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Flat Coated Retriever

Group: Gundogs (Group 3)
Club: Flat Coated Retriever Association Of Victoria Inc
Contact: Ms Leanne Tormey
Phone: 0421 358 301

Brief History

The Flat Coated Retriever was developed in England in the late 18th century when there was a need for an efficient dog to work with shooters to retrieve game. Initially known as the “Wavy-Coated Retriever”, this breed is the result of crossing various setters, retrievers and water dogs to produce a dual-purpose gundog. The task of refining lines to produce the Flat Coated Retriever was undertaken by Mr Evelyn Shirley, a sportsman who, in 1873 was also the founder of the Kennel Club of England.

Average Life Span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime.

The average life span is 11 to 12 years.


The Flat Coated Retriever has been described as the canine Peter Pan; he never grows up and is always ready for fun and play, even when advanced in age. He is confident and kindly, with a strong desire to please. He is firstly a companion, always requiring and sometimes demanding to be in the company of his owner, as he craves human company. He is not a one-man dog and generously shares his affection with the family.

General Breed Description

The Flat Coated Retriever is a bright, active dog of medium size, with an intelligent expression. This is a slow maturing breed and full of energy. He is generously endowed with natural gundog ability, optimism and friendliness, as demonstrated by his enthusiastic tail action. He is a kind, sociable and loving animal and therefore makes a wonderful family pet. He has a record of success in Obedience and Field work and competes in other sports such as Agility, Tracking and Conformation dog shows.

The single coat, black or liver in colour, is sleek, thick and flat.

Coat and Care Requirements

The moderately long coat requires weekly brushing to remove dead hair and keep it healthy. Some minor trimming, especially around the feet and ears, keeps the dog looking tidy.


Height: Males 58 to 61cms (23 to 24ins), Females 56 to 58cms (22 to 23ins)

Weight: Males 27 to 36kgs (60 to 80lbs), Females 25 to 32kgs (55 to 70lbs)


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders it is recommended you enquire about the breed’s health and what health testing the breeder does. The Flat Coated Retriever is generally a healthy breed, however health conditions do occur occasionally. These may include Hip Dysplasia (HD) and Elbow Dysplasia. Eye checks are recommended and must include a Gonioscopy examination for Glaucoma, evidence of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Cataracts.


A Flat Coated Retriever is not the sort of dog that can be totally happy without human companionship. It is not suited to large kennels, as it needs individual attention. As with most gundogs, secure fencing is a necessity. A Flat-coat does not like to be left alone for long periods and he will be at his happiest when he is interacting with his owner, as he likes to be part of the action, even if that is just lying at his human’s feet. He is best suited to an active person or family as he requires regular exercise, whether that be walking, running or swimming. They are good family dogs, although they can knock over small children due to exuberance, and most are accepting of other pets.

In Conclusion

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to ANKC Breed Standard:

Registered Breeders

  • Prefix: INJITALI
    Breeder: Rhonda Williams
    Phone: 9803 5678