Flat-Coated Retrievers

Flat-Coated Retrievers

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Breed Notes:

The Retriever, a dog that would locate and bring back birds killed by huntsmen, has been developed over the centuries. As time went on, this type of dog was developed into separate breeds dependent upon aspects preferred by individual hunters. During the mid-1800s, one such retriever type was bred in England using the Labrador Retriever and St. John's Newfoundland . This combination created a working dog that had a flat or wavy coat who could retrieve through thick cover and cold water. He became known as the Flat-Coated Retriever. He was admitted to the American Kennel Club in 1915.
The Flat-Coated Retriever is a delightful, animated dog who retains his youthful outlook well into old age. Tail-wagging is a hallmark of the breed. He loves to hunt and swim but is a good family companion as well. He needs plenty of exercise and individual attention.
The skull of the Flat-Coat has very little drop off to the muzzle (stop), giving the impression of a "one-piece" head. The brows are slightly raised and very mobile, giving life to his expression. The muzzle is equal in length and breadth to the skull. The eyes are set wide apart and almond shaped. They are dark brown or hazel in color. The ears are relatively small, lying close to the head. The jaws are strong with a scissors bite. The neck is strong and slightly arched. The chest reaches to the elbow and is moderately broad. The legs are straight and strong with medium bone. The topline is level. The loin is strong and well muscled. The tail is fairly straight, well feathered and long enough to reach the hock. The coat is of moderate length, density and fullness with a high luster. It should be straight or flat lying although a slight wave is permissible. Thick feathering exists on the ears, chest, back of legs, thighs and underside of the tail. Coat colors include solid black or solid liver. Average height is between 22 and 24 inches. Average weight is between 60 and 70 pounds.

Name withheld by request of Washington writes:

Great family dog, but do research.
This breed is the ideal family breed. I got my first (and only) FCR at six, and he was everything I could ask for. He was 28 inches at the shoulder and 100 pounds, so he was big, but he almost never jumped, and he loved everyone. But do your research. I think that I bought from a puppymill breeder, and he died at six and a half years old. Ask the breeder the age of parents and grandparents. I highly recommend them.

Name withheld by request of Chicago, IL writes on 4/3/01:

Great dogs, but...
I have owned and loved Flat-Coats for thirteen years. We've had numerous champions, junior hunters, and CDX. I absolutely love this breed and would never own any other. They are always happy and are content to just be around their owners. They would just as soon lie at your feet as jog around the block. I have never, ever met an agressive one, and I've known quite a few. They are as eager as any dog to please their owner. My dogs would jump through flaming hoops if asked to. However, I must caution people interested in the breed, for the sake of the potential owners as well as the dogs. They are not for everyone. An owner must have time to train them and exercise them. If these needs aren't met they meet them for themselves and engage in unwanted behaviors, including chewing and digging.They are great with kids, but they are large dogs. In their over zealous playing they could inadvertantly injure a child. This doesn't mean they are bad dogs. I encourage anyone interested in the breed to researh. Find out as much as you can before you buy one of these fabulous dogs. You wouldn't buy a car without researching it and comparing it to other cars. And like buying a car, you want one that suits your life style, a family of six wouldn't be interested in a Mazda Miata, would they?

bfcr@aol.com of Florida writes on 9/8/01:

A very wonderful friend who needs a lot of attention.
I first became involved with a Flattie about 5 years ago at a Humane Society shelter and it was love at first sight. Her previous owners had given her up as they were moving to an apartment and couldn't take her. She was an older dog with a lingering ear infection and underweight. We (empty nesters) took her home, gave her the meds provided by the shelter along with a good diet, and within a short time she was fine. She was a fabulous friend and companion who got along well with our other dog and our 5 cats. She developed cancer (which is a concern with this breed) two years after she became a part of our family and a toe was amputated. A year later the cancer returned and she declined rapidly. We had to let her go and my heart shattered. She left such a big void and, although I know very well they are not interchangable, I started to look for a flat coat needing a home. I found a breeder who had had some health problems herself and was looking to place a couple of her dogs in homes. We now have a female, who just turned 5, for almost a year.
I find these dogs to be extremely attentive to their human companions, very playful and affectionate, and very demanding of attention. (I no longer work outside the home so I able to take my dog outside several times a day and throw her tennis ball which she thinks is great fun to chase.) They have such lively spirits - they need to be active participants in the lives of their human companions. They are also natural comedians and will absolutely keep you smiling. Flat Coats turned out to be perfect for us and are absolutely great dogs. Please, just be sure you are able to give the time and attention a flat coat needs. I can assure you that if you can do this, you won't be disappointed and you will have one of the best friends you have ever had in your whole life!

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