Flat Coated Retriever
Retriever breeds were developed in the early 19th century as dogs
whose sole purpose was to pick up shot game. The Flat-coat 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. In the 20th century their numbers
began to decline and after the Second World War numbers fell drastically.
Although the breed was re-established by the mid 1960s numbers
remain relatively low. This is seen as an advantage to the breed
as the low demand for them has prevented commercial exploitation
and their soundness, type and working ability has been retained.
General Physical Description
The Flat-coat 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.
Flat-coats are very intelligent and quick to learn. They are eager
to please and keen to join in with all activities but may want to
do things their own way so require firmness and consistency in their
The Flat-coated Retriever should have a long and nicely moulded
head. The jaws should be long and strong, capable of holding a pheasant
or hare and should have a perfect scissor bite. The eyes should
be medium-sized, dark brown or hazel, with an intelligent expression.
The ears are small, hanging flat to the side of the head. The neck
should be reasonably long, running well into the back and he should
have a broad, deep chest and well sprung ribs. The legs are moderately
long and strongly boned. The feet are round and strong with thick,
strong soles. The tail should be short, straight and well set on,
carried gaily but not much above the level of his back.
The coat is dense, of medium length and as flat as possible. Legs
and tail should be well feathered. These dogs are solid coloured
and only come in solid black or solid liver.
Weight Height Range
Ideally dogs should measure between 58 - 61cms at the withers and
weigh between 25 - 35kgs. Bitches should measure between 56 - 59cms
and weigh between 25 - 34kgs.
These are generally healthy dogs with very few breed-specific ailments.
There is a low incidence of Hip Dysplasia in the breed and pups
should be chosen from parents who have been screened for this. Al
flat-coats whether bought for pets or breeding should be eye tested
for glaucoma. As with all breeds, choosing from healthy stock increases
the chances of having a healthy puppy.