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Flat-Coated Retriever

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a hardworking breed. It was originally bred to flush out birds into the open and retrieve them once they were shot, but its determination and desire has translated into an obedient and enthusiastic house pet for all.


Physical Characteristics

The Flat-Coated Retriever possesses an elegant appearance and a strong, athletic physique. Its gait is smooth and its body is a bit longer than it is tall. The retriever's thick coat is flat, moderate in length, and solid black or solid liver in color.

Personality and Temperament

A sensitive breed, the Flat-Coated Retriever responds well to instructions. The dog is also lively and playful, which makes at an excellent house pet. If given proper exercise, the Flat-Coated Retriever will remain obedient, but you should allow it to use up some energy playing outdoors.


The Flat-Coated Retriever may live outdoors, but is better off when kept indoors. Regular exercise as well as weekly combing and the occasional trim are all requirements for the breed. The Flat-Coated Retriever enjoys swimming and hunting, and should be allowed to do both.


The Flat-Coated Retriever occasionally suffers from diabetes and seizures. There is no major health concern for them. Only a few minor health problems like hemangiosarcoma, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), osteosarcoma, glaucoma, gastric torsion, patellar luxation, and patellar lymphosarcoma can be seen. It is recommended to take them for tests on knee, eye, and hip.

History and Background

The Flat-Coated Retriever was initially created in the 19th century as a bird dog. Fishermen were also in need of a dog that could retrieve their catch from the water. As such, many began to mix Labradors, Newfoundlands and other breeds known for their ability to swim and retrieve. Later, setters and pointers were crossed with fishing dogs, producing a dog that suited their needs: the Flat-Coated Retriever.

Many believe the first Flat-Coated Retriever was entered into a British dog show in 1859; however, specific classification for Retrievers was not available until the following year.

The breed did not receive official recognition by the American Kennel Club until 1915. And though the breed faced extinction by the end of World War II, its numbers recovered when one of the greatest authorities of the breed, Stanley O'Neill, took it upon himself to revive the breed. Today the breed remains a mainstay on both sides of the Atlantic.


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