Flat Coated Retriever


A medium to large sized Flat Coated Retriever
Flat Coated Retriever Quick Summary
Also Known As
OriginGreat Britain
Height (at withers)22-25in (56-63.5cm)
Weight60-75lbs (27-34kg)
Hair Colour(s)Black, liver
Lifespan8-12 years
Energy LevelHigh
Litter size4-8
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirementsHigh
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsHigh
Animal compatability
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftHigh

The Flat Coated Retriever is a medium-large powerful and sturdily built dog. The body has a broad chest with well sprung ribs and moderately long legs. The nicely moulded head has a wide muzzle with a black nose, small pendulous ears and hazel brown eyes. The medium-length coat is dense, sleek and shiny and the colouring generally only comes in black or liver.


Flat Coated Retrievers are friendly, sweet-natured and happy dogs with plenty of love and affection to offer. Lively, keen and energetic, they are playful and thrive on exercise and attention from their owners and make wonderful pets and companions. They are great for large families seeing as they love being showered with attention. On that note, it is important to commit time to these dogs, as without enough physical and mental stimulation and attention they can become bored, which can lead to destructive behaviour, in particular chewing and bounding about. These two traits can be controlled though adequate exercise and toys. With high intelligence and obedience levels, these dogs are attentive and determined. Flat Coated Retrievers are outgoing and get along well with older children, as their high energy and his size can be problematic around small kids. They are fine with other pets too, but care is needed around smaller animals because these dogs sometimes don't realise their own strength, and they are generally okay with strangers.

History & Skills

Flat-coated Retrievers originate from Great Britain and were developed in the 1800s from a mixture of Irish Setters, Labradors, Water Dogs and Newfoundlands. Bred as hunters as well as water retrievers, they became very popular in the early part of World War One before being overshadowed by the Labrador and the Golden Retriever. These days they make great family pets, but retain their hunting and retrieveing skils and also their uncanny sense of smell.

Breed Specific Ailments

Flat-coated Retrievers tend to live between 8-12 years, and some of the health problems and disorders linked to this breed includes luxating patella, cataracts, PRA, hip dysplasia, cancer, thyroid problems, and entropion.


Flat-coated Retrievers are medium shedders but also shed on a seasonal basis too, which means they are not ideally suited to those with allergies. Their grooming requirements are not demanding, and the coat will need brushing twice a week to keep the coat in good condition and avoid matting, with occasional trimming. Obviously this will need increasing during periods of heavier shedding. The ears should be kept clean and dry for hygiene reasons and to prevent infections.

Exercise & Environment

Flat-coated Retrievers tend to live indoors but are not suitable for small homes. These dogs love exercise, and particularly enjoy swimming and hunting and will need access to a secure yard or garden area, plus a daily half hour walk or jog. They are ideal for those that want a jogging companion.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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