"Bess" oil painiting by Wright Barker 1911 >    

The Flatcoated Retriever is a versatile retrieving gundog and founds its origin in Great Britain. It was recognized by the Kennel Club in the late 1880's. His confident, happy and outgoing character is demonstrated by his ever wagging tail. Character is one of the first aspects mentioned in the breed standard and also the most important one. 
In comparison to what many people believe, a Flatcoated Retriever is NOT a black Golden Retriever. Both gundog breeds are bred for retrieving  game after it has been shot. But apart from their different looks, they also have different characteristics.

This is most important to keep in mind if you are planning to own a Flatcoat. Flatcoats mature very late, in body and in mind. You will need to have a lot of patience until he has reached full maturity, which may take up to 3 or 4 years. Because of their never ending youth their nature is compared to Peter Pan's.

The Flatcoat has a lot of temperament, more than his cousins the Golden- and Labrador Retriever. Up to a high age they stay very active dogs. Their liveliness should not be mistaken for nervousness. However, some people find the Flatcoat a hyper active breed. 

"Ch High Legh Blarney" oil painting by Maud Earl 




GENERAL APPEARANCE: a bright and active dog of medium size with an intelligent expression showing power without lumber, and raciness without weediness.

CHARACTERISTICS: Generously endowed with natural gundog ability, optimism and friendliness demonstrated by enthusiastic tail action.

TEMPERAMENT: confident and kindly

HEAD AND SKULL: Head long and nicely moulded, flat and moderately broad with a slight stop between eyes, in no way accentuated, avoiding a down or dish-faced appearance. Nose of good size, with open nostrils. Jaws long and strong, capable of carrying a hare or pheasant.

EYES: Medium size, dark brown or hazel, with a very intelligent expression (a round prominent eye highly undesirable). Not obliquely placed.

EARS: Small and well set on, close to side of head.

MOUTH: Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws, Teeth sound and strong.

FOREQUARTERS: Chest, deep and fairly broad, with well defined brisket, on which elbows should move cleanly and evenly. Forelegs straight, with bone of good quality throughout.

BODY: Fore ribs fairly flat. Body, well ribbed-up showing a gradual spring and well arched in centre but rather lighter towards quarters. Loin short and square. Open couplings highly undesirable.

HINDQUARTERS: Muscular. Moderate bend of stifle and hock, latter well let down. Should stand true all round. Cow hocks highly undesirable.

FEET: Round and strong with toes close and well arched. Soles thick and strong.

TAIL: short, straight and well set on, gaily carried, but never much above level of back.

GAIT/MOVEMENT: Free and flowing, straight and true as seen from front and rear.

COAT: Dense, of fine to medium texture and good quality, as flat as possible. Legs and tail well feathered. Full furnishings on maturity complete the elegance of a good dog.

COLOR: Black or Liver only.

SIZE: Preferred weight in hard condition: dogs 25/35 kgs (60-80 lbs); bitches 25/34 kg's (55-70 lbs). Preferred height: dogs 58-61 cm's (23-24 ins); bitches 56-59 cms (22-23 ins).

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

NOTE: Male animals should have to apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.