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Flat-Coated Retrievers, or “Flatties,” are the descendants of the Newfoundland and the Labrador Retriever. True to its predecessors, this breed is an independent tracker and self-assured comedian in one. These are dedicated hunting dogs with great noses — some Flatties have even worked as drug sniffers.
Originally from England, this large-sized and high-energy breed can grow to between 60-70 pounds and lives an average of 8-10 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Sporting group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Hunting
Breed Group: Sporting
Average Lifespan: 8-10 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
Energy level A sprinter
Exercise needs 30-45 minutes per day
Playfullness and Games All day, every day
Attachment to People Never leave my side
Behavior with Other Dogs Ok with early socialization and consistent training.
Behavior with Other Small Pets I'm usually friendly, as long as we're supervised
Behavior Toward Strangers I've never met a stranger I don't like
Trainability I'll probably make you work at it
Watchdog ability I know all that's going on, all the time
Protection ability I'm not very protective
Grooming needs Easy maintenance, brushes and baths
Cold tolerance I'll probably need a jacket in the cold
Heat tolerance A warm day can be fun, but not too hot please.
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Headstrong, affectionate, and eager to please, the Flat-Coated Retriever is a confident and cheerful companion who will keep you on your toes. These dogs are very smart, energetic, playful, and affectionate. They are some of the happiest dogs around, but their independent bent makes having a sense of humor essential during training.
Good-natured Flatties are often wonderful family dogs. They're great with supervised kids and get along well with other supervised dogs and pets. They're usually happy to meet strangers.
WHAT IS FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is a very active and athletic breed. Flat-Coated Retrievers are dogs on the go, so plan for lots of outdoor runs and romps. They also love to swim and will happily keep you company on runs, hikes, and even cross-country ski trips.
These dogs are somewhat vigilant though not very protective. They can be somewhat prone to barking.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER?
Flat-Coated Retrievers are definitely trainable, but you have to allow for their sense of humor. Flatties have a mischievous side that lasts well into their adulthoods. They love dock-diving and agility games. A well-trained Flat-Coated Retriever is typically obedient and has reliable recall.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO FLAT-COATED RETRIEVERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
As the name suggests, this breed's medium-length, lustrous single coat lies flat against its body.
The harsh, straight, thick coats are designed to help protect them from cold temperature, icy water, and rough ground conditions. They are heavy seasonal shedders who will need occasional bathing and brushing. (More than occasional if your Flattie plays outside a lot — they can't stay away from a mud puddle.)
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO FLAT-COATED RETRIEVERS HAVE?
Flat-Coated Retrievers can be prone to cancer; some are susceptible to hypothyroidism, eye disease, and hip dysplasia.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE FLAT-COATED RETRIEVERS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Flat-Coated Retrievers among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as a Flat-Coated Retriever! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT'S A FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER'S BEST DAY?
Spend the day at the lake for swimming and walking or skiing. Talk about heaven!
SHOULD I ADOPT A FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER?
You need a finely-tuned comedic sense and a love for large dogs who never quite grow up to hang with a Flat-Coated Retriever. You'll also have to be an active person: Flatties need a lot of exercise and can be somewhat overwhelming if they're not getting enough mental and physical activity.
They're equally comfortable in warm and cold temperatures, but their dark coats make them prone to overheating on sunny days. They don't need much in the way of grooming (unless they've gone dock diving or swamp tromping recently) and make wonderful companions for folks who can keep up with this cheerful, young-at-heart breed. Flat-Coated Retrievers are a great choice for anyone looking for a playful, affectionate and ACTIVE dog with impeccable comedic timing.
Have you decided that a Flat-Coated Retriever is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.