Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Flat-Coated Retrievers: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Flat-Coated Retriever temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Flat-Coated Retriever dog breed

Flat-Coated Retriever Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Flat-Coated Retriever Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2016

The AKC Standard says, "The Flat-Coated Retriever demonstrates stability and a desire to please with a confident, happy, and outgoing attitude characterized by a wagging tail."

This cheerful dog is athletic, not a couch potato, so he needs plenty of exercise -- ideally exercise that includes swimming and fetching. Otherwise he will find outlets for his energy through destructive chewing and digging.

The gregarious Flatcoated Retriever thrives on personal attention and doesn't like being left for long periods of time without the companionship of people or other pets.

Optimistic about everyone and everything, this good-natured breed is emphatically not a guardian.

He is eternally lighthearted and playful, doesn't know his own strength, and can be an exuberant jumper. Supervision is important around toddlers and smaller pets.

You must control his tendency to chew on objects and to mouth your hands -- provide a box filled with toys so he can carry something around in his mouth.

A Flat Coated Retriever retains his youthfully good-humored outlook on life into old age, which sounds delightful but which does require patience and control to manage.

Obedience training is a must to instill calmness and good manners. Fortunately, he is responsive and biddable, though not as "push-button" as a Golden Retriever. He has a willful streak.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is large and athletic, with the familiar retriever shape and dependable retriever attributes
  • Has a pretty feathered coat
  • Is a cheerful tail-wagger
  • Thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities
  • Is polite with everyone
  • Is peaceful with other animals
  • Is uncommon

A Flat-Coated Retriever may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young or not exercised enough
  • Mouthiness -- carrying and chewing objects, mouthing your hands
  • Regular brushing and combing
  • Shedding
  • Serious health problems and a potentially short lifespan

A Flat-Coated Retriever may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

More traits and characteristics of the Flat-Coated Retriever

If I was considering a Flat-Coated Retriever, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Flat Coated Retrievers MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Flat-Coats can make a shambles of your house and yard.

  2. Bounciness. Young Flat Coated Retrievers (up to about three years old) romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including toddlers and infirm people.

  3. Grooming. To keep their feathered coat free of mats, Flat Coated Retrievers require regular brushing and combing, and occasional trimming.

  4. Shedding. Flat Coated Retrievers shed quite a bit -- just so you know.

  5. Serious health problems. All retriever breeds are susceptible to joint and bone problems, and eye diseases. Even worse, an alarming number of Flat-Coated Retrievers are dying of inherited cancer at an early age. Their lifespan is often less than for similar-sized dogs.

book cover To learn more about training Flat-Coated Retrievers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Flat-Coated Retriever the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Flat-Coated Retriever. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.

If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Flat-Coated Retriever might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.

book cover Once you have your Flat-Coated Retriever home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.

Please consider adopting an ADULT Flat-Coated Retriever...

When you're acquiring a Flat-Coated Retriever PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Flat-Coated Retrievers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter