Flat-Coated Retriever

flat-coated retriever

TheThe Flat Coated Retriever dog breed 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. The coat is commonly solid black or solid liver in colour. An adult male is ideally 58-61cm in height and 27-36kg in weight; adult females are 56-58cm and 25-32 kg.

flat-coated retriever
  • Category size: Large
  • Grooming requirements: Daily
flat-coated retriever
  • Shedding: Moderate
  • Allergies: No
  • Noise: Usually quiet
  • Dog Group Kennel Club: Gundog
flat-coated retriever
  • Alone:1 to 3 hours
  • Other pets: Medium
  • Stability as a guard: Low


Retriever breeds were developed in the early 19th century as dogs whose sole purpose was to pick up shot game. The Flat Coated Retriever 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.


The Flat Coated Retriever is a kindly, lively dog who loves humans. They are slow to mature and retain their puppy-like qualities for several years. They are usually good family dogs, even-tempered and adaptable but with a deep bark that will give warning of the approach of both visitors and strangers. Their tails wag constantly and they are very enthusiastic dogs who thrive with a lot of attention from their owners.


The most concerning breed related problem is a high predisposition to some certain types of aggressive cancers. As with many breeds, they can also suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.


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.


Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs.The Flat Coated Retrievers are prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.


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.

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Is this the right dog breed for you?

All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.


What to Consider next


It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.

Finding a good breeder

If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.

Welcoming your dog home

Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information