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The Flat-Coated Retriever is a large retriever from Great Britain, which was used particularly often for shotgun hunting and is finding its way into society more and more as a friendly family dog. In the FCI standard, the Flat-Coated Retriever can be found in the FCI Group 8 Retrievers – Scouting Dogs – Water Dogs, Section 1 Retrievers. With work test. With the standard number 121. The Flat-Coated Retriever is still an active retriever and is also very popular as a service dog when searching for people or as an assistant for disadvantaged people.

Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Breed Information

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Size: 56-61cm
Weight: 25-36kg
FCI Group: 8: Retrievers – Search dogs – Water dogs
Section: 1: Retrievers
Country of origin: Great Britain
Colors: Yellow, Cream, Black, Liver, Liver
Life expectancy: 8-10 years
Suitable as: hunting, guide, rescue and family dog
Sports: –
Personality: Optimistic, Outgoing, Devoted, Confident, Friendly
Leaving requirements: high
Drooling potential: rather low
Thickness of hair: medium
Maintenance effort: rather low
Coat structure: dense, smooth, fine
Child friendly: yes
Family dog: yes
Social: yes

Origin and breed history

The Flat Coated Retriever comes from England and is one of the most popular retrievers there. It is particularly valued by game wardens. The elegant dog with its beautiful coat and shrewd gaze was first actively bred in 1850. The ancestors of the Flat Coated Retriever are the same ancestors as the other retriever breeds. They all have the same progenitor, the “Saint John’s Dog”. This was a small Newfoundland dog who served the sailors at the docks and caught the fish from the boat, carefully pulling the nets ashore or to the boat. In the middle of the 18th century the Saint John’s Dog was crossed with other breeds and the various retriever breeds came into being.

For the Flat Coated Retriever, the Setter, Sheepdog and Water Spaniel were probably crossed, unfortunately it can no longer be traced back exactly. The breed quickly became popular and, along with the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever, became one of the most popular retriever breeds among hunters, gamekeepers and private individuals alike. In contrast to many other retrievers, there is no separation between a show line and a working line for the Flat Coated Retriever, all animals of this breed have the potential to perform.

The Flat Coated Retriever found its way to Germany in 1980 and is bred here under the supervision of the German Retriever Club (DRC). Strict attention is paid to ensuring that the dogs are not only visually beautiful, but can still do their job. In general, he is less known than the Labrador Retriever, which he is most similar in behavior. Due to the fact that the breed is still relatively unknown, no breeding diseases have crept in and the Flat Coated Retriever is considered a healthy and active breed.

Nature and temperament of Flat Coated Retriever

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The Flat Coated Retriever is considered a very smart and docile working dog with an active nature and an open and very friendly manner. It observes its owner very attentively and, with good training, reacts to the smallest of signals and always reliably obeys commands.

Retrieving is the Flat Coated Retriever’s passion, he loves to carry all sorts of things and bring them to his owner on command. This makes it very suitable as an assistance dog that helps its owner to get along in everyday life. Thanks to his athletic physique, he can find his way around any terrain quickly and safely. This makes it a very versatile working dog and an ideal companion for people who like to be outdoors. In the house he is a very calm and cuddly dog ​​who enjoys spending time with his family. With children he is playful and at the same time very patient and good-natured.

In general, the Flat-Coated Retriever is an absolutely good-natured and gentle dog. He is a loyal companion and bonds very closely to his owner, but he is also open and friendly with strangers. He encounters new situations with curiosity and he is considered a very easy breed to lead. However, beginners should ensure that the dog is well socialized and trained, and dog sport is also recommended. Because the Flat-Coated Retriever needs a mental workload and a task to be truly happy.

Is the Flat-Coated Retriever suitable for beginners?

Yes, the Flat-Coated Retriever is a beginner-friendly dog. He needs a lot of work and exercise, but he has a high will to please his family and always wants to be out and about with them. He is enthusiastic about various dog sports.

