The flat coated retriever is a British breed of gun dog, which makes for an adept retriever both on land and in the water. They are active, lively and intelligent dogs that enjoy the company of both other dogs and people, and are generally fun loving and great with kids of all ages. They are very adaptable, and as well as making excellent working dogs are able to turn their paws to other things too, such as obedience and agility work.
Due to their working ability and history of hunting/retrieving work alongside of people, they make for lively, challenging pets, and may not be suitable for all owners. In this article, we will cover some of the most frequently asked questions about the flat coated retriever, and their suitability as pets. Read on to learn more.
The flat coated retriever is a large breed dog, with males standing up to 62cm tall at the withers, and females up to 60cm. Their weight can range between 24-34kg. They have the typical retriever appearance of a sleek but muscular body that should never run to fat, and a long-muzzled, alert-looking face with large, intelligent eyes. They should be slightly lighter than most of the other retriever breeds such as the Labrador retriever, and are rather racier and leaner in appearance.
They can be seen in either black, blonde or liver colour, and have a medium long, smooth coat.
They are lively, alert and intelligent dogs that constantly observe their surroundings, and pick up new skills-and bad habits-through observation. They have open, friendly personalities, and tend to be predictable and honest in their body language, which makes them trustworthy and relatively easy to interpret. They need lots of physical exercise and also mental stimulation, and while they are biddable and generally well behaved, will soon get bored if left alone for long periods of time.
They tend to retain their puppy-like inquisitiveness and general lust for life well into old age, and also like to stay active throughout their lives. They also very much like their food and have poor impulse control when it comes to snacking and picking up scraps, something that should be carefully managed!
Providing that they are properly socialised when young, the flat coated retriever is very friendly and personable with other dogs, and will generally play well with both friends and strangers. They are bold and outgoing, but also adept at moderating their behaviour to account for smaller or shy dogs, and also very much enjoy having a companion at home too.
While like all dogs, the flat coated retriever does display hunting instincts, they can generally be trained to accept and respect smaller pets like cats, and live with other pets without a problem.
The flat coated retriever is an all-round people pleaser, and generally very much enjoys living with children and joining in with their games. They are gentle and tolerant with kids, and often bond strongly with children that like to play with them. Active families that spend a lot of time outdoors and like to involve their dog in all aspects of their life make for an excellent fit for the flat coated retriever.
The flat coated retriever is a highly intelligent breed that can learn and retain complex commands, chain commands and higher level commands, making them potentially able to turn their paws to a lot of different activities, and even perform tricks! However, their intelligence means that they can be challenging to train insomuch as they will often pick things up faster than their handler might expect, and this includes bad habits!
They respond well to positive reinforcement training, consistency and clear boundaries, and are very willing to please, and will generally try hard to achieve what you want from them.
The average longevity of the flat coated retriever is ten to twelve years, and compared to other retrieving breeds, display a lower incidence rate of genetically inherited health problems. Hip dysplasia and patellar luxation, both of which are common defects within most retrieving dog gene pools, occur at a very low incidence rate within the flat coated retriever breed but they are prone to suffering from some other health issues that have a hereditary factor.
Eye conditions such as glaucoma and PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) are relatively common within the breed, and professional breeders generally test their breeding lines for the propensity for these conditions before breeding. The flat coated retriever also has a higher occurrence rate of certain types of cancers than most other breeds, including osteosarcoma, fibrosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma, and cancer is one of the most common causes of death in maturity for the flat coated retriever breed as a whole.