Cheerful, Chipper and Loving: The Flat Coated Retriever

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beautiful black adult flat-coated retriever standing in field

What do you call a water-loving puppy who makes a perfect family companion? Well, that could only be the Flat Coated Retriever! This energetic pup loves exercise almost as much as it loves its owners. This close cousin of the Golden Retriever loves training, swimming, and mental stimulation!

A Brief History of the Flat Coated Retriever Dog Breed

When Retrievers were first bred, several dog breeds contributed to the genetic pool. We have the Newfoundland, Water Spaniels, Sheepdogs, and Irish Setter dogs to thank for giving us the sweet, sweet Flat Coat!

When they were first introduced to the American Kennel Club (AKC), they were quite the sensation. Eventually, Flat Coat Retrievers became a hugely popular hunting dog breed during World War One. And it’s no surprise, really! Have you seen how eager and energetic they are?

Nowadays, these puppies are a lesser-known breed. They’ve turned in their fame card and traded it for the quiet-but-loved-companion card. They are a relatively rare breed, and waiting lists for a Flat-Coated puppy can be of more than a year!

They May Look Like Black Golden Retrievers, But They’re Not!

Many people see Flat Coated Retrievers and think they’re looking at a black Labrador or Golden Retriever. But while they do look similar—they’re all Retrievers, after all!—they’re not the same breed.

Actually, one of the biggest differences between Golden Retrievers and the Flat Coats is their energy level. Whereas Goldies can do just fine with moderate levels of activity, this breed needs to exercise a lot more.  

The Appearance of This Stunning Sporting Group Breed

These dogs are not only incredibly friendly, but they are also beautiful! Their most distinctive feature is their silhouette, known for being lean, athletic, and elegant. Their elongated head also puts the Flat Coated Retriever in the spotlight, as well as their kind and intelligent expression.

adorable flat-coated retriever puppy lying on grass

The Many Colors of Flat-Coats!

Flat-Coats come mainly in two different colors: black and liver. No matter their coat color, however, they make an excellent exercise and cuddle companion!

Black Flat Coated Retrievers

Black is the classiest color of all, right? A black Flat Coated Retriever looks especially stunning. With their shiny, long, soft coat, no head is left unturned when these dogs walk by.

Liver Flat Coated Retrievers

This breed’s coat can also be solid liver. While Golden Retrievers and Labradors can also be recognized by this color, none look this regal and adorable. Their coat is either very straight or slightly wavy, perfect for dogs who want to run around and get dirty all the time.

Yellow Flat Coated Retrievers

The yellow flat coated retriever exists but is rather rare. The American Kennel Club does not recognize the color as a breed standard, so people breeding show dogs are careful not to breed two dogs that carry the “yellow gene.

Their Average Size and Weight!

While they remain puppies at heart, they grow quite a lot as adults. Usually, they measure between 22 and 24 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 55 and 70 pounds. Talk about a big puppy!

Fun, Loving, Patient and Kind: Their Temperament and Personality

The Flat Coated Retriever puppy has an amazing temperament. They’re always ready to play, go on training sessions, and to run circles around their owners. They truly remain puppies at heart throughout their whole life.

Because they were first bred to be hunting dogs, there’s nothing they love more than exercise. Seriously, nothing makes them happier than a whole day outside chasing smaller animals. Energetic doesn’t even begin to cover it…

At the same time, though, they are very patient. Teaching them new commands is easy, even for first-time dog owners. By using positive reinforcement, you can train a Flat Coated Retriever to do pretty much anything! They will patiently wait for your orders and comply. After all, they love to please humans.

The rumor that these dogs mature slowly couldn’t be more accurate. Even when they’re well into their adult years, they still act like little puppies. These active doggos never stop acting like clowns, especially when they see they’ve made their owners smile! Their sense of humor is truly unique.

This is a large breed that has it in their genes to play all the time. So, having them around children while unsupervised is not a good idea. They’re unaware of how strong they are and can knock down small children easily. The same can be said about these dogs and seniors!

