The Flat-Coated Retriever was developed in England in the mid-1800s to serve as a close-working shooting dog. His ancestry includes the Labrador, Newfoundland, spaniel-type water dogs, setter, and sheepdog. Known as a “gamekeeper’s dog,” he was used widely on British estates. It was gamekeeper J. Hull’s dogs, Old Bounce and Young Bounce, who are credited with being the foundation of the modern Flat-Coated Retriever (originally known as “Wavy Coated Retriever”). Unlike many other retrieving breeds, who are often split into “field” and “show” strains, he remains consistent in appearance from the field to the show ring and is proficient in both.
A bright, active dog of medium size with an intelligent expression, showing power without lumber, and raciness without weediness.
Generously endowed with natural gundog ability, optimism and friendliness demonstrated by enthusiastic tail action.
Confident and kindly.
Head and skull
Head, long and nicely moulded. Skull, 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.
Medium size, dark brown or hazel, with a very intelligent expression (a round prominent eye highly undesirable). Not obliquely placed.
Small and well set on, close to side of head.
Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Teeth sound and strong.
Head well set in neck, the latter reasonably long and free from throatiness, symmetrically set and obliquely placed in shoulders, running well into the back to allow for easy seeking of trail.
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.
Foreribs 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.
Muscular. Moderate bend of stifle and hock, latter well let down. Should stand true all round. Cowhocks highly undesirable.
Round and strong with toes close and well arched. Soles thick and strong.
Short, straight and well set on, gaily carried, but never much above level of back.
Free and flowing, straight and true as seen from front and rear.
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.
Black or liver only.
Preferred height: dogs: 58-61 cms (23-24 ins); bitches: 56-58 cms (22-23 ins). Preferred weight in hard condition: dogs: 27-36 kgs (60-80 lbs); bitches: 25-32 kgs (55-70 lbs).
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 and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.