The Flat Coated Retriever is a bird dog that originated in the United Kingdom. Not as well known as other types of retrievers, such as the Golden and Labrador retrievers, the Flat Coat Retriever shares many characteristics with these other breeds in that it will assist the hunter on both land an water, retrieving with ease when hunting waterfowl or upland game.
History of the Flat Coat Retriever
It is believed that the Flat Coated Retriever has distant Collie and Irish Setter blood. The theory is that the breed was the result of the Newfoundland breed being bred with Collies and Irish Setters so that the breed would have enhanced sense of smell and added strength. Although the origins of the Flat Coat Retriever are not very clear, it is clear that the dog was bred as a hunting dog. The Flat Coated Retriever began appearing in England in the mid 1800s and was considered to be a dog for gamekeepers. The breed made its way to the United States in the late 1800s where it became popular as both a show dog as well as a hunting companion. It was recognized by the AKC in 1915 but nearly became extinct in the United States by the end of WWII.
The Flat Coated Retriever breed was revived in the 1960s and the breed today, while not well known, is very popular with hunters as well as show dogs. The show quality dogs can easily cross over to field dogs as they have a natural ability to hunt.
Appearance of the Flat Coated Retriever
The Flat Coated retriever is about 23 inches high on average with females being slightly smaller. A good Flat Coat Retriever will weigh between around 65 pounds with females being slightly lighter. In comparison to other retrievers, they are lighter and faster and seem to move effortlessly during the hunt.
The coat of the Flat Coat Retriever s always very dark brown or back. The coat is single and slightly long and lays flat on the dog. The Flat Coat Retriever does not have an undercoat, but the single coat is very thick, enabling this dog to hunt in all types of weather.
Use of the Flat Coat Retriever
The Flat Coated Retriever is a very versatile, all purpose gun dog that can be used for both upland game and waterfowl. While retrieving is one of the best uses for this breed of dog, the Flat Coated Retriever can also be used to flush out upland game as well as marking downed birds. The dogs are very energetic, enjoy the hunt and have much energy to spend in the field. The Flat Coated Retriever is considered to be an all purpose gun dog.
Hunters who use the Flat Coated Retriever should know that the dogs do not like to be left alone for long periods of time, nor do they like harsh discipline. The Flat Coated Retriever can be more difficult to train than other retrievers and will not enjoy repetitive exercises for long periods of time. Although they are gentle dogs by nature and get along with all family members and even other dogs and cats, those with small children should be careful that the dog is trained in obedience as they can easily knock down small children because of their high energy level. A well trained Flat Coat Retriever, however, makes an excellent hunting companion and wonderful pet for the entire family.