Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Breed

Country of Origin: Great Britain
Height: 22–24.5 inches
Weight: Males 55–80 pounds
Coat: Moderate length and density, straight or slightly wavy, glossy, flat lying, weather resistant
Colors: Black, liver
Registries (with Group): AKC (Sporting); CKC (Sporting); KC (Gundog); UKC (Gun Dog)

Origin and History

The Flat-Coated Retriever was developed in England in the mid-1800s to serve as a close-working shooting dog. His ancestry includes the Labrador, Newfoundland, spaniel-type water dogs, setter, and sheepdog. Known as a "gamekeeper's dog," he was used widely on British estates. It was gamekeeper J. Hull's dogs, Old Bounce and Young Bounce, who are credited with being the foundation of the modern Flat-Coated Retriever (originally known as "Wavy Coated Retriever"). Unlike many other retrieving breeds, who are often split into "field" and "show" strains, he remains consistent in appearance from the field to the show ring and is proficient in both.

Personality Profile

Character is a defining feature of the Flat-Coated Retriever. He is a companionable hunting retriever, and as such, is outgoing, enthusiastic, and tractable. He is excellent with children, especially older children who can handle his exuberance. A keen, intelligent hunter, he works confidently in the fields and is happy to return home. He forms close bonds with his owners and needs companionship. He is also slow to mature and retains a mischievous, puppy-like quality throughout his life—some fanciers even refer to him as the "Peter Pan" of dogdom.

Care Requirements


The Flat-Coat needs his exercise—and plenty of it. His barely containable joie de vivre needs an outlet, and if he can spend enough time outside running, playing, hunting, fetching, swimming, or engaged in other activities, he will quiet right down in the house. Without enough exercise and mental stimulation, he can become anxious and even destructive.


The Flat-Coat has a naturally lustrous coat that needs only occasional brushing and combing to keep him looking great.

Life Span

Average life span of the Flat-Coated Retriever is 10 to 12 years.


Happy and enthusiastic, the Flat-Coat is up for anything his owner wants to teach him, and he learns quickly. He tends to get bored easily, so lessons should be short and motivational.

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