Flat-Coated Retriever

60-80 lbs
Flat Coat, Flat-Coat Retriever

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a magnificent dog with a shiny black coat, although the color described as dark liver is also seen.  He is considered a large dog, standing at up to 24.5 inches and weighing up to 80 pounds. This retriever line was developed in England as a water dog and hunting companion in the 1800s but lost some of its popularity to its Golden Retriever cousin after World War I.  The Flat-Coat has a goofy nature and tends to mature slowly despite his physical size, but the Flat-Coated Retriever is a sweet, hardworking breed who will make you laugh.

purpose Purpose
water retrieving
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
retriever, newfoundland water dog

Flat-Coated Retriever Health

Sketch of Flat-Coated Retriever
Average Size
Male Flat-Coated Retriever size stats
Height: 23-24 inches Weight: 60-80 lbs
Female Flat-Coated Retriever size stats
Height: 22-23 inches Weight: 60-80 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Cancer
Minor Concerns
  • Distichiasis
  • Glaucoma
  • Histiocytosis
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Blood Test
  • Physical Examination

Flat-Coated Retriever Breed History

The Flat-Coated Retriever drew its ancestry from the Black Retriever and Newfoundland breeds and was developed as gundog retrievers capable of water retrieving. ¬†It was thought that progenitors of the modern-day Flat-Coated Retriever were too curly-haired and the dogs were outcrossed with Newfoundlands and possibly other Setter types to produce an all-purpose retriever with a flatter coat. ¬†As firearms became more sophisticated, hunters needed an all-purpose dog capable of retrieving its quarry on both land and in the water.¬†The Flat-Coated Retriever gained popularity in England and later in the United States as a gundog in the 1800s through the end of the First World War. ¬†Shortly after World War I, the Flat-Coat lost is popularity to its very-near cousin, the Golden Retriever who developed from the Flat-Coat. ¬†Despite waning popularity, the Flat-Coat was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1915. ¬†The Flat-Coated Retriever‚Äôs numbers became so low that by the mid-1960s the breed threatened extinction.¬†Thankfully, breeding programs resumed in the 1960s to restore the breed and reintroduce the Flat-Coat as a wonderful family dog. ¬†However, the Flat-Coat never fully recovered the popularity he once enjoyed in the 1800s.¬†Today, the Flat-Coat is a relatively rare breed, and breeders are particularly selective about adoptions. ¬†This breed is a wonderfully affectionate dog but highly sensitive and maintains his puppy mentality well into adulthood. ¬†In fact, the Flat-Coated Retriever is so puppy-like as an adult dog that he is referred to as the ‚ÄúPeter Pan of Dogs.‚ÄĚ ¬† As such, breeders today want to make sure the potential owners of Flat-Coats have a capable sense of humor and love for goofy dogs.

Flat-Coated Retriever Breed Appearance

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a large dog with a long head.  This breed’s eyes are dark, almond-shaped, and set widely apart.  The Flat-Coat’s ears are small, set close to the head and not too low with a high amount of feathering.  The Flat-Coat’s muzzle is long, and its nose is dark and matched to its coat color.  The jaws on the Flat-Coat are also long to accommodate retrieving larger game, such as pheasant or hare, and his bite can be either scissor or level. As the name suggests, the Flat-Coated Retriever’s coat lays flat and is of moderate length.  His coat protects him in all weather conditions and is black or dark liver.  The Flat-Coat is adorned with feathering on his ears, legs, and tail but is not excessively long.  The tail is set on straight and carried happily while in motion but never curled or much above the level of the back. The Flat-Coat has strong straight forelegs that are more wiry than bulky with elbows set close to the body.  His feet are well-arched, thickly padded, and oval shaped.  The hindquarters are in balance with the forelegs and are angled with muscular thighs and end in feet the same as the forelegs.

Appearance of Flat-Coated Retriever
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Flat-Coated Retriever eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Flat-Coated Retriever nose
brown Flat-Coated Retriever nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Flat-Coated Retriever coat
brown Flat-Coated Retriever coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Flat-Coated Retriever straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Flat-Coated Retriever Breed Maintenance

The Flat-Coated Retriever's coat is moderately long and should have weekly brushing.  Brushing your Flat-Coat will significantly help with shedding as loose and dead hair is removed from the coat.  Brushing will also keep your Flat-Coated Retriever's coat shiny and looking well as help with potential "doggy" odor smell.  The retriever family tends to develop unpleasant dog odor, especially when wet and the Flat-Coat loves the water.  Additional grooming should include clipping or grinding their fast-growing nails and checking their ears regularly to remove any wax build-up.  Teeth cleaning is also an important aspect of care, but you should only use tools designed specifically for dogs.  You can consult with your veterinarian or dog grooming specialist on the best way to care for your Flat-Coats grooming needs. The Flat-Coat is a large dog and requires between 3.5 and 4.5 cups of dry food, divided into two meals daily.  The amount of food you give your Flat-Coat will depend on his age, activity level, and metabolism and you should stay aware any changes related to his diet including weight changes and food allergies. The Flat-Coated Retriever is not well suited for apartment living since this breed stays fairly inactive while indoors.  The Flat-Coat needs space and time to run and play to live a happy, healthy life.  However, the Flat-Coat does well in a wide variety of climates from cold to hot.

