The Flat-Coated Retriever we know today developed as a result of dog fancier S.E. Shirley's efforts. S.E. Shirley lived in England and was also the founder of The Kennel Club of England in 1873. The breeds that Shirley used to develop the Flat-Coated Retriever were the Labrador Retriever, the St. Johns Newfoundland, and the Collie. In the late 1800's and early 1900's the Flat-Coated Retriever was one of the most popular show dogs in Britain. It has a wonderful temperament and is good in the home with children as well as being an excellent water retriever and field dog. When we are tracing the nutrients that would have played a role in this relatively new breed's development, we must consider its forefather's native food supplies. The native food supplies for each of these are listed in the chapters that pertain to the Flat-Coated's forefathers; the Labrador Retriever, the St. Johns Newfoundland and the Collie.
For the Flat-Coated Retriever I recommend foods that are a blend of poultry, fish, wheat, oats, and yellow corn. However, I also recommend that you avoid feeding a Flat-Coated Retriever any soy products, beet pulp, and any red meats with low fat content.
The Flat-Coated Retriever was developed in England in the mid-1800's from the St. John’s Dog, combined with working field setter, sheepdogs, and spaniels. It was the first of the retrievers to win widespread acclaim as a shooting dog, and at the end of the last century and the beginning of this, it was the almost universal choice of those who required a dog for formal game shooting and wildfowling. It has maintained its reputation as dual-purpose retriever over the years and there remains little or no difference between field and show Flat-Coats. Field Flat-Coats should be structurally sound and conform to the standard; conformation Flat-Coats should be physically capable of performing in the field.
The Flat-Coated Retriever combines substance and strength with elegance and refinement, which together with a happy and active demeanor, intelligent expression, and clean lines, have been eloquently described as power without lumber, and raciness without weediness. The distinctive features of the Flat-Coat are the silhouette (moving as well as standing): smooth, effortless movement, head type, coat, and character. A proud carriage, responsive attitude, waving tail, and over-all look of quality, strength, style and symmetry complete the picture of the typical Flat-Coat. The Flat-Coat is a strong and elegant working retriever. Quality of structure, balance and harmony of all parts both standing and in motion are essential. As a breed whose purpose is of a utilitarian nature, structure and condition should give every indication of being suited for hard work.
In profile the Flat-Coat has a long, clean but substantial head, which is unique to the breed. It is free from exaggerations of stop or cheek and set upon a moderately long neck which flows smoothly into the well laidback shoulders. A level topline combined with a deep, long rib cage tapering to a moderate tuck-up create the impression of a blunted triangle. The brisket is well-developed and the forechest forms a prominent prow. The Flat-Coat is well proportioned, strong but elegant: never lacking in length of body or length of leg. The coat is thick and flat lying, and the legs and tail are well feathered.
Faults: Nervous, hyperactive, apathetic, shy or obstinate behavior is undesirable. Unprovoked aggressive behavior is a very serious fault.
Faults: Curly, woolly, silky or fluffy coats should be heavily penalized. Since the Flat-Coated Retriever is a dual purpose dog, feathering is not excessively long.
Faults: Dogs of a yellow colour or cream colour are not desirable should not be bred from and must be excused from the show ring.
Nose: Black and large open nostrils; brown on liver-coloured Flat-Coats. Mouth: Lips are fairly tight, clean and dry to minimize the rention of feathers. Jaws, long and strong. Teeth, scissors bite preferred, level bite acceptable. Honourable scars, anywhere on the Flat-Coat, including broken and missing teeth (as long as the natural bite is evident), should not count against the dog. Eyes are set widely apart with brows slightly raised and mobile, giving life to the expression. Medium sized, Almond-shaped, dark brown or hazel with a very intelligent expression. Eye rims are self-coloured. Ears are relatively small, well set on, lying close to the side of the head and thickly feathered.
Faults: Any coarseness or weakness, down or dish-face, cheekiness, domed skulls, short or snipey muzzle. Large, round, protruding or yellow eyes, loose lower eye lid, small mouths or weak lower jaws, pendulous lips which create an incorrect square-muzzled appearance, overly large or low-set, hound-like or setterish ears. Wry, undershot or overshot bites with a noticeable gap must be severely penalized.
Flat-Coated Retriever Neck
Moderately long, strong, slightly arched, free from throatiness, flowing
smoothly into the well-laid-back shoulders.
strong and springy with a slight slope. Feet: medium sized and tight with well-arched toes and thick pads. Removal of dewclaws is optional. Faults: Massive or overly refined bone. Pasterns upright, knuckling over, or weak.
Faults: Any weakness in the loin or middle back (open couplings), or an unduly short loin which restricts reach and drive are serious faults. A barrel or shallow chest, short rib cage, cobbiness or steep croup are not typical and considered faulty.
Faults: A choppy, short, mincing or ponderous action. Movement impeded by any structural weakness or twisting of joints.