The Flat-Coated Retriever combines gracefulness in looks with grace of character. This is a loving, playful dog that needs a strong personal relationship with his owner and daily exercise. Most are so good-natured that they would rather make friends than anything else. He is intelligent and adapts well to changes around him.
The Flat-Coated Retriever developed as a variety of the English retriever type that existed in the early 1800s. The large Newfoundland was bred with the setter, sheepdog, and spaniel-like water dogs.
Though sturdy and solid, the Flat-Coated Retriever has a sleek silhouette. His head is less boxy than those of other retrievers. His brow is high; his expression is lively. His solid black or liver coat is thick and glossy and lies flat, although sometimes it may be slightly wavy. He moves with grace and flowing ease.
Excerpts from the Standard
General Appearance: The Flat-Coated Retriever is a versatile family companion and hunting retriever with a happy and active demeanor, intelligent expression, and clean lines. He is powerful without clumsiness, and lively but not nervous.
Size, Proportion, and Substance: Height--males, 23 to 24 1/2 inches at the withers; females, 22 to 23 1/2 inches. Length is slightly more than height.
Despite the Flat-Coated Retriever's engaging personality, in the early 1900s Labradors and Golden Retrievers overshadowed the Flat-Coat in popularity. The breed began to dwindle to small numbers, but by the mid-1960s the Flat-Coated Retriever was again more frequently found. He is still fairly rare in the United States.
Excerpted from The Complete Dog Book For Kids © 1996, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.