OVERVIEW OF THE FLAT-COATED RETRIEVERS
It won’t be wrong to say that today’s Flat-Coated Retrievers are yesterday’s Golden Retrievers. The breeds are so similar that Golden Retrievers used to compete in shows as a subclass of Flat-Coated Retrievers. As with the Golden Retriever, the Flat-Coat is kind, intelligent, and natural at retrieving things, especially from the water. Since they always act like happy, bouncy puppies, Flat-Coats have been dubbed the “Peter Pan” of dogs. If you’re going to live with a Flat-Coated Retriever, good humor is essential.
Flat-Coats are great therapy dogs and top competitors in rally, obedience, and agility. But people who live in apartments should be careful because these dogs need a lot of space to run and play. Even though the breed’s original purpose was as a working retriever, many modern-day Flat-Coats also serve as family pets and hunting companions. Although many Flat-Coats would rather be out hunting, they’re also highly agile and enthusiastic about dock diving and other activities. This breed is great for active people who enjoy running, trekking, and cross-country skiing.
Flat-Coats typically have a lesser coat than Golden Retrievers. “Flat-Coat” refers to how the coat drapes straight from the body. These dogs need to be bathed and brushed on regularly, especially since most of them love mud holes.
Retrievers were originally trained to help fishermen recover lost items from the sea, including fish and other objects. During the 19th century, these retrieving dogs were extremely prominent in the Newfoundland cod fisheries.
As hunting firearms improved, hunters could take more shots “on the wing,” but they still needed a dog to track out the downed bird and bring it back. Crosses between the fishery dogs and British breeds like the Setters or Pointers refined the dog’s innate ability to sense and retrieve birds. As a result, the wavy-coated retriever emerged and quickly gained popularity in England and America.
Near the end of the 19th century, wavy coats were bred with straight-haired breeds because they were believed to be less water resistant. Flat-Coats, the resulting breed, skyrocketed in popularity. Unfortunately, by the time the AKC officially recognized the breed in 1915, its popularity had already started to decline. By the end of World War II, the population of Flat-Coats had fallen to the point where the breed was on the verge of extinction. Efforts to resurrect the breed gradually succeeded, and the Flat-Coat is now popular as a companion and show dog.
FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER TRAITS
Flat-Coats are a sleek, medium-length, thick-haired breed that can be either black or liver in color. Both ears are pinned to the side of the skull, and they have brown or hazel eyes. The legs and tail both have plenty of feathering. They’re joyful dogs; thus, the normal flat-tail coat continually wags and gets a good workout.
The glossy, straight, flat coat provides excellent protection from the elements, whether they’re out hunting or hiking. Male Flat-Coats typically measure between 23 to 24.5 inches in height, while females average between 22 to 23.5 inches. Females tend to be smaller than males, who tend to be heavier, with a weight range of 60 to 80 pounds overall.
If you were to miraculously transform the leader of your high school’s pep squad into a dog, you would get a Flat-Coated retriever. As you stroll, play a game of fetch, or embark on another expedition with your new best buddy, you will undoubtedly pick up some of their gregarious and exuberant personality traits. That deserves a hearty round of applause. While the Flat-Coat isn’t particularly prone to biting, mature dogs of this breed may still exhibit puppy-like behaviors, including mouthing and playful biting.
They exemplify the term “social butterfly” because of their outgoing personality and desire to always mingle with new people. They’re constantly seeking more members for the homecoming committee. But, they prioritize spending time with their family; they have close bonds with them and get along well with children, pets, and cats.
The outdoors is where this breed’s boundless energy may be fully released. The Flat-Coat is an active breed that enjoys retrieving games and competing in other canine sports such as agility, scent work, and tracking.
TRAINING AND EXERCISE
Flat-Coats require at least 90 minutes of exercise each day to stay happy and healthy. Your dog can have plenty of space to run around in a fenced-in yard, but they’ll also benefit from spending lots of time swimming, hiking, and exploring with you. Have you got all those trail maps? It’s time to use them.
With their boundless enthusiasm, they benefit greatly from participating in dog sports. Plus, it’s a fantastic opportunity for your Flat-Coat to bond with its master. Since they are so quick, this breed is perfect for activities like agility and dock diving. When it comes to scent work and tracking, their keen noses are second to none. Any activity that keeps your dog’s paws and nose busy, including obedience and rally sports, might be their favorite.
The Flat-Coat is a pleasant and eager dog that can grow fairly large. When your dog is a puppy, beginning with positive reinforcement training (i.e., rewarding good behavior with treats, toys, or praise) and working on leash manners and how to meet people will be beneficial. Flat-Coats tend to grow slowly so that puppy-like traits may persist long into adulthood.
Since Flat-Coats are sensitive dogs, it is vital to employ positive reinforcement training. Punishing a behavior can be frightening and hurtful for a dog. If a dog does not accept corrections properly, this training can erode the dog’s confidence and lead to fear-based behavior issues for life. Instead, work with a positive reinforcement expert trainer who can help your dog excel.
