Breed Characteristics

The Flat Coated Retriever is a sturdy, muscular medium-sized dog. They have a thick, water-repellent coat that helps keep them warm and dry while working in the wet outdoors. They have a broad head with dark eyes and triangular, feathered ears that are set high on their head. Their body is slightly longer than it is tall, and they have a long, tail that curls over their back. The muzzle of a Flat Coated Retriever is slightly longer than that of other retriever breeds, and their coat, which comes in black, liver or chocolate, is usually wavy or curly. They look a lot like setters, but are larger and have a shorter coat.


Flat Coated Retrievers are known for being kind and gentle dogs with a very easy-going temperament and puppy-like disposition. They are excellent with children and love spending time with their families, making them great family dogs, as well as excellent pets for active families who love spending time outdoors. They are also good with other pets and can be easily trained. Flat Coated Retrievers are active dogs that need plenty of exercise and stimulation, so they may not be the best choice for people who lead sedentary lifestyles.


Flat Coated Retrievers are a generally healthy breed, but like all dogs, they are prone to certain health problems. Some of the most common health issues seen in Flat Coated Retrievers include hip dysplasia, eye problems, skin allergies and cancer. It is important to have your dog checked by a vet regularly and to ensure they receive the appropriate vaccinations and preventive care.

Eye Problems

Flat Coated Retrievers are prone to a number of different eye problems, most notably progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and maturity-onset cataracts. PRA is a degenerative disease that leads to blindness, while cataracts are a clouding of the lens in the eye that can cause blindness as well. Other eye problems that can occur in Flat Coated Retrievers include:

  • Cherry eye – a condition where the third eyelid pops out and becomes visible. It is often caused by an infection or inflammation, and can lead to vision problems if not treated. Treatment typically involves surgically removing the affected tissue, and most dogs make a full recovery. Flat Coated Retrievers are particularly prone to cherry eye due to their eyes being positioned further forward on their heads than in other breeds.
  • Entropion – is a congenital deformity in the Flat Coated Retriever breed. The eyelids roll inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the surface of the eye. This can cause irritation, inflammation and even blindness. Treatment includes surgery to correct the deformity.
  • Distichiasis – distichiasis is a relatively rare eyelid defect that occurs when an extra row of eyelashes grows from the inner surface of the eyelid. This extra row of lashes can rub against the cornea, leading to irritation, inflammation, and even scarring. In severe cases, distichiasis can lead to vision loss. Distichiasis is most commonly seen in breeds of dog that have very close-set eyes, such as the Flat Coated Retriever. In these breeds, the extra row of lashes can actually rub against the lens of the eye, leading to vision loss.
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If your Flat Coated Retriever has any of these problems, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible to prevent vision loss.

Owning a Flat-Coated Retriever: Care Requirements

The Flat Coated Retriever is an easy breed to care for. There are just a few rules to remember when it comes to this breed.


Flat-coated Retrievers are considered an active and energetic breed, and consequently require plenty of exercise and stimulation. Flat Coated Retrievers need at least an hour of exercise each day, and should have access to a large yard or park where they can run and play. They are also prone to weight gain, so it is important to monitor their diet and keep them at a healthy weight.


Flat-coated Retrievers require only moderate grooming and a good brushing once or twice a week to keep their coat healthy and shiny. They are not prone to shedding, but they will lose some hair after being groomed. Here are a few tips on how to groom a Flat-coated Retriever:

  1. To groom a Flat Coated Retriever, start by washing them and then brushing their coat with a slicker brush to remove any dead hair or mats.
  2. Next, use a metal comb to comb out the coat and remove any remaining tangles.
  3. If you have bathed it, dry the dog’s coat with a blow-dryer set on low heat.

However, keep in mind that bathing should only be done when necessary, as over-washing can strip the natural oils from their coat.


Flat Coated Retrievers are intelligent, obedient dogs and are typically easy to train. They are eager to please their owners and will quickly learn basic commands. Some advanced training may be necessary for hunting or competitive dog sports.

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The Flat Coated Retriever breed has a long and interesting history. They are thought to have originated in England sometime in the 1700s, and were used as working dogs to help hunters retrieve downed birds during hunting expeditions. They were bred from Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers, and were initially called “flats” because of their flat coat.

Flat Coated Retrievers were first brought to the United States in the late 1800s, and soon became popular among American hunters, by whom they were used as working dogs that retrieved waterfowl on duck hunting plantations. They became known for their swimming abilities, as well as their intelligence and friendly demeanor. They were also one of the first breeds to be registered with the American Kennel Club in 1915. Since then, this breed has remained a popular choice for hunters, sportsmen and dog enthusiasts alike. They are also used as service dogs, search and rescue dogs, and therapy dogs.


Flat-coat puppies typically cost between $600 and $1,000. Some breeders may charge more or less depending on the puppy’s pedigree and location. Overall, Flat Coated Retriever puppies are a relatively affordable breed compared to other purebreds. Of course, if you’re considering getting a Flat Coated Retriever puppy, be sure to factor in the cost of regular vet checkups and vaccinations, as well as food, toys, and other supplies.


  • Flat-coats are the 6th most popular breed of dog in the United States.
  • The average lifespan of a Flat Coat is about 10-12 years.
  • Flat coated retrievers are protected by the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America, a member club of the American Kennel Club (AKC) and a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, protection and improvement of the breed. The FCRSA was founded in 1984 and is the second-oldest retriever club in the United States. The FCRSA holds a variety of events throughout the year, including sanctioned conformation shows, obedience and rally trials, hunt tests, and a draft test. The club also sponsors education programs and rescue activities.
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