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Adopt a Flat-Coated Retriever

Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Breed

Picture: Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Corbis


gundog, retriever, water dog

Area of origin:


Original function:

water retrieving

Average size of male:

Ht: 23-24.5, Wt: 60-70

Average size of female:

Ht: 22-23.5, Wt: 60-70

Other names:


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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

Flat-Coated Retriever Dogs Available on Petfinder Right Now

See more adoptable Flat-Coated Retriever dogs available on Petfinder

Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Temperament

The flat-coated retriever is a sweet, exuberant, lively dog that loves to play and retrieve. She is on the go outdoors, but quiet indoors. This breed is among the most devoted and companionable of dogs, a true family dog. She needs regular exercise to be on her best behavior, however. She is a sensitive breed and very responsive to training. Her hallmark is her wagging tail.

Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Care

This active dog needs daily exercise and fun, and especially enjoys the chance to hunt or swim. This is a family-oriented dog that does best when allowed to live inside and play outside. Her coat needs only weekly brushing and little, if any, minor trimming occasionally.

Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Health

Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: CHD
Occasionally seen: PRA, epilepsy, diabetes
Suggested tests: (hip), (knee), (eye)
Life span: 10-14 years

Interested in the history of the Flat-Coated Retriever dog breed?

One of the earliest uses of retrieving dogs was to help fishermen retrieve fish and objects from the water. In the 19th century, such retrieving dogs were especially popular with the cod fisheries around Newfoundland. Of these dogs, the most popular breeds were the Labrador (not to be confused with the present Labrador retriever) and several sizes of Newfoundlands. With the development of more advanced firearms, hunters were increasingly able to shoot "on the wing," but they needed a dog to mark the fallen bird and bring it back. The fishery dogs were unrivaled swimmers and natural retrievers, and crosses between them and British breeds, such as setters or pointers, honed the dog's bird sense. The result was the wavy-coated retriever, and she became quite popular in America and England. In fact, she was among the earliest breeds to be shown at English dog shows. Near the end of the 1800s, crosses with a straighter-haired breed were made because the wavy coat was thought to be less water-repellant. The resulting flat-coated retrievers became tremendously popular. The breed was not recognized by the AKC until 1915, by which time she had already begun to drop in popularity. By the end of the Second World War, the number of flat-coats had dwindled to the point that the breed was threatened with extinction. Concerted efforts to bring the breed back slowly succeeded, and the flat-coat now enjoys modest popularity.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Flat-Coated Retriever Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Flat-Coated Retrievers ready for adoption:

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