If you want your Flat-Coat to remain sociable as an adult, it’s important to start socializing it as a puppy. There’s no better place to begin your puppy’s socialization than at puppy school. They can socialize with other dogs and people in the same setting. Flat-Coats are people lovers at heart, yet they can display this affection in undesired ways at times. For instance, they have a proclivity to leap on people upon greeting them, which, considering their enormous size and height, is not ideal. Socialization can help control their eagerness and educate them to welcome new acquaintances in a more socially acceptable manner, such as with a paw shake and a brisk tail wag.
Flat-Coats are high-energy dogs who require a house with plenty of areas for them to run around and an active owner. They’re adaptable to smaller dwellings, such as apartments, so long as they have access to a secure yard or some other form of physical activity.
Most Flat-Coats are people-oriented and will enthusiastically greet visitors with a wagging tail. Social homes that enjoy hosting parties should remember that this breed can often go overboard in their enthusiastic greetings by leaping on guests.
Puppies mature slowly, and their puppy-like traits may last for years. That’s why this breed is ideal for experienced pet owners with a sense of humor. Your favorite pair of shoes may rapidly become chew toys, and your lively dog will try to transform anything into a game of fetch, so it’s crucial that a family plan ahead, puppy-proof the home (even for an older dog), and laugh off the dog’s antics.
FOOD AND HEALTH OF THE FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER
A high-protein diet will benefit very active dogs, such as most Flat-Coats. If your dog likes to run and play, this higher protein food may be what they need. Dogs who aren’t as active and don’t bark much don’t need this extra protein, and a high-protein diet could make them gain weight they don’t need. Talk to your vet because they are the best person to help you choose the best high-quality food based on your dog’s specific needs.
Typically, high-quality dry food in the range of 3.5 to 4.5 cups per day should be fed in two meals. Your adult dog’s caloric requirements are determined by its size, age, build, metabolic rate, and how active it is. Dogs, like people, have certain dietary needs. It’s also crucial to pay close attention to the quality of the food you buy, as higher-grade dog food will require less shaking to get the desired amount into your dog’s bowl.
Don’t leave food out for your Flat-Coat all the time. Instead, measure its food and feed it twice a day. If you are uncertain as to whether it is overweight, administer the hands-on test and the eye test. Check out its lower half first. There must be a noticeable waist. Lay your hands on its back with your thumbs down its spine and your fingers stretched outward. Without exerting much pressure, you would be able to feel its ribs. If you can’t, your dog needs to eat less and exercise more.
HEALTH CONCERNS OF THE FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER
Flat-Coats often live for eight to ten years. While the average health of dogs of this breed is good, there are a few concerns you must be aware of. Knowing these issues, you can take preventative measures or act swiftly if your dog shows any symptoms.
Luxating patella is a disorder in which your dog’s kneecap moves in and out of position. This can be agonizing, and your dog may limp intermittently until the kneecap returns to its proper position. This problem may be resolved with surgery.
The disease known as bloat, or gastric dilatation, occurs when your dog’s stomach twists and fills with gas. The Flat-Coat is susceptible to gastric dilatation because of its deep and narrow chest. As a precautionary step, your veterinarian may suggest suturing your dog’s stomach closed. You can also prevent bloat by giving your dog smaller meals more frequently during the day using a slow-feeding bowl.
Cataracts are a milky or white opacity that can impair your dog’s vision. Flat-Coats are susceptible to acquiring cataracts. Cataracts can be inherited and removed surgically. Remember, some cataracts, if they progress, can lead to blindness.
Ear infections are common in Flat-Coats because of their penchant for water play. Dogs with ear infections may show signs like tossing their heads, scratching their ears, and sometimes a discharge or redness of the ear flaps.
Dogs with hip dysplasia suffer from a painful disorder in which the ball and socket of the hip joint grind against one another. As your dog becomes older, this problem is likely to worsen, making it more challenging for them to engage in active play. Since hip dysplasia can run in lines, it’s important to work with a breeder who screens their dogs for it. Pain relievers and surgery are just two of the many options available to you if your dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR FLAT-COATED RETRIEVERS
The Flat-Coat requires about the same maintenance as a Golden Retriever, but owners should know that this breed sheds more than others with shorter hair. Flat-Coats need to be brushed at least once a week to maintain their longer, flatter coats. Start by using a slicker brush to detangle and remove any loose hairs from your dog’s coat. Regular grooming can reduce the number of times you need to drag out the vacuum cleaner, but you should still keep some lint rollers on hand to cope with the inevitable heavy shedding that will occur regardless of how often you brush your pet.
Check your dog’s ears for wax buildup and dirt when brushing them. It’s important to bathe your Flat-Coat after every time it goes swimming or hunting. It’s important to see a vet if you observe any symptoms of infection, such as redness, swelling, or a bad odor.
Your dog will grow muddy very quickly if you don’t give it a bath every two to three weeks. If your dog swims or is particularly active, you should bathe it more frequently. The Flat-Coat’s teeth are just as vital as any other part of their body, so be sure to give them the care they require. Even if you can only manage to brush your buddy’s teeth once a week, that’s better than nothing. Your Flat-Coat’s teeth will remain healthy and free of tartar if you clean them often. Start early on by brushing your puppy dog’s teeth. Once a year, take your dog to the doctor for thorough dental cleaning to keep their teeth in tip-top shape.