Dog Breeds

Flat Coated Retriever

Flat coated retriever is a friendly, intelligent, sensitive dog from the group of retrievers with a fairly long, shiny coat of black or chocolate color. Physically fit, he likes to learn and willingly cooperates with people who treat him properly.


Flat coated retriever is known for his cheerful disposition: always happy with life and willing to have fun. A smiling muzzle and constantly wagging tail are his hallmarks. It’s quite sensitive and non-aggressive. Strongly attached to the owner. You cannot isolate him or neglect his education. Left alone, devoid of occupation and bored retriever can be unbearable.

The dog of this breed gets along very well with children, but due to the high spontaneity, it is recommended to families with older children. Toddlers may accidentally do harm, which is why their contacts with several-year-olds must always be monitored.

Mild flat even strangers treat friendships. Many retrievers are eager to watch (sometimes it can be manifested as a bothersome barking), but they are unlikely to prove themselves as defenders of property.

Flat does not show a tendency to roam, chasing cats or forest animals. Dominant behaviors towards their brethren occur sporadically, but even then it is easy to dissuade him.

The dog of this breed has a great temperament and a passion for work. It needs about two hours of intensive traffic a day, preferably combined with training. He should also swim as often as possible. A run-out flat coated retriever sleeps most of the day and doesn’t cause any problems at home. Bored can destroy equipment and demand constant attention.


Flat coated retrievers as hunting dogs were originally used only for retrieving gunshots. Currently, their task is also to track and deliver animals. They are used in the police to track down criminals and detect drugs, in customs, rescue, dog therapy and as assistants of the disabled. They can do some dog sports, e.g. agility, obedience, tracking, dog dancing, dog trekking. They are not suitable for IPO training (guard dog).

The breed is subjected to labor tests (they are not obligatory), which check the innate inclinations to take a natural in-kind contribution from water and land and bring it to the owner. If we want to put a dog in working class or apply for the title of interchampion (International Beauty Champion – CIB), we must prepare him to participate in the competition. It differs from attempts at work by the degree of difficulty and the number of tasks.

Training and education

Flat is intelligent, endowed with an excellent memory, willingly works with people, but he can also be unruly and stubborn. Sometimes, although he has a well-mastered exercise, he tries to do it his own way. Training should be based only on positive methods, too much psychological and physical pressure can cause the dog to close in on itself.

Flats get boring quickly, which is why they require varied tasks, proper motivation and considerable involvement of the guide. They execute commands quickly, but sometimes inaccurately. They are not absolutely obedient.

Flat coated retriever matures late and remains a playful puppy for a long time. A lot of emphases should be placed on the socialization of the toddler, taking him to new places, enabling him to contact people and people. A good introduction to later training are classes in dog kindergarten. We raise a puppy gently, but firmly and consistently. You have to be careful what and how you discipline him – you must not, e.g. shout at a puppy for carrying things in his mouth (it is better to limit his access to them), because an adult dog may not later retrieve.

We also need to give the pet time to play and rest. On walks, you need to provide him with mental effort and allow the discharge of excess energy, and at home – calm down. Puppies during development should not be forced into the excessive effort, and sudden jumps and scuffles with large, heavy dogs should be avoided. It is safer to play in the water and look for objects than retrieving from the ground.

Who is this race for?

Flat coated retriever is not suitable for everyone. He requires an active, patient owner who will spend a lot of time with him. It needs a lot of movement, mental exercises and a stable lifestyle.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • bored and left without attachment can be a hit
  • it can be noisy
  • sensitive to heat


  • cheerful, friendly and gentle
  • establishes a strong emotional bond with the owner
  • a good companion for older children
  • accepts other pets
  • intelligent, eager to learn
  • you can do dog sports with him
  • tolerant to dogs and other animals
  • easy to care for


The breed’s biggest problem is its tendency to cancer, caused among others by weakening of the immune system. That is why it is worth asking the breeder about cases of such diseases in the puppy’s ancestors. There is hip dysplasia (there is an obligation to x-ray farm animals – the acceptable result is A, B or C) and sporadically elbow. Eye diseases – progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and glaucoma occur rarely. Some lines have a tendency to fall out of the patella. You also need to check your skin regularly and remove any changes.

Retrievers suffer from recurrent conjunctivitis and ear infections due to their tendency to bathe at every opportunity. If they swim in winter or early spring in too cold water, they may develop a painful tail condition (e.g. they cannot wave it), which usually goes away on its own after a few days (in more serious cases it is better to seek the advice of a veterinarian). It should also be remembered that the flats are very resistant to pain, rarely signal malaise, so they should be carefully monitored.

Dogs of this breed tolerate low temperatures quite well, but are sensitive to heat. In summer, it’s best to walk with them in the morning and late in the evening, and allow frequent swimming.


Flat coated retriever is not demanding, it has a good appetite, so be careful not to overfeed it. Because dogs of this breed have reduced immunity, let’s give them natural products. The diet should include meat, fish, white cheese, eggs, cartilage, bones, fruit and vegetables. Additives and supplements should be used only after consulting a veterinarian. Young and elderly dogs require preparations that increase immunity.

