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Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Breed

If you love a dog that loves water, do we have a dog for you? Because, unlike most dogs that we talk about, this dog was developed by a “fisherman.”” Yep, that’s right, fisherman! It was only later that athletes, in general, found out how great these guys were and decided to try to make them excellent bird retrievers.


We’ll get into all of this later on in our article because, in this article, we want to take a moment and discuss what it might be like to own a Flat Coated Retriever so that if you ever get a chance to own one, you’ll know if one of these dogs is right for you.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  England

Original Purpose:  Water retrieving

Height:  22 to 25 inches

Weight:  60 to 70 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Sporting Group

Lifespan:  8 to 14 years

Origin of the Flat-Coated Retriever

During the early 18th century, the Flat-Coated Retriever was developed in England to help fishermen retrieve fish and other objects in the water. A skill that became all the more valued as more and more hunters began to use firearms to hunt different “types” of animals, such as birds. In cases like these, the Flat-Coated Retriever’s natural ability to jump into the water and retrieve the “downed” game because of a “hit.””

And as is…

The case with most dog breeds that we have today, these original “fisherman” dogs began to be crossbred with different “setters” and “pointers” which were available back then, so that the “new and improved” version would be a bit more “birdy.”” The result of this “Marriage” of these three different dog breeds ultimately created what is “officially” recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as the Flat-Coated Retriever.


Like many European domesticated animals during World War II, the Flat-Coated Retriever didn’t fare well. As a result, this dog breed nearly went extinct during this time. The good news is that the species was saved but never was able to regain the overall popularity it had before the war. Today, the Flat-Coated Retriever remains a relatively uncommon or rare dog breed, so if you decide to make one of these guys of your own, you’ll probably need to go on a “waiting” list.

Physical Characteristics

According to the Flat-Coated Retriever breed standards(1):

  • Males must be 23 to 25 inches tall and should weigh between 60 to 80 pounds
  • Females must be 22 to 24 inches tall and should weigh between 55 to 75 pounds

Aside from their coat…

The Flat-Coated Retrievers have several other characteristics, making identifying them from other “retrievers” a bit easier.

Characteristics such as:

  • A Relatively long muzzle and strong muscular jaws
  • A Unique head shape, with a minimal stop and black skull about the same length as the elongated muzzle.

And a “lighter,” racier appearance than most other retrievers in this dog breed classification. Their ears are smaller than other retrievers and lie close to the dog’s head.

Now, as for their coat…

You will find that their coats will be relatively thick and feather out along their legs, chest, and tails. The good news is that even though they have a”furry” coat, it’s not the “type” of coat you’ll need to maintain all day.   We’ve found that brushing it two or three times a week should be all your Flat-Coated Retriever needs.

Temperament and Personality

It shouldn’t be a BIG surprise to learn that the Flat-Coated Retriever is an optimistic, cheerful, and good-humored dog.

“Heck… aren’t most retrievers!”

But beyond that, these guys are also super easy to train, which is why these guys make such great family pets. Because these guys are naturally friendly and can be trained easily, they get along well with everyone, especially kids of all ages.

This is why…

This is one of a few dog breeds we here at IndulgeYourPet recommend for families with small children around the house. They also tend to respect other four-legged critters running around the house, another reason the Flat-Coated Retriever is such a great family animal.

But be warned…

These guys do require a TON of exercise. They’ve even earned the nickname “Peter Pans of Retrievers” because they are very slow-maturing dogs and only reach full maturity when they are about five. This means you’ll have a very active, fun-loving puppy for quite a while.

For this reason, we only recommend these dogs to folks with a large yard to run and play in or are committed to giving their dog 1 to 2 hours a day of exercise. If not, the Flat-Coated Retriever isn’t your “right” dog.

Potential Health Concerns

Every dog breed has a genetic disposition to develop a disorder or two. Flat-coated Retrieves are no exception to this rule. Let’s take a look at the health problems this dog breed faces:

And while some of these “conditions” may not be life-threatening, they can all be quite expensive if you need to pay for the total cost of treatment out of pocket. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet always advise any new pet owner to take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy for their new loved one. If they ever become sick or injured in the future, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of the cost of treatment.

For more information on who we “feel” currently offers some of the “best” pet insurance policies, check out our Top 10 Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Katie P. April 10, 2020, 3:32 pm


    • indulgeyourpet April 11, 2020, 9:32 am


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