Lastly, it also has to be said that these dogs thrive as part of a family. Nothing keeps their tail wagging more than feeling welcomed and loved by a group of people (and animals!). After a long day of exercising and playing at the park, you’ll see their more quiet temperament while cuddling on the couch.

three young flat coated retrievers playing with a dummy

Do They Make Good ESAs?

What are the requirements for becoming a great emotional support animal? Firstly, these dogs must have a tight bond with their humans. Then, they must be attuned to their owner’s feelings and emotions. Lastly, they have to be able to lift anyone’s spirits, even during one of the bad days.

Do Flat Coated Retrievers check these boxes? Absolutely! They make good companions and terrific emotional support animals (ESAs). With their exuberant personality and eagerness to please their human best friend, there’s nothing these puppies can’t fix.

A Bored Doggo Is Not a Happy Doggo: These Dogs Love Training!

If there’s a dog that needs exercise, it is the Flat Coated Retriever. They require long walks and runs daily. In fact, the recommended amount is at least 90 minutes of active exercise every day. If you want to give them a real treat, enter them in dog sports competitions!

For this reason, these are not apartment-friendly dogs. They hate being stuck indoors and not being allowed to run around freely. Give them a backyard and watch their tails wag!

Mental stimulation also works wonders with these dogs. If it’s too cold outside, give them a puzzle or two for them to solve. There are dozens of dog puzzles and games available online — your Flat Coated companion will thank you.

Training is also crucial for this breed. Since they remain puppies at heart forever, you have to really train them. Obedience training courses are a great place to start. Teach them to sit, lay down, stay, and come to you. This will make caring for these dogs when they weigh upwards of 50 pounds a lot easier.

How Long Do They Live? Flat Coated Retriever Lifespan!

When treated well and given enough exercise, these dogs can live to be 10 years old. Most of the health problems they encounter are genetic. Thus, buying from a reputable breeder is the best way to ensure this breed lives a long and happy life.

3 Potential Health Issues and How to Prevent Them!

Unfortunately, Flat-Coated puppies are not immune to health problems. The ones they struggle with the most are genetic problems.

The top three canine health problems this breed is vulnerable to are:

  • Hip dysplasia: This genetic condition happens when then thigh bone doesn’t fit snuggly in the hip joint. Since these dogs love to exercise, the constant friction wears out the tissues around it and causes pain. Fortunately, hip dysplasia can be delayed by keeping your dog from gaining weight too fast, feeding them a nutritionally balanced diet, and making sure they go easy on their joints.
  • Patellar Luxation: Dogs that suffer from this disease have their knee bone (patella) slip out of place. This is very painful and uncomfortable and can lead to arthritis.
  • Cancer: Sadly, this breed is no stranger to a variety of cancers. Malignant histiocytosis, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and Osteosarcoma are the most common.

Since these diseases are genetic, the only way of making sure your dog doesn’t have it is by getting them from a reputable breeder. These people are dedicated to the animal’s health and not to profit. If you go to a good breeder, chances are, your dog won’t suffer from these conditions.

black and liver flat coated retriever puppies playing

Flat Coated Retriever for Sale!

As we’ve mentioned, the waiting list to add a Flat Coated Retriever to the family is long. Be prepared to wait a year or longer! People breeding these dogs do not overbreed their bitches. They like to let nature take its course, which is a healthier way of breeding!

Flat Coated Retriever Puppies for Sale Near Me!

Finding a good breeder is key. That is why you should use the American Kennel Club’s marketplace to find your future canine companion. There, you will find the nearest breeder to you and information about all puppies up for sale!

What Is the Flat Coated Retriever Price?

You can expect to shell out between $1,000 and $1,200 for a puppy of this breed. But don’t get carried away by promises of a cheap pet! Always consider how good the breeder you’re going to is. You don’t want to end up with a Retriever with hip problems!

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Retriever Rescues!

Sometimes, adopting a pet really is the best option. If you’re on a budget or want to better the life of a dog in need, then animal rescue groups are the place to go. We’re sure you’ll find a life-long companion there!

Frequently Asked Questions About the Flat Coated Retriever

Are these dogs the same as Golden Retrievers?

Do they make good family pets?

Can a Flat-Coated puppy live in an apartment?

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