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Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Breed Profile

Flat-Coated Retriever

Other Names
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
Flat-coated Retrievers are the lightest of the Retrievers and are members of the Gundog group. They are both working dogs when they retrieve shot birds, hares and rabbits, and companions. 
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
£4-7.50 per week
Feeding Requirements
These dogs are good eaters, unfussy and do not require any special diet so are easy to feed. They should not be overfed as this may lead to them being overweight, Flat-coats are not intended to be bulky dogs. 
Other Expenses
These are normally fit healthy dogs with low veterinary expenses. Feeding costs are moderate and they do not require professional grooming. The price of a puppy is around £500 to £650. 
9 - 15 years
This is a medium to large sized dog whose life expectancy is between 10 and 12 years or up to 14 years in some cases. 
Average Litter Size
Litter sizes in the Flat-coat vary greatly from a single pup to 12 plus, but on average is around 8. 
General Physical Description
The Flat-coat is a long, lean looking dog, bright and active with an intelligent expression. They have dense, flat coats with high lustre, their legs and tails are well feathered and they give the impression of power and raciness.

Height Min Max
Bitch 56cm (22") 59cm (23")
Dog 58cm (23") 61cm (24")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 25kg (55lbs) 34kg (75lbs)
Dog 25kg (55lbs) 35kg (77lbs)
Size Category
Weight Height Range
Ideally dogs should measure between 58 - 61cms at the withers and weigh between 25 - 35kgs. Bitches should measure between 56 - 59cms and weigh between 25 - 34kgs. 
These are generally healthy dogs with very few breed-specific ailments. There is a low incidence of Hip Dysplasia in the breed and pups should be chosen from parents who have been screened for this. Al flat-coats whether bought for pets or breeding should be eye tested for glaucoma. As with all breeds, choosing from healthy stock increases the chances of having a healthy puppy. 
Common Ailments
Susceptibility To Illness
Retriever breeds were developed in the early 19th century as dogs whose sole purpose was to pick up shot game. The Flat-coat was developed from the Lesser Newfoundland as a land retriever and evolved into a fine water and land retriever much favoured by gamekeepers. They have the added skills of flushing game from cover and will hunt game in upland areas. The credit for establishing this breed is given to Mr. J Hull who began breeding them in 1864 and they came to be commonly used on estates throughout Great Britain. In the 20th century their numbers began to decline and after the Second World War numbers fell drastically. Although the breed was re-established by the mid 1960s numbers remain relatively low. This is seen as an advantage to the breed as the low demand for them has prevented commercial exploitation and their soundness, type and working ability has been retained. 
Flat-coats are very intelligent and quick to learn. They are eager to please and keen to join in with all activities but may want to do things their own way so require firmness and consistency in their training.< 
Show Characteristics
The Flat-coated Retriever should have a long and nicely moulded head. The jaws should be long and strong, capable of holding a pheasant or hare and should have a perfect scissor bite. The eyes should be medium-sized, dark brown or hazel, with an intelligent expression. The ears are small, hanging flat to the side of the head. The neck should be reasonably long, running well into the back and he should have a broad, deep chest and well sprung ribs. The legs are moderately long and strongly boned. The feet are round and strong with thick, strong soles. The tail should be short, straight and well set on, carried gaily but not much above the level of his back. The coat is dense, of medium length and as flat as possible. Legs and tail should be well feathered. These dogs are solid coloured and only come in solid black or solid liver. 
Country Of Origin
Great Britain. 
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
100 - 120 minutes per day.
The Flat-coated Retriever is a tireless worker and as a companion is capable of covering long distances but is happy with moderate exercise. They are keen to join in with any activity. They are excellent water dogs and natural swimmers, enjoying this form of exercise. Excessive exercise should be avoided for the first year of their life to help prevent bone and joint problems. 
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
The Flat-coated Retriever is a kindly, intelligent and lively dog who loves humans. They are slow to mature and retain their puppy-like qualities for several years. They are extroverts, good family dogs, even-tempered and adaptable but with a deep bark which will give warning of the approach of both visitors and strangers. Their tails wag constantly but they do not like being left alone for long periods preferring the company of humans or other dogs. They are very enthusiastic dogs who demand a lot of attention from their owners and potential purchasers of a Flat-coat pup must be prepared to give him this time. They are better suited to country living than town dwelling. 
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
Every Day 
Requires Professional Groomer
Flat-coated Retrievers require daily brushing to maintain their coats, particular attention should be paid to the feathers which may collect debris and their feet should be checked for dried mud or other foreign matter. The eyes, ears and teeth should be checked on a regular basis. 
The Flat-coated Retriever is commonly solid black or solid liver in colour. 
Suffers From Allergies

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