The appearance of the Flat-Coated Retriever

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The Flat-Coated Retriever is a very elegant dog. According to the breed standard, a Flat-Coated Retriever male has a height at the withers of 59-61.5 cm, a female of this breed has a height of 56.5-59 cm. Thus, the four-legged friend belongs to the medium-sized dog breeds. With an average weight of 25 to 35 kg, the Flat-Coated Retriever should have a slim but not skinny build. There is a lot of elegance in his movement and the owner can clearly see his strength with the extravagant steps. Compared to other retrievers, he is very long-legged and very slim.

His coat is also different from many other retriever breeds. The coat has slight waves and should be glossy and soft against the body. With a medium length, the coat requires a little more care than, for example, the Labrador Retriever. In terms of fur colors, only two colors are allowed in the breed standard, one covering black and one leather brown. The leather-brown color is a little less common than the black color.

Training and keeping the Flat-Coated Retriever – this is important to note

The Flat Coated Retriever is very easy to train. The calm and friendly dog ​​has a very strong will-to-please and will follow even the smallest of instructions from its owner. This makes him a good beginner dog. There is no hidden aggression or fear in him. With its high level of intelligence and willingness to learn, it is advisable to find a task for the dog in addition to normal basic obedience. This can be a dog sport or training as a rescue or assistance dog. In the field of dog sports, retrieval work is particularly useful, because this simulates his natural task as a retriever when hunting with a shotgun. In general, the Flat-Coated Retriever is very easy to train. With positive reinforcement and a few clear rules, the friendly and active dog quickly becomes a reliable companion for everyday life and sport.

Despite his active nature, the Flat-Coated Retriever is not jittery and is open to strangers. He doesn’t have any guarding or protective instincts, only his hunting instincts need to be controlled. But since it is so attached to its owner, it will only seldom tend to hunt.

How Much Does a Flat-Coated Retriever Cost?

With a good breeder, the Flat-Coated Retriever usually costs between $1500 and $2000. It depends on whether it is a pure hobby breed or a breed for hunting suitability.

Diet of the Flat-Coated Retriever

In contrast to other retriever breeds, the Flat-Coated Retriever rarely tends to be overweight, but care should be taken to balance food and exercise. In addition, you should wait at least an hour after eating before the Flat-Coated Retriever should become active again, as the breed is prone to stomach torsion. Because the Flat-Coated Retriever is a very athletic dog, it needs a quality diet that consists primarily of meat and avoids unnecessary additives and flavorings. The medium-sized retriever should still be given puppy food or young dog food up to the age of 12 months, as this best supports the bone structure. Senior food is fed from the age of 7 and protects the stomach and the organs of the dog in old age.

Otherwise, the Flat-Coated Retriever rarely suffers from intolerances and has a robust stomach.

Health – life expectancy & common diseases

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The Flat-Coated Retriever has an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. With good health and an active lifestyle, the dogs very often get older and can live up to 15 years.

In general, the breed is considered very healthy and robust. There are very few cases of hip problems in old age, but these can usually be traced back to a bad breeder, being overweight, or putting stress on the bones too early. Since the Flat-Coated Retriever breed is a little less well-known than the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever, there hasn’t been much hype about the animals. This prevented illegal breeding at the expense of health.

Its dense, medium-length fur reliably protects the dog from the cold, and heat doesn’t bother the robust and active four-legged friend very much either. As an active hunting dog, he is always ready to throw himself into the undergrowth and fetch the prey for his owner. If the weather is too bad, he can also be kept busy with intelligence games in the house.

When is a Flat-Coated Retriever fully grown?

Since the Flat-Coated Retriever is a fairly large dog, it is not fully grown until it is 12 months old. Nevertheless, he is still a young dog at this time and it is only at the age of about three that his head is completely mature.

Grooming the Flat-Coated Retriever

When it comes to grooming, the Flat-Coated Retriever is not very demanding. Only his medium-length coat should be brushed daily so that it does not become matted and the undercoat can be replaced more easily during the change of coat. Otherwise, the owner should check the dog’s ears from time to time, as the floppy ears increase the risk of inflammation and fungal infections in the ear. Otherwise, simply drying it off should it ever get wet or roll around in mud.

