are perfectly acceptable for some breeds. Others, particularly those trained for physically demanding vocations like herding or hunting, require regular, rigorous exercise.

They can gain weight and release their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, including barking, chewing, and digging, if not given enough exercise. Those looking to train their dog for an energetic canine activity, such as agility, should consider getting a dog that needs a lot of exercise.

Average sizes and life expectancy of the breed


1 foot, 10 inches to 2 feet tall at the shoulder


55 to 70 pounds

Life Span:

10 to 12 years


Historically, fishermen have relied on retrieving dogs to assist them haul in hauls of fish and other goods from the depths of the ocean. These retrieving dogs were quite popular in the cod fisheries of Newfoundland in the nineteenth century. The Newfoundland, in its various sizes, and the Labrador (not to be confused with the modern Labrador Retriever) were the two most popular breeds among these canines.

Hunters were able to shoot "on the wing" more frequently as weapon technology improved, but they still required a dog to locate the downed bird and bring it back. Crosses between fishery dogs and British breeds like setters or pointers refined the dog's innate ability to retrieve birds. The resulting Wavy-Coated Retriever quickly gained popularity across the pond. Indeed, it was one of the first breeds to be featured in English dog shows.

Near the end of the 1800s, crosses with a straighter-haired breed were made because the wavy coat was deemed to be less water repellent. It is possible that there were also crosses with the common setters and collies of the time. As a result, Flat-Coated Retrievers shot to prominence. The American Kennel Club didn't officially recognise the breed until 1915, well after its popularity had begun to decline. The number of Flat-Coats had decreased to the extent where the breed was in danger of extinction at the end of World War II. Despite concerted attempts, the Flat-Coat has not regained its field prominence but is enjoying modest appeal as a companion and show dog.

 Personality And Temperament

Flat Coated Retrievers are intelligent, energetic dogs with outgoing personalities and a high sense of self-assurance. The dogs of this breed have a wonderful disposition and are eager to please. It gets along great with kids and would make a great family pet if given enough to do in the way of physical activity. 

While the Flat Coated Retriever isn't one of the breeds most likely to have separation anxiety, it does love spending time with its human companions and, like any dog, is best not left alone for lengthy periods of time. The breed gets along well with other dogs and other pets when introduced to them at a young age. Although not commonly used for protection, a dog of this size can nonetheless be intimidating.


Remember that there are several Flat-Coated Retriever-specific things to think about as you get ready to take care of your dog. Prepare for their needs by considering things like their personality, diet, exercise level, and any potential health issues.


Hip Dysplasia (HD)

An aging dog may suffer from hip dysplasia if he or she has one of several possible anomalies in the development of the hip joint. If a dog is over a year old, an x-ray of its hips can help determine if it is impacted by the condition.

X-rays are then scored by experts based on their evaluation of them using a predetermined set of criteria. With a lower score, there are less indications of hip dysplasia. Jointly, both hips can reach a maximum score of 106. The onset of hip dysplasia may be affected by both genetics and the surrounding environment.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Multiple genetic disorders that impair retinal function are grouped under the umbrella term "progressive retinal atrophy." This ultimately impacts vision. Both developmental and degenerative forms of these disorders exist. Degenerative forms typically manifest in older dogs and progress more slowly than their developmental counterparts, while developmental forms are more common in younger dogs and progress more quickly.


When fluid accumulates in the eye, it can induce glaucoma by raising intraocular pressure. This is painful and distressful, and it eventually compromises vision. Regular testing using gonioscopy can be performed to assess whether a dog is developing the ailment.


Convulsions are the hallmark symptom of epilepsy, a disorder of the nervous system. Even more challenging than managing seizures is figuring out what sets them off. Medication can be used to effectively manage epilepsy, but the condition's owner must be diligent about taking their pills regularly.


Flat Coated Retrievers have a higher rate of occurrence of various forms of malignancies than many other breeds, however there is currently no scientific evidence available to indicate that there is a genetic predisposition involved.

Recommended Health Tests 

  1. Patella Evaluation
  2. Hip Evaluation
  3. Ophthalmologist Evaluation


This dog is very energetic and requires regular walks. For this reason, it is essential to feed a Flat-Coated retriever a nutritious, varied diet. You can give your dog either dry kibble, canned dog food, or meals you prepare yourself. Make sure the food you feed your Flat-Coated Retriever is loaded with the vitamins and nutrients it needs to live a long and healthy life.