Brushes for Flat-Coated Retriever
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Flat-Coated Retriever requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Flat-Coated Retriever Temperament

The Flat-Coated Retriever has a very outgoing temperament often referred to as bouncy and goofy.  This is a sensitive breed that demands active owners with a good sense of humor.  The Flat-Coat is a large dog but remains very puppy-like well into its adult years.  As such, this breed needs an active but patient family who will not use harsh tones while training. The Flat-Coat is extremely affectionate with its family and great with children and other dogs.  When it comes to strangers or intruders, the Flat-Coat's impressive size may caution people, but otherwise, this breed is more likely to lick a stranger than bark at one. Training can be a breeze with the Flat-Coat, who is eager to please and highly intelligent.  It is recommended that training starts early and often to help keep the Flat-Coat on track and occupied.  This is a very active dog, and without proper training, the Flat-Coat may develop unpleasant habits, like chewing or barking.  Once regarded as an all-around hunting companion, the Flat-Coated Retriever is now regarded as an all-around great family dog and wonderful joker.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Flat-Coated Retriever Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3.2 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.50 - $1.90
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$39.00 - $52.00
food bag monthly cost

Flat-Coated Retriever Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Flat-Coated Retriever at six months
Male Flat-Coated Retriever size stats at six months
Height: 17.0 inches Weight: 30.0 lbs
Female Flat-Coated Retriever size stats at six months
Height: 16.0 inches Weight: 30.0 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Flat-Coated Retriever at 12 months
Male Flat-Coated Retriever size stats at 12 months
Height: 21.5 inches Weight: 57.5 lbs
Female Flat-Coated Retriever size stats at 12 months
Height: 20.0 inches Weight: 52.5 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Flat-Coated Retriever at 18 months
Male Flat-Coated Retriever size stats at 18 months
Height: 23.5 inches Weight: 70.0 lbs
Female Flat-Coated Retriever size stats at 18 months
Height: 22.5 inches Weight: 70.0 lbs

Flat-Coated Retriever Owner Experiences

14 Months
The Flat-Coated Retriever is an active, multitalented bird dog with a strong desire to please people.[3] Exuberant, confident, and outgoing, they make a loving family pet and can be companions to small children, provided adults are nearby to direct this dog's boisterous enthusiasm. These retrievers require plenty of exercise and engagement to help channel their natural sporting energy.[4] Owners should provide dogs with at least 2 hours of exercise a day.[5] While they will protect their owners and property with an assertive bark, they are unlikely to back up such noise with actual aggression.[6] Because of their excellent sense of smell, combined with their boundless energy and eagerness to please their masters, they are sometimes used as drug-sniffer dogs. They are used in the breeding program for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in the UK, both as a breed and as cross-breeds with the Labrador Retriever [7]
6 years, 5 months ago
11 Years
Catch treats
Mason and I had so much fun on our stroll together. He's an older fella, he had a bit of a limp and it seemed like he had some elderly back hips, but man, the puppy in him is still going strong. When I arrived he greeted me with a big set of rubber rings (that he apparently is very attached to) and was already asking to play. I put the harness on him and he hopped a couple times in excitement. Once we got to the door I asked him to drop his toys to which he easily complied. He was a bit of a puller in his eagerness to head toward the park, but nothing unmanageable. He surprised me once we got to the park with just how playful he was! The first reasonably sized stick we found was immediately pounced upon, broken into tiny pieces, then left for scrap. He did this from one end of the park and back until he found what appeared to be an entire tree branch. He proceeded to pick this up and trot around triumphantly. He wasn't particularly interested in playing tug with it or even in chasing it if I threw it, but he was interested in romping with it. If I'd jump toward him he'd run in wide circles around me letting the stick bump off the ground and jostle him. He seemed to possess endless energy as long as he had a stick in his mouth. As we were leaving the park his attention strayed from the stick ever so slightly (not enough to drop it, of course) due to a pair of dogs who were racing around the baseball field. He would have been absolutely delighted if I had been so trusting to let him off the leash and romp with them, but this was out of the question considering the situation. I had to rather noisily urge him along to shake him out of his dog-chasing fantasy. Once we got to the corner of the park I made him drop his stick and he, quite hilariously, gazed back at it for almost an entire block. Surprisingly, once we neared his apartment, a van of young people passed by and hollered out the window at us. This seemed to startle Mason and started him on a quest to bark at every stranger. He barked the whole block to the apartment and at people who passed by us while I was entering the apartment's foyer. All memory of this startling moment seemed to be wiped away, however, once we was paired with his rings again.
6 years, 5 months ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - My pet

My black flat coated retreiver , neutered female, approximately 11 years old, her coat is turning red/brown. Vets can't explain. Is this common?

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