History and origin: The Flat-Coated Retriever originated in early 19th century England and was the preferred retriever before the introduction of the Labrador. The breed was believed to be the result of mixing Newfoundland, Collie, and spaniel bloodlines, filling the need for a versatile hunter-retriever in water or on land.
Description: The Flat-Coated Retriever stands approximately 22 to 24.5 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 60 and 80 pounds. The medium-length shedding coat is straight and needs to be brushed two or three times a week. The color may be black or liver.
About the breed: The Flat-Coated Retriever is a hardy dog who is easy to train, good with children, and a great guard dog. He is a strongly-built working dog who also makes a wonderful household pet. His temperament is somewhere in between that of the Curly-Coated and the Labrador. He is not quite reserved, but not as gregarious and accepting of strangers as a Golden or a Labrador. This makes him a better watchdog than the Lab. He is slightly less energetic than a Lab, and more sensitive. Because of this, you cannot use quite the same degree of firmness in training that you might use with the more gregarious Lab.
These dogs tend to be more prone to fear-based aggression and they need early socialization with people and dogs to help counteract this. They are normally good with the children in their own family, but they may show initial suspicion toward the children’s friends. Do not let your children roughhouse with this breed. These dogs have a great nose, which can lead them astray sometimes, so early obedience training is a must. As with any medium to large dog, this breed can be susceptible to hip dysplasia and bloat.
Feeding: Recommended feeding for the Flat-Coated Retriever is 1 ½ – 2 ½ cans (13.3oz) of high-quality meaty product with biscuit added in equal amount or 5 cupfuls of a complete, dry dog food.
Ideal home: This breed thrives on plenty of exercise and is not suitable for apartment living; he needs a house with a fenced yard. The owner of a Flat-Coated Retriever must be a patient, consistent leader and must desire an active dog. Time to exercise the dog must be available every day. A hunter would do well with this breed. Obedience training and socialization should begin early and continue throughout the dog’s life. This is a very active breed and may not be suitable for an elderly or disabled person.