The Flat-Coated Retriever is a British gundog. It was bred to retrieve both in the water and on land, flushing game and marking birds. The breed originated in the 19th century and may have come from stock of the St. John’s Water Dog, which may be an ancestor to other retrievers, such as the Labrador and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1915 and became popular in America around the same time. World War II nearly caused extinction for the breed, but in the 1960s breeders brought the population back.
The breed stands 22 to 24.5 inches tall and weighs 55 to 75 pounds. It appears fairly light and elegant in comparison to other retriever breeds. The Flat-Coated Retriever has a strong jaw for carrying game as well as a unique head. It has small pendant ears and dark brown almond-shaped eyes. It has a medium-long feathered tail. The breed has a straight at which is either solid black or solid liver.
The breed is full of personality and energy; it makes not only an excellent hunting dog but a wonderful companion as well. It is devoted and outgoing; it loves to play outdoors and is almost always enthusiastic and ready to please its owner. The breed needs plenty of exercise, both mental and physical, because without it the Flat-Coat may become destructive. The breed also needs to be socialized as well as trained. The breed may become bored and stubborn with repetitive training, and it needs a gentle hand to guide it in the right direction. The Flat-Coated Retriever does tend to get along with other animals; oftentimes, if it sees another Flat-Coat, one will greet the other by licking the other’s mouth. The breed has a tendency to act like a puppy for the majority of its life.
The breed is relatively healthy. It may have a few health problems such as epilepsy, hemangiosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, osteosarcoma, malignant histiocytosis and a very low rate of hip dysplasia and luxating patella. The breed lives for 10 years on average.