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Retriever (Flat Coated)

Flatcoated Retriever

The Flat Coated Retriever is a long and lean, and is the most racy-looking of the retrievers. They are bright and active with an intelligent expression. The dense, flat coat has a high shine, legs and tails are well feathered, giving an impression of a smart, attractive and athletic animal.  

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking more than two hours a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • Great with other pets
  • Great family dog

Key Facts

Lifespan: 8 – 14 years
Weight:  27-36kg for males and 25-32kg for females
Height:  58-61cm for males and 56-58cm for females 
Colours:  Black or liver 
Size:  Large
UK Kennel Club Groups: Gundog 


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 4/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 3/5


Kindly, lively yet gentle, the Flat Coated Retriever is less prone to the rather over-enthusiastic and potentially boisterous nature that some other retrievers are known for! Slow to mature and rather sensitive in nature, the Flat Coat is even-tempered and highly adaptable. A good family dog with the right training and an understanding home, the Flattie will enjoy accompanying family on long walks and taking part in training, and competitive dog sports. Snuggling up on the sofa is also a popular activity for the well-exercised Flat Coated Retriever! 

History and Origins

Country of Origin: England

In the 1800’s landowners and the sporting nobility of Great Britain were heavily focused on producing recognisable types of working dogs with a specific job. In the Flat Coated Retriever’s case, their only purpose was to pick up and retrieve shot game, accurately and without damaging the flesh. Developed from the Lesser Newfoundland as a land retriever, they were further refined into an excellent water and land retriever and became much favoured by gamekeepers. The ‘Flattie’ is also well able to flush game from cover and hunt where necessary. First established by Mr. J Hull in 1864, the breed was extremely popular until the creation of the Golden Retriever, and two World Wars also took their toll on numbers. Now rising in popularity again as a pet and competition dog, the Flattie is an intelligent yet gentle breed and makes a delightful companion in the right home. 

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Flat Coated Retrievers

Training Flat Coated Retrievers

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • The Flat Coated Retriever was originally named the ‘Wavy Coated Retriever’ however as breeders bred primarily for function rather than appearance, the wavy coat was slowly lost and eventually the name was changed to Flat Coated Retriever to reflect their appearance.
  • They are known amongst fans as the ‘Peter Pan’ breed due to their slow maturing, puppy-like behaviour that extends well into adulthood and even old age.

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