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Life span: 10-12 Years

Height: 22 – 24 inches.

Weight: 50 – 70 lbs.

The Flat-Coated Retriever was developed in the United Kingdom as a gundog breed for both water and land use. It is noted as being a very capable bird dog; full of energy and obedient. The Flat-Coated Retriever gets its name from its glossy, flat-lying coat which is typically black or liver-colored. And while the Flat-Coated Retriever shares many similarities with the Labrador Retriever, it has a slimmer body and a more refined look.

Physical Characteristics

This large breed has medium sized ears that flop down, and a medium sized tail that remains down when resting, but straight when wagging. Their eyes are brown with a black or brown nose. Its coat is dense and “flat”, as its name suggests, as well as weather resistant. Coat colors can be brown or black.


The Flat-Coated Retriever has the Black Retriever as its main ancestor, and was developed to be capable of water retrieving their preys. It was thought that the original species was too curly-haired, and so they were crossbred with Newfoundland and other Setter types in order to produce an all-purpose retriever with a flatter coat. As firearms advanced, people required an all-purpose dog that was capable of retrieving its prey on both land and water. It gained popularity in England first, and later in the United States. After WWI they lost its popularity due to the Golden Retriever’s popularity rising, who was developed from the Flat-Coat. It was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1915, but by the 1960s the species was almost extinct. After they almost disappear, a breeding program was created in order to help the dog and to be able to introduce him as a family dog.


This breed is known for being outgoing and loving, as well as remaining with a puppy-like attitude throughout its life. They are affectionate with just about anyone, but especially with children and other household pets. However, this means they will never harm a stranger, but instead attack them by licking them. They do need to be constantly occupied in order to keep them from developing destructive behaviors, but are easy to entertain, since they love playing with their families. Their feelings are quite sensitive, and they must be treated with love and gentleness.


This breed may suffer from many diseases, especially many types of cancer. Some of these are:

Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.

Gastric dilatation-volvulus, or bloat, is a mortal disease in which large chested dogs are affected by eating quickly, drinking lots of water and exercising after. This causes the stomach to inflate with gas and twist, making the dog unable to get rid of the excess air through vomiting, which impedes the normal blood flow to the heart. Its blood pressure then goes down and the dog goes into shock. Without proper, and immediate, medical attention, this could be fatal. Its symptoms may include: retching without vomiting, bloated abdomen, excessive salivation, restlessness, depression, rapid heart rate, weakness, etc.

Luxating Patella, in which the kneecaps may dislocate or move from its proper place.

Osteosarcoma, which is a bone cancer typical in large dogs. It is aggressive and often the limb needs to be cut off along with giving the dog chemotherapy.

Lymphosarcoma, a type of cancer that can be found in multiple parts of the body, such as the spleen, liver, bone marrow, etc.

Hemangiosarcoma, a type of cancer found in the spleen and the lining of blood vessels.

Cancer, noticeable through unusually swollen bumps, bleeding from any orifices, or sores that do not heal, along with difficulty breathing.


Their coat should be brushed weekly, as well as their nails trimmed regularly, teeth brushed, and ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. Exercise must be done daily, mostly in the form of long walks and playtime with its owners. Training should be easy, given that they are highly intelligent and willing to please. They cannot be left alone for long periods of time, or treated harshly. Positive reinforcement works best for this breed.


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