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Flat-Coated Retriever Breed InformationSelect a Breed
Quick Facts
Life Span:8-10 years
Litter Size:4-8 puppies
Group:Gun Dog, AKC Sporting
Color:Black, Brown, Liver, White spots, Black spots
Hair Length:Long
Shedding:Moderate Shed
Male Height:22-23 inches
Male Weight:60-70 pounds
Female Height:22-23 inches
Female Weight:60-70 pounds
Living Area:The Flat Coated Retriever is not recommended for apartment life, as it does need plenty of fresh air and exercise on a regular basis. These dogs were raised to be gundogs and enjoy exploring forest area, large territories, and can withstand harsh weather. They are relatively inactive indoors, and will do their best when they have an average-sized yard available. The breed needs to be around people in order to be happy, so it is important that they are paid attention to at least once per day. Intensive exercise works best for them, and they can often be found working up a sweat outdoors in a variety of tasks. These dogs do play well indoors, but also enjoy spending as much time as possible outside as well. This dog will not do well being chained up in the house all day, and needs plenty of space to roam.


The Flat Coated Retriever is an active dog that is happy working the land, exercising and being part of the family. They are energetic and eager dogs. They are typically well-trained and reliable dogs for their owners. This is a muscular breed which makes it well suited for many activities. It has strong feet that enjoy being outside.

The Flat Coat Retriever has a pleasant and smart face. It has a strong and muscular jaw line and a strong and straight topline. Its back skull and muzzle are one piece, making it unique among dog breeds. The back of the head is angulated. It has small ears that are close to the back of its head. Its nose is black or brown and its eyes are either hazel or brown.

The breed has a thick coat that is of medium length. It is quite shiny when properly cared for with regular brushing. There is no undercoat to care for which makes the grooming job easier for the owner.

Coat Description

Flatties do not have an undercoat. Their coat is of medium length and thickness. With proper care the coats are a shiny brown or black.


The Flat Coated Retriever likely had Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Labradors as ancestors. During the middle 1800s the Flattie became a popular gamekeeper’s dog and gundog. By the 1870s the dog became a popular hunting dog in the U.S. Yet by the mid 1940s there were very few Flat Coated Retrievers left. Since then, many breeders have taken an interest in Flatties and their outstanding abilities for retrieving, hunting, tracking and agility. At the present time, the Flat Coated Retriever is often a show dog but it should not be forgotten that its natural traits and abilities make it a wonderful companion as well.


The Flat Coated Retriever has a calm and delightful demeanor that makes it a wonderful family dog. It is a caring and affectionate dog that loves all members of the family including children. They will welcome guests and other dogs. Flat Coated Retrievers are usually happy as the only dog in the family or as one of many. They thrive on attention and will want to join in on family walks and activities.

They are intelligent and full of energy. They like to play and exercise and they work diligently at all that they do. They keep some puppy like playfulness well into adulthood. They are fairly easy to train in part because they have a genuine interest in pleasing their family members. They adapt well to changes in routine or settings and their need for physical activity makes them suited for trips to the park, hikes or other new activities.

Health Problems

The most common health problem for Flat Coated Retrievers is cancer. In fact, cancer is the cause of death for almost three quarters of Flat Coated Retrievers. Other hereditary conditions that require screening are Canine Hip Dysplasia which can cause lameness, Diabetes, Epilepsy and Deafness.

It is important to note that overall the Flat Coated Retriever is a healthy breed and maintains its good health with plenty of exercise and proper rest.


The most important part of grooming for the Flat Coated Retriever is to keep up with regular brushings. Brushing is especially important after the dog has been outside. Not only will it bring out the natural beauty of the dog’s coat but it will also give you a chance to check for ticks or other bugs that get stuck in the dog’s fur. The coat’s appearance will change with the seasons as the breed does shed. Very little trimming will be required for this breed.

One of the advantages of the Flat Coated Retriever is that they tend to keep themselves rather clean. A bath is only necessary when the dog is very dirty from its outdoor activities.


Flat Coated Retrievers require daily exercise. Luckily, these dogs enjoy lots of different physical activities such as running, swimming, hunting and playing with toys. These dogs make excellent companions for physical exercise and are typically well-behaved and will be able to enjoy activities in a safe environment without the use of a leash. Weather conditions do not slow them down, so be prepared for lots of time outdoors with your Flat Coated Retriever.


The Flat Coated Retriever is an intelligent breed with a natural desire to please. So, these dogs are easily trainable if the right approach to training is used. Their intelligence and need for physical activity can lead to boredom for this breed if they are subjected to the same requests or tasks for a long period of time. Therefore, it is important to keep training sessions short and varied. As with all training, consistency is important. Positive reinforcement that captures the dog’s attention, such as a new toy or a walk outside, can be effective. They do not respond well to severe reprimands. If they are treated unkindly, they will likely withdraw rather than comply.

It is important to keep in mind that Flatties are energetic dogs and they should be trained to prevent damage in the house and not be too rough near small children. With a little training and socialization, the Flattie will easily learn the rules and respect them.

The Flat Coat Retriever was historically bred as a gundog. They can be trained to hunt successfully. If training sessions are short and fun then changes are that the Flattie will be successful.

Company Info
PO Box 15124
1316 Commerce Dr,
New Bern, NC 28562
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