Flat-Coated Retriever

Home Breeds Flat-Coated Retriever

Flat-Coated Retriever


Energetic, puppy-like Flat-Coated Retrievers greet people with a wagging tail and an invitation to play. They have a lighthearted, happy nature, which makes them persist into adulthood. Though incredibly intelligent and eager to please, the Flat-Coated Retriever has a stubborn streak. Their Flat Coats have made a steady come-back as companion dogs, as well as a field and water dogs.

Other Names Cobrador De Pelo Liso, Flat Coated Retriever, Retriever A Poil Plat
Color Black, Liver
Height Males: 23-25 inches. Females: 22-24 inches.
Weight Males: 60-80 pounds. Females: 60-70 pounds.
Life Span 8-10 years
Personality Cheerful, Optimistic, Good-Humored
Exercise Needs Lots of Activity
Popularity #104
Groom Needs Weekly Brushing
Kids Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly Yes
Watch Dog
Family Dog Yes
Litter Size 4 – 8 pups

Flat-Coated Retriever Pictures

Flat-Coated Retriever Video


What a beauty is the Flat-Coated Retriever! Being animated, alert, sociable and friendly, they are wonderful friends and companions for the family, also towards children.  Flat-Coated Retriever is a typical retriever, always wanting to carry something in his mouth. As pets go, he is noted to be a dog that chews excessively. He stands around 24 inches at the shoulders and weighs around 60 pounds. He needs a lot of exercises, at least 40 minutes every day. This beauty won’t cope well for hours on end – he is prone to get separation anxiety, which can contribute to him barking and being destructive. His coat is medium length and comes in colors such as solid black or a liver color; he is a low maintenance dog, needing his beautiful coat to be brushed only about once a week, and requiring no trimming at all. He has so much youthful exuberance that an owner needs to realize that he seems to stay like a forever-young pup, right into adulthood. They enjoy being on the go. And they love swimming, running and enjoying all the activities his family does with him. They’re not such good watchdogs because they are so friendly.

Living with Flat-Coated Retriever

It’s easy to maintain Flat-Coated Retrievers clean. Their moderate-length coat requires a weekly grooming with a brush and a metal dog comb to remove dirt and loose hair and keep the dog looking his best.

In general they require only weekly brushing unless the dog is shedding. And you probably want to brush daily to keep the amount of loose hair floating around under control. 

Begin accustoming your Flat-Coat to being brushed and examined when he’s a puppy. And make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and then you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he’s an adult.

Baths are necessary only as needed. If he spends as much time in the water as a typical Flat-Coat, you probably won’t need to bathe him frequently, but rinse him thoroughly if he’s been in a chlorinated pool, ocean water, or a lake with algae in it.

You can trim the ears, feet, belly, and tail tip for neatness. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth and ears.

Trim nails once or twice a month because short and neatly trimmed nails can keep the feet in good condition and protect your shins from getting scratched when your Flat-Coat enthusiastically jumps up to greet you.

Brush your Flat-Coat’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

As perfect suburban or country dog, Flat-Coated Retriever has a moderately high energy level and he requires plenty of exercise to keep healthy. Running, swimming, fetch, and hiking are favorite Flat-Coated Retriever activities. At least two 45 minute jogs per day are necessary, and more high-energy romping is ideal.

Expect to exercise him about 90 minutes a day, or two 45-minute walks, runs, or other vigorous activity such as playing fetch or training for agility or flyball.

The puppies need approximately 5 minutes of exercise for every month of age per day. So if your Flat-Coat puppy is 4 months old, he needs about 20 minutes of exercise per day. But too much exercise can stress his still-growing joints.

Their rambunctious nature and excess energy may be too much for apartment living. A home with a yard and the opportunity to run and play outdoors is ideal. 

Flat-Coated Retrievers make wonderful jogging companions when they are trained properly and have reached maturity. Keep in mind that jogging on cement or other hard surfaces can damage your dog’s joints; it’s best to run on grass or other soft surfaces.

The breed also exercises mind and body by participating in obedience, tracking, agility, rally and other activities that can be enjoyed by dog and owner.

