The Flat Coated Retriever: A Complete Guide

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The Flat Coated Retriever resembles a black or brown Golden Retriever, but there’s no such thing.

He’s a distinctive breed, originally developed as a dual-purpose retriever of the game on both water and land.

Flat Coat Retrievers are often called the “Peter Pan” of retrievers. They generally mature more slowly than other dogs and maintain their puppylike exuberance for years.

This fun-loving energy makes them a delightful and entertaining companion, but it also means an extra amount of time and patience when it comes to training them.

A black Flat Coated Retriever sitting down
The Flat Coated Retriever has a confident, happy, and outgoing attitude.

While they are eager to please, Flat Coat Retrievers won’t hesitate to go for a laugh, even if it means ignoring or disobeying you.

Tolerant and friendly, they love everyone, including children and other dogs. They’ll bark to let you know that someone’s approaching, but don’t count on them to serve as any kind of guard dog.

They are wonderful friends for energetic older children but may be too hyper for toddlers, knocking them down with just a swish of their tail.

Flat Coated Retrievers are not suited to apartment life.

They retain their hunting skills and should live in an environment where their talents can be used, or at least one that allows them to run and swim.

Expect to give them 45-minute walks, runs, or other activities every day to satisfy their exercise needs.

A lot of breeders and enthusiasts admit that Flat Coated Retrievers are not suitable for everyone.

But there are a fortunate few for whom this sweet and cute dog is a perfect match.

Flat Coated Retriever Puppies – Before You Buy…

What Price are Flat Coated Retriever Puppies?

The price of Flat Coated Retriever puppies is anywhere between $1,000 to $1,200.

How to Find Reputable Flat Coated Retriever Breeders?

Finding a reputable breeder can be a confusing and seemingly overwhelming task.

With the proliferation of breeders now advertising on the Internet, it is not always easy to determine whether or not a breeder is reputable and responsible.

What is most important to remember, however, is to be patient and to research well.

Start your search with national breed clubs. Each registered breed has a national organization formed to protect the breed.

Many have a Code of Ethics to which members must subscribe. Most breed clubs maintain a list of breeders, organized by the area of the country in which they are located.

Most breeds also have regional clubs with an active membership. Many of these organizations also have breeder lists.

Reputable breeders rarely advertise in the classified section of the local newspaper. However, many will publicize upcoming litters in magazines geared specifically toward dogs.

Many breed clubs list breeders in the catalogs purchased at their shows as well. If you are attending a local show, check the catalog to see if there are breeders listed.

Breeders can almost always be found ringside at a dog show. If there is a dog show in your area, check to see when the breed in which you are interested is scheduled to be shown.

As most exhibitors are busy, it is best to wait until the dogs are finished showing before approaching their owners or handlers.

Most exhibitors will be happy to tell you about their dogs and may also be aware of other breeders who are planning litters.

3 Little-Known Facts About Flat Coated Retriever Puppies

  1. Flat Coat Retrievers only come in solid black or solid liver.
  2. It’s a high-energy dog who requires about 90 minutes of exercise a day.
  3. Flat Coated Retrievers mature much slower compared to other breeds, and you will feel like you’re taking care of a large puppy for several years.

Physical Traits of the Flat Coated Retriever

Two Flat Coated Retriever puppies
The Flat Coated Retriever is a cheerful dog.

Flat Coated Retrievers have the classic, athletic retriever build.

They are sleek and fit-looking, with long, molded heads, wide muzzles, and a barely noticeable stop.

Their almond-shaped eyes are hazel or dark brown, and they have that friendly Retriever gleam.

Their ears lie flat against the head and are set moderately high on the head. They are small and elegantly feathered.

The coat is straight and long, protecting the dog from the elements of the hunting field.

There is feathering on the back of the forelegs, on the thighs, tail, chest, and ears.

Flat Coated Retrievers come in shades of black and liver. Their noses correspond to the coat color; usually black for black, and brown for the liver.

Weekly brushing will keep the Flat Coated Retriever’s coat shiny and healthy. When they’re shedding, brushing may need to be two to three times a week.

