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The flat-coated retriever is sociable and friendly to all and loves to be with the family. Its personality has been referred to as "forever puppy" because of its slow maturing process.

     Flat-Coated Retriever At a glance


Weight Range:

Male: 60 lbs.
Female: 60 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 24 in.

Female: 23 in.


Floppy ears (naturally)


Exercise Requirements: >40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Longevity Range: 10-14 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Low Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Low
Tendency to Dig: Low Social/Attention Needs: High

Bred For:

Water retrieving


Length: Medium
Characteristics: Straight, flat
Colors: Solid black, liver
Overall Grooming Needs: Low

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Sporting
UKC Classification: Gun Dog
Prevalence: So-so

The Flat-Coated Retriever Dog Breed

Like other retrievers, flat-coated retrievers like to carry things in their mouths, but they are not known to chew excessively.

Flat-coated retrievers are black or liver-colored dogs that have sleek, medium-length, thick coats of fine hair.

The ears hang close to the head. The eyes are dark brown or hazel. The legs and tail are well feathered. They are happy dogs, so the tail of a typical flat-coat wags constantly.

The average heights for male flat-coated retrievers range from 23 to 24.5 inches; heights for females range from 22 to 23.5 inches. Weights range from 60 to 80 pounds (27 to 36 kilograms), with females being on the lower end of the range and males at the higher end.

The average life span of this dog is about 10 years.


Flat-coated retrievers are wonderful family dogs. They are loving toward children, friendly to everyone and extremely sociable. They live to be with their family, and they thrive on attention and affection.

Temperamentally, the flat-coated retriever may seem forever young. While this youthful exuberance is often endearing, it can pose challenges to the owner who labors under the misconception that all dogs reach adulthood by the time they turn 1 year of age. Relatively speaking, the flat-coat is quite slow to mature; he may seem puppy-like well beyond his third birthday.

As is the case with other retrievers, flat-coated retrievers like to carry things in their mouths, but they are not known to chew excessively. They are known to be quite intelligent and sensitive; they respond well to positive, non-coercive training methods.

Living With:

The individual or family who wants a dog that can keep up with an active schedule should consider welcoming a flat-coated retriever into their lives. These sociable, boundlessly energetic dogs love to be with their human companions, especially if those companions are active and on the go. Flat-coated retrievers enjoy running, swimming and other forms of vigorous exercise. And they live up to their names; they are excellent retrievers of birds, or of less traditional "prey" such as tennis balls.

They are relatively low-maintenance dogs. They need only weekly brushing and little, if any, hair trimming.


The flat-coated retriever and other retrieving breeds were developed in the mid-19th century in response to the increased popularity of shooting birds for sport and the need to retrieve those birds once they hit the ground. Spaniels, setters and waterdogs were used to build all retrievers. St. John's water dogs from Newfoundland, water spaniels and possibly collies were used specifically to develop the flat-coated retriever.

Today's flat-coated retriever is likely to be a multi talented individual. Many of the flat-coated retrievers that compete in dog shows also hold American Kennel Club hunting test titles. These dogs also have the ability to excel in tracking and agility tests.

What is most endearing about flat-coated retrievers, however, is their "forever puppy" personality. Their irrepressible spirits have prompted more than one expert to dub the flat-coated retriever the Peter Pan of the canine kingdom.