Flatcoated Retriever Breeders, Breed Clubs and History
The Flatcoated Retriever is another breed which is thought to have his origins in the north-east coast of the United States. It is suggested that he was a cross of Newfoundland and Labrador with Irish and Gordon Setter blood introduced. He was first seen in the showring at Birmingham in 1860; there were two classes for retrievers, the curly coat and smooth or wavy coat. He took the eye of Mr Sewallis Evelyn Shirley, MP, founder of the Kennel Club and its Chairman from 1873 to 1899. His kennel of Flatcoated Retrievers helped establish type and at one time they were known as Shirleys.
The Flatcoated Retriever has always been known as the Gamekeepers Dog, probably because of his exceptional working abilities combined with great friendliness and love of human company; he is not a dog who takes kindly to being left outside in the kennel. Unusually for a gundog he will try to escape and re-unite himself with his family, and once inside will prove he is indispensable by overwhelming you with his happiness at seeing you and reward you by being a splendid guard dog.
In height the dogs measure up to 61.5cm, bitches a little less and in good working condition can weigh 80lbs. However he does not look a heavy dog; he carries his weight well. As the Breed Standard puts it “showing power without lumber, and raciness without weediness”.
In the UK they hit a high level of popularity when Ch Shargleam Blackcap went Best in Show at Crufts in 1981 and found their way into many pet homes who had not been aware of the breed. He has a lovely, easy to care for coat; the body coat lies flat to the body and there is good feathering on the legs and tail. Regular grooming with a slicker brush on the body and a pin or bristle brush on the feathers is all that is needed to keep him looking smart. The addition of boiled linseed oil to his food will bring out the shine in his coat. The only colours allowed are black or liver; some livers can look very dull, so make sure the parents have a good strong colour.
The Flatcoated Retriever is a very happy breed and a good guard dog, the Flatcoated has a lot going for it, but it must be kept in mind that he is a working dog and will need to be offered plenty of exercise and stimulus.
- Innisbeck Lancs
- Benvellyn Leics
Rescue and Rehoming
Your first port of call should be your dog’s breeder. A good breeder will want to know if you are having problems and do their best to help out.