This breed only requires bathing as needed, like when they’re dirty or when they start to emit a doggie odor.

Regularly check their ears for any signs of irritation or infection. Gently clean the ears with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved solution.

Brush the teeth once or twice a week to keep bad breath in check and prevent tartar buildup.

How Big is a Full-Grown Flat Coated Retriever?

A male Flat Coated Retriever is 23 to 24.5 inches tall at the shoulder. A female is 22 to 23.5 inches tall.

The average weight of a Flat Coated Retriever is 55 to 70 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Flat Coated Retriever?

The life expectancy of Flat Coated Retrievers is 10 to 13 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Flat Coated Retriever

A Flat Coated Retriever giving you its paw
The Flat Coated Retriever is often called the “Peter Pan” of retrievers.

Nicknamed the Peter Pan of dogs for his ever-youthful outlook on life, the Flat Coated Retriever has many desirable qualities.

He’s smart, friendly, adaptable, and cheerful. He’s also mischievous and animated, with a moderately high level of energy.

His exercise needs must be met for him to maintain the sweet, calm temperament that he’s known for.

This is a slow-maturing breed, which means that he’ll act like a puppy for several years.

He’s a bit of a showoff and will always make you laugh, even if he’s just done something naughty.

The Flat Coat Retriever is sensitive and doesn’t respond well to harsh training methods. He may react by becoming stubborn or simply refusing to do anything you ask.

The Flat Coated Retriever’s Diet

Puppy food is generally higher in protein than adult dog food. It is important to check the ingredients in puppy food when you are considering what to feed your Flat Coated Retriever.

Look for foods that have whole animal products. Look for chicken, lamb or salmon. Puppies need protein.

As an adult, your Flat Coated Retriever should be fed about 3.5 to 4.5 cups of dry food per day.

Splitting this portion for two feedings each day is recommended for your dog.

Your puppy will also need some carbs. Good types of carbs in puppy food are rice, maize, buckwheat or oats.

You want healthy grains in your puppy food. Puppies also like meat.

Fats and oils are essential for energy. They should come from plants and animal sources that are of high quality.

Fats and oils are great for keeping the Flat Coated Retriever’s coat shiny. They also play a role in keeping your puppy’s muscles strong.

How Much Exercise Does a Flat Coated Retriever Need?

Couch potatoes are not recommended for this active breed. Flat Coated Retrievers have a lot of energy to spare.

Just when you think you’ve exhausted them, they will catch the second, or third, or even fourth wind.

They tend to behave themselves indoors. But if your Retriever isn’t getting his daily exercise requirement, they will let you know by bad behavior.

People who live in apartments should only get this dog if they can give him at least one hour to run every day.

Active families are best for the Flat Coated Retriever because they love to run and play.

They’ll walk, jog, and hike. Hunters enjoy this breed because they are so versatile and equally proficient on land as they are in the water.

Flat Coated Retriever Health and Conditions

This good-looking breed suffers from all kinds of malignant tumors, most notable of which is histiocytic sarcoma. It happens in Flat Coated Retrievers far more than in any other breed.

They can also suffer from adenocarcinoma, fibrosarcoma, melanoma, mastocytoma, osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, and other cancers.

Epilepsy has also become a serious concern for Flat Coated Retrievers. Thyroid and heart diseases are concerns as well.

Serious eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts can cause blindness in this breed.

Flat Coat Retrievers also suffer from bloat, which is an emergency gastrointestinal syndrome.

Hip dysplasia and loose knee joints cause pain and lameness that may require expensive surgery.

My Final Thoughts on the Flat Coated RetrieverA happy Flat Coated Retriever sitting on the grass

The Flat Coated Retriever demonstrates stability and a desire to please, with a confident, happy, and outgoing attitude.

This cheerful dog is athletic and needs plenty of exercise. Ideally, exercise that includes swimming and fetching.

Flat Coated Retrievers like to be showered with attention and don’t like being left alone for long periods.

They are lighthearted and playful.

They can be exuberant jumpers, which means supervision is important around toddlers and smaller pets.

Flat Coated Retrievers retain their youthful and good-humored outlook on life into old age.

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