Flat-Coated Retriever Activities and Training

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Because the Flat-Coated Retriever is an active working dog, he needs a job to keep him busy. This can be a dog sport or training as a rescue dog or assistance dog. Due to their friendly and very patient nature, the dogs are very well suited for training as school dogs or assistance dogs for disabled people.

Retrieving and dummy training are primarily recommended as dog sports. These two sports come closest to working naturally with a hunter or gamekeeper, and they put the dog to good use both mentally and physically. He quickly becomes enthusiastic about retrieving and training is easy for him. Due to his athletic nature, he is also enthusiastic about other dog sports, such as agility or lunging. But obedience with the high demands on the dog’s obedience can also be an exciting activity.

In addition to dog sports, the Flat-Coated Retriever should go for at least an hour’s walk, three times a day, every day. He also loves long hikes, but he is also a pleasant companion in the city and remains calm and relaxed in hectic situations. This makes him a good office dog despite his size. It is also still used by hunters or game wardens and is a good companion in the forest. Due to its high legs and slim body, it gets through dense undergrowth very well and even adverse weather conditions do not bother it. He is usually a very quiet dog indoors, just enjoying the company of his family and being willing to be cuddled.

Good to know: Special features of the Flat-Coated Retriever

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a very outgoing and friendly dog from England that is ideal as a beginner dog. Although the breed is much less well known than, for example, the Golden Retriever or the Labrador Retriever, they are increasingly finding their way into the family and single households. Their gentle nature makes them good companions and their sporting activity can be easily steered in the right direction with a little training. The dogs are quite all-rounders and like to please their owners.

It is noticeable that the Flat-Coated Retriever has been increasingly used as a therapy dog and rescue dog in recent years. This is not only due to the dog’s good obedience and willingness to work but also to the good health of the animals. There are no known hereditary diseases that can limit working as a service dog.

Which Brush for Flat-Coated Retrievers?

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A long coat brush is best for the Flat-Coated Retriever. This can comb the long top hair properly and at the same time remove the loose undercoat.

Disadvantages of the Flat-Coated Retriever

Although the Flat-Coated Retriever is a very sociable and friendly dog, there are of course some things to keep in mind about the breed. The Flat-Coated Retriever is an active working dog that also wants to be used in private hands. Without enough exercise, even the nicest dog can quickly become a problem. However, this takes care of itself if the dog experiences enough workload. He’s just not a dog for a life on the couch.

There are also a few Flat-Coated Retrievers who tend to hunt. The hunting instinct is usually very easy to get a grip on, as the will to follow its owner is usually greater. If there are still problems, it is advisable to visit a hunting dog club or a good dog club.

Is the Flat-Coated Retriever right for me?

Anyone looking to buy a Flat-Coated Retriever should be prepared to get a happy and friendly dog ​​that has a strong will to work. He needs a lot of exercises and enough work. He is a large dog but has an absolutely nice character and despite his size, is a good beginner’s dog. As long as he can do a job and get affection from his owner, he’s happy. Before buying this dog, the owner should be absolutely sure that he will always have enough time for the animal. The Flat-Coated Retriever is suitable for seniors if they are still fit and can offer the dog a task.

Although the Flat-Coated Retriever is a very easy dog ​​to train, we still recommend attending a dog school. Various dog sports can also be tried out there. It is also well suited for companionship on the bike or as a faithful companion when horseback riding. Vacations need to be dog-friendly when choosing a Flat-Coated Retriever because they can’t just be stuck in a dog boarding house. Due to his close relationship with his people, he would suffer greatly from the separation.

How Big Does a Flat-Coated Retriever Get?

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The Flat-Coated Retriever is a medium to large-sized dog, reaching a maximum height of 61.5 cm at the withers. He is slim and has a very tall stature, without exaggerations in the physique. His gait should be light yet powerful.