The Flat-Coated Retriever needs high-quality dog food to satisfy its nutrition needs and maintain active. Recommended daily amount is 3.5 to 4.5 cups a day. But you’ll need to feed your Flat-Coated Retriever accordingly, on the basis of size, age, activity level and metabolism, split between two meals.

The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you’ll need to shake into your dog’s bowl.

Flat-Coats do not tend to guard their food, but children should never be allowed to touch or remove food while any dog is eating.

Activity should be limited for an hour after feeding, and precautions may be necessary for dogs who eat too quickly to prevent bloat.

Keep your Flat-Coat in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. 

Clean, fresh water should always be available.

Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet or the dog’s breeder if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

The Flat-Coated Retriever’s main health conditions include cancer, bloat, hip and elbow dysplasia, entropion, distichiasis, glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy. 

As well, this breed can also suffer from hemangiosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, osteosarcoma and malignant histiocytosis. While not all dogs will suffer from these diseases, it’s important to learn about them if you’re considering this breed.

A Flat-Coat’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often with a toothpaste designed for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog’s long, healthy life.

There are several health and genetic tests considerations specific to the breed, such as hip evaluation, patella evaluation and ophthalmologist evaluation.

Responsible Flat-Coat breeders will test their stock for conditions or communicate with other dedicated breeders regularly, working together for breed health and preservation of the breed’s unique qualities.

Total Annual Cost: $3177.9

Cost is estimated for the first year and may vary depending on many factors, such as dog food, health care, leash, collar, licensing, possible fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, dog-walking, grooming, treats, toys, flea, tick, and heart-worm meds, microchips, etc.

Very intelligent, responsive, and eager to please, Flat-Coats are generally easy to train.

Harsh discipline will only result in willful behavior, and since this is such a sensitive breed, you won’t make any headway with your training. The Flattie is easy to train and willing to please—but puppy energy and a clownish nature may disrupt training sessions. So employ positive training techniques with the Flattie for the best results.

This breed can be willful and will test your boundaries. You’ll need to have plenty of patience and lots of rewards to get your point across with this breed.

Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended to ensure that the Flat-Coat grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion.

Advanced training is a hit with the intelligent Flat-Coated Retriever—but they often prefer a job over silly tricks. Agility, flyball, tracking, retrieve sports, and dock dog competitions are great options for this energetic breed.

Break your Flattie from coprophagy (eating poop) and pick up after your dog as soon as he finishes his bathroom break – that way, there will be no delectable morsels for him to eat.

A Flat-Coat wants to be with his family, and undesirable behaviors can result if he is regularly left alone for long periods of time.

House training efforts may prove to be more fruitful. Crate training is recommended, both as an aid to housetraining and to prevent your Flat-Coat from getting into things he shouldn’t when you’re not around to supervise.

When it comes to hunting upland birds or waterfowl, Flatties make admirable hunting companions, but once the job is done, their silly nature resurfaces.


The flat-coated retriever originates from England; developed as a retrieving breed in the middle of the 19th century. This period for shooting birds for the sport was a popular time, and this dog was bred to retrieve the birds when they hit the ground.  The Flat-Coated Retriever, it is believed, comes from a mix of the St. John’s water dogs from Newfoundland, possibly collies and water spaniels.

It was gamekeeper J. Hull’s dogs, Old Bounce and Young Bounce, who are credited with laying the foundation of the modern Flat-Coated Retriever (it was originally known as the “Wavy Coated Retriever”). 

Sadly, by the end of World War II, these dogs were facing extinction. Fortunately, loyalists to the breed managed to save them. The man most credited with the Flat-Coated Retriever breed’s development was S.E. Shirley – he helped mold them into a stable breed. Contributing to their advancement was H.R. Cooke. He had a kennel called Riverside which produced many top show Flat-Coats.

The dog gained a lot of popularity after being introduced into the USA as a gun dog. It was officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1915. They never proved to be very popular dogs, being eclipsed by Labradors and Golden Retrievers. He is still a rare breed today.

Helpful Information


Breed Club Link: https://fcrsa.org/

Breed Club Rescue: The Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America

Breed Club Rescue Link: https://fcrsa.org/fcrsa-rescue-board/