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Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Traits & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Flat-Coated Retriever Dog

Height: 22 – 24.5 inches
Weight: 60 – 70 pounds
Lifespan: 8 – 10 years
Colors: Black, Liver
Suitable for: Active families, House with a yard
Temperament: Energetic, Happy, Intelligent, Eager to Please, Sensitive

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a beautiful and happy purebred dog that is a part of the Sporting Group. These are cheerful and optimistic dogs that love wagging their tails and make the perfect companion for very active people.

The Flat-Coat has a moderate-length coat that lies flat (hence the name) and is usually black or liver in color. There is a feathering of fur along the legs and tail, and they have triangular, floppy ears. One feature that makes them unique among retrievers is their long head, which displays a sweet expression.

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Flat-Coated Retriever Puppies

Flat-Coated Retriever puppy
Photo Credit: karisjo, Pixabay

The Flat-Coat is a highly energetic dog that will require a great deal of exercise. They are easy to train thanks to their eagerness to please and are highly social dogs. They are generally healthy dogs with an average lifespan for medium-sized dogs.

One of the first things you need to do if you’re considering purchasing a dog from a breeder is to find one that is reputable and responsible. To ensure you’re dealing with an ethical breeder, you should meet the breeder in person. Visit the breeder’s facilities and you’ll be able to observe the dogs. This will give you a good indication of how well they take care of their dogs. Check the health and happiness of the dogs, and the breeder’s relationship with the dogs. A reputable breeder will provide you with their dog’s full medical history upon request.

You could also think about adopting a dog as you could be saving a dog’s life. Adopting a dog is less expensive than buying a puppy from a breeder. However, you will more than likely adopt an adult dog instead of a puppy, and the dog’s background could be unknown. There are breed-specific rescue groups such as Flatcoated Retriever Society Rescue Rehousing Welfare based in the UK.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Flat-Coated Retriever

1. The Flat-Coated Retriever is nicknamed “Peter Pan.”

They are often called the “Peter Pan” of retrievers as they are one of the happiest breeds, perpetually wagging their tails.

2. The Flat-Coated Retrievers are known to be a forever puppy.

They are known for their exuberant behavior and are slow to mature, which will give you a puppy well into adulthood. This can be wonderful fun or exasperating for the owner, depending on the owner’s personality.

3. The Flat-Coated Retriever has a highly protective coat.

Their coats do a fantastic job of protecting the dog from ice-cold water and harsh weather conditions.

Two Flat coated retriever sitting
Photo Credit: sarkku, Pixabay

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Flat-Coated Retriever 🧠

The Flat-Coat is a boisterous and highly intelligent retriever that tends to love everyone it meets. This forever-puppy dog is very eager to please and a happy breed that is not one of the most popular retrievers (in comparison to the Lab and the Golden Retriever) as it falls in at number 91 out of 196 dogs at the AKC. However, Flat-Coat owners believe these are the happiest dogs of all, and perhaps numbers shouldn’t matter.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Flat-Coat truly is an amazing family dog, but the combination of their size and their boisterous natures makes them not very ideal for seniors and small children. They have absolutely no aggression but could accidentally knock people over during their exuberant play.

They are good watchdogs as they will alert the family to any strangers but will offer themselves up to anyone for a good scratch and, therefore, not make good guard dogs.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Their super friendly and happy nature allows for friendships to develop between the Flat-Coats and other pets. As with any dog, they need to be effectively socialized while puppies in order to develop healthy and positive interactions with other animals.

Flat coated retriever at the beach
Photo Credit: 123090, Pixabay

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Things to Know When Owning a Flat-Coated Retriever:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

It’s important to find the right kibble for your dog, depending on its size, age, and activity level. How much and how often you feed your dog can be determined in part by reading the guidelines on the back of the food bag, but your vet should give you input as required.

Giving your dog treats and human food on occasion is fine but always in moderation. Always doublecheck that what you are feeding your dog is not bad for them. If you’re ever concerned about your dog’s health and weight, please consult your vet.

Exercise 🐕

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a very high energy dog that requires a great deal of exercise every day. Long daily walks and lots of playtime will help its physical and mental well-being. They will not do well in an apartment as they need the roominess of a house and the opportunity to run in a backyard. Involving the Flat-Coat in obedience, agility, or tracking are additional methods that will keep it healthy and happy.

Retriever training
Image By: karisjo, Pixabay

Training 🦮

The Flat-Coat is quite easy to train as they are very intelligent and eager to please. They are also quite sensitive and will respond well to loving and positive praise throughout the training process. They don’t do well if left alone for long periods of time, and destructive behaviors will result. Socializing them while they are puppies and attending puppy training classes will help your dog become a happy and well-adjusted adult dog.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming the Flat-Coat is not difficult as they just need a brushing about once a week. You should only bathe your dog when absolutely necessary, which should be about once a month. Always use a good quality dog shampoo in order to prevent drying out the natural oils in their coat.

The Flat-Coat should have its teeth brushed 2 or 3 times a week, their ears cleaned about once a month, and trim their nails every 3 or 4 weeks.

Health Conditions ❤️

The Flat-Coated Retriever might be susceptible to:

Minor Conditions
  • Retinal degeneration
  • Glaucoma
Serious Conditions
  • Epilepsy
  • Bloat
  • Cancer of the blood vessels
  • Cancer of the lymphocytes
  • Bone cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Kneecap dislocation

Your vet will check your dog’s hips and knees and will run x-rays and biopsies in addition to blood and uranalysis tests to check for any of these potential health problems.
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Male vs Female

The male Flat-Coat is a little larger than the female at 23 to 24.5 inches in height compared to the female, which is 22 to 23.5 inches. The Flat-Coated Retriever weighs 60 to 70 pounds, so you can expect the male to weigh closer to 70 pounds and the female around the lighter side of 60 pounds.

If you elect to have surgery for your dog, neutering the male dog is a little easier and less expensive than spaying the female dog, which requires a longer recovery time. The advantage of spaying or neutering your dog, other than unwanted pregnancies, can ward off future health issues. The surgery is also known to reduce aggressive behavior and prevent the urge for your dog to wander off.

Lastly, another difference between male and female dogs is in their temperament. Many believe that some male dogs are more aggressive and less affectionate than females, but there are debates on this. The most important factor in a dog’s personality and behavior is in how it was trained and socialized as a puppy and how it has been treated throughout its adult life.

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Final Thoughts:

The Flat-Coated Retriever is an affectionate and happy dog that wants nothing more than to spend time with its humans. These are beautiful dogs that will remain puppy-like well into adulthood, which will make them a great addition to the right family.

Many Flat-Coat breeders worldwide are easy to find, provided you follow some of the steps listed above as you will want to build a relationship only with a good breeder. Also consider keeping your eye on rescue groups or get in touch with a breed-specific group, like the one listed above based out of the UK or the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America, which runs a national rescue.

If you’re looking for an enthusiastic, intelligent, and genuinely cheerful dog, you won’t go wrong with a Flat-Coated Retriever.

Featured Image: KimKuehke, Shutterstock

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