Feed your Flat-Coated Retriever twice daily, and remove his dish after each meal to prevent him from gaining weight. As long as the treats are healthy, it's fine to give your Flat-Coated Retriever a snack now and then.


The shedding cycle of a Flat-Coated Retriever is about the average for a dog with a straight coat of medium length. This dog requires frequent brushing. Your Flat-Coated Retriever should be brushed at least once a week to prevent mats in his fur and to keep your home hair-free. A dog's ears, feet, and belly should be trimmed every few weeks, and he should only be bathed when absolutely necessary to prevent dry skin.

Brushing your dog's teeth a few times a week will prevent tartar buildup and minimize the number of bacteria in his mouth. Dogs can be coaxed into submission by using a special toothbrush and meat-flavored toothpaste.

Trimming your dog's nails regularly is essential. The nails of your Flat-Coated Retriever need to be clipped when you hear them clicking on the floor. To avoid discomfort and bleeding, only the very tips of the nails should be clipped off.


The Flat-Coated Retriever, like other retrievers, requires extensive daily activity. This dog is up for anything, whether it's playing fetch in the backyard, going on a long hike, or running and romping with the kids.


A Flat-Coated Retriever is an easy dog to train due to its want to please its master. This dog's sensitivity and mild temperament make it perfect for training with rewards. To encourage your Flat-Coated Retrievers natural instinct to retrieve, stock up on balls and soft toys.

Because of their high motivation for food, this breed is quite easy to train to give up its finds. Easily reward your dog for good behavior by exchanging the item it is holding for its preferred treat.

Children And Other Pets

As they get older, flat-coated pals like flat-coated retriever puppies are invaluable companions. Running, swimming, or chasing a ball around for hours is just a normal day of play for them. However, their constantly wagging tails can be too much for youngsters to handle, and they may fall over if they go too close.

Dogs and small children should never be left unsupervised, therefore it's important to teach kids how to properly approach and pet dogs to avoid any potential biting or ear or tail pulling. You should teach your kid that he or she should never disturb a dog when he or she is resting or eating, and that this includes not just touching the dog, but also trying to take away the food. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.

Flat-Coats like being around other dogs, and if socialized early on, they can even learn to get along with cats. One could argue that they are a touch too attached to their avian companions.


Above, we said that Flat-Coated Retriever puppies have a smaller stomach and hence require smaller, more frequent meals than adults. You should start educating your Flat-Coated Retriever not to chew as soon as you bring it home because this breed is extremely mouth-focused. Anything that could be harmful if chewed by a puppy or that you don't want destroyed should be put out of reach or out of sight.

Be sure everything in your house is ready for your new Flat-Coated Retriever puppy before you bring him or her home. Get your dog a collar and leash, a bed, some toys, some food, and some treats. Soon after bringing your new dog home, give your vet a call to schedule an appointment for a checkup.

Dogs similar to these Retrievers

The Flat-Coated Retriever has a lot in common with other retrieving breeds including the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, and Curly-Coated Retriever.

Labrador Retriever

The similarities between Labrador Retrievers and Flat-Coated Retrievers are striking. A black coat is acceptable for both of them. Both are energetic and intelligent, making them ideal pets for active families. To be sure, Labrador Retrievers can excel as show dogs. Flat-Coated Retrievers are not ideal show dogs because they were originally developed for work.

Golden Retriever

It's no surprise that two types of gundogs, the Golden Retriever and the Flat-Coated Retriever, share a similar average weight (65 pounds for Flat-Coated Retrievers and 70 pounds for Golden Retrievers). Both types of dogs are exceptionally bright and have a great sense of humor. The Flat-Coated Retriever makes a superior watchdog since it barks more frequently than the Golden Retriever.

Curly-Coated Retriever

Similar to the Flat-Coated Retriever in size, the Curly-Coated Retriever is a huge gundog. They share a penchant for lavish displays of devotion and boundless energy. Curly-Coated Retrievers, as their name implies, have a coat that is curlier than that of Flat-Coated Retrievers. Both types, however, can have black or liver fur.