The Flat-Coated Retriever dog breed 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. The coat is commonly solid black or solid liver in colour. An adult male is ideally 58-61cm in height and 27-36kg in weight; adult females are 56-58cm and 25-32kg.
Retriever breeds were developed in the early 19th century as dogs whose sole purpose was to pick up shot game. The Flat-Coated Retriever 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.
The Flat-Coated Retriever is a kindly, lively dog who loves humans. They are slow to mature and retain their puppy-like qualities for several years. They are usually good family dogs, even-tempered and adaptable but with a deep bark that will give warning of the approach of both visitors and strangers. Their tails wag constantly and they are very enthusiastic dogs who thrive with a lot of attention from their owners.
The most concerning breed related problem is a high predisposition to some certain types of aggressive cancers. As with many breeds, they can also suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
The Flat-Coated Retriever is a tireless worker and as a companion is capable of covering long distances but is happy with moderate exercise. They are keen to join in with any activity. They are excellent water dogs and natural swimmers, enjoying this form of exercise.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs.The Flat Coated Retrievers are prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
Flat-Coated Retrievers require daily brushing to maintain their coats. Particular attention should be paid to the feathers, which may collect debris, and their feet should be checked for dried mud or other foreign matter.