Flat Coated Retriever
Retrievers of all kinds had been used to help fishermen, but by the 1800's, hunters were using guns to kill their prey. The wavy-coated retrievers used by fishermen were brilliant swimmers and retrievers, so in the 1800's, they were bred with flat coated dogs to produce the Flat-Coated Retriever, which was believed to be more water repellant. Their numbers dropped after the Second World War, but it is slowly becoming more popular as a working dog and pet. In the UK, they are cross bred with Labrador Retriever for use as Guide Dogs for the Blind. Also sometimes used as Customs sniffer dogs.
Flat-Coated Retrievers are a family dog. They love being around people and have a permanently wagging tail. They are playful and adoring and will never be far from your side. They do well within a family and other pets, but can be a little too bouncy with very small children. They will bark at the door, but usually greet strangers with their hall mark wagging tail and a friendly lick. They get on well with other dogs if properly socialised and are rarely aggressive. Flat-Coated Retrievers are intelligent and learn quite quickly; they like a job to do. They like carrying things in their mouths and will often bring you back a present, a stick, sock or anything else they can find. Games of fetch can last for hours, so one way to tire them out is competition. Agility, obedience or tracking all work well and play to their natural strengths. They love water and will swim whenever they get a chance. This includes muddy puddles, or just mud. It is said that the Flat-Coated Retriever would find water in a desert. Training needs to be done little and often as they sometimes have a short attention span. Reward based training works well as they can be sensitive to harsh words. They act like puppies for quite a while and some say they never grow up. They want to please their owner and tend not to wander too far from you. On walks they are lively and agile, recall is not usually a problem with the breed. A fair amount of daily exercise is needed to keep the dog mentally active. They can become bored if left too long which could result in destructive behaviour. Once walked they are happy to sleep it off, on your lap or sofa if allowed. If not, they will sleep on your feet.
Brushing should be done a few times a week to keep the coat in top condition and remove dead hairs. There are no major issues with health in the breed, but Canine Hip Dysplasia and Glaucoma is sometimes seen.
Flat Coated Retrievers have an enthusiastic and joyful temperament. Longing to be your bestfriend they will whine and bark if left alone. The breed also has a tendency to mouth you all the time and craves your affection. Large athletic dogs that need plenty of exercise this breed is definitely not for a couch potatoe.
Great family dogs they have almost no aggressive tendencies towards other dogs. That said they often don't know their own strength and can act a bit like a bull in a china shop. Early socialisation with other dogs and pets is important to prevent them becoming over excited whenever they see a new animal.
Health problems that may affect Flat Coated Retrievers includes many cancers, epilepsy, bloat and glaucoma.
- Status: Common
- Life Expectancy: 8 - 12 years
- Weight: 24 - 36 kg
- Height: 22 - 24"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Medium
- Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
- Town or Country: Either
- Minimum Home Size: Large House
- Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
- Breed Type: Gun Dog
- Size: Large
- Energy Level: High
- Exercise Required: Over 2 hours
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