The Flat-Coated Retriever, also known at various times as the Flat Coat, The Wavy-Coated Retriever, the Smooth-Coated Retriever, the Flatte and the Flattie, descended from the Retriever Proper, a large black dog developed in Britain in the first part of the nineteenth century. The breed also was once called the “Gamekeeper’s Dog,” given its widespread use on large English estates as a field hunting retriever. The Flattie is unfailingly friendly and not normally a good watch or guard dog. The Flat-Coated Retriever was admitted to the American Kennel Club Stud Book in 1915 and is a member of the Sporting Group. By 1918, the breed’s popularity was overtaken by the modern Labrador Retriever. By the 1920s, the Golden Retriever surpassed even the popular Lab.
The mature male Flat-Coated Retriever ideally stands 23 to 24½ inches at the withers; females should be between 22 and 23 ½ inches in height. Deviations of more than one inch either way are discouraged. Flatties typically weigh between 60 and 80 pounds. Their thick, glossy coat is moderate in length and ideally lays flat, providing protection and insulation against all types of weather, water and ground cover. Their solid black or liver coat is easy to care for and only requires a good brushing from time to time. The American Kennel Club breed standard describes the Flat-Coated Retriever as showing “power without lumber and raciness without weediness.” He has been called “the Peter Pan” of dogdom”.