Dog Health & More
The Flat-Coated Retriever was originally developed as a dual-purpose retriever of game on land and from water, and he's still popular for that purpose today. He also competes in obedience, rally, and agility, is a super therapy dog, and is an ideal companion for people who enjoy are looking for an active dog breed.
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Flat-Coats are often called the "Peter Pan" of retrievers. They generally mature more slowly than other dogs and maintain their puppylike exuberance for years. This playful energy makes them a wonderful and entertaining companion, but it also means extra time and patience when training them. While they are eager to please, Flat-Coats are hams, and they won't hesitate to go for a laugh, even if it means ignoring or disobeying you. In general, however, he's a responsive and sensitive student. A harsh correction will cause him to shut down until you make amends.
Tolerant and friendly, Flat-Coats love everyone, including children and other dogs. They'll bark to let you know that someone's approaching, but don't count on them to serve as any kind of guard dog. They are great friends for active older children but may be too energetic for toddlers, knocking them down with a swish of their frequently wagging tail.
Although the Flat-Coated Retriever is fairly calm indoors, he's not suited to apartment life. He retains his hunting skills and should live in an environment where his talents can be used--or at least one that gives him the opportunity to run and swim. Expect to give him a couple of 45-minute walks, runs, or other activity daily to satisfy his exercise needs. If you're doing a good job, he'll look well conditioned and lean. Afterward, he'll enjoy relaxing with you in your home. He prefers to be with his people whenever possible.
Many breeders and enthusiasts are the first to admit that Flat-Coated Retrievers are not for everyone, but there are a lucky few for whom this affectionate and good-looking retriever is a perfect match.