Flat-Coated Retriever

Flat-Coated Retriever


Group: Sporting Group

Origin: Great Britain


    – Males: 23 to 24 inches (58-61cm) at the withers.
    – Females: 22 to 23 inches (56-59cm).

Weight: Ideal weight is 60 to 70 lbs (27-32kg).

Flat-Coated Retriever
Image by Daniela Jakob from Pixabay

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Breed Profile

The Flat-Coated Retriever was developed in England in the mid-19th century. Until World War I, this breed was the most popular show dog in Britain as well as a favourite in the field. After the war, interest in the breed declined and sportsmen chose the Labrador and Golden Retrievers as their favourites. In the last 20 years, however, there has been an increase in interest and the breed is regaining popularity.

This relative lack of interest in the Flat Coat has helped the breed maintain its reputation as a dual-purpose dog with little difference between the conformation show dog and those working in the field. The breed is extremely versatile and it is quite common for one dog to hold titles in several areas, such as one dog can hold show, obedience, field and other titles.

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a moderately high energy and exuberant dog. He is very people-oriented, exceptional with children, and makes a wonderful companion for active families. His character is outstanding and he should never be nervous, hyperactive, shy or aggressive. In the home, he is a wonderful and devoted companion; in the field, he has a great desire to hunt; and in the show ring, he is stable and self-confident. The versatile Flat Coat participates in several dog sports and activities including field trials, obedience competitions, agility, and flyball to name a few.

His coat should be straight and lie flat, as the name implies. It is of moderate length, dense, glossy and full. He may be black or liver in colour. Physically, the Flat Coat is well proportioned, strong yet elegant.

Health Issues

Like all breeds of dogs, the Flat Coated Retriever is susceptible to certain health problems. Health concerns for the breed include cancer, hip dysplasia, glaucoma, and luxating patellas. If you are considering the adoption of a Flat Coated Retriever puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. The Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America requires that all breeding stock have OFA (Orthapedic Foundation for Animals) or equivalent certification and CERF numbers or board-certified opthamologist equivalent. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)

Additional Health Resources:


Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

In general and like most of the Retriever breeds, the Flat-Coat remains puppy-like for three or more years and even after maturity has been reached, he will remain playful, mischievous and eager. The breed is intelligent, quick to learn but easily bored. Training sessions should be kept brief, fun and challenging.

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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