The Flat Coated Retriever dog breed from England was developed in the 19th century with the purpose of retrieving fowl and other game, particularly from water, but they are just as good on land too. While their hunting instincts made them excellent gundogs and retrievers, their loving and playful nature and lack of aggression made them a favorite house pet as well.
The origin of this breed is thought to involve a now-extinct American breed called St. John water dog that was imported into England at that time, as well as Newfoundlands that were brought to the country by Canadian sailors. They have certain other characteristics such as high sensitivity to scent and trainability, which are attributed to setters and collies respectively. The first specimens of this breed began to be noticed around mid 19th century, but the breed standard was finally established much later.
The use of guns for hunting meant that prey could be shot down from a distance, but the retrieval of the animals, particularly birds, required dogs that were equally good on land and water. The cod fisheries also needed dogs that could bring back fish to their boats. Several dogs that were good swimmers, and had the ability to retrieve, were tried and crossbred, adding some setters to the fray to increase their sense of scent. The wavy-coated retriever breed that evolved became highly popular with the hunters in the U.S. as well as in England.
Thinking that a straighter coat would repel water better, the Wavy Coated Retrievers were bred with straight coated breeds until the Flat Coated Retrievers evolved. In 1915, this breed got the official recognition of AKC.
The Flat-Coated Retriever dog breed has an athletic appearance with its streamlined body. The dogs measure up to 2 feet at the withers and weigh 70-75 pounds, but the females are slightly smaller and lighter. The ears are folded, lying flat against the face and the feathery tail is medium long. The Flat Coated Retrievers have single coat that typically comes in either black or liver.
High on energy levels and full of playfulness, these dogs are aptly called the “Peter Pan” among the retrievers as they practically never grow out of their boisterous puppyhood. They have the hunting blood in them, and enjoy nothing more than a good hunt; yet, they are never aggressive with the people around them, or even with strangers. This makes them ideal family dogs, even in households with children.
These dogs are extremely responsive and easy to train. As long as they get their share of activity during the day, they remain very docile indoors, expressing their love and affection for the family by quietly staying close to the people in the house.
Grooming and exercise
The Flat Coated Retriever dog breed is not difficult to groom as the straight and silky coat needs thorough brushing only about once a week.
However, it is a typical sporting breed with high exercise requirement. These dogs are a perfect match for people who love the outdoors and have plenty of time to involve the dogs in fetching and retrieving games. They love playing with children as they find a match in energy levels in youngsters. Their activities can be spread out on both land and water because they love jumping into water to retrieve things.
These dogs are capable of living outside, but since they get very attached to the family and love spending time with them, it is ideal to keep them indoors at least during the night.
Common health issues of Flat Coated Retriever dog breed
The Flat Coated Retriever dog breed is generally healthy, with only a few common canine problems such as hip dysplasia or patellar luxation affecting the dog very occasionally. They are prone to gastric torsion, an emergency situation that requires prompt medical attention. These dogs are known to develop many kinds of cancers such as lymphosarcoma, osteosarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma. However, healthy dogs often live 12 to 14 years on the average.