You can also feed the flat with ready-made foods for large breeds, e.g. for other retrievers. When raising a puppy, you need to pay attention to the amount of protein, vitamins and minerals in your food – there may not be too many of them. The dog should grow slowly and not gain too much weight. The daily portion for an adult flat must be divided into at least two meals and provide him with a two-hour rest after eating.


The care of the flat coated retriever is simple. Usually, it molts twice a year, and the falling hair is soft, light and does not stick to the ground. Although it is everywhere, it is easy to clean it. The coat is not susceptible to tangling, so you only need to brush the dog with a regular brush once every few days (only during periods of hair replacement more often). A rare metal comb will also be useful, which will remove Velcro, seeds, etc. from the hair.

If necessary, we bathe a representative of this breed in a shampoo for rough-haired dogs (the coat will be harder and easier to style), but you can also use another one, e.g. for long hair. It does not hurt to use an antistatic conditioner, and in the case of very dry hair – a preparation that moisturizes it, e.g. with the addition of mink oil.

If our pet swims a lot in clean water, we limit bathing at home to the necessary minimum. It is better to let the dog dry itself (unless we bathe it in winter), because the dryer can dry the hair excessively. You also need to regularly check your eyes and ears, shorten the claws – if the dog does not rub them yourself, and also clean the teeth from stone.

Flat coated retriever requires proofreading before the exhibition. If we have no experience, we better entrust this task to a breeder or a specialized care salon. With thinning scissors, the hair on the ears, neck, heels, feet and on the forehead is shortened (so as to emphasize the angulation), you can also gently trim the hair at the end of the tail. Do not cut too much hair – the coat must look natural. We display the flat on a ring in the color of the coat.


For a retriever, the best is a regular collar (leather or tape) and a traditional leash. Dogs of this breed are not prone to escape, they usually stay close to the owner on walks. However, you have to be prepared for surprises, because they are not very clean – they are happy to bathe in every puddle and reproduce in something “fragrant”.

They like soft, plush toys, cotton cords, floating balls (good for retrieving from water), and you can also give them natural chews. They do not like hard rubber objects.


Flat coated retriever is one of six breeds of retrievers – dogs bred to retrieve shot animals from land and water. Initially, narrowly specialized quadrupeds did not find recognition among hunters who preferred to hunt with more versatile dogs. Pointers, setters and spaniels were widely used, which not only retrieved, but also tracked, displayed and spotted prey. During the industrial revolution, the situation changed, the demand for dogs for specific tasks increased, thanks to which it could develop, among others kennel flat coated retrievers.

The breed was founded in the 1840s in Great Britain. For its creation was used Newfoundland retriever brought by Canadian sailors – called St. Jones from his place of origin (he is also the progenitor of Labradors and curly coated retrievers) – and then setters. Around 1860, there were two varieties of retrievers – with smooth or wavy hair and with curly hair. The first of them gave rise to the breeding of flat coated retrievers. In 1864, they were recognized as a separate variety and began to be evaluated at exhibitions in a separate class.

Retriever quickly became the favorites of gamekeepers in East Anglia. The most famous two dogs that triumphed at shows in those days and during field trials are Old Bounce and Young Bounce (they can be found in the pedigrees of all modern flats). Dr Bond Moore of Wolverhampton, who removed the white color from the coat, and Sewallis Evelyn Shirley, considered the father of the breed, are considered the most distinguished for the development of smooth-haired variety. His kennel in Ettington was based on these four quadrupeds. The Zelstone dog bred by him is considered the progenitor of the modern line of flat coated retrievers.

Shirley also eliminated too abundant setter hair. At the end of the 19th century, flatas were the most popular retrievers in the British Isles. Soon, however, their place was taken by heavier and more willing to work in cold water labradors.

The flat coated retriever was crossed with a Scottish collie sheepdog . In 1915, the breed officially appeared in the United States. In 1923, the first template was developed. According to the well-known breeder, judge and author of the most important monograph of Brenda Philips, the greatest influence on the population of flats in the world was exerted by the eminent Fenrivers Golden Rod sire and his offspring.


Flat coated retriever – group VIII FCI, section 1, reference number 121

  • Country of origin: Great Britain
  • Size: height at the withers of dogs 59-61.5 cm, bitches 56.5-59 cm; preferred dogs weight 27-36 kg, bitches 25-32 kg
  • Coat: dense, with a delicate to medium structure, straight and close; well hairy paws and tail
  • Ointment: black and liver
  • Maturity: 3 years
  • Lifespan: 11 years
  • Weather resistance : medium

Interesting facts

At the turn of the century, flat coated retrievers were a very well-known dog breed – in Great Britain, they were first among retrievers in terms of popularity. It was only the First World War that changed the British tastes and Labradors and Goldens came to the lead – extremely popular today even today.

The coat of flats protects them against the conditions in which they work. The structure and length of their fur perfectly isolate from water, changing weather and plants.

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